Kibbles & Bits

Lars has this week's K&B, which takes a look at some turns taken by teams and individuals around the conference. Will Tantrum Toledo ever learn? Was Wazzu reached an inflection point? Is kal ready to make the most important change in the "lineup?"

Beaten Bruins. UCLA came into Palo Alto last week riding high: Undefeated, a top-5 ranking, National title hopes, a stingy defense, a Heisman Trophy front-runner. By late afternoon on Saturday, all those accolades and goals were ancient history. Stanford scored often and early on a defense that had not allowed more than 17 points in any previous game. The Cardinal shut down DeShaun Foster and knocked two Bruin quarterbacks out of the game. Now, after Cory Paus's poor first half and Scott McEwen's strong effort after half-time, Toledo should stop whining about last week's zebras and instead try to focus on who should quarterback his team at the Pallouse this week.

A Dam Ready to Break? Perhaps OSU tailback Ken Simonton can break out of his season-long slump this week: Last year against Southern Cal, Simonton sparked the Beavers by rushing 37 times for a career-high 234 yards (6.3) and three TDs as OSU broke a 26-game losing streak to USC. Still, the River Rats have not left Los Angeles with a W since 1960. Last week, the porous Beaver run defense yielded 225 yards on the ground to a suspect Cal offense which lost its main rushing threat in the first quarter. Still noteworthy was the performance of OSU's OLB Nick Barnett who recorded a Gordy Ceresino-like 18 tackles (11 solo).

Cougar Collapse? By allowing 446 rushing yards to Oregon, the Cougars plummeted from 1st to 6th in the Pac-10 in rushing defense. In its last two Div 1-A games, the WSU defense has been scorched to the tune of 665 rushing yards. In its first five Div. 1-A games (and I am using the term Div. 1-A loosely here as we are talking about Idaho, Boise State, Cal, Arizona and OSU), Wazzou had only given up a total of 299 yards on the ground. Want further warning signs? WSU is 9-28 in November games coached by Mike Price.

The Berkeley Bowl. Arizona at Cal this weekend features the two true cellar-dwellars of the conference. Neither team has won a league game. The Wildcats are sporting a 10-game conference losing streak while the Bad News Bears have lost 10 straight overall. Just for kicks, Cal's 0-7 start is the worst in school history. BTW, more and more, it seems like Cal has started over already. Last week, they started an unheralded frosh at QB and even though Kyle Boller is back this week, a starter for Saturday has not been named. With Joe Igber injured (and now out for the season), true freshman Terrell Williams is the new starter at tailback - he ran for 104 yards against the Beavs last week (although please note that OSU is the worst run defenders in the league). Further, a defensive back (LeShaun Ward), who only shifted to receiver a few weeks ago, is now the featured wide-out in the offense. Makes you wonder why they haven't yet started over at another key position - head coach?

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