This week's marquee matchup features the Oregon Ducks heading south to take on the USC Trojans. There has been a lot of talk coming out of L.A. from SC players and coaches - and a little from Eugene too - with a lot of focus put on the fact SC is considering this their bowl game because of the NCAA sanctions not allowing them a real bowl game this year.
SC-Oregon is usually a pretty good game, but the dynamic has changed quite a bit. How do I know? Well, there is this article I read - which of course I can't find a link to now - about how SC is preparing for Oregon. And what is that? The Trojans, in trying to prepare their defense for Oregon's extremely fast pace, have their own offense accelerating play calling in practice.
Did I get that right? THE USC has stooped to this? Where is the arrogance, the feeling that it didn't matter what anyone else did?
Wow. Anyone else think there is no chance in hell this would happen if Pete Carroll were still around and not coaching the mediocre Seattle Seahawks?
I'm curious to see if it works. Will SC's offense be out of synch because of it? Or will they really push the tempo as well? And will it help SC's defense to practice against that style for two weeks? I personally would think it would take longer than two weeks for SC's offense to actually be able to simulate the speed, but then again I've never played, so who knows.
One thing I do know is this is going to be a very entertaining game. I think the over/under on total points scored should be something like 84.5 - and no, I'm not kidding. It's going to take 45+ to win this game. Maybe 50+.
Tier 1 - Oregon
Tier 2 - Stanford
Tier 3 - Arizona, USC, California, UCLA, Washington, Oregon State, Arizona State
Tier 50 - Washington State
No changes this week. Nothing happened in last week's games to convince me my theory that those seven teams can beat or lose to each other on any given Saturday. However, this week I do believe we'll see some separation.
On to this week's schedule. As always, all game times are Pacific time, followed by the network and the pick. Also, the network and whether or not it's on TV is for Portland - some games may be televised regionally, so if you live in a home market, check your local listings. Rankings are in parentheses (AP, USA Today). The BCS rankings will be ignored for now (and no, not because of what they have done to Oregon).
12:30pm - Arizona (15, 16) at UCLA, Fox Sports Northwest - Arizona
12:30pm - California at Oregon State (33t, NR), Fox College Sports Pacific - Oregon State
4pm - Washington State at Arizona State, No TV - Arizona State
4pm - Stanford (13, 14) at Washington, Versus - Stanford
5pm - Oregon (1, 1) at USC (24, *), ABC - Oregon
* USC is not eligible for the USA Today Coaches Poll because of NCAA sanctions.
While I'm typically on the side of every game should be on TV, I really can't complain about Wazzu-ASU not getting any air time. Yuck. ASU, Zona, and Stanford probably don't need any justification. As for OSU over Cal - the Bears play well about every other week...and they scored 50 last week. The winner of this game is a contender for a Holiday Bowl berth, possibly. The loser? Let's just say losing wouldn't be a good thing.
I'm starting this little feature today and yes, this is because of Oregon. Sure, they are #2 in the BCS, but it doesn't matter, honestly. As long as they keep winning they will be fine - any undefeated team from a major conference will be in the championship game (sorry Boise State, Utah, and TCU, but it's true).
There are currently seven teams still undefeated: Utah, TCU, Boise State, Oregon, Missouri, Auburn, and Michigan State. Boise already won this week and I've talked about Oregon enough, but what about everyone else?
Auburn plays at Ole Miss against Jeremiah Masoli (who is playing well there). Auburn should win.
TCU visits a horrible UNLV team and should win handily.
Michigan State, the team I think is the weakest of the undefeateds, has to go on the road to Iowa. It would be nice to see Iowa eradicate the Big 10 from national championship contention.
Missouri is on the road at Nebraska, which will be a very difficult game for them. I think the Huskers win.
Utah will visit a pesky Air Force team, but should also win handily.
Every single one of these games has BCS implications, so if you are interested in who is playing in a BCS game I suggest keeping tabs on the scores.
Misaki is less than impressed with the idea of a "Golden Bear" and picks the Beavers (I know, big shock).
This "Golden Bear" sounds like a big wuss...
This Saturday should be very interesting...