Only one coach missed today's weekly Pac-10 conference call: Rick Neuheisel, whose UCLA Bruins just happened to lose 59-0 to Brigham Young on Saturday.
That game and the Pac-10's miserable 3-7 performance in out-of-conference games last weekend was the chief topic of conversation. Most coaches said they were surprised and that it likely won't happen again, but that it is yet another indicator of parity in college football.
Some of those comments:
From Oregon coach Mike Bellotti: "I say this every week, it doesn't matter if you're the home team or on the road, it doesn't matter if you're the favorite of the underdog, you'd better play four quarters of inspired football. I just think as we keep talking about the parity of college football is there. I think (Oregon State coach) Mike Riley said it best: It's not the best football team that wins, it's the team that plays the best that day. I think the certainly you've got to be ready for anytime that you play another conference or a non-BCS school, just the perception of their desire to win or make a name for themselves is very great, and I think we have to recognize that you become the target and you have to get your guys prepared to understand that you have to be the hungriest team on the field.
BELLOTTI on a hit in the league's perception:
"Other than your football team and your football program, the league that you play in is sort of your national standard-bearer, and when you don't perform as well as you hope – and certainly there were some tough games and some games that were a little out of hand – that part affects all of us. It affects our reputation and how we're perceived nationally. … There's not a lot to say. The only way to answer that is on the field. It was a tough weekend and you never know the reasons for it. To me, it points to the parity in college football. I think the Pac-10 is still the best conference in the nation. Again, we suffered a difficult weekend last weekend and we just have to rebound and come back from it.
OSU coach Mike Riley: "There's a lot of good football out there, and I don't think it diminishes the Pac-10. It just shows every body that you've got to be ready to play and you've got to play a good game to win."
USC coach Pete Carroll: "The conference did get hammered last week, and that's the first time that I can remember that really happening like that. Why that happens, I don't know. It was a big week for the Mountain West, man -- a fantastic week, probably the best week ever. I don't know what that means on the big scene or any of that stuff. It really depends on how everybody responds."
Other Pac-10 topics
First-year WSU coach Paul Wulff admitted he didn't realize how much work their was to be done with the Cougars until the season began. ... Cal coach Jeff Tedford refused to blame his team's loss at Maryland on the early start three time zones away ... though he allowed that there was no way to prepare for that humidity. ... Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh said that everything was wrong with the Cardinal offense last weekend. However he said Tacoma's Tavita Pritchard remains his starting quarterback. ... Arizona coach Mike Stoops said that senior quarterback Willie Tuitama had his first bad game Saturday at New Mexico. However, Stoops said he believes his offense can match up with any defense and is one of the best attacks in the Pac-10. "This is far and away the best football team we've had," he said.