Oregon wins using avenues other than their offense, Stanford loses their first conference game and Washington pulls out more fourth quarter dramatics in yet another exciting weekend in the Pac-10.
The Cardinal’s loss allows Oregon to lay claim as the last team to stay undefeated in conference. Several of the one-loss teams are anxiously nipping at the Ducks' heels and many will get their shot at them in match-ups still ahead on the schedule.
This week’s marquee game has to be the always-classic USC-Notre Dame duel. Fireworks will definitely be on display with these two offenses and it could come down to which team has the ball last to decide the winner. Should be a great game!
Here are this week’s rankings:
(Overall Record, Conference Record | Last Week’s Ranking)
1. Oregon Ducks (4-1, 3-0| 1)
The injury of Jeremiah Masoli certainly caused a down shift in Oregon’s high speed offense, but not many people thought they would be able to keep the pedal to the metal with UCLA’s speedy defense patrolling the field.
The Ducks still managed to gain over 200 yards on the ground but needed their special teams and defense to get two of their three touchdowns. A week off should give Oregon enough time to fully heal and prepare for the dangerous game waiting for them in Seattle.
2. USC Trojans (4-1, 3-1| 2)
The Trojans have won their last three games in South Bend, but USC’s defense will face their toughest challenge thus far. Notre Dame’s explosive offense can put up points in a hurry and playing from a deep deficit is something USC hasn’t proven they can do.
Notre Dame’s defense hasn’t exactly been great this year though (ranking 124th in points per game and 204th in total offense yards per game), and it could be their downfall if their offense can’t get things started.
This will most likely be the Irish’s last chance to play a ranked team, placing any hopes of finishing the season ranked squarely on the line. But, with both teams coming off their bye weeks, USC could be poised to once again play the heartbreaker.
3. Washington Huskies (3-3, 2-1| 5)
The spunky Huskies dazzled their way through yet another week thanks in large part again to Jake Locker and his ability to lead this team through fourth quarter drama.
Locker threw for three and rushed for one touchdown, doing everything he possibly could to get his team back into this game.
After being taken advantage of for most of the night, the secondary made up for all of their previous sins by taking an interception in for a touchdown to acquire the final lead of the game.
With another shootout expected this weekend in Tempe, the Huskies defense better get on the same page, or they could have another game they would otherwise like to forget.
4. California Bears (3-2, 0-2| 4)
The Bears have had what probably seems like an eternity to soak in whatever they could from those two humiliating losses, but it is time to move on.
A trip to UCLA could be the remedy for the Berkeley blues, but Cal shouldn’t look too far past the Bruins defense. Don’t expect Kevin Riley to snap out of his slump any time soon as UCLA’s pass defense ranks No. 1 in the Pac-10.
The Jahvid Best buzz has definitely started to fizzle, and this is a game he will have to control if he wants to gain back the many fans he lost. Cal will need him to get back to true form if they have any chance of contending for this conference title.
5. Arizona Wildcats (3-2, 1-1| 6)
Sophomore quarterback Nic Foles followed up his first 250-yard game against Oregon State two weeks ago with a 384-yard game last weekend in Washington.
Despite a 73.6 completion percentage, two interceptions late would ruin an excellent day by the young passer.
Arizona’s offense, while still young, has a lot of pop and opposing teams can’t afford to turn their back on them. They have put up over 35 points the past two games, and are getting stronger each week.
The Wildcat defense hasn’t responded too well thus far in conference play though, giving up 32.5 points per game. Three straight games back in the desert should hopefully relieve some of the pressure this defense has been facing.
6. Oregon State Beavers (4-2, 2-1| 8)
A 61-yard scamper on Jacquizz Rodgers’s second carry of the game would set the tone of OSU’s offense for the entire day.
Rodgers exploded for 190 rushing yards and four touchdowns and was also a target several times through the air, collecting 82 receiving yards against a bewildered Stanford defense.
A second straight win in conference play has the Beavers on the move, but a difficult trip to USC in two weeks, where Pete Carroll will be looking for redemption after last season’s upset, should put a halt to this short-lived parade.
7. Stanford Cardinal (4-2, 3-1| 4)
Trailing by three touchdowns early, Jim Harbaugh’s wouldn’t abandon the plan of steadily feeding Toby Gerhart the ball to set up the entire offense.
Gerhart gained 96 yards rushing, but the Cardinal’s non-aggressive offense came up short. Stanford outscored the Beavers 21-7 in the second half of the game, but it would be too little too late.
The Cardinal’s defense can take the entire blame for this loss as they completely fell apart, giving up 463 yards and allowing six of the Beavers’ first seven series to collect points.
Stanford will look to rebound in the desert against Arizona, but their defense won’t get a breather as the Wildcats have been putting up points with ease so far this season.
8. UCLA Bruins (3-2, 0-2| 7)
The Bruins offense continues to work at a snail's pace, averaging 112.6 rushing and 170.2 passing yards per game. These numbers are currently ranked ninth in the Pac-10, topping only the toothless Cougars.
UCLA relies greatly on their defense to keep them in games, and so far they have been doing their jobs. Unfortunately, the Bruins lackluster offense has not been able to take advantage of the opportunities provided by their defense, letting two very winnable conference games slip through the cracks.
Coming into town this weekend is a Cal team looking to erase a few recent horrific memories. With this powder keg ready to explode, another day of missed chances could be on the docket for the Bruins.
9. Arizona State Sun Devils (3-2, 1-1| 9)
Senior running back Dimitri Nance rushed for over 100 yards for the first time of his collegiate career but the Sun Devils offense was not nearly as volatile as team playing Washington State should have been.
ASU won the last “gimmie-game” on their schedule and if they want to continue putting up wins, they need to address the inconsistent play of their offense. Six turnovers against any other team in the Pac-10 would have left this team hanging their heads in defeat.
10. Washington State Cougars (1-5, 0-4| 10)
Wazzu’s pathetic stat of the week: -54 rushing yards against the Sun Devils.
Things continue to spiral down the drain for the Cougars, but luckily a bye week gives them a break from the misery. But, three straight road games at Cal, Notre Dame, and Arizona should mean there are very painful weekends ahead.
Enjoy the week away from the loss column.
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