Mr Pac-10's Weekly Review

Mr Pac Ten
Posted Oct 1, 2010

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

UCLA: Obviously.
Stanford: Another dominating win as the Cardinal continues to move up the rankings.
USC: They finally get the dominating win they've been waiting for.

Arizona St: They had some nice moments in a closer than expected loss against Oregon.
Oregon St: A somewhat competitive loss at a very good Boise team, about what was expected.
Arizona: They got the win, though they definitely didn't look great doing it.
Cal: They couldn't quite pull the upset, but they were clearly competitive against one of the league's top teams on the road.

Oregon: This was a poor performance for a national title hopeful.
Washington St: It's starting to look like last year all over again.

@ Arizona (-6.5) 10, Cal 9
my pick: @ Arizona 31, Cal 21

What to take from this:
If you're Cal:

All things considered, this really wasn't a bad loss. Against arguably the best opponent they'll face all year on the road, they came extremely close to winning. This was an especially acceptable performance by the defense, one week after they just got torched all game long at Nevada. Obviously they wanted to win, but this is a good sign that this should be a very competitive team going forward, and that the Nevada loss was probably just an outlier.
If you're Arizona:

At this point, you have to be a bit concerned. Certainly, this was a potential letdown situation, against a team that was going to be very fired up to turn things around after a horrific showing at Nevada, and they did manage to make the plays when they had to, but Cal probably doesn't have one of the league's elite defenses, and they largely held down the Wildcat offense. Just as worrisome were the two turnovers. They got away with them here, but they can't beat themselves when they start playing the league's elites, especially away from Tucson.

Oregon (-11.5) 42, @ Arizona St 31
my pick: Oregon 38, @ Arizona St 17

What to take from this:
If you're Oregon:

This was really not a good showing by the Ducks. ASU pretty much gift-wrapped this game, giving up seven turnovers, two of which went for scores (including the free scoop and score fumble return). And yet this was a game until late, and Oregon only won by 11. ASU has a substantially below-average Pac-10 offense, but they churned out nearly 600 yards, and would have won if not for their constant blunders. Either this was simply a randomly bad showing, or it's a real sign of trouble. Since Oregon hasn't yet played anyone really good yet, it's impossible to say for sure. But it has to be concerning given the huge test they've got coming up against Stanford. This level of effort won't just get them beat, it'll get them killed.
If you're Arizona St:

The good news is that the Sun Devils were able to hang with Oregon pretty much all game long. Against what should be the league's best team, they had an explosive offense, and their defense made a number of good plays. However, they also showed that they're extremely capable of beating themselves. Yes, they had plenty of good moments, but they can't give up seven turnovers and hope to be competitive very often. Until the mistakes stop (or at least seriously slow down), this is not a team that can beat any of the league's six best.

USC (-22) 50, @ Washington St 16
my pick: USC 38, @ Washington St 20

What to take from this:
If you're USC:

Yes, it's just the Cougars, but USC went on the road and destroyed an opponent, something they weren't able to do at Hawaii or Minnesota. It's a small step in the right direction for this program.
If you're Washington St:

There are a few decent signs here and there, such as the passing game going for over 200 yards and the defense picking up 3 turnovers, but overall this was a horrible performance. It's probably fair to say that the team is better than last year, but it doesn't seem like they're much better. And right now, there are nine quality teams in the league. Barring substantial improvement, it's hard to see Wazzu being competitive with any of them.

Stanford (-4.5) 37, @ Notre Dame 14
my pick: Stanford 31, @ Notre Dame 20

What to take from this:
This is an extremely good-looking football team. The offense continues to play very well, and the defense, a major weakness last year, continue to play solidly, even as the competition level increases. They're going to be very difficult for any team to beat.

@ Boise St 37, Oregon St (+17) 24
my pick: @ Boise St 31, Oregon St 17

What to take from this:
This was a reasonably competitive loss for the Beavers. Against two extremely good opponents, on the road, they had two reasonably competitive losses. Against TCU, they benefited from bad picks from Dalton, and here they benefited from key special teams plays, but at the end of the day, they played two very good teams and didn't get blown out by either of them. Yes, it's hard to take them seriously as a Rose Bowl contender right now, but they should still be around .500 or better in the Pac-10, which isn't too bad. And they could still go on their usual late-season run and find a way to hit six or so league wins again.

UCLA (+15.5) 34, @ Texas 12
my pick: @ Texas 38, UCLA 14

What to take from this:
I'm a bit nervous about reading too much into this one. Texas largely gagged here, coughing up five turnovers and simply looking unprepared to defend UCLA's offense. And, quite frankly, less than 30 yards passing isn't anything close to a good showing by the Bruins. And it's entirely possible that Texas just was extremely overrated (they'd looked somewhat vulnerable their first few games). That said, UCLA went on the road against a top 10 (at the time) team and demolished them. By any standard, that's a great win.

Yes, the Pac-10 is an extremely tough league, and yes, it's still going to be an uphill climb to hit six wins, but they've passed their first key checkpoint, logging in a 2-2 start against a really tough opening slate. Even if they can't pull off a win against the set of Cal, Oregon, and Arizona, they'll still have a reasonable shot of bouncing back and going 3-1 in the final four games. They're nowhere near out of the woods yet, but there's definitely legitimate hope that this could turn into a decent year, something that I wouldn't have said before this game.

Pac-10 Games Record:
This Week: 5-1 SU, 2-4 ATS
Season: 30-4 SU, 13-14 ATS

National Games of the Week:

Alabama (-7) 24, @ Arkansas 20
my pick: Alabama 31, @ Arkansas 21

@ Auburn (-3) 35, South Carolina 27
my pick: South Carolina 24, @ Auburn 21

@ LSU (-9.5) 20, West Virginia 14
my pick: @ LSU 28, West Virginia 24

National Games Record:
This Week: 2-1 SU, 1-2 ATS
Season: 9-4 SU, 6-6-1 ATS

Bad Lines

Pitt +3.5 vs Miami
Missed by 27.5 points

Duke -6.5 vs Army
Missed by 20.5 points and outright upset

Oklahoma -13.5 @ Cincy
Missed by 11.5 points

Toledo +11.5 @ Purdue
Covered by 22.5 points and outright upset

Fresno +2.5 @ Ole Miss
Missed by 14.5 points

Idaho -7.5 @ Colorado St
Missed by 9.5 points and outright upset

San Jose St +31 @ Utah
Missed by 22 points

Bad Lines Record:
This Week: 1-6
Season: 3-9-2

Mr Pac-10's 2010 Blog

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