Wins: Stanford, Arizona, UCLA, Oregon State, USC .... Boise State
Losses: Oregon, Washington State, Washington, California, Arizona State
Prediction Results: 5-1
Season to Date: 36-10
Disappointments: I'm severely disappointed in the Cal Bears. This team was supposed to challenge USC? They looked pathetic on Saturday against Oregon State, even before Jahvid Best landed on his head/shoulders/back in the end zone. (On another note, it's good to see Best managed to get out of that scary incident with only a concussion. Not that a concussion is anything to sneeze at, it's just that the fall looked so much worse. Hopefully he recovers completely.) Maybe Kevin Riley just isn't the answer? At 6-3 the Bears could still end up with a very good season - even more so if they can beat Stanford in the Big Game - but their losses have been bad.
Surprises: UCLA surprised me by having enough pulse to pull out a win...but of course, that wasn't the biggest surprise of the weekend. The fact that Oregon scored 42 points is expected, but giving up 51 is a travesty. And did anyone think Stanford had that kind of offensive explosion in them?! Nope, me neither. As a Duck that was painful to watch, but the way the defense was rolling over was simply pathetic. I think I pointed out previously that Stanford is a good offensive team, but they aren't the kind of team that can play from behind well because when the must throw to catch up they go away from the best offensive weapon, running back Toby Gerhart. That was the key to Oregon State beating them a couple weeks ago - they pounced on Stanford early, ringing up a big lead. The Cardinal can pass and have a good young prospect in freshman Andrew Luck, but the confidence isn't there to completely rely on the passing game yet.
So what happens against Oregon? The Cardinal started with a nice mix of run and pass, showcasing Luck's strengths early when there is little pressure. He came through, Gerhart complemented that with a school record performance, and the team had so much confidence it didn't matter one bit they couldn't really stop Oregon from scoring. Give credit where it is due - that was a fantastic game plan by Coach Jim Harbaugh and great execution by the Cardinal, led by Luck and Gerhart.
AP, USA Today, BCS Rankings
USC - 11, 10, 9
Oregon - 14, 16, 13
Arizona - 18, 19, 17
Stanford - 25, 27, NR
Oregon State - 26, 28, 23
Boise State - 6, 6, 6
Check out Oregon State's rankings - once again, the computers in the BCS are giving more respect to the strength of the Pac-10 than the voters. That can be seen in the ranking for USC, Oregon, and Zona as well. It's curious as to why Stanford didn't make the top 25 in the BCS, but if they continue to win they will.
It's worth noting that SC is ranked higher than Oregon in every poll, despite the fact Oregon beat them so handily. And both teams have the same 7-2 record. Oregon State also topped Stanford handily, but is ranked behind the Cardinal in the two voting polls - and again, both teams are 6-3.
Call me silly, but if two teams have the same record and one team beat the other, shouldn't they be ranked higher?
*Oregon - 5-1, 7-2
*Arizona - 4-1, 6-2
*Stanford - 5-2, 6-3
*USC - 4-2, 7-2
*Oregon State - 4-2, 6-3
*California - 3-3, 6-3
Arizona State - 2-4, 4-5
Washington - 2-4, 3-6
UCLA - 1-5, 4-5
Washington State - 0-6, 1-8
* Bowl Eligible
Arizona, Stanford, and Oregon State all became bowl-eligible this past weekend with their sixth wins.
That makes six Pac-10 teams bowl-eligible. Why is that significant? The conference has five bowls they have ongoing contracts with (from first to fifth):
Rose Bowl (BCS berth, conference champ) (Pasadena, 1/1/10, ABC)
Holiday Bowl (San Diego, 12/30, ESPN)
Sun Bowl (El Paso, 12/31, ESPN)
Las Vegas Bowl (Las Vegas, 12/20, ESPN)
Emerald Bowl (San Francisco, 12/27, ESPN)
The sixth team this year will go to the Poinsettia Bowl, but that's not a firm, ongoing relationship.
Poinsettia Bowl (San Diego, 12/21, ESPN)
Apparently starting with the 2010 season the Pac-10 has an agreement with the Alamo Bowl, matching their third place finisher with the Big 12's third place finisher, which should be good for conference exposure. I'm not sure at this point how they reshuffles the current lineup, though I know Vegas and Emerald will become the fifth and sixth bowls, rather than fourth and fifth. The Holiday Bowl appears it won't be second place for the Pac-10 starting next year.
It's worth noting the tiebreaker procedures I discussed last week apply only to the Rose Bowl. If there was a tie for second, for instance, head-to-head doesn't technically matter; the Holiday gets first choice and the Sun gets the leftovers.
So here is an interesting question: What if Arizona State, Washington, or UCLA win a sixth game? Where do they go? At this point, I have no idea - stay tuned. I'm sure there is some bowl looking for teams somewhere.
As far as the Rose Bowl race goes, with Oregon's loss Arizona controls their own destiny. They win out, they are in. It's crazy, but at this point, with only two or three league games left, five teams have a shot to go for the Roses: Oregon, USC, Stanford, Zona, and Oregon State. Each team - except Zona - needs some help, and each team needs to win out. Obviously that isn't going to happen, but the teams that do win out are going to put themselves in a very good position. As always, teams should focus on their own games and not worry about what they can't control.
It looks to be a good bowl season - again - for the state of Oregon.