Mr Pac-10's Weekly Review
Kaddu and the Ducks stuffed Best and the Bears.
Mr Pac Ten
Posted Sep 29, 2009

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

Oregon: Obviously
Arizona: They get the Pac-10's first meaningful road win in league play. In a normal week they'd be on top of the list.
Washington St: They were reasonably competitive in their first road game of the year, at USC no less.
Stanford: They once again hammer an overmatched opponent. 3-1 is a big step forward for this program.

Arizona St: They had some nice moments in a closer than expected loss at Georgia.
USC: An unimpressive performance against the Cougars only increases doubt about this team.

Oregon St: They better improve as the year goes on, because things aren't so good right now.
Washington: It's clear that there's still plenty of work left to do in Seattle.
Cal: Obviously

@ Oregon 42, Cal (-5.5) 3
my pick: Cal 35, @ Oregon 17

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

Just a total disaster. When the other team's players say that you basically quit on the game, there's nothing at all that can be said positive. The real question is what's the worst thing to come out of this game. Is it that Kevin Riley can't be trusted to carry the team? That the defense looked incredibly beatable? I'd say that the real worst thing is that they showed very little mental toughness; the obvious blueprint for beating this team is now to take away best and force Riley to win the game, but the big thing is to hit them in the mouth, get an early lead and see if they have what it takes to come back. Right now, I really don't know. Just a monumental red flag for this team.
If you're Oregon:

This was the sort of performance that the optimists thought the Ducks were going to put up before they get pummeled at Boise and started playing bad football. The solid play of both lines was especially impressive, and if they can keep it up, this can still be a huge year for this team, though losing Walter Thurmond could definitely turn out to be a huge blow against teams that can actually throw the football.

That said, I'm not sure how much of it was the home crowd fired up for a huge game, how much of it was Cal laying yet another egg on the road, and how much of it was just an inconsistent Duck team coming up big this week. This was the sort of game which makes me think that they might actually be capable of doing big things, but until they can play well consistently, the jury is still out. Barring a disaster against Wazzu, it'll be the game at UCLA in two weeks that will tell us whether this team is for real.

Arizona 37, @ Oregon St (-2.5) 32
my pick: @ Oregon St 28, Arizona 21

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

This was a huge win for this team. New starting quarterback Nick Foles had a great game, the defense picked up two turnovers, and this team added a huge road win to their resume. Iowa winning at Penn St only made this team seem even better; it's a bit early to get too optimistic, but if they can come off their bye week and win in Seattle, they'll be in fantastic position, not just to make a bowl game, but to make a serious run at the Holiday Bowl, which would be an incredible step forward for this team.
If you're Oregon St:

This just isn't a very good football team. The defense struggled yet again (the pass defense looks flat-out awful), and while the offense had some good moments, it simply isn't good enough to carry the whole team. It's a bit too early to get really pessimistic, but the fact remains that they have a really nasty five game stretch coming up against ASU, Stanford, USC, UCLA and Cal, and if they don't really up their game, they could easily go 1-4 and need to sweep the Washington schools and somehow win the Civil War on the road just to make a bowl. Quite simply, the next two games are absolutely vital. If they can't at least pick up a split, this team is probably done.

@ Stanford (-8) 34, Washington 14
my pick: @ Stanford 27, Washington 17

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

This was the sort of game which made it very clear that the Huskies just aren't very good. Other than the free touchdown from an Andrew Luck brain cramp, they just didn't do very much positive in this game. Their rush defense was a total disaster, their special teams struggled, and Jake Locker couldn't take advantage of a weak Cardinal secondary. They now have an absolute must-win at Notre Dame coming up if they're going to have any kind of realistic chance to make a bowl.
If you're Stanford:

They still haven't hit the meat of their schedule, but they're playing legitimately well right now. The offense is really coming along, the special teams are still strong, and the defense is doing all right. They now have a chance coming up against UCLA to virtually lock in a bowl bid and maybe even pave the way for bigger things.

@ USC (-45.5) 27, Washington St 6
my pick: @ USC 51, Washington St 7

What to take from this:
If you're Washington St:

The Cougars are still the worst team in the league, but it really looks like it's not going to be 2008 all over again. Last year's team gets completely embarrassed in this game; this year's team keeps fighting, and keeps is reasonably respectable. Just as importantly, it looks for now as if they've found a serviceable quarterback, which has really been an issue of late. 0 for the league is still very possible, but right now they look capable of pulling an upset on the right day. This was a legitimately positive sign for these guys.
If you're USC:

On the one hand, they clearly showed they can bring the hammer, going up 20-0 before the first quarter was even over. On the other, they were basically even with the Cougars the rest of the way, and that's a big red flag. Yes, there were goal line stands that kept the score down, but shouldn't USC be able to punch it in? Maybe they just took the foot off the gas pedal and that was the real story, but it wasn't an inspiring performance, never a good sign after a huge upset loss and a game at Ohio St that was far from USC's usual dominating ways. With an absolute must-win at Cal coming up, they really need to up their game, or the Pac-10 dynasty is on hiatus for 2009.

@ Georgia 20, Arizona St (+12.5) 17
my pick: @ Georgia 28, Arizona St 17

What to take from this:
This Sun Devil defense looks for real. The offense definitely has some work to do, but the defense very nearly carried the team to victory, and will be a major force in future games. The pick six may have been somewhat fluky, but so what; this team was a last-second field goal away from taking Georgia to overtime on the road. No matter how it happened, that's a solid achievement and a building block for the rest of the year. It's hard to see this team not making it back to the postseason.

Pac-10 Games Record:
This Week: 3-2 SU, 3-2 ATS
Season: 24-8 SU, 12-14-2 ATS

National Games of the Week:

@ Virginia Tech 31, Miami (-3) 7
my pick: Miami 28, @ Virginia Tech 21

Iowa 21, @ Penn St (-10) 10
my pick: @ Penn St 24, Iowa 21

National Games Record:
This Week: 0-2 SU, 1-1 ATS
Season: 4-9 SU, 4-9 ATS

Bad Lines

Rutgers +1 @ Maryland
Covered by 22 points and outright upset

Southern Miss +13.5 @ Kansas
Covered by 6.5 points

Pitt +1 @ NC St
Missed by 6 points

Purdue +7 vs Notre Dame
Covered by 4 points

Idaho +17 @ Northern Illinois
Covered by 20 points and outright upset

Bad Lines Record:
This Week: 4-1
Season: 11-3

Mr Pac-10's 2009 Blog

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