Wins: Stanford, Oregon State, UCLA, California, Oregon...Boise State
Losses: USC, Washington, Washington State, Arizona, Arizona State
Prediction Results: 5-1
Season to Date: 41-11
Disappointments: Is SC a disappointment or is Stanford's blow out a surprise? I think more of the former, since I did pick Stanford to win (though the final margin was shocking). Now here's the thing on SC: this team is still 7-3 on the season, but they are being widely regarded as a massive disappointment. Of course, that's only to people who don't closely follow the Pac-10. When Pete Carroll made the decision to start true freshman Matt Barkley at quarterback I'm sure this outcome wasn't entirely outside the realm of possibility. A team with the depth of talent of SC starting a true freshman is a conscious decision that perhaps this wasn't going to be their year anyway; 7-3 is what passes for rebuilding for the USC Trojans. Raise your hand if you think this move WILL NOT set up the Trojans to storm back to the top of the conference next season.
No hands? Didn't think so.
Surprises: Umm...the Stanford Cardinal? This is the hottest team in the nation right now after completely dominating Oregon and USC. With all due respect to the fantastic work put in by the Rodgers brothers at Oregon State and Jeremiah Masoli at Oregon, how can anyone right now not say Toby Gerhart is the 2009 Pac-10 Player of the Year? Stanford's head coach, Jim Harbaugh, is hands down the Coach of the Year. And freshman of the year? It might not be Matt Barkley - it very well could be quarterback Andrew Luck.
When you look at how quickly these Cardinal rolled over SC and Oregon, doesn't that make Oregon State's win over them a few weeks ago look that much more impressive?
AP, USA Today, BCS Rankings
Oregon - 11, 11, 11
Stanford - 14, 17, 17
Oregon State - 20, 20, 19
USC - 22, 21, 18
California - 28, 29, 25
Arizona - 29, 26, NR
Boise State - 6, 6, 6
It's really hard to complain a ton about the rankings because overall they show the strength and depth of the conference. Six teams in the top 29 in the nation? Hard to argue with that at all.
Of course, there are always things to argue with. Stanford beat Oregon. Oregon State beat Stanford. USC beat Oregon State... You keep going down this path and it will tie your brain in knots. Do these rankings pass the gut check though? For the most part I would say yes, though Stanford is clearly the hottest team in the league and should be much closer to the Ducks. Above them? Why not - they did blow them out. I'd move Oregon State up just a tad.
Pac-10 Standings (Conference, Overall)
*Oregon - 6-1, 8-2
*Stanford - 6-2, 7-3
*Oregon State - 5-2, 7-3
*Arizona - 4-2, 6-3
*USC - 4-3, 7-3
*California - 4-3, 7-3
UCLA - 2-5, 5-5
Arizona State - 2-5, 4-6
Washington - 2-5, 3-7
Washington State - 0-7, 1-9
First off, the Rose Bowl Race. There are really only four contenders - here's what they need to get there:
Oregon - If they win their final two games over Arizona and Oregon State, they are in.
Arizona - If they win their final three games over Oregon, USC, and Arizona State, they are in.
Oregon State - If they win their final two games over Washington State and Oregon, and Arizona loses one more time, they are in.
Stanford - They need to beat Cal, have Arizona beat Oregon, have Oregon beat Oregon State, and then have Arizona lose again. This would give three losses to Zona, Oregon, and OSU. Not likely, but entirely plausible.
Did you ever think the Pac-10 race would come down to four teams and SC wouldn't be involved? The Vegas Bowl - or wherever SC ends up - is going to be absolutely ecstatic.
Here is what I think will happen. I think Oregon will beat Arizona and Oregon State will beat Wazzu this week. That will put Oregon at 7-1 and Oregon State at 6-2 going into the game. Winner goes to the Rose Bowl (if both are tied the tiebreaker is head-to-head).
Think about that for a minute. Think also that the game is on a Thursday night, before a national TV audience, and both teams have had 11 days to prepare. The hype in this state would be amazing, absolutely amazing. Tickets for the game in Eugene won't sell for less than four digits - for nosebleeds.
And how omniscient would ESPN look for paying the schools to move the game to be on TV?
I'm excited just thinking about the possibilities.