What an exciting week in the Pac-10.
Stanford, once again, created more buzz around their squad, annihilating the Trojans and propelling their way up rankings all across the nation. For the first time in seven years, the reigning Pac-10 champions are out of the running and a new champion will be crowned.
Four teams still have a chance of taking home the Pac-10 title this season and with only a handful of conference games left to play, it will definitely come down to the wire.
Stay tuned because things should get extremely interesting over the next few weeks.
Here are this week’s Pac-10 Power Rankings.
(Overall Record, Conference Record | Last Week’s Rankings)
1. Oregon Ducks (8-2, 6-1 | 2)
The Ducks rebounded from their upset loss to Stanford by taking out their frustrations on the unstable ASU Sun Devils.
LaMichael James rushed for his seventh 100-yard rushing game of the year and his fifth in a row. His two touchdowns in the first quarter provided Oregon with a lead that they would never relinquish and he would also add a third touchdown in the second quarter just for good measure.
Oregon held 20-point leads two times in this game and despite allowing the Sun Devils to get within 10 points late in the third quarter, they would eventually put this game away with ease.
Two more conference games still await Oregon. A trip to Arizona and the Civil War game at home will prove to be a tough road ahead for the Ducks and the smallest miscues could cost this team a chance to play in the Rose Bowl.
2. Stanford Cardinal (7-3, 6-2 | 5)
For the second straight week, the Cardinal downed a Top 10 team and people across the nation are finally starting to take notice.
Stanford jumped to No. 17 in the BCS polls and a win in the Big Game this weekend plus a little help from Oregon over the next few weeks could send the scent of roses towards Palo Alto for the first time since 1999.
Andrew Luck, Toby Gerhart, and several huge defensive plays allowed Stanford to score more points on the Trojans than any other team has in USC’s storied Division I-A history. Four turnovers by Stanford’s defense and 27 unanswered points to finish the game officially ended the tyranny that the Trojans has held over the Pac-10 the past decade.
Could this new look Cardinal be the team to take over the crown? If they keep playing like they have the past two weeks, why not?
3. Oregon State Beavers (7-3, 5-2 | 4)
Although he would only pass for 185 yards, senior quarterback Sean Canfield connected on 72-percent of his attempts and threw for four touchdowns in the Beavers rout of the Huskies.
James Rodgers caught two of Canfield’s touchdown passes in the second quarter, giving Oregon State a 20-point lead going into half time. His brother Jacquizz rushed for two more touchdowns in the third quarter, pushing the Beavers even further into the lead.
A cupcake game against Washington State this weekend should provide the Beavers with a nice tune-up before the Civil War game in Eugene in two weeks. If the Ducks can take care of business in Arizona, the Pac-10 title could be decided in this always-heated rivalry game.
4. Arizona Wildcats (6-3, 4-2 | 1)
Ok, maybe I gave the Wildcats way too much credit than they actually deserved.
A fairly poor showing by Arizona’s offense against the Cal Bears allowed the college football world to see just how inept this offense can actually be…especially away from the desert.
Nick Foles was far from perfect, throwing for only 200 yards and completing just 25 of his 41 attempts. In Arizona’s final drive, Foles was sacked twice and failed to move the ball past the 50 yard line.
While the Wildcats Pac-10 Champion hopes are still mathematically within reach, their road ahead doesn't get much easier. A key matchup with Oregon this weekend could decide their fates but they also have their rivalry game with ASU plus a trip to USC looming ahead.
5. USC Trojans (7-3, 4-3 | 3)
A quick three and out on defense and a promising offensive drive to start the game provided the packed Los Angeles Coliseum crowd with hope that the real USC Trojans were ready to show the world why they have owned the Pac-10 the past several years.
Instead, two Matt Barkley turnovers that lead to Stanford touchdowns started an avalanche of follies that USC would never recover from.
The Trojans pulled within seven early in the second half but their defense could not find an answer for the Luck/Gerhart combination. USC allowed 325 yards rushing with Gerhart hammering three touchdowns home and Luck adding a QB keeper.
For the first time in seven years USC will be heading to a bowl other than a BCS one and how the fans in Southern California react to this stumble should be interesting. While it is far from the end of the world for the Trojans, tweaking definitely needs be done if they hope to return to the elite echelon that they have become accustom to.
6. California Bears (7-3, 4-3 | 6)
A 61-yard touchdown run by Shane Vereen allowed Cal fans to forget about the injured Jahvid Best for at least one play. Vereen performed admirably in Best’s absence, gaining over 150 yards on 30 carries but this once-explosive offense continued to play flat.
Kevin Riley threw two interceptions and the Bears stagnant offense had to settle for field goals more often than not. Luckily for Cal, the Wildcats offense couldn't do any better.
Cal survived five lead changes in a game where five of the seven scores were field goals. Vereen’s long run just under two minutes would solidify the win for the Bears in a game that really could have gone either way.
The Bears offense needs to be prepared for a shootout this weekend when they visit the No. 17 Cardinal on the Farm, because with the way Stanford’s offense is moving the ball lately, a field goal fest probably won’t cut it.
7. UCLA Bruins (5-5, 2-5 | 7)
Two straight wins for the Bruins have fans wishing they could play teams from the state of Washington every week. Kevin Price had a huge game, throwing for over 300 yards with a passing and a rushing touchdown to complete the shellacking of the Cougars.
UCLA rattled off 29 unanswered points to start off the tilt and it wouldn't be until late into the third quarter that they would allow Wazzu to score their only points of the game. Despite being penalized constantly throughout the game, the Bruins still gained over 550 yards of offense.
Their defense also played an enormous part, holding the Cougars to only 181 yards and just seven first downs.
The Bruins only need one more win to become bowl eligible with their best chance coming this weekend against the Sun Devils.
8. Washington Huskies (3-7, 2-5 | 8)
Losers in six of their last seven, the magic once surrounding this team has all but vanished.
The Huskies defense struggled early against Oregon State and found themselves in a 20-point deficit in the first half (and eventually a 34-point hole early in the third) that they could not rebound from.
Jake Locker threw for three touchdowns but it was too little too late. With nothing left to stay for, Washington’s last two games in Seattle should be the final snaps that Locker takes in a Huskies uniform.
At least he will be able to shine and most likely lead his team to win this weekend against the feeble Cougars.
9. Arizona State Sun Devils (4-6, 2-5 | 9)
Four straight losses for the Sun Devils have all but nailed the coffin to their 2009 season shut.
After gaining only 211 yards of offense against the Ducks and gaining less than 300 yards in four of their last five games, questions about the direction that this team is heading should be on the tip of everyone’s tongue.
Freshman quarterback Brock Osweiler struggled in his first start and got yanked midway through the second quarter. While his future potential is definitely a bright part to this offense, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done if this team hopes to contend for a Pac-10 crown before he graduates.
ASU needs to win their final their two games against UCLA and Arizona to become bowl eligible. Not an impossible task but vast amounts of improvement from their recent outings will be greatly necessary.
10. Washington State Cougars (1-9, 0-7 | 10)
The Cougars have given up 40 or more points in their past four games and have yet to hold any type of lead since their win against Southern Methodist eight weeks ago.
Wazzu’s best chance for a conference win will come against the Huskies in two weeks but even odds of that happening are astronomical.