October 14, 2010 Leave a comment
If there is anything that Week 6 taught us, it’s that nobody is safe in the Pac-10. There were some hard fought games last Saturday in the West, but things will be quieter this week, as Oregon, Arizona State, Stanford and UCLA are on byes.
I’ll start with Oregon, who of all the teams remaining undefeated in college football, I have the most confidence of making the BCS title game. And that’s saying a lot when you take into account that I consider the Pac-10 the best conference in the country (yes, even including the SEC). When you win by twenty points on the road and in conference, even against lowly Washington State, that’s impressive. I get the feeling that most people think the Ducks should’ve won by more. It’s safe to say that Oregon has arrived.
California met expectations by letting their season slip, and then dismantling UCLA when everybody has written them off. And UCLA’s offense finally came back to bite them, amassing only 144 yards against the Bears. California’s recipe for success is quite simple: run the ball.
As for UCLA, they can obviously beat anybody (just ask Texas), but are just too inconsistent. Quarterback Kevin Prince was 13-31 against the Bears and only put up seven points, and that was the first time all season that Prince had double-digit competitions. Backup Richard Brehaut made an appearance, but make no mistake: if the Bruins are going to win, Prince has to be the guy and he has to step up.
The game of the week was Oregon State going into 9th ranked Arizona and winning 29-27. Boise State fans, rejoice. The Beavers may be 3-2, but those two losses were against great competition, and their rough non-conference schedule sets them up to be formidable in the Pac-10. Eventually, they were going to beat somebody, as Arizona found out.
It was a weird game with three failed PATs, and the combined 1,027 total yards meant a whole bunch of fun for the viewer. What will be interesting is how Arizona bounces back. They dropped eight spots in the rankings, and should be able to refocus against Washington State.
USC and Stanford played a crazy one. Both quarterbacks looked great, but I expected that from Andrew Luck. I was more impressed with Matt Barkley, who stepped up big on the road against a good team. I have been down on USC’s secondary all year, so it was no big surprised that they got torched by Luck, who averaged nearly 12 yards per pass. With back-to-back losses, Trojan fans have got to fear that their team lacks focus for the rest of the year. They played well, but there is no postseason future and a conference championship is unlikely now.
Is it time to start worrying about Jake Locker? It’s not that his numbers are that bad (except the Nebraska game), but for such a highly touted NFL prospect, he isn’t winning games. Granted, the Huskies have problems elsewhere, but Locker isn’t picking up the slack. Washington can only go as far he he does, and Locker isn’t showing any signs of getting better. Getting outplayed by Steven Threet at home is not a good sign.
On to week 7.
California vs USC
This is an interesting game, because the season is basically over for whoever loses. The matchup is interesting as well. Cal needs to run to win, but USC is vulnerable in the passing game. If the Bears struggle to figure out what they want to do, the Trojans may be able to get out to a lead early, and Cal isn’t constructed to play from behind. I like USC in a close game.
Arizona vs Washington State
Just what the doctor ordered after a tough loss at home for Arizona, Not much to preview, as the Wildcats should roll as 23.5 favorites on the road.
Oregon State vs Washington
Do or die for the Huskies. The Beavers are horrible against the pass, so if Locker can’t shine here, his stock will drop for good. Oregon State is the better team, but the matchup favors Washington. The Huskies are only 1-2 at home, and you have to think that will improve. I like Washington slightly in this game, as I will ride the Locker bandwagon all the way into the ground.
Written by Jay Fisher. Follow him on Twitter @jfishsports.