Premier Pac-10 Games of Week 10

There are four teams with one loss atop the conference. It is getting to the point of the year when the teams at the top will begin playing each other and the road to the Pac-10 championship will begin to sort itself out. The premier game of the week takes place at Strawberry Canyon. California hosts Oregon in a game that will eliminate another possible participant from Rose Bowl contention…

The pressure will be on California and Oregon to keep pace with USC and remain tied for first place in the conference. The Trojans host winless Washington Huskies and head coach Tyrone Willingham just announced that he would step down from his coaching position at the end of this season. There is no way that the Huskies stand a chance at USC this week. Oregon State can continue their road the conference title as they host reeling Arizona State. Towards the middle of the conference, Stanford has to win two out of their last four games to become bowl eligible starting with Pac-10 bottom dweller Washington State this week.

Oregon 6-2 (4-1) at California 5-2 (3-1)

Bowl implications are on the line when the Bears and Ducks square off on Saturday. If the Bears win, the Pac-10 championship will be at stake against the Trojans the following week. If Oregon wins, they will likely have the inside track to the Holiday Bowl, but will need help to get back in the race for the Rose Bowl.

Following the Cal game, Oregon has Stanford, Arizona and Oregon State left on their schedule. After the game against the Ducks, the Bears have USC, Oregon State, Stanford and Washington left. It is very likely that both teams could lose at least one of their remaining games after Saturday. This game has the potential to decide the second place team in the league.

Oregon will look to stop the Bears' running game and force Kevin Riley and the receivers to prove they can win a game. Cal will have its hands full trying to stop the Ducks' ground game, passing game, and the threat of quarterback Jeremiah Masoli leaving the pocket and picking up positive yards. If the Bears want to be victorious, their best chance will be to control the clock with their running game and keep Oregon's offense on the sideline.

Cal Sports Digest says…Cal holds home court in key matchup.

Arizona State 2-5 (1-3) at Oregon State 4-3 (3-1)

At the beginning of the season, entering November most would have predicted the Sun Devils being the team contending for the Rose Bowl and the Beavers the team fighting just to get bowl eligible. However, the roles are reversed, and Oregon State is the overwhelming favorite to win.

Former Beaver head coach Dennis Erickson makes his first appearance at Corvallis as head coach of Arizona State. Last season, the Sun Devils were able to overcome an early 19-0 deficit to win 44-32 behind the arm of Rudy Carpenter. But this season, ASU is severely struggling on offense. Defensively, the Sun Devils were torched 54-20 at home by Oregon last week.

This week, expect the Rodgers brothers (flanker James and tailback Jacquizz) to dominate offensively for the Beavers. OSU has won six straight at home dating back to last season, and have won two of the last three in Corvallis. Overall, the Beavers have only beaten ASU three times since the Sun Devils joined the Pac-10 in 1978.

Cal Sports Digest says…Beavs pick up victory No. 4 all-time in Pac-10 series.

Washington State 1-7 (0-5) at Stanford 4-4 (3-2)

The Cardinal should not have any trouble in this game and should improve to 5-4 after Saturday, but the last three games of the year will be brutal for Stanford. They play at Oregon, host USC, and play at California in the last game of the year. Stanford needs to win two out of their last four games to make their first bowl appearance since the Seattle Bowl in 2001. The Cardinal had two games that they let get away a 28-21 loss to Notre Dame and a 23-20 loss to UCLA. Stanford has shown enough fight this season to lead many to believe that two more victories are not out of the question.

Cal Sports Digest says…Stanford wins its last game of 2008.

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