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Mr Pac-10’s Weekly Review

Mr Pac Ten
Posted Nov 26, 2009


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

Rising:
UCLA: They’re back to bowl eligibility.
Cal: Huge win for the Bears.
Oregon: They showed true toughness in this game and now need to avoid being upset in the Civil War to make the Rose Bowl

Hovering:
Oregon St: They just need one more game, and it’s Pasadena for the Beavers.
Washington St: At this point it’s almost expected.

Falling:
Arizona: Really tough loss for the Wildcats.
Stanford: Really tough loss for the Cardinal.
Arizona St: This program is really starting to look dead in the water.

Oregon (-6) 44, Arizona 41 (OT)
my pick: @ Arizona 42, Oregon 38

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

Now they need just one more game to make it back to the Rose Bowl for the first time in over a decade. Is Oregon St dangerous? Can the Beavers pull off a Civil War stunner? Yes and yes, but the toughness and fight this team showed in a nasty road environment will make them stronger, and with the Autzen crowd on their side, they’ll be extremely tough to knock out. This team should go to the Rose Bowl, and they should beat Ohio St there.

If you’re Arizona:
Some teams always find ways to win, some teams always find ways to lose. As usual, Arizona falls into the second group. They were in position to win this game, and simply couldn’t get it done. They threw a late pick to give Oregon life again, couldn’t keep the Ducks out of the end zone, and then lost the game in overtime. That said, this program is clearly only getting better and better. For a while it was just not sucking anymore, but now it’s more than that.

Forget I said this if USC goes right back to averaging 8-1 Pac-10 records for the next few years, but if they do fall back to earth (and after this year it’s definitely possible), don’t be surprised at all to see the Wildcats in the Rose Bowl sometime over the next six years. Without the late pick they’d have won this game, and without the “foot pick” they’d have beaten Washington. Take away the two of them and they’d be a lock for the Rose Bowl. One of these years it’s going to click, they’ll stop screwing up games, and they’ll be incredibly dangerous. Unless someone hires away Sonny Dykes, this team should consistently be a serious Pac-10 player.

Cal 34, @ Stanford (-7) 28
my pick: @ Stanford 31, Cal 21

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

This was a huge win for Cal, bringing them back into the national discussion and taking a huge bit out of Stanford’s season. They finally showed the ability to come back and fight through adversity, bouncing back from an early 14-0 Stanford lead to take the lead and hold on for the win. If they win at Washington and wherever their bowl game is, this is a 10-win season. Maybe not what they wanted back in September, but if this isn’t bad for a “down year.” That said, it took Jahvid Best’s injury and relegation to underdog status before they really came to life. At some point, if they’re going to take another step forward, they need to figure out how to thrive in the role of the favorite. They’re not there yet.

If you’re Stanford:
As high as Stanford was the past two games, they’re that low in this one. They had a post-USC letdown, brought their “D” game and got beat. That said, 2-1 against Oregon, USC and Cal is a hell of an achievement. If they split Notre Dame and their bowl game (and they definitely should at least do that), they’ll be 8-5, far better than anyone thought they could do this year. As long as Jim Harbaugh sticks around (which is a question mark until proven otherwise, just like it is with any young successful coach not at a traditional powerhouse), this program should keep things going, and may be capable of making a serious Rose Bowl run one of these years.

With respect to the late game calls, going for it on fourth down wasn’t just the right call, it was genius, considering how Tedford responded by going super-conservative, kicking the field goal, and giving Stanford another chance to win. Yes, throwing it on first and second down in the red zone was probably the wrong call, but aggressive, counter-intuitive decisions are part of the Jim Harbaugh package (and sometimes they work out, like the 4th down call). So are extremely physical play, high levels of energy, and very solid recruiting. You take the bad with the good, and so far there’s a lot more good than bad.

@ UCLA (-5) 23, Arizona St 13
my pick: @ UCLA 21, Arizona St 17

What to take from this:
If you’re Arizona St:

I said last week it was time for ASU to cut bait with Erickson barring a miracle run to end the year. Then they go out and commit SIX turnovers in a must-win game. This goes way beyond unacceptable. So is taking way too long to take a chance with Szakacsy considering they were getting almost nothing from the QB position. Yes, they’ve got a future at quarterback, whoever it ends up being the next couple years, but Dmitri Nance is a senior. So are receivers Kyle Williams and Chris McGaha. And so are a number of key players on the offensive line and throughout the defense. Yes, it’s possible this team will somehow improve next year despite heavy personnel losses, but it’s hard to see how. It’s time to find a new coach and give him a chance to build around what will be a fairly young team. Even if they somehow beat the Wildcats next week that remains true. It’s time for a change.

If you’re UCLA:
They’re not winning pretty, but they are winning. 6-5 isn’t cause for celebration, but it is a step forward. Yes, they will probably lose at USC next week (though the way the Trojans are playing UCLA has a chance), but they have done a number of things this year they can build on. It’ll probably be a few years before they’re serious Pac-10 players again (they are really going to miss a few departing seniors, especially Alterraun Verner), but they should be a consistent bowl team at least. The football monopoly in LA is far from over, but UCLA is unlikely to suffer through another extended Victory Bell losing streak like they finally broke in 2006. It’ll be a while before the next time they can consider themselves equals to USC, but they should be competitive, and that’s a huge step forward for them.

Oregon St (-31.5) 42, @ Washington St 13
my pick: Oregon St 42, @ Washington St 10

What to take from this:

If you’re Oregon St:
The Beavers took care of business in Pullman, and now the Civil War is for all the Rose Bowl marbles.

If you’re Washington St:
Another lousy showing. The end of the year can’t come soon enough.

Pac-10 Games Record:
This Week: 2-2 SU, 1-3 ATS
Season: 53-13 SU, 24-38-2 ATS

National Games of the Week:

@ BYU (-10) 38, @ Air Force 21
my pick: @ BYU 35, Air Force 31

@ Ole Miss (-4.5) 25, LSU 23
my pick: @ Miss 31, LSU 17

@ Nebraska (-16.5) 17, Kansas St 3
my pick: @ Nebraska 31, Kansas St 20

National Games Record:
This Week: 3-0 SU, 1-2 ATS
Season: 21-15 SU, 17-18-1 ATS

Bad Lines

Kentucky +9.5 @ Georgia
Covered by 16.5 points and outright upset

Iowa St +14 @ Mizzou
Covered by 4 points

Tennessee -17 vs Vandy
Missed by 2 points

Rice +6.5 vs UTEP
Covered by 7.5 points and outright upset

Bad Lines Record:
This Week: 3-1
Season: 35-26-2

Mr Pac-10's 2009 Blog

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

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