This Week with the Toe

The power poll, good things to take from the Fresno State game, Pac-10 notes, and of course predictions for this weekend's games. <br><br> Sweep for the Pac-10?

Bulldog Ugly

The four hours Oregon State was on the field at Bulldog Stadium last week was quite possibly the ugliest football game I have ever seen. The first half was brutal, and it only got worse.

But it’s hard to say that the Beavers didn’t catch a break. They had an incredible number of opportunities and couldn’t take advantage of any of them. Fresno got the raw end of a few situations, most notably the bizarre illegal batting play that resulted in another shot on fourth and goal for the Beavers. But Joaquin Valley kids still managed to come out on top.

Stupid penalties once again reared their ugly head, leaving an embarrassing mark on the contest. Mike Riley has made the commitment to cut down on these penalties, but it hasn’t shown yet in the first two games of the season. These penalties perhaps have been a major reason as to why the Beavers have performed so poorly on the road over the last few seasons. Road wins over the past four years have been hard to come by. Here’s a look at games won away from home over the past four years:

1999: Nevada, Washington State
2000: New Mexico, UCLA, Cal, Arizona
2001: New Mexico State
2002: Temple, Stanford

The Beavers have been difficult to beat at home over this time, yet extremely vulnerable on the road over this period. Winning on the road is one of the most difficult tasks in college football. During that same period, they have compiled a 22-3 record at Reser Stadium. Teams can get away with making mistakes at home, but those same mistakes make it almost impossible to win on the road. Experienced, disciplined teams are successful on the road.


The Bright Spot

If there was one bright spot in last week’s loss, it was Steven Jackson. Even though he was the primary focus of Fresno State’s attention, he still managed to gain more than 100 yards on the ground, in addition to 100 plus yards receiving. If he continues to put up these numbers, his national profile will continue to explode.


Pac-10 Power Poll:

1) USC
2) ASU
3) WSU
4) UW
6) UO
7) OSU
8) Cal
9) Stanford
10) Arizona

I don’t believe that USC is invincible. We will see their inexperience at quarterback come into play in the tough Pac-10 road games.


Last Week’s Recap:

Last week was not as flawless as the opening week, but I still finished with a respectable 7-3 record. Colorado State, Notre Dame, and Fresno State ruined my plans. But in my defense, I’m sure you all know that the Cal-CSU games and the FS-OSU games were decided by just two points, while it took overtime for the Irish to prevail over the Cougs. Hopefully this week some luck will fall my way.


This Week’s Picks – Brought to you by

Washington State 21, Colorado 17
The Cougars surprised many by hanging with the Irish last weekend in South Bend. Matt Kegel played one of his better games, although he ought to give much of the credit to his outstanding receivers. They showed the ability to make adjustments and bring down balls that were not perfectly thrown. Their defense, although showing some signs of weakness late in the game, turned in a solid performance.

(Colorado favored by 5 – Toe’s Pick AGS: WSU)

USC 31, Hawaii 14
USC showed some signs of being human against BYU, leading by only a field goal late in the game. And even more calming to the rest of the Pac-10 was the thrashing Georgia Tech gave Auburn, indicating what I told you before the season started. That is, Auburn is a bit overrated (or more appropriately, WAS overrated). But even if USC’s defense continues to dominate, I don’t see them holding Hawaii’s offense to less than two scores.

(USC favored by 21 – Toe’s Pick AGS: Hawaii)

Oregon State 44, New Mexico State 10
The Beavers look to recover after an embarrassing loss at Fresno State. New Mexico State is coming off two lopsided games (a loss against Texas, and a win against Western New Mexico). New Mexico State has some talent, but they will be challenged to keep up with the Beavers.

(OSU favored by 21.5 – Toe’s Pick AGS: OSU)

UCLA 27, Illinois 10
UCLA is coming off a tough loss at Colorado, in which they allowed the Buffaloes to score late in the fourth quarter to get the win. I was extremely impressed with UCLA’s defense. Brandon Chillar played out of his mind against CU. The Bruins will surely show some improvement having a game under their belt. I don’t know if Illinois has the talent to keep up with the UCLA defense, which has made vast improvements from last year’s team.

(UCLA favored by 10.5 – Toe’s Pick AGS: UCLA)

Oregon 38, Arizona 20
Oregon struggled mightily against Nevada, winning by just eight at home against the Wolfpack. I can’t decide whether or not they will have a tougher challenge ahead in Tucson, but I think they’ll be better prepared for their first Pac-10 conference game this season. LSU pasted Arizona, but the ‘Cats do have Clarence Farmer at tailback. If he can get back to form, especially with Oregon’s thin defensive line, they could threaten. But it in the end, Oregon will pull away.

(Oregon favored by 12 – Toe’s Pick AGS: Oregon)

Arizona State 45, Utah State 13
Look for Arizona State to dominate this game. Arizona State started to shake some rust off last week against Northern Arizona. They should make some improvements and cover this spread.

(Arizona State favored by 26 – Toe’s Pick AGS: ASU)

The Toe joined during the first Mike Riley era. He politely reminded me last week that he received his infamous nickname after attempting a 25-yard field goal not a 10-yard field at halftime during a Beaver game. And the ball at least got six inches off the turf. The Toe can be reached at

(Betting Lines and picks are strictly for entertainment purposes. We remind you that these are merely one person’s opinion, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of or TheInsiders.)

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