The college football is just starting to fly by at this point. Already, we have passed the 10th week of the CFB season, and with that milestone behind us, here is the post-week 10 Bruins Nation power poll. Since last week's poll, Oregon has played themselves into a top-4 spot in the playoff rankings and locked down its division title, while despite a continued mess in the middle of the South division race, ASU and UCLA have helped to give it a little bit of clarity.
Player of the Week: Nelson Agholor, Southern Cal - Agholor caught 8 passes for 220 yards against Wazzu, including an 87 yard TD and also returned a punt 65 yards for a score. Honorable mentions to Cody Kessler and Shaq Thompson.
Stat of the Week: 45 Points scored by Oregon in their blowout win over Stanford, the first time in 31 games that the Cardinal has allowed 30+ points in a game, and only the 2nd time that an opponent scored more than 17 points this season.
Game(s) of the Week: Notre Dame @ Arizona State, 12:30pm PDT, ABC; Oregon @ Utah, 7:00pm PDT, ESPN. The early game does not affect the Pac-12 race, but ASU and Notre Dame are playing to preserve their playoff hopes in the sort of November top-10 x2 non-conference game that would scare the crap out of your typical SEC team. Utah's loss at ASU last week and the season-ending injury to top receiver Dres Anderson takes some shine off of the conference's nationally televised nightcap, but the Utes defense will be a stern test when the Ducks make their first visit to Utah since 2003.
1. Oregon (8-1, 5-1): This time last week, the Ducks found themselves on the outside looking in on the national playoff picture, with a visit from recent nemesis Stanford a couple of days away. After thrashing the trees on Saturday, Oregon now sits in the playoff committee's top-4 and has all but locked up the Pac-12 North division with 3 games left to play. This week's trip to Salt Lake may be the greatest test that their offense has faced in conference play.
2. Stanford (5-4, 3-3): Well, I hope that the Stanford faithful have enjoyed their run at the top of the conference. After back-to-back Pac-12 titles and accompanying Rose Bowl bids, the Cardinal are ensured of rejoining the lower tier of the Pac's bowl tieins. As critical as some folks are of Coach Shaw's conservative play calling, his team simply got whuuped last weekend in Eugene, allowing the Ducks to get this particular monkey off of their backs and unquestionably claim the title of best program in the conference.
3. Washington (6-3, 2-3): The Huskies found themselves in a surprisingly close fight with the Buffs' last Saturday, trailing at halftime in Boulder before pulling away late thanks to a pick-6 and a punt returned for a TD. Shaq Thompson had his 2nd straight strong game at RB for UW, but the rest of the offense struggled to score points on a weak Colorado defense. Thompson tweaked his ankle in the 3rd quarter, but should be ready to face the Bruins in a game that I am sure Gameday/Satruday's broadcast team will be hyping as a Myles Jack/Thompson showdown more than anything.
4. Cal (5-4, 3-4): The Bears prevailed in their battle for the lower-middle of what now appears the weaker of the 2 Pac-12 divisions over the Beavers. Berkeley does not appear likely to win either of their final 2 conference games, but a season ending visit by BYU might allow them to become bowl eligible.
5. Oregon State (4-4, 1-4): 2014 just isn't shaping up to be Mike Riley and Oregon State football's year. As tasser stated in last week's power poll, the Beavers' just seem to be lost this fall. They did show some fight last Saturday, making up a 17-point halftime deficit to Cal to take an early 4th quarter lead before the Bears scored 17 unanswered points to seal their 45-31 win in Corvallis. With an opening week win v. FCS squad Portland State, and a win at Hawaii, the Beavers still have a shot at bowl eligibility, but aside from their double-OT loss to Utah last month, the rest of their past results this fall don't make this look too promising, especially with a trip to UW sandwiched between visits from ASU and Oregon to close the season. Saturday's visit by a Washington State team breaking in a new QB is a must win, but not sufficient for a team hoping to play into December.
6. Washington State (2-7, 1-5): This season has gone from bad to worse to downright apocalyptic for Mike Leach and the Cougars. With the program 1 loss from officially saying goodbe to their hopes of a repeat bowl game and a visit from a Southern Cal team looking for payback from last year's upset win by Wazzu in Los Angeles, the team fell into an early 14-0 hole before losing starting QB Connor Haladay to a broken ankle. Backup walkon QB Luke Falk had a decent performance replacing Connor, but now all that WSU has to play for is pride, this Saturday in Corvallis to climb out of the North division cellar and the Apple Cup
1. Arizona State (7-1, 5-1): ASU's division title hopes again came down to an opponent's missed FG at the end of the game. Last Saturday's OT win v. Utah did not lock up the South, but gave them a clear path requiring one more competitive win v. Arizona for the #9 Sun Devils to make it to Santa Clara to take on the Ducks. Beating the visiting Irish will give Todd Graham a pathway to leading his team to the college football playoff in his 3rd season in Tempe.
2t. UCLA (7-2, 4-2): The Bruin defense finally put together the type of performance that we all believed they were capable of entering the season. After an opening drive that was extended by several UCLA penalties, the Wildcats were held scoreless for their remaining 13 drives (8 punts, 2 missed FG's, 2 turnovers and a failed 4th down attempt). It was not the greatest game by the offense, but Brett Hundley, Paul Perkins, Jordan Payton and co did enough to support the D's efforts against a top-20 opponent. That game, like all the others through the end of the regular season are 'must wins' for the team to have a chance at playing for the Pac-12 championship. The Bruins will also need ASU to lose another game - likely the Territorial Cup game to Arizona - and Utah to lose one more game. There is a reasonable chance at all this to happen, but ASU certainly has the inside track.
2t. Southern Cal (6-3, 5-2): In last week's game against the Cougars, there was no possible confusion as to who to root for, nor any real chance that Southern Cal would fail to get revenge for WSU's upset win in the Coliseum last fall. Cody Kessler and Nelson Agholor had big days as the trogans rolled over the Cougs, but not big enough to get into the college playoff committee's top-25. After taking this weekend off, Southern Cal will host Cal next Thursday night.
4. Utah (6-2, 3-2): All 5 of Utah's games in conference play have been decided in overtime, or in regulation by 3 or points. After 3 straight close wins, the Utes continued an absolutely brutal stretch of their schedule with a trip to Tempe, where they fell, oh so closely to ASU in OT. The Utes know how to play close games, and their coach is one of the stronger leaders in the conference, but the realistic goal for the rest of the season has fallen from earning a division title to pulling out 8 wins and a shot at a trip to Santa Clara for a bowl, rather than the Pac-12 Championship Game.
5. Arizona (6-2, 3-2): Just when Arizona's freshmen skill players on offense were about to really make a name for themselves, the UCLA defense decided to play a full, well prepared and executed game to hand them their 2nd loss of the season. Arizona does still have a shot at the south title, but must win out and hope that both UCLA and Southern Cal lose another game in conference. With this week's home game v. Colorado, the Wildcats can regain their footing before winding down their regular season with a home game v. Washington and trips to Utah and ASU.
6. Colorado (2-7, 0-6): Last week saw Colorado in another of their 'almost' games. The Buffs' held a lead over the visiting Huskies midway through the 3rd quarter before the superior talent on the other side of the field took over. They probably don't deserve an 0-6 conference record, based on their effort at least - taking UCLA and Cal to double-OT and playing UW and Oregon State tough. But with the south shaping up to be the strongest division in college football (non-SEC, don't worry folks at tWWL!), someone has to sit in the cellar. Colorado has simply not had enough time to rebuild their program sufficiently to compete with their Southern California and Arizona counterparts.