Oregon St: This was a huge win for the Beavers, though the James Rodgers injury is devastating.
Arizona St: This was a much-needed win for the Sun Devils.
Cal: A very solid effort for the Bears.
Washington St: All things considered, they played fairly well in this game.
Stanford: Didn’t look great, but they won.
USC: Didn’t look bad, but they lost.
Oregon: Not a great showing, but it’s still a 20+ point win… so not really a big deal either.
Washington: This really wasn’t a good loss for the Huskies.
Arizona: They weren’t that bad, but losing this game was a big blow.
UCLA: This was a bad performance.
@ Stanford (-10) 37, USC 35
my pick: @ Stanford 31, USC 24
What to take from this:
If you’re USC:
Two straight weeks, two straight last-second losses. The upcoming visit from Cal is desperation time for the Trojans. Lose that one and they’re completely reduced to trying to play the spoiler role for the better Pac-10 teams as opposed to being relevant on their own merits. And to be honest, it’s going to be a tough matchup for USC. Washington and Stanford both moved the ball seemingly at will, and it seems likely that Cal should be able to as well. USC needs some players to step up on defense, because that unit isn’t even coming close to getting it done for them. That said, the offense played great again and really seems to be coming into its own. Barkley has been great and Woods just had an utterly fantastic game. That’s an extremely dangerous pair, and it’s going to be hard for just about any defense to stop them, especially given how good Allen Bradford is running the ball (though it didn’t really show in this game).
If you’re Stanford:
After a tough loss at Oregon, and a way too close win against USC, it’s a great time for their bye to be coming up. To a certain degree, this was a post-Oregon letdown. And to a certain degree, this was simply an off game (especially for the offensive turnovers). However, the defense was definitely exposed a fair amount here; when the front seven can’t generate enough pressure to wreak havoc on the passing game, a good QB-WR tandem can roll up the yards and points on this defense, which is pretty much what happened here. That said, Stanford’s offense once again proved itself extremely potent, and as long as they’re not beating themselves (which they don’t really do that often), they’re going to be very tough to beat. Moreover, the great last-second comeback is the sort of thing which can provide some much-needed momentum for this team after the tough loss in Eugene.
Oregon St 29, @ Arizona (-8.5) 27
my pick: @ Arizona 31, Oregon St 21
What to take from this:
If you’re Oregon St:
This win was a huge boost for the Beavers. Yeah, the defense really struggled to hold down the Wildcat offense, but the D did just enough to hold on, and the offense simply blew up all game long. Katz is really starting to shine, and while there’s still room for improvement, once again Oregon St is bouncing back from early struggles to a really tough out for anyone. Unfortunately, the James Rodgers injury is going to really hurt, but this is still a good football team. I’m not ready to say they’re a legit Pac-10 contender… but if they can keep it up, you never know. They have Oregon at home, they’ve already beaten Arizona, and they’re 2-0 in the league. It could happen if they continue to improve.
If you’re Arizona:
That was NOT a good performance by the Wildcat defense, especially through the air. Given how well Stanzi threw the ball a few weeks ago, that’s a real sign of trouble, especially since they’ve yet to face USC’s Barkley, Washington’s Locker, or Stanford’s Luck. The offense was really good again, but couldn’t do enough to make up for all the yards and points the D allowed. This should still be an upper-division Pac-10 team, but there are enough quality teams in the league that it’s no longer a lock. After what should be a relatively easy trip to Pullman, it’ll be interesting to see how this team adjusts for the closing six-game stretch, which right now doesn’t look to have a single really easy game, and has two really nasty trips, to Stanford and Oregon. Still a Pac-10 contender, but there’s almost no margin for error anymore.
Arizona St 24, @ Washington (-1) 14
my pick: @ Washington 28, Arizona St 24
What to take from this:
If you’re Arizona St:
The Sun Devils really needed this win, and they got it. They finally had a week where they were largely mistake-free and it paid off with a win. The defense did a great job containing Jake Locker and the Husky offense, and the offense had a good day as well. After a week off, they’ll have a hugely important game at Cal; win that and 7-5 and a bowl game (they had two AA games, so they need 7 wins) becomes a legitimate possibility.
If you’re Washington:
This really wasn’t a good game to lose. No, it wasn’t must-win, but now the Oregon St game is one they have to have if they want a serious chance to make a bowl game (the last six games will be much tougher than the first six; if they’re not good enough hit 3-3 in the first six, then they’re not good enough to reach 4-2 in their last six). They didn’t really play that badly, but Locker couldn’t carry them, and no one else was able to pick up the slack. Maybe this was just Locker being sick, so it’s not panic time, but it’s definitely time to start worrying.
@ Cal (-7.5) 35, UCLA 7
my pick: @ Cal 31, UCLA 17
What to take from this:
If you’re UCLA:
Well, the second half was reasonably competitive, at least. Obviously this was an awful showing for UCLA, on both sides of the ball. I’m not especially surprised that the Bruin offense had a lot of issues here; Cal had already seen the Pistol against Nevada, and had an extra week of prep time. Against a talented defense that was clearly going to be ready, the Bruins were simply overmatched. However, the Bruin defense struggled a lot as well, which wasn’t a good sign for them. Honestly, this team has been wildly up and down so far this year, so I wouldn’t read too much into any single game at this point, especially when it was such a bad situation for them. That said, this game did put to rest the idea that the same group that struggled so badly in the first two weeks had suddenly transformed into a legitimate top 25 team. They’re simply not at that point yet. And they’re probably going to struggle against any team that can stop their option attack and force them to pass the ball, which they just don’t seem capable of doing well.
If you’re Cal:
This was another showing that made them look like an extremely good football team. Honestly, other than that awful effort at Nevada (and make no mistake, it was really bad), this team has been playing very well, blowing out not terrible Colorado and UCLA teams, and giving Arizona everything they could handle on the road. They’re flying under the radar right now (it’s weird how they’re not getting any votes in the AP or Coaches’ Poll, especially since Texas has gotten a few), but if they can keep up this level of play, that will change. Kevin Riley will probably cost them another game or two this year, and the defense may have another egg in them, but overall this is a very solid football team. While there have been lapses, the defense has generally stepped up in a big way, Shane Vereen has done a great job running the ball, and they’ve got weapons in the passing game. They’re a tough out, and if they can be more consistent, maybe even a darkhorse Pac-10 contender.
Oregon (-36.5) 43, Washington St 23
my pick: Oregon 42, @ Washington St 10
What to take from this:
If you’re Oregon:
You never want to read too much negative into a 20-point win, but the Ducks struggled way too much against the Cougars. The offense was fine, didn’t put up 60, but was plenty strong. However, the defense had issues, giving up 23 to a Washington St offense that just isn’t very good. In isolation it’s not much of a big deal, but in their three road games they: were down 13-3 and then tied at halftime against Tennessee before blowing them out late; were down late in the second quarter at ASU before the Sun Devils basically handed them the game with a boatload of errors; and then gave up three turnovers and largely looked flat against Washington St. It’s worth wondering what’s going to happen when they have to play a better opponent on the road, since their last three road games are against USC, Cal, and Oregon St, all of whom are talented enough to have a legitimate shot at the upset. The Ducks are in strong position in the Pac-10 race, but it’s far from over right now.
If you’re Washington St:
This team does seem to slowly be getting better. Yes, Oregon probably wasn’t bringing anything close to their “A” game, and yes, the Kenjon Barner injury probably took some life out of them, but this was still an extremely good football team the Cougars were reasonably competitive with. It’s another small step forward for a program that’s in desperate need of some good news.
Pac-10 Games Record:
This Week: 3-2 SU, 3-2 ATS
Season: 36-7 SU, 16-20 ATS
National Games of the Week:
@ South Carolina 35, Alabama (-7.5) 21
my pick: @ South Carolina 28, Alabama 24
Florida St 45, @ Miami (-6) 17
my pick: @ Miami 28, Florida St 21
LSU 33, @ Florida (-6) 29
my pick: @ Florida 24, LSU 21
Michigan St 34, @ Michigan (-4.5) 17
my pick: @ Michigan 31, Michigan St 14
National Games Record:
This Week: 1-3 SU, 2-2 ATS
Season: 14-7 SU, 10-10-1 ATS
Minnesota +22.5 @ Wisconsin
Covered by 4.5 points
Iowa St +6 vs Utah
Missed by 35 points
Ball St -5.5 vs Western Michigan
Missed by 34.5 points and outright upset
NC St -9.5 vs BC
Covered by 15 points
Virginia +10 @ Georgia Tech
Missed by 2 points
Toledo +39 @ Boise St
Missed by 4 points
Bad Lines Record:
This Week: 2-4
Mr Pac-10's 2010 Blog
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