A number of Pac-10 teams were challenged for the first time this past weekend. Did anyone show enough to move up in the Survivor Rankings? Did someone not show enough to avoid getting the boot?
4. Oregon State
5. Arizona State
X. Washington State
The Wildcats definitely have the best win to date but it’s not like Oregon (63 points per game) and Stanford (68 points against a BCS conference team) have been struggling.
The team you have to move up is Arizona State. They still have a solid defense and they appear to have found a quarterback who can complete a forward pass. ASU, Cal and Washington all lost on Saturday but the Devils looked the best of the three.
Washington was really close to dropping from 6th place to elimination but we’ll let Jake Locker complete 20% of his passes in a conference game before crossing them off.
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If you are a player, coach or staff member associated with the University of Arizona football program please click the X in the top right corner of your screen now. Thank you.
(Are we in the clear? Good. I’m going to talk some more about the Iowa game.)
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It’s usually a good sign if you get to kick off three times in the first five minutes.
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Watching the replay I loved the virtual tour of the visitors’ locker room at Arizona Stadium, including a walk down the single-file staircase. I don’t care how many millions of dollars go into improving the 80-year-old building, don’t touch that stairway.
Speaking of the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, you can’t discount the ESPN factor when you look at the rankings. Arizona does not enter the polls after beating Toledo if that game isn’t on the Worldwide Leader. You don’t jump ten spots in the AP poll if the Iowa game is on Fox Spots Arizona. Yet another reason Larry Scott is under a lot of pressure to get the Pac-10 more exposure with the new TV deal.
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It’s fitting that a team from Iowa was beaten with the help of a guy named Cobb.
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On the game-winning touchdown watch what happens when Nic Grigsby goes in motion out of the backfield before the snap. A linebacker from the middle of the field follows him, opening up the fraction of a hole that Nick Foles squeezes the ball through for the score. A nicely designed play and perfect execution from an experienced quarterback.
Here is Foles’ growing list of potential game-winning drives:
|Stanford||5:27||5||TD (Grigsby 57 yard run)||W|
|Cal||1:21||8||sack on 4th down||L|
|ASU||2:02||tied||3-and-out (followed by muffed punt)||W|
That’s a 50% success rate with a 4-2 team record. Not bad at all.
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The red jerseys have now won four of their last five games. Red-on-red is now an even 3-3 under Mike Stoops. The new striped white helmets remain undefeated and should be ridden until they collapse.
And, just to prove I’m not the only one who thinks about this stuff, I’d like to introduce the smartest person in Berkeley.
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Season tickets come with player pictures on them and the Arizona art designer is two for two in predicting the hero of the game. Grigsby was the star against The Citadel and Foles tossed the game-winner vs. Iowa. Who’s the favorite to shine against Cal according to the tickets? Trevin Wade, which is fitting with Kevin Riley coming to town.
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It’s easy to play as the underdogs. Lots of teams thrive carrying the “us against the world” banner. But a good chunk of the world is now in Arizona’s corner after the Iowa win. The tables have completely turned and it’s a very different challenge for the coaches and team leaders.
The first five minutes set the tone against the Hawkeyes. The same could very well be true against Cal. Is the defense going to come out stuffing the run and flying around Riley’s face? Will the offense start sharp with strong pass protection and accurate throws? Or will the Bears be allowed to believe they can be the ones pulling off the big upset?
The Cats had a horrible offensive showing against Cal last year. A regular-season-low 16 points. Only 274 yards of total offense. Converting just 3 of 13 third downs (and 0-2 on fourth down). The double-pass thing.
That’s the game the players need to focus on this week, not the one that was just played. There would be nothing wrong with bringing up the Holiday Bowl a few times as well.
The road to real redemption starts now.