Four of the five neighborhood rivalries will be contested in the final week of the season this year, starting on Thursday night.
Arizona St. Sun Devils (5-6, 3-5) at #26 [the team leading the "Others receiving votes" group] (#23 BCS) Arizona Wildcats (7-4, 4-4) for the Territorial Cup on Thursday night at 5 PM on ESPN. Arizona St. switched to Brock Osweiler at quarterback, and the results were overwhelming. After falling behind UCLA 17-0 right off the bat, the Sun Devils rallied, scoring seven touchdowns, four thrown by Osweiler, who completed 27 of 36 passes, for a 55-34 rout of the Bruins. Osweiler also ran for a touchdown, and Arizona St. also got a 99 yard kickoff return for a score from Jamal Miles.
The win knocked the Bruins out of bowl contention, but other wins elsewhere in the country also eliminated the Sun Devils, as there are now 70 other teams that are bowl eligible, and Arizona St. would only have gotten in with a 6-6 record that includes two wins over FCS teams if there weren't 70 teams with equal or better records counting no more than one win over an FCS team.
Arizona took leads at Oregon on three different occasions, and held a 19-14 halftime advantage, only to join what is becoming a fairly long list of good teams to get left behind when the Ducks take flight in the second half. Oregon won the second half 34-10, and as a result, the game 48-29.
The culprit was the Wildcats' inability to run the ball, generating only 58 yards in support of Nick Foles' 448 yard passing effort. Foles completed only 29 of 54 passes, and with only half as many running plays as passes, Arizona lost the time of possession stat to Oregon, and with it, any chance of slowing them down.
It was the ‘Cats' third loss in a row, and in a wild Pac-10 year, Arizona could well still wind up in the Alamo Bowl even with a loss in the Territorial Cup. A Sun Devil win will avoid a third losing season in a row, something that has never happened to Dennis Erickson as a college coach, or to Arizona St. ever. Expect more than tortillas to be flying in this one.#1 (#2 BCS) Oregon Ducks (11-0, 8-0) at Oregon St. Beavers (5-6, 4-4) in the Civil War at 12:30 PM on ABC. The Ducks locked up at worst a second consecutive Rose Bowl appearance with their 48-29 win over Arizona. It was the tenth time Oregon has topped 40 points this season. Despite their dominating win, which kept the Ducks atop all the polls, they still fell to #2 in the BCS, behind Auburn. The Tigers gave up 21 points to Alabama in the Iron Bowl, and fell behind 24-0, before storming back for a narrow 28-27 win.
Oregon rolled up 537 yards against Arizona, 389 on the ground. LaMichael James rolled to 126 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries, and Kenjon Barner added 71 more on 15 rushes. The Ducks also got an 85 yard touchdown breakaway from Josh Huff to start the second half turn around. Huff wound up with another 103 yards for the Oregon running game total.
Oregon St. suffered another loss to a Heisman candidate led team, this time Andrew Luck, and the Stanford Cardinal, 38-0. While Luck was leading Stanford with a 305 yard, 4 touchdown throwing night, the Beavers turned the ball over 5 times, three of them on Ryan Katz interceptions. Jacquizz Rodgers was held to 107 yards, 76 rushing, on 21 total touches, by the Stanford defense. The Cardinal also prevented any big plays, limiting Rodgers to no carries for more than 12 yards, and no catch for more than 17. In fact, no play went for more than 21 yards, with Jordan Poyer's 38 yard kick return the Beavers' best play of the day.
Oregon St., noted for being involved in competitive games, win or lose, has suddenly been involved in three blowouts in three weeks, losing two of them, where the game was decided before the fourth quarter ever rolled around.
ESPN Gameday will be on hand, and the game gets an ABC broadcast, both due mainly to the Ducks' best season ever, as Oregon goes for a third consecutive Civil War win, which would be the longest winning streak in the series by either team since the Ducks won four straight from 1994 thru 1997. An Oregon win will send the Ducks to the BCS championship game, against Auburn if the Tigers can defeat South Carolina the second time this year, in the SEC title game. Should Auburn stumble, TCU, who defeated New Mexico 66-17 in their final game, or Oregon slip up, and slip down to the Rose Bowl, will go to the BCS title game instead of the Rose Bowl.
The Beavers will have to be much more productive offensively if they are to be competitive with the Duck's best in the NCAA offense. Oregon is fifth in rushing, due in large part to James' top in the country individual numbers, and first in the NCAA in scoring and total offense, as well as leading the country in punt returns.
Washington Huskies (5-6, 4-4) at Washington St. Cougars (2-9, 1-7) in the Apple Cup at 4 PM on Versus. Chris Polk dove into the endzone with two seconds left to keep the Huskies' bowl hopes alive, and end the Bears', as Washington came from behind to beat Cal 16-13. It produced the Huskies' first winning streak, two games, of the
Washington has a good shot at a Holiday Bowl berth with a win, and could make a case for the Alamo Bowl if Arizona falls, and shows poorly in the process. Even if Oregon St. upsets Oregon, a Husky win produces at worst a Sun Bowl trip, not bad for a team two years removed from an 0-12 season. A win would also mean the first three game winning streak in the same season for Washington since early in the 2003 season.
Washington St. enjoyed turkey and tv along with a lot of other folks, in their second consecutive bye week after their 31-14 win over Oregon St. A win in the Apple Cup would give them, and coach Paul Wulff, two wins in three years over Washington.
The Cougars would love nothing more than to establish an actual winning streak of their own, and keep their rivals home for the holidays in the process.
USC Trojans (7-5, 4-4) at UCLA Bruins (4-7, 2-6) in the Cross-Town Showdown at 7:30 PM on Fox Sports Network. The cross-town battle hasn't been this un-illustrious in years, with neither team headed for a bowl game. The Trojans because they aren't eligible, for sanction reasons, but win reasons are almost a factor as well. A loss would leave them barely above .500, and end their season on a three game losing streak. The Bruins because they just haven't been very good much of the year, having lost two in a row, and five of six.
Notre Dame's come from behind 20-16 win snapped the Trojans' 8 game winning streak over the Irish, and prevented USC from gaining the longest winning streak against Notre Dame by anyone, ever. USC, playing without quarterback Matt Barkley, also saw their streaks of 19 straight nonconference victories, and 15 straight non-conference wins in the Coliseum, both snapped.
The 55-34 loss to Arizona St. was the Bruins fifth loss by more than two touchdowns this season.
One of these teams will win, and it will make the off season a lot more bearable than it will be across town for someone.
Others Watching Instead of Being Watched
Cal and Stanford, having already played the fairly "Big" game, and then another conference contest, are done for the regular season, and Cal, with a 5-7 overall record, is done for the year, and finished with a 3-6 conference season. #5 (#4 BCS) Stanford (11-1, 8-1) will be guaranteed a BCS berth if they hold onto fourth in the BCS for one more week, and will be in the Alamo Bowl at worst. An Oregon win and an Auburn loss would send Stanford to the Rose Bowl, with TCU heading for Glendale.
So are future conference members Colorado and Utah. The Buffs, 45-17 losers last weekend at Nebraska, finished 5-7, and 2-6 in their last Big XII campaign, are done for the year. The #21 Utes (#20 BCS) (10-2, 7-1 in the Mt. West) rallied for 17 4th. quarter points, and blocked what would have been the game winning field goal to edge BYU 17-16 in the "Holy War". The win clinches Utah's third consecutive 10 win season, the first time the Utes have ever done that.