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Originally published October 3, 2010 at 8:02 PM | Page modified October 4, 2010 at 11:55 AM

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Oregon looks like the best team in the Pac-10

The Ducks are 5-0 and ranked third in the nation after beating Stanford on Saturday.

Seattle Times college football reporter

Latest from the Husky Football & Basketball blogs


Not a lot of Pac-10 football programs will concede this, but let's say it like it is: Today, it's Oregon's world and the rest of them are just leasing cubicles.

The Ducks rule the conference, third-ranked and 5-0 after their beat down of Stanford, and it's difficult to see them being headed. They get Arizona in Eugene the day after Thanksgiving.

It was a Saturday of wild football in the conference. The average 68 points a game threatened the 74 of Sept. 22, 2007, the highest-scoring day in history of the Pac-10.

What We Learned

Oregon is never out of it. Three times in 2010, the Ducks have faced double-digit deficits, including 21-3 against Stanford. They won those three games by a total of 67 points.

Oregon's biggest challenge might be complacency. As coach Chip Kelly told the Eugene Register-Guard, "I really hope we don't pull our arm out of a socket patting ourselves on the back. There's a lot of football left."

Welcome, LaMichael James, to the Heisman race. James' 257 yards rushing against a good Stanford defense is eye-opening. He has 732 yards in four games and an 8.2-yard average.

Washington redirected its season. Behind a marvelous effort by Jake Locker and better play-calling from coach Steve Sarkisian, the Huskies jumped back into bowl contention by outlasting USC.

Maybe there's a pulse in Pullman after all. It's baby steps, but in its 42-28 defeat against UCLA, Washington State had a second-half lead in regulation against a Pac-10 team for the first time in the Paul Wulff regime.

And the Cougars scored touchdowns on three consecutive drives against a league team for the first time since 2006. But now they've got to weather consecutive October games against Oregon, Arizona and Stanford.

Arizona State isn't stating much of a case for its coach. The Sun Devils, 2-3 coming to Husky Stadium Saturday night, are in danger of a third consecutive losing season under Dennis Erickson, who had never had consecutive years in the red in college until 2009.

The Arizona Republic wrote that in the late stages of ASU's 31-28 defeat at Oregon State, players were laughing on the sideline and "trading insults" with OSU students behind them. Television cameras showed linebacker Vontaze Burfict head-butting OSU quarterback Ryan Katz in a dead-ball situation.

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On the field, ASU quarterback Steven Threet has 10 interceptions.

The Beavers are fastidious with the ball. OSU is the only FBS team without a turnover. Everybody else has at least two.

This Week

Oregon State is at Arizona, and Stanford plays host to USC in a rematch of the 55-21 pounding the Cardinal handed the Trojans last year, a game in which Stanford went for a two-point conversion when it had 48 points.

Times Players

of the Week

Offense: James, 31 carries for 257 yards.

Defense: Oregon State defensive tackle Stephen Paea had two sacks among six tackles to energize the Beavers' (six sacks) pass rush.

Special teams: Erik Folk had a winning 32-yard field goal, last of his four, to help the Huskies upset USC.

Bud Withers: 206-464-8281 or bwithers@seattletimes.com

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