Well things are starting to heat up out West. It’s almost time for the Titans of the conference to collide. The Pac-12 is behind only the SEC as far as teams in the Top 10 of the BCS, with Oregon, Oregon State, and USC representing the conference. Let’s take a closer look.
Man, does #3 Oregon look good. Many, myself included, thought that Arizona State would prove to be their first big test of the season. It was their first legit road game, and I thought they would start off slow, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. The Ducks put up 43 points in the first half, and put in the subs in the second half, cruising to a 43-21 victory. To date, Arizona is still the toughest team they’ve played, but I’m still a believer in this team. It will be tough to beat them this year.
#9 USC finally looked like the team that we all know they can be, but sadly, it was against Colorado, one of the worst teams in the nation, let alone in the conference. The game was never in doubt, with USC scoring 19 first quarter points on their way to a 50-6 rout. The big news is that Matt Barkley has vaulted himself back into the Heisman race with an impeccable 19-20 for 298 yards and 6 TD’s performance. It couldn’t come at a better time, as the last five weeks of their schedule are brutal, with road games against Arizona and UCLA, and home games vs undefeated Oregon and Notre Dame.
The last top ten team, #7 Oregon State, registered an unimpressive but easy 21-7 win over Utah. The Beavers keep quietly winning games, and they are moving up the rankings quickly. Having said that, their schedule doesn’t look very impressive, with Wisconsin and UCLA, who were both ranked when they played them, both falling from the rankings. Next week will be their toughest test in the last month, when they travel to Washington.
Arizona got a much needed win last week over Washington, on the heels of three straight losses. They looked doing it too, putting up an impressive 52-17 win against a solid team. The Wildcats got destroyed by Oregon, but they lost two 1-possession games to Oregon State and Stanford, who are both ranked. This could be a dangerous team down the road (I’m looking at next week for USC).
Lastly, #20 Stanford dominated Cal 21-3 in the Big Game, which despite being on the road, doesn’t look too impressive. The Cardinal have two cupcakes with the two worst teams in the conference, Washington State and Colorado, coming up, before back-to-back games against the vaunted Oregon squads.
That wraps it up for last week’s games, as UCLA and Washington State had a week off. We have a full slate of games coming up this week, as no teams have bye weeks.
#9 USC at Arizona– In a week full of games that feature the top half of the conference playing the bottom half, this one may be the closest, and/or most entertaining. These are two similar teams who depend on their offense to outrun their opponents defenses. USC is a different team on the road, and I’m not sure if they will overlook this Wildcat team, with their date against Oregon two weeks from now. If they overlook this team, it could come back to bite them. I still think USC pulls it out, but it will be closer then alot of people think.
USC holds on 35-27.
#7 Oregon State at Washington– Many people, myself included, thought that Washington was going to be a tough out this year. They have done well against the lesser teams, but they have yet to show up in any of their big games on the season. The score looked close against USC, 24-14, but the game was never in question really after the 1st quarter. This is another game that I think will be close throughout, but the Beavers can’t loss this game. I think they end up winning by 10 points or so here.
Oregon State wins 24-13.
The only other game that figures to be a good contest is UCLA at Arizona State. I like the Sun Devils in this, even though the Bruins had a bye week last week. I think Arizona State is the better team, and they want to beat someone up after being embarrassed by Oregon last week. I think Arizona State eeks this one out 27-21.
The last three games should be blowouts: Oregon will beat Colorado by 50 points, Cal should have enough talent to beat Utah by double digits, and Stanford will have no issues with Washington State at home.
Lastly, we have our play of the week, and we will honor Matt Barkley’s incredible performance on Saturday. We mentioned Barkley’s state line earlier, but we forgot to mention that he did it in one half and one drive in the 3rd quarter. Not only did he put up a flawless stat line, but he broke the Pac-12 conference record for career passing touchdowns, passing fellow trojan Matt Leinart. Check out the highlights of the game below.
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All the games this week look like they will be easy wins. What team is most likely to be upset? Let us know what you think in the comments!