It's pretty clear now no one has any idea what to expect from UCLA or California. Going into last week's matchup many, including myself, figured it would be a close game and UCLA had an excellent shot to win. California blew them out. I don't think anyone outside of Berkeley saw that coming.
That blowout and Washington looking horrible left me at 3-2 on the week, saved from falling under .500 by Oregon State's huge - and costly - win in Tucson against the Wildcats. Overall this season I am 33-10 in picking winners.
There were two horrible injuries for the Oregon schools as well. First Oregon running back Kenjon Barner got absolutely pasted by a Washington State gunner on a kick return, leaving him unconcious on the field. There was helmet-to-helmet contact, but not flag was thrown. Barner was taken to the hospital in an ambulance and kept overnight, but has since returned to Eugene. His status for the next game is unknown. (Darren Thomas, who suffered a shoulder stinger, is expected to be fine.)
You know, the NCAA (and NFL) have strict rules on the books about helmet-to-helmet hits, yet they very rarely call them. How many times is a guy laid out, the replay show helmet-to-helmet contact causing the player to lose conciousness, and there is no flag? 80% of the time? Higher? Football is a violent sport no doubt, but the officials aren't helping anything by seemingly missing every brain rattling hit. Call it more and it will happen less, as simple as that.
For the Beavers it was wide receiver James Rodgers, the stud senior, who was yanked awkwardly as he appeared to score a touchdown. He went down in a heap and had to be carried off the field. MRI results showed he's done for the year. While the injury hurts Oregon State, wide receiver is a position they do have a lot of depth at. Even though he's a senior Rodgers qualifies for a medical redshirt and could get one more season - as a Beaver fan that would be great to have him back. Good luck getting better James.
There was no flag on the play that caused Rodgers' injury as well (well, there was, but it was called back for illegal man downfield). At the point the defender tried to strip the ball and caused Rodgers to twist awkwardly he was already crossing the goal line. Had the defender actually stripped the ball, it wouldn't have made one shred of difference.
Oregon and Oregon State should be fine despite the injuries because of their depth, but both injuries shouldn't have happened in the first place.
Now for this week's tier breakdown:
Tier 1: Oregon
Tier 2: Stanford, Oregon State, Arizona
Tier 3: California, USC
Tier 4: Arizona State, UCLA
Tier 5: Washington
Tier 90: Washington State
With the win in Arizona Oregon State moves back to Tier 2. Zona stays because they are still a pretty damn good team capable of beating anyone.
After dominating the Bruins, Cal and UCLA swap tiers. Do I feel good about their placement? Not really.
And then there is the Washington schools... After a pathetic showing the Huskies get dropped to their own special tier. Yay Huskies!
Check out the Cougars - moving up! They may still not be that great, but two weeks in a row now they have been very scrappy. They may surprise someone yet.
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).
12:30pm - California at USC, Fox Sports Northwest - USC
4:30pm - Arizona (17, 20) at Washington State, Versus - Arizona
7:15pm - Oregon State (24, 29) at Washington, ESPN - Oregon State
Oregon, UCLA, Stanford, and Arizona State are off this week. Oregon and UCLA will meet next Thursday, and then be off for another 9 days.
* USC is not eligible for the USA Today Coaches Poll because of NCAA sanctions.
Not a lot to debate here - no upset picks. Arizona should win handily, Oregon State SHOULD win by at least 10, and USC is still plenty good to win their home games against schizophrenic teams like Cal. I'm thinking 3-0 this week sounds pretty good.
Yep, you guessed it - she's picking the Beavers again.
Next week's piece will be done on Wednesday, since Oregon and UCLA play Thursday night.