Pac-10 Football Power Rankings: Week Eight

Jason Figueiredo@sportschatterCorrespondent IOctober 19, 2009

SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 17:  Quarterback Matt Barkley #7 of the USC Trojans passes the ball against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the first quarter of the game at Notre Dame Stadium on October 17, 2009 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

USC fights their way back to No.1, Cal finally bounces out of their slump, the Wildcats keep chugging their way up the ladder, and three quarterbacks throw their first 300-plus yard games.

Here are this week’s power rankings:

(Overall Record, Conference Record | Last Week’s Ranking)   

1. USC Trojans (5-1, 2-1 | 2)

For weeks, people (including myself) have been discrediting USC’s offense mainly because of what appeared to be an underdeveloped passing game.  But after this weekend’s performance and the constant improvement by Matt Barkley , several people are starting to change their stories.   

Barkley dazzled a sub-par Irish secondary, throwing over 300-yards for the first time as a Trojan. He also connected on two touchdown passes despite receiving decent pressure by Notre Dame’s rush (3 sacks and 6 QB hits).

A revived Oregon State squad comes to Southern California this weekend and the Trojans should be looking for some revenge after last year’s upset loss in Corvallis. 


2. Oregon Ducks (5-1, 3-0 | 1)

Fresh off their bye week, the Ducks are faced with taming the flame that is the Huskies…not an easy task considering five of Washington’s seven games have been decided late in the fourth quarter or overtime.

So far this year, every ranked team has found difficulty playing in Seattle and Oregon needs to make sure they don’t fall into a similar trap. 

Jeremiah Masoli practiced on Wednesday and Friday of last week and his return could be the difference on how close things actually get in the fourth quarter.  If Masoli does play, expect him to bring the explosiveness with him, even with a bum knee. 


3. California Bears (4-2, 1-2 | 4)

The entire Berkeley campus let out a huge sigh of relief on Saturday after a 45-point showing by their offense.  Two straight games of being held to only a field goal left many to wonder if this offense would ever make another mind-blowing performance.

Cal’s offense was jumpstarted not only by Jahvid Best but they also received solid production from Kevin Riley (yeah, you read that right) and Shane Vereen

Riley threw an eye popping three touchdowns, but for only 205 yards.  Despite the abundance of touchdowns through the air, the Bears would run the ball almost twice as many times as they passed it (41 rush, 23 pass).

Best gained 102 rushing yards and punched in two touchdowns but Vereen outdid his depth chart superior with one less carry, gaining 154 yards on the ground with a touchdown.  

Another offensive explosion should be ahead with Wazzu coming to the Easy Bay this weekend.        


4. Arizona Wildcats (4-2, 2-1 | 5)

Nick Foles continues to impress. 

The freshman some-how found a way to top his first 300-yard game two weeks ago with a 400-yard game last weekend.  Foles connected for three touchdowns on 51 passing attempts and appeared to have all day in the pocket, never getting sacked or knocked down. 

Two huge runs by Nic Grigsby and Greg Nwoko in the fourth quarter would eventually win the game for Arizona, but Foles definitely stole the show. 

Arizona’s defense should raise some concerns though.  They have given up over 30 points the past three games, with each week getting worse (32-33-38).   They can’t expect their offense to keep churning at their current pace, especially with the toughest defenses in the Pac-10 still ahead. 

An anemic but unassuming UCLA offense comes to the desert this weekend, providing the Wildcats defense the perfect opportunity to prove their worth. 


5. Washington Huskies (3-4, 2-2 | 3)

The Huskies have to be the most exciting team to watch in the Pac-10 this year.

Washington’s flair for the dramatics pushed another game to the brink over the weekend but found themselves on the short end of things.  ASU’s last second touchdown pass snatched a possible win out of Washington’s hands just as the Huskies did to Arizona a week prior.

The seesaw of emotions that Washington is facing this year in the fourth quarter has everyone wondering which side will show up this week. 

With No.11 Oregon marching into town, it will have to come down to more fourth quarter drama if Washington has any chance of winning.  The Huskies will need to keep this weekend’s game close and find yet another way to sneak away late with the victory.


6. Oregon State Beavers (4-2, 2-1 | 6)

With a week off to prepare for the powerful Trojans, the Beavers hope to continue the progress they showed leading into their bye week. 

With a hungry USC offense ready to devour every defense left on their schedule, the Beavers can’t afford to come out stale.     

The Beavers live and die with the Rodgers brothers but unlike some of the other Pac-10 defenses they have faced, USC has the capabilities of silencing both of them.  An explosive start by both of these stars will be extremely necessary in order for Oregon State to compete in this game. 


7. Arizona State Sun Devils (4-2, 2-1 | 9)

ASU beat Washington by the skin of their teeth with a 50-yard touchdown pass by Danny Sullivan to Chris McGaha with five seconds left to play.

The Sun Devils held the lead for most of the game but as the Huskies chipped away and found a way to tie it.  McGaha’s only catch of the game gave ASU their second straight conference win and they now find several teams looking up at them in the standings.   

The meat of their schedule is still ahead and this weekend’s match-up at Stanford could spell trouble.  ASU hasn’t played that great on the road and although the Cardinal appear to be slightly wounded after two straight road losses, there is still a ton of fight in their offense.   


8. Stanford Cardinal (4-3, 3-2 | 7)

The day finally came where Andrew Luck used his arm and showed everyone why he was so highly recruited.  Unfortunately, Stanford defense had their hands full with an emerging young quarterback of their own.    

Luck completed 60 percent of his passes and threw for 423 yards and three touchdowns, statistically the best day of his college career.  

But the Cardinal defense couldn’t contain Nick Foles and his wicked arm.  They were methodically picked apart by Foles and in the forth quarter a weary defense allowed two long runs that finally put them away. 

Stanford’s defense doesn’t get a rest with two straight difficult home games. Both ASU’s and Oregon’s offense can do much more of the same to this gimpy secondary which doesn’t exactly sound like a welcome home.   

Things are getting slippery for Stanford and if they aren’t careful, they could find themselves even further down the slope.


9. UCLA Bruins  (3-3, 0-3 | 8)

Although the final score of the game reads more like a tragedy, UCLA can actually find a lot of hope laced within last Saturday’s box score.  

Rich Neuheisel took the opposite approach to Cal’s running attack by taking it to the air 42 times, allowing his freshman quarterback to show everyone exactly what he is working with. 

Kevin Price was yet another Pac-10 quarterback to throw his first 300-yard game this weekend but unfortunately he would not connect for a single touchdown.  

Both of UCLA touchdowns came from the tremendously talented Jonathan Franklin .  The first year running back collected his second 100-yard rushing game of the year and snapped off his longest rush this season, a 74-yard scamper to the house.

As these two weapons start to mature, the Bruins are going to become dangerous.  But a trip to No. 22 Arizona this weekend should continue this dreadful fall that has ruined such a promising start. 


10. Washington State Cougars (1-5, 0-4 |10)

The Cougars probably wish every week was a bye week.  This weekend’s game versus Cal kicks off three straight weeks of road games, which should be an extremely rude awakening after this week off.

Don’t worry Wazzu, there are only six more games left.       


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