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November 11, 2008

Pac-10 Review: Week 11

How is the state of the Pac-10 after week 11? Arizona and Oregon are smiling, California isn't too happy and Washington has suicidal depression.

Arizona:

Bowl eligibility doesn't always promise a postseason invitation (see Arizona, 2006) but with bowl ties in the conference, Arizona is promised a bowl game after beating Washington State 59-28. Arizona was able to dominate the game with an unstoppable balanced offense. Seven of the Wildcats' eight touchdowns came on the ground, highlighted by Nicolas Grigsby's 28 carries for 189 yards and a touchdown. While the defense did allow 28 points, its 208 total yards allowed and four takeaways is still a good showing. Arizona can go to the Holiday bowl by winning out.

Arizona State:

Arizona State snapped its school record tying six game losing streak by beating Washington. Down 19-16 in the third quarter, ASU scored 23 unanswered points to keep its bowl hopes alive. Quarterback Rudy Carpenter had his first game without an interception since Sept. 20. Running back Keegan Herring played his best football in quite some time; his 144 yards beat his previous season high of 59. Arizona State must win out to become bowl eligible, with the toughest remaining test being a trip to Tucson in the Territorial Cup.

California:

Another victim of the Trojan defense, Cal was unable to produce offensively in its 17-3 loss at USC. It was the first game of the season that Cal didn't score a touchdown and the Golden Bears' three points were well below their previous season low of 24 points against ASU. At 6-3 overall, Cal will head to Oregon State this weekend.

Oregon:

It took a touchdown with six seconds left for Oregon to close out Stanford 35-28 in Eugene. As usual, the Oregon running game was dominant. Jeremiah Johnson ran for 135 yards on 15 carries (9 yards per carry), including a 41-yard touchdown. LeGarrette Blount also averaged 9 yards per carry en route to his 90-yard, 2-touchdown performance that included the go-ahead touchdown at the end of the game. The Ducks host Arizona; the winner stands in good position for conference runner-up.

Oregon State:

The Beavers ousted UCLA 34-6 at the Rose Bowl this weekend. Jacquizz Rodgers' 144 yards on the ground made him the all-time rushing leader as a freshman in the Pac-10. Oregon State, besides defeating USC, has yet to beat a team with a winning conference record. It will get its chance the next few weeks playing Cal, Arizona and Oregon. Beating Cal and Oregon State proves that the USC game was no fluke. Lose and the question mark will still hang over this team's head.

Stanford:

The Cardinal came up just short in its 35-28 loss at Oregon. Stanford was unable to capitalize on turnovers, scoring just a field goal off of Oregon's three fumbles. Though the defense did recover three fumbles, it was still unable to make much a dent to Oregon's ground attack, allowing 307 rushing yards. Stanford, one win away from bowl eligibility, will have to beat either USC or retain control of the Stanford Axe in the Big Game at Berkeley in order to reach the postseason. Either way, Stanford really wishes it could replay its 23-20 loss at UCLA.

UCLA:

UCLA was dominated by Oregon State at home this weekend, losing 34-6. UCLA could only convert 2 of its 14 third downs and quarterback Kevin Craft's two interceptions give him 13 for the year, which is the most in the Pac-10 and ties for sixth nationally. The Bruins can become bowl eligible by winning out, but I don't see much possibility in UCLA sweeping Washington, Arizona State and USC.

Washington and Washington State:

Another week of football and another loss for each program. I have run out of ways to make fun of these two teams; hopefully I can think of something for next week.

Thought of the Week:

Even a Pac-10 obsessed fan cannot possibly argue against the fact that it is a major down year out west.

I blame the decline of offensive output, an area where the conference usually dominates. Here are a few offensive statistics on the national scale where you will not be seeing anyone from the Pac-10:

Top 39 Individual Receptions per game (Mike Thomas #40)
Top 20 Third-Down Efficiency
Top 20 Passing Offense
Top 20 First Downs
Top 10 Individual Passing Efficiency
Top 10 Total Offense
Top 10 Fewest Turnovers
Top 10 Turnover Margin
Top 9 Scoring Offense (Arizona #10)
Top 9 Individual Rushing (Jacquizz Rodgers #10)

And the result, taking away USC:

Top 25 BCS standing
Top 20 AP Rankings
Top 20 USA Today Poll

Spencer Smith

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