Because of a Thursday night game this week, the preview comes early! I know, I know, everyone is so excited they don't know what to do with themselves.
Speaking of not knowing what to do with one's self, what the hell happened in Corvallis last Saturday? Hey, give Washington State credit, they played a very good game. Their defense did whatever it wanted, and in turn, Oregon State's defense let the Cougars do whatever they wanted - I suppose that's fair.
Still, seriously, Wazzu? That game and a nice win by the USC Trojans in Tucson gave me a 2-2 week, putting me 48-16 on the season.
With regards to the Trojans, something needs to be said. Yes, they are not bowl eligible because of NCAA sanctions, courtesy of Reggie Bush and others. But. Those games still count in the Pac-10 race. Those four wins they have in the conference are four wins other teams don't have. When the national media discusses the Pac-10 of late, it's always about how they aren't strong enough to fill all six of their bowl commitments.
I get it. It's true - 1-10 the Pac-10 isn't as strong as I thought it was. However, when factoring in the conferences strength USC has to be considered because they are playing games that count in the standings, they are still very talented, and they can beat anyone on any given Saturday. You can't look at the Pac-10 this season and say, oh, it's Oregon, Stanford, Zona, and maybe Cal. Yes, those likely will be the only teams going to a bowl game, but SC is in that mix too. In fact, they likely are still the third-best team in the conference and would do very well in a bowl.
Don't forget the Trojans, that's all I'm saying.
Tier 1 - Oregon
Tier 2 - Stanford
Tier 3 - USC, Arizona, California
Tier 4 - Washington State, Arizona State, Oregon State, UCLA, Washington
Yep, that's right, no more separate tier just for the Cougars after last week. I can see how some would be inclined to replace them with the Beavers, but those same Beavers still beat Arizona and Cal. At least, I think it's the same Beavers - same jerseys anyway.
Oregon, Stanford, and Arizona have clinched bowl berths. SC is ineligible. Cal can get in with a win over Stanford or Washington. Washington can still earn win with wins over Cal, Washington State, and UCLA. Oregon State can get in with two wins in three games with SC, Stanford, and Oregon. UCLA can get in with two wins in three games with Washington, Arizona State, and USC. It's still possible the Pac-10 has six bowl-eligible teams - just not very likely.
WEEK 12 SCHEDULE
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.
5pm - UCLA at Washington, ESPN - WASHINGTON
12:30pm - Stanford (7, 8) at California, Fox Sports Northwest - STANFORD
5pm - USC (20, *) at Oregon State, ABC - OREGON STATE
* USC is not eligible for the USA Today Coaches Poll because of NCAA sanctions.
To be honest, I could see any of these games going the other way. This is a must-win for Oregon State - if they can't get up for this one, I don't know what to say. Last week I would have said The Big Game would be a Stanford blow-out, until Cal almost upset Oregon.
Oregon, Washington State, Arizona, and Arizona State are off. Next week Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon, and UCLA all play on Friday.
Besides Oregon three other teams remain undefeated: Auburn, Boise State, and TCU.
Boise State hosts Fresno State on Friday at 6:30pm on ESPN2. They should win, but Fresno won't go away quietly.
Auburn and TCU are off.
Poor Misaki doesn't quite know what to say about her Beavers at the moment.
Get 'em this week puppy.