Pac-10 stock report

September, 22, 2010
9/22/10
10:43
AM ET
Who's running with a bull market? Who's battling the bears (not the Golden ones)?

Stock up

Arizona: The Wildcats, the national team of the week, are 3-0 and ranked 14th after beating No. 9 Iowa, their first victory over a ranked nonconference foe at home since 1989. They are playing well on both sides of the ball and look like a legitimate threat in the Pac-10.

Arizona State: The Sun Devils lost 20-19 at Wisconsin, but they sure didn't look like the team projected to finish ninth in the Pac-10 this fall. Particularly intriguing is a transformation on offense, as QB Steven Threet seems adept at running Noel Mazzone's spread attack.

UCLA's running game: Last year, UCLA ranked 97th in the nation and ninth in the Pac-10 with 114.6 yards rushing per game. This year, despite playing three quality opponents, the Bruins rank 31st in the nation and fourth in the Pac-10 with 203.7 yards per game.

The return game: Three conference teams already have returned kickoffs for TDs. Oregon has returned three punts for TDs. USC one. Six conference punt returners rank among the top 21 in the nation. Four kick returners rank among the top 17.

Shane Vereen: Vereen ran for a career-high 198 yards and three touchdowns in California's 52-31 loss at Nevada. He is now second in the Pac-10 and 21st in the nation with 108 yards per game.

Andrew Luck: As Stanford's fortunes rise, so does Luck's Heisman Trophy candidacy. The nation's third-rated passer has 10 TD passes and has not thrown an interception. He also has a 52-yard TD run.

Allen Bradford: A non-factor in USC's first two games, he rolled up 131 yards on just 12 carries with a TD in a 32-21 win at Minnesota.

Justin Washington: Guess who leads the Pac-10 in sacks with four? An Arizona redshirt freshman defensive tackle named Justin Washington, that's who.

Brandon Bair: Is Bair the most underrated player in the Pac-10? Maybe. The Oregon DT leads the conference with 6.5 tackles for a loss after a monster game vs. Portland State.

Stock down

California: The national ranking went poof amid a flurry of Nevada points last Friday.

Washington: Little went right as Nebraska pounded the Huskies in front of a supremely disappointed home stadium. Rumors of the program's return to national relevancy appear to have been greatly exaggerated.

USC's defense: The Trojans rank sixth in the conference in scoring defense (23.7 ppg), seventh in total defense (411.7 yards per game) and last in passing defense(291.0 ypg). And those numbers came against mediocre-to-bad teams.

Washington State's offensive line: The Cougars have surrendered 10 sacks -- three more than any other conference team -- and rank last in the conference in rushing (96.7 ypg).

UCLA's ball security: UCLA ranks last in the conference and 112th in the nation in turnover margin. The Bruins are minus-five on the year, with their 10 giveaways being twice as many as any other conference team.

Oregon State's pass rush: The Beavers only have two sacks in two games, which might be a big reason opponents are completing 60 percent of their passes, which is the second-worst completion rate in the conference. Up next: Boise State's Kellen Moore.

Jake Locker: You might have heard that Locker turned in the worst performance of his career vs. Nebraska. It's hard to become a Heisman Trophy candidate -- and justify a high NFL draft grade -- when your QB rating ranks ninth in the Pac-10 and 65th in the nation.

Ted Miller | email

College Football

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