The Beavers made an impressive start to conference play the past two weekends. They demolished Arizona State at home, and finally got a good road win when they defeated California a week ago.
Although the win in Berkeley was nice, it’s going to take a better performance on the road to beat teams like Washington State and USC. The penalties continue to be a major issue, which is disheartening considering the coaching staff has made the infractions a point of emphasis. Hopefully, it will work itself out.
The Oregon State coaching staff has taken more than its fair share of criticism this season, and I am hoping that after the 2-0 start, the complaints will come to an end. The defensive complaints were never that loud, and perhaps that is because the Beavers’ defense has been unbelievable this year.
The offensive complaints had much to do with the lack of imagination the offense was showing. This fear should be alleviated by now as the coaches have been putting in new pages to the playbook every week. I am sure we will see much more innovation and imagination in the coming weeks.
Perhaps the biggest compliment paid to the OSU coaching staff came this week from senior linebacker Richard Seigler. He told media that the coaches had the defense prepared for everything Cal threw at them. Jeff Tedford is widely regarded as the conference’s offensive genius, so if Oregon State had seen everything Cal tried to run, it tells me that they were very prepared for the Strawberry Canyon showdown.
Oregon Tumbling Again?
Oregon took another hit last week losing to Utah on the road. This isn’t much different than Oregon State’s loss to Fresno State, although it is nice that the Beavers had their loss earlier in the season. The Ducks still have a great chance to come back and have a respectable season despite the back-to-back losses. They even still have an outside shot at the conference title as they miss USC. If they can get past Arizona State this weekend and build some confidence, there isn’t a game left on the schedule that they can’t win. I don’t necessarily think they will, but I’m not going to rule out the possibility.
Respect for the Broncos
The more I look back to the Boise State game, the more impressed I become with that team. I understand that the Beavers are playing much better now then they were three weeks ago, but the Broncos might just edge out Cal as the best team the Beavers have played so far.
Ryan Dinwiddie is the best quarterback the Beavers have faced this season, and he may be the best QB in the west. There are only two senior starting quarterbacks in the Pac-10 (Cody Pickett and Matt Kegel) and I’m betting Dinwiddie would be the starter over anyone but those two. I’d almost take Dinwiddie over Kegel, but you can’t argue with WSU’s performance.
Nobody was surprised when Arizona dismissed John Mackovic last week. Everybody knew he was done by the end of the season, but I was shocked that it happened so early. UA Athletics Director Jim Livengood was adamant that he would not evaluate the performance of his coach until season’s end, but he reversed course within a week – presumably on the heels of booster and player (or players’ families) pressure.
The rumors ought to end now. Mike Price will not be hired in Tucson. The Arizona president said he will not allow the hiring of Price, which is a good indication that it will not happen. It’s going to take a lot longer for people to see him and not think about his Tide “rolling, baby.” Price’s best hope for another job is going to be at the NFL level as a quarterback coach, or perhaps an offensive coordinator. I heard Dennis Erickson might be looking for another offensive coordinator that can relate to his players a little better. Maybe Terrell Owens would not respect Price’s play calling, but he would have to respect his prowess with the ladies.
With no one left undefeated in conference, it seems unlikely that anyone from the Pac-10 will compete for the national title. But with USC remaining in the top ten, they may have a shot if they keep on winning. I, for one, wouldn’t mind seeing them with a shot at the national title when the Beavers come to town on December 6th.
This Week’s Picks brought to you by CanBet.com.
Arizona State 35, Oregon 31 (Oregon favored by 2.5)
Something has to give this weekend; Arizona State is 0-2 in conference while Oregon is 1-1 in conference. Both teams view this game as a must-win as they are looking for any sort of momentum to get headed in the right direction. With a loss, the Sun Devils may have difficulty getting back above .500. I think the advantage goes to ASU at home.
Toe’s Pick AGS – ASU
Washington 45, Nevada 24 (Washington favored by 17.5)
Washington looks to recover from the embarrassing loss last week at UCLA. This is a good chance to do so. But Nevada could hang around a little while if UW doesn’t take them seriously.
Toe’s Pick AGS – Washington
UCLA 41, Arizona 14 (UCLA favored by 17)
The Bruins displayed their newfound offensive prowess against the Huskies last week. They’ve got an equally vulnerable defense to go up against this week. Look for this one to be a blowout early.
Toe’s Pick AGS – UCLA
USC 42, Stanford 20 (USC favored by 21)
The Trojans may not take Stanford seriously either, but it still shouldn’t be a problem. The Cardinal have only played three games so far and are coming off a bye. That could leave the Stanford team refreshed, or just seriously needing practice. USC is back on track after their early stumble.
Toe’s Pick AGS – USC
The Toe can be read every Friday on BeaverFootball.com He can be reached at