Mr Pac-10's Weekly Review

Mr Pac Ten
Posted Sep 9, 2010

Collegefootballnews' Matthew Smith Reviews all the Pac-10 Games, Week One

Arizona: A solid performance on the road by a team not known for playing well away from Tucson.
Oregon: It's just New Mexico, but they still looked really good.
ASU: It's a real offense (we think)

Cal: Solid showing, against a AA team.
Stanford: Solid showing, against a AA team (with injuries)
Oregon St: If you believe TCU is really good, this was still a decent showing.

USC: Not a horrible performance, but they showed vulnerabilities.
Washington: This was a big blow to their bowl hopes.
UCLA: Bowl hopes aren't precisely dead, but they're pretty close.
Washington St: Here we go again.

@ BYU 23, Washington (+3) 17
my pick: Washington 31, @ BYU 23

What to take from this:
This certainly wasn't a bad effort, but when push came to shove, the Huskies couldn't get it done, twice failing on fourth down deep in BYU territory during the fourth quarter. And unfortunately, this was a game they could ill-afford to lose. 1-2 non-conference would put them in a big Pac-10 hole, so unless they can pull a surprising upset over Nebraska in a couple weeks, it's going to be an uphill climb to reach a bowl game. Even worse, other than the Apple Cup, BYU was probably U-Dub's easiest road game of the year by a solid margin, so there really isn't much room for error anymore.

That said, there were some positive signs here. The defense was adequate, and Polk had a decent game on the ground. There's clearly a lot of work to do, but they should have a good tune-up game against Syracuse to work out the kinks before what is now almost a must-win against the Huskers.

@ TCU 30, Oregon St (+13.5) 21
my pick: @ TCU 28, Oregon St 13

What to take from this:
This is a hard game for me to interpret. On the one hand, Oregon St played on the road against a very good TCU team, and had to deal with the hot Texas weather and a hostile crowd, and still made it a game until the very end. On the other hand, TCU statistically dominated this game, with two picks thrown by Dalton (the first was especially bone-headed) keeping the Beavers in the game. Katz had some good moments, but they were far too seldom, and TCU's defense shut down the Beaver run game. And when Dalton wasn't throwing picks, it seemed like TCU could do whatever they wanted on offense, especially running the ball.

If this was against a more mediocre team, I'd grade it badly, but overall it was a decent performance, especially since Katz wasn't bad (especially compared to, say, Moevao at Stanford in 2008). If it turns out that TCU is the best team Oregon St plays all year (not a lock, but at least conceivable), then there really wasn't anything wrong with this performance. Presuming they take care of business in two weeks against Louisville, their following trip to Boise should tell us a lot about how good they really are.

@ Kansas St 31, UCLA (+1.5) 22
my pick: UCLA 24, @ Kansas St 21

What to take from this:
Is it too early to say that the season is over? Yeah, UCLA could have won this had some breaks gone the other way, but this was an absolute must-win for the Bruins, as their schedule was just too brutal to allow this one to slip away. Unless they pull off a surprising home sweep against Stanford and Houston (they're likely to be underdogs in each), they're looking at 1-2 (or possibly worse) with three near-lock losses at Texas, Cal and Oregon still to come. UCLA is good enough to have some nice moments and come up with a decent upset somewhere along the line, but they're not good enough to basically sweep the rest of the slate (which they'd need to do in order to make a bowl game). This team is in deep, deep trouble.

Arizona (-16) 41, @ Toledo 2
my pick: Arizona 38, @ Toledo 17

What to take from this:
Arizona played about as well as it was possible to play in this game. Yeah, it was just Toledo, but it was a week one road trip, and they came away looking great. No Pac-10 team had a better week than the Wildcats.

USC (-21.5) 49, @ Hawaii 36
my pick: USC 35, @ Hawaii 14

What to take from this:
The good news is that they won, and that the offense looked really strong. The bad news is that the defense looked extremely vulnerable. Monte Kiffin is a very good coach, and there's certainly talent here, so they could definitely turn it around, but right now they look like a 10-3 or 9-4 team.

@ Oklahoma St 61, Washington St (+15.5) 17
my pick: @ Oklahoma St 31, Washington St 21

What to take from this:
Against an Oklahoma St team that looked vulnerable on both sides of the ball, the Cougars got their brains beaten in, by a margin as big as their worst 2009 defeat. It's looking like another long year in Pullman.

@ Oregon (-34) 72, New Mexico 0
my pick: @ Oregon 48, New Mexico 7

What to take from this:
Yeah, New Mexico sucks, but 72-0 is still ridiculous, especially since it was 59-0 at halftime, and they actually called off the dogs in the second half. They sure looked like the league favorites in this one.

@ Arizona St (NL) 54, Portland St 9
my pick: @ Arizona St 45, Portland St 3

What to take from this:
Normally I'd just ignore a AA game, but given how hapless ASU's offense was last year, signs of life, even against a AA team, are a good thing (though it's worth noting that they hung 50 points on a AA team last year too).

@ Cal (NL) 52, UC Davis 3
my pick: @ Cal 45, UC Davis 3

What to take from this:
Nothing. No injuries, not a close game, it's all good.

@ Stanford (NL) 52, Sac St 17
my pick: @ Stanford 45, Sac St 3

What to take from this:
Not much. Losing their tight end hurt. Noting else noteworthy about this game.

Pac-10 Games Record:
This Week: 8-2 SU, 3-4 ATS
Season: 8-2 SU, 3-4 ATS

National Games of the Week:

Boise St (-2.5) 33, Virginia Tech 30
my pick: Boise St 24, @ Virginia Tech 23

LSU (-3) 30, UNC 24
my pick: LSU 24, UNC 17

@ Utah (-3) 27, Pitt 24 (OT)
my pick: @ Utah 28, Pitt 27

National Games Record:
This Week: 3-0 SU, 1-1-1 ATS
Season: 3-0 SU, 1-1-1 ATS

Bad Lines

Colorado St +12 vs Colorado
Missed by 9 points

Middle Tennessee St +3 vs Minnesota
Missed by 4 points

Bad Lines Record:
This Week: 0-2
Season: 0-2

Thoughts of the Week

Now that Boise St has beaten Virginia Tech, it seems that the college football world is exploding over evaluating a 12-0 Boise team and whether it would (or should) make the national title game. While I'm sure it's lots of fun for people to play this game, it's also completely ridiculous, given that right now we have no clue about the following:

Will Boise actually run the table? If Oregon St, Nevada, or someone else tags them, then obviously the rest is moot.

Will there be two or more undefeated AQ's?Barring a completely awful non-conference run by an AQ league (the Big East may be moving in that direction, though it's still very early), if there are two or more undefeated AQ's, Boise is out.

How good are Virginia Tech and Oregon St?If the Hokies and Beavers win their leagues, that helps Boise's resume a lot. If they're both middle of the pack, then that will hurt Boise's resume.

How will the WAC do non-conference?Fresno got off to a good start against Cincy, but still has Ole Miss and Illinois left. Nevada still has Colorado St, Cal, BYU and UNLV to go. Hawaii showed a pulse against USC, and still has Colorado and UNLV. Louisiana Tech still has Texas A&M, Navy and USM. And so on and so forth. Without actually seeing how the WAC does this year, how can anyone evaluate Boise's conference slate? Yeah, it's worse than any AQ league, but that's not the issue. The issue is whether it's overall an up year or a down year for the WAC, and so far it's impossible to tell.

Quite frankly, I can come up with lots of scenarios where Boise would deserve a national title bid, and plenty of others where they wouldn't. Given that it's still just week one, I plan on reserving judgment on that issue until I've seen a LOT more of this college football season. It wouldn't be a bad idea for most others to do the same.

Mr Pac-10's 2010 Blog

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