Team Twilight vs Pac-12

30 06 2010

If you’re like me and your girlfriend is forcing you to go watch the new Twilight Eclipse movie at a 1PM matinée on Thursday, the only manageable way to watch the film will be to appreciate what it means to women. The Team Edward vs Team Jacob obsession that is running rampant among teenage girls (and mid-twenties like my gf) parallels what Pac-12 fans go through with their rivals. It got me wondering whether their fans were more dedicated than ours, or just plain crazy.

In the past few weeks I’ve been subjected to Oprah interviewing the Twilight  cast, reruns of the first two movies, and listening to my roommates ask each other how excited they are for Eclipse: The Twilight Saga every single day. Despite it giving me flu-like symptoms I was still able to pick up on some similarities in their behavior and Pac-12 fans.  Both fans deck themselves out in their favorite team apparel and wear it proudly. Twilight fans are more harsh than Pac-12 fans, because they actually care about superficial things like fashion, which makes the banter even more intense. If it’s the wrong time of the month (and we get lucky) then it could potentially lead to a cat fight like the Miller Lite great taste, less filling advertisement. Despite Twilight fans having a greater interest in fashion, the Pac-12 fans look significantly better in their apparel so we have to give the edge to the Pac-12.

Both fan groups get irritated by their significant other if your criticize their team’s performance. I was almost castrated after I said True Blood is superior to Twilight in dialog, sexual content, and the overall ability of the actors.  When the ole ball-and-chain questioned the Pac-12’s dominance compared to the SEC, I just shrugged it off as if she didn’t know what she was talking about. In sports we call them rabid fans, in Twilight they’re called TwiHards or as I like to refer to them, TwiTards, but whatever you call them they are more territorial and win this category.

I also have to give credit to the thousands of of girls willing to camp out for a terrible movie premier, which is their version of tailgating. Twilight fans crush Pac-12 in the girl-to-guy ratio so they get extra cool points for that, but Pac-12 fans enjoy beers and BBQ at their tailgates while the TwiHards are stuck outside of the movie theater with popcorn and Sour Patch Kids. Pac-12 fans also tailgate about a dozen times a year compared to just once for Twilight, so this proves the Pac-12 loyalty is greater.

Every sports enthusiast and Pac-12 fan reads about their team on blogs and the internet, but meeting their favorite player or taking pictures with them would be the ultimate prize.  Twilight fans take this a step further by creating cardboard cutouts of their favorite Team (Team Edward or Team Jacob) and make-out with them. Normally this would be considered even more desperate than what Bella Swan does in Twilight, but this is Twilight fans taking it to a different level. For this they get the title of Twidiots (Twid-e-its) and actually lose cool points.

One issue that hurt Twilight fans in this competition is that they were torn when their team was out of character. Taylor Lautner is almost as big of a douchebag as Tom Cruise, but he plays a better role in the movie. Robert Pattinson is charismatic and witty in interviews, but his role in Twilight is an overprotective hipster vampire with an inexpressive girlfriend. Conversely, the Pac-12 fans have no trouble identifying with their team in every situation. This was a pretty even battle overall and my respect for their passion has grown substantially, but the Pac-12 is still the Leader of the Pac when it comes to having the best fans.

[tweetmeme source=”Pac12Conference” only_single=false]





Pac-12 Championship

30 06 2010

This is what it all comes down to, a playoff championship. The Pac-12 should disband from the NCAA and form its own conference so it can have one of these every year. With Cal and USC playing for the championship on the same day as the Twilight Eclipse premier I noticed that each team shared some characteristics with the rivalry between Team Edward and Team Jacob. Both the Pac-12 championship and Twilight have the good vs evil, favorite vs underdog (or underwolf), and competition for the love of the fans.

USC fans are notoriously known for their pretentious attitude, which happens to be the same way Edward Cullen carries himself in Twilight (at least the first two movies). Edward and the Cullen’s are in the same tax bracket as USC fans, and like USC coach Lane Kiffin and Athletic Director Mike Garrett, their condescending tone gets old quickly. Like USC, Edward has the speed and power that make men want to be him, and the women want to be with him. He has been sitting in his room and thinking about 16 year old girls since Abraham Lincoln was President, which makes him like one of those three guys in high school that’s pulling tail left and right, but with 100 years of experience to hone his craft. In a similar fashion, USC has a long-lasting tradition of Rose Bowls, National Championships, and Heisman Winners. Edward’s advantage is that he can read minds, USC’s advantage is that they buy their star players houses in San Diego and give them cars with ridiculous looking rims.

Cal fans desperately want what USC has the way Jacob wants Edward’s girlfriend Bella. Bears and werewolves are both fetid creatures like Cal hippies, and you’ll probably find Cal fans wearing the same jorts & birkenstocks as Jacob Black and his buddies. The pack that Jacob rolls with is native american and these tree-sitters that delayed the Memorial Stadium upgrade tried to make a case that the land surrounding the area was a sacred Indian burial ground. Luckily for the Bears, this is football, not fantasy. The games actually have to be played instead of dancing around and flirting with each other.

The Trojans came in as seven point favorites, but you couldn’t tell based on how the teams were played inthe first half. The Bears received the kickoff and gashed the USC defense for an 8 play 73 yard drive that was capped by a 12 yard Anthony Miller TD in the corner of the end zone. Matt Barkley would march his troops all the way into the red zone before a tipped pass was intercepted by Sean Cattouse in the middle of the field. With the Cal offensive line holding its own, Kevin Riley was able to find Marvin Jones on a play-action pass for a 36 yard pickup to put the Bears past midfield. After a Jeremy Ross reverse and HB screen to Shane Vereen the Bears went up 14-0. The Trojans would come right back though with Allen Bradford plowing over Cal freshman linebacker Chris Martin to pick up 15 yards. Matt Barkley started to find his groove completing 3 of 5 passes with a beautiful over the shoulder pass to fullback Stanley Havili on a wheel route that resulted in a touchdown. The Bears struggled the rest of the half as the Trojan defense started to get more aggressive. Devon Kennard and Jurrell Casey each notched a Kevin Riley sack with Casey’s resulting in a fumble and recovery for USC. The final score of the half was USC freshman Dillon Baxter’s 25 yard TD out of the wildcat to cut the halftime score to 20-17 in favor of the Bears.

The Trojans came out in the second half and looked undisciplined offensively by racking up two false start penalties in the first five plays. This set up a 3rd and 12 for Kiffin in his own territory and he played it conservatively with a delayed hand off only to see CJ Gable hit in the backfield by Cameron Jordan. After a Trojans punt the Bears drove right down field in 6 plays, but failed could only manage a field goal to go up 23-16. USC looked like they were about to tie it up on their next possession, but a Matt Barkley fumble at the Cal 6 yard line shifted the momentum to the Bears.  Just when Cal fans thought Jeff Tedford would go to his classic we-only-have-a-one-score-lead-but-will-play-ultra-conservative strategy, Kevin Riley was throwing on 3 consecutive downs to move the chains back into Trojan territory. Shane Vereen would have a 15 yard TD called back on a Jeremy Ross holding call and the Bears would have to settle for another field goal to put them up ten points. Trojan wide receiver Ronald Johnson finally got into the mix with a 47 yard completion to get them back in the red zone. Two plays later Matt Barkley would hit Bryce Butler in the middle of the field for a 19 yard touchdown to get within three with 6 minutes to play in the game.

Isi Sofele would collect the ensuing kickoff for the Bears and take it all the way back to the Cal 43 yard line. We were certain that Jeff Tedford would milk his lead, but he came out with play-action on first down that he tossed it to the H-back Spencer Ladner for a 13 yard gain and a first down. Two out of the next three plays were out of the wildcat formation, but Shane Vereen would only gain seven yards and failed to get a first down. The Bears were forced to punt with 3:45 to play and Bryan Anger delivered by pinning it at the five yard line. With the Trojans 95 yards away from victory, everyone expected a drive similar to the one Matt Barkley had the year before against Ohio St. With the Bears dropping eight into coverage to prevent the long-ball, CJ Gable took a screen pass 8 yards. Freshman WR Robert Woods and caught a  10 yard pass to give them a first down. Matt Barkley then hit Kyle Prater on the sideline for a 25 yard pass, but it was called by on a holding penalty and resulted in an 8 yard loss. Matt Barkley shook it off and went right back to business hitting Ronald Johnson on a slant play resulting in a 15 yard gain. On second and three Lane Kiffin tried to keep the defense honest by running the ball one more time, but Bradford failed to pick up positive yards or run out of bounds and it kept the clock running. With only 60 seconds to play the Trojans started to feel desperate and pick up the pace, but two incompletions by Matt Barkley would end the USC’s drive. Cal fans stormed the field and the band was on the field!

[tweetmeme source=”Pac12Conference” only_single=false]





Pac-12 Playoffs: Down 2 Party

28 06 2010

#1 USC vs #6 UW

The last time the Huskies faced the Trojans, Lane Kiffin was taking jabs at Urban Meyer like a younger brother vying for some attention. This time Steve Sarkisian filled in that role by tugging at big brother’s sleeve.

Sarkisian accused Kiffin of violating NCAA recruiting rules at a Washington Booster breakfast at the Seattle Convention Center.

“I’m going to turn USC in right here in front of you,” Sarkisian told the crowd. “As Sione Potoae was here on campus, his phone keeps ringing. And so one of our coaches is sitting in the meeting with him and says,’Who is that?’ And he looks at the phone and says, ‘Lane Kiffin.’

“Just so you know, you can’t call a recruit on another campus. But I love the fact that Lane had to cheat and still didn’t get him.”

USC came out determined to run the ball, and the Trojan horses were galloping right through the porous Husky defense. The opening drive featured six straight runs for USC and ended with an 11 yard CJ Gable touchdown. Jake Locker struggled to hit open receivers in the first half and was seen getting yelled at on the sideline by his wide receiver Jermaine Kearse. Locker would blame his inaccuracy on seeing flashes of Edward Cullen popping up when he was dropping back to pass. The Trojans piled on 150 yards rushing in the first half to go up 31-7. The second half was another dosage of CJ Gable reminding Kiffin why he was the starter back in 2006 by tearing off 120 yards and another TD to finish the Huskies at 52-17.

#4 Cal vs #8 Arizona

Mark Stoops came out of the tunnel looking five years younger. He was screaming and yelling at his players like he did when he first arrived in Arizona. Erin Andrews spoke to him briefly before the game started and he was all flustered because of the US losing in the World Cup. His sentiments were rooted much deeper in hatred for the Ghana team, and he even suggested that next time the US team take his WR Deleshaun Dean to send a message. The Arizona players didn’t respond like the coach expected and they couldn’t get on track. Nick Foles was sacked six times in the game and finished 13-31 for 111 yards and a TD. Cal quarterback Kevin Riley seemed to gain confidence after some early success that featured a 47 yard TD pass to Jeremy Ross three plays into the game. He finished the day with 286 passing yards on 17 of 24 passes and three TD’s. The Bears linebacker, Mike Mohamed led the way for the defense with 15 tackles and an INT. Rolling along the Bears cruised in this game to a 34-16 game.

The Pac-12 Championship will feature #2 USC vs #5 Cal, a match up that can only be paralleled by Team Edward vs Team Jacob. Who will be victorious and become the first Pac-12 Playoff Champion? Early line has the Trojans as 7 point favorites.

[tweetmeme source=”Pac12Conference” only_single=false]





Pac 12 Playoffs : Final Four

28 06 2010

#1 Oregon vs #8 Arizona

In what looked like an easy road for Oregon to the Pac-12 championship, quickly turned into off-roading in a Ford Pinto. Arizona forced a Nate Costa fumble on a Brooks Reed sack at midfield and Nick Foles threw three straight completions to give the Wildcats a 7-0 lead. LaMichael James had difficulty running up the middle, but had some success on tosses and sweeps with three runs of 20+ yards. Nic Grisby scored a 35 yard touchdown run on the opening drive of the second half to give Arizona a 20-10 lead, but the Ducks would not go away easily. Senior quarterback Nate Costa led an eight play 71 yard drive to bring the score to 20-17 midway through the third quarter. With five minutes to play, Oregon would take a 24-20 lead behind a 15 yard HB pass to LaMichael James. Mike Stoops looked inconceivably calm as the Wildcats just squandered the lead.  Nick Foles would throw over the top of blown coverage by Talmadge Jackson in the secondary to take a 27-24 lead with 55 seconds to play. The Ducks converted two first downs to get to the 40 yard line, but missed the potential game tying 57 yard FG.

#2 USC vs #10 ASU

Contrary to the rumors, Pete Carroll did not call the plays for Lane Kiffin during the game through his Twitter page, he sent him all the information he needed the night before via facebook message.

Matt Barkley looked more svelte after dropping some of his baby fat in the off-season and his improved mobility was displayed with constant pressure from the ASU defense. Barkley threw for 215 yards on 14 of 23 passing and with two TD’s and an INT. True freshman Dillon Baxter had a youtube worthy 25 yard TD run on a left toss where he slipped past two ASU defenders who came crashing into each other as they reached out for the tackle. The Sun Devils managed just 250 yards of total offense and managed just 10 points while giving up 390 yards and 27 points.

#3 OSU vs #6 UW

Oregon St got off to a strong start with James Rodgers returning the opening kickoff to the UW 27 yard line. His younger brother Jacquizz Rodgers finished the drive with a 7 yard TD run to take an early 7-0 lead. On the ensuing drive Chris Polk was met by Stephen Paea in the backfield on a on third and one play to force a Huskies punt. Three minutes before halftime, Huskies cornerback Desmond Trufant picked off a Ryan Katz pass and returned it thirty eight yards for a TD to give the Huskies a 10-7 lead. After an exchange of TD’s in the third quarter the Beavers took a 21-17 lead on a James Rodgers screen pass. Jake Locker saved his best drive for last as he completed 7 of 8 passes for 71 yards to give the Huskies a 24-21 lead with 21 seconds left in the game. The Beavers failed to convert a first down as time expired.

#4 Utah vs #5 Cal

In the rematch of the Poinsettia Bowl the Bears were determined to contain Utah QB Jordan Wynn. Jeff Tedford took a page out of the Cobra Kai’s method of business and the Bears were more aggressive from the start. Cal defensive end Cameron Jordan came up with two sacks, three QB knockdowns, and 2 late hit penalties to set the tone for the defense and the Utah offense never got into a rhythm. Kevin Riley had a solid  performance hitting 16 of 25 passes for 210 yards and Shane Vareen carried the ground game with 135 yards on 25 carries. Coach Jeff Tedford was quoted after the game saying that he’s boycotting the new Karate Kid, because he’s such a big Ralph Maccio fan and he was even seen doing a crane kick as the time expired with a 31-23 Bears victory.The Bears advance to face Arizona in the Final Four.

The Final Four pairs up

#2 USC vs #6 Washington – Can the former Trojan coaches Steve Sarkisian and Nick Holt stay undefeated against their former colleague in Lane Kiffin? Trojans favored by 10.

#5 Cal vs #8 Arizona – Cal survived against a potential game winning drive from Arizona in 2009 by a strange Nick Foles double pass, will they get lucky again? Bears favored by 3

[tweetmeme source=”Pac12Conference” only_single=false]





Pac-12 Playoffs: Elite 8

25 06 2010

#5 Cal vs #12 WSU This one ended before it even started with the Washington State team showing up in their favorite World Cup soccer jerseys. Coach Paul Wolff of the Cougars was quoted before heading back into the tunnel “When we heard about the Pac-12 playoff, we thought that we would be playing soccer to celebrate the the World Cup.” The uniform change didn’t help their cause as the Bears built a 35-3 lead at halftime with Shane Vereen scoring 2TD runs of 21 and 35 yards and Kevin Riley displaying some accuracy by connecting on 12 of 16 passes for 145 yards and a TD. Bears Roll On in this one 49-17.

#6 UW vs #11 Colorado Jake Locker kicked off his Heisman campaign in a big way and did a little bit of hazing of the new Pac-12 member in the process.  After Locker’s third TD in the game he turned over to the Colorado sideline and threw the ball at head coach Dan Hawkins. The Huskies were powerful on offense racking up 515 yards, but they gave up 425 to an average CU offense. Huskies rolled 38-14.

#7 Stanford vs # 10 Arizona St. This game looked more like an SEC low-scoring snooze fest than a Pac-12 shootout as the defenses dominated the game.  The Stanford offense really struggled with their new running backs failing to gain positive yardage on the ground until the third quarter. The Arizona St defense was aggressive with their blitzes and Andrew Luck couldn’t capitalize on his opportunities. Chris Owusu had Stanford’s only TD on a kickoff return, which wasn’t enough to overcome two Cardinal turnovers in their own redzone. Arizona St took advantage of the short field and took a 14-13 lead with 7 minutes to play and the defense didn’t allow another first down to finish up the game.

#8 Arizona vs #9 UCLA

Nick Foles and Juron Criner connected on 9 passes for 121 yards and a TD and the Wildcats ground game picked up 220 yards against UCLA’s rebuilding defense. Kevin Prince and the UCLA revolver offense were firing blanks all afternoon as the sophomore finished just 7 of 18 passing to go with 25 yards rushing. Coach Rick Neuheisel says they need more target practice. Arizona 27 – UCLA 13

Round two of the playoffs features so get your picks in.

#1 Oregon vs #8 Arizona – Who can forget the battle that these two had in the desert last year with Oregon QB Jeremiah Masoli stealing this game like it was a Macbook Pro in a fraternity. Oregon overcame a 24-14 deficit in the fourth quarter to win this one in double OT. Arizona should be playing with passion in this game, but the Ducks are favored by 4.

#2 USC vs #10 ASU – USC is anxious to start its new era of Trojan football with Lane Kiffin leading the helm and he’s literally riding that white Trojan horse into the stadium to get the fans energized. USC is favored by 17.

#3 OSU vs #6 Washington – This one pairs two Heisman candidates in Jake Locker and Jacquizz Rodgers. Will it be Locker’s arm or Jacquizz’s legs that steal the show? Beavers are 3 point favorites.

#4 Utah vs #5 Cal – The Mormons and Hippies battle it out again in a rematch of the Poinsettia Bowl. Jordan Wynn is excited after dominating the Bears and coming home with the MVP honors of the bowl game. Utes favored by 2.

[tweetmeme source=”Pac12Conference” only_single=false]





Pac-12 Playoffs

24 06 2010

The first Pac-12 playoffs are ready to kick off! The top four teams in our initial conference rankings get a bye week, but there are some intriguing match ups to get us started. How will Stanford QB Andrew Luck perform without Toby Gerhart against Vontaze Bufict and one of the top defenses in the country in the ASU Sun devils?

U-Dubb and their R.E.I. loving Husky fans will be facing their doppelgänger of the mid-west in the Colorado Buffaloes.  Arizona and UCLA will be battling in something other than the softball World Series as the winner of this game will gain some position for having the best looking coeds in the conference.  Cal and Wazzu will be a match up of top-of-the-food-chain mascots, but that’s about where the competition ends between the two teams with Cal coming in as 31 point favories.

The betting lines

#5 Cal (-31) vs #12 WSU

#6 UW (-21) vs #11 Colorado

#7 Stanford (-7) vs #10 ASU

#8 Arizona (-13) vs #9 UCLA

[tweetmeme source=”Pac12Conference” only_single=false]

Pac-12 Conference

Promote Your Page Too





Ahead of the Pac

21 06 2010

After the Pac-12 Bottom Feeders and Middle of the Pac , we finally present you with the penultimate 2010 Pac-12 Rankings with the top four teams in the conference. These are not to be confused with where we think the teams will finish the season ranked. Starting it off is the newest member of the conference:

#4 Utah Utes

Returning Starters Offense 8, Defense 4, punter/kicker 2

Strength – Quarterback- Jordan Wynn didn’t start until the 9th game of the season, but he had his best performance in the Poinsettia Bowl against Cal, throwing for 338 yards on 26 of 36 passing and earning the MVP award. He was a true freshman last year and he should improve with some experience under his belt. The backup Terrence Cain will provide some quality depth at the position as he has started 8 games with a 7-1 record.

Weakness – Linebacker – The Utes lost all of their starting LB’s from last year, but their D- line returns all four starters (Sealver Siliga, Dave Kruger, Lei Talamaivao, and Christian Cox) and should take some pressure off of the inexperienced players.

#3 Oregon State Beavers

Returning Starters Offense 8, Defense 7, punter/kicker 2

Strength – Rodgers Brothers – Oregon St has the Pac-12’s best RB – Jacquizz Rodgers, and the best WR – James Rodgers. These two should ease the transition of a new QB after the loss of first team All-Pac 10 QB Sean Canfield.

Weakness – Quarterback – When a conference is loaded at the QB position, it doesn’t help to be the only team with an inexperienced player at the helm. Ryan Katz is the favorite heading into the season, but his only action last year was in mop-up duty. The Rodgers brothers will make his job easier, but he still needs to prove himself.

#2 USC Trojans

Returning Starters Offense 6, Defense 6, punter/kicker 1

Strength – Linebacker – The Trojans welcome back all three starters from a year ago (Malcolm Smith, Chris Gallipo, and Michael Morgan) with possibly the best player of the bunch backing up a couple positions, Devon Kennard. This group will need to be more consistent this year, because there’s not much depth outside of Kennard.

Weakness – Secondary – It’s been five years since Taylor Mays hasn’t lined up in the secondary for USC, but they also lost the rest of their starters in the secondary. Shareece Wright was the #1 CB on the team before being ruled academically ineligible last season, but made an impact when he returned for the bowl game. USC has stockpiled talent up and down their roster for years, but their secondary was inconsistent last year even with Mays in the lineup. With the conference stacked at the QB position, their new defensive coordinator – Monte Kiffin, will have his hands full in the fall.

#1 Oregon Ducks

Returning starters Offense 9, Defense 9, punter/kicker 1

Even though the Ducks lost arguably their best player and a handful of others to off-field troubles, the Ducks bring back plenty of key pieces from their 2009 Pac-10 championship team. They have a tougher schedule ahead of them this year, and less depth than a year ago, but the experience gained should make up for it.

Strength – Running back – LaMichael James quickly made people forget about LaGarrette Blount when he stepped right in and ripped off 1,600 yards rushing. The Ducks also brought in the highly touted blue chip recruit Lache  Seastrunk who should provide some depth at the position.

Weakness – QB – While it’s tough to find a weakness from a team that just won the conference championship and returns 18 starters, the quarterback position is still unknown. Chip Kelly’s spread offense relies on a QB that can run the ball and that’s where Jeremiah Masoli excelled, (even though he couldn’t run from the law). Nate Costa was ahead of  Masoli on the depth chart before tearing his ACL, but he’s in a tight battle with Darron Thomas heading into the fall.

[tweetmeme source=”Pac12Conference” only_single=false]

Read the rest of this entry »