Ranking the Pac-10: Week 11


1. Oregon (10-0, 7-0)Last Week: 1

Oregon needed a punt return, a two-point conversion, and a missed field goal by the opponent to beat Cal by 2. It was the Ducks closest game of the season, but championship-caliber teams find a way to win tight games and Oregon did just that. With Arizona and Oregon State both riding two-game losing streaks, the Ducks are poised to finish the season unbeaten. In recent weeks, teams have done a better job of slowing Oregon’s offense down early, but the pace and depth of the Ducks continues to be too much.

2. Stanford (9-1, 6-1)Last Week:

Much like Oregon, Stanford didn’t play very well on offense at Arizona State. The Cardinal were locked in a tight game until the end, when they scored a touchdown with 5:14 left to take a 17-13 lead they wouldn’t relinquish. With Stanford’s rushing attack getting shut down, Andrew Luck was forced to throw the ball 41 times. In 2009, Stanford was rolling when they lost to a mediocre Cal team. How will they respond in the 2010 edition of the Big Game?

3. USC (7-3, 4-3)Last Week:

 4. Arizona (7-3, 4-3)Last Week:

 5. Cal (5-5, 3-4)Last Week: 6

The Golden Bears are a completely different team at home. They just suffered their first home loss of the year, but they held Oregon to 7 points on offense. At home, Cal’s defense swarms to the ball and plays with a confidence unseen on the road. No.6 Stanford rolls into Berkeley this weekend, and Cal will be ready to battle. The Bears will need a solid performance from Shane Vereen on the ground to take the pressure off of Brock Mansion. The big question is: Why can’t the Bears take their act on the road? The inconsistencies point to a problem in the way Jeff Tedford prepares his team.

 6. Arizona State (4-6, 2-5)Last Week: 7

If there was a column for playing close games, Arizona State would lead the league. Unfortunately, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. The Sun Devils led for much of the fourth quarter over No. 6 Stanford, but their effort fell short again. The Sun Devils played excellent defense and kept Andrew Luck and company at bay. Once again, ASU’s problem was offense. They were 1-9 on third down and held the ball for an astounding 17 minutes. Dennis Erickson is an offense away from have a mid-to-upper tier Pac-10 team because of the excellent defense.

 7. UCLA (4-5, 2-4)Last Week: 8

Coming out of the bye week, UCLA plays Washington on Thursday night. In their last contest, UCLA broke a 3-game losing streak with a surprising victory over Oregon State. Kevin Brehaut has given the Bruins life at quarterback,  but they still only average 120 yards passing per game. Brehaut will need to throw some more in addition to his running if the Bruins want to continue to win. UCLA needs to win two of their last three to go bowling. If they don’t win Thursday, they will have to beat USC to become bowl eligible.

 8. Washington (3-6, 2-4)Last Week: 9

Washington won’t go bowling, which isn’t exactly a bold prediction at this point. The Huskies defense ranks 109 in points allowed, which makes you wonder why Nick Holt got an extension. UW is still a few pieces away from rising from futility, but they have shown progress with some quality games, like the upset of USC. Jake Locker is likely to play Thursday against UCLA, and that’s a huge plus for Husky fans. Locker has three games to end his college career and improve his NFL draft stock.

 9. Washington State (2-9, 1-7)Last Week: 10

Congratulations to the Cougars for winning their first conference game since November 2008. Each week, they had shown they were much, much more competitive than they were in 2009. Jeff Tuel and company pulled through with a win in Corvallis that wasn’t lucky. The Cougars led 14-0 at the half and finished it off by a 31-14 margin. Most impressively, the Cougars ran all over the Beavers and held the ball for just over 39 minutes. Paul Wulff can probably kiss the hot seat goodbye. Wazzu is on the rise.

10. Oregon State (4-5, 3-3)Last Week: 5

Oregon State isn’t the worst team in the Pac-10, but Washington State deserves its moment in the sun for its win so the Beavers assume the tenth slot. Since the loss of star receiver James Rodgers, the Beavers offense has struggled. Oregon State only gained 261 yards against Washington State despite 93 yards on 15 carries for Jacquizz Rodgers. With James out and Katz struggling, teams have decided to stack the box and force the Beavers to beat them through the air. Although they have lost two games in a row, they can ease the pain considerably by beating No. 20 USC in Corvallis this weekend.