Sunday, September 19, 2010

Pac-10 Football - What We Learned in Week Three

Another interesting week in the Pac-10. Lets see what we learned...

Oregon killed Portland State 69-0 in Eugene. We did not learn much here other than yes, the Ducks can dominate a well over matched team. Good teams do this, but it's a pretty thin measuring stick. Next week vs. Arizona State on the road will be more enlightening as the 3-0 Ducks look to start their campaign for the league title.

Washington was embarrassed by Nebraska 56-21 at Husky Stadium. Other than Nebraska is really good and a solid top 10 team, we learned that the Montlake "dawgs" are not ready for prime time as advertised and hyped...porous defense, poor tackling, mistake-prone offense and disturbingly bad special teams. Oh, and for once and for all, we learned that QB Locker is not a candidate for the Heisman trophy. At 1-2 now, their season just took on a different set of expectations.

WSU lost to SMU 35-21 in Dallas. We learned that the now 1-2 WSU does have some pluck and can, at least for a half, keep it close. We also learned that this is the case against a team the caliber of SMU. This may not work so well against USC, Arizona, Oregon, Oregon State...well, you get the idea.

Arizona beat Iowa 34-27 in Tuscon. We learned that the now 3-0 Arizona is a legit contender for the Pac-10 crown, at least in my book. I wasn't too sure earlier as they'd beaten two cream puff teams. But, great special teams play, opportunistic and run-stuffing defense and an offense that could drive the length of the field against a good Big Ten defense sold me. It was an impressive win against the #9 team in the land. That game in Eugene on Nov. 26 is looking very important.

UCLA beat ranked Houston 31-13. We learned that speculation of the Bruins complete and total washout this season may have been premature. I know it's "just" Houston, but they were ranked and UCLA was coming off two disappointing losses. Sitting at 1-2 now, UCLA has reason for some optimism.

USC beat Minnesota 32-21. I think we learned the same thing we learned in USC's previous games this season - there are big questions about them. In this game, their offense scored while suffering a not-so-great performance by their QB, and their defensive effort raises substantial questions. In summary, I think we learned that this 3-0 team is suspect and I don't think they will be able to run the Pac-10 table.

Oregon State beat Louisville 35-28 in Corvallis. We learned what we always learn about the now 1-1 Beavers at this stage of the season...that they are slow starters. Sure, they won this game, but it was close against a poor Louisville squad with the Cardinals having a chance to tie or win with their last possession. Yes, Jaquizz is a good RB, but the bark rats better up their game in other areas next week or they will get drilled by Boise State.

Stanford beat Wake Forest 68-24 in Palo Alto. We learned that we can start believing the pre-season predictions about Stanford being quite good are true. At 3-0 (and 1-0 in league play), they're good and Luck is an exceptional QB. Yes, in this case they beat up on an inferior team, but regardless of how they do vs. Notre Dame next week, I'm starting to think that the Pac-10 race is Stanford, UO and Arizona. Good thing for the Ducks that they play both those teams at Autzen.

Arizona State lost to Wisconsin 20-19. We learned that ASU has some heart and some bad luck. Losing on a blocked extra point kick that would have tied it right at the end, the now 2-1 Sun Devils put up a good fight against #11 Wisconsin - something not many predicted. So perhaps we also learned that the "fighting Dennis Ericksons" may offer a stiffer challenge to Pac-10 foes than previously thought. They play Oregon next.

Cal lost to Nevada 52-31. We learned that 2-1 Cal is overrated at this point in the season. No disrespect to Nevada as I know they are no longer the pushover they used to be (and probably were when Cal scheduled this game several years ago), but hey, giving up 52 points? To Nevada? And, even if you do can't outscore them? Sorry. Overrated. Will they, as has been the case in recent seasons when adversity hits, now fold as a team?

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