12.Oct.2009 Mid-Season Conference Rankings
1. Oregon–After a inauspicious beginning, the Ducks recovered nicely and wound up with the best first half in the conference. Right now they appear poised to win the conference outright. But, the Masoli injury could end those chances much like the Dixon injury of 2007.
2. USC–The Trojans have done what’s expected of them, even the annual pratfall (this year in Seattle), but they haven’t done it in the dominating fashion we’ve become accustomed to, thus showing signs of vulnerability and putting the conference title up for grabs. I’m not a Barkley believer–he’s looked very pedestrian given the offensive line and WR’s with whom he’s working.
3. Arizona–The Wildcats are a surprise. Great ground game, great defense, and an efficient passing since Foles took the helm. The QB switch makes one wonder what could have been @ Iowa.
4. Oregon State–The Beavers started strong, which we know is rare, then slumped for two games. The thing about those two games is that both were in their grasp, and one could argue, with better coaching the Beavers would be a (lucky) 6-0 right now. They haven’t played well enough to earn that record, but think about it–a proper coaches’ challenge vs Cincy, an interception or defensive stand vs Arizona. Both were there for the taking.
5. Washington–It all starts with Locker…the guy is a fierce and gritty leader who fires up the entire team. Even the defense has taken on his personality and are playing above their heads because of it. The USC win could have huge tie-breaker implications if the Huskies continue to play well.
6. Stanford–Stanford “are who we thought they were”…a gutsy, smart, big, and slow team. They’ll be right in the middle of the conference. But Harbaugh’s antics are getting on people’s nerves, adding unnecessary motivation to bully these nerds.
7. California–The Bears are the posterchild for the difficulty and superiority of this conference. Ganged up on the ACC and BIG-10 schools they played, on the road no less, only to get hammered in conference. Keep in mind, this is the 7th best team in our conference and they absolutely dominated those out of conference games. Coupled with the PAC-10s bowl record last year this speaks volumes. As far as the Bears’ season, they’d have to win out for it not to be considered a disappointment.
8. UCLA–Again, a nice road win vs the Tennessee team who played Florida so tough. Mirroring the Bears with a 3-0 OOC record, the Bruins have lost two straight since conference play began. Richard Brehaut seems to be the key to their season. If he starts from this point on, who knows. He looked great slinging the ball around last week; however, when Craft or Prince are in there the Bruins are indolent. I see the Bruins as having the biggest upside of any team ranked under the 5 slot on this list. Their defense is good enough to win the conference, so if they develop a passing game watch out. At worst they will pull some upsets and indirectly determine the outcome for the teams at the top. Dangerous team.
9. Arizona State–They’re sitting at 1-1 in the conference and 3-2 overall. Not terrible, but I haven’t liked a single moment from the Sun Devils other than the effort at Georgia, which isn’t impressive now that Georgia has shown their colors. They’ll be pests but I can’t see a run of any kind coming from this squad.
10. Washington State–The Cougars haven’t improved. That’s gotta be the most disheartening thing for their fans. I don’t see a conference win unless an opponent doesn’t show up. And I mean that literally.