Pac-12 Football: Week 11 Predictions

11 11 2010

Another great week of football on the West Coast with an underdog coming out on top, Oregon continuing to be the most fashionable team in the conference, and another dramatic finish for the Trojans.

What was supposed to be the best game of the weekend quickly turned into a snoozefest between Arizona and Stanford. Insider reports are claiming that Jim Harbaugh brought in some sheriffs to ask the Arizona players for their immigration papers. Many of the long-haired Wildcats couldn’t provide their documents which led to some lengthy cavity searches that left the players distraught.

The California Golden Bears actually got away from their cave known as Strawberry Canyon! They only get half-credit since it was Washington State.

The Huskies are playing like they were recently neutered, but they came out and fought hard. If they would have beat the 34 point spread it would have been as good as a victory.

USC Knows Drama – should be the new tagline for TNT this season.Lane Kiffin is quickly turning into our version of LSU’s Les Miles, except not as lucky. For the third time this season the Trojans were facing an opponent kicking the game winning field goal and for the first time, they missed.

No. 1 Oregon at California: Cal’s Brock Mansion has the perfect name for the porn industry, but the big man on the screen will Darron Thomas. Size matters, Ducks roll 41 – 20

Washington State at Oregon State : Oregon State has no room for error with the back end of their schedule including USC, Stanford, and Oregon. Beating Washington State is a must-win if the Beavers plan on heading to a bowl game. Beavers 33 – Cougars 17

USC at No. 18 Arizona: The Wilcats have played well against USC in recent years, but how will they fare after flopping in Palo Alto? If Ricky Elmore and Brooks Reed can pressure Matt Barkley, they should get the win. Pussy Cats 27 – Condoms 24

No. 6 Stanford at Arizona State: This matchup pairs the ugliest coeds in the conference against the licentious ladies of ASU. The Sun Devil defense has the speed and strength to slow down the Stanford offense, but they always find a way to lose the close game. Trees 27 – Demons 23

Utah at Notre Dame: Utah gets its second religious institution in a row, but who’s side will Jesus be on this one? The Utes get saved 30 – 24

Iowa State at Colorado: The Buffs fired their coach Dan Hawkins this week, but I don’t think they’re better for it. Iowa State will take advantage of their opportunity. Cyclones 27 – Buffs 20

2010 Prediction Record 58-16

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Pac-12 Football: Week 10 Predictions

4 11 2010

After picking three upsets last week and watching all three of them turn into blowouts we’re playing this week conservatively. Before we get to the picks it’s time to update our fans on the state of the Pac-12 Union.

In case you haven’t heard about the Oregon Ducks, there’s a pandemic amongst their fans this season. Apparently all of the high-fiving in Euguene after touchdowns has led to a substantial increase in carpel tunnel in the camouflage clad fans.

Some insider information out of Los Angeles is saying that the NCAA is looking into imposing more sanctions on USC for treating their match up with the Ducks as a fictitious bowl game. The reasoning being that the Trojans are banned from bowl games until 2012.

I spoke with Jeff Tedford’s psychiatrist this week and he’s recently been diagnosed as agoraphobic. This explains the awful road performances and their third blowout this year.

Texas continues to prove that they were not a good fit for the Pac-12. UCLA served them up a can of whoop ass in non-conference play, but even more embarrassing is the back-to-back home losses to Iowa State and Baylor.

Oregon State’s orange and black uniforms were the perfect Halloween costume…

On to the games

California at Washington State: The bipolar Bears will try to give this one away, but Washington State is playing to keep their conference losing streak alive. Bears 34 – Cougars 20

Washington at #1 Oregon: The Huskies are giving up 212 yards per game on the ground, expect the Ducks to triple it if they want to embarrass their uncompetitive rival. Ducks 63 – Huskies 6

Oregon State at UCLA: The Beavers have hit their midseason stride and will continue to run right over the helpless Bruins. Baeaves 30 – Baby Bears 20

Arizona State at USC: Let’s see if the salesman Lane Kiffin can get the troops to buy into another “this is our bowl game” motivational speech. The stands should have some amazing talent on display from the coeds. Trojans 28 – Sun Devils 23

Colorado at Kanas: Now that basketball season has started the Kansas fans will start disappearing from the football stadium. Cody Hawkins should have more success than his 17 of 44 performance last week. Buffs 27 – Jayhawks 21

#15 Arizona at #13 Stanford: In the game of the week the winner will move to number two in the conference power rankings. The Wildcats should be able to spread Stanford’s secondary out in space and make plays, but they’ve struggled in the red zone. Stanford will try to run the ball early and wear down the two defensive ends Brooks Reed and Ricky Elmore. Trees 37 – Cats 33

#3 TCU at #5 Utah: The game of the week nationally and the spot for ESPN’s College Gameday heads to watch two unbeatens square off. The Utes have played great defense this year and I’m expecting them to contain the Andy Dalton and the option offense. Utes 27 – Horny Frogs 24

2010 Prediction Record 54-13

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Pac-12 Football: Week 9 Predictions

28 10 2010

Arizona at UCLA: The UCLA defense should have more success against Arizona’s spread than they did with the Ducks, but they’ll have trouble scoring points against Brooks Reed and Ricky Elmore. Wildcats 27 – Bruins 17

Cal at Oregon State: Tedford has the schizophrenic Bears playing with confidence after the beat down they handed Arizona State. They haven’t played well on the road, but have had some success in Corvaillis. The Bears stop the run and Katz fails to deliver. Bears 27 – Beavers 24

Washington State at Arizona State: Vontaze Burfict had two personal fouls last week, the over under this week is 1.5. Devils 33 – Cougars 20

Stanford at Washington: Like I’ve said before, every other game is a must win for the Huskies. Stanford’s secondary is weak enough to keep an inconsistent Jake Locker offense running. Dawgs 33 – Cardinal 31

Colorado at Oklahoma: The Sooners were caught looking ahead to the Colorado game and slipped up against Missouri. Stoops is now working for style points to get back into the championship picture. OU 41 – CU 20

Utah at Air Force: This is a tough road test for the Utes with the triple option Air Force offense. I’m guessing our flying military comes out strong, but fizzles in the second half. Utes 30 – Pilots 24

Oregon at USC:
The Trojans have had two weeks to prepare for this game and when you compare coaches this is really no contest, but the Trojans are better at quarterback. The Trojans offensive line doesn’t give up too many sacks and the over-aggressive Ducks secondary will pay in this game. Trojans in a shootout 37 – 34

2010 Prediction Record 50-10

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2010 Midseason All Pac-12 Team

18 10 2010

Time for our first annual Mid-Season team and you can already see some shakeups from our preseason team, most notably Jake Locker getting cut from the team. Locker’s numbers would probably look better if Jermaine Kearse didn’t lead the Pac in drops with 9, but you take the good with the bad and he’s been productive when he holds onto the ball. The tight ends in the conference haven’t been used as much as they have in the past, but Coby Feleener of Stanford has been consistent catching the ball and solid in run blocking.

1st Team

Offense

QB Andrew Luck Stanford
RB LaMichael James Oregon
RB Shane Vereen Cal
WR Juron Criner Arizona
WR Jermaine Kearse Washington
TE Coby Fleener Stanford
OL Bo Thran Oregon
OL Adam Grant Arizona
OL David DeCastro Stanford
OL Butch Lewis USC
OL Ryan Taylor UCLA

Perhaps the biggest surprise on the first team defense is the freshman Justin Washington making the team. He benefits from playing alongside two of the best defensive ends with Brooks Reed and Ricky Elmore, but he’s taken advantage of his opportunities. Mason Foster will lead the conference in tackles this year, because the Husky defense will struggle to get off the field, but Akeem Ayers plays a bigger role in the success of UCLA. Sophomore Cliff Harris of the Oregon Ducks leads the conference with 4 interceptions and has a couple punt returns for touchdown this year so he makes the list as a corner back and punt returner.

Defense

DL Brooks Reed Arizona
DL Jurrell Casey USC
DL Justin Washington Arizona
DL Kenny Rowe Oregon
OLB Mason Foster Washington
MLB Vontaze Burfict Arizona St
OLB Akeem Ayers UCLA
CB Cliff Harris Oregon
CB James Dockery Oregon St
S Rahim Moore UCLA
S TJ McDonald USC
PR Cliff Harris Oregon
KR Travis Cobb Arizona

For the 2nd team, Matt Barkley got the nod over Nick Foles. Barkley has been impressive in his last few games and absolutely torched a solid Cal defense yesterday. Leaving JacQuizz Rodgers off the list might surprise some people, but he just hasn’t produced like the team needs him to. Part of the problem is the offensive line and combined with an inconsistent passing game, opposing defenses can stack the box. Robert Woods makes the list over his teammate Ronald Johnson and he’s quickly becoming one of the top wide receivers of the conference.

2nd Team

Offense

QB Matt Barkley USC
RB Johnathan Franklin UCLA
FB Stanley Havili USC
WR Jeff Maehl Oregon
WR Robert Woods USC
TE Joe Halahuni Oregon St
OL Zane Taylor Utah
OL Carson York Oregon
OL Chase Beeler Stanford
OL Mitchell Schwartz Cal
OL Colin Baxter Arizona

2nd Team Defense

DL Ricky Elmore Arizona
DL Brandon Bair Oregon
DL Travis Long WSU
MLB Shane Skov Stanford
MLB Mychal Kendricks Cal
MLB Casey Matthews Oregon
OLB Sean Westgate UCLA
CB Omar Bolden Arizona St
CB Darian Hagan Cal
S Delano Howell Stanford
S Lance Mitchell Oregon St
PR Ronald Johnson USC
KR Kyle Middlebrooks ASU

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Pac-10 Positive Outlook

30 08 2010

I can’t remember a time when the conference was as wide open as it is this year with seven teams legitimately competing for the championship. Some people have UCLA as a dark horse, but their offensive line has been decimated in the off-season from players leaving for missions, injuries, and now academic ineligibility.

I’m tired of ESPN plugging the SEC as the top conference in the country just because they signed a $2.0 billion deal to cover their games. That conference is always top heavy with a couple teams that can beat anyone, but they also have six bottom feeders that would be average in any BCS conference. I don’t think Florida or Alabama could go undefeated against the top 7 in the Pac-10, but both of them somehow came out of the SEC unscathed until the conference championship. If I was betting on these Pac-10 teams to win the conference championship it would be due to the reasons mentioned below.

Oregon

  • Darron Thomas will be a household name by the end of the year, but not because he’s being mentioned on the police blotter like a former Ducks QB. Oregon fans will tell you about how awesome he was in the spring game and that he’s a more accurate passer than Masoli.  He will also be playing behind a talented offensive line and a stronger LaMichael James. If he’s anything near Dennis Dixon 2.0 then the Ducks could repeat as conference champion.

Cal

  • This team has all of the pieces in place, but the one thing that will make them a contender for the championship is the bump in production that typically happens to Pac-10 quarterbacks. Joey Harrington, Carson Palmer, Kyle Boller, Derek Anderson and Sean Canfield all know what it’s like to trod with mediocrity for three years only to see things slow down like Neo in the Matrix during their senior season. Kevin Riley is capable with the weapons he has at his disposal which could push the Bears over the top.

Oregon State

  • The Beavers have as much firepower as any team in the conference, but this year they will combine that with increased production in the trenches. Last year’s team ranked 8th in the conference in sacks allowed and the defense ranked 9th in sacks. Ryan Katz will have a much smoother transition with a more experienced offensive line and defensively the new linebackers will be looking for Stephen Paea to create gaps for them by taking on double teams.

Arizona

  • This team is replacing their defensive coordinator, both starting defensive tackles and their entire linebacking corps, but their defensive ends (Brooks Reed & Ricky Elmore) will be the best pass-rushing tandem in the conference. Combined with the fact that they have one of the best secondaries in the conference, they’ll have a solid defense to match their powerful offense.

USC

  • There’s been coaching turnover, players transferring, and the distractions of Reggie Bushgate, but USC  still has the talent to contend for the Pac-10 championship. The best USC teams of the decade had monsters on the defensive line that could get to the quarterback with a four man rush which allowed the linebackers and secondary to create turnovers. Jurrell Casey is one of the top defensive tackles in the country and Armond Armstead has shown big upside at defensive end.

Stanford

  • Kirk Hirbstreit already put the dreaded curse on Stanford by predicting that they will win the Pac-10 championship, but Jim Harbaugh wants to know what his deal is for adding pressure to an under the radar Stanford team? They have the best quarterback in the Pac-10, but for them to compete for the Rose Bowl it will be because of their currently underrated stable of running backs Jeremy StewartTyler Gaffney and Stepfan Taylor. The Cardinal offensive line proved that they’re one of the best in the conference, but even moderate production from the ground game will allow Andrew Luck to do whatever he wants through the air.

Washington

  • The Huskies have the most balanced offense in the Pac-10, but if they’re going to compete for the championship it will be due to a scrappy defense that creates turnovers. Nick Holt has seven returning starters which should translate into a better understanding of his schemes. With two all-conference calibur players in cornerback Desmond Trufant and linebacker Mason Foster, I’m anticipating a much more aggressive campaign from the Huskies.

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Pac-10 Blue Chip Team Scores

11 08 2010

I had a lot of trouble with the formatting of this article, so I just had to put the information into excel and made some jpeg files out of the information which look blurry on the blog, but will be clear if you click on them. Mike Lombardi came up with this blue-chip formula to determine how much talent is on each team in the NFL, but I only follow former Pac-10 players and wanted to see how our conference would look applying the same scoring system. The outside linebackers account for 2.5 more points than the middle linebackers, which makes sense for the NFL where most teams are using a 3-4 defense, but the majority of teams in college are still using a four man front and the middle linebacker can impact the game more than an outside linebacker – think Casey Matthews of Oregon and Vontaze Burfict of ASU. I was also concerned that the red chip secondary players received the same 7.5 points as the blue chip players. There are many talented players in the NFL secondaries, but in college there aren’t that many cornerbacks and safeties that would make as big of an impact as many of the blue chip players at other positions.

Arizona has a total of 80 points with a good mix of offensive and defensive players, with points coming from both the skill positions and in the trenches. Arizona State only has 30 points with 22.5 of those coming from the defensive side of the ball, so don’t expect them to be lighting up the scoreboard any time soon. Cal surprised me with 82 points, but Tedford has recruited as well as any coach in the conference not named Pete Carroll.
Arizona Points Arizona St Points Cal Points
Nick Foles 12.5 Lawrence Guy 7.5 Mitchell Schwartz 10
Adam Grant 10 Vontaze Burfict 7.5 Cameron Jordan 10
Ricky Elmore 10 Omar Bolden 7.5 Anthony Miller 7.5
Juron Criner 7.5 Thomas Weber 7.5 Matt Summers-Gavin 7.5
Colin Baxter 7.5 Mike Mohamed 7.5
Trevin Wade 7.5 Bryan Anger 7.5
Robert Golden 7.5 Mychal Kendricks 7.5
James Brooks 7.5 Sean Cattouse 7.5
Nic Grigsby 5 Kevin Riley 7
Shane Vereen 5
Marvin Jones 5
Chris Guarnero 5
Derrick Hill 5
Oregon brings 82.5 points with strength in the trenches. I think Casey Matthews is more valuable to their defense than the 7.5 points he’s allotted, but Paysinger received a higher rating in the formula and evened out the same number of points I would have given them combined. Oregon State has a lot of skill players, but without much depth in the trenches their team only accounts for 55 points so this tells me that they should be relying on the big plays this season. Stanford brings almost all of their 67.5 points on the offensive side of the ball. Chris Owusu probably would have made the list as the next red-chip wide receiver, but he gets 7.5 points for his kick return abilities.

Oregon Points Oregon St Points Stanford Points
Bo Thran 10 JacQuizz Rodgers 7.5 Andrew Luck 12.5
Kenny Rowe 10 James Rodgers 7.5 David DeCastro 7.5
Spencer Paysinger 10 Joe Halahuni 7.5 Chris Owusu 7.5
LaMichael James 7.5 Stephen Paea 7.5 Chase Beeler 7.5
Carson York 7.5 Lance Mitchell 7.5 Delondo Howell 7.5
Casey Matthews 7.5 Justin Kahut 7.5 Ryan Whalen 5
John Boyett 7.5 Michael Philipp 5 Jonathan Martin 5
Talmadge Jackson 7.5 Alex Linnekohl 5 Owen Maracic 5
Jeff Maehl 5 Andrew Phillips 5
Mark Asper 5 Shane Skov 5
Brandon Bair 5

UCLA will be carried by their defense and special teams this year, but that’s two thirds of the game so maybe they’ll do better than the 8th place finish the media projected them for. Still, they are only bringing 45 points to the table and having a kicker be the most dangerous weapon on your offense is never a good sign. USC is stocked with talent throughout the roster so it’s no surprise that they are the Leader of the Pac with 84 points in the blue chip scoring. The Washington Huskies totaled 42.5 points and will be relying on a strong passing game to win some games for them, but there’s not much talent on the offensive or defensive lines.

UCLA Points USC Points Washington Points
Akeem Ayers 10 Tyron Smith 10 Jake Locker 12.5
Kai Forbath 7.5 Butch Lewis 7.5 Mason Foster 10
Rahim Moore 7.5 Kris O’Dowd 7.5 Desmond Trufant 7.5
Jeff Locke 7.5 Jurrell Casey 7.5 Jermaine Kearse 7.5
Sheldon Price 7.5 Shareece Wright 7.5 Chris Polk 5
Nelson Rosario 5 Malcolm Smith 7.5
Michael Morgan 7.5
Matt Barkley 7
Nick Perry 7
Ronald Johnson 5
Stanley Havili 5
Chris Galippo 5

Here’s all of the team points in alphabetical order and these are pretty consistent with my conference predictions which were posted a month ago.

Points
Arizona 80
ASU 30
Cal 82
Oregon 82.5
Oregon State 55
Stanford 67.5
UCLA 45
USC 84
Washington 42.5

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2010 Preseason All-Pac-10 Team

21 07 2010

The first annual Leader of the Pac All-Pac-10 team is completed, a second team will probably appear in the next couple weeks.

First team offense

QB- Jake Locker – Washington

RB- Jacquizz Rodgers – Oregon St

RB- LaMichael James – Oregon

WR- Jermaine Kearse – Washington

WR- Juron Criner – Arizona

TE- Anthony Miller – Cal

OL – Adam Grant – Arizona

OL – Bo Thran – Oregon

OL- Kristopher O’Dowd – USC

OL- Butch Lewis – USC

OL- Mitchell Schwartz – Cal

K- Kai Forbath – UCLA

KR- Chris Owusu – Stanford

PR- James Rodgers – Oregon St

I had a tough time picking a quarterback for the first team, because I think Andrew Luck, Matt Barkley, and Nick Foles actually have better mechanics and accuracy than Locker and two of their teams (USC and Arizona) I have projected to have a better season than Washington. The deciding factor for me was Steve Sarkisian’s ability to put Locker in the right situation and the improvement that comes along with having the same person calling the plays in consecutive years.

Wide receiver was also a tough position to pick and leaving James Rodgers off the list was the hardest part of the team, but I think his numbers will drop significantly this year. If I make a second team list, that’s where I would put him along with Ronald Johnson.

The offensive line was tough for me, because as badly as I wanted to put some Stanford guys on the list I think they’re going to have a much tougher time protecting the QB this year. They would have multiple second team guys on my list.

First Team Defense

DL- Kenny Rowe – Oregon

DL- Stephen Paea – Oregon St

DL- Jurrell Casey – USC

DL- Cameron Jordan – Cal

LB- Vontaze Burfict – Arizona St

LB- Mike Mohamed – Cal

LB- Mason Foster – Washington

CB- Trevin Wade – Arizona

CB- Omar Bolden – Arizona St

S- Rahim Moore – UCLA

S- John Boyett – Oregon

P- Bryan Anger – Cal

For the defensive line I almost went with Arizona’s Ricky Elmore, but I think he’ll have a tougher time with Arizona losing their defensive tackles from last season.

At linebacker I wanted to put Akeem Ayers on the team, but with the loss of Brian Price and Reggie Carter I’m expecting him to be the guy that offenses plan around. I think Mason Foster and the Husky defense will have a hard time getting off the field, so look for his tackles to increase this year.

This is a rather weak year for secondary players in the Pac-10, at least when it comes to name recognition, but Rahim Moore is on every All-American list and leads the pac. There are better cover guys than John Boyett, but he’s a tackling machine and ended up with 90 last year.

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