Thursday, August 5, 2010


If you thought last year's Pac-10 race was wild and crazy, then you have another thing coming for this year. Two offseason moves made the Rose Bowl chase wide open. First, it was Oregon and Jeremiah Masoli. Oregon was originally going to suspend Masoli for this season, his senior year, for his involvement in stealing a laptop from a fraternity house in March. He would have been given a redshirt this year, and allowed to come back in 2011, but trouble still found Masoli. Police found marijuana in Masoli's car in June and Oregon coach Chip Kelly kicked him off the team. A day later, the NCAA placed USC on probation and a two-year bowl ban for violations dealing with Reggie Bush. Those two moves could open the door for Arizona, California, or Oregon State, teams that have not been in the Rose Bowl since the Pac-10 expanded to 10 teams in 1978. Fitting way to preview the next expansion of the conference when Utah comes in next year, and Colorado follows in 2012.

1. USC Trojans (13-0, 9-0)
-With no bowl game in sight, USC will be playing for nothing but pride in 2010. I think that they can do what the 1993 Auburn Tigers did and win every game. They still have a great team and, to be honest, Lane Kiffin is a pretty decent coach. Only time will tell if this probation period will affect the Trojans in the long run though.

2. Oregon Ducks (10-2, 7-2)
-Two things are certain at Oregon: good football and a WIDE variety of uniform combination. This year, you might can add another Rose Bowl berth as the Ducks have a very talented line-up led by sophomore LaMichael James. LaGarrette Blount's punch in the opening game allowed James to hit the opposing defense in the mouth with 1546 yards rushing and 14 touchdowns, and with Nate Costa calling the plays, expect that number to stay the same.

3. Stanford Cardinal (9-3, 6-3)
-With the monumental upset over USC in 2007, Stanford and Jim Harbaugh knew that better times would come for Stanford football. In 2009, it indeed did as Toby Gerhart finished in second place in the Heisman trophy race and the Cardinal went to the Sun Bowl, their first bowl game since 2001. This year, Stanford will once again improve despite Gerhart's departure, as they will have future NFL prospect Andrew Luck proving that was freshman year was not a fluke.

4. Oregon State Beavers (7-5, 6-3)
-Last season, the Beavers were "oh-so-close" to making the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1965, after a wild 37-33 loss in the Civil War to Oregon. This year, Oregon State will once again be very close, but a lack of quarterback experience will haunt them, especially with TCU, Boise State, USC, and Oregon all on the schedule. The Rodgers brothers (James and Jacquizz) will electrify this team however and keep them near the top half of the Pac-10

5. Washington Huskies (7-5, 5-4)
-Jake Locker is a good quarterback, but he could be chasing another infamous mark that another former famous Pac-10 quarterback did in the 80s. John Elway did not make a bowl game while at Stanford, but unless Washington State makes an unbelievable play, Locker will not go down that same route. The problem will be that Locker cannot do it alone, and the defense is still porous.

6. Arizona Wildcats (6-6, 4-5)
-Arizona is the only conference member to not go to the Rose Bowl, but over the past few years, Wildcat head coach Mike Stoops has quietly built the program back to what it was in the late 80s and entire 90s. This year, Arizona will be led by senior defensive end Ricky Elmore and junior quarterback Nick Foles, but unless they steal some games, that Rose Bowl drought will continue.

7. California Golden Bears (7-5, 4-5)
-Jeff Tedford has surely made a name for himself in Berkley with eight straight seasons without a losing record and seven straight bowl games. However, his teams normally underachieve and fall short of their goal. I think they have just enough to upset Oregon this year, but they will finish in the middle of the road yet again, thanks to shaky quarterback play and the loss of Jahvid Best to the NFL.

8. Arizona State Sun Devils (4-8, 2-7)
-Last year, Arizona State swept the Washington school to put their record at 4-2 and a chance to make a bowl game. However, a rough and winless second half of the season left the Sun Devils dead in the desert at 4-8. This year, expect the same, however the good news is they host both UCLA and Washington State, with two FCS opponents making up the non-conference slate.

9. UCLA Bruins (1-11, 1-8)
-The good news is that Bruin head coach Rick Neuheisel is a very good coach that can coach up a team. The bad news is that UCLA is average, lost too many players, and have a tough schedule with Houston and Texas. Senior kicker Kai Forbath will make the games close and could allow UCLA to win the close games that they should not.

10. Washington State Cougars (1-11, 0-9)
-Paul Wulff has been nothing like a "wolf" as a coach for Washington State in his first two seasons. 3-22 overall and 1-17 in conference play makes him the worst head coach in Cougar history in terms of winning percentage. It will be another sad season in Pullman as Washington State will be outplayed in every game.


Oregon- Rose
Stanford- Alamo
Oregon State- Holiday
Washington- Sun
Arizona- Maaco
California- Kraft Fight Hunger

Jake Locker (QB from Washington)
-The possible No. 1 pick of the 2011 NFL Draft has had it rough at Washington. Three years, no bowl game, and even a winless season in 2008. Last season, Locker threw for 2800 yards and 21 touchdowns, but if he does not give the Huskies their first bowl appearance since the 2002 Sun Bowl, fans will wonder what if.

1. Oregon @ Oregon State (Dec. 4)
2. Oregon @ USC (Oct. 21)
3. Nebraska @ Washington (Sept. 18)
4. Oregon State @ Boise State (Sept. 25)
5. Oregon State vs. TCU (Sept. 4 in Arlington, Texas)

No comments:

Post a Comment