Even this bumbling by the Texas sideline, courtesy of Chris Jessie, stepson of Longhorns coach Mack Brown, didn’t even come close to costing Texas the game — they were already up on Arizona State by a couple scores and wound up destroying the Sun Devils (deceptive score, really, 52-34). If you only get 22 yards rushing on a questionable Big 12 defense, you’re not going to do much in the way of offense or winning.
Arizona State’s late season/bowl choke job without Ryan Torain in the backfield now makes the Pac-10 0-2 in bowls thus far, and there’s really no reason to think that by the time the Rose Bowl rolls around between Illinois and USC that the record for the conference this year will be any better than 1-4. UCLA losing was a given, considering QB injuries and general coaching turmoil against Brigham Young. I’m surprised the Cougars even allowed it to be that close.
There are three more non-BCS bowls with Pac-10 teams, two are on New Year’s Eve. Oregon is playing South Florida in the Sun Bowl, and this is a Duck team being led and run by Brady Leaf. I feel no particular need to emphasize further just how much Cal has sucked after losing to Oregon State; yes, Jeff Tedford’s teams always lose a crucial game or two, but the slide to 6-6 has been a painful thing to watch (if you chose to watch it at all). With that kind of collapse, who actually thinks Cal will beat Air Force with any sort of ease? Yes, the talent level in Berkeley is head and shoulders above what’s at the academy in Colorado Springs, but that doesn’t count for a hell of a lot when you’re losing that badly. The only game where the Pac-10 team looks to have a really good shot to pull it out is Oregon State, which takes on Maryland — both teams have dealt with QB injuries and it looks to be a running fest.
The problem is that the Pac-10, as a conference in and of itself, provides the second best football to the SEC these days — they just don’t do bowl games well as of late, unless said team in the bowl game is USC, and that’s only reinforcing the popular perception across the rest of the country that the Pac-10 in football is the Trojans and a bunch of hangers-on. I understand what Larry’s getting at when he griped about the Holiday Bowl being well before New Year’s Eve and/or Day for the Pac-10, but I sense the non-USC teams would do well to actually win the bowls they are tied to with some regularity before getting some changes going.