The Ducks are coming off an impressive win against Michigan that has made them the talk of the state. They are high on a wave of excitement following Saturday’s upset and it will be interesting to see how they handle this glory. The Ducks are facing a very tough challenge this weekend in hosting Washington State. The Cougars have impressed many with their tough showings at Notre Dame and at Colorado.
Both teams have consistently gotten off to hot starts in their games, so we could see a scoring outburst early. I’ll get to my prediction for this game later. Let’s talk about a few other things first.
With the Ducks beating a top-five opponent this last weekend, it may be a little more difficult to appreciate the tough win the Beavers picked up against the Broncos. Boise State is a terrific team and I, for one, am thankful that when the Beavers travel to Idaho next year, Ryan Dinwiddie won’t be around any longer. He showed an amazing amount of poise and patience in the pocket and was able to make plays whenever his pocket broke down.
There were a few questionable calls on both sides throughout the game, but there’s no way to avoid the fact that the officials blew the last significant play of the game. The Broncos should have had one more chance. I am glad that Dinwiddie didn’t get another chance with the ball in his hands. Only needing a field goal, it would have been even scarier.
This week, Arizona State comes to Corvallis for a night game at Reser. Going without a home night game last year (with the exception of the EKU game), I am excited to experience the atmosphere of the late game again. There’s always a different feel to games when it’s dark. Night games bring me back to the 1998 contests against UCLA and Oregon, and the 1999 games against Cal and Arizona. There’s just something different about watching football under the lights. And let’s just say it doesn’t hurt the excitement factor when most people have had all day to tailgate. Here’s hoping for a loud and rowdy (but still reasonable) crowd.
Pac-10 Power Poll
After Oregon’s win at home against Michigan, it’s hard to put them anywhere other than second. USC is ranked third in both polls. And though it’s well deserved, I still have a hard time believing they can make it through their conference schedule unscathed. I just don’t think anyone can.
The Pac-10, especially this year, is too balanced. There are at least eight quality teams (Arizona is not, and the verdict is still out on Stanford). It’s often too difficult to keep up that high level of play week after week against tough opponent after tough opponent. That’s why I feel it’s easier for teams in larger conferences such as the Big 10 or Big 12 to compete for the National Championship. Sure, they may play two REALLY tough games, but I think it’s harder to be consistent week after week, rather than just having to get up for a few games.
This Week’s Picks brought to you by CanBet.com.
Washington State 34, Oregon 24 (UW favored by 4)
This is my pick for the week’s most intriguing match-up. Move over Washington and Arizona State, these two teams both believe they will compete for the Pac-10 title. While the Huskies and Sun Devils have been struggling to find consistency, the Cougars and the Ducks are positioning themselves to make a run at the race.
After last week, it’s impossible for Oregon not to have some sort of letdown. What is important, is how they respond. Look for the Cougars to jump out to an early lead. If they do that, they have a chance to take the crowd out of the game and force Oregon to respond to a deficit – something they haven’t had to do all year. If this happens, look for the Cougs to possibly run away with it. But if the Ducks can take an early lead, or keep close, it will come down to the last minutes of the game.
Toe’s Pick AGS - WSU
Washington 34, Stanford 20 (UW favored by 13)
The Huskies might be mediocre again this year. I’m riding the fence on them right now. They aren’t dominating anyone at this point, but the way the schedule works out, we won’t know for a few more weeks if they will have a shot at the conference title. After Stanford, they travel to UCLA and play Nevada at home before coming to Corvallis on October 18th. Look for them to win this one easily.
Toe’s Pick AGS – UW
USC 45, Cal 21 (USC favored by 13.5)
I mentioned the tough task of having to play competitive games every week. USC travels to Berkeley where they could face some problems. Jeff Tedford always has his team prepared to play. Cal is going to get a big win against somebody this year, but I just don’t think it will be USC. Cal will hang around early, but USC will run away with this one in the third quarter.
Toe’s Pick AGS - USC
Oregon State 31, ASU 27 (OSU favored by 6)
The Beavers are primed for revenge after their tough losses to the Sun Devils in each of the last two seasons. They gave away two very winnable games in Tempe and have been waiting for the Sun Devils to finally get back to Corvallis. Arizona State’s defense has been somewhat respectable this year. They have a lot of players that were young and talented last year that now have a year of experience under their belt.
Safety Jason Shivers is the standout on the defense that is very speedy and loves to put pressure on the quarterbacks. Every aspect of these two teams points to a low scoring affair, but I somehow get the feeling that these two offenses will break out for lots of points. The Beavers problem has not been moving the ball; they are near the top of the leader board in nearly all the offensive categories. The problem has been execution in the red zone.
Toe’s Pick AGS - ASU
Arizona 28, TCU 20 (TCU favored by 14.5)
Most people will be picking TCU to blow out Arizona. Don’t get me wrong. It could very well happen. But I find it hard to believe that TCU is ranked as high as they are (17) after three unimpressive wins (a close win on the road versus Tulane, and wins at home against Navy and Vanderbilt). If Arizona is going to do anything this year, they need to start with a win against TCU.
Toe’s Pick AGS - UA
UCLA 31, San Diego State 24 (UCLA favored by 10.5)
I almost had a heart attack when I found out UCLA scored 24 points against Oklahoma. The Sooners still won by 25, but after putting up only six points at home against Illinois, a shutout would not have surprised anyone. This week, UCLA gets the Aztecs, who were competitive at Ohio State and shut out UTEP 34-0. Here’s one hoping the Bruins can break double digits.
Toe’s Pick AGS – San Diego State
The Toe joined BeaverFootball.com during the first Mike Riley era. His predictions can be read every Friday. The Toe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(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 BeaverFootball.com or TheInsiders.)