Sunday, October 31, 2010

What We Learned - Week Nine in Pac-10 Football

Oregon (8-0 overall, 5-0 in Pac-10 play) defeated USC (5-3, 2-3) by the score of 53-32 in Los Angeles. We learned that charges by pundits and opponents saying that Oregon runs a "gimmick" offense, fields a "fraud" deffense, has played a "soft" schedule and hasn't "proved it" on the road are, in fact, completely false.

For indeed, Saturday we definitively learned that the inverse of all of those things is what is true. Lets break it down for those still doubting:
  • Oregon is a power offense. The proof is in the stats - 311 on the ground and 288 in the air - and the number of points scored (52). Think that's gimmicky? Think they somehow "manufactured" that out of thin air? No. They ran through USC, and then threw it over the top of them on the way to an excellent day. 
  • Oregon fields a legit defense. OK, they did give up some yards and some points. But hey, isn't USC's offense supposed to be among the best in the conference if not the nation? And how about 3 turnovers they nabbed Saturday. Does it get any more legit than beating USC by three touchdowns...on the road?
  • Oregon plays a difficult schedule and beats good teams...even on the road. To date, the Ducks have beaten then #9 Stanford (now #12) at home and #23 USC on the road. Throw in quality road wins against Arizona State (first league road game) and Tennessee (second week of the season and down in SEC territory) and I think talk of weak schedule can be put to rest.
We also learned that Oregon, if it can take care of business against its remaining schedule, will certainly earn a spot in the big national title game in January.

Stanford (7-1, 4-1) beat Washington (3-5, 2-3) by the score of 41-0 in Seattle. We learned that UW is nowhere near where it wants to be or thought it was as a football program entering this season. "Rock bottom" is the description of the team's own coach after the game when describing his squad. UW has to win three of its final four games to be considered for a bowl game. Yes, they have to figure out a way to beat Oregon in Eugene, Cal in Seattle, UCLA in Seattle and WSU in Pullman. Based on yesterday's evidence, none of those games are a "gimmie" - even against WSU. Meanwhile, we learned that Stanford continues to be the real deal...a very good second-best team in the league.

ASU (4-4, 2-3) beat WSU (1-8, 0-6) by the score of 42-0. We learned that my prediction of the Cougs finally putting it together were, well, WAY too optimistic. Oh well. We learned that ASU can come back from a nasty defeat and could be a spoiler for others still on their schedule.

Oregon State (4-3, 3-1) beat Cal (4-4, 2-3) by the score of 35-7 in Corvallis. We learned again that Cal just 'aint the same team on the road as they are at a long shot. We learned that Oregon State is still on track to give Oregon trouble in the Civil War game in early December.

Arizona (7-1, 4-1) beat UCLA (3-5, 2-4) by the score of 29-21 in Los Angeles. Not much learned here. The Arizona backup QB is good. Arizona is better team than UCLA. They are on the march to an epic showdown with Oregon on Nov. 26 in Eugene. Meanwhile, we learned that the Bruins can bounce back, but are done for the year. That's about it.

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