This Week in the Pac-10
Oregon (4-2, 1-1) at Arizona State (2-3, 0-2)
Oregon is coming off of a loss to Utah, 17-13, in front of a national television audience last Friday night. The Ducks went scoreless in the second half, allowing the Utes to pull ahead with 13:07 remaining in the contest. The two-headed quarterback monster managed to complete only 15 of 33 passes, and the running backs were held to 44 yards. The Duck dominance of earlier in the season has turned into the mallard malaise.
ASU is trying to avoid its first 0-3 conference start since 1993. Last week, they lost another to #10 USC, 37-17, after being tied at the half. The offensive punch for the Devils was provided by WR Derek Hagan, who caught 8 passes for 175 yards. QB Andrew Walter hit his season high mark for passing with 305 yards, but had one touchdown and one interception. Thus far, Walter has been to ASU what Freddy Garcia was to the Seattle Mariners this season. But nothing else says, "jump start" to a slumping quarterback quite like the Oregon secondary.
These two teams have combined for five straight losses, so both will be desperate to turn things around. This series typically features a lot of offense. The winner of six out of the last seven games has put up at least 40 points. Last year in Eugene, the Ducks squandered a 21-point lead and the Sun Devils outscored them 45-42 to end Oregon's 11-game winning streak. Andrew Walter abused the Ducks secondary for 536 yards to set a Pac-10 record.
Dawgman line: Sparky spanks the AFLACs by thee in a high scoring game.
UCLA (3-2, 1-0) at Arizona (1-5, 0-2)
UCLA showcased its vaunted offense last week in scoring 39 second-half, unanswered points against the visiting Huskies. Dave Ball torched the Husky offensive line, sacking Cody Pickett on three consecutive plays. Craig Bragg looked like the second coming of JJ Stokes and Drew Olsen found him with alarming frequency as the Huskies were helpless to stop it.
Arizona found improvement last week in their loss at WSU. They forced the Cougars to settle for field goals, and trailed only 17-6 at the end of the third quarter. But within 82 seconds, the Cougars went up 30-7 following an interception and a fumble on two consecutive Wildcat drives in the fourth as the ‘Cats returned to their Mackovikian ways. A positive for the Cats is that they did not allow one sack by the Cougar defense, the first time in 23 games the Cougs have gone sackless. Where Arizona needs help is on third down, they went 0-13 on third-down conversions last week, and is only 22% for the season.
UCLA appears to have put it together, but was it for just one week? They also walloped the Wildcats 33-7 last year. The Bruins have taken four out of the last five in the series. Again, not a lot of defense between these two teams as the winner of the last six games has scored an average of 37 points. In true Pac-10 fashion, UCLA can't back up their great win.
Dawgman line: Wildcats get their first Pac-10 win, shocking the world, and the Bruins by five.
Stanford (2-1, 0-1) at #9 USC (4-1, 1-1)
Stanford must have the most drawn out schedule in the country, as they are coming off of their second bye of the season. They haven't played since Washington beat them 28-17, so they've had two weeks to get that loss out of their system. After having given up just four rushing yards, Washington abused them for 165 big ones. Still, the Card leads the Pac-10 in rushing defense, and is #3 in the country. QB Trent Edwards made some big plays against the Huskies and the redshirt freshman scared the buhgeezus out of the Washington crowd with his moxie.
USC is looking for their 700th win, and Stanford is their oldest rival, dating back to 1905. The Trojans could've gone into the tank after a crushing triple-OT loss to the Cal Bears, but instead rebounded to defeat ASU in a must-win contest. Freshman TB LenDale White set a USC freshman record by going for 140 yards while Keary Colbert and Mike Williams continue to provide QB Matt Leinart with two of the best targets in the Pac-10 to throw to. Colbert's 57-yard TD reception was the game turner for USC last week in the desert.
USC holds a 54-24-3 lead over Stanford (including a win last year), but Troy has lost 3 of the last 4 meetings and 4 of the last 7. In its last 27 meetings with the Cardinal, USC has gone 20-6-1 (and Troy is 35-9-1 in the past 45 games). Don't look for USC to let up now, as they passed their gut check with flying colors.
Dawgman line: Trojans trounce Buddy's Cardinal by 13.
To read last week's predictions, CLICK HERE
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