L.A. teams flopping as drama in Pac-10 builds

By Patrick Klein

Arizona Daily Wildcat

It is fitting that in a city known for movies, Los Angeles has been the home to a couple of bombs this fall season Southern Cal and UCLA.

Because the Trojans were crushed by Oregon, USC is suddenly on deadly ground. At 2-2 (1-1 in the Pacific 10 Conference) Trojan coach John Robinson knows his team has a narrow margin for error if Troy hopes to snag a Rose Bowl bid.

"It was a disappointing loss for us," Robinson said. "Oregon played extremely well. We just couldn't put anything together, we ran two good plays and two bad plays.

"This takes away our early margin for error, another loss and it's doubtful we can win the conference."

For the Bruins, it is a case of apocalypse now. With three straight losses three straight bad losses the most recent being last week's 37-10 bashing at the hands of Washington, the Bruins find themselves falling down to last place (0-2) in conference play. It is a dire situation in Westwood.

"We don't accept UCLA football two and three," Bruin head coach Terry Donahue said. "I don't accept it, Pete (UCLA Athletic Director Peter Dalis) doesn't accept it. We've got to get it turned around.

"It has become painful to watch because we haven't had any success. My only goal is to get the team winning and get the negativity surrounding this team erased. Football is absolutely only fun when you are winning."

Also under siege is Bruin quarterback Wayne Cook, who sits last in the conference in passing effiecency and has five interceptions to go with only four touchdowns this year.

"I don't feel that the main problem with the team is Wayne," said a somewhat frazzled Donahue. "He's part of the problem, like we all are part of the problem. If we are not part of the solution we're part of the problem. That's what you learn in deductive reasoning."

Last week the hot team in the conference was Washington State, and this week it is the Ducks, who suddenly are 3-2 and 1-0 in conference play. What made the Ducks' 22-7 win over USC all the more impressive was that they did it without starting quarterback and 6,000 yard passer Danny O'Neil, who was out with a strange swelling in his passing hand that caused him to be hospitalized last week.

Enter Tony Graziani. The sophomore passed for 287 yards and a touchdown. With O'Neil out for another week, Graziani will lead a Duck team that is suddenly getting some respect.

"Here's a team that floundered away against two WAC teams and then put together two great games," said Arizona State coach Bruce Snyder, who is using the Ducks as inspiration to try and get his 1-3 Sun Devils back on track. "I look at them on the schedule a little bit differently now."

"Graziani is a cool guy," Ducks head coach Rich Brooks said about his new star signal caller. "He doesn't get flustered, he accepted the challenge readily with a big smile on his face last week. The players know he can play, they've been around him for three years and they've seen him do things in practice."

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