Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Pac-10 stock report
By Ted Miller
Who's running with a bull market? Who's battling the bears (not the Golden ones)?
LaMichael James & Darron Thomas: Is there a better QB-RB combination in the country. No, you're wrong. There isn't.
Nduka "Junior" Onyeali: The true freshman had three sacks and forced two fumbles vs. Washington State. His name is Nigerian for "Your quarterback is in trouble."
Jacquizz Rodgers: The Oregon State running back was brilliant against California. He and James are odds-on favorites to be the first-team All-Pac-10 running backs. Wonder who ends up with more TDs? Rodgers has 16 -- if you count his TD pass -- compared to James' 15.
Stanford's defense: While it's had a couple of mediocre-to-bad games -- the Ducks gutted the Cardinal, for example -- pitching two shutouts in Pac-10 play is impressive by any measure. Kudos to first-year coordinator Vic Fangio.
Jeff Maehl: Arizona's Juron Criner is the best receiver in the Pac-10. Anyone else starting to think Maehl is No. 2?
Stepfan Taylor: Quick: Name the only Pac-10 running back who's eclipsed 100 yards rushing in five consecutive games? Here's a hint: His name is typed in bold on the left. [James officially ended up with 94 yards at Arizona State, according to Oregon.] The Stanford running back has averaged 114.2 yards per game during that span. Toby who?
The state of Washington: Losing is one thing, but both teams getting shut out -- and blown out -- by a combined count of 83-zip? That's just yucky. Someone should send me a bushel of oysters and some Cougar Gold cheese just for having to write about it. I'm being serious -- I need those for Thanksgiving.
Jake Locker: Ever had a broken rib? One word: hurts. But the bottom line is Locker went onto the injury list as the ninth-rated passer in the Pac-10.
Matt Barkley: Barkley has played well most of the year and validated the hype that has surrounded him since high school. That said, he had poor-to-middling performance vs. Oregon, with two interceptions. He's not there yet.
Shane Vereen: Vereen was bottled up at Oregon State -- he rushed for just 53 yards for the second time in three games -- and saw his streak of 33 consecutive games with at least one reception end. He'll need to step up now that QB Kevin Riley's season ended with a knee injury.
UCLA's defense: The Bruins gave up 583 yards to Arizona after yielding 582 to Oregon. They are giving up 30.4 points per game, which ranks eighth in the conference (thanks, state of Washington!). Coordinator Chuck Bullough might be concerned that head coach Rick Neuheisel has been helping out this week.
Paul Wulff: The Washington State coach is fighting to retain his job, and the Cougars are clearly a more competitive team this year. But Wulff probably can't take too many more feckless efforts and blowout defeats after the 42-0 drubbing at Arizona State gave the Cougars their 15th consecutive Pac-10 defeat.