The Wildcats have one thought: USC…USC…USC…
Photo by Gary A. Vasquez/US Presswire

Any Arizona fans still moping about the drubbing at Stanford need only to look at future Pac-12 South division-mate Colorado for a reminder that things could be much worse. It’s better to lose by 25 than to lead by 28…and lose anyway.

The Buffaloes will start Pac-12 play with a new head coach as Dan Hawkins couldn’t survive his fourth straight losing season. He joins former ASU coach Dirk Koetter as guys who found success much easier on the blue turf at Boise State than on the green stuff in a BCS conference.

Any time a player puts up huge passing stats in a high-octane offense he gets labeled a “system quarterback.” It’s becoming clear that Boise State produces “system coaches.”

Koetter had a winning percentage of .722 at BSU. Hawkins took it up to .828. Chris Petersen currently sits at an astronomical .934. Is he the true coaching genius, or is he the latest to be carried along by the Bronco machine? Something to keep in mind when Petersen’s name gets mentioned for big-conference jobs this offseason.

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On to the regularly-scheduled programming!

Times are getting tough on the Pac-10 bowl bubble. Oregon State’s defeat at the hands of UCLA brought the conference one step closer to a lot of vacant bowl bids.

Oregon (9-0)
Stanford (8-1)
Arizona (7-2)

Cal (5-4)

OSU (4-4)
UCLA (4-5)
ASU (3-5*)
Washington (3-6)

(*ASU’s second FCS win not included.)

The renewal of conference pride includes rooting for as many bowl-eligible Pac-10 teams as possible. Here’s what that looks like:

Cal – beats Washington, loses to Stanford and Oregon = 6-6
OSU – beats WSU and USC, loses to Stanford and Oregon = 6-6
UCLA – beats Washington and ASU, loses to USC = 6-6
Washington – beats WSU, loses to UCLA and Cal = 4-8
ASU – loses to Stanford, UCLA and Arizona = 4-8

In other words, root for the Huskies and Sun Devils to go into the tank. It’s for the greater good.

Would the Holiday Bowl be happy with a 6-6 team? It sure beats modifying the above scenarios so Washington beats Cal, USC beats OSU, and ASU beats UCLA to end up with five 5-7 teams. No one wants to see the Pac-10 end up with just three bowl-eligible teams.

What went wrong? How does the Pac prevent this from happening again? The main thing is winning your non-conference games. With nine league games you can’t afford to start with losses in September.

Cal, don’t lose to WAC teams. UCLA, don’t schedule two road games. Washington, never play Nebraska. OSU, don’t try to cram every national title contender into the same schedule.

The other issue is having a winning team with nothing to show for it. So the next time someone gets caught cheating make sure it’s Washington State.

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The Wildcats and Beavers losing took a lot of drama out of the Survivor Rankings:

1. Oregon
2. Oregon State
3. Stanford
X. Cal
X. Washington
X. Arizona State
X. Washington State

So what’s the point? Didn’t Oregon already lock up the conference title? Technically, no. Here are the three scenarios where someone other than the Ducks wears the crown:

Oregon State wins out and Oregon also loses to Arizona.

Stanford wins out and Oregon loses to Arizona and OSU.

Arizona wins out, Oregon also loses to OSU, Stanford loses to Cal and OSU, and OSU loses to USC.

Piece of cake, right?

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Here are the notes from the Stanford game: There are no notes from the Stanford game.

I only see this large game against the University of Southern California on Saturday.

Arizona can beat USC in Tucson for the first time since 1999. Mike Stoops can get to eight wins for the third straight season. The Cats can go into the bye week with positive momentum. The UA can avoid getting banished from ABC prime time.

The goal for the Wildcat offense is simple: Pick up the blitz and catch the ball.

The Arizona receivers apparently get attached to their quarterback. When Matt Scott first came in against Washington State he was the victim of multiple dropped passes. When Nick Foles returned it was like his teammates didn’t recognize him.

Getting on the same page could mean a reintroduction to winning.

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