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What we learned in the Pac-10: Week 7

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

What did we learn from Week 7 of Pac-10 action?

1. Matt Barkley is worth the hype: He wasn't perfect -- his fourth-quarter interception ignited Notre Dame's comeback -- but Barkley passed for 380 yards, completing 19 of 29 passes with two touchdowns, in the Trojans 34-27 win at Notre Dame. He has now won against ranked teams at Ohio State and at Notre Dame, two of the most storied venues in college football. Yes, he is one cool cat. And, yes, USC is back into the national title hunt. What are the odds that Barkley gets a bronze statue before he goes No. 1 in the NFL draft?

2. USC's defense can be had: Don't take this the wrong way. For three quarters, USC's defense was impressive at Notre Dame. But the fourth-quarter let-up showed that the Trojans are not impregnable. Not completely, at least, particularly when they lose focus. The Fighting Irish finished with 367 yards, but 159 yards came in the fourth. My guess is Oregon coach Chip Kelly will raise an eyebrow over some of these potential chinks in the Trojans armor.

3. Speaking of defense, where did it go? The Pac-10 entered the weekend with five teams ranked among the nation's top 21 in total defense. And only one team ranked in the top 25 in total offense: USC at No. 22 with 430.6 yards per game. The defensive numbers won't be nearly as good this week, but the offensive numbers will perk up a bit. Six of the seven conference teams that played Saturday gained at least 448 yards. Three had more than 500 yards. Washington's 378 yards was day's worst performance, but it came against an Arizona State D that had been yielding just 221.8 yards per game.

4. California isn't dead yet: Seeeee! California doesn't stink. Told you. And it can win in LA. California's offense, which hadn't scored a touchdown in eight quarters, went 80 yards for a TD on its first possession against a stout UCLA defense. The Bears rolled up 494 yards on the road against a defense that was giving up just 286 per game, and quarterback Kevin Riley broke out of his funk with three touchdown passes. Now, the defense looked porous -- 448 yards to UCLA? -- but Bears fans shouldn't be too particular. Three of the next four games are at home. And Cal won't have to play USC or Oregon again.

5. The quarterback future looks bright: Four Pac-10 quarterbacks passed for more than 300 yards on Saturday and two for more than 400. The oldest of the group was Arizona sophomore Nick Foles. Barkley, Foles, Stanford redshirt freshman Andrew Luck and UCLA redshirt freshman Kevin Prince are probably as impressive an underclass foursome as any conference in the nation can trot out. And Washington State's true freshman Jeff Tuel is promising. And only Arizona State and Oregon State start seniors at quarterback.