Rose Bowl Keys, Prediction and Open Thread

You’ll have to excuse me for not finishing with the linebackers and defensive backs. I decided I wanted to actually spend time with friends and family over winter break instead of just writing about Oregon football. Crazy, right?
And I’m writing this from my girlfriend’s cousin’s living room. Lucky for me, no one is up yet.
If you’ve been reading my position analyses so far, then you have a pretty good idea of what I expect to happen. But there are a few keys things that need to happen for the Ducks to get their first Rose Bowl victory in 15 years.
Big Game Masoli: So far, Jeremiah Masoli has been at his best when the pressure is on – both Civil Wars, the Holiday Bowl, USC, Arizona, etc – but this is by far the biggest of them all (hence, the Rose Bowl nickname).
This is the toughest defense Masoli will have faced in his career, especially with Ohio State’s prowess stopping the run.  The all-conference quarterback needs to get Ed Dickson involved early, speed up the tempo, and keep the Buckeyes defense guessing.
Just a heads up Ohio State fans, Masoli is a little better than Tate Forcier.
Get to Pryor’s Head, and Knee: Terrelle Pryor has had problems keeping his composure this season, even visibly yelling at teammates on the field during the Purdue game. With the news of Pryor’s partially torn PCL, I’m pretty sure I can guess how Nick Aliotti is going to start the game – pressure, pressure and more pressure.
The Ducks need to make Pryor feel uncomfortable, and if the former top recruit starts worrying about his knee more than finding the open receiver downfield, that spells disaster for the Buckeyes.
The 400,000 Duck fans that came down to Pasadena should help too.
Speed Racer: Ohio State has never seen an offense that plays at this fast of a tempo before. They’ve had over a month to prepare, but how will they be able to react on the field with the Ducks no huddle spread?
I feel Ohio State will keep up at first, but Masoli, LaMichael James and company will tire out the bigger, slower Buckeyes. If that happens, this game is over.
Recent Bowl History: How you do in a bowl game is based much more on motivation and desire than actual talent. Like we’ve seen so much this season, the better team often lets down because they think they should be in a better game and have nothing to gain by beating a weaker opponent.
Oregon State went from the Rose Bowl to the MAACO Bowl and got run over, Boise State beat Alabama last year because the Tide went from the championship game to playing a mid-major.
Ohio State is used to playing Texas, USC or an SEC power, will they get up for little ol’ Oregon the same way as the others? (Not that they did well against the others)
Prediction: Let’s just say, if by some chance I woke up and found $500 in my pocket tomorrow, I would parley all of it on Oregon and the over.
Oregon’s tempo wins out and runs away from Ohio State in the end.
Final: Oregon 38, Ohio State 23.
I want to make this a pre-game open thread. What are your thoughts? (Crazy Buckeye fans too)
It's easy: rattle Pryor, win the game.

It's easy: rattle Pryor, win the game.

You’ll have to excuse me for not finishing with the linebackers and defensive backs. I decided I wanted to actually spend time with friends and family over winter break instead of just writing about Oregon football. Crazy, right?

And I’m writing this from my girlfriend’s cousin’s living room. Lucky for me, no one is up yet.

If you’ve been reading my position analyses so far, then you have a pretty good idea of what I expect to happen. But there are a few keys things that need to happen for the Ducks to get their first Rose Bowl victory in 93 years.

Big Game Masoli: So far, Jeremiah Masoli has been at his best when the pressure is on – both Civil Wars, the Holiday Bowl, USC, Arizona, etc – but this is by far the biggest of them all (hence, the Rose Bowl nickname).

This is the toughest defense Masoli will have faced in his career, especially with Ohio State’s prowess stopping the run.  The all-conference quarterback needs to get Ed Dickson involved early, speed up the tempo, and keep the Buckeyes defense guessing.

Just a heads up Ohio State fans, Masoli is a little better than Tate Forcier.

Get to Pryor’s Head, and Knee: Terrelle Pryor has had problems keeping his composure this season, even visibly yelling at teammates on the field during the Purdue game. With the news of Pryor’s partially torn PCL, I’m pretty sure I can guess how Nick Aliotti is going to start the game – pressure, pressure and more pressure.

The Ducks need to make Pryor feel uncomfortable, and if the former top recruit starts worrying about his knee more than finding the open receiver downfield, that spells disaster for the Buckeyes.

The 400,000 Duck fans that came down to Pasadena should help too.

Speed Racer: Ohio State has never seen an offense that plays at this fast of a tempo before. They’ve had over a month to prepare, but how will they be able to react on the field with the Ducks no huddle spread?

I feel Ohio State will keep up at first, but Masoli, LaMichael James and company will tire out the bigger, slower Buckeyes. If that happens, this game is over.

Recent Bowl History: How you do in a bowl game is based much more on motivation and desire than actual talent. Like we’ve seen so much this season, the better team often lets down because they think they should be in a better game and have nothing to gain by beating a weaker opponent.

Oregon State went from the Rose Bowl to the MAACO Bowl and got run over, Utah beat Alabama last year because the Tide went from the championship game to playing a mid-major.

ESPN’s Ted Miller mentioned that Ohio State is used to playing Texas, USC or an SEC power, will they get up for little ol’ Oregon the same way as the others? (Not that they did well against the others)

Prediction: Let’s just say, if by some chance I woke up and found $500 in my pocket tomorrow, I would parley all of it on Oregon and the over. (Ducks by 3 1/2, over/under 50 1/2)

Oregon’s tempo wins out and runs away from Ohio State in the end.

Final: Oregon 38, Ohio State 23.

I want to make this a pre-game open thread. What are your thoughts? (Crazy Buckeye fans too)

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Breaking Down the Rose Bowl: Battle of the Offensive Lines

Analyzing skill positions is easy. Those guys hog the cameras, do flashy celebration dances and attract the affection of all the coeds (and sometimes even faculty) on campus.
Everyone knows about them.
But the guys who go unnoticed, the guys who allow for the skill players to do what they do, those are the guys in the trenches. Those are the guys who win games.
They may not be the sexiest or most attractive, they might even have unsightly facial hair or excessive back hair, you would probably even let own a loud grown if you were forced to sit between them on a cross-country flight, but dammit, they win games.
How often do you hear someone say, “Dad, all I want for Christmas is a game-worn Jordan Holmes jersey.”
Welcome to the life of an offensive lineman.
I don’t like that. No, not because I feel bad for them, but because now I have to do actual research in evaluating which team boasts the better collection of 300+ pound beasts.
And there is nothing lazier than a college student on winter break. Trust me.
But I toughed it out. I’m sure you will thank me later.
Coming into the season, Scout.com ranked both Ohio State and Oregon among the best in the country, with the Buckeyes at 11 and the Ducks at 16, respectively.
Up until last year, tOSU was known for its physical, unimaginative, run the ball down your throat style of play. Just push your guy harder than he pushed you – offensive lineman loved it.
But once Jim Tressel decided to change to the spread-option for Terrelle Pryor, it’s taken a while for everyone to get on the same page.
You can’t expect to completely change your style of play and have it work right away. You have to recruit different players and coaches have to learn what they’re doing. (You’ve almost got it Jimmy, just keep watching the film)
Look at Michigan, they were trying to run the spread with Steven Threet and Nick Sheridan. At least Ohio State had Pryor.
If you look deeper, the Buckeyes have fallen all the way from second in the Big Ten in yards per game in 2006 all the way to eighth in both 2008 and 2009.
You can’t teach agility to those big, hulking farm boys over night.
Oregon, meanwhile, is all speed, even on the line.
Only one Duck checks in at over 300 pounds, while all five of the Buckeyes tip the scale.
After losing two starters to the draft and two to graduation last season, it took Oregon all three non-conference games for the newbies to get into rhythm.
Jeremiah Masoli was sacked five times in the first three games and just three times since then.
As well as protecting Masoli, the line has opened endless holes for running back LaMichael James, who leads the nation in yards per carry at a tick under seven.
Bo Thran and Jordan Holmes have admirably replaced Max Unger and Fenuki Tupou, while C.E. Kaiser, Mark Asper and freshman Carson York fill out the rest of the line.
If Thran and Co. can give Masoli time in the pocket and open lanes for LMJ, this game is as good as over. If Oregon can make it a shootout, Ohio State doesn’t stand a chance.
Since total offensive production is the easiest way to evaluate the position, I have to give Oregon the edge.
Rating:
Oregon 8, Ohio State 7.
Total: Oregon 41.5, Ohio State 35.
How could the ladies ever say no to these guys?

How could the ladies ever say no to these guys?

Continuing with position breakdowns, today I’ll go over the offensive lines. If you missed yesterday’s, you can read about the tight ends here.

Analyzing skill positions is easy. Those guys hog the cameras, do flashy celebration dances and attract the affection of all the coeds (and sometimes even faculty) on campus.

Everyone knows about them.

But the guys who go unnoticed, the guys who allow for the skill players to do what they do, those are the guys in the trenches. Those are the guys who win games.

They may not be the sexiest or most attractive, they might even have unsightly facial hair or excessive back hair, you would probably even let own a loud grown if you were forced to sit between them on a cross-country flight, but dammit, they win games.

How often do you hear someone say, “Dad, all I want for Christmas is a game-worn Jordan Holmes jersey.”

Welcome to the life of an offensive lineman.

I don’t like that. No, not because I feel bad for them, but because now I have to do actual research in evaluating which team boasts the better collection of 300+ pound beasts.

And there is nothing lazier than a college student on winter break. Trust me.

But I toughed it out. I’m sure you will thank me later.

Coming into the season, Scout.com ranked both Ohio State and Oregon among the best in the country, with the Buckeyes at 11 and the Ducks at 16.

Up until last year, tOSU was known for its physical, unimaginative, run the ball down your throat style of play. Just push your guy harder than he pushed you – offensive lineman loved it.

But once Jim Tressel decided to change to the spread-option for Terrelle Pryor, it’s taken a while for everyone to get on the same page.

You can’t expect to completely change your style of play and have it work right away. You have to recruit different players and coaches have to learn what they’re doing. (You’ve almost got it Jimmy, just keep watching the film)

Look at Michigan, they were trying to run the spread with Steven Threet and Nick Sheridan. At least Ohio State had Pryor.

If you look deeper, the Buckeyes have fallen all the way from second in the Big Ten in yards per game in 2006 all the way to eighth in both 2008 and 2009.

You can’t teach agility to those big, hulking farm boys over night.

Oregon, meanwhile, is all speed, even on the line.

Only one Duck checks in at over 300 pounds, while all five of the Buckeyes tip the scale.

After losing two starters to the draft and two to graduation last season, it took Oregon all three non-conference games for the newbies to get into rhythm.

Jeremiah Masoli was sacked five times in the first three games and just three times since then.

As well as protecting Masoli, the line has opened endless holes for running back LaMichael James, who leads the nation in yards per carry at a tick under seven.

Bo Thran and Jordan Holmes have admirably replaced Max Unger and Fenuki Tupou, while C.E. Kaiser, Mark Asper and freshman Carson York fill out the rest of the line.

If Thran and Co. can give Masoli time in the pocket and open lanes for LMJ, this game is as good as over. Oregon wants to make it a shootout, and if they can, Ohio State doesn’t stand a chance.

Since total offensive production is the easiest way to evaluate the position, I have to give Oregon the edge.

Rating:

Oregon 8, Ohio State 7.

Total: Oregon 41.5, Ohio State 35.

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Why Leave The Civil War Up to Chance When I Can Jinx Oregon State?

Look how pretty the Quizz Show is!

Look how pretty the Quizz Show is!

The biggest game of my life as a sports fan is Thursday. And as the clock creeps closer to kickoff with each minute ticking by, I am only getting more and more nervous.

Obviously, I can’t do anything to directly help Oregon increase their chances of winning, so I will resort to doing what I what do best: using my sharp, snarky, witty (I could go on forever…) humor to jinx Oregon State into losing a game that will only make those blockhead students from Corvallis just that more ashamed to call themselves Beavers.

It’s the least I could do. Seriously.

  • Jacquizz Rodgers has never fumbled once in his 498 career carries.
  • Because of that, his extra year of experience, and exceptionally sturdy knee ligaments, Rodgers is obviously better than LaMichael James.
  • The fly sweep is the best play in college football, much better than Oregon’s pitiful spread option attack.
  • Oregon State is first in the Pac-10 in passing yards while the Ducks sit in last place. There is no doubt that Sean Canfield is a better quarterback than Jeremiah Masoli.
  • The Beavers have allowed the fewest rushing yards in the conference and tenth fewest in the country. It doesn’t matter that teams just decide it’s easier to throw the ball. Numbers don’t lie!!!
  • Crucial statistic: OSU has a better net punting average than the Ducks. Knowing that, why even bother playing the game? The Beavs have it locked up.
  • Jacquizz Rodgers has a 547.6 quarterback rating. Talk about Heisman!
  • If the Civil War was decided by picking two players from each team and adding up the points from their first name Scrabble-style on a per-letter ratio, the Beavers would win in a landslide. Jacquizz and Zeke? Are you kidding me? Can you even imagine how many points that would be on a triple word score?
  • Oregon State had more four-star recruits than Oregon in 2006. Talk about veteran leadership!
  • After last season, ESPN’s Ted Miller ranked Quizz as the fourth best player in the Pac-10. The Ducks didn’t get a single player in the top eight.
  • OSU cheerleaders are way hotter than Oregon cheerleaders, and look, they even took buddy pics! How cute!
  • Oregon State has two more alumni than Oregon who have been in space. Look, they’re even smarter than us too!
  • In a state known for being green, Chip Kelly drives a Land Rover while Mark Riley drives a Prius. Everyone is always talking about how being environmentally friendly pays off in the long run. The environmental karma Gods are watching!
  • And lastly, the Beavers have a player with 12 fingers. Talk about an advantage; imagine what you can do with all those fingers! He could enjoy 12 ring pops at the same time! Delicious!

I sure hope the Gods of reverse jinxing are Oregon alums. Go Ducks!

Highlights from Halloween: Oregon Ducks Thrash the USC Trojans

This is the only video on the net that truly captures how great a day it was to be an Oregon Duck. Enjoy, and Go Ducks!

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=7387138&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=0&show_portrait=0&color=00ADEF&fullscreen=1

Made by jtlight and danzig from Addicted to Quack

USC at Oregon from AT Q on Vimeo.

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Oregon Ducks Dress Up as the Grim Reaper, Kill USC on Halloween Night

If you’ve never been to a big game at Autzen stadium, I suggest you do everything in your power to do so. Take out a loan, put your wife or girlfriend up for prostitution, sell your kids. Whatever it takes. These options are all better than being forced to watch an Oregon Ducks home game from your couch.

This guy is my idol.

This guy is my idol.

Yesterday was honestly the best day of my life. And I’ve had some great days. Being born, for one. Jerry Rice once stepped on my foot at a YMCA post-game party. J.T. Snow moved in next door when I was 12, and the first thing I said to him was that Eric Chavez was my favorite player.

I was at the A’s game when they finally won a division series in 2006, and even better, I was there, sitting 10 rows away, when Frank Francisco lost his mind and threw a chair into the stands.

See I’ve had some great days, but none have came even close to the absolute mayhem that ensued yesterday from 4:30 in the morning when I showed up at ESPN’s College Game Day, all the way until 10 pm when the students finally started clearing the field.

To sum up, here’s what I tweeted last night, at 2 a.m. no less, mildly intoxicated. “UOsportsdude: Game day. Nap. Pre-game. Game. Celebration. Beer pong. Drunk dialing my gf. Now that’s what I call a good day.”

So now that we have established that yesterday was officially the best day ever, unless you are a USC fan, or Bernie Madoff, here are some of my thoughts on the game.

· Hey Matt Barkley, can you hear us now? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

· Can we just make it official? Autzen is the loudest stadium in the country. USC had five false starts in the first half alone. I lost count after that.

· Can we just give “Big Balls” Chip Kelly the national Coach of the Year award, right now? Seriously. Drive it to his house right now.

· And how cool is Chip? He dressed up as Puddles at Game Day. What a baller.

· And if that weren’t enough, when asked about why the Ducks are so successful in the second half, he coolly says, “Our halftime adjustments are just try to get a drink of water, touch your toes and go back out and play.”

· One more reason to love Chip Kelly: “We don’t recruit guys to play in games like this, we recruit guys to win games like this.”

· I wonder what Jeremiah Masoli did last night. I bet the second he left the locker room, someone had a beer and a perfect 10 waiting for him.

· I actually feel like I single-handedly had a part in the Ducks win last night. And of course, the 59,591 other people in the Autzen zoo.

· Last night was the worst lost in Pete Carroll’s tenure with the Trojans, and the second worst loss in the history of USC.

· In his past 93 games, Carroll had never lost by more than a single touchdown.

· Oregon rushed for 391 yards against a team that ranked fifth in the nation in rushing defense, allowing just 80 yards a game. The Ducks had 613 yards of total offense, the second-highest total USC has ever allowed after Notre Dame’s 623 in 1946.

· I still love the Song Girls, though.

· LaMichael James is now officially added to my man crush list. Jeremiah Masoli, you’re next.

· The setting for last night’s game was a perfect storm. Night game. Halloween. ESPN Game Day. In Autzen. I didn’t meet a single Duck fan who wasn’t 100 percent confident we would win.

· I also didn’t meet a single USC fan that talked trash before the game. I guess they knew what was coming.

· I hugged Will Tukuafu on the field after the game.

· There were about 15 people dressed in farm animal costumes last night. Why? I don’t know.

· Best costume of the night goes to the Oregon coconut bra guy, who uncannily resembled the Joker. Good work, man.

· I can’t believe that just two years ago, USC was my first choice for college. I think I made the right decision coming to Eugene.

· Stat of the Night: Oregon gained 99 more yards again the Trojans than they did against Washington State. Wow.

· The only good news for USC fans? They can sleep in on New Year’s Day.

· Here’s the best article I read from a USC perspective, from the LA Times .

· Oregon beat the Trojans so badly that the USC president is now planning to retire after 19 years at the helm.

· I’m sorry, but the Ducks are not the eighth best team in the country. Iowa, Cinci, Boise State and TCU? Come on. Three mid-majors whose only good win collectively, is the Broncos beating Oregon when they were a completely different team, and a team from the Big Ten, which might be a worse conference than the WAC.

· Only Florida, Bama, and Texas should be higher. And I think we could beat any of these teams right now.

· As of this moment, I would be honestly disappointed in a Rose Bowl appearance. I would rather play a team from the Big 12 in the Holiday Bowl than crush Iowa in the Rose Bowl.

· Title game, or bust, baby.

· My favorite sign from Game Day: “Matt Barkley reads Twilight .” It’s a long ride back to LA, Matt. Read up.

· The only thing I am disappointed with is that Oregon didn’t go full blackout. How sick would those uni’s have been?

· Quote of the night goes to Masoli: “We plan on doing this. If we make a statement, we make a statement. That’s just Oregon football and how we roll.”

· I am flying home for next week’s game at Stanford. Best $300 investment ever made…by my dad.

· I am going to make my girlfriend paint me in Oregon colors from head to waist, and she is going to have to put up with me in “Oregon football mode” for an entire afternoon. I apologize in advance.

· I said it before, but it bears repeating. I am more all in Oregon football than Charles Barkley and John Daly at a poker table—and I couldn’t be happier.

GOOOO DUCKS!!!

If you want to check out more pics of the game, please go to U of O student Christina Barth’s Flickr page here.

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The circus bear is fan, why aren't you? Ok maybe not, but you should still be a fan anyway.

The circus bear is fan, why aren't you? Ok maybe not, but you should still be a fan anyway.

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College Football Quick Hits: the BCS Picture

With the Ducks off this week and the introduction of the first BCS rankings today, I thought it would a good time to see which teams still have legitimate  national championship dreams. Most don’t. There are a lot of pretenders in the top 10.

Is Tim  Tebow ever not yelling? His teammates must be so sick of it. I can only imagine him at a party.

Is Tim Tebow ever not yelling? His teammates must be so sick of it. I can only imagine him at a party: tap that keg!! tap it good!!!

No. 1 (AP Poll) Alabama

Granted, I don't know a whole lot about art history, but I swear something is different about this picutre.The SEC is thought of as the number one conference in college football, but somehow the Tide managed to play a schedule easier than a girl at a party who has done four keg stands. Yes, I was a witness Friday night. Let’s just say she was walking with a pretty major gangsta lean from the keg to the alley. Things didn’t end well. See where I’m going?

Alabama has a nice win at VA Tech but none of their other wins are too impressive. They still have one challenging match-up when they host LSU – another overrated team – before they play Florida in the SEC championship game. With a fully healthy Tim Tebow by then, Florida should be able to roll the Tide.

No. 2 Florida

This just in: Tim Tebow is pretty good. Still my BCS pick.

No. 3 Texas

Despite only beating the Sam Bradford-less Sooners by 3, the Longhorns deserve some credit for playing a tough non-conference schedule…wait. Louisiana-Monroe, Wyoming, and UTEP. Yea, seriously. Might as well play a line-up of Junior Colleges.

No. 4 USC

Their season comes down to the match-up with Oregon. I don’t see either team losing another game, save for this match-up, during the rest of the Pac-10 schedule.

No. 5 Cincinnati

This is not the fifth best team in the country. They will lose at least two of their last four games – Connecticut, West Virginia, Illinois, and Pittsburgh.

No. 6 Boise State

If the Broncos think they deserve a spot in the BCS they better do a lot better than beating UC-Davis by 18 and Tulsa by 7. When the second toughest match-up on your schedule is Idaho, you better be decisive in your victories. Overrated until further notice.

No. 7 Iowa

I’m waiting. Lose that game to that inexplicably bad Big 10 team any week now, Hawkeyes. Seriously, you’re not good. I have a good feeling about this week, though.

No. 8 Miami and No. 9 LSU

Ehh

No. 10 TCU

The only non-BCS team this year deserving of a top-10 ranking. Wins at Virginia, Clemson, and this weekend in BYU would go a long way in proving the Horned Frogs mettle.

No. 11 Georgia Tech

Are the Yellow Jackets really better than Oregon? I rest my case.

No. 12 Oregon

Win on Halloween against USC and the Ducks are golden. Legitimate BCS hopes with a victory.

No. 13 Penn State

They play one ranked team this season – Ohio State. Hey Joe Pa, are you too old to realize your non-conference schedule is absolutely worthless?

It’s not worth going any further down than this.

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Pac-10 Preview Week Seven: Watching from the Sideline

Ahhhhhh gotta love 'em.

Ahhhhhh gotta love 'em.

No matter what happens this weekend, I can 100 percent guarantee that it will not come even remotely close to the last five weekends.

Not even if I go to the best party ever. Going undefeated in beer pong? No big deal. Breaking ankles at the Rec Center? That’s an everyday occurrence. Hooking up with the hottest chick on campus? Well, that one I can’t do till winter term (when my girlfriend gets here)—among other reasons.

So why will this weekend pale in comparison to any other this fall? It will be the first Saturday since Sept. 12 without an Oregon Ducks football game.

So what is a Duck fan to do?

Spend the weekend watching inferior college football teams and hoping for the teams ahead in the rankings to drop faster than Mike Singletary’s pants in the 49ers’ locker room.

But fortunately, next weekend will more than make up for it. I’ll be making my first journey up to Seattle to watch the Ducks in Husky Stadium. Best $46 I’ve ever spent.

With no Oregon game to preview today, I am relegated to the rest of the Pac-10.

Once again, the Pac-10 has failed to deliver multiple national title contenders. With Cal being a shocking disappointment and USC once again losing to an unranked team, there is more mediocrity than ever.

With all the parity in the conference, only one team has started to separate itself from the rest of the pack—Oregon. But keep in mind, the three teams the Ducks have played so far are 0-8 in the Pac-10. Washington and USC will make or break the season for the Autzen faithful.

On to this weekend’s games.

Washington at Arizona State

I’m still trying to figure out this Sun Devil team. I’m not sure if they’re decent or flat-out bad. They blow out two awful teams at home, as expected, and then lose by a field goal at Georgia, a loss that looked a lot more impressive then than it does now.

Arizona State outplayed Oregon State on paper, outgaining the Beavers 406 to 295, but the three fumbles killed them. But more embarrassing than either of those losses was the 27-14 win over Washington State. Unless you have seen the Cougars play, you cannot appreciate how truly bad they are. Anything less than a blowout is officially a disappointment.

Meanwhile, the Huskies have regained a bit of their momentum after the Stanford loss by putting a solid game together on the road at Notre Dame and then a miracle win against Arizona. With a big matchup looming against Oregon next Saturday, it will be interesting to see if the Huskies let down against a lesser team.

Prediction: Washington 34, Arizona State 17

Cal at UCLA

There is a legitimate chance that at least one of these teams will end up not bowl eligible.

After starting the season scorching hot, the Golden Bears have fallen flat on their face. Granted, at Oregon and home against USC is an almost unfair way to start Pac-10 play, but it looked as if Cal didn’t even bother to show up to either of those games. They didn’t score a single touchdown and were outscored 72-6.

But don’t worry, Cal fans, you can still make the Emerald Bowl.

UCLA, meanwhile, would be lucky to make the Las Vegas Bowl. Needing three more wins to gain bowl eligibility, the Bruins still have to play Cal, Arizona, Oregon State, Washington, and USC. Assuming they beat Arizona State and Washington State, I don’t know which team they could beat for that elusive sixth win.

Prediction: Cal 24, UCLA 17

Stanford at Arizona

This probably isn't PC, but he looks like a homosexual ostrich.

This probably isn't PC, but he looks like a homosexual ostrich.

Just when I start to buy the Cardinal, the Quizz Show comes along and stumps Stanford. I still like the direction Jim Harbaugh has his team heading, but a Rose Bowl appearance this year looks out of the question.

They certainly have the pieces, with Andrew Luck, Toby Gerhart, and Ryan Whalen, but it seems like they don’t have the mentality of a winner—which makes sense, considering they haven’t been good since the beginning of the decade.

Arizona has a pretty impressive résumé, with their only slip-ups coming on the road to an extremely overrated yet undefeated Iowa team and to the Huskies in a heartbreaking loss in Seattle.

This will probably be the most competitive game of the week, because I think both of these teams are stuck in “good but not great” purgatory.

Prediction: Stanford 31, Arizona 28

USC at Notre Dame

I am so tired of this matchup. It hasn’t been close since the famous “Reggie Bush push” in 2005, and the Fighting Irish haven’t been half as good as the hype in over a decade, despite being given every advantage by the NCAA. Jimmy Clausen is for real, but they haven’t had a dominating win all season. I don’t think it starts here.

The Trojans, although overrated at No. 6, have so much talent that they can get by with only mediocre quarterback play. But for USC to be taken seriously as a title contender, Matt Barkley will have to show that he can make plays and not just be a game manager. Maybe he can learn a thing or two from his QB counterpart and fellow No. 1 overall recruit on Saturday.

Prediction: USC 34, Notre Dame 24

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Pac-10 Preview Week Seven: Watching from the Sideline

Ahhhhhh gotta love 'em.

Ahhhhhh gotta love 'em.

No matter what happens this weekend, I can 100 percent guarantee that it will not come even remotely close to the last five weekends.

Not even if I go to the best party ever. Going undefeated in beer pong? No big deal. Breaking ankles at the Rec Center? That’s an everyday occurrence. Hooking up with the hottest chick on campus? Well, that one I can’t do till winter term (when my girlfriend gets here)—among other reasons.

So why will this weekend pale in comparison to any other this fall? It will be the first Saturday since Sept. 12 without an Oregon Ducks football game.

So what is a Duck fan to do?

Spend the weekend watching inferior college football teams and hoping for the teams ahead in the rankings to drop faster than Mike Singletary’s pants in the 49ers’ locker room.

But fortunately, next weekend will more than make up for it. I’ll be making my first journey up to Seattle to watch the Ducks in Husky Stadium. Best $46 I’ve ever spent.

With no Oregon game to preview today, I am relegated to the rest of the Pac-10.

Once again, the Pac-10 has failed to deliver multiple national title contenders. With Cal being a shocking disappointment and USC once again losing to an unranked team, there is more mediocrity than ever.

With all the parity in the conference, only one team has started to separate itself from the rest of the pack—Oregon. But keep in mind, the three teams the Ducks have played so far are 0-8 in the Pac-10. Washington and USC will make or break the season for the Autzen faithful.

On to this weekend’s games.

Washington at Arizona State

I’m still trying to figure out this Sun Devil team. I’m not sure if they’re decent or flat-out bad. They blow out two awful teams at home, as expected, and then lose by a field goal at Georgia, a loss that looked a lot more impressive then than it does now.

Arizona State outplayed Oregon State on paper, outgaining the Beavers 406 to 295, but the three fumbles killed them. But more embarrassing than either of those losses was the 27-14 win over Washington State. Unless you have seen the Cougars play, you cannot appreciate how truly bad they are. Anything less than a blowout is officially a disappointment.

Meanwhile, the Huskies have regained a bit of their momentum after the Stanford loss by putting a solid game together on the road at Notre Dame and then a miracle win against Arizona. With a big matchup looming against Oregon next Saturday, it will be interesting to see if the Huskies let down against a lesser team.

Prediction: Washington 34, Arizona State 17

Cal at UCLA

There is a legitimate chance that at least one of these teams will end up not bowl eligible.

After starting the season scorching hot, the Golden Bears have fallen flat on their face. Granted, at Oregon and home against USC is an almost unfair way to start Pac-10 play, but it looked as if Cal didn’t even bother to show up to either of those games. They didn’t score a single touchdown and were outscored 72-6.

But don’t worry, Cal fans, you can still make the Emerald Bowl.

UCLA, meanwhile, would be lucky to make the Las Vegas Bowl. Needing three more wins to gain bowl eligibility, the Bruins still have to play Cal, Arizona, Oregon State, Washington, and USC. Assuming they beat Arizona State and Washington State, I don’t know which team they could beat for that elusive sixth win.

Prediction: Cal 24, UCLA 17

Stanford at Arizona

This probably isn't PC, but he looks like a homosexual ostrich.

This probably isn't PC, but he looks like a homosexual ostrich.

Just when I start to buy the Cardinal, the Quizz Show comes along and stumps Stanford. I still like the direction Jim Harbaugh has his team heading, but a Rose Bowl appearance this year looks out of the question.

They certainly have the pieces, with Andrew Luck, Toby Gerhart, and Ryan Whalen, but it seems like they don’t have the mentality of a winner—which makes sense, considering they haven’t been good since the beginning of the decade.

Arizona has a pretty impressive résumé, with their only slip-ups coming on the road to an extremely overrated yet undefeated Iowa team and to the Huskies in a heartbreaking loss in Seattle.

This will probably be the most competitive game of the week, because I think both of these teams are stuck in “good but not great” purgatory.

Prediction: Stanford 31, Arizona 28

USC at Notre Dame

I am so tired of this matchup. It hasn’t been close since the famous “Reggie Bush push” in 2005, and the Fighting Irish haven’t been half as good as the hype in over a decade, despite being given every advantage by the NCAA. Jimmy Clausen is for real, but they haven’t had a dominating win all season. I don’t think it starts here.

The Trojans, although overrated at No. 6, have so much talent that they can get by with only mediocre quarterback play. But for USC to be taken seriously as a title contender, Matt Barkley will have to show that he can make plays and not just be a game manager. Maybe he can learn a thing or two from his QB counterpart and fellow No. 1 overall recruit on Saturday.

Prediction: USC 34, Notre Dame 24

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