Clardy's Corner: Pac-10 midterms

"Jersey Shore" used to rule MTV Thursdays at 10 p.m. Starting this week, however, MTV makes a considerable upgrade in its programming by presenting the revival of "Beavis & Butthead." As someone who looks fondly upon the ‘90s, I am all about this. And to celebrate the triumphant return of this pinnacle of fine television programming, I enlist a little help in presenting this year's…

PAC-11 MIDTERMS

U$C (ineligible)

Colorado (0-4 Pac-11, 1-7 overall)
Butthead says, "that was cool":
Beating in-state rival Colorado State gave the Buffs bragging rights throughout the Rocky Mountains. RB Rodney Stewart is a threat as a runner, receiver, and a returner.
Beavis says, "this sucks!":
Everything else. They had Washington State on the ropes, let them off the hook, and haven't recovered since. A murderous schedule (at Stanford, at Washington, Oregon, at Arizona State, U$C in successive weeks) hasn't helped.
Outlook:
Grim. Change the channel, Butthead.
Grade:
D-

Utah (0-4, 3-4)
Butthead says, "that was cool":
A Kyle Whittingham-coached team usually has a defense that gets after it, and this year's squad has helped up its end of the deal. RB Jonathan White IV has looked good for most of the year, and he ripped Pitt apart. They smoked BYU, 54-10.
Beavis says, "this sucks!":
The Pac-11 is a quarterback's league. Problem is, Utah's quarterback (Jordan Wynn) is spending his Saturdays in street clothes, thanks to a season-ending busted shoulder. Against a very beatable cal team, they didn't even look like they stepped off the plane.
Outlook:
At season's start, this was a legitimate dark horse candidate in the Pac-11 South. Now? Not so much. They would be the conference's biggest disappointment, if not for the next team on this list.
Grade:
D+

Arizona (1-4, 2-5)
Butthead says, "that was cool":
The first half of that UCLA game. Well, except for the brawl.
Beavis says, "this sucks!":
Everything else. The early schedule did the Wildcats no favors. The offensive line was too young for its own good. And until last week, the Wildcats had more trouble scoring early than, well, Beavis and Butthead.
Outlook:
They sure played like they were glad Mike Stoops is gone, didn't they? About the only one who would have appreciated Stoops' style of coaching is Buzzcut.
Grade:
D+

Oregon State (2-2, 2-5) "
Butthead says, "that was cool":
It's not how you start, it's how you finish. The Beavers hope this is true, especially after their 44-21 frolic over the Cougs last week. With 375 yards rushing in his first three games, RB Malcolm Agnew has made a big splash so far.
Beavis says, "this sucks!":
Watching this team against Wisconsin, I was shocked by how slow this team looked, and how few playmakers they had. That's a total departure from what we've come to expect from Oregon State over the years. Oh, and they lost to Sacramento State at home. Enough said there.
Outlook:
Once all the freshmen that Mike Riley keeps trotting out there figure out what Pac-11 football is really all about, the Beavers will be fine. Probably won't be until next year, though.
Grade:
D+

UCLA (2-2, 3-4)
Butthead says, "that was cool":
RB Jonathan Franklin continues to run hard for the Bruins. WR Josh Smith has been able to make some plays (that is, when Tyler Gaffney isn't tackling him by his hair).
Beavis says, "this sucks!":
That first half against Arizona was about as bad as anything I have ever watched. Kinda like that Grim Reaper video. The next clutch throw a UCLA QB makes will probably be the first since Drew Olson was taking snaps.
Outlook:
As weak as the Pac-11 South seems to be, the Bruins may not be totally out of it. But the stench of last week's jackstomping in Tucson will likely linger for some time.
Grade:
C-

cal (1-3, 4-3)
Butthead says, "that was cool":
The Bears defense led the way to the win column last week against Utah. They have a pair of dangerous receivers in Keenan Allen and Marvin Jones.
Beavis says, "this sucks!":
Zach Maynard is growing, but he doesn't fare well when the stage gets bigger. The defense just can't get it done away from Bear Territory. And I'm sorry, but AT&T Park just should not be hosting football games. It's just not right.
Outlook:
They've got UCLA, Washington State, and Oregon State over the next three weeks. At 4-3, they'd better become bowl eligible before their final two games: at Stanford and at Arizona State.
Grade:
C-

Washington State (1-3, 3-4)
Butthead says, "that was cool":
After losing QB Jeff Tuel to injury, the Cougars turned to Marshall Lobbastael, who responded by putting up some very good numbers. Receivers Jared Karstetter and Marquess Wilson can pose some problems. The Cougs got off to one of their best starts since Beavis and Butthead were on the air the first time around.
Beavis says, "this sucks!":
Washington State's defense went in the wrong direction against Oregon State. Their running game has been next to nonexistent all year. The Cougars are 3-28 in conference play during the Paul Wulff Era.
Outlook:
Play this team in the Palouse, and they're good enough to give you problems. Get them outside of Pullman, and you may have an easy time of it. That could be bad news for the Sun Devils on November 12. The news could be even worse for the Cougs when they travel to Oregon, cal, and Washington.
Grade:
C-

Washington (3-1, 5-2)
Butthead says, "that was cool":
Keith Price has run this offense better than Jake Locker did. Chris Polk continues to be one of the most dangerous playmakers in the conference. Tight end and one-time Stanford recruit Austin Seferian-Jenkins could be a beast by the time his Husky career is over. If not for two dubious officiating calls, they could have taken Nebraska to the limit in Lincoln.
Beavis says, "this sucks!":
446 rushing yards allowed against Stanford. 431 total yards allowed per game. With those kinds of defensive performances, defensive coordinator Nick Holt may look like Principal McVicker by season's end.
Outlook:
This team will go as far as Keith Price's knees and ankle take it.
Grade:
B

Arizona State (3-1, 5-2)
Butthead says, "that was cool":
QB Brock Osweiler has played well and taken care of the football. They mostly matched Oregon toe-to-toe for much of that game at Autzen. LB Vontaze Burfict is still the most feared individual defender in the conference.
Beavis says, "this sucks!":
At times, Burfict has played less like The Great Cornholio and a bit more like Van Driesen. Discipline continues to be a problem for this team, whether Burfict is the culprit or not.
Outlook:
A-State's final five games are quite winnable (Colorado, at UCLA, at Washington State, Arizona, cal), so it's possible that the Sun Devils could end their season on fire. Fire. Fire!
Grade:
B+

Oregon (4-0, 6-1)
Butthead says, "that was cool":
They still run that offense at that tempo. They still have one of the greatest home-field advantages in the country. And even though they've missed key players on both sides of the ball, they're still right where almost everyone thought they would be at this point in the season.
Beavis says, "this sucks!":
If LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner aren't spending the second half cramping up against LSU, I still think it's a different result. Key guys keep getting hurt. And this year's defense seems to be missing something.
Outlook:
It all comes down to November 12. And who else gets injured. Or arrested.
Grade:
A-

Stanford (5-0, 7-0)
Butthead says, "that was cool":
Their quarterback is better than yours. Their offensive line is more physical than yours. Their tight ends are more athletic than your defensive backs. And they play better in the second half than you do. Much better.
Beavis says, "this sucks!":
Stanford's lack of reliable weapons at receiver could haunt them at the worst possible time. So could the loss of Shayne Skov.
Outlook:
As of this very moment, the road to Pasadena (and perhaps beyond) runs through Palo Alto. That does not suck.
Grade:
A

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CLARDY'S CORNER INBOX

Inbox regular Keith from San Francisco checks in:

"Serious question: you say Tedford is a QB guru. But exactly what evidence have we seen that he is a guru of QB's? Has there been one QB that he has coached up during a season, or even a career at Cal? Rodgers seems like he would have done well, regardless of the coach, but he may be the only one that was unsung. I am looking for a… mostly unheralded QB that comes in and blossoms under the tutelage of Tedford and his system and then does nothing much in the NFL."

Fair question. I think he helped out Rodgers quite a bit at cal, but I can't give Tedford credit for the otherworldly kind of play Rodgers has put up the past year in Green Bay.

Kyle Boller had the raw skills, but I think Tedford certainly refined him a bit and cleaned up his bad habits a bit in their only year together. Of course, the last time we saw Boller taking snaps, it certainly wasn't good.

Heck, the more I think about it, the more you might be right! You could do a heck of a lot worse than Tedford as far as quarterback coaches go, but certainly his reputation as a developer of good college QBs has been tested over the past few years. Then again, few reputations would recover from Joe Ayoob

Got a thought on this Corner? Drop me a line either at my Scout.com inbox (username: troyc)... or e-mail me at troyc@thebootleg.com...

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PAC-11 PICKS

Washington State @ Oregon. The Ducks led Colorado 29-0 after one quarter last week. This week, the Cougs will put up more of a fight. Still won't matter, though. I like Oregon by 34.

Colorado @ Arizona State. Until Fox Sports Arizona stepped in to save the day, this game was originally not supposed to be televised. Maybe Fox got a waiver from the FCC allowing them to air obscene programming for the day. I like Arizona State by 39.

Oregon State @ Utah. The Beavers got some of their groove back last week against the Cougars, but they face a big test here. Utah's defense carries the day here. I like Utah by eight.

cal @ UCLA. With just about every Bruin receiver suspended from that tussle in Tucson, Jonathan Franklin will have to bring his A-game. I think he gets it done. I like UCLA by 11.

Arizona @ Washington. The Wildcats should gain yards against the Huskies defense. Question is, will they get points? Red zone efficiency is the difference here. I like Washington by 14.


Last week: 2-2 (straight-up), 2-2 (ATS).
This year: 12-8 (straight-up), 13-7 (ATS).
Last year: 23-13 (straight-up), 16-20 (ATS).

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Troy Clardy is in his 19th year of following the Cardinal as a columnist, broadcaster, and announcer. In its 10th season of Cardinal commentary, Clardy's Corner appears Wednesdays during the college football regular season on TheBootleg.com. You can also check him out online at TroyClardy.com, or e-mail him at troyc@thebootleg.com.


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