Pac to Self Destruction: Why Oregon State Leads Group of Pac-10 Imploders
Another Saturday has come and gone, and the Pac-10 Conference has suffered more setbacks as the teams in the middle of the conference continue to destroy each other.
Oregon State has been the most disappointing team in the conference this season, barely losing to two AP top five teams, only to trip up against Washington and UCLA. Aside from hurting TCU and Boise State's BCS hopes, the Beavers have also played spoiler to Arizona, and a team they haven't even played yet in Stanford.
By now everyone can see that the University of Oregon is going to be the clear-cut champion of the conference, with a slim chance Stanford can claim it with an Oregon loss. However, the rest of the conference is mediocre at best.
Here are a few teams in the Pac-10 destroying the conference by beating the conference leaders, and losing to lesser opponents.
3. University of Washington Huskies
While the Huskies have played their part, losing to ranked Pac-10 foes, they have also busted those same teams by beating their other opponents that were poised to enter the Top 25 and make a national statement.
At the beginning of the season, UW was receiving plenty of attention, having a quarterback on the Heisman watch. However, Jake Locker is slowly disappearing in the media as the Huskies have fallen to 3-6 and 2-4 in the conference.
Wins over USC and Oregon State weaken the conference by hurting teams like Oregon, Stanford and Arizona, schools that have been fighting to stay in the top rankings in the country.
One more loss will keep Washington out of bowl discussions, and they may just drag a few teams with them.
2. Arizona State Sun Devils
The conference was counting on the Sun Devils to be the surprising team this season, but they stumbled and were blown out by hapless Cal, a program that just defeated the 1-9 Washington State Cougars by a touchdown.
A last-second missed field goal and a loss to USC cemented ASU as a disappointing team this season. Oregon, Stanford and Arizona can't rely on them to look impressive on the schedule.
The schedule for the Sun Devils won't get any easier the rest of the season, they will play Stanford and Arizona in the final three games, with UCLA sandwiched in the middle. The Bruins should be an easy win, but UCLA has shown they are unpredictable as well.
1. Oregon State Beavers
Oregon State faced one of the most difficult non-conference schedules in the country, going up against TCU and Boise State, both essentially on the road (Playing TCU in Dallas, TX). In both games, the Beavers were impressive while keeping the game competitive.
As they enter Pac-10 play, experts and analysts tabbed them as the breakthrough team of the conference, but OSU rose up to prove them wrong instead.
After upsetting Arizona, a squad that knocked out then-No. 9 Iowa, the Beavers stumbled in double-overtime to 3-6 Washington, only to become irrelevant after a loss to 4-5 UCLA.
Perhaps the most perplexing aspect to Oregon State is the rollercoaster play of sophomore QB Ryan Katz.
Katz threw for 393 yards while picking apart then-No. 9 Arizona, but turned the ball over three times to Washington via interceptions. Poor decisions on the offensive side of the field doomed Katz and OSU against the Huskies and the Bruins.
Meanwhile, Jacquizz Rodgers has been almost more relevant in the passing game than on the ground, and like UW's Jake Locker, has disappeared in the Heisman Trophy discussions.
So where does Oregon State go from here? They face Washington State next week, and it might not be the blowout everyone initially expected. Following the Cougars, Oregon State will host USC before traveling to Palo Alto to take on Stanford, and returning home for the Civil War against the high-octane Oregon Ducks.
Unless the Beavers can pull off a miracle against the conference's elite teams, this season will be a forgotten season in the annuals of history for the football program.
While OSU struggles, so does the Pac-10, eagerly waiting for the year the top teams do their job and defeat the other conference schools in rebuilding years.
For the nation to take the Pac-10 seriously, a few clear-cut winners with strength of schedule are necessary. Oregon and Stanford have represented the conference well, but even their schedules are not as impressive when Washington, Arizona State and Oregon State are in the mix.