Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Pac 10 Preview

The Southern California Trojans are the odds on favorite to win the Pac 10 this year, as well as, the national championship. The real race is for second place. California was screwed out of a chance to play in the Rose Bowl last year, and stunk it up in the Holiday Bowl against Texas Tech. Even with substantial losses, Coach Jeff Tedford will have his Golden Bears ready this season, especially for USC on November 12. Oregon just fell apart last year. The Ducks should rebound nicely. Arizona State has been getting some preseason national title darkhorse hype this year. The Sun Devils are good but playing USC and LSU, you can count at least two losses and probably two more. Oregon State is a darkhorse to battle for a second place finish, as they are the only team to miss USC in conference play. Karl Dorrell is on his last leg as coach of UCLA. His team is bursting with talent, anything less than eight wins and bowl win he is gone. Washington State is a loaded team that needs better quarterback play if they want to finish above .500. Washington, on the other hand, should be one 2005's surprise teams. Arizona could post a winning season if they pull a couple of home upsets. Stanford will be a cellar dweller, at least for this year.

Order of Finish

1. USC 11-1(7-1)- I know who is USC going to lose to? Cal, Arizona State or Oregon? It's going to be Oregon. If USC played Oregon on a neutral field they win ten out of ten times. At Autzen USC wins nine of ten, 2005 just happens to be that one time they lose. The loss will come early in the season, worst case scenario SC drops five or six spots in the polls in late September. By the time the BCS poll comes around in October, they will be in the top three, and come December SC will be number one again. Trojans will have their kinks early in the season with Fresno State alum Lane Kiffen calling the plays. Undefeated season is practically a lock with a team with this much talent, but strange things always happen in college football.

2. Oregon 8-3(6-2)- How does the team I pick to beat USC finish 8-3? The Ducks are good, not great. Oregon is able to hang toe to toe with the Trojans offensively, and home field advantage will certainly be huge. The Ducks offense should be comparable to the Tedford days with new OC Gary Crowton. The defense is strong up front, but will be put into many shootouts if the DB's do not improve their play. This team could find themselves in the top 10 by the end of September with big wins over Fresno State and USC.

t3. California 8-3(5-3)- Cal plays a ridiculous non-conference slate, and in conference play they miss ASU and host USC. If Aaron Rodgers had returned for his senior season, Cal would have been a serious contender for the Pac 10 and maybe even the Rose Bowl. As it stands now, Tedford will have to work his magic once again with another JC recruit. I am a avid believer in Tedford and his offense. Many think he runs a pass happy attack, but it is a run first offense. With one of the best offensive lines in the nation along with a great tailback in Marshawn Lynch, Cal is capable of winning the Pac 10.

t3. Arizona State 7-4(5-3)- The Sun Devils are the classic overrated special. Riding the tails of a great bowl win to lofty preseason rankings and expectations. This team should have no problem staying above .500, but is nowhere near the level of a USC. Arizona State should blow out everyone they are supposed to, but will not beat the big name teams needed to make a serious run at the Pac 10 title.

t3. UCLA 6-5(5-3)-On paper UCLA is a top 15 team. There is talent everywhere, QB, RB, WR, and especially on defense, where the Bruins have one of the best linebacking units in the country. Two years ago UCLA started out 6-2 with a young team and a new coach. It looked like they could contend for the Pac 10 title in 04 and be serious national title contenders in 05. UCLA has gone 6-11 since that great start in 03 and have back to back bowl losses to the WAC and MWC. Karl Dorrell has been a disappointing hire, I expect him to be gone after this year, and UCLA to make a big name hire(Dennis Erickson?) to try to keep up with crosstown rival USC.

6. Oregon State 7-4(4-4)- I expecting a big impact from the JC recruits. The Beavers play a tough non-conference schedule as they host Boise State and travel to Louisville. Key offensive personnel need to be replaced, but I expect OSU to pull off two big wins before Pac 10 play even begins.

t7. Washington 6-5(3-5)- The Huskies will be the surprise team in the Pac 10, if not the country. A key four game stretch that sees UW play at UCLA, Oregon, Arizona State, and host USC, will test how far Ty Willingham has brought the Huskies. The other seven games are winable for a team that only won one game last year.

t7. Arizona 4-7(3-5)- These Wildcats are ready to play. Fresh off the upset over nationally ranked rival ASU, Arizona is ready to get back to their winning ways. Opening up the season at Utah will be tough, but an upset win could spark Arizona to a winning season.

9. Washington State 5-6(2-6)- The Cougars are sort of a puzzle. I see only one game as a sure loss and that is USC. The potential is there for this team to make a run at the top of the Pac 10 and the Holiday Bowl. Quarterback play is a big concern, I do not see it getting any better, therefore, WSU will be at the short end of many close games. I will not be shocked if this team finishes 8-3 or even 9-2.

10. Stanford 2-10(0-8)- Walt Harris has inherited some talent from the Buddy Teavens era. The Cardinal were very competitive last year, as they took USC to the wire and almost pulled off the upset. But somebody has to finish last, and unfortunately I see it being Stanford.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nicely done! Professional in look and your comments show a lot of in-depth study and knowledge. Looking forward to College season!


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