While the SEC, Big 12, ACC, and a few others figure out who their conference champions will be, the Pac-10 will be playing this week like any other. The round robin schedule wraps up this week with 4 games, excluding Stanford (11-1) and Cal (5-7) who have already completed their schedules.
Among these 4 Pac-10 games, are 4 great rivalries, all in state, or in the case of the Southern California series, cross-town.
2 teams will be playing for their bowl lives. Washington, at 5-6, is favored in their game on the road in Pullman over Wazzu. I imagine Jake Locker is very anxious for the chance to play in his 1st bowl game, and get one last shot to impress those NFL scouts.
Meanwhile, Oregon State has an uphill battle to say the least. They will be playing the Oregon Ducks, a team primed for the National Championship game at the moment. Fortunately for the Beavers, this game is in Corvalis, a place they have played fairly well at this season, with the exception being that embarassing game vs Washington St.
Anyways, without any further delay, here are the Pac-10 games, for week 14:
Arizona State Sun Devils vs. Arizona Wildcats
Arizona State is 5-6. However, their bowl picture looks bad. Even if they were to come up with the huge upset over the Wildcats, they'd be 6-6. But with 2 of those wins being over FCS teams, they would technically not be bowl eligible. However, in a year in which USC is on probation, the Pac-10 is short of a bowl team. Would the NCAA make an exception for the Sun Devils should they win this game? I think they would. But with that said, we won't have to worry about that situation. The Wildcats will role in this one.
Verdict: Nick Foles looked great vs Oregon last week, racking up a season high 448 yards passing. Steven Threet's health is in question this week after being knocked out of last weeks win over UCLA. Even if he plays, the Wildcats high powered offense will be too much, even for a stingy Arizona State defense.
Final Score: Wildcats 41 Sun Devils 28
Oregon Ducks vs Oregon State Beavers
Oregon State has been the most confusing team in the Pac-10 this season, and that is saying something. Ever since the injury to James Rodgers in the Washington game, the offense hasn't looked the same. However with 36 points put on USC, the Beavers had hope. That is, before Stanford shut them out, 38-0. If Oregon State can't score points, how do they propose to beat the best offense in the nation? Oregon is pretty much a lock for 40 points every week, with the exception of the Cal game. Even if Oregon State's defense plays their best game of the season, it won't be enough if the Beavers' offense picks up where they left off vs Stanford.
Verdict: Oregon rolls over the Beavers, even with Corvalis going crazy in hopes of a 5th straight bowl game appearance.LaMichael James makes his final push for the Heisman and has another huge day.
Final Score: Ducks 49 Beavers 24
Washington Huskies vs Washington State Cougars
Jake Locker has lead his team to two straight wins, both over quality Pac-10 opponents, UCLA and Cal. With a 5-6 record, the Huskies are one Apple Cup victory away from their first bowl game in Jake Locker's storied career. And yes, I said the Apple Cup. That is the name of the rivalry game between these two great rivals. The Cougars have actually looked pretty good this season, by their standards. Even if they hadn't beaten Oregon State, they've played good football this season, including a 38-28 loss to Stanford, a game in which they won the 2nd half.
Verdict: Washington State has made huge strides of improvement this season. But Washington is a team on a mission, and a more talented one at that. The home field advantage in Pullman won't be enough for the Cougs to pull out the Apple Cup upset.
Final Score: Huskies 27 Cougars 14
USC Trojans vs UCLA Bruins
A 4th rivalry game this week. This one, possibly the most storied in the Pac-10. USC is coming off their 1st loss against Notre Dame in 8 years. A game that the Trojans handed to the Irish on a silver platter with missed tackles, poor offensive execution, and most of all, dropped passes. You better believe that is going to have the team pissed off. But on top of that, USC is a team that has far more talent than the Bruins. Matt Barkley is projected to make the start after missing the Notre Dame game. That will be a huge boost for the Trojans who had difficulty getting anything going on offense (and even when they did, the WRs didn't help *cough Ronald Johnson cough*).
Verdict: The Bruins have been bad this year, again. Rick Neuheisel will be on the hot seat this offseason. However, he can do himself a big favor by beating the rival Trojans to end the season on a high note, even without a bowl. Too bad for him, that won't happen.
Final Score: Trojans 38 Bruins 20
And now, for my Next Best 3, of week 14. Unfortunately, there won't be many surprises there this week. As you guys know, I usually try to pick less publicized games. Not so this week.
Next Best 3:
Auburn Tigers vs South Carolina Gamecocks
It's a game that has to be here. This game couln't have a larger National Championship implication if it tried. With a very questionable decision by the NCAA, Cam Newton is eligible for this SEC Title Game. That will be the deciding factor, again. Both these teams run the football very well, and Marcus Lattimore has been the best freshman back in the country this year. But unless he has a career day (which is possible), the Tigers have this one in hand.
Oklahoma Sooners vs Nebraska Cornhuskers
Could we have asked for a better Big 12 Title Game? I don't think so. Two great rivals going head to head in what will be their last meeting for quite some time. Landry Jones and the Sooners escaped with a win last week vs in-state rivals, Oklahoma State. Meanwhile, Nebraska and it's run game rolled to another win. As much as I want to see Oklahoma win this game, to give Stanford a possible chance at redemption for last year's Sun Bowl loss (a loss that came with Andrew Luck on the sidelines I might add), I don't see the Sooners winning. The Cornhuskers run game will win the game.
Florida State Seminoles vs Virginia Tech Hokies
Oh great, another Title Game from a conference that only plays 8 conference games... just kidding. This matchup will have my eye. Can the Hokies climb all the way back from an 0-2 start, one that includes a loss to James Madison, all the way to a BCS game? Might I add, that if they do win, they will get to a BCS game, while Boise State, a team that beat them has to watch, thank you Ryan Brotzman. Florida State is just a few points away from being 11-1, so they are better than advertised. However, I like the Hokies in this one, again, due to a better running game than their foes.
Alright guys, that's all I've got. Hope you enjoyed the final week of regular season pick-ems. Til' next time.