It's rivalry week in the Pac-10 in Oregon, Washington, Arizona, and Los Angeles. They say you can throw out the records in these games, but is that really true? And will I do better in my picks than the 3-2 I put up last week to put me at 54-18 on the season?
I've been to a few Civil Wars, both in Eugene and Corvallis, and some have lived up to they hype (like in 2000, 2007, and 2009. Others in recent history, not so much, like blowouts in 2004, 2005, and 2008.
This year's game has a different feel. Both teams have something to play for - Oregon wins and they go to the national championship game, Oregon State wins and they go to a bowl game - and rarely do teams blow each other out in this series. That said...these are two teams on completely different levels. Oregon, outside of the California game, has kept tabs on their opponents in the first half and blown them out in the second. Oregon State, the games they do play well, start faster and tend to trail off in the second half.
This is not good news for Corvallis.
You know what I want to see? I want to see the team Oregon State is capable of being to come out and give the Ducks everything they can handle. I want it to be entertaining, a game the fans can walk away from - even if Oregon wins - and agree the Beavers left it all on the field. They may be up and down and we may not really have any idea just what the Beavers are in 2010, but I'm willing to bet Coach Mike Riley will have his team ready to play.
The real question is if Oregon State plays a perfect game - if they get the running game going and Ryan Katz doesn't make any mistakes, if their defense can fill the holes and show they are capable of catching a running quarterback like Darron Thomas, if they execute on special teams, if they can force a couple turnovers - will it be enough? Is a perfect game from OSU enough to destroy Oregon's dreams?
Tier 1 - Oregon
Tier 2 - Stanford
Tier 3 - Arizona, USC
Tier 4 - Oregon State, Washington
Tier 5 - Arizona State, Washington State, California, UCLA
This week the tiers are pretty clear. Oregon could play for the national championship. Stanford is going to a BCS game. Arizona and USC have enough wins to be bowl-eligible (of course SC can't go). Oregon State and Washington can become bowl-eligible with wins. The other four are playing only for pride, except for Cal, which already lost that.
WEEK 14 SCHEDULE
On to this week's schedule - one game on Thursday this week. 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).
5pm - Arizona State at Arizona (26, 26) ESPN - ARIZONA
12:30pm - Oregon (1, 1) at Oregon State, ABC - OREGON
4pm - Washington at Washington State, Versus - WASHINGTON
7:30pm - USC at UCLA, Fox Sports Northwest - USC
Cal and Stanford (5, 5) have finished their seasons.
Probably not a lot of surprise here. I will say, I won't be shocked with a Cougars win in Pullman, and if the Zona game was in Tempe I might have picked the Sun Devils.
After Boise State unexpectedly loss to Nevada (gotta congratulate them on a fantastic comeback), only TCU and Auburn remain undefeated besides Oregon. TCU needs a loss by Auburn or Oregon to make it to the title game, otherwise they likely go to the Rose Bowl.
Auburn plays South Carolina in Atlanta at 1pm on CBS in the SEC championship game. While it should be a very good game, anything less than an Auburn victory would have to be considered a shocking upset.
TCU's season is over. They did their part to make it to the title game, going 12-0, but they still need help. It says here they should prepare for Pasadena.
MISAKI and SERA
It's rivalry week here at home too. Misaki has been cheering for her Beavers all season long, and she's not about to stop now.
But Sera has a certain glimmer in her eye...
Now kids, no fighting. May the best native Oregon animal win!