No question here. In fact, I think it’s a bit outrageous that Oregon is #4 in the BCS rankings. I don’t care about strength of schedule, or scoring margin, or any of that. Watch the games. I believe Oregon would beat Kansas State, and I believe Oregon would beat Notre Dame. If, by the end of the season, they miss out on the national title game because those two teams are still undefeated, it will highlight the failure of the computer rankings.
2.) Oregon State
Tough loss, but Stanford has shown that losing to a suddenly-tough Washington team in Seattle isn’t a sign of general failure. The Beavers will bounce back, especially now that they’ve decided to go with Cody Vaz against Arizona State rather than a clearly rusty, if not still injured, Sean Mannion. Time will tell that OSU was just a victim of a UW team that was fighting for their season, and that they will continue to defeat very good teams.
Lost to the best possible version of Washington and a still undefeated Notre Dame team, both on the road. I’m willing to bet most highly ranked teams in the country would have likely fallen twice to those circumstances. Unfortunately for the Cardinal, they still have to play Oregon State and Oregon to finish out the year, as well as a dangerous UCLA team. May be one of those seasons where a very tough, talented team finishes 8-4 due to a tough schedule and tough circumstances.
Right now, there is only one Pac-12 team the Wildcats aren’t capable of defeating: Oregon. Sure, the defense is mediocre and the three losses take away some of the luster, but Matt Scott and his offense are capable of overwhelming any opponent in what resembles a poor man’s Oregon attack. Most of the tough games are over, with UCLA, Colorado, Utah, and Arizona State. I expect that they will win all four. If USC drops a couple more games, that could create a really tight race for the Pac-12 South title.
The Trojans are a disappointment this year, but mostly just by lofty USC standards. However, if they lose to Oregon and Notre Dame and finish 8-4, they would be a disappointment, considering their outrageous level of talent, by almost anyone’s standards. Turns out this just wasn’t their year.
The Bruins are in position to decide their own fate with this week’s game against Arizona. The Wildcats are red hot, and if UCLA can hold them off at home, all of the sudden they are in the thick of the Pac-12 South race and will probably have earned a top-25 ranking once again. With UCLA’s struggles on defense, this one will either be a solid Arizona win or a total shootout. Should be a really entertaining benchmark game for the Pac-12 South.
Oh, Washington. You have not made my first season covering you easy at all. You have been unpredictable, and you have taken everyone involved with the program on an outrageous emotional roller coaster ride. I’m still not sure where it will end, but the outlook seems positive now. Four games against opponents with losing records to close out the year. One caveat: three of those four games are on the road, where the Huskies have been blown out by LSU, Oregon, and Arizona. Go ahead and try to predict if the Huskies will take care of business on the road against three pretty bad teams, or show that they will struggle outside of CenturyLink no matter who they play. I’ll be trying to do the same.
8.) Arizona State
Not a bad team, so it seems like a real crime to have them at #8, but there is just too much depth in the conference this year. Still, with games against Oregon State, USC, and Arizona in the last part of the year, be ready for the Sun Devils to ruin things for at least one of the three. They are still too dangerous to sleep on.
At Utah we get a nice line between the highly competitive middle of the conference and the doormats that haven’t managed a .500 record. Utah is the most respectable of these teams, and can probably expect wins over Colorado and maybe even Washington State, but they are not going to finish the year with a winning record. That is for sure.
10.) Washington State
If we are really seeing progress from the Cougars, we will see it manifest in the form of a win at Utah, but to be honest, I’m not confident that Leach’s team is ready to win on the road, no matter how hard Jeff Tuel is fighting. When you have a terrible defense and an atrocious offensive line, you have a bad team. It’s that simple.
Cal is somehow favored against UW by four or so points this week, which seems outrageous considering that this game is really a chance to determine whether or not the team has quit on Jeff Tedford. When we’re trying to determine if a team is no longer listening to their head coach, I don’t see how they can possibly be favored against a fairly solid Washington team, even if they are at home.
They are so terrible! It’s just sad. Oregon scored 70 points, but if Chip Kelly hadn’t shown a ton of mercy, it could have been triple digits. I’m not sure you can say that any progress has been made this year. The Buffaloes weren’t this bad last year.