Saturday, September 12, 2009

2009 Pac-10 season: Week 2 in Review

Despite the widely held view across the country that the Pac-10 is the third or fourth best conference in the country behind the SEC, Big-12 or even the Mountain West, the league made another a good showing Saturday. Most of the coverage was centered around the marquee game of the weekend, in which USC squeeked by Ohio State. But the far more impressive win was UCLA's hard fought victory over Tennesee.

Washington, Cal and Arizona held serve by trouncing far inferior opponents, while the Beavers narrowly left Las Vegas with a W. The Ducks may have turned their season around by holding on (just barely) to defeat Purdue. Only Stanford left a blemish on the conference, by giving up 17-3 halftime lead and going scoreless in the second half to let Wake Forest come back to win 24-17.

Here's what we learned:
USC is not USC
Forget this silliness about Matt Barkley and Joe McKnight adding another chapter to USC lore. They beat another weak Big-10 opponent, only this time they barely managed it. Ohio State lost that game because, offensively, Buckeye coach Jim Tressel is still stuck in the dark ages. I don't buy the Trojan defense. And although Matt Barkley made some nice plays late in the game to bring them back, I don't buy him taking this team to a BCS bowl game. Wait until the Trojans play Cal. Heck, I'm not so sure they can get past the Huskies in Seattle next weekend.

The Bruins are for real (?)
The Bruins showed some brass going into to Knoxville and gutting out a hard fought win with their defense leading the way. In doing so, they proved that last year's win was no fluke. In fact, the Pac-10 is 11-8 versus the SEC since 2000 (UCLA is 4-0). Neuheisal seems to be building something special in Westwood. His players showed tremendous poise and confidence in a hostile environment.

Oregon got what they needed
With the season on the line, the Ducks found some offense (albeit sloppy and inconsistent), combined with a big-play defense to secure a must-have win over Purdue. Who knows what kind of season is ahead for the Ducks, but for now at least, they appear to have put that ugly night in Boise behind them.


ksuim4u said...

UCLA may be for real, but things are about to get interesting for them as they just lost their starting QB for 4-6 weeks w/ a broken jaw. You say USC's win was over a "weak Big 10 team," and then say that Oregon may have turned their season around by beating Purdue... another Big 10 team that is pretty clearly weaker than tOSU. I agree the Big 10 is weak, I've always thought them to be overrated as a conference, but you can't have it both ways, Jake.

Jake Shore said...

Oregon turned their season around by just winning their next game regardless who the opponent was. The Big-10 is weak and Purdue is not a great team, but they have a name value. Oregon needed to win that game to put Boise behind them and get a fresh start to the season. And beating Purdue was better than say...North Arizona or Tennessee Tech.

The Ducks may very well stink this year, but winning that game was big for the program.

ksuim4u said...

You missed my point - if the Ducks can turn their season around by beating a team from the Big 10, then you have to admit that USC beating a much better Big 10 team on the road validates them as a team too.

I'm neither a USC fan nor a Ducks fan, nor a Pac 10 fan, nor a Big 10 fan. I hope USC does suck. I just don't think they will.

Jake Shore said...

Again, Oregon did not turn their season around by beating Purdue. They turned it around by simply winning.

The Trojans pulled out a nice road win, but the victory is not comensurate to the hype. The media acts as though USC just beat a national title contender. They didn't. Ohio State is overrated (every year) and the Big-10 continues to suffer, therefore beating the Buckeyes doesn't validate USC's season regardless of what Oregon does to another Big-10 opponent.

Keep in mind, USC and Oregon have nowhere near the same expectations.

Jake Shore said...

I agree with you about UCLA. Another new QB along with their other injuries, and the suspension of four players will make the Bruins thin against K-State.