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What we learned in the Pac-12: Week 7

10/16/2011

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.

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.