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CHRIS DUFRESNE / ON COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Pac-10 games stand out on an otherwise dull day

Leading the way is Oregon's rally from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter in Tucson to beat Arizona, 44-41, in double overtime.

November 22, 2009|Chris Dufresne
  • Justin Cheadle and his California teammates celebrate their 34-28 victory over Stanford on Saturday night.
Justin Cheadle and his California teammates celebrate their 34-28 victory… (Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated…)

The top 10 this weekend was a stomp 10 -- predictable as a Harlem Globetrotters game.

In events involving title contenders, Florida, Alabama, Texas, Texas Christian and Boise State had easier weekends than Cincinnati, which didn't play.

The five unbeaten teams stayed unscathed by crushing the "competition" by the score of 255-54.

Florida went intercontinental ballistic on Florida International, and Alabama played Chattanooga, a train stop, right through the whistle.

Texas made hayseeds of Kansas, Texas Christian waxed Wyoming and Boise State blistered Utah State.

Bo-ring, but what compelling drama down below on the junior circuit:

* One of the craziest and most competitive Pacific 10 Conference races in years shook out late Saturday when Oregon rallied from 10 points down in the fourth quarter in Tucson to beat Arizona, 44-41, in double overtime.

It was just your typical five-alarm fire.

The Rose Bowl race is no longer complicated: The winner of Oregon (7-1) versus Oregon State (6-2) on Dec. 3 (a Thursday) in the most important Civil War ever played will earn the Pac-10's automatic bid to Pasadena.

That winner will play Ohio State a week before the Rose Bowl plays host to the Bowl Championship Series title game, on Jan. 7.

Stanford's at-the-doorstep loss to California, 34-28, in Palo Alto, did not cost the Cardinal a Rose Bowl bid. Victories by Oregon State and Oregon on Saturday would have eliminated Stanford anyway.

Arizona, the only Pac-10 or Big Ten Conference team never to play in the Rose Bowl, is still that team after a wrenching defeat pinned a third league loss on the Wildcats. Arizona had already succumbed this season, to Washington, on a game-winning touchdown that deflected off a receiver's foot.

What else could bounce off something to torture Arizona?

How about Oregon's kicker, Morgan Flint, tying the score, 24-24, in the fourth quarter with a 43-yard field goal that deflected in off the crossbar?

This just in: USC's reign of seven consecutive Pac-10 titles and major bowl games officially ended at 5:15 p.m., in Pullman, Wash., on a weekend the Trojans sat at home.

While last week's blowout loss to Stanford had unofficially 86'd USC, there was still a screwball scenario in which the Trojans could have prevailed in a six-way tie at 6-3. It involved something completely insane, Oregon State losing at Washington State on Saturday, which didn't happen by the score of 42-10.

And the Rose Bowl comes out smelling like a you-know-what.

Ohio State's win over Michigan ensures that Granddaddy will get a 10-2 Buckeyes team ranked in the top 10. And, if Oregon wins the Civil War in Eugene, that'll make two 10-2 teams ranked in the top 10.

* UCLA, which slugged out a 23-13 win against Arizona State, is 6-5 and bowl-eligible, hard to believe after the Bruins opened with five consecutive conference losses.

With the Pac-10's six slots probably taken, the UCLA Hermit Crabs are going to have to latch on to a bowl that can't fill its ledger. Get this, though: If it can beat USC next week and finish 7-5, UCLA would shockingly be a bowl team with "legs."

* The Irish had a bad week in "hand" ball and football, with Ireland getting robbed out of a World Cup soccer spot and Notre Dame losing another home game and, probably, another coach.

Expect the Notre Dame press release a few days after next week's expected loss at Stanford that will drop the Irish to 6-6 and the anchor on Charlie Weis, whose five-year record of 35-27 will put him third in winning percentage behind the last two coaches who were fired, Tyrone Willingham and Bob Davie.

* It was a bad day for the coach Michigan wanted to hire, the one it did and maybe the coach it might one day employ.

Louisiana State Coach Les Miles, once pronounced Michigan's coach for a few hours by ESPN, botched the clock in the final minute of a 25-23 loss to Mississippi.

Rich Rodriguez, the non-Michigan man Ann Arbor lured away from West Virginia, wrapped up his second season with the school's sixth consecutive loss to Ohio State. Rodriguez followed a 3-9 year and missing a bowl to 5-7 and missing a bowl.

With the NCAA trying to sift through player practice log records that were apparently never kept, the off-season might not be hoot either.

And Stanford Coach Jim Harbaugh, who played at Michigan, fell 20 points short of trying to go for two to reach 50 in a 34-28 loss that turned out to be the Big Game for Cal.

In a week, Harbaugh has gone from a too-hot-to-touch coaching candidate to a guy standing next to a pot of boiling water.

* Nebraska clinched the Big 12 Conference North because somebody had to. The Cornhuskers defeated Kansas State, 17-3, and have now secured a date with Texas for the conference title game.

If you think Texas over Nebraska is a lock, do a history check of Oklahoma being a lock over Kansas State in the 2003 Big 12 title game.

OK, that's it, this column is over.

We are, like Miles against Ole Miss, completely out of time.

chris.dufresne@latimes.com

twitter.com/DufresneLATimes

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