Mr Pac-10's Weekly Review

Mr Pac Ten
Posted Oct 8, 2009

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

USC: They're definitely back.
Oregon St: Hugely important road win at ASU.
Stanford: Solid win against a pretty good UCLA team.
Oregon: Another strong effort to validate what they did against Cal.

Washington: A reasonably decent performance, but when push came to shove they couldn't get it done.

UCLA: Not a bad loss, but still a loss that makes it clear that this isn't a team that will challenge for the top of the league.
Arizona St: The defense is fine, but the offense really was bad, and is looking like a big problem.
Washington St: Flat-out awful.
Cal: This team is in massive trouble.

USC (-4) 30, @ Cal 3
my pick: @ Cal 27. USC 21

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

USC came out and simply beat the crap out of Cal. They dominated on offense, defense and special teams. Just in case you thought the dynasty was in serious danger, they made it clear that they're still the team to beat in the Pac-10, and that they're still very much in the national title race.
If you're Cal:

Just in case you thought the Oregon game was just a fluke, in comes USC and out goes Cal's BCS hopes. Once again, the Bears gave up an important early turnover, and once again, they were completely unable to recover. They were dominated on both sides of the ball, and definitely don't look anything like an elite football team. Some issues on offense aren't a massive surprise, but this was supposed to be a very good defense, and it's been anything but. Perhaps they can fix things over the bye week, but right now it looks like this team is going to crash and burn again. Probably not as badly as 2007, but there's probably plenty of bleeding left in this team's future.

@ Stanford (-5) 24, UCLA 16
my pick: @ Stanford 24, UCLA 17

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

UCLA simply lost to a better football team on the road. It was a bit worrisome how much Stanford dominated the first three quarters, but they still made something of a comeback late, and that's a positive they can take away from the loss. Having Kevin Prince come back is a big boost, and the defense should rebound from their worst game so far this year. This game made it clear that they weren't a player in the Pac-10 race, but they're still a good team and a tough out. As long as they can at least split their homestand against Oregon and Cal, they should be in fine shape.
If you're Stanford:

The Cardinal pretty much dominated this game, and did it without a single particularly good special teams play. Letting UCLA back into the game wasn't so good, but overall this was a very good effort. If they can just manage one out of their next three games (which seems likely), they'll be a virtual lock for finally breaking their bowl drought. And if they can manage two, then they'll be a very serious contender for a very nice bowl berth.

Oregon St 28, @ Arizona St (-5) 17
my pick: @ Arizona St 38, Oregon St 24

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

Against Cincy, the Beavers had early chances to score, settled for field goals and watched the game slip away. Against ASU, things were very different, as they jumped to a quick 14-0 lead and were able to hold on. This was a solid overall performance, especially considering it was on the road, especially against an ASU program that has dominated the Beavers over the years in Tempe. There are still some issues, especially on defense, but this was a big step forward.
If you're Arizona St:

This was a very big step backwards for the Sun Devils. The offense did very little against a vulnerable defense, and despite the home-field advantage they lost convincingly. The Sun Devil D actually played reasonably well, but there was zero running game and Sullivan simply wasn't good enough to carry the team. At 2-2 without a single good win, this team is in a fair amount of trouble. If they're not at 4-2 after very winnable games against the two Washington schools, they'll be in serious danger of missing the postseason for the second straight year.

@ Oregon (-34.5) 52, Washington St 6
my pick: @ Oregon 38, Washington St 13

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

On the road against a good team looking to make a point, the Cougars got completely dominated. The good news is that things might have been a bit different if Tuel hadn't gotten knocked out early, and he should be back and healthy in their upcoming game against ASU. One way or another, they'll find out whether they can hang with the bottom half of the league when the beatable Sun Devils come into town for Homecoming leading into their bye week.
If you're Oregon:

A second straight dominating win really starts to make this team look like they're for real. Injuries and a lack of road performances are red flags, but they're still playing really well. At the least, a season that looked on the brink of disaster after losing at Boise and barely beating Purdue has completely turned around, and this could still turn into a special year.

@ Notre Dame 37, Washington (+12.5) 30 (OT)
my pick: @ Cal 31, Colorado St 10

What to take from this:
The Huskies definitely got screwed on some key calls in this game. That said, they had chances to win, and they simply couldn't get it done. Still, this was a solid overall performance on the road against a heavily favored Notre Dame team. This probably isn't a bowl team, but they'll probably end up at four or five wins, and make things interesting along the way.

Pac-10 Games Record:
This Week: 3-2 SU, 1-4 ATS
Season: 27-10 SU, 13-18 ATS

National Games of the Week:

@ Miami 21, Oklahoma (-7.5) 20
my pick: Oklahoma 28, @ Miami 23

LSU 20, @ Georgia (-3.5) 13
my pick: LSU 28, @ Georgia 24

National Games Record:
This Week: 1-1 SU, 2-0 ATS
Season: 5-10 SU, 6-9 ATS

Bad Lines

Utah St +24 @ BYU
Covered by 6 points

Clemson -13.5 @ Maryland
Missed by 16.5 points and outright upset

Auburn +2.5 @ Tennessee
Covered by 6.5 points and outright upset

Texas A&M +1.5 vs Arkansas
Missed by 27.5 points

Virginia +13 @ UNC
Covered by 26 points and outright upset

Minnesota -2.5 vs Wisconsin
Missed by 5.5 points and outright upset

Bad Lines Record:
This Week: 3-3
Season: 14-6

My Top Eight
It's still too early for me to want to rank 25 teams, but we've seen enough football to be able to at least rank 8 of them. Emphasis is on performance on the field rather than reputation, and I'll be the first to admit that these are VERY arbitrary considering how little football has been played. It'll take a few more weeks until we really know much of anything.

1) Alabama – It's hard not to have the Tide at #1, since they're knocked off Virginia Tech, completely blasted a not bad Arkansas team and really haven't had any red flag games so far.
2) Boise St – Right now, why not? They dominated Oregon and have blasted just about everyone else. They'll be passed before long, but no one else has really earned it over them so far.
3) Florida – Tennessee may be better than everyone thinks, and they've kicked ass everywhere else.
4) Cincy – The Oregon St road win was nice, as was the blasting of Rutgers. Like Boise, I think they'll get passed, but no one's there yet.
5) Texas – They really don't have any big wins yet, and Tech looks mediocre enough that only winning by 10 is a minor red flag, but they're still dominated their other games. This ranking is very much to be determined, until they get through their three game stretch of Oklahoma, Mizzou and OK St.
6) Iowa – There have been major red flags against Northern Iowa and Ark St, but that was a huge win at Penn St, and beating Arizona is a lot better than most people think.
7) TCU – This may well be the best of the non-BCS teams. Virginia is starting to look like a decent win, and Clemson is a decent win too. It's unfortunate that they won't be facing any elite teams during the regular season, but they'll have a very interesting game at BYU in a few weeks.
8) LSU – I'm tempted to have them higher, but barely beating Miss St is a big red flag, and neither Washington nor Georgia look good enough to really have either as a highlight win. We'll find out this weekend against Florida whether this team is for real.
Next up: Auburn, Miami, Nebraska, USC, USF, Virginia Tech
Mr Pac-10's 2009 Blog

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