It is week eight in the Pac 10 and things are starting to get pretty serious. Almost anyone can beat anyone in the conference this year.
Arizona State at Stanford
What do we know about these two teams going in? ASU has one of the toughest and dirtiest defenses in the Pac 10. They have consistently stopped the run all season. Stanford lives by the power running game. Even though Andrew Luck is talented he really needs the support of the running game to make things happen. Nobody has really stopped Toby Gerhart this season but if you hold him to around 100 yards you can beat Stanford. ASU's offense is terrible and they can't get caught up in a track meet like Stanford had with Arizona last weekend and stay in the game.
Stanford by 3
Oregon State at USC
Are the Trojans a one loss contender for the national title? If they are they better take care of business at home against Oregon State. The Beavers, in fact, have beaten USC twice in the past three years, both times in Corvallis. But in Los Angeles, it's a different story. OSU hasn't beaten USC there since 1960.
USC by 7
UCLA at Arizona
Arizona stayed in the race by erasing the bitter taste of losing a game they should have won against Washington by outlasting Stanford in another thriller. This weeke they faced the beat up an offensively inept Bruins at home. UCLA isn't playing well right now. They haven't been able to solve the problems on offense and the defense had a surprisingly poor showing against California last week.
Arizona by 14
Washington State at California
My friend Nuss over at Coug Center insists that the Cougars will hold the Golden Bears to 35 points or less. Film from last weeks contest against UCLA suggest that Cal will score at will against WSU.
Cal by 24
Oregon at Washington
Can you say trap game?
Washington has lost five straight to Washington and there isn't a single player on the Oregon roster who has lost to Washington or has even seen them be competitive against their program. The Ducks are coming off a bye week after a less than effective game by their offense against woeful UCLA. Masoli may be the starter on Saturday but exactly how mobile will he be when contact starts?
Oregon is thinking Rose Bowl right now. Who can blame them they are 3-0 in conference and in control of their own destiny. The path to Pasadena runs directly through Eugene where the Ducks will face off against USC next weekend. Could the Ducks be looking ahead to the Trojans? I think they might. Five straight decisive wins have put a bucket of ice cold water on the rivarly from an Oregon perspective.
Chip Kelly: "We don't put any more stock in this game than another and by that I don't mean to diminish it, but we put everything we have into every game. We haven't done anything different in terms of our approach. It's a league game, it's on the road, and that's enough to get our players up and excited for practice.''
On paper Oregon should win this game. They have more talent, speed, and depth than Washington has. We have said that about every opponent but Idaho this season and will likely keep saying it till we play UCLA and WSU. The Ducks have been solid on defense and a speedy and blitzing 3-4 will challenge the Washington offensive line. It will also create opportunities for Jake Locker to create some plays. Oregon hasn't been challenged by a QB with the talent of Locker this season.
This game is going to be decided in the fourth quarter. It doesn't matter who starts at QB for Oregon. They will run the same offense and they are going to put some points on the board. Washington needs some turnovers and a better performance from their special teams this week to win the game. Defensively the Huskies need to tackle better because if they tackle the way they did against ASU the Ducks are going to burn them for big plays.
When the season started I had this game marked down as a loss. After the first three games I felt Washington could handle Oregon at home. After the Cal game which blew me away I had it back firmly in the loss column. What changes my mind this week is the potential trap situation, the home field advantage, anger by Washington, Jake Locker, and of course playing against a QB that will be less mobile than the last time he suited up.
This game will be bitterly fought and won't be decided till the last play of the game when Erik Folk puts one through the uprights from 42 yards out!
Washington by 3