Saturday was brutal if you are a Washington fan. The Huskies were absolutely dominated by an Arizona team that had lost in their last outting to an Oregon State team we had defeated the week before. I honestly thought before the season started that games like this were a thing of the past but I guess I was wrong.
The story of Saturday's game isn't that we lost - it is how we lost. Aside from the first series of the evening which resulted in a nice touchdown drive we weren't competitive at all with the Wildcats even though they were playing a backup quarterback.
Losses like this bring out the worst kind of reactions from the fan base. I was over on the Dawgman boards and people are calling for the heads of Sarkisian and Holt. One and a half years into rebuilding an 0-12 team and these guys want to fire the coaching staff and start all over again.
So is the problem coaching, motivation, talent, or a combination of all three? How can this team beat ranked opponents one week and get pounded the next? I think it is all of the above and more with coaching probably being the least of the problem.
Beating teams like USC and Oregon State show that the program is making progress. The coaches are able to coax more out of this team than is really there at times. When they are unable to do that we can get blown away by good teams (Nebraska, Arizona), and we can lose to bad teams (BYU, ASU). Like Sark says the margin for error with this team is paper thin.
Going forward we play a team that is on the same level as Arizona this week. Stanford is a physical team that has the ability to control both lines of scrimmage on Saturday. They are a hard hitting no nonsense group that knows how to win. They are led by a quarterback who I think is the very best in the conference.
Stanford does have some weaknesses to exploit and that is why I think it is a winnable game. I watched their secondary on Saturday and they were terrible. A good quarterback has the potential to pick those guys apart. We happen to have a good quarterback and talented receivers on the roster so I like our chances of keeping it competitive.
If you can beat USC and Oregon State the reasoning is you can also beat Stanford. If the Huskies can somehow pull that off it makes the road ahead a lot easier.
So which team shows up on Saturday?
Pac Ten Power Ratings
1. Oregon...The only team that can approach Oregon from an overall team speed perspective is USC who the Ducks play in LA this week. This is a classic trap game for the Ducks. Next Up : @ USC
2. Stanford...The WSU game looked a lot closer than it was but giving up 28 to the Coug's shows how vulnerable this secondary can be through the air. Next Up : @ Washington
3. Arizona...A dominating win over Washington which keeps the Wildcats in the BCS discussion for another week. This was a very impressive win. Next Up : @ UCLA
4. Oregon State...The Beavers are coming off a well deserved bye week. they get the Bears at home and that is exactly where you want them. Next Up : California
5. USC...One of the biggest problems about being on probation is that you are playing for literally nothing. This week its different because number one is coming to town and the Trojans have had two weeks to prepare. Up Next : Oregon
6. California...This is a real schizoid team. They get obliterated by USC last week and come back to do the same thing to ASU at home. Seems like the Bears can't take their show on the road. Next Up: @ Oregon State
7. Arizona State...Coming off a big road win over Washington with a week to lick their wounds the Devils just got pounded into submission by a very average Cal team. they better watch out for the Cougars.Next Up: Washington State
8. Washington...The Huskies seem to be running out of gas at mid season. They did the same thing last year and recovered for two straight wins to close the season. Up Next : Stanford
9. UCLA...I think the Bruins are happy that they won't have to play Oregon every year anymore. In a week of in conference routs the whipping Oregon laid on these guys was the worst. Up Next : Arizona
10. Washington State...Another better than expected performance against a nationally ranked team. This week they get a shot at ASU and I think the Coug's could be headed for their first "W" of the season. Up Next : @ ASU