Week 12 was a great week of football in the Pac-10, especially if you were a Cardinal fan, such as myself.
Before I begin, let me just say, Friday is an absolutely stacked day for not being a Saturday. Two matchups I'm most looking forward to, besides Stanford's game, are on Friday. Anyways, allow me to continue.
For just the second time in the last nine years, the Stanford Cardinal took back the Stanford Axe as they dismantled Cal 48-14, on their own field. It was the most points ever given up by Cal in the "Big Game", and had it not been for a late touchdown, when all of the Cardinal's back up defensive players were in, it would've been the largest defeat in "Big Game" history as well.
Yet again, the state of Oregon gave USC fits, as they extended their Oregon losing streak to six year. The Oregon State Beavers took down USC in an embarassing fashion, 36-7. Coming off of two very impressive wins, USC seemed as if a victory over the Beavers was unquestionable, especially consider the Beavers loss to Washington State the previous week. But that's the beauty of the Pac-10, parity. Everybody can beat everybody on any given week.
On Thursday, UCLA traveled to Washington to play in what would be Jake Locker's final home game. He received a great ovation from the fans, much better than his performance on the field especially. Despite completing less than half his passes, Locker led his team to a 24-7 victory. He rushed for a touchdown.
Week 13 should be a much more fun week to watch. As much as I love every Saturday between September and January, Week 12 left fans wanting more. We will certainly get more in Week 13.
Now, for the Pac-10 games, of Week 13:
UCLA Bruins vs Arizona State Sun Devils (Note: Friday Game)
Both these teams are 4-6 and hoping to keep their Bowl chances alive. UCLA had another abysmal offensive performance in week 12 at Washington, completing only 6 passes! Arizona State, had a bye, but in week 11, they nearly took down Stanford. UCLA, similar to many Pac-10 teams doesn't really have an identity. Are they the team we saw beat up Texas in Austin? Or are they the team that got shut out at home by Stanford and completely contained by Washington?
Verdict: Arizona State is the best team in the country with 6 losses, for all that's worth. They should've beaten Wisconsin, and they gave Stanford and Oregon their toughest tests of the year. With this game being in Tempe, give me the Sun Devils.
Final Score: Sun Devils 27 Bruins 20
Arizona Wildcats vs Oregon Ducks (Note: Friday Game)
Another Pac-10 game being played on Friday. This should be a great matchup. Both of these teams have quick, high scoring offenses. However, there are a few things that seperate Oregon from Arizona. First, Oregon's offense is just flat out better. They're faster, stronger, smarter, and overall just more skilled. Second, Oregon's defense is much better than people give it credit for. Think about how quickly this unit has to get back out onto the field. Their offense only gives them about 120 seconds of a break once they get the ball and march down the field. Finally, this game is at the Autzen Zoo, one of the toughest places to win in America.
Verdict: Arizona's good, but Oregon is better, much better. Another factor in this game that gives the edge to Oregon, LaMichael James. Arizona, like so many before, will have no answer to him.
Final Score: Ducks 52 Wildcats 28
Washington Huskies vs California Golden Bears
These two teams were headed in the opposite direction last week. The Huskies, a big win at home, the Bears, a big loss at home. Washington, at 4-6, still has a chance at a bowl game, but they MUST win this game. Cal, at 5-6, is also looking for a bowl bid, but for them too, this game needs to be won. With that in mind, this should be a fantastic game. Both these teams have their entire seasons to play for. The Huskies confident coming off a big win, and the Bears angry coming off an embarassing loss, should create quite an interesting collision.
Verdict: It pains me to say this, but the Huskies can't find a way to help Jake Locker get to his first ever bowl game. The Golden Bears run the ball all over the Huskies with Shane Vereen and occasionally Keenan Allen.
Final Score: Golden Bears 31 Huskies 23
Oregon State Beavers vs Stanford Cardinal
Oregon State appeared to have rolled over after week 11, but with a big win against USC in week 12, they are still in the bowl game conversation at 5-5. Unfortunately for them, their final two games are against Stanford and Oregon. The Cardinal might have played their best game of the season in week 12, dominating their rival on both sides of the ball. Stanford hasn't lost a home game this year, and have only lost once in the last two years (in spite of rather small attendance numbers).
Verdict: Andrew Luck is looking better than ever, which is hard to believe. And the Stanford defensive unit has looked great in the last two weeks coming up big at Arizona State, and forcing mulitple turnovers vs Cal. Cardinal finish off a season to remember on a high note.
Final Score: Cardinal 45 Beavers 24
Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs USC Trojans
A classic rivalry game late in the season, nothing better. I am fortunate enough, that I will be in attendance for this game (headed down to Socal to visit family for Thanksgiving). USC and Lane Kiffin for that matter, saw their stock plummet last week. Oregon State dismantled them, yet again, in the state of Oregon. Fortunately for USC though, this game isn't in Oregon. And with their recent dominance in this rivarly game, there isn't too much reason to think they'll lose their edge to the Irish. Assuming Matt Barkley plays, despite a late injury vs the Beavers, the Trojans should have this in hand.
Verdict: USC still seems to be motivated despite a lack of bowl eligibility. As mentioned before, the Trojans have dominated this game in recent years, and there is nothing at the moment that would say any of that has changed. With this game at the Coliseum, USC gets the 'W'.
Final Score: Trojans 35 Irish 21
Washington State has a bye in week 13, so that is all for Pac-10 matchups. There are a few games out of conference that will have my eye in week 13, one most notably, taking place in Alabama.
Next Best 3:
Auburn Tigers vs Alabama Crimson Tide (Note: Friday Game)
You guys know me, I hate to go with the picks that everybody else makes. I try to mix things up, but in this case, I can't. This truly is the game of the week and there is no denying that. I'll be pulling for the Tide in this one, given that an Auburn loss would likely mean a BCS bowl game for Stanford.
Anyways, Cam Newton should win the Heisman if the season ended today. Even I will concede to that, despite rooting for James or Luck to win it. However, Auburn's 50th ranked defense, really isn't what you might expect from a top ranked SEC team. And with that said, Auburn has been very lucky this year in that their 3 toughest games to this point, have been at home (LSU, Arkansas, South Carolina). In fact, to this point in the season, Auburn has only played 3 away games. This game, is on the road, and vs arguably the most talented team in the nation, Alabama. That's why, I'm taking, and rooting for, the Alabama Crimson Tide in this game.
Boise State Broncos vs Nevada Wolfpack (Note: Friday Game)
Boise State has trampled everyone they've played since their opening win over Virginia Tech. However, they have yet to face a team as good as Nevada, and to make matters worse, this game won't be on the "Smurf Turf". Kellen Moore is one of, if not the best Quarterback in the nation. Colin Kaepernick however, has some what quietly had yet another great season out in Nevada. I think this will be a game for the ages, but I think Boise State is just too talented this year, and will close out the season undefeated. Yet again, creating quite a ruckus over the BCS.
Michigan Wolverines vs Ohio State Buckeyes
It's hard really to even call this a rivalry anymore, given some of the smackdowns the Buckeyes have laid on Michigan in the last few years. But none the less, this game has history like few others and that's why we all love it. As I mentioned earlier, I try to throw in games you guys won't read about thousands of times, but this week, the matchups were just too juicy to resist. I've heard, and read rumors, that if Rich Rod didn't win against either Wisconsin or Ohio State, he was done at Michigan. Well, the Wolverines were dismantled by the Badgers, so this would be the game to win. Like most Ohio State-Michigan matchups, I'd imagine there will be some fireworks. As you might expect though, I've got my money on the Buckeyes in the "Horseshoe".
Other Notable Matchups/Rivalries
Oklahoma State vs Oklahoma
North Carolina vs Duke
South Carolina vs Clemson
Florida vs Florida State
Mississippi State vs Mississippi
Virginia vs Virginia Tech
Georgia Tech vs Georgia
Well, that's all I got for you guys. I'll be gone starting tomorrow (Thursday), until Sunday morning. As I said, I'll be down in Southern California visiting some family for Thanksgiving.
I'd like to take this oppurtunity, to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving. This is one of my favorite times of the year. Good food, family, and above all (but not really) football.
See ya next time.