This Week in the Pac-10: Week 12

Now that Rivalry week is nearly complete, this week almost seems like an afterthought. However, there are four very interesting games, games that can still impact how bowl invitations are handed out.

If Washington beats Miami, a tentative Holiday Bowl berth that is already in their pocket could turn into something greater. In all probability, the Huskies are most likely going to San Diego regardless.

For Stanford, it's either Seattle or Las Vegas, and while I'm sure neither sounds particularly intriguing to the Trees, a win over the tradition-laden Irish is always a feather in the cap of any team. And last, but certainly not least, there's Cal, looking for that coveted first win. Tom Holmoe may be leaving Berkeley, but he could at least go out with a bang. On to the match ups!

California at Rutgers
Arizona at Arizona State
Washington at Miami
Notre Dame at Stanford
Current Pac-10 Standings

California at Rutgers

Is there nothing more appropriate for Tom Holmoe than to have to take his Cal team for the last time on the road? And of all places...New Jersey? Well, there is something to that insult to injury thing after all. Well, the Bears are going to try and make sure they don't have their first winless season since 1897, and they are showing signs of life after taking Stanford to the wire in 'The Big Game'. But a Kyle Boller Hail Mary couldn't get the job done, and I'm not sure there's much Boller is going to be able to do against the Scarlet Knights.

Statistically, Rutgers should win this game 42-37, but frankly I'm not sure either team can score that much. Rutgers has the worst offensive output in the country, averaging an anorexic 10 points per contest, and Cal isn't much better, going for roughly a touchdown above that. What may help the Bears here is that they are going after a freshman QB in Ryan Cubit, and if they can sufficiently ruffle his feathers they have a chance at keeping the score low. In a low-scoring game, Cal has a chance; in a shootout, the home team will get the win. I would love nothing than to see Holmoe go out a winner.

California 17-10

Arizona at Arizona State

John Mackovic must defeat UA's in-state rival to make sure he doesn't duplicate the same record his predecessor, Dick Tomey, had last year, but unfortunately that's not going to happen as the Sun Devils are going to stomp the 'Cats into kibbles and bits. One thing first year ASU coach Dirk Koetter understands implicitly is that no matter what he does this year he HAS to beat UA, so expect Koetter and staff to come up with the game plan of the year to utilize Delvon Flowers on the ground and Shaun McDonald through the air. Arizona is 99th in stopping teams from passing, which plays right into the hands of Koetter and ASU QB Jeff Krohn, who leads the Pac-10 in passing efficiency. There's no question that Arizona has offensive talent with Jason Johnson, Clarence Farmer and Bobby Wade, but the cozy confines of Sun Devil Stadium will be too much for the visiting 'Cats to overcome. That, and the fact that they can't outscore ASU.

Arizona State 45-35

Washington at Miami

The rematch the 'Canes have been waiting for, Miami gave the Dawgs a hint of things to come with a 59-0 devastation of Syracuse, who looked more rank than ranked. Ken Dorsey found his stride after struggling against Boston College and the 'Canes had two 100-yard rushers in Frank Gore and Clinton Portis. The Huskies know all about Clinton, who played a big role in Miami's strong comeback against Washington last year. That comeback came up short, but don't expect the Hurricanes to be behind this year. The Dawgs have secured a Holiday Bowl berth and may not go any farther than San Diego even with a win over Miami, but the BCS hasn't released Washington yet, leading to all sorts of wicked possibilities. Rick Neuheisel also has history to contend with. In the two games ever played by Washington in the Orange Bowl, the Huskies are 2-0, the last being a memorable 38-20 beating that ended the 'Canes vaunted 58-game home winning streak. As it stands, Miami's Rose Bowl aspirations and home-field advantage will be too much, but at least the Dawgs will make a game of it and might even cover the ridiculous 25-point spread.

Miami 35-21

Notre Dame at Stanford

A vital game for the Irish, Bob Davie is trying to hold off his critics, the subway alumni and his head off the coaching chopping block, and only wins over the Cardinal and Purdue will get ND to bowl-eligible status. Not even that will guarantee Davie's job security, but it should provide enough motivation for his coaching staff. For Stanford, any win over the Irish should be considered a good win, but realistically their last two games (Notre Dame and San Jose State) aren't going to have much say in where they go bowling (most likely the Seattle Bowl at this point), so it will be up to Ty Willingham and the seniors to lead by example and finish off strong. Randy Fasani should be back and ready to go, but either way they will have a quarterbacking advantage over the Irish, who will go with versatile Carlyle Holiday. With the Irish ridiculously anemic throwing the ball (114 out of 115 D1 teams), Tree DC Kent Baer can stuff the box and dare Carlyle to throw. That strategy should play into the hands of Stanford, who is stuffing opponents to an average of just over 100 yards per game on the ground. If the Cardinal give up their average, that will force Davie's hand. Add to that the fact that Stanford is the 5th highest scoring team in the country, it's going to be a long day for the Irish headman as the critics start greasing the wheels for his speedy departure from South Bend.

Stanford 40-24

	        Conference Games      All Games
	        W  L   Pct. Pts. Opp  W  L   Pct. Pts. Opp Streak
Oregon           6  1  0.857 264  167  9  1  0.900 357  226  Won 3
Washington State 6  2  0.750 257  187  9  2  0.818 387  242 Lost 1
Washington       6  2  0.750 227  237  8  2  0.800 303  258  Won 1
Stanford         6  2  0.750 312  266  7  2  0.778 350  288  Won 2
USC              5  3  0.625 249  150  6  5  0.545 292  197  Won 4
UCLA             3  4  0.429 191  143  6  4  0.600 265  183 Lost 4
Oregon State     3  4  0.429 177  166  5  5  0.500 273  242  Won 2
Arizona State    1  5  0.167 157  226  4  5  0.444 311  275 Lost 3
Arizona          1  6  0.143 189  296  4  6  0.400 286  356 Lost 1
California       0  8  0.000 148  333  0 10  0.000 181  421 Lost 10 Top Stories