With Oregon’s thrashing of UCLA already in the books TWIT-Pac has a light schedule this weekend.
Stanford’s home date with Washington State will be nothing more than target practice but the two games involving the Arizona schools are crossroads-type games that should be highly competitive.
That is, of course, unless the UA and ASU haven’t finished celebrating their divisional coup from Thursday’s Pac-12 announcement.
Here is where to see who you want to see:
Sat. Oct. 23 (all times Arizona/Pacific)
|Road Team||Home Team||Time||TV|
ASU (3-3 / 1-2) at Cal (3-3 / 1-2)
Big bowl implications in this one. The Bears bounced back after painful losses at Nevada and Arizona to annihilate UCLA at home. Will home cooking be enough to help UC-Berkeley rebound from its beating at the hands of Troy? A rested Sun Devil team would like nothing more than to see Cal continue to circle the drain.
Who do Wildcat fans want to win?
Cal. The Cal-as-an-Arizona-advocate model is on life support but there are too many big games left for the Golden Bears to go into the tank. Hang in there, Oski…
WSU (1-6 / 0-4) at Stanford (5-1 / 2-1)
The Cougars may have to go for it on every 4th down to have a chance. What do you do if you have two weeks to prepare for Washington State? Forgive the Cardinal players if they accidentally call the Wazzu guys Huskies or Wildcats this week.
Who do Wildcat fans want to win?
WSU. But the Cougs should have just ignored this one and spent two weeks preparing for ASU and Cal.
Washington (3-3 / 2-1) at ARIZONA (5-1 / 2-1)
Every even game Jake Locker throws for over 280 yards and Washington wins. Every odd game Locker throws for fewer than 280 yards and the Huskies lose. Maybe it’s a good thing he threw for 286 yards and 5 touchdowns last week.
OSU (3-3 / 2-1) – bye
The Beavers finally get to rest after the brutal first half of their schedule. Their reward is a stretch of games against Cal, UCLA and WSU.
USC (5-2 / 2-2) – bye
Trojan fans are already calling for a “red-out” against Oregon on Oct. 30. First, shouldn’t it be a “cardinal out”? And, second, if there’s one thing that will not distract the Oregon football team it’s a bright color.
If the Wildcats want to avoid a second home loss their defense has two goals: Don’t get beat deep by Jermaine Kearse (9 receiving TDs this year, 4 of them 25+ yards), and don’t let Locker run for first downs. In other words, the opposite of the Oregon State game.
On offense, this is the week the offensive line needs to rise up and play like a group of five seniors. Biggest running lanes of the year, best pass protection and fewest penalties. It’s time.
Finding some early success for Matt Scott would be a huge boost. The best way to accomplish that is with a short field. OSU did a great job of making Arizona drive the length of the field on every possession. The UA D needs to find a way to flip field position a couple times to give their new quarterback a boost.
Thanks to the staggered start times you can watch the entire ASU/Cal game and check in on Stanford while you go through your UA home game preparations. And you’d better enjoy your Arizona Stadium rituals because after Saturday the Cats are already down to just two remaining home dates. There isn’t even the dream of hosting the Pac-12 championship game this year.
Ah yes, the Pac-12.
Thursday was a very, very good day in the Grand Canyon State. Don’t try to downplay it by arguing that everybody wins with the new revenue sharing. Arizona and Arizona State won the divisional split.
And it was a convincing victory.
As we discussed over the summer this version of the North/South split was the second-best possible outcome for the UA and ASU. A Calizona division would have been Football Shangri-La but this split is close.
(Ignore the fact that every single one of my Pac-12 predictions in June was wrong.)
The trade-off is playing the four Northwest schools more often than Cal and Stanford (the formula is here) but it’s a small price to pay to play in L.A. and host an L.A. school every year. Recruiting exposure and ticket sales. Jackpot.
Just for fun here’s what the division standings would look like if they were in place this year:
Colorado’s one game was against Cal.
Obviously the South is missing a full schedule from two teams but the North would clearly be the better division this year. In fact, all nine of the South’s conference losses so far have come against North teams. We’ll call that a bad sign for the home team in the Arizona/Washington game.
Next year’s schedule isn’t going to be completed for at least another month which means it’s too early to guess at how things will go in 2011. The schedule will definitely be a factor in close division races. A South team, for example, might have to play Oregon and miss WSU while another South contender has it reversed.
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So Larry Scott was powerful enough to get the dusty old Pac-10 to split into divisions and give up the round-robin schedule, he was strong enough to come within a lariat of roping Texas, but he hasn’t been able to secure the pac-12.com and pac-12.org domains? Maybe he’s just a huge Tupac fan.
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I’m very curious to see how the plan to have the #1 seed host the conference championship game works out. It’s definitely going to be an electric college environment for the home team.
At the press conference Scott compared it to the home games in the NFL playoffs. The question, however, is this: Will it look like the Pac-12 is playing in the NFC championship game while the other conferences are in the Super Bowl?
All in all it was a great day for college athletics in the western part of the U.S. and it was a perfect day for the Wildcats and Sun Devils.
Now the Arizona schools just need the Pac-12 to stay at 12 for a very long time.
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