Pac-10 Notebook: Cal Can Sit Back and Watch Pac-10 Craze

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Cal gets its break from the Pac-10 carousel this week, which may finally give the Bears a chance to enjoy the craziness that is bound to go on without them.

The conference has settled into its traditional ritual of beating up on each other, meaning no one has a shot at the national title but nearly every team is still calcultating its Rose Bowl chances.

The two teams with the highest pre

season rankings have both lost two in a row, each partly thanks to Arizona State, which started the season unranked and lost its first game, 48-10.

The Sun Devils (7-2, 4-0 in the Pac-10) have barged their way into the Rose Bowl picture with road wins over Oregon and Washington, and get a shot at the last giant left standing this week.

The Pac-10's last two undefeated teams face off in Martin Stadium, where No. 8 Washington State (7-1, 4-0) hosts No. 16 ASU.

The game will feature two premier passers in the Cougars' Jason Gesser and the Sun Devils' Ken Walter, while Walter's teammate Terell Suggs has been terrorizing QBs all season. The junior defensive end needs 1.5 sacks to reach the Pac-10 record of 19.

No. 11 USC will spend its bye week hoping for an ASU win. The Trojans (6-2, 4-1) have a Nov. 16 home date with the Sun Devils.

Meanwhile, some of the conference's one-time powerhouses will just be trying to stop the bleeding.

Two weeks ago, the Ducks (6-2, 2-2) looked poised to become a player in the national title picture, going into a three-game homestand undefeated.

After giving up a 21-0 lead and allowing 559 yards passing in a 45-42 loss to ASU, Oregon was torched for 448 yards by Carson Palmer as USC built a 44-19 lead and held on, 44-33.

At least the Ducks get to host beleaguered Stanford next.

The Cardinal (2-5, 1-3) lost 28-18 at home against a UCLA team led by freshman QB Matt Moore, who was not even in uniform when the Bruins lost their top two quarterbacks against Cal.

"We're an improving football team that has experienced frustration with not getting the win at the end," Stanford coach Buddy Teevens said. "The attitude of our players is very resilient. They see things on tape that are encouraging as well."

UCLA, meanwhile, gets to visit Washington (4-4, 1-3), which has had issues of its own after starting the year at No. 8.

Oregon State (5-3, 1-3), which beat the Bears behind 234 yards and three TDs from Steven Jackson for its Pac-10 win last week, will hope to avoid the same fate when it hosts Arizona.

The Wildcats (3-5, 0-4), have lost 10 of their last 12 conference games.


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