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Mr Pac-10’s Weekly Review
Masoli was again the leader on offense.
Mr Pac Ten
Posted Oct 27, 2008


Collegefootballnews’ Matthew Smith Reviews all the Pac-10 Games, Week Nine

Rising:
Oregon: Before the bye, this team was floundering. Now they are starting to look really strong again.

Hovering:
UCLA: It got away late, but this was a very decent performance.
USC: This was far from dominant, but it did secure their position as the team to beat in the league.
Arizona: This was a very competitive loss against the Pac-10’s best team.
Cal: Very little consistency here. They can’t always count on late rallies like that.

Falling:
Washington: Another awful performance in the bag.
Arizona St: Just completely awful. They really could have used a win here, instead they got completely destroyed.

USC (-15.5) 17, @ Arizona 10
my pick: USC 28, @ Arizona 21

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

If their goal was to win the Pac-10 and make the Rose Bowl, this was a good win. Barring an undefeated run by Oregon St, this team shouldn’t have much trouble running the table and making it to Pasadena.

But if their goal was a national title, this is a problem. A national title contender doesn’t get taken to the wire by an OK team like Arizona. Right now, there are three undefeated title contenders (and maybe Texas Tech too if they can make a run), and honestly they’re going to have trouble jumping even some one-loss teams. You never know, but it looks like the ceiling for the Trojans is a Rose Bowl win unless a lot of contenders fall. In this game, USC had a chance to make a statement (certainly Vegas expected them to), and the completely failed to do so. They have a tough road to climb, and don’t come close to controlling their destiny, and this result did not help.

If you’re Arizona:
If Wildcat fans were thinking that the Cal win could have been the start of a Rose Bowl run, USC proved otherwise. They’re certainly capable of running the table, but they’re going to have to pass some big challenges in the Oregon schools and maybe ASU (if they somehow improve) to do it. Still, this was a decent performance, and could very well be another step in a nice Holiday Bowl run, which is a goal that is still very much in reach.

Oregon (-3) 54, @ Arizona St 20
my pick: @ Arizona St 38, Oregon 31

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

When the Ducks are hot, they’re almost unstoppable. Once again, they dominated a game on the ground, and this time they were able to got some production in the passing game and a solid defensive effort. On the road against a talented, desperate team, this was a great win.

If you’re Arizona St:
What in the world happened to this team? Yeah, injuries on offensive and a mediocre O-line hurt, but it’s been more than that. The defense was supposed to be very good, and it hasn’t even been close. Now they’re 2-5, and it’s a major uphill fight to make a bowl. Even if they sweep the Washington schools and UCLA (right now far from a shoe-in), to hit six wins they’ll need to steal a win at Oregon St or at Arizona. Unless something changes in a big way right not, this team will be home for the holidays, and may actually make a run at the bottom of the league.

@ Cal (-17.5) 41, UCLA 20
my pick: @ Cal 34, UCLA 10

What to take from this:
If you’re UCLA:

Despite the final score, this really wasn’t a bad loss for the Bruins. They were in this to the very end, when a failed fourth down conversion gave Cal a lot of energy and the Bears poured it on from that point forward. The defense played strong most of the game, and the offense had its moments. A young team like this playing competitively most of the game on the road against one of the league’s best teams without a bunch of weird breaks (like they got at Oregon) is a big positive step. At ASU certainly looks possible, at Washington looks likely, so they need to steal a home game against either Oregon St or USC, plus not blow the other two games, to go bowling. No, it probably won’t happen, but judging by how this team has improved, they’re going to make a real run out of it.

If you’re Cal:
Meh. Yes, the final margin was very comfortable, but UCLA was in this game way too long. What would have happened if the Bruins got another two or three yards on that fake punt? The way things were going, the game could have been lost instead of won big, and that’s a big problem. Other than the season-ender against the Huskies, this was the easiest game they had left, and they couldn’t put it away until very late. Thanks to Arizona’s loss to USC, these guys actually control their own destiny, but they’ll have to play a lot better if they want to win the games that can put them in position to make a Rose Bowl run. This level of effort will lose the next three games and turn a promising season into a big disappointment.

Notre Dame (-10) 33, @ Washington 7
my pick: Notre Dame 38, @ Washington 10

What to take from this:
Well, there weren’t any turnovers. That’s about the only good thing to take from this game. Notre Dame is good but they’re not great, and Washington got their butts kicked, at home in a game laden with emotion. If they can’t even get up for this one, it’s tough to see much hope for any win the rest of the way, except for the Apple Cup against Wazzu, and even that is no gimme for these guys.

At this point, I really don’t understand why they haven’t fired Willingham. Even if you let him finish the season (at this point, it’s a lost year anyway, so probably not a big deal), it makes sense to get as much of a head start on the coaching search as you can. Even though things have been awful lately, there’s plenty of potential here, so it’s not a bad job. Getting a head start here could play major dividends, but they seem to be unwilling to do this, despite how obvious it is that Willingham won’t be returning in 2009. Very odd.

Pac-10 Games Record:
This Week: 3-1 SU, 3-1 ATS
Season: 39-13 SU, 23-25-2 ATS

National Games of the Week:

@ Texas (-12) 28, Oklahoma St 24
my pick: @ Texas 34, Oklahoma St 24

Penn St (-2) 13, @ Ohio St 6
my pick: Penn St 28, @ Ohio St 21

Georgia 52, @ LSU (-1) 38
my pick: Georgia 21, @ LSU 13

National Games Record:
This Week: 3-0 SU, 3-0 ATS
Season: 17-13 SU, 12-17-1 ATS

Bad Lines

UConn +2.5
Covered by 26.5 points and outright upset

Minnesota -2
Covered by 9 points

Maryland -12
Missed by 10 points

Rice +2.5
Covered by 27.5 points and outright upset

Virginia +14
Covered by 21 points and outright upset

USF -3.5
Missed by 7.5 points and outright upset

Baylor +13
Covered by 1 points

Troy -24
Covered by 4 points

Alabama -5
Covered by 15 points

Pitt -10
Missed by 30 points and outright upset

Bad Lines Record:
This Week: 7-3
Season: 38-23-1

Mr Pac-10's 2008 Blog

Questions, comments or suggestions? Email me at cfn_ms@hotmail.com