Despite Oregon's 7-3 start, coach Dana Altman is cautious. "I just hope we continue to get better," he says. RICK BOWMER / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

This week's games


• California at Nevada, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)


• Washington State at Southern Methodist, 12:30 p.m. (CBS College Sports)

• No. 18 USC at Minnesota, 12:30 p.m. (ESPN)

• Arizona State at No. 11 Wisconsin, 12:30 p.m. (Ch 9)

• No. 8 Nebraska at Washington, 12:30 p.m. (ESPN2)

• Louisville at No. 25 Oregon State, 2:30 p.m.

• Portland State at No. 5 Oregon, 3:15 p.m.

• No. 9 Iowa at No. 24 Arizona, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)

• No. 23 Houston at UCLA, 7:30 p.m. (FSAZ)

• Wake Forest at No. 19 Stanford, 8:15 p.m. (ESPN2)

The big number


Former Pac-10 quarterbacks that made NFL rosters, the most of any conference. Arizona had none.

Pac-10 power rankings

1. Oregon (2-0) - One week after returning two punts for a touchdown, cornerback Cliff Harris took an interception into the end zone against Tennessee.

2. USC (2-0) - The Trojans have won their past 18 nonconference games and 12 straight nonconference road games.

3. Stanford (2-0, 1-0) - A win over Wake Forest would give the Cardinal its first 3-0 start since 2001, and fifth since 1972.

4. Arizona (2-0)

5. Cal (2-0) - The defense of new coordinator Clancy Pendergast, formerly of the Arizona Cardinals, has allowed 89 rushing yards over two games. Nevada is a tall task, though.

6. Oregon State (0-1)

7. Washington (1-1)

8. Arizona State (2-0) - The Sun Devils average 112 yards of penalties per game, third-worst in America. USC is second-worst.

9. UCLA (0-2, 0-1)

10. Washington State (1-1) - The Cougars rallied from a 15-point deficit to start the fourth quarter, the largest in the final frame since making up 21 points in 1984 against Stanford.


Every week in this space, The Pac-10 Pundit will answer reader questions. E-mail pfinley@, send a Twitter message to @patrickfinley or comment on the Pundit blog,

Dear Pundit: Who in the Pac-10 is the toughest player to tackle when he has the ball in his hands? - Scott S.

A: Hey, Scott. That would be Jacquizz Rodgers, the stud Oregon State running back. At 5 feet 7 inches, he's like Walter Payton Smurf. You can't see him through linemen; when you do reach him, his leverage, being so short, is unparalleled.


Reasons why UCLA could be 0-3 by Saturday night:

• Third down conversions. The Bruins have converted 4 of 22 attempts, by far the lowest percentage in the league. Throw out Washington State, and every other Pac-10 team is at least twice as successful as UCLA. "We've played really good teams," coach Rick Neuheisel said. "But they're not that good."

• Throwing woes. The Bruins are averaging 100.5 yards through the air, yet 172.5 on the ground. That's the opposite of last year's offensive imbalance. Quarterback Kevin Prince has thrown three picks and one TD. "I know the coaches on the staff know how to throw" the ball, Neuheisel said.

• Case Keenum. Houston's star quarterback is day-to-day with a concussion suffered Friday. "You have to assume that Case will play," Neuheisel said. "He's a bona fide, big-time player. … If circumstances are otherwise, I don't know that the offense will change. It will still be a very, very potent offense on the field."

Last week's scores

• Arizona 52, The Citadel 6

• Arizona State 41, Northern Arizona 20

• Cal 52, Colorado 7

• Oregon 48, Tennessee 13

• Stanford 35, UCLA 0

• USC 17, Virginia 14

• Washington 41, Syracuse 20

• Washington State 23, Montana State 22

Kiffin issues warning to USC players

In Week 1, USC's offense was great, its defense porous.

Saturday against Virginia was the opposite. USC's offense posted 329 yards, 195 fewer than the week before. It allowed 340 - 248 fewer than the week before.

"The positive out of that is we know we can play well on both sides of the ball," USC coach Lane Kiffin said. "Obviously, I want our offense to play like they did in Week 1 and our defense to play like they did in Week 2."

The Trojans' next opponent, Minnesota, is coming off a loss to Division I-AA South Dakota. Kiffin watched the game in his office before USC's game against Virginia and already has a warning for his players.

"I pointed immediately to Kansas," he said.

The Jayhawks lost to a Division I-AA team, North Dakota State, in Week 1, then beat a Top 25 team, Georgia Tech.