Whew! What a week we had in the Pac-10! Week 11 was filled with wild games all across the board. From an 83-20 onslaught, to Oregon only scoring 15 points, week 11 may have been the strangest of any to this point in the season. My record for Pac-10 play was 3-1.
The Washington State Cougars got their first Pac-10 win since 2007; on the road, in Corvalis against the Beavers none the less. Mike Riley has to be questioning the character of his team after two very poor losses in a row. A bowl game is now looking like a longshot for the 4-5 Beavers. Meanwhile, for Washington State, it appears as if they have finally turned a corner.
USC beat Arizona as I predicted, Stanford came out on top of Arizona State in an ugly one, and Oregon beat Cal in one of the most interesting games of the week.
Week 12 has a lot of bowl implications. Our first game of the week, is this Thursday, the 18th at Husky Stadium in Seattle. Washington (3-6) plays host to UCLA (4-5). This is where our week 12 journey begins.
UCLA Bruins vs Washington Huskies
With the return of Jake Locker for this game, the Huskies hope to keep their bowl hopes alive. The Huskies final 3 games of the year are all very winnable ones and if they can find a way to win all 3, they would be bowl eligible. UCLA also has bowl hopes however their final 3 games are a bit more difficult with among others, USC on the slate. UCLA on the other hand only needs to win 2 of their final 3 games.
Verdict: With Locker's return, and the homefield advantage in Seattle, I have to give the edge to the Huskies.
Final Score: Huskies 31 Bruins 24
Stanford Cardinal vs California Bears
The "Big Game"! While Stanford is ranked 6th in the nation, the Bears have dominated this rivalry of late, winning 8 of the last 9 "Big Game's". Andrew Luck's worst game of his career came last season at home vs the Bears (5-5), so I expect him to be seeking redemption. As the nation saw in last week's game vs Oregon, the Bears are a totally different team at home. With Shane Vereen, the Pac-10's second leading rusher, Cal has a very good shot at pulling off the upset.
Verdict: Cal's been great at hme thisyear, and even with history pointing towards Cal as the winner, I think Stanford is just too good for the Bears to handle this time around.
Final Score: Cardinal 41 Bears 31
USC Trojans vs Oregon State Beavers
Not exactly the matchup the Beavers were looking for coming off the team's most embarassing loss in years. USC is surging with 2 straight wins including a win over Arizona. Matt Barkley has looked great all season long, however, the reason the Trojans find themselves back in the top 25 is Marc Tyler who rushed for 160 yards and two scores vs Arizona. Jacquizz Rodgers has been his usual self this year, but without his brother injured, the offense hasn't looked the same.
Verdict: USC's offense is really starting to come around, just in time for a bowl season they can't participate in. However, I must give Kiffin credit for keeping this team motivated. Trojans win, ending Oregon State's 7 year bowl game streak.
Final Score: Trojans 38 Beavers 23
With only 2 Pac-10 games being played on Saturday, I will be paying especially close attention to the following 3 games.
The Next Best 3
Mississipi Rebels vs LSU Tigers
Last week, I had an absence of an SEC game in my "Next Best 3". I certainly rattled some cages in doing such, but I assure you it was just to keep things fresh. This game however intrigues me. Why you might ask? Because I believe this will be an upset. LSU has looked great of late, but I believe they might overlook the Rebels at home. With a game on the road vs Arkansas coming up, I think this game will be the upset special of the week.
Nebraska Cornhuskers vs Texas A&M Aggies
Ever since replacing Jerrod Jefferson, the preseason Big 12 All-American, with Ryan Tannehill, the Aggies have looked like a different team. A better team. With this game being at home, I like their chances. I'm taking the Aggies here.
Utah Utes vs San Diego State Aztecs
Was Utah just a fluke? There highest quality win came in the first week of college football vs Pitt, a team that has turned out to be a bust. After a 40 point blowout out at home vs TCU and an embarassing loss to Notre Dame, Utah needs to get back on track. A game on the road vs the Aztecs will be a tough test. Let's keep in mind, San Diego State nearly beat TCU in a close battle, 40-35. However, I think the Utes will get back on track on the road vs a tough Aztecs team.
That's all I've got for this week guys. Hope you enjoyed the read!