Blog Entry

Picking the Pac-10

Posted on: June 19, 2009 12:43 pm
 

It's never been like this in the Pac-10.

The conference that gave us Elway, Leinart, Plunkett, Aikman and Fouts, also has given us Best, Blount, Rodgers, Gerhart, and Grigsby. The first set of five names you recognize as some of the best quarterbacks in Pac-10 history. The next five represent another bit of history. According to the conference, there have never been five returning 1,000-yard rushers in the Pac-10.

They are:

Jahvid Best, Jr., Cal -- Despite missing a game, Best rushed for 1,580 yards last season and will be on everyone's Heisman list. Or should be.

LeGarrette Blount, Sr., Oregon -- Chip Kelly has made Oregon into an offensive powerhouse, particularly on the ground. The Ducks have finished in the top six in rushing each of the last two seasons. Kelly lost one 1,000 yard rusher (Jeremiah Johnson) and gets another. The punishing Blount ran for 1,002 yards.
 
Jacquizz Rodgers, Soph., Oregon State -- The Pac-10's offensive player of the year ran for 1,253 yards as a freshman despite missing two games. How could we forget that Thursday night against USC?

Toby Gerhart, Sr., Stanford
-- Set the school rushing record with 1,136 yards and scored 15 touchdowns in '08.

Nic Grigsby, Jr., Arizona -- The Cats' first 1,000-yard rusher since 2001.

Picking the Pac-10 ...

1. USC -- Expect at least a share of an eighth consecutive Pac-10 title. Expect an eighth consecutive BCS bowl (probably Rose). Don't expect me to tell you the starting quarterback. Aaron Corp started the spring game, but true freshman Matt Barkley has made tremendous strides. Corp may start the season but Barkley might be the guy by the end. The defense and offensive line (Pete Carroll's best ever at USC) can hold the Trojans in the national championship race if the qbs struggle.

2. Oregon -- Kelly has gone from New Hampshire offensive coordinator to Oregon head coach in less than three years. He will take over officially on July 1. Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli started as a fifth-stringer, then accounted for 23 touchdowns under Kelly in 2008. Normally, a head-coaching change would signal a drop in the standings. But Kelly has had enough time in the program to get familiar. Don't forget the Ducks were a top 10 team last season. Welcome to the big time, Chip .The season kicks off at Boise.

3. Cal -- Jeff Tedford has brought stability to Berkeley, but no Rose Bowls. It's been 50 years and counting for the Bears since their last trip to Pasadena -- for a bowl game. Tedford, the quarterback wizard, has been pumping out running backs in recent years while quarterback play has slipped. Aaron Rodgers was the last serviceable signal caller. That was five years ago. Inconsistent Kevin Riley gets the job this season. Best will have to relieve the pressure.

4. Oregon State -- Twenty-eight victories the past three seasons. Two wins over USC. Never, ever doubt Mike Riley. Even though his defense has to rebuilt, the Beavers are going to be a pain again this season. Four of the five starters on the offensive line are back. Rodgers' shoulder is healed. Lyle Moevao is a veteran quarterback. Expect at least eight wins.

5. UCLA -- The Bruins could be the most improved team in the Pac-10. Interception machine Kevin Craft is gone. In his place is redshirt freshman Kevin Prince. Sixteen starters return and defense is not the problem. The Bruins had the second-best total defense in Pac-10 play. Until Neuheisel actually performs in Westwood, though, I will relegate them to this spot.

6. Arizona State -- The Sun Devils (5-7) were one of the most disappointing teams in the country last season. Don't be surprised if Arizona State repeats that record. The strength lies with the defense where end Dexter Davis has 10-plus sacks each of the past two seasons. Chris McGaha is a fine pass catcher who led the Devils two years ago (830 yards).  Dennis Erickson must first get some consistency out of an offensive line that has surrendered a staggering 89 sacks the past two seasons.

7. Arizona
-- The Wildcats have the worst Pac-10 record this decade (24-51) but seem to be on the rebound. Despite losing firestarter Willie Tuitama, coach Mike Stoops could make it to a second consecutive bowl. He will have to deal with a non-conference trip to Iowa, plus having only four conference home games (five away). Either Matt Scott or Nick Foles, both sophomores, will replace Tuitama. They have 11 career pass attempts between them.

8. Stanford -- Jim Harbaugh might be the most coveted 9-15 coach in the country. His name continues to come up when other jobs open up. The Cardinal have improved, coming within a season-finale loss to Cal of being bowl eligible. Gerhart and Andrew Luck give Stanford a chance this season. Luck, a sophomore, threw five touchdowns in the spring game. They're here because the Cardinal open with back-to-back road games (Washington State and Wake) and have to play seven teams that won bowl games.

9. Washington -- Steve Sarkisian can't lose. Well, he can but certainly at the level of last season's worst Husky team ever. Sark starts his head coaching career with Washington on a 14-game losing streak. Three wins would make him the mayor of Montlake. The Huskies have the talent to go 5-7. A healthy Jake Locker will make a difference under Sark. Everyone is looking forward to redshirt freshman tailback Chris Polk. Part of Sarkisian's job is getting the Huskies to believe they can win. The streak breaker should come in Week 2 against Idaho.

10. Washington State -- The Cougars won twice last season (one of them against Washington) but are in worse shape than their rivals. This could be one of the nation's worst programs again this season. Second-year coach Paul Wulff loses five starters from one of the worst defenses in Pac-10 history. That might be a good thing. The offense turned it over a staggering 25 times and gave up 43 sacks.

 

Comments

Since: Oct 20, 2007
Posted on: July 8, 2009 9:00 pm
 

To the retarded bear

I have no idea why everyone thinks that Oregon is the second best team in the pac-10

Here it might be hard to think about it, but lets waslk through this shall we?
Oregon was a top 10 team last year. They beat Oklahoma St in the holiday bowl. They finished 2ND in the Pac-10. They are returning the 2 stars LaGarette Blount and Jeremiah Masoli. They have a better receiving core then last year, with Jamere Holland leading the group of talented receivers. The defensive secondary is quicker and is making better decisions (spring game). Walter Thurmond scares the crap out of QB's they won't want to throw in his direction. Oregon has improved since they've found the QB to fit the spread offence.

The only questionable thing about Oregon is the lines. They have 2 starters returning on the offensive lines and 1 on the defensive, but alot of them are filled with very talented people. The Offensive line looks fine to me, but the defensive line will be something to look at.

Jeremiah Masoli is easily the most overrated quarterback in the country.


How so? He isn't really a huge player in the heisman race, he hasn't been mentioned on any list that I know of. So he kind of seems underrated to me. For someone that almost single handedly beat Oklahoma St. I don't think he's overrated the least bit.

Finally, Oregon cannot win the big game. Just watch. Oregon will lose at Boise State to kick off the season, beat up on some cupcakes, and then lose to Cal and USC later on

Oh come on, really?. First off Oregon will beat Boise St. easily. Oregon rarely loses back to back. When they played Boise St. last they didn't have an offence at all. They've found how to work the offence with Masoli and Blount and it will be an entirely different setting and circumstances. The only game you've mentioned that I'm actually very worried about is USC, then Boise St., then Oregon St.. Cal isn't a very big concern to me. It's at Autzen and the last time Cal beat us at Autzen was because of a controversial fumble that would've given Oregon the win if the WR would've stuck out his arms.

Jahvid Best posted these great stats last year despite missing a whole game and leaving several games after the first half after rushing for 150+ yards.

Despite sharing half the snaps with Jeremiah Johnson, Blount had over 1000 yards and led the Pac-10 in TD's.

Cal's d-line is the best in the pac-10 and the linebackers are young but speedy and perfectly suited to shut down the spread offense

Oregon's rushing game is the best in the Pac-10 if not the NCAA, and they now have a passing game in Jeremiah Masoli so it will once again be a top 10 offence in the NCAA.

Sorry Oregon fanboys but it's going to rough up in the rain this year

Don't you know anything? At Autzen stadium it never rains.

The ducks will be lucky to finish 3rd in the pac-10.

I;d say that for your bears, I think they'll get 4th behing Oregon St.

I agree with college football expert Phil Steele's prediction of a 5th place finish for the ducks. BELIEVE IT. They are not a good team this year.

I think you are trying to cover up your fear. You're coming to Autzen, and it won't be a cake walk.



Since: Jul 1, 2009
Posted on: July 7, 2009 2:29 pm
 

Picking the Pac-10

The Beavers will finish in the bottom three of the conference....go ducks!



Since: Nov 6, 2006
Posted on: July 7, 2009 9:43 am
 

Picking the Pac-10

WSU will win the Pac 10 this year.You heard it here first!



Since: Aug 9, 2008
Posted on: July 7, 2009 2:57 am
 

Picking the Pac-10

Because Tennessee is a major football program, Arizona is not.... Just my opinion.



Since: Oct 16, 2006
Posted on: July 5, 2009 6:12 pm
 

Picking the Pac-10

I have no idea why everyone thinks that Oregon is the second best team in the pac-10 You are right there not -- they are the best team in the PAC 10.
Cal will beat Oregon this year in Eugene with defense. Cal has only won one time in the last 8 trips to Eugene

Jahvid Best posted these great stats last year despite missing a whole game and leaving several games after the first half after rushing for 150+ yards Pro Scouts feel LaGarrett Blount is a better back and he rushed for over 1,000 yards and 17 TD's while splitting time with the NFL bound Jeremiah Johnson last year, he will rush over 2,000 this year and will be a top 10 pick.

The ducks will be lucky to finish 3rd in the pac-10. I agree with college football expert Phil Steele's prediction of a 5th place finish for the ducks. BELIEVE IT. If you are betting that way I hope the money you lose is purely descretionary.



Since: Oct 16, 2006
Posted on: July 4, 2009 12:24 pm
 

Picking the Pac-10

unfortunatley i beleive it is going to be a down year again for the pac 10 but if i had to choose go golden bears Lets see 5-0 in bowls last year, 4-2 the year before that.  Best bowl record over the past TWO seasons.  The ONLY conference that has a winning record against all other BCS conferences.  So yes you might be right they may be down, because it is harder to go up from here.



Since: Nov 29, 2006
Posted on: July 1, 2009 2:07 am
 

Picking the Pac-10

unfortunatley i beleive it is going to be a down year again for the pac 10 but if i had to choose go golden bears



Since: May 23, 2007
Posted on: June 30, 2009 11:29 pm
 

Oregon Overrated

I have no idea why everyone thinks that Oregon is the second best team in the pac-10. Jeremiah Masoli is easily the most overrated quarterback in the country. Oregon does not have a strong O-line this season. The defense will be mediocre. Finally, Oregon cannot win the big game. Just watch. Oregon will lose at Boise State to kick off the season, beat up on some cupcakes, and then lose to Cal and USC later on. I'm sorry but Cal is just more talented this year. Jahvid Best posted these great stats last year despite missing a whole game and leaving several games after the first half after rushing for 150+ yards. Kevin Riley will finally have the starting job locked down so he will be able to settle down and play without Longshore breathing down his neck. All of the good receivers are back and then some as Michael Calvin and Marvin Jones (the top 2 receivers going into last season) are back from injury and projected to start. There will be little drop-off from last year's great O-line despite losing Mack also. Cal will beat Oregon this year in Eugene with defense. Cal's d-line is the best in the pac-10 and the linebackers are young but speedy and perfectly suited to shut down the spread offense. After Cal shuts down the duck running game like last season in Berkeley( I was there), the secondary which was one of the top in the nation last season with all 4 starters returning will pick off Masoli's weak passes to no end. Sorry Oregon fanboys but it's going to rough up in the rain this year. Don't listen to the "experts". The ducks will be lucky to finish 3rd in the pac-10. I agree with college football expert Phil Steele's prediction of a 5th place finish for the ducks. BELIEVE IT. They are not a good team this year. ROOOOOLLLLLL ONNN YOU BEARSSSSSSSS!!!!!



Since: Nov 30, 2006
Posted on: June 30, 2009 4:15 pm
 

Picking the Pac-10

I am a huge Arizona fan, which means I hear a lot of what Mike Stoops says and he is nowhere near a loudmouth, especially not like Lane Kiffin.



Since: Jun 8, 2007
Posted on: June 28, 2009 1:01 am
 

QB is the key

If Kevin Prince is the real deal watch out for UCLA. They have the defense, now if they have an offense other teams will not want to play the Bruins. Oregon State does not really have enough talent to sustain a full season of injuries, depth always hurts that team. Oregon is a huge question mark with a new coach. Usc has a new QB, that creates losses. Stanford could be the fly in the ointment. Cal will be close but no cigar. The Washington schools need major retooling. The Arizona schools need QB's too. You see it over and over, a good QB in college changes an entire season, it makes mediocre teams shine or a mediocre team stink. Good QB can win you a national championship. Whichever team has a breakout QB runs to the top of the PAC.


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