Friday, November 12, 2010
Pac-10 stock report
By ESPN.com staff
Who's running with a bull market? Who's battling the bears (not the Golden ones)?
Richard Brehaut: UCLA may have a quarterback controversy this spring. Brehaut, of whom expectations were not high when he stepped in for the injured Kevin Prince, has responded with poise. In the win over Oregon State, he completed 13 of 19 passes for 127 yards and -- most surprising -- ran for 61 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries.
Cameron Jordan: The California defensive end had a career-high 12 tackles -- with a career-high three coming for a loss -- at Washington State. He also was projected as a first-round NFL draft pick this week by ESPN's Todd McShay.
Stanford's defense: While the Cardinal gave up some yards in the win over Arizona, it held the Wildcats to just 17 points. And that came a week after pitching a second shutout of the season at Washington. In its first year with coordinator Vic Fangio, the defense ranks third in the Pac-10 in scoring (20.8 points per game) and fourth in total defense (339.7 yards per game).
UCLA's defense: The Bruins defense has been hot and cold this year, but it heated up against Oregon State. They held the Beavers to just 267 total yards, the fewest the Bruins have allowed this season, in a 17-14 victory.
Omar Bolden: The Arizona State cornerback returned an interception 66 yards for a touchdowns vs. USC. It was his third interception of the season, which is tied for third in the conference. Bolden has bounced back from a mid-career slump and now looks like an NFL draft pick.
Arizona's defense: The Wildcats went to Stanford ranked among the nation's elite on the mean side of the ball. But Andrew Luck and the Cardinal had their way, and piled up 510 yards and 42 points. Ends Brooks Reed and Ricky Elmore, the best pass-rushing combination in the Pac-10, didn't record a sack.
Allen Bradford: Bradford's peculiar career -- the Pac-10 blog believes he's going to end up an NFL starter -- took a downturn with just one carry versus Arizona State. He's fallen behind Marc Tyler and true freshman Dillon Baxter in the pecking order, apparently, and ball security was the chief explanation given by coach Lane Kiffin.
Oregon State: The Beavers entered last weekend controlling whether or not they will appear in the Rose Bowl. Win out, and they were in. But after a shockingly feckless performance at UCLA, the 4-4 Beavers now face a challenging road to just get bowl-eligible. They must win two of their final four games, and the schedule isn't terribly forgiving: Washington State, USC, at Stanford and Oregon.
Thomas Weber: Weber missed what could have been a game-winning field goal at USC and had a PAT blocked and returned for a critical two points in a one-point loss. The former Lou Groza Award winner as the nation's best kicker has connected on just 10 of 17 field goals this season and has had two PATs blocked.
Pac-10 bowl contracts: The conference started the season with only nine eligible teams for six contracted bowl slots because USC is ineligible for the postseason due to NCAA sanctions. Washington State is already assured of a losing record. Washington and Arizona State needs to win-out to become bowl eligible. UCLA and Oregon State need two more wins. California needs one. It's almost certain that the conference won't produce six bowl-eligible teams. And if Oregon plays for the national title and Stanford manages to get a Rose Bowl invitation -- or at-large berth to another BCS bowl game -- then a number of contracted bowls could end up scrambling for replacement teams.