Monday, November 29, 2010
Pac-10 rewind and look ahead
By Ted Miller
A look back on the week that was.
Chris Polk's touchdown on the final play of the game against California improved Washington's record to 5-6. The Huskies can go to a bowl game if they can beat in-state rival Washington State on Saturday
Team of the week: Washington looked dead in the drizzle after it dropped three in a row by an average of 36 points, but the Huskies got off the canvas and now have won consecutive games for the first time all season, including a 16-13 win at California over the weekend. If they win at Washington State on Saturday in the annual Apple Cup, the Huskies will go to a bowl game for the first time since 2002.
Best game: It doesn't get much more thrilling than recording a game-winning touchdown run on a fourth down from the 1-yard line on the final play of a game, as the Huskies did in Berkeley. Coach Steve Sarkisian could have kicked a field goal for the tie, but he boldly went for the win and was rewarded.
Biggest play: Top-ranked Oregon trailed Arizona 19-14 early in the third quarter when freshman receiver Josh Huff took a pitch 85 yards for a touchdown, giving the Ducks their first lead of the game. Thereafter, the Wildcats had no chance, as Oregon ended up winning 48-29.
Offensive standout: Arizona State quarterback Brock Osweiler came off the bench for injured starter Steven Threet and completed 27 of 36 passes for 380 yards with four touchdowns in the Sun Devils' 55-34 win over UCLA. Osweiler also ran six times for 35 yards and a score. He will start Thursday at Arizona.
Defensive standout: Stanford linebacker Chase Thomas had nine tackles and 2.5 sacks in the Cardinal's 38-0 win over Oregon State.
Special teams standout: Just after UCLA scored a touchdown to narrow Arizona State's lead to 31-27, the Sun Devils Jamal Miles returned the ensuing kickoff 99-yards for a touchdown. The Bruins never threatened again.
Smiley face: Letdown shockers late in the season that cost teams BCS bowl berths are an annual occurrence in college football. So Oregon and Stanford impressively taking care of business at home against credible foes deserves a tip of the cap.
Frowny face: We don't even know you any more, Oregon State. Lose to UCLA and Washington State? Beat USC? Then get stomped 38-0 at Stanford? Make up your mind. Please. Might be a good idea to bring the team that beat USC to Reser Stadium on Saturday or the Civil War could get uncivil.
Thought of the week: When Stanford reached No. 4 in the BCS standings, which guarantees the Cardinal a berth in a BCS bowl game, athletic directors across the Pac-10 -- even at California -- jumped into the air and clicked their heels together. Why? They know they will get a check for at least $450,000 this winter, which is the conference's per team distribution of the bonus payout for getting a second BCS bowl team. There are plenty of cash-strapped departments than can use the extra money.
Questions for the week: Will the Apple Cup be Washington State coach Paul Wulff's final game? He appears to be the only coach in the Pac-10 whose fate for 2011 is still a question. While the Cougars are much improved, and they broke through with a win over Oregon State, athletic director Bill Moos' silence on Wulff's status suggests there are some behind-the-scenes machinations going on. It's hard to believe the decision could come down to one game, but beating the Huskies and ending their bowl hopes would certainly make Coug fans happier heading into the offseason.