Pac-10 stock report

October, 6, 2010
10/06/10
1:36
PM ET
Who's running with a bull market? Who's battling the bears (not the Golden ones)?

Stock up

Oregon: The third-ranked Ducks are the hottest team in the nation after their explosive comeback win against Stanford. A double-digit lead against Oregon is meaningless -- so far the Ducks have overcome three, including being 18 points down to the Cardinal.

LaMichael James: His 257 yards and three TDs vs. Stanford propelled him into Heisman Trophy contention. And as long as he piles up yards and the Ducks win, the odds are good he'll at least get an invitation to the ceremony in New York.

Darron Thomas: Are the Ducks better off at quarterback than they were in 2009? Maybe.

Jacquizz Rodgers: He rolled up 145 yards rushing against Arizona State and his seven total TDs -- six rushing, one receiving -- matches James for second among Pac-10 running backs (Cal's Shane Vereen has eight -- six rushing, two receiving).

Jake Locker: Locker posted a redemptive performance at USC, passing for 310 yards and rushing for 110. He also led a clutch, game-winning drive as he and the Huskies bounced back from a terrible performance versus Nebraska.

Johnathan Franklin: He ran for 216 yards versus Washington State and now ranks 10th in the country with 125 yards rushing per game.

Stephen Paea: Oh, yeah, that guy. After a quiet start to the season, Paea busted up the middle of the Sun Devils offensive line, recording two sacks and leading a resurgent charge from the Beavers defense.

Running backs: Nine running backs eclipsed the 100-yard mark last weekend, including three who had more than 200. Four Pac-10 teams rank among the nation's top-25 in rushing: Oregon, UCLA, USC and Stanford.

Stock down

USC: A second-consecutive loss to Washington -- this time inside the formerly formidable Coliseum -- seems to, once and for all, indicate that the Trojans are in decline.

Arizona State: Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

Vontaze Burfict: Burfict's antics are getting old -- and, more important, hurting his team. Maybe losing the starting job will help him see the light. He's a great talent. Let's hope he doesn't become a cautionary tale.

Stanford's defense: The Cardinal went to Eugene ranked 11th in the nation in total defense (256 yards per game). After Oregon rolled up 626 yards, the Cardinal now ranks 44th (330 yards per game).

Run defense: There are lots of good running backs in the Pac-10, and the run defenses are making them look even better. Only Arizona, at No. 21 (101.3 yards per game), ranks among the national leaders in run defense.

The zipper model: There's a lot of scuttlebutt to gather, as well as a lot of competing agendas, but word from various Pac-10 folks is the "zipper" model of Pac-10 divisions -- splitting up traditional rivals in separate divisions while retaining rivalry games -- is not going to happen. The prevailing wisdom, particularly from conference administrators (read: commissioner Larry Scott) is a regional split, most likely some sort of North-South divide, is better from a marketing position. The big question then becomes: Will there be a "California" South division, or will the Bay Area schools be forced into the North, which they don't want, but would prevent an immediate national perception of a cold, rainy, outpost in the North vs. a warm, sunny, California-cool in the south.

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