This Week in the Pac-10: Week 6

Things are starting to crystallize in the standings, with half of the teams in the Pac undefeated up to this point. This week promises to be a barnburner, as at least two teams are destined to suffer blemishes on their perfect records by Sunday. But which ones? That's the question we will explore.

Oregon v. California
Washington v. UCLA
Washington State v. Stanford
Arizona State v. USC
Arizona v. Oregon State
Current Pac-10 Standings

Oregon v. California

Oregon finally broke out of their scoring shell with a convincing 63-28 pummeling of Arizona in Tucson. The 'Cats hung in there for a while, but then said 'uncle', and showed why they are giving up an average of nearly 400 yards a game on defense. The Ducks got their run game on track, with both Mo-Mo and Onterrio Smith going for over 100 yards a game. Some are wondering if or when Smith will be punished for his misdeeds towards the state of Oregon. If so, this would be a great game for Mike Bellotti to hold him out as Cal still looks just as beatable as they were before their close shave with Washington. The Golden Bear passing defense (worst in the country) + Joey Heisman, Keenan Howry, Justin Peelle and Samie Parker = Bad News Bears.

Oregon 50-17

Washington v. UCLA

The game of the week in the Pac-10. If it weren't for the Miami-FSU contest, it would be the game of the week in all of college football. This game has always held plenty of intrigue but this year it pits two top-10 teams in an early conference clash of titans. While the Bruins have to be favored on paper, the Dawgs have shown an impressive tendency to hang tough, regardless of who they are playing. One definite advantage UCLA has over their opponents is the fact that they've had two weeks to prepare and heal whereas the Dawgs come into the Rose Bowl limping hard and licking their wounds. Backup QB Taylor Barton is a backup no more and will be taking the reins for the first time this year after orchestrating an impressive comeback at home against a scrappy, but hapless USC team. Expect Bob Toledo to put DeShaun Foster to work against a Husky rushing defense that has given up huge chunks of yards to power rush formations early in games. Look for the Bruins to milk the clock and hold off a late run by Barton, Willie Hurst and Reggie Williams.

UCLA 20-17

Washington State v. Stanford

The other top conference game this week, two more undefeated teams put their records on the line in hopes of positioning themselves as legitimate contenders for the Pac-10 crown. Again, this is another game where the home team is given two weeks to get ready for the visitors, but the Cougars didn't look too shabby physically as they handled Oregon State in a game that wasn't nearly as close as the final score indicates. On paper, this game looks to favor the Cougs, who have statistically impressed on both sides of the ball, but this game is in Palo Alto and will be the first big test for a fairly inexperienced Wazzu defense. I like the Cardinal for the home field advantage and also because of what Randy Fasani brings to the table as a legitimate double-threat running and throwing the ball. Fasani has a 10-to-1 touchdown to interception ratio and is the fifth highest rated QB in the country right now. Not to say that Jason Gesser is chopped liver, in fact he's also going into this game with a lot of confidence and a nice arsenal of receivers in McElrath and Bush, but Fasani can also beat you with his feet. He has to be keeping WSU Defensive Coordinator Bill Doba up late this week.

Stanford 34-31

Arizona State v. USC

Taylor Barton and Reggie Williams showed Saturday that the talented Southern Cal defensive backs can be beaten. Jeff Krohn, Donnie O'Neal and Shaun McDonald will demonstrate that fact with authority this Saturday as Dirk Koetter experiences his first go-around as a Head Coach at the LA Coliseum. The Trojans have to be feeling just a little sorry for themselves after playing their hardest and still coming up three short in Seattle, and they'll need to dig deep in the tanks to bring out their 'A' game against the Devils. Krohn, on the other hand, couldn't be feeling better, as he is second in the country in pass efficiency, throwing for 15 touchdowns in 4 games, while only giving the ball up three times through the air. Kareem Kelly has shown he can bust the long plays, but he'll need to do it more than once to keep the Trojans in this one. Air Chow was 0-9 in third down conversions after their first drive against the Huskies last Saturday. His Normness will need to develop a short passing game to compliment Sultan McCullough's tough running. This one should be a shootout, but in those games, the team with the most bullets always wins, and in this case, it's the Devils that come to LA with more ammo.

Arizona State 45-35

Arizona v. Oregon State

I'm sure Fox had something more enticing in mind when they scheduled this showdown in the desert but now all they are getting is two inept teams with some heart but not much else. Number 86 versus number 92 (in total defense). Number 51 versus number 89 (in total defense). At least 'Cat QB Jason Johnson has shown some ability in moving the offense and last week tailback Clarence Farmer busted loose for almost 30 yards more than Oregon had been giving up per game on the ground, so there is hope in Tucson. For the Beavs, I don't know if the same can be said. Once Heisman hopeful Kenny Simonton is now a Heisman has-been, as Washington State held him to a career low 19 yards in Pullman. The nice thing for Dennis Erickson is that he has Pat McCall to step in and pull in the slack in case Simonton pulls another disappearing act. The same can't necessarily be said for the quarterbacking position, as true frosh Derek Anderson is next in line if Jonathan Smith falters. Anderson is perhaps the most promising of all the up-and-coming signal callers in the conference, but he's just not ready right now, especially away from the friendly confines of Bean Dip Stadium. Lute Olson would almost approve of this score, as the 'Cats play a little 'basketball on grass', to quote Joe Tiller.

Arizona 55-47

                 Conference Games       All Games
                 W  L   Pct. Pts Opp    W  L   Pct. Pts Opp  Streak
Washington State 3  0  1.000 133  68    5  0  1.000 210  95  Won  5
Oregon           2  0  1.000  87  50    5  0  1.000 180 109  Won  6
Washington       2  0  1.000  58  52    4  0  1.000 134  73  Won 12
Stanford         2  0  1.000  72  44    3  0  1.000 110  66  Won  5
UCLA             1  0  1.000  38   7    4  0  1.000 112  47  Won  4
Arizona State    0  1   .000  28  51    3  1   .750 182 100  Won  2
Arizona          0  2   .000  49 111    3  2   .600 146 171  Lost 2
Oregon State     0  2   .000  34  72    1  3   .250  85 138  Lost 2
California       0  2   .000  48  82    0  4   .000  81 170  Lost 7
USC              0  3   .000  62  72    1  4   .200  89  92  Lost 4 Top Stories