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Pac-12 News and Notes
by Matt Fargo - 11/07/2011
Week Ten Rewind
It may sound like a broken record, but it was another ho-hum week in the Pac 12 as for the second consecutive week, only one game was decided by single digits.
This was predicted as the game of the week and it did not disappoint as UCLA took out Arizona St. as 8.5-point underdogs and the Bruins have taken control of the Pac 12 South. The Bruins scored the winning touchdown with 49 seconds remaining but Arizona St. had a chance for the win but missed a 46-yard field goal as time expired.
The action got underway Friday and Colorado remained winless in the Pac 12 as it lost at home to USC by 25 points. The Trojans outgained Colorado 561-384 and seized control of the game with 28 unanswered points after the Buffaloes jumped ahead 7-0. USC quarterback Matt Barkley threw for 318 yards and a USC record six touchdowns.
Stanford avoided a letdown as it dominated Oregon St. by outgaining the Beavers 507-285. Oregon St. pulled to within four points to open the second half but the Cardinal scored the final 21 points to win and cover. The Beavers had one last chance to get the backdoor cover but was stopped on fourth down at the Stanford 22-yard line.
California dominated Washington St. from the start as it jumped ahead 30-0 and outgained the Cougars 415-224. Washington St. punted on seven of its first eight possessions and its only touchdown came in the fourth quarter on a 26-yard drive following a Golden Bears fumble.
Despite outgaining Utah 457-333, the Wildcats were never in this game as they fell behind 17-0 and could get no closer than 13 points. Arizona had three interceptions and two missed fourth down conversions that resulted in 180 'empty' yards. Special teams hurt Arizona as it had two punts blocked and botched a fake field goal.
Oregon held Washington 278 total yards while its own offense was held in check for the first half. The Huskies had three turnovers and turned it over on downs twice which led to 17 points for the Ducks. Washington had a great chance for the cover but dropped a pass in the endzone that would have pulled it to within 10 points.
After being left for dead following a horrible national television loss to Arizona, the Bruins control their own destiny in the Pac 12 South. UCLA came from behind to defeat Arizona St. and should it win out, the Bruins will be headed to the Pac 12 Championship game.
"We've worked hard to get things corrected", said head coach Rick Neuheisel. "We're not perfect, but we're getting closer as a team. And we're going to fight like mad to make it four good quarters next week."
The schedule isn't easy with road games at Utah and USC but the Bruins are in a position no one would have guessed a month ago. One more win and they are bowl eligible and with a home game against Colorado, it seems likely.
They have won consecutive games for the first time since September and October of last season.
UCLA is a touchdown underdog at Utah this weekend.
While UCLA controls its own destiny, Utah will have something to say about it. The Utes started the Pac 12 season 0-4 but they have won two straight games in convincing fashion and are in the hunt in the South.
Utah will need help as Arizona St. holds the tiebreaker because of the head-to-head win but the schedule sets up well for a 5-4 record for the Utes. After hosting UCLA this weekend, Utah closes with games against Washington St. and Colorado, the two worst teams in the conference.
Chances are slim for a division title though as Arizona St. has an easy remaining slate as well so the Sun Devils will be rooting for Utah this week which would once again put the Sun Devils in the drivers seat.
Game of the Week
Was there any question?
Oregon and Stanford have done what was asked, that is stay undefeated in the conference, to set up this colossal matchup. The winner of this game likely wins the Pac 12 North and keeps its BCS Championship hopes alive.
Stanford has won nine straight to open the season while the Ducks have won eight in a row since an opening game loss against LSU. The Cardinal are the better team according to most but Oregon has had its way with them the last two meetings despite going 1-1.
Two years ago, Stanford jumped to a 17-point halftime lead and held on for the nine-point win, despite getting outgained 570-505.
Last year, Oregon charged back from an early deficit and dominated the second half in a 52-31 victory as it outgained Stanford 626-518.
ESPN’s GameDay will make its first appearance at Stanford.
The Cardinal opened as a three-point favorite and the line is up to -3.5 in most places. With Stanford a perfect 9-0 ATS, expect this line to continue to rise throughout the week.