Pac-10 Weekend: A Weekend to Make a Statement Out Of Conference

Gary BrownCorrespondent IISeptember 17, 2010

Nick Foles leads Arizona against Iowa
Nick Foles leads Arizona against IowaStephen Dunn/Getty Images

The Pac-10 will face off against three teams from the Big Ten this weekend, as both leagues look to lay claim to dominance on the college football landscape.

There are two other feature games this weekend, with Oregon State taking on Louisville from the Big East and Washington playing Nebraska.

Here is a quick look at these key games for the Pac-10 this weekend. You can count on to have all of the latest news for every game this weekend.

Iowa vs. Arizona

Headlining the Pac-10’s matchups with the Big Ten will be the game between number eighteen Arizona and tenth ranked Iowa.  

Arizona features quarterback Nick Foles, who has stepped his game up considerably this year for the Wildcats. He will throw the ball often to receiver Juron Criner, but Arizona does a great job of spreading the ball around.

On defense, Arizona has not allowed a touchdown this season.

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Iowa has one of the best defensive lines in the nation and they will look to limit the time Foles has to throw the ball.

On offense, the Hawkeyes are led by quarterback Rick Stanzi. In this young season, Stanzi and the offense have scored 72 points while racking up 457 yards of offense per game.

Arizona State vs. Wisconsin

While the Wildcats are taking on Iowa, their in-state rival Arizona State will take on a strong Wisconsin team on the road in Madison.

Wisconsin’s power running game has racked up an average of 245 yards per game this season behind their always big (321 pounds average) offensive line.

John Clay is the primary ball carrier for the Badgers, but they have depth at the position to test opposing defenses.

Third downs have been tough for the Badger defense this year, as they have allowed teams to convert on 53.9% of their tries.

Arizona State is a quick scoring team and is racking up 47.5 points per game so far this season. Sun Devils quarterback Steven Threet has led a team to victory against Wisconsin once before. In 2008, Threet was at the helm for Michigan in a 27-25 win over the Badgers.

On defense, Arizona State will have to play better against the rush than they have so far this season.

Nebraska vs. Washington

Of significant interest this weekend is the game between future Big Ten member Nebraska as they travel to Washington to take on the Huskies. These two teams played four times in the nineties and this game rekindles a little nostalgia, like Alabama and Penn State last week.

Washington has disappointed so far this season and a win over the Huskers would help them right a season they entered with so much promise.

For the Huskies, everything on offense starts with quarterback Jake Locker.

Considered by many to be a sure number one draft pick by the NFL, Locker combines an excellent arm with the ability to run out of trouble when he needs to. His favorite target to throw the ball to is Jermaine Kearse, who has caught four of Locker’s five touchdown passes this season.  

Nebraska is making a return to the national picture under coach Bo Pelini, and with his background as a defensive coordinator, the Huskers are tough on opposing offenses. Nebraska features a dominating defensive front which can put pressure on a quarterback; this allows the Huskers to load up in the secondary to make it hard to pass on them.

On offense, Nebraska will try to run first, but will balance the offense with an explosive passing game. Nebraska is a much improved offensive team this year and can win games from both sides of the ball.

Southern Cal vs. Minnesota

USC travels to Minnesota in a game where the Trojans will want to regain some of their swagger that seems to be missing after their first two games. Minnesota provides plenty of opportunities for this.

USC quarterback Matt Barkley has not tossed an interception this year and the Trojans will want the sophomore to help jumpstart an offense that has not resembled Trojan teams of past years so far.

Marc Tyler is the key to the Trojan’s rushing game. His 6.31 yards per carry will provide more opportunities for the Trojans passing game.

Monte Kiffin has not been able to get the USC defense up to expectations this year either: The Trojans are giving up 464 yards per game and Hawaii’s offense sliced the Trojans for 588 yards in Week 1 and they were less than impressive against Virginia last week.

Minnesota has an impressive new stadium—that is the most positive thing to say about the Gophers.

While the Gophers won their opener against Middle Tennessee State, the game was too close for Minnesota fans. What really has head coach Tim Brewster on the hot seat was the loss in Week 2 against South Dakota State.

While the Gophers are running up and down the field, the level of competition so far this season does not reveal much about their capabilities on offense.

QB Adam Weber has been steady and running back Duane Bennett has been a force running the ball. Both will have to play big in order for the Gophers to hang with USC.

On defense, Minnesota is below average in every meaningful measure for both the Big Ten and NCAA. They will have to play better against the Trojans or this game will be over early.

Louisville vs. Oregon State

One other Pac-10 game features and opponent from a BCS conference when Louisville travels to Oregon State.

Louisville quarterback Adam Froman had a hot hand against Eastern Kentucky last weekend, throwing for 219 yards.

So far this season, he is completing 55% of his passes and has thrown two interceptions. Louisville has found more consistency on the ground and averages 179.5 yards per game.

Charlie Strong’s defense has been inconsistent so far this season; they played well at times against Kentucky, but had big let downs that cost his team the game. They played with more intensity against Eastern Kentucky, but Oregon State will be the biggest test by far they have seen this year.

Oregon State lost in Week 1 to TCU but climbed back into the top 25 this week.

For Oregon State to click, running back Jacquizz Rodgers has to consistently show the ability he has demonstrated in the past. It will help him achieve this if the Beaver can pass the football better.

QB Ryan Katz has completed only nine of his 25 passes this year and being one dimensional is tough in college football.

On defense, Oregon State has to play a complete game. They looked good early against TCU, but late in the game, they were unable to get a stop when it was needed.