Premier Pac-10 Games of Week 7

The Pac-10 Conference is starting to take shape, and the top teams are starting to emerge. Last week, the California Golden Bears established themselves as a team to be reckoned with after beating Arizona State, 24-14. The USC Trojans bounced back with a strong performance against Oregon. The only teams to consider out of the conference race are 0-5 Washington and 1-5 Washington State…

California has a bye this week before it takes on the only other unbeaten team in the Pac-10, Arizona. The Wildcats are 2-0 in conference but travel to Stanford (3-3, 2-1) this week before hosting the Golden Bears next week.

The Cardinal (3-3), Oregon (4-2), Oregon State (2-3), UCLA (2-3), and Arizona State (2-3) all have just one conference loss and are at the crossroads of their seasons. The Ducks and Beavers still have to be considered title contenders. However, for the others with one loss, a few victories can give them a boost to win enough games to participate in a bowl game. On the other hand, another loss can be a big blow to their confidence and regrouping for a run at a bowl could be difficult.

USC is expected to roll through the conference after suffering 27-21 upset loss at Oregon State on September 25 and erasing the doubt by rolling Oregon, 44-10, last week. As it stands right now, if Arizona can get by Stanford, the Wildcat-Bear winner next week will likely be the toughest remaining challenge for USC.

Arizona (4-1) at Stanford (3-3)

Before the start of the year, Arizona head coach Mike Stoops had enormous pressure on him to lead the Wildcats to a bowl game. The Wildcats have not been to a bowl since 1998. With a 4-1 record, Arizona is on their way to becoming bowl eligible.

Coach Stoops finds his team sitting at 2-0 in the Pac-10 and tied for first place in the league with Cal. The Wildcats are led by quarterback Willie Tuitama (13 tds and 2 ints), wide receiver Mike Thomas (32 catches and 3 tds), and running back Nic Grigsby (548 yards and 8 tds). The Wildcat defense must be prepared to contain a punishing Cardinal rushing attack led by Toby Gerhart's 525 yards and six touchdowns.

The Cardinal are a much improved football team and if quarterback Tavita Pritchard can cut down on the interceptions, Stanford can give Arizona some problems. If Arizona can win this game it will set-up an incredible match-up against the Bears for first place in the Pac-10 on October 18th in Tucson.

Cal Sports Digest says…Arizona sets up huge Pac-10 matchup with Cal.

Arizona State (2-3) at USC (3-1)

. The Sun Devils had high expectations at the start of the season. Most publications had ASU penciled in as the second best team in the Pac-10, but after losses to UNLV, Georgia, and Cal, the Sun Devils find themselves fighting for their season this week at USC.

Arizona States lack of a good offensive line will be a major problem when they face the Trojans, who have one of the best defenses in the country. This game will be won in the trenches and the Trojans should have a field day getting after ASU quarterback Rudy Carpenter. ASU's strength is their passing game and the Trojans strength is their ability to blitz and put pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

If USC is able to win this game, they will continue to climb the ladder towards first place. Trojan receiver Damian Williams continues to have a strong season with four catches for 76 yards and one touchdown last week against Oregon. The Trojans will continue to make Williams a big part of their offensive game plan. Look for Williams to get deep against the Sun Devils secondary this week.

Cal Sports Digest says…USC names it score.

UCLA (2-3) at Oregon (4-2)

The Oregon Ducks do not want sympathy from the college football world, but with all the injuries they have experienced at quarterback, the Ducks have done a great job amassing a 4-2 record.

The Ducks have an above average defense and good running backs in Jeremiah Johnson and LeGarrette Blount. The entire Ducks team has done a good job of elevating their level of play after their first and second-string quarterbacks went down.

The Bruins are trying to reach a level of consistency in their play. Most of this season will better prepare this program for next year, but getting to a bowl game this season will be a huge step in the right direction for this program. The Bruins next two games are against the Ducks and Cardinal. If the Bruins are able to win these games, they will be setting themselves up for a strong finish. Freshmen back Derrick Coleman has been a bright spot for the Bruins over the last few weeks with 23 carries for 159 yards. He will need a big game for UCLA to be successful this week against the Ducks.

Cal Sports Digest says…The Bruins are just the remedy of the ailing Ducks.

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