25.Aug.2010 Pac-10 Predictions

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1. Oregon-Opportunistic defense, team intensity, and uber confidence trickling down from the top. The QB issue isn't an issue. Remember: Justin Roper put up numbers in this offense, proving anyone can. Oh, and look at the Ducks first six games and tell me how they're not 6-0 and being hyped as a darkhorse National Title contender. Beaver fans: when you think you have enough barf bags buy one more.

2. Arizona-Other than the game @ Oregon, the schedule lines up aces. This league is still all about QB play, and Foles is the best in the conference. Arizona also sports an intriguing defense; it's loaded with high caliber JCs. Can all seven of those guys gel fast enough? Not sure, but I imagine they do to some degree. Legit contender in conference.

3. Oregon State-The Beavers have too much to overcome to win the conference. A green, sophomore QB, shaky run defense, and a remorseless schedule (forget the out of conference games, they also play 75% road games between October 9th and November 6th). The (poor) punting game, which could theoretically help mask shaky defense, isn't going to help the cause. The conference is down this year, a fact that will negate some of these problems, and the Rose Bowl motivation is omnipresent and cannot be discounted. But in the end, this is a flawed team. The Rodgers bros will their comrades to a 3rd place finish.

4. UCLA-I think I am one of the few who likes this squad. Prince improved in every game last year. The RB (Franklin) is good, and the defense has great potential with Datone Jones, Akeem Ayers, and Rahim Moore. Their special teams are rock solid. Dark horse team, and if Prince makes a quantum leap they're a conference contender.

5. USC-There are a lot of predictions that these guys are going to win the Pac-10. That is ludicrous. Coupled with the off the field turmoil, they severely downgraded at head coach and have an overrated QB. Fifth is generous and based solely on talent and reputation. The other 9 teams who were pushed around for a decade? Oh, they're going to be out for blood alright.

6. Washington-Jake Locker this, Jake Locker that. Jake Locker, sixth place.

7. Stanford-The loss of Toby Gerhart is huge. This team is not even average without him. A slow defense, an overrated QB with few weapons, and a head coach who is going to compound expectations (i.e. pressure) on his talent-starved squad by running his mouth.

8. California-The Pac-10 has become more defense oriented over the past five years, and that's been bad news for the Bears. A mediocre QB plus a new defensive coordinator should spell a down year in Berkeley.

9. Arizona State-Does anyone know what to make of this team? I sure don't. I do know that most of the players I see on paper either stink or are unknowns, and that's enough to warrant a 9th place finish in my blog.

10. Washington State-They are improving, slowly. Expect a lot of fight, improved D, and a solid ground game. The Cougs loathe being a mockery, and that just might be motivation enough to leapfrog Arizona State.

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  • VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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    first. brahaha

  • Beavker Beavker says:
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    Regarding Washington (and USC I guess), this is kind of funny if you are like me (and don’t like either of them).

    UW’s largest season ticket holder:

    http://huskerextra.com/sports/football/article_b691796a-aff2-11df-a043-001cc4c03286.html

  • seaverbeaver says:
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    woh

  • JackBeav says:
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    QB’s are going to be the hardest to gauge in the upcoming year.

    UO’s QB should produce until they’re on #4 and making excuses.

    Nick Foles is a sharp kid who can make self-adjustments during a game, but that was when most Pac 10 teams had a book written on Matt Scott and nothing on Foles. As the year wore on, Foles faded… except for a good game against UO. Look what happened to him when Nebraska had a couple weeks to scout him. The easy scouting report on him is that he doesn’t throw the ball deep. Maybe he’s worked on it, but he just had happy feet last year.

    Locker needs to do more than an OSU first-year QB having a bad year before I think he’s what everyone in the world thinks he is. Maybe this is another John Elway situation? His team is gonna suck, and he couldn’t be a leader on my 10 pound test line. But he has all the tools for the pro game.

    I think you’re a little hard on Luck. He has both the fundamentals and the skill down. He’s gonna get killed because he doesn’t have Gerhart anymore. But I think he knows it, and I think he’s smart enough to work a contingency.

    We’ll see if Barkley can play any better than Jonathan Crompton. My guess is yes. For sure, he’ll play better than Fink ever dreamed he could play at Fresno.

    Katz has developed more quickly than I thought he would. Say what you want about our D. Katz was aiming the ball a couple weeks ago, but now he’s pegging numbers. I don’t know if I’d trust him to go for it on 4th and 16 yet, but he looks promising. Let’s hope it all doesn’t get beat out of him in the first couple games.

    We’ll see who UCLA comes out with at QB. They’re installing the pistol, so the numbers are going to be there for any QB like rushing numbers are there for any option team. But we Beavs fans know how much moving the chains between the 20’s wins games.

    I’m surprised Kevin Riley wasn’t replaced mid-season last year… or the year before.

    I have no idea what DE is doing at ASU. I actually like Szakacsy, but they bring in Threet instead.

    For having no line, no backs, no receivers and no defense… Jeff Tuel did really well for a frosh. Hopefully it takes a year or two to put talent around him.

    • angry angry says:
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      I disagree on Foles. The reason he slipped the second half is Arizona played Cal, Oregon, USC, and their rivalry game in that time period. Back-loaded schedule. I think he did phenomenal for a first year guy, and he’ll be much better this year while those teams (maybe not Oregon) should all be worse.

  • ean says:
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    Stanford has a stout O-line and a good QB, I think they will be alright without Toby. Yeah it is a huge loss but they should be top half. Oregon will not win the conference. They overachieved last year and got lucky to win quite a few of those games, I predict a bit of a return to the mean. Roper put up good numbers but he has a good arm and the offense had time to play into those strengths with the layoff between the CW and the bowl game. They should be solid though. The Pac-10 is so wide open it is tough for me to see a clear favorite and Vegas would agree (5:2 odds on Oregon means they are not the clear favorite). Should be a fun season. If a few playmakers emerge on defense (besides just Paea) and if guys stay healthy I think we have a legit shot at the crown… although AZ, UW, Furd, and UCLA on the road are all potential losses (although all are winnable).

  • ean says:
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    Also the punting game is fairly decent. Hekker does occasionally shank a ball but he has a decent average and a practically nonreturnable amount of hang time. If he can lose the occasional shank he should be one of the better Pac-10 punters. Hang time is big. Not sure if he has adjusted to punting into the wind though but that shouldn’t be a huge problem unless it is blowing on the smurf turf.

    • JackBeav says:
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      I’m not so sure about that. As much as people make of angry’s assessment of Hekker’s game, he’s much harder on himself. He had decent numbers last year for the first half of the season, but those numbers were only the average of his kicks. He would hit one for 55 then one for 30. It looked like he was going to turn it around at USC until he hit the low kick for 50+ and set up a return for a TD. He then went back to his wild ways against UCLA then had one really good game at Cal. After that, he was wild for a pathetic average over the last four games. He certainly didn’t help at Autzen, and the bowl game is what it was.

      Cliff wrote a piece on him in the G-T, and it sounds like he’s been working on the technical aspects more. It’s good that he can parlay his internal criticism into learning. So let’s see how that ends up. I would rather have him kick for the same 40 yd average with all his kicks being within five yards of the average… never mind kicking for 46 like he wants to do. That kind of consistency means he has learned to control himself.

      • ean says:
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        fair enough. I agree consistency is his issue. When he is hitting the ball though it is a prototypical punt. Hopefully he finds his consistent stroke. Almost like my golf game.

    • beavers4life says:
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      How about we don’t go 3 and out more than 2 times on our own 40 or lower and I think we don’t have to worry about the punting game. Will it happen, probably not, but a fan can dream right? lol

  • Jim S says:
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    I think Gerhart (especially) and Luck are given way too much credit for what was accomplished on offense primarily by the O line (which is returning). I think the O will be fine plugging in some backs, and I think their D will improve. I might place Stanford at #2. They are starting to seem similar to the old Don James Huskies- though I certainly would not place them there yet.

    I think Cal will surprise due to their schedule, so I’ll guess #4. Home games will be huge with so much parity in the league and to nullify all the star QBs, and Cal has 5 with Wazzu being one of the road games. http://blogs.mercurynews.com/collegesports/2010/08/13/pac-10-football-the-washington-state-factor/

    Arizona’s D sounds like it is going to suck. They benefit from a similar schedule to Cal, so maybe #5 or 6, is my guess.

    Such a crap shoot this year.

  • angry angry says:
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    Looks like I have to switch these around. UCLA just lost their second starting offensive lineman, and their QB is out for game 1.

  • Frank W. says:
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    Regarding UCLA – They’ve lost 6 of their offensive lineman in their 2-deep. No way do they finish above 7th this season. They’ll struggle to average more than 17 points this season.

    • angry angry says:
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      Yeah. I’m going to be wrong on them most likely. They had two guys go down right after I wrote that.

      Also, I’m curious to see USC’s attitude when playing Hawaii tomorrow.

  • angry angry says:
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    Stanford might be better than I thought.

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