What we learned this week in Pac-10 football...
Oregon (11-0 overall, 8-0 in Pac-10 play) defeated Arizona (7-4, 4-4) by the score of 48-29 in Eugene. Well, the first and foremost thing we learned from this game is that the Ducsk are...for the second year in a row...Pac-10 Champions! Yes indeed, they win the league again and no matter what happens against the hated Beavers next weekend in Corvallis, the Ducks are at worst going to the Rose Bowl again. We also learned that with this win, if the Ducks beat OSU next weekend, they will be in the National Championship game as the #1 team in the land.
Getting to the game, we learned that there is nothing "wrong" with the Oregon offense as some speculated after the 15-13 win against Cal a couple weeks ago. Nope, other than two costly turnovers, the Oregon O was back on track against a good defense. We also learned anew may of the same things we've learned over the weeks about the Ducks...bend but don't break (too much) defense, turnover producing defense, quick strike offense, breakneck wear-you-down style, great special teams and - unfortunately - they have a habit of giving the ball away a few times each game. We also learned that the Ducks have A LOT of weapons. Josh Huff, Darron Thomas, LaMichael James, Kenyon Barnor, Jeff Maehl, Cliff Harris, DJ Davis and more. Each of these guys had a big impact on the game against Arizona. Speed, speed, speed. I don't see this from other top five teams like Auburn, Boise State or TCU.
From Arizona we learned that if Nick Foles could play every game against the Ducks, he'd be Mr. All World as he absolutely BURNED the Ducks again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again with pinpoint passing. Oh well, the Duckies still won by a lot.
Since the Ducks are in the race for the national championship, it is also worth noting that we also learned that Boise State is no longer a threat to make that game because they lost Friday to Nevada. Bye, bye Boise State.
Washington (5-6, 4-4) defeated Cal (5-7, 4-5) by the score of 16-13 at Berkley. We learned that Cal's season is done. With only five wins, they are not bowl eligible and they have no more games to play in the regular season. So, they're done. Meanwhile, we learned that Washington manned up when they had to and got the job done late - on the last play of the game. While you will never mistake me for a Husky fan, you have to give it up to the team and their coach for deciding to go for the win on the last play instead of kicking a field goal to tie it and send the game into overtime. So, we learned that the UW still could make a bowl game if they can defeat WSU in the Apple Cup. That would give them the required six wins. Oh, and by the way, we learned that the first half of this game was probably the most boring display of football seen so far this season. 0-0 the whole half until right at the end when Cal kicked a field goal.
Stanford (11-1, 8-1) defeated Oregon State (5-6, 4-4) by the score of 38-0 in Palo Alto. We learned that Oregon State is "not ready for prime time" when it comes to playing the top teams in the Pac-10. Put simply, they were WORKED by Stanford. With their loss, we learned that the Beavers now need to beat Oregon next weekend in the Civil War game just to become bowl eligible. One thing I've learned over the years is that it dose not matter if the Beavers are a horrible team or not, they always get up for and play well in the Civil War. So, I expect their very best game of the year next week against the Ducks.
For Stanford, we learned that they have now clinched second place in the Pac-10. Their regular season is now complete and they await to see if they can sneak into a BSC bowl game or if they are relegated to the normal second place bowl for the Pac-10...the suddenly not-that-impressive Alamo Bowl.
Notre Dame (7-5) defeated USC (7-5, 4-4) by the score of 20-16 in Los Angeles. I did not watch this game nor have I seen highlights. So, all I'll say is that I think we learned that both these once great programs have lost the luster they once had and that whether it's ND winning by four or if USC would have won by four...it's oddly and now all-to-common that this game is irrelevant to the big picture of college football.