I think it's pretty safe to say that this weekend's slate of Pac-10 games aren't quite as exciting as last weekend's matchups. Still, there are a few interesting subplots to explore and some winnable spreads out there. So once again, let's explore.
Arizona at Arizona State (+3)
Even though the Wildcats watched their Rose Bowl dreams slip away last weekend, don't tell them that this game doesn't mean anything.
The Arizona-Arizona State rivalry is very underrated. As someone who went to high school in Arizona but didn't attend either of these schools, I've seen first hand how the battle lines have been drawn.
People who go to ASU make fun of the people who go to U of A because there's nothing to do in Tucson and the people who go to U of A make fun of the people who go to ASU for not being able to read.
While both sides' arguments aren't exactly true, it makes for added importance anytime one of these teams makes the trip up or down the I-10 to play the other.
I was at the Oregon-Arizona game last week and witnessed one of the most incredible things I've seen in a while there.
Rather than boring you with stats and statistics I'm going to say this instead: The Arizona student body lost the game for the Wildcats last week.
For those that don't know what I'm talking about, allow me to explain. With Arizona up by seven points with under a minute to go, Oregon was driving deep into Arizona territory, as they had done much of the game.
In this situation, the crows should have been on their feet cheering, trying to keep the Ducks from tying the game. Instead, a couple of morons decided to jump the fence and start rushing the field. In true mob mentality fashion, hundreds of other students did the same.
At this point, all of my friends (Wildcat fans) had the same thought...that they had just lost the game.
It's okay to rush the field in the waning seconds of an insurmountable lead.
It's NOT okay to rush the field up by one score with the other team driving deep in the redzone! It was the ultimate jinx.
Say what you want about jinxes, but anyone who has ever played sports, or at the very least cheered for them passionately, knew that Arizona was going to lose the second those fans started rushing the field.
In classic fashion, the Ducks scored a touchdown and won the game in double overtime. At this point, the Oregon players showed a lack of class by taunting the fans. Arizona's fans responded by making themselves look awful on national TV by throwing things at the Oregon players on the field.
It was quite a thing to see up close.
As far as this game goes, I'm going to take Arizona over Arizona State. They are just better this season, even though ASU has shown some signs of life recently.
Pick: Arizona, 31-20
Washington State at Washington (-24.5)
You better believe the Washington Huskies are going to take this game seriously, regardless of how bad the Washington State Cougars look.
Last year's double overtime loss to the Cougars is still fresh in the Huskies mind. That loss virtually ensured that Washington wouldn't win a game that year and having it slip from their fingers in the dramatic fashion it did made it sting that much more.
A few things will be different in this year's Apple Cup. For one, only the Cougars enter this year's game with 10 losses. Last season's Apple Cup was the first time in Pac-10 history that two teams with 10 losses had played each other.
Second, and most importantly, Jake Locker will be under center for the Huskies. After being forced to watch from the sidelines last season, you can be that Locker will be fired up to crush the hapless Cougars this year.
Washington State will roll out last year's winning quarterback Kevin Lopina to see if lightning can strike twice. Needless to say, I doubt it does.
Pick: Washington, 48-17
Notre Dame @ Stanford (-10)
Seems like the storyline most people want to talk about with regards to this game is the fact that with Charlie Weis' impending firing, Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh could take his spot on the sideline next year.
From what I've heard though, I doubt that Harbaugh would leave Stanford, especially with freshman quarterback Andrew Luck poised to do some damage in college football for the next couple of years.
Every time I watch Notre Dame, their talent on offense impresses me. Jimmy Clausen has the confidence, swagger and talent that you want out of a quarterback and top-10 pro prospect, and receivers Michael Floyd and Golden Tate are both excellent playmakers.
Despite all that, they just find ways to lose games. I'm sure the mental stress of having all the negative press about losing and their coaches job security has been messing with the team. In fact, one fan's frustration was taken out this week on Jimmy Clausen when he was sucker punched at a South Bend restaurant after eating dinner with his family.
For Stanford, they could help ease the pain of their devastating defeat to Cal last week by beating one of the nation's most storied programs on their home field.
For Heisman candidate Toby Gerhart, he could use this opportunity to vault past Alabama running back Mark Ingram in the voters’ minds. I just finished watching the Alabama-Auburn game and I think Ingram officially lost the Heisman race with his showing. Unless he explodes for 150 yards and three scores against Florida I think he's out.
Behind Gerhart and Luck, I think Stanford will have more than enough to overcome Floyd, Tate and Jimmy Clausen's black eye. Stanford should win and cover the spread.
Pick: Stanford, 38-27
UCLA at No. 20 USC (-13)
UCLA is coming off three straight wins and nothing would make them happier than to drive one last stake into the Trojans' dynasty.
For USC, with the way their season has been going, they could do themselves a big favor by dominating the Bruins and showing that they are at least, still the top dog in Southern California.
Freshman quarterbacks Kevin Prince (UCLA) and Matt Barkley (USC) will take center stage in this game as both are looking to improve mediocre performances in their previous game.
Quite frankly USC has very little to gain from this game. It is one of the few times where the Vegas spread actually has an impact on the game. In order for the Trojans to consider this game a victory they must cover the spread and absolutely dominate.
The Pete Carroll-Rick Neuheisel rivalry is going to be in full force on Saturday and even though this game isn't very meaningful in the standings, it could have drastic implications in recruiting and future win/loss records.
Pick: USC, 31-14
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