Oh my goodness. We've reached a dozen weeks of Pac-10 football. This season has flew by so quickly I've hardly noticed that it'll all end sooner rather than later. As a football fan, I have to admit that I find it a little sad. Sure, we'll still have all the bowl games, more NFL games and AFL season to commence in March. But college football is played for love of the game and love of the schools. And that's something you just don't get in any professional league.
Before we look at week twelve, let's revisit what happened in week eleven. All ten Pac-10 teams played each other. Oregon State won a shootout against California 34-21. Not to be outdone, Oregon shot it out with Arizona and emerged victorious 55-45. Stanford fought valiantly opposite USC, but lost 45-23. Meanwhile, the state of Washington went 0-2 as UCLA beat Washington 27-7 and Arizona State shut out Washington State 31-0. If you stop to think about it, a total of 288 points were scored by Pac-10 teams last week. That's a lot of points.
Week 12 only sees three contests in the Pac-10. Two of them are intra-state rivalries in games so big, they have their own name. The Apple Cup takes place in Washington and pits the Washington Huskies against the Washington State Cougars in Pullman. Not to be outdone, California boasts The Big Game between the Stanford Cardinals and the California Golden Bears. Last but certainly not least, the Oregon State Beavers travel to Tucson to take on the Arizona Wildcats. All four states in the Pac-10 have something to contribute this week.
Let's begin with the 101st Apple Cup. Both the Huskies and the Cougars seek a win after defeats against UCLA and Arizona State, respectively. Washington remains one of the least penalized teams in the nation, only averaging 4.6 yellow hankies a game. Washington State kick returner Chantz Staden last week became the new record holder for kickoff returns in a season, bringing the ball back 43 times for 970 yards. Last year's Apple Cup was more of a shootout than an apple bob, with the Cougars taking a 42-35 victory in Seattle. Look for the Cup to be decided with a noon PT kickoff covered nationally by FSN.
If you like the number one, then this year's Big Game is the 111th. That's a lot of games. Both Stanford and California put up a good number of points last week, but found themselves in the losing column to Oregon State and USC. Cardinal running back Toby Gerhart rushed for 101 yards last week, marking his seventh 100+ yard rushing game in his career. Golden Bear tailback Jahvid Best had 210 all-purpose yards last week against Oregon State. In the last Big Game, Stanford won a rather defensive game by the score of 20-13. This year's Big Game will be televisied on local ABC-TV with a kickoff of 12:30 PT.
In our only interstate Pac-10 game this week, the Oregon State Beavers hope to build a dam against the Arizona Wildcats offense in Tucson. Oregon State is seeking to add their sixth game to their current win streak while Arizona is seeking a win after a thrilling shootout against Oregon. Beaver special teams standout James Rodgers brought back the first Pac-10 kickoff return for a touchdown this season, earning him a Pac-10 Special Teams Player of the Week. Wildcat tailback Keola Antolin had four rushing touchdowns against Oregon last week, which tied a school record. Last year's contest in Corvallis is still fresh in the memory of the Wildcats as Oregon State won 31-16, with all of OSU's points scored by the end of the first half. The gridiorn in the desert heats up at 5 MT with coverage on Versus.
We'd be amiss if we didn't name our other Pac-10 Players of the Week. On offense, Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli takes those honors after accumulating 387 total offensive yards and five touchdowns. Defense sees Oregon State defensive tackle Stephen Paea contribue to only giving up one yard against California in the first quarter. And sharing in Special Team honors is CJ Gable of USC, who also ran back a kickoff for a touchdown. Excellent work! And we'll see you in the stadium.