Sunday, November 4, 2012
What we learned in the Pac-12: Week 10
By Ted Miller
What did we learn in Week 10? Read on.
1. Oregon makes its national title statement: While USC scrapped and clawed and didn't yield easily in front of 93,607 at the Coliseum, Oregon was in control throughout against the Trojans in a 62-51 victory, mostly because the Trojans couldn't stop the Ducks' offense, which rolled up 730 yards. Those point and yardage totals are the largest ever yielded by USC. The Trojans scored with one second left to cut into the final margin. It's likely Oregon's performance will only enhance its position with pollsters, and it should boost the Ducks' computer rating.
UCLA piled up 308 yards on the ground -- including 162 from Johnathan Franklin, who became UCLA's all-time leading rusher.
2. UCLA makes its South Division statement: UCLA blows out Arizona, a team that beat USC ... so what does that mean? Well, we all know how the Pac-12 blog hates the overuse of the transitive property of college football, but the Bruins made an impressive statement with their dominant 66-10 win over the Wildcats. As the only team in the Pac-12 South Division with just two conference losses, the Bruins control their own destiny -- win out, and they are the division champs and thereby would play in the conference title game. Of course, there's plenty of work ahead, including a visit from USC on Nov. 17 and Stanford on Nov. 24. Still, after laying an egg against California, the Bruins have rolled up three quality wins against South foes.
3. Stanford and Oregon State are nationally ranked teams with odd QB situations: Stanford will play host to Oregon State on Saturday, and both teams will be ranked in the nation's top 15. Yet both have questions at quarterback nine games into the season. It appears that Kevin Hogan will make his first start after replacing Josh Nunes against Colorado and leading five TD drives in a 48-0 win. While Nunes has been inconsistent, Hogan has sparked the offense as a dual threat. Meanwhile, Oregon State replaced Sean Mannion with Cody Vaz against Arizona State, and Vaz had a slow start and an uneven performance, but the Beavers prevailed 36-26. It would appear that Vaz will get the call against the Cardinal.
4. Washington and Utah are continuing second-half surges: The Huskies and Utes now own modest two-game winning streaks and seem headed toward bowl eligibility. Utah buried listless Washington State 49-6 to improve to 4-5 and 2-4 in Pac-12 play. Washington won a sloppy 21-13 game at California and stands at 5-4, 3-3. These two meet Saturday at CenturyLink Field, with the winner feeling pretty good about its bowl prospects and feeling much better than it did on Oct. 20.
5. To their great disappointment, Cal, Washington State aren't bowling this year: Cal and Washington State both took their seventh loss of the year, which means no bowl game. Both looked like bowl teams in the preseason. While new Cougars coach Mike Leach ripped his team's effort, Cal coach Jeff Tedford is walking a fine line. He's already on one of the hottest seats in the country, so he can't afford to lose his locker room. Further, it appears that the Bears might lose quarterback Zach Maynard to a knee injury, which means junior Allan Bridgford would start at quarterback Saturday against Oregon. The Cougars, meanwhile, were supposed to be better under Leach. It hasn't happened yet, as the 2-7 Cougs play host to UCLA on Saturday.