For the first time in 113 meetings, the winner of the Oregon-Oregon State game will be guaranteed a spot in the Rose Bowl. The Ducks have not played in a Rose Bowl 1995, when they lost to Penn State 38-20. Oregon State played in its last Rose Bowl in 1965 when the Beavers lost to Michigan, 34-7.
If you are a Husky fan there probably is no question which team you will be rooting for either. Since the game is at Autzen the Beavers will be facing an up hill battle but I think they can play toe to toe with the Ducks. This one is going to have quite a bit of build up because the game won't be played for two weeks. Not even the spectre of this weeks monster Apple Cup contest will diminish the excitement building for this one.
Speaking of the Apple Cup it couldn't have come at a better time for the Washington Huskies. If you are looking for some confidence and a positive step near the end the season the Cougars are the ideal visitors of 2009. WSU is a football program in trouble right now. The Coug's unless they do the unthinkable and beat the Huskies may go down as being the worst team in conference history other than the 2008 Huskies and 2006 Stanford Cardinal.
The problems over at WSU are talent, depth, and a coaching staff that doesn't seem to be getting the job done in year two. The Cougars roster going into the season looked like a police blotter and not much has happened during the last three months to change that perception. Wulff a WSU alum who was brought into clean up the mess seems to be more deeply mired in it than the previous staff.
Despite the lopsided losses the WSU athletic department announced recently that they were bringing Wulff and his staff back for 2010. One thing Wulff and his staff have going for them is they are economical and under contract. There are assistants in the league such as Washington's Nick Holt who make more than Wulff does.
Nobody expects the Coug's to go to a bowl next year but the expectation is they should be better on the field and spend less time in jail in 2010 because they really can't get any worse. If WSU can craft together a four win season next year and show some progress chances are Wulff will stick around for awhile.
As for this years Apple Cup the lines are out and the Coug's have the Huskies exactly where they want. Washington goes into the game as a 28 point favorite. No matter how bad the Cougs are we all know we can throw the stats out in an Apple Cup game because they always want it more.
Washington's last game was a blowout loss to Oregon State. What was disturbing about that loss other than the score was the fact that Washington didn't play like they really wanted to be there. For the first time all season Washington didn't show up for a game. If they do that again against WSU they are going to be in trouble. WSU actually played better against OSU than Washington did.
On paper there is no way for the Cougs to win this one. If they went head to head with Idaho they would lose by three touchdowns. The Huskies need to do what almost every Cougar opponent has done this season and that is put this game away early and coast to victory. If they allow the Coug's to hang around into the fourth quarter bad things are bound to happen because after all it is the Apple Cup.
Around the Pac 10
UCLA 23 ASU 13
Redshirt freshman Kevin Prince passed for 161 yards, UCLA's defense accounted for two touchdowns and set up a field goal, and the Bruins beat Arizona State 23-13 Saturday to become bowl eligible with their sixth win. Prince was 15-for-31 with no interceptions and no TDs for the Bruins whose last postseason appearance was a loss in the 2007 Las Vegas Bowl. They won their third straight, and will visit crosstown rival Southern California next weekend in a bid to solidify their selection to a lower-tier bowl.
California 34 Stanford 28
Shane Vereen ran for a career-high 193 yards and three touchdowns on 42 carries and Mike Mohamed intercepted a pass from Andrew Luck at the 3 with less than 2 minutes left as Cal beat Stanford 34-28 Saturday. Andrew Luck was 10 for 30 for 157 yards and an interception. Toby Gerhart ran for 136 yards and four TDs in a losing effort. Stanford is 0-4 when he throws it at least 30 times.
Oregon State 42 WSU 10
The Beavers scored touchdowns on their first three possessions and rolled to a 42-10 win on Saturday, setting up the possibility that their rivalry game against Oregon on Dec. 3 would decide the Pac-10 representative for the bowl game.
Oregon 44 Arizona 41
Masoli tied it with a touchdown pass to Ed Dickson with six seconds left, then won it with a 1-yard run in the second overtime as No. 11 Oregon defeated Arizona 44-41 on Saturday night and took a big step toward the Pac-10 title. Masoli threw for three scores and ran for three more as the Ducks rallied from a 24-14 deficit early in the fourth quarter.
Facing relentless pressure from the Wildcats, Masoli struggled at times, fumbling twice and throwing an interception that led to Arizona's first score. But Masoli was there when the Ducks needed him most. He was unstoppable late in the game, then took over in overtime.
Pac 10 Power Ratings
1. Oregon...The Ducks are in the drivers seat but OSU is closing quickly in the rear view mirror.
2. Oregon State...Beavers enter the last game of the season for the second year in a row with a shot for the Rose Bowl.
3. California...Suddenly the Bears are one of the hotter teams in the conference.
4. Arizona...Two overtimes and no cigar for the Wildcats who let the Ducks off the hook.
5. Stanford...A surprising loss to Cal in the Big Game. Next up is putting the last nail in Charlie Weis's coffin.
6. USC...How the mighty have fallen. Trojans need to beat their crosstown rival to end a bittersweet season.
7. UCLA...Neu has the Bruins bowl eligible. Next up is a shot at giving some notice to Pete Carroll and the Trojans.
8. Washington...Huskies face off against the first team they have been favored against since Idaho.
9. Arizona State...Dennis Erickson has never had two losing seasons in a row until now.
10. Washington State...Husky fans rejoice! Paul Wulff and his staff have been given another year.
Pac 10 Player of the Week
California running back Shane Vereen rushed for a career-high 193 yards and three touchdowns on 42 carries in the Bears upset of Stanford.
Quote of the Week
Oregon's Jeremiah Masoli commenting On Arizona fans preparing to rush the field with six seconds left in the game: "I saw it and I actually smirked," Masoli said. "It was kind of funny. I wasn't really worried about it."