This Week in the Pac-10
#19 Oregon (4-1) at Utah (3-1) (Friday, ESPN2)
The antithesis to the Kenny Wheaton "pick" highlight reel was created last Saturday:
–Ducks' punt is blocked, Cougars recover at UO 19, kick FG
–QB Jason Fife throws interception to Jeremy Bohannon at UO 38, WSU scores TD on next play
–WR Demetrius Williams drops the ball at WSU 21 after going 47 yards, untouched, towards the endzone
–On next drive, Samie Parker drops 40-yard pass in the endzone, takes a swipe at Jason David's head for a 15-yard penalty
–On next play, Fife throws interception to Donnie Jackson to UO 48, leading to another WSU TD
–On next drive, QB Kellen Clemens picked off by Virgil Williams, who takes it 40 yards to the house
–On next drive, while driving for a much-needed score, Clemens throws a pick to Jason David, who returns it to UO 41
–On next drive, Clemens does it again, throws an interception in the endzone
–On next drive, Ducks' punt attempt gets blocked, recovered for a WSU touchdown
–On the ensuing kickoff return, Ducks fumble at their own 26, WSU kicks field goal just before the half….yes, it's only halftime folks!
Utah has a new breath of fresh air in head coach Urban Meyer. He has the Utes firing on all cylinders, just like he did at Bowling Green where he was a combined 17-6 over two years before being hired by Utah. The Utes are just three points from an undefeated season. Last week their defense scored twice, once on a fumble recovery by Corey Dodds in the end zone, and the last one with just over a minute remaining when Dave Revill forced a fumble and Arnold Parker scooped up the rock and went 80 yards to stun the fans in Fort Collins.
Utah opened its Mountain West Conference season last week with a 28-21 win over defending MWC champion Colorado State, no small feat. Oregon has won the last three games in this series and have a 17-7 advantage overall. But, Utah already has one home win over a Pac-10 foe this season, and that is over a Cal team that just took out #3 USC last week.
Dawgman line: Utes put the Ducks down for their second straight loss
#10 USC (3-1) at Arizona State (2-2)
USC was bitten by a Cal team that had them on the ropes last year as well, but they couldn't have been looking ahead to this week's matchup. I'll bet when ABC picked up this game, they believed it was going to be for the Pac-10 lead, not for a ticket out of the conference cellar.
Last week, QB Andrew Walter threw three interceptions, while his team gave the ball up 6 times in the loss to the Beavers. If there is another team as overrated as ASU was in the pre-season, where are they now? Don't forget to check "Walter's Page" on the ASU official site to keep tabs on his Heisman candidacy. The Sun Devils have lost two straight on the road, scoring a combined 19 points in those losses. On defense, Jason Shivers continues to shine. Last week he had two interceptions and 13 tackles.
The Trojans are going to be hopping mad after their first loss in 11 games. Speaking of hops, did anyone else think that 6'8 Gregg Guenther was going to jump out of Strawberry Canyon when he blocked Tyler Fredrickson's first field goal attempt in overtime? His knees were on the Cal center's shoulder pads. The Trojans continue to have a lethal WR duo in Mike Williams and Keary Colbert, who have combined for 642 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns. The "Mild Bunch II" had their lowest sack total of the season, recording only 1.5 against Da Bears. But the entire Trojan defensive unit has at least one interception in the last 14 games.
The Trojans have taken the last three games, but the series is tied 5-5 in games played in Tempe. Last year, QB Carson Palmer and TB Justin Fargas led the #8 Trojans to a 34-13 victory. This year, the two teams are averaging almost exactly the same amount of yards, but USC is finding a way to score, while the Devils are not.
Dawgman line: Trojans get back to business and bury the Sun Devils by two TDs
Arizona (1-4) at #14 Washington State (4-1)
Washington State punked Oregon 55-16 in the castle of quack. The AFLACs were absolutely pummeled by a Cougar team that is reminding everyone that they have won 10 games the past two seasons and it wasn't by accident.
WSU is anchored by their defense, which shouldn't be a surprise considering that Bill Doba was the architect of the Palouse Posse and the current Pullman Powderkeg. Last week against Oregon, they picked off 7 passes and forced 9 turnovers. They already have a turnover margin of +14. The defense now leads the conference in sacks, with 20, and they have held their opponents to only 22% of their third-down conversion attempts. On offense, QB Matt Kegel is steadily improving, not having thrown an interception in the last two games.
Arizona has been horrible, as expected. They now have a new coach, as expected. Welcome Mike Hankwitz! It's not his fault, but there is very little hope in the desert of anything positive in the near future, at least until Lute Olson's boys lace up the sneakers for basketball season. QBs Nic Costa and Ryan O'Hara face a tough Cougar defense that has intercepted 13 passes in their five games. Perhaps with Mackovic gone, Clarence Farmer will actually get the playing time he deserves, which would add a weapon to an offense that has been dead as the grass in Tucson.
Arizona leads the series 20-11, but the Cougs have won the last two. In their homecoming game, Washington State will need to guard against taking the Mildcats lightly . . . well, not really. Even Lou Holtz couldn't make Arizona sound dangerous.
Dawgman line: Show up early, this one will end quickly. WSU by 30
Oregon State (4-1) at California (3-3)
The Beavers opened up conference play with an impressive win over ASU, 45-17, last week in Corvallis. The 45 points were the most points the Beavers had ever scored against the Sun Devils. Even though Derek Anderson threw three interceptions (he now has 10 on the year), the Beavers relied on the steadies of RB Steven Jackson (105 yards) and WR James Newson (124 yards on 6 receptions). The Beavers are accumulating some offensive numbers worth bragging about. They lead the Pac-10 in rushing, passing, and total offense, and rank 7th in the nation in total offense at 469.20 yards per game.
The Bears are coming off of what locals are dubbing "one of the most monumental victories in school history." They topped #3 USC 34-31 in a triple overtime thriller by using a solid rushing attack, great play by both quarterbacks, and a defense that held the Trojans to two offensive touchdowns during regulation. RB Adimchinobe Echemandu ran for a career-high 147 yards against a Trojan defense that was allowing just 50.7 rushing yards per contest. The Cal offensive line manhandled the "Mild Bunch II" most of the afternoon. The Bears have the rest of the conference shaking in their boots right now, and Jeff Tedford is hot property right now.
The Beavers on are a four-game winning streak in this series, having won last year 24-13. But something is going to have to give because Jeff Tedford is 0-1 versus the Beavs, and Mike Riley is 0-2 against the Bears.
Dawgman line: Bears by 10 over the Beavs
To read last week's predictions, Click Here.