Mr Pac-10's Weekly Review

Mr Pac Ten
Posted Oct 21, 2009

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

Cal: Huge boost for the Bears.
USC: They did a lot better than the score says.
Arizona: Important bounce-back win after the tough loss in Seattle.
Arizona St: They really needed to win this game.


Washington: Not a bad showing, but they really needed this game.
Stanford: This was a tough loss to swallow, and now they have a must-win against ASU.
UCLA: Blech.

Cal (-3.5) 45, @ UCLA 26
my pick: @ UCLA 21, Cal 13

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

This was the kind of game they desperately needed to get. No, it wasn't perfect, and yes, the defense is pretty clearly a very moveable object, but Kevin Riley finally had a good game against a defense with a pulse, and Cal finally broke the LA losing streak. This team isn't good enough to sweep the rest of their games, but they're looking like they'll be very tough to beat, and they're now a very serious threat to end up 9-3, perhaps in the Holiday Bowl if the Pac-10 gets two BCS bids or if either USC or Oregon slip up substantially the rest of the way.

If you're UCLA:
Down by a touchdown with the defense playing poorly, on fourth and inches UCLA punts. Cal responds with another touchdown. Down by 14, on fourth and short UCLA kicks a field goal. Cal responds with another touchdown, and the Bruins never seriously threaten again. Yes, the defense is a big goat here, and yes, that was a crappy pass that Keven Prince threw at the end of the game to seal the deal, but this loss is first and foremost on the utterly gutless coaching staff. UCLA wants to be mimic the success of USC? Well, in a game shaping up like a shootout, Pete Carroll would NEVER have made such gutless decisions, especially while behind. This was a game that the Bruins really needed, and the coaching staff self-destructed. They're still very much in the bowl picture (home games against ASU and Washington, plus a trip to Pullman could easily turn into three wins), but this was the sort of game that made me wonder if Rick Neuheisel will ever catch USC, even if the recruiting goes well, even if some big wins start to happen. Maybe they prove me wrong with a stunner at Arizona, but right now I just can't bring myself in this staff. That's how completely awful their performance was in this game.

@ Arizona St (-6.5) 24, Washington 17
my pick: @ Arizona St 17, Washington 13

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

Sometimes you win the wacky ones, and sometimes you lose them. The Huskies played reasonably well in this game, but blew it on one awful play at the end. Unfortunately for them, if they can't win at ASU, they almost certainly can't win at Oregon St, and that means they need to take two out of the following three (assuming a win against the Cougars): vs Oregon, @ UCLA, vs Cal. That's going to be really hard for this team to do, which means that they're probably going to end up with four or five wins instead of the six that briefly looked like a possibility.

If you're Arizona St:
It's great that the offense finally found some life, though the defense was somewhat vulnerable, weirdly enough. This was a win they really needed to have, but at home against the Huskies was the easiest game they had left on their slate, and they needed a last-second Hail Mary and defensive breakdown by Washington to win the game in regulation. Two out of six games is definitely possible, but it's going to be really hard. If they can split Stanford and Cal they'll be in good position to reach bowl eligibility, but if not, 4-4 isn't going to turn into 6-6. The next two games are really important, which means they have to either learn to beat a quality opponent on the road (which hasn't been a strength of late) or find a way to knock off a suddenly resurgent Cal team. It's on the table, but their work is definitely cut out for them.

@ Arizona (-4.5) 43, Stanford 38
my pick: @ Arizona 31, Stanford 23

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

This was a really tough loss to swallow, but I'm not quite ready to write this team off. Yes, the defense was completely awful (unfortunately, this is becoming a trend), but the offense was outstanding, and if Gerhart hadn't gotten hurt, on the late fourth and short they run the ball, and either get a TD or just run out the clock for the win. It's the sort of game that makes it clear this isn't a serious threat to hit eight wins, but six is still likely, barring the Gerhart injury turning into a big problem. That said, if they blow the next game to ASU, all bets are off.

If you're Arizona:
4-2 may not sound incredible to you, but that is a quality record against a quality schedule. The Wildcats may have been somewhat fortunate to win this game (the Gerhart injury, the dropped pass on 4th down, the blitz on 3rd and long that turned into a TD), but they were also really unfortunate to lose last week. The breaks are starting to even out, and this is still a definite quality team that looks like a serious threat to every opponent they'll face the rest of the way, with the possible exception of the road game at USC to end the season. They should sweep the rest of their homestand, and then we'll find out just how good this team is when they go to Cal and host Oregon in back to back weeks. Both games should be good.

USC (-10) 34, @ Notre Dame 27
my pick: USC 34, @ Notre Dame 20

What to take from this:
Notre Dame converted a fake field goal, got a tipped pass INT, recovered their own fumbles more times than I could count, and still couldn't knock off the Trojans. Yes, the Irish aren't a great team, but USC won a game against a decent team on the road when pretty much every single break went against them. That's a quality result, no matter what the score says.

Pac-10 Games Record:
This Week: 3-1 SU, 1-3 ATS
Season: 33-12 SU, 15-24-2 ATS

National Games of the Week:

Texas (-3) 16, Oklahoma 13
my pick: Texas 28, Oklahoma 27

@ Georgia Tech 28, Virginia Tech (-3) 23
my pick: Virginia Tech 28, @ Georgia Tech 21

@ Alabama (-17.5) 20, South Carolina 6
my pick: @ Alabama 28, South Carolina 13

National Games Record:
This Week: 2-1 SU, 1-1-1 ATS
Season: 9-12 SU, 8-12-1 ATS

Bad Lines

Rutgers +5.5 vs Pitt
Missed by 1.5 points

Arkansas +24.5 @ Florida
Covered by 21.5 points

SMU +7 vs Navy
Covered by 4 points

Colorado +10 vs Kansas
Covered by 14 points and outright upset

ECU -17.5 vs Rice
Covered by 18.5 points

Mizzou +7 @ Oklahoma St
Missed by 9 points

Nebraska -10.5 vs Texas Tech
Missed by 31.5 points and outright upset

Virginia -3.5 @ Maryland
Covered by 7.5 points

BC -2.5 vs NC St
Covered by 29.5 points

Bad Lines Record:
This Week: 6-3
Season: 26-10

Mr Pac-10's 2009 Blog

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