Football in the Pac

Last week, we learned a lot about the Pac-10. Class is in session for another week as we take a look back at the events that left the conference with just one unbeaten team.We'll start with the most basic lesson of all: if you flirt with disaster every week, eventually you will have disaster. UCLA had been the darlings of the pollsters; even Sports Illustrated called them the "other team in town". And the Bruins had been getting it done week in and week out, digging huge holes and finding a way out. Not last week.

Coach Mike Stoops has as complex a defense as you'll find in the Pac-10 outside of South Central L.A. And with a handful of Bruin mistakes and a complete inability to stop the running game, it wasn't even close.Speaking of the Trojans, they taught us that if you're going to war against a guy with a machine gun, you should probably bring a machine gun and not a slingshot. The Stanford Cardinal brought a slingshot, and it wasn't even a good one. By the end of a quarter the Trojans had built an insurmountable lead, and a late Stanford touchdown resulted in a win against the spread for Stanford.

For those who took USC in that game, USC might have gotten things done a little too quickly, because their offense was in slowdown mode by the second half.Oregon showed us that while apples may not fall far from the tree, a Leaf can. Ducks fans are hoping that QB Brady Leaf is not the second coming of his malcontent brother Ryan, at least off the field. In the Ducks' 27-20 overtime win over Cal, it was Leaf ? not starter Dennis Dixon ? who provided the heroics with a touchdown pass.

Notable in the loss for Cal was a miss of a 53-yard field goal at the end of regulation. When Cal beat USC in 2003, the last loss for the Trojans, it was a late field goal that provided the impetus for Cal. It remains to be seen whether the Bears can summon enough offensive firepower to hang with the Trojans.The Beavers of OSU taught us that while George Washington couldn't tell a lie, Washington can't play football in 2005.

Wait, we knew that already. The anemic Beaver offense still mustered enough points to beat the Huskies, who could only score ten of their own against an OSU offense that allowed 156 points in three of its losses this season. OSU QB Matt Moore came back strong after throwing six (yes, six) interceptions in a loss to Arizona the week before.And Arizona State taught us that if it's college football, it's hard to root against someone named Rudy. QB Rudy Carpenter has now thrown for almost 800 yards in his last two games, and WR Rudy Burgess threw for another in the win over Washington State.

Their special teams was not spearheaded by Rudy Ruettiger, however. Don't overlook the amazing performance of Jerome Harrison, who had 283 yards in the losing effort for Washington State with his 12th straight 100-yard game.So who winds up getting schooled this week? Only time will tell, as USC heads up to Cal to avenge their last loss and Arizona State ventures to the quiet Rose Bowl to take on UCLA.

.Lenny Del Genio a documented member of the Professional Handicappers League. Read all of his articles at http://www.

By: Lenny Del Genio


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