This is no way to spend the holiday season. Getting blasted in a rivalry game and getting a coach fired makes me wonder if a lot of Bruins have been naughty...but we all know the only Bruin who's been naughty is Chianti Dan, and the best holiday gift for all Bruins would be for him to move on and for UCLA to get the visionary leader it deserves in an Athletic Director. Sadly, UCLA was not the only team to fire its coach. 4 out of the 12 teams in the conference will have a new head coach on the sideline next year. The money is coming and all teams are upping the ante. Chianti Dan, you'd better step up or you will feel the wrath of angry Bruins everywhere and a lump of coal in your underwear.
Player of the Week: Matt Barkley, Southern Cal - despite his shit-eating grin and his continued lack of sportsmanship, Cheatey's boy-pal threw for 423 yards on a 35 of 42 performance with 6 TDs against our very own Vespa clowns.
Stat of the Week: 44-15 - that is the average score in UCLA's six losses this year. That's 4 TDs. I don't have time to go look, but I am guessing that might be worst in the nation, or at least one of the 10 worst. Even Colorado's average losses come out to 42-16.
Game of the Week: UCLA vs. Oregon, 5:00 pm PT, Fox - well, it's the only game left in the Pac-12, the championship game. On national TV. Let's win one for the Skipper.
On to the poll, brothers and sisters.
1. Stanford (4), 8-1: It was Andrew Luck's last home game, with Stanford hosting Notre Dame and winning 28-14. The leading Heisman candidate eclipsed Elway's single season TD record, throwing for 4 TDs in this game to get to 80 TDs in 3 years (it took Elway 4 years to get to 77). Walking back into the locker room, his teammates were chanting "Macho, Macho man, I want to be a Macho man!". Here's hoping that UCLA will get some of its own luck soon. Stanford likely will not get a shot at the national championship but should get to a BCS bowl, projected to play Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl. That would be a real fun game.
2. Oregon (4), 8-1: the Ducks rebounded from their loss to Southern Cal to put a beating on Oregon State in the Civil War, to the tune of 670 yards and 7 touchdowns. Having beaten Stanford, the Ducks get to play in the Pac-12 championship game against UCLA. Maybe there's a jinx on them against LA schools. But most likely, they will get to the Rose Bowl, giving the conference a second year with two teams in BCS games.
3. Southern Cal (3), 7-2: Flock you, Matt Barkley. You can have your stupid grin and your gap and your stupid t-shirt, but guess what: your school cheated and now you get to sit at home and watch the bowl games. Eat that. Projection: No Bowl.
4. Washington, 5-4: The Huskies easily took care of Wazzu in the Apple Cup, ending up with a winning conference record and at 7-5, they will get to go to a bowl game again. Still, in their 5 losses, the average score is 46-23. Remind you of anyone? Better fix that defense...or wait, keep Nick Holt forever! Projection: Alamo Bowl (vs. Oklahoma)
5. Cal, 4-5: The Bears ended the season on a good note, beating Arizona State in Tempe and 3 of their last 4, with their loss to Stanford by only 3 points. A pretty good turnaround after a bad outing against UCLA. With their road show over, the Bears will get to play in a renovated stadium next year, which should make for a great UCLA road trip. Cal ended up 7-5 on the season. Projection: Holiday Bowl (vs. Baylor)
6. Utah, 4-5: All you had to do was beat Colorado at home, and you would have been in the inaugural Pac-12 championship. Instead, ugly Chow got to you, generating only 274 yards of offense against the worst team in the conference. You could blame it on the kicker, who missed 3 FGs after going 15 of 17 on the season...poor kid. Still, not a bad outing in your first year in the conference, given that your starting QB was hurt. Other teams use that as an excuse. Utah ended up 7-5 on the season. Projection: Sun Bowl (vs. Georgia Tech)
7. UCLA, 5-4: What else is there to say...we lost a game, respect and a head coach. If we're lucky, our buffoon of an athletic director will follow suit, take his bag of donuts and his Mad magazines and just walk off the campus soon. Projection: no bowl...unless we beat Oregon.
8. ASU, 4-5: where oh where did this season go? Either Erickson is slowly going senile, or injuries caught up to them, or his team just gave up. The Sun Devils lost 5 of their last 6 games, but at least they lost in single digits. Erickson still got fired. They should hire Tom Cable or DeWayne Walker. I hear they're in demand. ASU ended up 6-6. Projection: Maaco Bowl (fka Las Vegas Bowl) vs. TCU
9. Washington State, 2-7: The Cougars fought valiantly but couldn't overcome the turnovers, losing to Washington in the Apple Cup. They started the year well, their fans got cocky, then it all went to the pooper and it got Paul Wulff fired. Don't hire Mike Leach, I hear he's got a lot of baggage. Wazzu ended up 4-8.
10. Arizona, 2-7: Somehow the Mildcats finished the season against LA-Lafayette, winning that game easily. It was a forgettable season (except for when they played at a magical level on a certain Thursday night) that saw their coach get fired...but with a good leader heading their athletic department, Arizona went out and got a big name coach in Rich Rodriguez. They will become a tough opponent soon. Arizona ended up 4-8 on the season.
11. Oregon State, 3-6: The Beavers lost in the Civil War, getting crushed by Oregon. This may be Mike Riley's last mulligan for a season. Clearly OSU has a good QB for next year, but the defense must step up. As is evident throughout the conference, there is now enough money to go after better coaches. Whether such coaches will want to go to Corvallis (or Pullman, for that matter) is another question, but money talks. Oregon State ended up 3-9.
12. Colorado, 2-7: Umm...thank you? I think? The Buffaloes snapped their road losing streak by beating Utah who is now their hated rival, thus sending UCLA to the Pac-12 championship game. It remains to be seen whether this will translate into a better season next year. They will have a new QB at the helm and coach Jon Embree will have to show something to survive, especially after losing 10 games. Colorado ended up 3-10.