Pac 12 Race
weeks in, the Pac 12 has brought no major surprises
amidst its members. North division favorites
Stanford look like the class of that bunch, while
Arizona State and Utah seem
supreme in the South. Only one
conference matchup occurs this week, with Stanford
traveling to Arizona and expected to go home happy.
Conference South members Utah and USC
staged a wondrous battle in the L.A. Coliseum
Saturday, with the Tojans
thankful to escape, though NCAA sanctions eliminate
them from league title
STATE at OREGON the Ducks seem to have fully
recovered from their loss to LSU, their offensive
weapons unstoppable, 69-20,
over a good Nevada team. The UO
coaches taught frosh phenom
DeAnthony Thomas how to hold onto the football and his
10 yards per carry, two
TD pass receptions and 204 all-purpose yards have
anointed him as a true
threat. No team on the rest of the
Duck schedule will present the up-front line dominance
shown by LSU and the UO
defense now will prosper with the return from first
game suspensions of defensive
stars Cliff Harris and Kiko Alonso. Missouri
State has just come into a Division I status after
performing at a lower level as SW Missouri State, and
they will be cannon fodder
for the Quackers, who'll get to clear their bench
again. OREGON by 35 (at least).
at ARIZONA-the Cardinal is 2-0 after cake walks
over San Jose State and Duke, and Arizona had big
trouble with Oklahoma State's
aerial offensive which is not as potent as Stanford's
barrage. We'll see Wildcat
coach Mike Stoops exceed his sideline
histrionics norm to no avail.
STANFORD by 14.
at NEBRASKA-the Cornhuskers will be itching to
scratch their 2010 Holiday Bowl loss to the Huskies
and seem to have the horses
to do that job. The Huskies are
2-0 after last gasp home wins over Eastern Washington
and Hawaii, but haven't
shown enough to scare their hosts in this one.
NEBRASKA by 14.
STATE at ILLINOIS-the Sun Devils are unbeaten and
figure to stay that way, even in this battle with a
Big Ten contender. ASU mentor
Dennis Erickson led his
students to victory over a strong Missouri squad and
unveiled the towering
talent of 6-8 junior QB Brook Osweiler to complement
his usual crew of renegade
defenders. Now, if Dennis can just
calm his boys into committing fewer fouls, they will
triumph. ARIZONA STATE by 6.
STATE at SAN DIEGO STATE-the woebegone Cougars
have been unsullied to date, despite losing their
starting QB Jeff Tuel to
injury in the opening laugher vs. Idaho State. They
whipped a weak UNLV this
past week, and now travel to San Diego State.
The Host Aztecs are no powerhouse, but they
should have enough
to return the Cougars to reality.
STATE by 10.
UCLA-the Bruins out-pointed a sorry San Jose State
by not that much last week, and don't have the talent
to greatly disturb their
Rose Bowl guests this week. This
will be another kick in coach Ricky Neuheisel's stern
on his probable
banishment at season's end from coaching his alma
mater. TEXAS by 20.
BYU-the Utes showed a lot in their narrow loss at
USC, and they may have enough to triumph in this
match, which the citizens of
Utah dub the 'Holy War.' This is
an even match, but we'll call it UTAH by 1.
vs, COLORADO STATE in Denver. The
new Pac 12 members have yet
to win this season, and while they've dominated this
rivalry over the years, we
think the Rams will edge by them this time around.
at USC-the visitors will be easy pickings for the
University of Spoiled Children, who've achieved a 2-0
start against Minnesota
and Utah. Their visitors are in a
'down' stage and won't be much of a show for the
Coliseum crowd. USC by 21.
at CALIFORNIA-Cal should be ashamed of
scheduling this mismatch. The
visiting Blue Hose (really!) didn't upgrade their
program to FCS status until
2008. They were routed last season
in a pair of visits to Division I Wake Forest and
Clemson. CAL by 35
STATE has this week off, and coach Mike Riley has
announced that he's leaving the no-win land of
quarterback shuffling by
appointing redshirt freshman Sean Mannion as a starter
replacing veteran Ryan
Katz, who was unnecessarily humiliated by Riley's
indecision in the first two
games of the season.
ARIZONA @ PORTLAND STATE-the Vikings should expect
to stay undefeated at their new home grounds as they
open their Big Sky
season. Vik coach Nigel Burton has
made progress in replacing the disastrous Jerry
Glanville era. He's fine tuned the
scheme he learned as an assistant at Nevada.
RASPBERRIES...posies are appropriate for
who believe Kelly & Co. will wind up as the new
Pac 12's best team, though
folks in Palo Alto CA beg to differ...there's no
sympathy deserved for those
who believe that there's never enough post-season
bowl games.. ..
© 2011 Oregon Magazine