This Week in the Pac-10

Rivalry Saturday is upon us, except for the fans in the State of Arizona who have a bye week. These are the games where you can throw out the records because they just don't matter. USC fights for its national title shot and, if all the stars align, the Civil War might just decide the Holiday Bowl bid.

UCLA (6-5, 4-3) at #2 USC (9-1, 5-1) 12:30 – ABC Regional

The fight for the Victory Bell will take place in the Los Angeles Coliseum in the 73rd meeting between these teams. The Trojans are looking to set a record, and that would be beating the Bruins for the fifth time in a row. There'll be plenty of people on hand, as all 92,000 seats have all been sold. Last year in the Rose Bowl, the Trojans dominated in a 52-21 victory.

USC has won 17 out of their last 18, and are coming off of a 45-0 drubbing of the Arizona Wildcats, a performance that didn't pack enough punch for those computers out there. The Trojans dropped to third in the ‘BS' standings, behind an Ohio State team that the Men of Troy could eat for lunch. Sophomore QB Matt Leinart is ably leading his team – he has a 4-to-1 touchdown-interception ratio, and hasn't thrown a pick in 165 passes (a school record).

UCLA, who started the conference season off with a bang going 4-0, has now dropped to fourth in the standings and is riding a three-game losing streak. They are coming off of a 31-13 loss to the Ducks where the Bruins got down early and couldn't rebound. In the first quarter, QB Drew Olson's first pass was picked off by Jerry Watson and returned for a touchdown. Kenny Washington returned a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown to put the Ducks up 21-3 early.

Dawgman Line: USC rolls by 20
Oregon State (7-3, 4-2) at Oregon (7-4, 4-3) – 12:30 ABC Oregon only

The Civil War – Oregon style … this is the 107th meeting between the hated rivals that have a whopping 45 miles separating them. This is the oldest rivalry west of the Rockies and these two teams are fighting for position to get to a "good" bowl. Oregon holds a 53-43-10 advantage, but the home team has won the last 6 games. Oregon State actually has a higher winning percentage in Eugene than it does at home, although they have not won there since 1993.

The Beavs are coming off of a 43-3 thrashing of the Cardinal, where the OSU receivers ran wild. Mike Hass hauled in 8 catches for 225 yards (2nd highest in school history) and James Newson added 9 receptions for 115 yards. OSU also received some good news, and that is RB Steven Jackson is one of eight finalists for the Doak Walker award. Jackson now has 1,266 rushing yards with two games remaining. OSU leads the conference in total offense (460.9 yds/gm) and total defense (289.5 yds/gm).

Oregon, who handed the Bruins a loss in the Rose Bowl last week, is on an upswing having won three out of their last four games. QB Kellen Clemens didn't have gaudy numbers, passing for 183 yards, but it was a team effort. The Ducks scored touchdowns on offense, defense, and special teams. Last year, the Zeros had trouble shutting down the Beavers' high-octane offense. QB Derek Anderson passed for 370 yards and four scores against a suspect Duck secondary.

Dawgman Line: OSU wins by 2 in five overtimes
California (6-6, 4-3) at Stanford (4-5, 2-5)

The Big Game. That's what they call this one in the Bay Area. It's a very big game for Cal, now that they are on the brink of bowl eligibility after humiliating the Washington Huskies 54-7. They need one more win, and none would be sweeter than in the 106th meeting between these detested rivals. The Bears racked up 729 yards of total offense against the Dawgs as WR Geoff McArthur had 180 yards on just six catches, including a 79-yarder on the game's first play. QB Aaron Rodgers lit up the Husky secondary like a pinball machine, completing 20 of 33 for 348 yards and three TDs. The Bears had 381 yards of rushing and averaged over 10 yards per carry. No, that isn't a misprint. On defense, California sacked Cody Pickett four times and chased him from the game after three ineffective quarters.

California must make the 43-mile drive to Palo Alto, a place that normally has more empty seats than … no other place has as many empty seats as Stanford Stadium. But it should be packed for this one. If Stanford wins out (they finish the season against Notre Dame), they'll also be bowl eligible, so a lot is on the line. Last week, the only offense that the Cardinal could manage against the Beavers was a 36-yard Michael Sgroi field goal in the rain. Quarterbacks Trent Edwards and Chris Lewis were terrible, combining for only 16 completions out of 44 attempts and 145 yards. They could only muster 76 yards at halftime and were thoroughly dominated. Not a good note to enter this game on, but that's where they are.

Cal snapped Stanford's 7-game winning streak over the Bears last year. Stanford has the edge at 54-40-11. Stanford has also won the last four games at Stanford Stadium (1995, '97, '99, '01) and eight of the last nine. Only 125 points separates the two teams in their previous 105 meetings.

Dawgman line: Bears defeat Cardinal by a touchdown.
Byes: Arizona, Arizona State

Link to last week's match ups Top Stories