Good Sun Bowl news for OU: Pac-10 struggles
The early bowl returns signal good news for Oklahoma. The Pac-10 has struggled in bowl games. Brigham Young routed Oregon State 44-20 in the Las Vegas Bowl and Utah bounced California 37-27 in the Poinsettia Bowl.
With OU playing Stanford next week in the Sun Bowl, what to make of such results? Well, I put a lot of stock in bowl games. Some don’t, saying the strange circumstances surround bowl games — long layoffs, varying degrees of motivation — create weird results, and that’s a legit argument, too. But often, bowl games are the first real, expanded test of a conference’s status. When a league like the Big 12 plays less than one legitimate non-conference opponent per school, then much of a league’s success is inbred. The Pac-10 generally does not fall into that category (most Pac-10 schools play a decent non-conference schedule), but I still say bowl games are enlightening.
So what to make of the Pac-10′s losses so far? Here’s what’s interesting. The scores suggest lack of defense. There’s some truth to that. But the actual games show some more offensive ineffectiveness.
Neither Utah nor BYU totalled 400 yards vs. their Pac-10 foes. Utah had 389, with 20 first downs, in superb conditions. BYU had 308 total yards, with 18 first downs, in extremely windy conditions. Meanwhile, Cal had 310 total yards and 17 first downs, while Oregon State had 305 total yards and only 88 rushing.
In Pac-10 statistics this season, Oregon State was sixth in scoring defense, 25.0. California was seventh, 25.5. Stanford was eighth, 26.2. In total defense, Oregon State was sixth (349.5), Cal seventh (378.8) and Stanford ninth (396.5). So there’s some consistency there. Stanford’s defense was not very good.
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