Around the NCAA

4 10 2010

SEC Sucks!

If Alabama runs through the SEC undefeated, how can you consider that the best conference in the land? There’s no way they would make it through the Pac-12 gauntlet unscathed. I have to give LSU props for scheduling like they’re a member of the Pac-12 by playing two BCS opponents in non-conference.

It also helps that Les Miles is the luckiest coach on the planet. Check out the end of the LSU game today. When they won the championship in 2007 they weren’t even the best team in the country and they got an invite to play in the BCS championship, but on their way they had an amazing game winning play against Auburn.

Here’s how the conference stacks up against the Pac-12 and by my account we have a 6-3 edge over them with three ties. This season Oregon smashed Tennessee and Colorado beat Georgia today! Even if we give Alabama the advantage over Oregon, that’s still 5-3 in favor of the Pac.

SEC Pac-12
Alabama Oregon
LSU < Arizona
Auburn < Utah
Florida Stanford
Arkansas > USC
South Carolina > UCLA
Ole Miss < Cal
Miss State < Oregon State
Kentucky < Washington
Tennessee < Arizona State
Vanderbilt Colorado
Georgia > WSU

Go Big Blue!

Rich Rodriguez is back and he has his best player since Pat White at West Virginia. Although Michigan barely escaped Indiana yesterday, Denard “Shoelace” Robinson is the most exciting player in the country and the last piece that the read-option offense has lacked. The defense will cost them a couple of games this year, but their offense can score at anytime with their big play potential. If the Heisman Trophy was awarded today he would win it. The award is supposed to go to the best player in the country, not the best player on the best team. Marc Ingram is a great player, but Alabama still would have gone undefeated without him. Toby Gerhart was the reason that Stanford was even competitive.

Hurt Locker

Last night we saw exactly why Jake locker was touted as the number one quarterback on Mel Kiper’s draft board. He led the Huskies to their first road win since 2007, dissected Monte Kiffin’s defense all night long, and finished with 410 yards of offense. All of Locker’s weapons (Chris Polk, Devin Aguilar, and Jermaine Kearse) dropped perfect passes in critical situations, but the strong-armed quarterback shook it off and continued to make plays. Whenever Sarkisian rolled Locker out of the pocket he looked unstoppable and those flashes of brilliance need to continue if the Huskies want to make a bowl game this year. The 4th and 10 play on the game winning drive was a thing of beauty and you can see other highlights here.

[tweetmeme source=”Pac12Conference” only_single=false]

Advertisements




Pac-12 – Week 1 Players of the Week

5 09 2010

Players of the Week

We had some awesome performances by our athletes this week and it started on Thursday night with Utah’s DeVonte Christopher who hauled in 8 receptions for 155 yards and a touchdown.

Following that up was USC against Hawaii and they have two players that deserve mentioning. Matt Barkley led the way for the Trojans on an 18-23 performance for 257 yards and 5 touchdowns. The biggest problem with Barkley last year was forcing balls into tight coverages, but he was fortunate that the one time he tried to force one in the game it was dropped by the Hawaiian linebacker. Here are the USC highlights.

Barkley’s favorite target was Ronald Johnson who caught 7 balls for a meager 59 yards and three touchdowns. I thought his touchdowns of 1 and 3 yards were the result of Lane Kiffin trying to pad Matt Barkley’s stats by throwing in running situations, but he was the beneficiary. His stat line normally wouldn’t have him on my player of the week list, but his beautiful 89 yard punt return warrants making the list.

The MVP this week belongs to Kenjon Barner of the Oregon Ducks with his 17 carries for 149 yards and 4 touchdowns. He also caught one pass for 60 yards and another score and was on ESPN all day long with highlight reel runs which you can find here.

I thought that Barkley would have had the best numbers of all Pac-10 QB’s, but Nick Foles was even better on Friday night throwing 33 of 37 for 360 yards and 2TD’s. They showed a graphic during the game that essentially showed his first ~20 passes were under fifteen yards, but he was quick with his reads and accurate in his delivery.

Another Wildcat that makes our Player of the Week list is the recipient of the Nick Foles aerial assault, Juron Criner. The 6’4″ receiver caught 11 passes for 187 yards and a touchdown. Criner gained quite a few YAC yards and also hauled in a beautiful one handed catch which shows up about 20 seconds into these highlights.

If you have the ComcastNet Sports Channel you might have been able to see a future Pac-12 star in Keenan Allen for the Cal Bears today. His four 4 receptions accounted for 120 yards and a 48 yard touchdown reception. Allen also had 3 carries for 38 yards with his best play coming on an end around play designed as a pass, but he quickly reversed field and cut back 20 yards for the touchdown. You can check out the Keenan Allen highlights here.

Stanford’s Andrew Luck put some separation between the Luck-Locker debate when he went 17 of 23 for 360 yards and four touchdowns. This was the one game I didn’t watch, but the numbers are phenomenal. Andrew Luck reminds me of Aaron Rodgers with his ability to make quick decisions, accuracy, and strength throwing the ball. He had a couple beautifully thrown deep balls in the Stanford highlights.

Bust of the Week

On the flip side of the list is the Pac-12 bust of the week which has to be Jake Locker of the Washington Huskies. This was supposed to be one of, if not the best offense in the conference. Locker was good in spurts, but his offensive line gave him very little time to get his feet set in the pocket and Sarkisian didn’t do him any favors with the play-calling. His Heisman hopes are dashed as he had the opportunity to take what would have been the game winning score on three separate drives, but failed to score any points in those possessions.

[tweetmeme source=”Pac12Conference” only_single=false]





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.

[tweetmeme source=”Pac12Conference” only_single=false]





The Decisions

15 07 2010

The Decision by Lebron James to leave one of the worst cities in the country (Cleveland) for beaches and babes seemed like a no-brainer, but the coaches of the best conference in the nation will be making more of an impact for guys that like tailgating, coeds, and football. We had some monumental decision in the Pac-12 that we’ve outlined for the casual fan to see what’s going on in preparation of the 2010 season.

Stanford – Jim Harbaugh

Coach keeps himself thin in the off-season by avoiding the Dairy Queen diet, but he’s already planning his post Rose Bowl victory meal.

USC – Lane Kiffin

Lane Kiffin’s biggest decision this off-season was whether or not he would start running for governor of California in the 2011 election. For a guy who played at Fresno St and brings an 11-18 career record as a head coach, some people are wondering what his next job that he doesn’t deserve will be?

Cal – Jeff Tedford

Coach has had been working exclusively with Dr. Phil in the off-season to see if he can build up quarterback Kevin Riley’s confidence. His only recommendation was shock therapy.

Arizona St – Dennis Erickson

Erickson has been mulling retirement since he turned 85 years old twenty years ago, but it is gaining serious traction now that he lives in Arizona. Coach recently said that if the Sun Devils don’t show significant improvement he’ll be in a retirement home playing Bingo, Canasta, and Pinochle with Ray Finkle.

Oregon – Chip Kelly

Chip Kelly has been spending a lot of time in the court room this off-season and he has decided to make criminal justice the new sociology major for his team. All of his incoming freshman are required to take Introductory Morals and How to Avoid Getting Arrested 101.

Arizona – Mike Stoops

The loudest man in the Pac-10 has decided to enroll in Dr. Drew’s Celebrity Anger Management. Drew saw progress in 2009 after working with Stoops, but thinks he has room for improvement if he surrounds himself with other people like Lindsay Lohan after she gets out of jail.

UCLA – Rick Neuheisel

As soon as Rick Neuheisel heard about world cup this year he immediately decided to join a pool. He picked Brazil to win, but lost $10,000 for coming in 6th place in his group of shady friends. Following the loss of the Brazilians, Neuheisel decided to switch bookies.

Washington – Steve Sarkisian

The biggest decision in Seattle was whether or not Coach should start plugging Jake Locker as the next Heisman candidate. He didn’t know whether he should wait until Locker gets another road win since his last one came in November of 2007. He’s been trying to keep it under wraps as Locker tours all of the east coast media outlets.

Oregon St – Mike Riley

The slow starts in Corvallis have been killing Oregon St for years and Mike Riley finally discovered that his book of How to Start Fasting actually has to do with not eating. He recently decided to switch over to the Twilight series.

Washington St – Paul Wulff 

After Wulff decided to give up on west coast recruiting and hit Florida, he started to think outside the box and start recruiting in the church.  Coach has been looking for priests and pastors with eligibility remaining, because he realizes his only chance of a win is to pray for it. My sources have also told me that they are brining in a team of nuns to join the cheerleaders and if they have moves like this one I’m all for it.

[tweetmeme source=”Pac12Conference” only_single=false]





Pac-10 Conference Predictions

6 07 2010

After almost a week without a new post, I have finally completed the conference predictions. I didn’t include the newest members of the conference, and didn’t account for them in the rankings for each unit that you’ll see at the end of each team. I looked at every team’s schedule and posted which games that I predict them to lose. I ranked the offenses, defenses, and schedules of the teams to determine how they will finish the season. The schedule rankings were more heavily weighted towards conference schedules, but Oregon St took a big drop because their non-conference schedule includes two top five teams.

Offensive Rankings Defensive Rankings Schedule Ranking
  1. Washington
  2. Oregon
  3. Oregon St
  4. Cal
  5. Arizona
  6. USC
  7. Stanford
  8. UCLA
  9. Washington St
  10. Arizona St
  1. Oregon
  2. USC
  3. Oregon St
  4. Cal
  5. ASU
  6. UCLA
  7. Arizona
  8. Washington
  9. Stanford
  10. Washington St
  1. WSU
  2. USC
  3. Arizona
  4. Stanford
  5. UCLA
  6. Oregon
  7. Cal
  8. ASU
  9. Oregon St
  10. Washington

1. USC

The Trojans don’t have the explosive offense or dominant defense of their ’04 or ’05 teams, but they still have the deepest roster in the conference to go along with a favorable schedule. They get Oregon at home and they face Oregon St much later in the season (week 11) than the last two times they traveled to Corvallis. I’m projecting their game with the Beavers to be a loss, because the Trojans haven’t won there since 2004. The next most difficult match up will be against Arizona on the road. The Wildcats beat USC last year in LA, and the spread offense will give the Trojans young secondary a problem. Washington and Stanford could also pose a problem with strong QB play.

Projected Record- 11-2 (edited 7/15 to reflect a 13 game schedule)

Projected Losses- @ Arizona, @Oregon St

Tossup games- Stanford, Oregon, Washington

Offensive rank- #5, Defensive rank- #2, Schedule rank- #2, Total points- 9

2. Oregon

The loss of Jeremiah Masoli will really hurt this team offensively, which in turn will hurt them defensively. There were many times when Masoli extended plays with his legs and picked up first downs for Oregon, most notably in the Civil War on a 4th and 6 to keep the ball away from Oregon St and clinch the game. Masoli’s 668 yards rushing ranked second on the team and his threat of running the ball created opportunities in the spread-option offense for LaMichael James. Oregon will not have that luxury with Nate Costa, but he might be a better passer than Masoli who was average at best. If Oregon is going to compete for the Pac-12 championship this year it will need to have strong play from the QB position, because he’s not going to get much help from their average wide receiving corps and little depth. The running back depth will probably be better with blue-chip freshman Lache Seastrunk, but his running style is similar to LMJ.  Kenny Rowe led the conference in sacks last year and he has two solid linebackers behind him in Casey Matthews and Spencer Paysinger. This is a very aggressive defense and they miss a lot of tackles because of it, which led to their free safety John Boyett leading the team in tackles last year. The problem for Oregon is that they will be facing their top 3 opponents on the road this year in USC, OSU, and Cal where  Jeff Tedford has never lost to Oregon at home.

Projected Record- 9-3

Projected losses @Cal, @USC, @OSU

Tossup games: Arizona, Stanford

Offense Rank- #2, Defense Rank- #1, Schedule rank-#6, Total Points – 9

3. Arizona

Nick Foles and Juron Criner will form one of the top QB-WR tandems in the conference, but the Wildcats depth at WR took a hit when Deleshaun Dean violated the team’s gun policy and felt he needed to protect his pancakes at all costs. Arizona will face a tough test when Iowa travels to Tuscon in week three of the season. The strength of the Arizona defense will be at defensive end, but their lack of experience at defensive tackle and linebacker could create problems for the Arizona secondary.  Arizona was a descent road team last year beating OSU & USC, but they should have beaten Washington and were in a position to beat Cal if it weren’t for two once-in-a-lifetime plays (videos linked). I see them struggling against Stanford and Washington if they’re not able to pressure their QB’s. A lack of defensive experience is going to be the Achilles heel of this team in 2010.

Projected Record 8-4

Projected Losses Iowa, @Stanford, @Oregon, Washington

Tossup games USC, Cal, OSU

Offensive rank-#5,  Defensive rank- #7, Schedule rank-#3, Total points – 15

4. Cal

The Golden Bears were Pac-10 champions  in 2006, but this team has been an enigma ever since. Jeff Tedford was supposed to be one of the premier quarterback coaches in the nation, but four years into the Kevin Riley project has the guru still searching for answers. The Bears had significant turnover in their coaching staff this off-season losing their Defensive Coordinator Bob Gregory and letting go of Special Teams Coach Pete Alamar. Despite the lack of consistency at QB, and an offensive line that gave up 31 sacks a year ago, the Bears have some weapons at their disposal. Mike Mohamed led the conference in tackles last year, and Cameron Jordan is one of the top defensive lineman in the conference. Cal landed the top outside linebacker recruit of 2010 in Chris Martin and he’s expected to be the weapon off the edge that they’ve lacked since Zack Follett’s departure to the NFL. Shane Vareen quietly had a productive 950 yards and 12 TD’s a year ago, but look for his numbers to go up as he’s slated to be the starter all season.  Mel Kiper has ranked Anthony Milleras the number one tight end in the country among juniors and Marvin Jones was Kevin Riley’s favorite target a year ago at WR. The Bears get Oregon and Washington at home, but they have to travel to travel to USC, Arizona, and Oregon St.

Projected Record 9-3

Projected Losses @USC, @Arizona, @OSU

Tossup games: Oregon, Washington, Stanford

Offensive rank #4, Defensive rank #4, Schedule rank #7, Total points – 15

5. Oregon St

For six consecutive years the Beavers have lost at least 2 of their first four games and 2010 won’t be any different when they face Boise St and TCU in the first three weeks of the season. The Beavers have the top two play makers in the conference in the Rodgers brothers, but there will be a significant drop-off at QB after losing first team All-Pac 10 member Sean Canfield. I’m expecting Jacquizz to see more carries at running back, but teams will be looking to stack the line against the Beavers to beat them with the pass. Although this is a great year to be breaking in a new QB with lots of unsettled secondaries in the conference, Oregon St also had trouble protecting their QB last year giving up 29 sacks. They return four starters on the offensive line, but there’s a big difference in their run and pass blocking capabilities. Inexperienced quarterbacks are more prone to turning the ball over if they are uncomfortable in the pocket, and it could be a real problem for the Beavers. They face the top two opponents in the conference in Oregon and USC at home, and even with projections of beating both of them I still see this team struggling on the road to finish with three conference losses.

Projected Record: 7-5

Projected Losses: @TCU, @Boise St, @Arizona, @Washington @Stanford

Tossup games: USC, Oregon

Offensive rank#3, Defensive rank #3, Schedule rank #9, Total points – 15

6. Washington

Jake Locker is going to be the leader of 11 returning starters on offense, but unless he can suit up on defense the Huskies are going to have a hard time winning on the road. All of the pieces are in place offensively with one of the best tandems in the country at wide receiver in Devin Aguilar & Jermaine Kearse, a solid tight end in Kavario Middleton, and a capable weapon at running back in Chris Polk – all protected by an offensive line that accounts for 88 career starts. As good as the offense is going to be, the defense might be as equally bad. Mason Foster has great instincts at LB which led to 3 interceptions, six 6 forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery in 2009, but other than that the cupboard is sparse in terms of depth and talent. Even worse for the Huskies is their brutal road schedule that includes trips to the better team in every region – Oregon, USC, Cal, and Arizona. They will have an opportunity to gain some hype early with a game against a preseason top 10 team Nebraska, but a loss will certainly damage their confidence going forward.

Projected record: 8-4

Projected losses: Nebraska, @USC, @Oregon, @Cal,

Tossup games: @Arizona, Stanford, OSU

Offensive rank #1, Defensive rank #8, Schedule rank #10, Total points – 19

7. Stanford

Stanford’s had the second best offensive line in the nation by only giving up 8 sacks all year. Part of the reason for low sack totals has to do with the success they had running the ball (537 attempts), so they only threw 313 passes all year. That luxury is gone now that Gerhart is playing on Sundays, so I’m expecting that total to go up. The guys behind Gerhart might be quicker, but they are not going to wear down opposing defenses and Andrew Luck will be the primary weapon that defensive coordinators will try to stop. The strong offensive line will help, but I’m expecting some drop-off in the offense this year. The defense has switched to a 3-4 in the off-season, but they lack the right personnel to be good this year. They have a strong linebacker corps led by Shane Skov, but they don’t have the big defensive lineman to hold the blocks and create opportunities for them. It will take a couple years of recruiting to get the right pieces in place for this defense as their crosstown rival Cal is finding out. The Cardinal were 2nd to last in the Pac-10 defense last year giving up 402 yards per game, and it could be even worse this year without a strong running game to burn the clock. The Cardinal get USC at home, but have to play Oregon and Washington on the road.

Projected record: 6-6

Projected losses: @Notre Dame, USC, @Oregon, @Washington, @Cal, @UCLA

Tossup games: Arizona, ASU

Offensive rank #7, Defensive rank #9, Schedule rank #4, Total points – 20

8. UCLA

Coach Rick Neuheisel is coming off his best recruiting class since arriving in LA, but when you’re expecting freshman to make a big impact on your team, you’re in trouble. UCLA has a combined 92 career starts on the offensive line, but they gave up 28 sacks last year so the talent on the line is as big of a question mark as every other position on this team. The Bruins have two preseason All-Americans with linebacker Akeem Ayers and safety Rahim Moore, but I’m expecting their production to decrease with Brian Price going on to the NFL. Neuheisel brought in two blue-chip guys on the defensive line in Owa Odighuizuwa (try saying that five times fast) and Cameron Marsh, but it won’t be enough to take over games or compensate for their lack of offense. UCLA also faces a tough schedule with Kansas St, Texas, and Houston before they start conference play. The young guys will either gain quality experience or have their confidence shot in the process.

Projected record: 4-8

Projected losses: Houston, @Texas, @Cal, @Oregon, Arizona, Oregon St, @Washington, USC

Tossup games: ASU, WSU, Kansas St

Offensive rank #8, Defensive rank #6, Schedule rank #7, Total points -21

9. Arizona St

It was only three years ago that Arizona St was competing for the conference championship, but they are 9-15 since 2007 and are riding a six game losing streak into 2010. The offensive line has been a major problem for this team in the past three years and one of the main reasons they averaged only 22.3 ppg in 2010. The Sun Devils only welcome back three starters on offense and could be even worse than last year, their defense should be salty and will be led by the All-American Vontaze Burfict at MLB. They only return four starters, but they have are solid at defensive end and have proven the ability to stop the run. The schedule has them facing the best team of every region on the road (USC, Cal, Oregon, Washington), but they weren’t likely to beat them anyway so all of their home games become winnable. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them post a winning record at home, but for now we’ve got them pegged at 3-9.

Projected Record: 3-9

Projected losses: @Wisconsin, Oregon, @Oregon St, @Washington, @Cal, @USC, Stanford, Arizona, UCLA

Tossup games: WSU, Stanford, UCLA

Offensive rank #10, Defensive rank #5, Schedule rank #8, Total points – 23

10. Washington St

The good news for Washington St is that they face the best team from every region at home (Oregon, Cal, USC, Arizona) the bad news is that they won’t be able to win any of them. The Cougars only have a couple chances to get a conference win, and it will have to be against UCLA or ASU on the road. They have two capable QB’s in Jeff Tuel or Marshall Lobbestael, and I’m expecting both of them to play this year based on the 53 sacks they gave up a year ago. This is the deepest team that Paul Wulff has fielded since he’s been here, but they are still a couple years away from making some noise in the conference.

Projected record: 2-10

Projected wins: Montana St, SMU

Tossup games: ASU, UCLA

Offensive rank # 9, Defensive rank #10, Schedule rank #1 Total points – 20

[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]





Middle of the Pac

20 06 2010

This part of the conference is completely interchangeable, but for the sake of the imaginary conference playoffs that are to follow the rankings, we must have order.

#8 Arizona Wildcats

Returning Starters – Offense 9, Defense 4, punter/kicker 2

Strength – Defensive End – Ricky Elmore tied for the conference lead in sacks at 11.5 and Brooks Reed has 10.5 career sacks. The Wildcats will need them to pressure the QB with the departure of all three starting LB’s.

Weakness – Linebacker – This is a complete unknown for this team and after researching their depth chart I’m pretty sure the coaches just used a random name generator to fill out the depth chart. Arizona is relying on a couple of JUCO transfers to come in and compete for playing time, which is never a good sign.

#7 Stanford Cardinal

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

Strength – A little Luck – Mel Kiper already has Andrew Luck as the #2 player on his big board, and for good reason. Luck is a cerebral passer with great accuracy and descent arm strength.

Weakness – Running Back – The three guys that backed up Gerhart last year combined for 497 yards rushing and 5TD’s, but there’s bound to be a drop off losing the Pac-10’s Offensive Player of the Year. They have a strong offensive led by Chase Beeler who was 2nd team All-Pac 10.

#6 Washington Huskies

Returning Starters – Offense 9, Defense 7, punter/kicker 2

Strength – QB – Jake Locker made tremendous strides under first year coach Steve Sarkisian and with that same progression this year he’s likely to end up a top 10 draft pick.

Weakness – Defense – This team’s best defense will be its offense. Their top two defenders, Donald Butler and Daniel Te’o-Nesheim were both selected in the third round of the 2010 NFL draft #79 and #86 overall respectively.  They are particularly weak in the front seven, but the one bright spot is their defensive coordinator, Nick Holt, who provides comic relief with his roid-rages on the sidelines every game.

#5 Cal Bears

Returning Starters – Offense 8, Defense 6, punter/kicker 2

Strength – Mike & Mych- Mike Mohamed and Mychal Kendricks. Kendricks was leading the nation in tackles three games into the season before he suffered a shoulder injury, and Mohamed led the conference in tackles last year at 111. These two should be one of the top tackling tandems in the Pac-12 this year.

Weakness – Secondary – Maybe Kevin Riley would display more consistency if he was playing his games against the Cal secondary every week. This unit finished 111th in the nation in total pass defense giving up 266 yards per game. The Bears will need to replace two starters in the secondary including their two-time All-Pac 10 CB Syd Thompson. Three secondary positions remain unfilled heading into the Fall.

[tweetmeme source=”Pac12Conference” only_single=false]