Though you'd never know it by what happened to state-of-Washington teams, Saturday was a good day for the Pac-12 Conference, which needed one after the Arizona-UCLA fiasco Thursday night in Tucson.
Oregon and Stanford built their portfolios, steaming toward a possible showdown Nov. 12, and USC won at Notre Dame as a sizable underdog.
Meanwhile, Wisconsin and Oklahoma were having unbeaten seasons ruined, bumping Stanford and Oregon up in the polls. The Cardinal is now No. 6 in the BCS standings and if it wins out, it doesn't take a whole lot of imagination to see David Shaw's team in the national-title game.
And Oregon, No. 7 in the BCS, can still hold out hope to return to the championship game if the right dominoes fall.
What We Learned:
Stanford has now played somebody (we think). All season long, Stanford has been questioned for the strength of its opponents. Washington was a step up, but against the Huskies defense, the Cardinal averaged a first down (10.1 yards per attempt) on each of its 44 carries in the 65-21 victory.
The Cardinal's BCS ranking is being lowballed by the computers, one of which, the Jeff Sagarin rating, has Stanford No. 21. Memo to Sagarin: You try to stop the Stanford power running game.
Oregon State popped Washington State's balloon. Not only did OSU romp 44-21 to drop WSU to 3-4, it soured more Cougar fans on what's to come. That means Nov. 12 and Nov. 19 home games against Arizona State and Utah - ostensible victory possibilities for WSU - will be poorly attended unless something unexpected happens against Oregon or Cal.
Oregon has a bench. The Ducks toyed with Colorado despite being without quarterback Darron Thomas and running back LaMichael James. Said offensive tackle Mark Asper, "It feels like whatever we run is gonna work."
USC isn't going quietly into the good night. The Trojans upset a Notre Dame team that had more to play for than USC. The Irish, with two losses, had the prospect of a BCS bid out there if they kept winning, and hadn't beaten their longtime rival in South Bend in four straight tries.
While Lane Kiffin got his biggest win as USC coach, some Irish fans were ready to find somebody to replace Brian Kelly, chanting, "Ur-ban Mey-er."
This Pac-12 thing isn't working very well for Utah. The offensively challenged Utes dropped to 0-4 in their new league, and they don't even have to play Oregon or Stanford. "This is a heck of a lot better athletes and level of play," coach Kyle Whittingham told The Salt Lake Tribune. "That's what we expected."
UCLA looks to be in disarray. Not only did the Bruins come apart at the seams at Arizona, losing 48-12, the dispersal of suspensions for the brawl in Tucson makes it appear that UCLA was more the perpetrator.
The Bruins had six suspensions to Arizona's four, and UCLA will be without receivers Taylor Embree, Randall Carroll and Ricky Marvray for their game against Cal this week. None of it's good news for coach Rick Neuheisel.
The headliner is Stanford's game at USC, a game made more attractive by the Trojans' re-entry into the AP rankings Sunday at No. 20. Last year Stanford nipped USC on a late field goal at home.