Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Pac-10 Power Rankings: Week 1

Week one is in the books and it didn’t disappoint. Taking off from where “The Year of the Upset” left off we saw one top 10 team fall to a ranked opponent, and three other top 25 squads get upset to unranked foes. The Pac-10 is especially interesting, and after this weekends games a lot of questions that were up in the air were finally answered. That is why I give you the Pac-10 Power Rankings:

1. USC: After what was a relatively close first half against Virginia (24-7), the Trojans pulled away for a big 52-7 win. Sanchez looked great, and didn’t appear to have any problems with the leg. He ended the game completing 26/35 passes for 338 yards, 3 TDs and 1 INT. We also got to see the depth of the backfield with six different backs getting touches. The Trojans look really tough, they are not only the frontrunner in the Pac but a legitimate national contender as well.

Next Game: The Ohio State University, Sept 13th

2. Oregon: There was a lot of concern surrounding the Duck’s QB situation with Costa out another season and Roper taking over a spread style offense. After handling Washington 44-10, Oregon’s defense might have put some of those concerns to rest. Roper who was named the starter ended up suffering a concussion early in the game, leaving Jeremiah Masoli behind the helm. Masoli took over in the second quarter to complete 7/11 attempts for 126 yards and 2 TD. The Duck’s D is helped the cause tremendously by pitching a second half shut out, and will have to continue to play tough to stay on pace with the best in the Pac-10. For now they are #2, but I don’t foresee that lasting very long.

Next Game: Utah State, Sept 6th

3. CAL: The Golden Bears debut at number three because they played a tougher opponent than most everyone else in the conference. Cal took on Michigan State and took home the win 38-31. The game was close and took an 81 yard run with a little over 4 minutes left in the game by Shane Vereen to secure the victory. Cal still hasn’t broken into the Top 25 yet, but are on the bubble. A couple more W’s and I think we can pencil them in for the time being.

Next Game: @ Washington State, Sept 6th

4. Arizona: Granted the Wildcats were going up against a bad Idaho team, but they did what any good team should do against a much more inferior squad. Tuitama’s Cats pitched a shut out en route to a 70 point romping of the Vandals. Willie completed 17 of his 21 passes for 179 yards and 3 touchdowns. Willie now has 47 career touch downs which sets a school record previously held by Tom Tunniclife. Big congratulations to our star. In the backfield Nic Grigsby also had a big game rushing for 169 yards on 19 carries and putting the ball in the end zone twice. On the defensive side of the ball the Wildcats looked solid all the way around allowing only 112 yards. It is hard to argue with a near perfect performance by our Cats, and so for now they sit at #4.

Next Game: Toledo, Sept 6th

5. Arizona State: Despite their position at 15 in the AP Top 25, the Sun Devils didn’t exactly look like a top tier team. A warm up game against 1-AA Northern Arizona should have been a walk in the park. The real score of the game was closer to 30-0, but the B squad allowed the Lumberjacks to put up 13 points late. Carpenter looked impressive completing 22/28 passes for 388 yards and 1 TD. The biggest problem that we can see is with the running game. Dimitri Nance had only 11 attempts for 30 yards despite his two TDs. If the Sun Devils hope to crack the top 10, or even compete in the Pac-10 they are going to need a substantial running game that as of right now doesn’t appear to be very effective.

6. UCLA: The bruins took down 18th ranked Tennessee in their opener. First and foremost I understand the following: It was an emotional win for Rick Neuheisel. The Volunteers were tanked 18th. An ugly win is still a win. That being said, I may be alone in thinking this was a completely unimpressive win and that Bruins fans have a lot to be worried about. For starters, Craft looked terrible in the first half. You can probably count on one hand how many times your starting QB threw 4 picks in the first half and you were still only down by 7 points. It is a big win for a Bruins team that is rebuilding, but I think the real story here is how bad Tennessee’s offense is/was. Can’t capitalize, can’t win. Don’t get ahead of yourself and think that UCLA is about to start a Cinderella run. The Bruins won’t get off so easy next weekend.

Next Game: @ BYU, Sept 13h

7. Stanford: The Cardinal got away with one and stole a W from Oregon State 36-28. A win is a win and that is the only reason they are ahead of the Beavers at this point. Stanford somehow found a way to win a game in which they had 18 first down to OStates 29 and 301 (91 passing, 210 rusing) yards to 491 allowed. Their passing game is going to need a tune up in order to make that running game all the more effective. It will be interesting to see how their season progresses, especially with a big match up next week.

Next Game: @ Arizona State, Sept 6th

8. Oregon State: The Fumble. It was almost a miracle of a comeback for the beavers, but it ended just a couple yards shy. The story of this game for Oregon State was turnovers. Moevao might have thrown the ball 54 times for 404 yards, but he also threw two key interceptions. The beavers were on the flip side of Stanford’s offensive problems; they need a more effective running game. Next week doesn’t get any easier either.
Next Game: @ Penn State, Sept 6th

9. Washington: I had high hopes for the Huskies this year, and debated taking them in an upset over Oregon. Luckily, I had a moment of clarity. Oregon’s defense completely shut them down, holding Locker to only 103 yards passing and 57 yards rushing. If this was any indication of what is to come, then it will be a long season for the Washington faithful.

Next Game: BYU, Sept 6th

10. Washington State: The cougars looked terrible against Oklahoma State in their 39-12 loss. Their 196 total yards (82 passing, 114 rushing) is cause for concern. They will need to find a rhythm on offense in order compete the rest of the season. I worry for WASU. If they work out some kinks against Cal next week, which should be an easy win for the Bears, they may have a chance at evening up at 2-2 after they play Baylor and host Portland State.

Next Game: Cal, Sept 6th.