Sunday, October 16, 2011
What we learned in the Pac-12: Week 7
By Ted Miller
What did we learn from Week 7 of Pac-12 action?
Oregon can beat you a lot of different ways: Oregon didn't have its top two offensive stars on the field -- running back LaMichael James and quarterback Darron Thomas -- when it asserted itself in the second half against Arizona State. What that showed in a 41-27 win is the Ducks not only have depth, they also have confidence that the next players in line -- in this case Kenjon Barner and Bryan Bennett -- are good enough to get the job done. Still, the Ducks probably would like James and Thomas back as soon as possible.
Keith Price threw four touchdown passes in Washington's win over Colorado.
Washington is ready for a test; so is Stanford: Washington is 5-1, but it hasn't beaten a team with a winning record. The Huskies' lone loss came at Nebraska , where they were competitive but still lost 51-38. This looks like a pretty good team, particularly on offense, but it's hard to be sure. Enter Stanford. The closest an opponent has been to Stanford, now 6-0, is 26 points (UCLA), but none of its previous foes have winning records either. The Cardinal have been dominant on both sides of the ball, and they whipped the Huskies 41-0 last year. This figures to be the second matchup of ranked Pac-12 teams this year. The Huskies could make a big statement with an upset. The Cardinal would get credit for a quality win.
Utah is pretty good when it doesn't beat itself: Utah lost the turnover battle 10-1 in its previous two games, not surprisingly both losses. It beat Pittsburgh 26-14, largely because it didn't turn the ball over and the Panthers did three times. While not a perfect performance -- the Utes gave up two special-teams TDs -- it should remind the Utes what they can do when they play smart football.
Tedford's seat is heating up: The 30-9 loss to USC was California's third consecutive conference defeat, and the regression of QB Zach Maynard is a concern. While coach Jeff Tedford did a nice job rebuilding the program, he also is responsible for the program's present state. And that is uncertain. Another bowl-less season in Berkeley could make life difficult for Tedford.
Colorado, Oregon State and Arizona -- who's the worst? Colorado and Oregon State don't play each other, which I'd bet bothers both because they'd see a chance to win. And, of course, Oregon State's win over Arizona was the final straw for coach Mike Stoops. The Wildcats and Buffs square off on Nov. 12 -- the same day Oregon and Stanford play -- in what will be a key contest for figuring out the No. 12 spot in the conference.