The announcers during the Alamo Bowl are already discussing the perceived weakness of the Pac-10. Arizona just got flat out smacked around the field today (except for a cheapshot by Hall) against a Big-12 team team, which the former conference had their own issues this bowl season. The announcers are obviously missing the story: the USC trickle down effect. Undoubtedly UW is going to repeat Arizona's failures in their respective bowl game and we will get to hear some shallow analysis about the lack of strength in the Pac-10.
Let's remember that USC is the third best team in the Pac-10 and they are bowl ineligible because of NCAA sanctions and not their record. The bowl lineup hypothetically could have been: Oregon vs. Auburn, Stanford vs. VaTech, USC vs. Nebraska, Washington vs. Oklahoma State and Utah vs. Arizona. Furthermore, ASU is a probable bowl team if their FBS OOC opponent doesn't back out at the last minute but I digress.
After looking at my hypothetical lineup, you see that this is much better for the Pac. USC with time to prepare is one of the best in the country. With all their talent and time to recover (Barkley was playing on a sprained ankle and Mustain was terrible in relief) USC vs. Nebraska actually lines up well for the Trojans, which have been dreadful against the pass but would do well against NU's one dimensional attack. SC was an offensive juggernaut until Barkley sustained the sprain; you have to assume that the layoff would have helped them regain form.
Washington trended in a good direction as the season wore on, especially on defense. I believe that Oklahoma State rolls but not by any more than they just beat up on Arizona. Utah's ineptitude on offense and Arizona's defense probably gets them the win in the Las Vegas bowl.
James and crew tonight really didn't touch on the loss of Braxton enough. Arizona has been very good in pass protection and the loss of Braxton, a second team all pac 10 center and leader of that line, really was felt. How would our line would deal with the loss of Holmes? Oklahoma State got pressure all night even though Arizona stood up to one of the best DL units in Iowa earlier this year.
All of this to say: let the talking heads, SEC fans and maybe even the Auburn team believe that the Pac-10 is soft. We know that a 7-5 Arizona team that went 4-5 in the PAC was playing over their heads and the theme will repeat itself again when Washington plays Nebraska. It will only help our chances come Jan. 10.
Go DUCKS and Fuck the Huskies!