Pac-10 Football: 11/21 Aftermath

Wins: UCLA, Oregon State, California, Oregon ... Boise State

Losses: Arizona State, Washington State, Stanford, Arizona

Prediction Results: 4-1

Season to Date: 45-12

Disappointments: Arizona State has been a monster disappointment all season long. Is Dennis Erickson losing his touch? I know there were a couple injuries and quarterback issues, but at the same time they just didn't make the plays - other than the penalties - we associated with an Erickson team (or, more specifically, an Erickson defense).

There really weren't any other disappointments, I don't think. I'm glad the Oregon-Zona game lived up to the hype (my heart is just now calming down), although when the fourth quarter started I didn't think it would; I thought we'd see Oregon fizzle on national TV again.

Surprises: I'm mildly surprised OSU covered the 31-point spread over Washington State. I figured at some point the weather was going to play into the scoring totals, but it stayed nice enough for them to win by 32. See, this is why I don't gamble, especially with spreads. As you can tell by my predictions I'm decent at picking a winner, but putting money on something and I'm horrible.

I also think Cal waking up and beating the hottest team in the country was a huge surprise. I fully expected the Cardinal to win that game. And of course after I talk about how great Andrew Luck is, he goes out and throws 10-30 in the loss. Give Cal's defense and especially the secondary a lot of credit - they earned the win. They didn't stop Toby Gerhart, but they absolutely shut down the passing game and managed to score just enough on their own. By the way, does Shane Vereen need to be added the list of running back studs in the Pac-10?

AP, USA Today, BCS Rankings

Oregon - 10, 10, 8
Oregon State - 16, 18, 16
California - 21, 26, 22
USC - 24, 22, 20
Stanford - 26, 28, NR
Arizona - 37, 34, NR

Boise State - 6, 6, 6

Pac-10 Standings (Conference, Overall)

*Oregon - 7-1, 9-2
*Oregon State - 6-2, 8-3
*Stanford - 6-3, 7-4
*California - 5-3, 8-3
*USC- 4-3, 7-3
*Arizona - 4-3, 6-4
*UCLA - 3-5, 6-5
Washington - 2-5, 3-7
Arizona State - 2-6, 4-7
Washington State - 0-8, 1-10

* Bowl Eligible

This is what I wanted to see - a Civil War for the ages, where the winner of the battle at Autzen Stadium would represent the Pac-10 in the Rose Bowl against the Big 10's Ohio State. And crush them. Never before has this scenario happened, where both teams were meeting in the Civil War and the winner getting the Pac-10 title. (Cal's win over Stanford was nice in that regard, but Stanford didn't win any of the tiebreakers anyway.)

Kudos to ESPN for having the foresight to think that this game might possibly have significance, and to the athletic directors at both Oregon and Oregon State for agreeing to move the game out five more days for the opportunity to play it on national television, even if it is a Thursday (and I'm sure the payday helped too).

That means two weeks of state hype, sports coverage the likes of which hasn't been seen since the Portland Trail Blazers were in the NBA Finals in 1990 and 1992. Actually, this is probably bigger, because the entire state is more tied to the Ducks and Beavers than they are to the Blazers.

It means two weeks of exposure in the national media as ESPN continually mentions the game. That helps recruiting and general national exposure. That puts the players on these teams more in the minds of postseason voters, which may push some players higher in the final voting for things like the Doak Walker award (Jacquizz Rodgers) or various All-American teams.

And no, don't think the blog is going to rest quietly as the hype builds...I have stories to tell and picks to make.

There is only one drawback to this scenario - and it's for the loser of the game. In a game of this magnitude, where the two teams are so clearly one and two that the winner wins the title, the team who loses should be going to the Holiday Bowl in San Diego as the conference's second place team. Unfortunately, that will not happen.

If Oregon loses they will be bypassed by the Holiday Bowl because they went there last year. That bowl will then gladly make their choice of 6-3 conference teams, most likely USC if the Trojans finish with that record. The Ducks would end up in El Paso at the Sun Bowl.

If Oregon State loses they will fall into a group of three or four teams at 6-3. Since there are only tiebreakers for first place, the Holiday Bowl gets to choose whomever will make them the most money. Again, it will be USC. If not SC, then Stanford or Cal, teams closer to them they feel will bring more tourists to San Diego. That must mean Oregon State would go to the Sun Bowl, right? Nope - Beavers played there last year, so like the Ducks and the Holiday Bowl, the Sun Bowl will choose someone else. The next stop is the Vegas Bowl, which would then be able to choose between Oregon State and either Stanford or Cal. Ideally they choose the Beavers, but they don't have to. The fifth place bowl, the Emeral Bowl in San Francisco, would then get whomever is left (and probably would love to have Stanford or Cal, both being from the general Bay Area and all). I'm thinking Vegas would be most likely, but it's not guaranteed.

It's all ridiculous, really. The winner of this game goes to the Rose Bowl; the loser should be playing in San Diego.

The game is now 10 days away and counting...

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