This Week with the Toe

The Toe Knows

A wild bye week, Jackson's Heisman chances, and Damage Inc. plus the predictions and power poll.

Week in Review
Bye weeks always make for a lack of excitement. So last week when the Beavers were off, I have to admit I was much more excited for the baseball playoffs than college football. Let’s just say that on this Saturday it will be easier to focus on college football.

It will be very difficult for me to root for a team that I hate or a team that doesn’t deserve to win a World Series. I mean, how does a team that’s only been around ten years have a chance to win their second World Series? I’m just furious. So, let’s just say I’ll be watching football and trying to pretend I believe all those NFL people when they say that baseball is boring and worthless. Ah, I feel better now that I got that off my chest, now, on to my actual week in review.

The Ducks are hurting. After another awful loss the rest of the season doesn’t look promising for our friends in Eugene. It is easy to salivate when looking towards this years’ Civil War when Oregon is struggling. The Ducks are talented and definitely have the ability to put together a great game against the Beavers. Just keep that in mind before talking trash to the Duck fan at work.

Probably the most shocking game last week was the Huskies loss at home against Nevada. As much as I know this reflects poorly on Washington, I just wish it happened next week and not the week BEFORE playing the Beavers. That game, if UW can’t take anything else positive, will definitely serve as a wake up call. This team is loaded with talented players and know they can turn their season around starting with Saturday’s game against OSU.

 

Heisman
Believe it or not, Steven Jackson has a legitimate shot at winning the award for the nation’s “best” football player. I’ll leave the critique on the way the Heisman is awarded for another day. If number 34 wants to take home the statue, the team must go to the Rose Bowl, he needs to finish the season averaging 140+ yards and he must have a big game against USC. If he does all these things, he will be in New York. Jackson may make the trip even if the team doesn’t make the Rose Bowl, but the USC game is crucial and could make or break his Heisman hopes. If he can put himself in a position to make the voters hold off on sending their ballot until immediately before the deadline (which falls three days after the USC game) Jackson has a good chance to bring home the trophy to Corvallis.


Damage Inc.
The Washington State defense has clearly emerged as one of the conference’s top squads earning the nickname “Damage, Inc.” It was never the Cougars defense that Wazzu fans worried about; it was their offensive line and quarterback. But the o-line has played extremely well putting WSU in position to compete for the conference title. Matt Kegel has been extremely economical with the ball, throwing just four interceptions on the season. He’s a big reason why WSU leads the nation in turnover margin at more than two per game.

 

Pac-10 Power Poll
1) Washington State
2) USC
3) Oregon State
4) UCLA
5) Cal
6) Arizona State
7) Washington
8) Oregon
9) Stanford
10) Arizona


I think it’s pretty clear that USC, Washington State, and Oregon State are going to be playing for the top of the conference. The action this far has made it clear that those teams are the ones to beat. The group of UCLA, Cal, Arizona State, Washington, and Oregon are very mediocre. This may be one of the weaker seasons for the Pac-10 in awhile. I remember coming into the season thinking there were going to be quite a few tough teams, but UO, UW, and ASU have been huge disappointments and I think everyone else has been at about the same level I was predicting.

 


This Week’s Picks brought to you by CanBet.com.


Arizona State 38, North Carolina 21 (ASU favored by 6)
Arizona State is seeking revenge after last year’s loss at home to the Tar Heels. The Sun Devils finally got what may be their turning point win at home last week against Oregon. Despite being inconsistent for the first half of the season, the boys in crimson and yellow will get their second straight win this week.

Toe’s Pick AGS – ASU

USC 34, Notre Dame 30 (USC favored by 8)
Notre Dame ran over Pittsburgh last week, coming up with the 20-14 win. USC shouldn’t be deceived by Notre Dame’s less than stellar record. The Irish have played the toughest schedule in the country, with losses to Michigan, Michigan State, and Purdue. Their wins were equally difficult, knocking off Washington State and the aforementioned Panthers. This game is always an exciting one, but USC is the better team. They will come out keyed up for this matchup.

Toe’s Pick AGS – Notre Dame


UCLA 31, Cal 27 (UCLA favored by 3)
This shapes up as an interesting game. The winner of this contest may just have an outside shot at the conference title. Look for UCLA to win another close contest the week after ending Arizona’s upset hopes on a late interception. Cal wants to bounce back after their dismal offensive performance against OSU.

Toe’s Pick AGS – UCLA


WSU 38, Stanford 10 (WSU favored by 10)
On the scoreboard, the opponent the Cougars see this weekend is Stanford. But in all reality, it’s themselves. If the Cougars stay focused and don't overlook the Cardinal they will win easily.

Toe’s Pick AGS – WSU


OSU 48, Washington 20 (OSU favored by 10.5)
This score is not indicative of my confidence level of this game. When I first thought about this game I picked the Beavers to win a tight game. But this game has the potential of being a blowout. The Washington defense has not been spectacular, nor has the offense. Combine that with Oregon State’s defensive ability and Steven Jackson, and it looks like the Huskies are in for a long day. But before getting too carried away, it ought to be noted that the Huskies have a chance at making this a close game, but only if Derek Anderson makes as many mistakes as he made last year against the Huskies. If Anderson rolls, the Beavers roll.

Toe’s Pick AGS - OSU

The Toe can be read every Friday on BeaverFootball.com. He can be reached at thetoe@beaverfootball.com.

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