Oregon lost control of its destiny, but all hope is not lost for the Ducks. As we all know, should Oregon take care of business against Oregon State, and UCLA beats Stanford this Saturday, the Ducks will get their shot at a conference title. It’s not a long shot for Oregon to creep back into the national title picture with a Notre Dame loss, either, so this Civil War is really for more than just pride. Here are the rankings for week 13:
When you take care of Oregon’s offense like Stanford did, you deserve a lot of credit. The Cardinal aren’t just the best team in the conference, they could very well be the best team in the country. With Kevin Hogan under center, the Stanford offense can extend drives and make teams pay for losing the field position battle. Their defensive interior and linebackers are the best I’ve seen in a very long time, and will shut down any offense out there if they aren’t on their game. Also, starting Nunes over Hogan to start the season might be the only thing David Shaw has done wrong this season.
With Oregon’s inflated numbers aside, I still expected the Ducks to put up over 28 points against Stanford. That was way off. Oregon’s shortcomings along the offensive line, their shortage of experience at quarterback, and lack of a game changing wide receiver were finally exposed by a far superior defensive front. Things didn’t help when Oregon played its worst game so far this season against the best team it has played this season. The Ducks have a huge challenge this weekend when they take on a very motivated Oregon State squad, and their outside shot at a national title depends upon it.
It sure felt like the ’90s in Los Angeles this Saturday, as a very talented UCLA team put the hurt on their crosstown rivals for just the second time since 1998. The Bruins have turned the corner, and are finally a factor in the PAC-12 again. Jim Mora should be in the conversation for Coach of the Year if the Bruins can find a way to win the conference title.
4. Oregon State
After destroying Cal, the Beavers have the opportunity of a lifetime to take out their in-state rivals in the Civil War. With a defensive template set by Stanford, the Beavers’ stout defensive interior will have a shot at controlling the Duck offensive line. They will need a perfect performance to do it, but the Ducks are going to have a big challenge on their hands.
5. Southern Cal
Well SC’s unfinished business hasn’t been finished yet, and the nation’s most talented team ran out of time to be called champions. Lane Kiffin really did a number on the USC Football program, effectively driving a very capable squad into the ground in the worst collapse of a preseason #1 team in modern football. If Kiffin has one last chance to save his hide, it will be on Saturday as a Barkley-less USC team takes on Notre Dame. Playing spoiler to the Irish would help out both Lane, and Oregon; opening a path for Oregon to get back into the national title game, and because Oregon wants Lane Kiffin in Los Angeles for as long as possible. So for one week and one week only: Fight On!
There was a bit of excitement stirring around this Washington team to start the season, and Sark ended up producing a solid season. While I’ll give the ‘Dubsters a quick golf clap, the Huskies are lightyears behind Oregon, and a Hogan led Stanford now for that matter.
7. Arizona State
Todd Graham’s team had a rough second half, but all in all, the Sun Devils had a good year. With a very young team, ASU should be considered as a program on the rise. A win over Arizona and a bowl win would go a long way for Graham’s budding program.
After T.J. McDonald brutally speared Matt Scott in Tucson, the Wildcats have lost nearly all of their glitter. Ka’Deem Carey will need a big day if the Wildcats want to knock off ASU before their bowl game.
11. Washington State