Oregon week is here once again and you know what? The Ducks are beatable and the Huskies are the type of team on defense that has been specifically built to beat them.
I think most of us were surprised about how well our defense did against Stanford. Be prepared to be surprised again this weekend because we match up even better defensively with the Ducks. We finally have the speed, depth, talent, and experience on defense to keep pace with these guys.
I'm not saying that we are going to completely shut them down but if we can turn the majority of those Oregon red-zone opportunities into FG's we have a pretty good chance of upsetting these guys. Justin Wilcox has beaten Oregon before with lesser talent while at Boise State. He has the ability do the same thing at Washington.
The biggest key for Washington surprisingly enough isn't going to be on the defensive side of the ball. Even if UW succeeds in slowing down the mighty Oregon offense they are going to need to score some points against one of the toughest and fastest defenses of the Chipster era.
The Duck defense gave up 26 points to WSU on Saturday but I expect that was mostly the result of getting sloppy while being in a constant coast mode while dreaming about beating the Huskies for a ninth straight time. A better sample of how good they are is the way they spanked Arizona the previous week.
The Ducks shut them out 49-0 while forcing five drive killing turnovers and holding the Cats to only 89 yards on the ground. Arizona was in the red zone early and often but an inspired Oregon defense wouldn't let them hit pay dirt. Expect the Huskies to face the same type of challenges on Saturday.
How each team fares inside the red-zone will decide who wins this game.
Cal head coach Jeff Tedford is officially on a very hot seat now that his Bears have slid to 1-4. Cal has the talent to be a much better team on both sides of the ball but something definitely isn't clicking down there. A lot of the blame has been placed on QB Zach Maynard who has been terrible but Tedford's play calling and guts have been questioned by plenty of Cal fans. Hate to say it but those who are hoping Tedford will step down would love to hire Justin Wilcox as the next Cal head coach with Tosh Lupoi as his DC.
The only thing that will keep a change from being made at the end of the season is loyalty and money. Despite the recent record Tedford is very popular with the administration at California. He stuck with Cal and helped get the stadium and upgraded facilities built when he could have just as easily taken a higher paying job at another school.
Lack of revenue is a very serious problem at Cal right now. They would have to come up with some serious booster money to buy out the remaining two years of Tedford's contract. Total investment to fire Tedford and hire a new coach plus a new staff (not to mention a new AD) would easily cost over $10 million and the school is not even going to consider taking on a bill like that by itself.
We have always had a habit of relaxing our editorial standards whenever we play the Ducks or Cougars. Opposing fans who behave and are courteous are always welcome here (even though that isn't the case at ATQ). I want to remind everyone that our moderators will be very quick on the trigger this week. Have fun and try to keep it clean and don't troll here or elsewhere or your posting privileges will be suspended.
Pac 12 Power Poll
1. Oregon...The Ducks haven't played anyone of quality yet and it showed this weekend when they played WSU. Not saying the Cougs are quality but they are a step up in competition for the Ugly Ducklings. Look for them to struggle against a much tougher than expected UW defense which is run by a guy that has experience beating and shutting down their explosive offense.
2. Washington...A big win over Stanford shocks the pundits and shoots the Huskies into the top twenty-five. Up next are the high flying Ducks in Eugene. Can Washington's defense deal with the speed they are going to see on Saturday? Can the offense score enough points to keep up with Oregon? Will ATQ turn our entire blog green?
3. Stanford...This loss exposed in detail how much the Cards miss Andrew Luck. Washington took away what they do best on offense which is run the ball. Defensively they were stout but they gave up two big plays that ended up being the difference for Washington. Up next is Arizona at home.
4. Southern California...SC has a lot of talent on their roster but depth is beginning to be a problem and will only get worse in coming seasons. That is what makes the loss to Stanford hard to swallow because Kiff and Company know they need to win big and win now. The Trojans took the week off to get ready for Utah.
5. Oregon State...The Beavers are undefeated and coming off a nice last second win against Arizona. Count me in as a "Beaver Believer" but they gave up way too many TD's against Arizona for me to propel them higher in the standings. Next up is win over WSU.
6. Arizona State...Solid road win over California this week. Cal had its back up against the wall and ASU took care of business in impressive fashion. The Devils are setting themselves up as a definite threat to knock USC out of the conference championship game. How much you want to bet that Todd Graham is coaching at Arkansas next season?
7. UCLA...The Bruins did what they needed to do against Colorado. Up next is a must win against Cal to stay relevant in the Southern division race. Mora needs to keep the intensity up because this program has a history of second half of the season folds.
8. Arizona...Tough last second loss for Rich Rod and the crew in Tucson. There are a lot of holes on this team but Rodriguez and his staff have done a pretty good job of bringing this squad back together. Give him a couple of decent recruiting classes and he can build a contender. Up next is Stanford down on the farm.
9. Utah...The good news is that head coach Kyle Whittingham has had an entire week off to retool his sputtering offense. The bad news is that they are playing an angry USC team this week with the same lack of talent at the offensive skill positions.
10. California...We were all rooting for Cal on Saturday because the last thing we want to happen is for Jeff Tedford to be fired. The loss to ASU probably sealed the deal for the 1-4 Bears which means if they have any brains they will come fast and hard after Wilcox. Next up is UCLA
11. Colorado...Things were back to business this week in Boulder as the Buffs were pistol-whipped from start to finish by the Bruins. Next up is a much needed bye week to get healthy.
12. Washington State...Cougars showed up to a certain extent against the Ducks. They almost took advantage of the fact that Oregon was just warming up for its game against the Huskies. A boatload of Duck points in the third quarter took care of that business. Up next is a defeat to OSU in Corn Valley.