Pac-10 Power Rankings: Week 10
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Category: Sports > Fall > Football
No. 1: Oregon
Lane Kiffin spent two weeks getting his practices up to speed - Oregon speed.
With an extra bye week to prepare for the best team in the country, the USC coach amped up the pace of his practices, a laudable if late attempt to try and get his team better conditioned.
He said he saw a difference after two weeks. Too bad Oregon's been practicing at wind-sprint pace for years.
That's the reason Chip Kelly's squad has been so impossible to topple. Maybe a team keeps up for a quarter. Maybe two. They might even lead for a few minutes.
But eventually, an offense that averages nearly a point per minute simply wears you out.
No. 2: Stanford
For a No. 10 team, Stanford is still flying relatively under the radar. With only one more ranked opponent left, though, the Cardinal could be well on their way to solidifying a spot in a BCS game.
Stanford destroyed Washington, 41-0, last Saturday, and its offense looks to be clicking on all cylinders. Stepfan Taylor appears to have adequately filled the void left behind by Toby Gerhart, and quarterback Andrew Luck has fulfilled his preseason hype by continuing to demonstrate that he's one of the best QBs in the conference.
Unless Cal pulls off a big upset in the Big Game, it looks to be pretty smooth sailing for the Card until the end of the season.
No. 3: Arizona
The Wildcats' showdown at Stanford goes a long way towards determining whether or not the conference gets a second BCS participant.
A road win in Palo Alto would keep Mike Stoops' club in the Pac-10 hunt, while further bolstering the team's Rose Bowl resume in case Oregon rolls to the title game.
Further intrigue revolves around who will be under center for Arizona in this critical match-up: Nick Foles, who is fully healthy now, or back-up Matt Scott, who has played admirably in relief? Even if Scott doesn't start, don't be surprised if Arizona uses his running ability in specific packages to throw another wrinkle at the Cardinal.
No. 4: USC
If the Oregon game was USC's Super Bowl, as freshman cornerback Nickell Robey called it, the Trojans are looking to dodge the hangover.
Their chances don't look too shabby. Despite losing to the Ducks by 21, USC played reasonably well, becoming only the second team to even hold a lead against them this fall.
Dates with Arizona and Oregon State should prove to be the most daunting part of the remaining five games. A 10-win season - one that could be capped with a win over UCLA at the Rose Bowl - is still very much a possibility.
No. 5: Oregon State
They look a lot better, and now they have an outside chance at the Pac-10 championships. The Beavers rolled over Cal with ease on Saturday, but pretty much everybody that has hosted Cal has been able to do the same.
Jacquizz Rodgers continues to establish himself as one of the better backs in the country on a weekly basis.
Despite his diminutive stature, his field vision shows to be one of the best in the country. If Mike Riley can rally his troops like he usually does at this point in the season, then they will be one of the most dangerous teams in the conference down the stretch.
No. 6: Cal
The road for Cal has only gotten rougher.
With the loss of fifth year senior quarterback Kevin Riley, the remainder of 2010 has suddenly gone from salvaging to surviving. Luckily for the Bears, only one road trip awaits, and it's to Pullman to play Washington State this Saturday.
Even with Riley, though, Cal probably would have been brutalized by Oregon State last week which doesn't bode well for the Bears with Oregon, Washington and Stanford all left on the slate. The way they've played, Cal will be lucky to scrape two wins out of the remainder of the schedule.
No. 7: Arizona State
Welcome back, Steven Threet!
After an ineffective performance at Cal that was cut short by a concussion, the Sun Devil quarterback returned on Saturday to shred Washington State for 300 yards, three scores, and - most importantly - no interceptions. The 42-0 thrashing was only his second contest this season without a turnover.
Arizona State (4-4) is three more wins from bowl eligibility because the Sun Devils played two FCS teams. With Arizona, USC, Stanford still on the schedule, one upset is a must.
A Washington State version of Threet would be a major boost.
No. 8: Washington
The hype around Jake Locker, it appears, was just too high to be met.
It's been an up-and-down season for Washington, but it looks like down may be the predominant slope of the team when 2010 is in the books. Locker's out indefinitely with broken ribs, so the Huskies have to face No. 1 Oregon without him. A roadtrip to Cal could spell another loss and the Apple Cup certainly isn't a given, either.
Thrilling wins over USC and Oregon State may be the highlights for the Huskies so far, but it's looking like the season as a whole will leave a lot left to be desired for Washington fans.
No. 9: UCLA
I guess we've all grown accustomed to UCLA not being a very good team.
They turned in an admirable performance against Arizona this past weekend, but their lack of a passing threat and the continued clumsiness of their faux-pistol offense leads us to believe that not too many, if any, wins are left for the Bruins.
This week will be a very stiff test with Oregon State coming to town, but with these Bruins, you never really know what you are going to get.
10. Washington State
Well that was quite the step back.
Sloppy Arizona State made for a perfect upset candidate - but just when we thought the Cougars were ready to pounce, they laid that 42-0 egg in Tempe.
Washington State's Pac-10 losing streak has now hit 15 games, and time is running out for Paul Wulff and company to stop the bleeding this season.
Saturday's home match-up against Cal, another victim of a 42-0 deficit in 2010, raises an interesting question: which school is more desperate for a victory?
The power rankings originally stated that Washington State's Pac-10 losing streak was 17 games. It is in fact 15. The Daily Californian regrets the error.
The Daily Californian regrets the error.
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