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USC-UCLA Power Rankings: Week 10

Reviewing the on-field hits and misses for L.A. teams after Week 9 of the 2010 college football season. This week: Two close wins leave lots of questions for both the Bruins and the Trojans.

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1. Richard Brehaut! Again! The replacement part nobody believed in is making waves for the Bruins offense, and fans, at least, are taking notice:

[The] guy who was the STAR OF THE NIGHT was none other than UCLA QB Richard Brehaut, who has been maligned and bad mouthed by our offensive coordinator all throughout his young career at UCLA. Richard Brehaut essentially led the Bruins to win with heart stopping and gutsy performance and taking total control of this team. Brehaut's final stats are not impressive. However, he left no doubt that he was in charge showing off both his wheels and his willpower, reminding us of Cade McNown.  Brehaut ran the ball for 61 gutsy yards in 18 carries and was efficient with his throws completing 13 of 19 passes for 127 yards.

2. USC's safeties. Conquest Chronicles is pleased as punch:

Marshall Jones may not have earned the start, but he certainly earned more playing time with his performance. Just his presence seemed to make a difference and he had a couple key pass break ups. TJ McDonald led the team in tackles and just seemed "on" all night in every arena. This was by far the best performance by the safeties this year.

3. Kai Forbath. UCLA's clutch kicker missed two 40-something field goals over the course of the Bruins' win over Oregon State, but booted a 51-yarder at the literal, actual last second to secure the win for the boys in blue.

4. USC's breathing room. The Trojans have one more big hurdle to clear in next Saturday's road trip to Arizona, but after that they can play for style points in what should be a very winnable gauntlet of Oregon State, Notre Dame, and UCLA.

5. UCLA's swagger. No, really. After three straight conference losses, the Bruins take home a Beaver pelt and have enough momentum to conceivably win two of their last three regular-season contests. This is, numerically, still a team that could be bowl-eligible.

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6. USC's special teams? Maybe? Conquest Chronicles is baffled:

Is it possible to have your best and worst special teams game simultaneously? [...] In the bad category there were two missed field goals from make-able range and some awful kick coverage that led to a 100 yard kick off return. In the good category there was a blocked punt (and a couple more than may have been tipped), a blocked extra kick that was returned for an incredibly important two points, four punts fielded inside the 20 for Jacob Harfman and a clutch game winning field goal (followed by a not clutch ASU miss). TJ McDonald's great night on defense was bolstered by a great night on special teams. Torin Harris' terrible night on defense was redeemed by his blocked kick return (with an asterisk for his unsportsmanlike conduct at the end). And Joe Houston, the early goat, somehow emerged the hero.

7. Matt Barkley. USC's frequent golden boy threw two picks Saturday night that allowed Arizona State to hang around a lot longer than they needed or deserved to be there.

8. USC's overall offensive production. Conquest Chronicles isn't sleeping on the Trojans' downward-tilting schedule from here on out:

With all the good that we have seen earlier this season is it pretty perplexing to see the offense get stagnant of late. I realize that Robert Woods was less than 100% on Saturday, but Ronald Johnson is still there and Brice Butler has made his presence known this season. The running game needs to solidify as well. Bradford isn't going to see much playing time because of ball control issues so unless C.J. Gable suddenly turns into the Titans Chris Johnson most of the work is going to fall on Tyler and Baxter.

9. Norm Chow! Also again! Take it away, Bruins Nation:

As thrilling as the game was, it didn't have to come down to the last minute. It was the conservative play calling of Norm Chow and some questionable wimpy decisions by Rick Neuheisel that kept the game so close and gave us unnecessary heart burns in the closing seconds. Bruins kept playing for FGs time after time, playing it safe, and in process kept Beavers in the game. The conservative play calls for Chow have reached beyond the boiling point and given how Brehaut has emerged as the heart and soul of this team, raises questions about his evaluation performance of offensive talent to date in Westwood.

10. Competition for the Pac-10 title, thanks to UCLA and Stanford:

And there goes any competition in the Pac-10. Prior to the week, both Oregon St. and Arizona had clear roads to a Pac-10 title. While both needed to win out in all likelihood, winning out would propel them into the Rose Bowl, but all of a sudden only Oregon is in position to win the conference. The Ducks are undoubtedly the conference favorites, as they were a week ago, but now they have the leeway to lose a game and still win the Pac-10 without any help. With the Ducks on cruise control, there are two things to watch in the Pac-10. One is whether Stanford can win their remaining games to be the Pac-10's second BCS bowl team and the other is how many teams will be bowl eligible with three teams sitting on four wins and another sitting on five.