This Week in the Pac-10: Week 5

Now that things seem to be back to normal, the only question that now needs to be answered is, "Who will win the Pac-10?". Well, we're getting closer every week, and right now there are five teams that are still undefeated in conference play; Washington State, Stanford, Oregon, UCLA and Washington.

Three of those teams put their winning records on the line this Saturday, on an unusually light day for football out West.

USC v. Washington
Oregon State v. Washington State
Louisiana-Lafayette v. Arizona State
Oregon v. Arizona
Current Pac-10 Standings

USC v. Washington

The game of the week in the Pac-10, the Trojans look to come into Husky Stadium and spoil the Dawgs' 11-game winning streak. It might be just me, but the two-year hiatus in the UW-USC series has felt like a decade, and it will be good to see the Men of Troy in Seattle. Unfortunately for them, their millenium debut in Montlake will be an unpleasant one. If any coach can get milage from a win, it will be Washington Head Coach Rick Neuheisel, who will have plenty of reasons to dress down his young charges after a 31-28 close scrape in Berkeley. Likewise, Carroll will we doing the same after Stanford went into the Coliseum and handed USC a 21-16 defeat. Pete found out that it's hard to score when the other team out-possesses you by over 11 minutes. With a suspect offensive line and a quarterback that hasn't been playing to his potential, it seems like Tim Hundley can focus on the pass and make Sultan McCullough beat them. That's even more apparent when Palmer has chucked the pigskin almost twice as often as when Sultan's number has been called. By comparison, Cody Pickett has thrown 75 times to Rich Alexis' 53 runs. I guess you can take the OC out of the WAC, but you can't take the WAC out of the OC.

Washington 21-10

Oregon State v. Washington State

This game WOULD have been the game of the week in the Pac-10, if it wasn't for the Beavs' pathetic effort at home against UCLA. As it stands, this surging pack of Cougars will make bean dip out of Dennis Erickson's boys. On paper, it doesn't look pretty. Total Offense? WSU is 5th in the country, OSU 87th. Total defense? WSU is 19th, the lowly Beavers 98th. The numbers don't lie. And pre-season Heisman candidate Kenny Simonton hasn't found his groove, mostly because an inexperienced OL can't get get him out of the gate. To put Kenny's numbers in perspective, there are 5 D1 quarterbacks that currently have more yards than he does through 3 games. FIVE. That ain't good. His 3.82 yards/carry average is worst among the top 60 ball-carriers in the country. I suspect he'll get on track eventually, but it won't be in Pullman. The Cougs are only allowing 2.57 yards/carry on the ground, so OSU QB Jonathan Smith will have to count on guys like Seth Trimmer and George Gillett to get the job done. I think he'd give his left arm to have Chad Johnson for this game.

Washington State 35-17

Louisiana-Lafayette v. Arizona State

The only thing that's ragin' right now with the Ragin' Cajuns is their loss column, and they'll tack on another 'L' Saturday night as they travel to the desert to take on Arizona State. The Devils are back on track after smoking San Jose State by 38 big ones. ASU Head Man Dirk Koetter has found his QB in Jeff Krohn to lead Koetter's Big Sky-inspired high octane offense, and they are popping on all cylinders right now, going for an average of 461 yards per game. Most of that is coming through the air, and given the Cajuns penchant for giving up more yards on the ground (195 per game, to be exact), Dirk just might have to let RB Delvon Flowers handle the load this time around. ASU hasn't been exactly stopping folks while they've been winning, allowing over 357 yards per contest, but don't expect L-L to take advantage. They are 110th in the country in total offense. Their main weapons are RB Jerome Coleman, who is a Rich Alexis-type bruiser at 225 pounds, and QB Jon Van Cleave, an even bigger player at 6-4 and 248 pounds. ASU DE Terrell Suggs has to be licking his chops thinking about the sacks he's going to rack up on this big guy.

ASU 50-10

Oregon v. Arizona

The Ducks worked out the cobwebs after getting a close call of aflac in Logan, Utah last Saturday, and are as ready to head into conference play as anybody. The only problem is that they don't have another built-in excuse, like the altitude, in case they stumble against the Wildcats in Tucson. See, the game will be at night, thereby giving the visitors from the north a more conducive climate for whipping some 'Cat tails. Joey Heisman hasn't looked Heisman-esque this season, so he's due for a wake-up call. Don't get me wrong, quacker fans; he's been serviceable, and he's won on the road. I just expect to see a little more out of Joey Comeback than smoke and mirrors, and I don't think you'll be disappointed this Saturday. Mo Mo has come out of the shadows to play up to last year's standards, and interestingly enough, WR Keenan Howry isn't Harrington's main target anymore. WR Jason Willis leads the team in receptions and TE Justin Peelle leads the team in touchdown receptions. That all stops Saturday. You can't keep a good man down, and Howry reclaims his rightful position of 'go-to' guy against Arizona. New Wildcat Head Coach John Mackovic isn't finding his conference foes to be very friendly folk, getting his lunch handed to him by Washington State last weekend (good pick Corso). He'll find that Mike Bellotti ain't a hospitable guy either, just like that dispicable Mike Price.

Oregon 41-20

                 Conference Games      All Games
                 W  L   Pct. Pts Opp   W  L   Pct. Pts  Opp Streak
Washington State 2  0  1.000 99  41    4  0  1.000 176  68  Won 4
Stanford         2  0  1.000 72  44    3  0  1.000 110  66  Won 5
Oregon           1  0  1.000 24  22    4  0  1.000 117  81  Won 5
UCLA             1  0  1.000 38   7    4  0  1.000 112  47  Won 4
Washington       1  0  1.000 31  28    3  0  1.000 107  49  Won 11
Arizona          0  1   .000 21  48    3  1   .750 118 108  Lost 1
Arizona State    0  1   .000 28  51    2  1   .667 119  73  Won 1
Oregon State     0  1   .000  7  38    1  2   .333  58 104  Lost 1
USC              0  2   .000 38  45    1  3   .250  65  65  Lost 3
California       0  2   .000 48  82    0  4   .000  81 170  Lost 7 Top Stories