December 3, 2020

PAC 10 is Now Open for a New King!

Extra! Extra! USC doesn’t win the Pac 10 this year.

The USC Trojans are once again the big favorite to win the Pac 10 and hold claim to an eighth consecutive league title. There have been a few close calls, but all in all USC has pretty much been the big bully of the PAC 10. Even with new coordinators and a freshman QB leading the team it seems almost every credible media head likes USC to bring it home.

Not so fast my friend!

Finally a rough schedule, freshman QB, suspect D and their top receiver on the shelf for the first 6-8 weeks means they are due for rebuilding, but not a whole lot of it.

Oregon and California enter this season of flux as the two primary candidates to take down the mighty Trojans. Cal has loads of talent and arguably the best running back in the nation in Jahvid Best. Jeff Tedford is an outstanding coach and if he can coach up quarterback Kevin Riley this could be the Bears year. The Ducks have a new head coach in Chip Kelly, but he was the offensive coordinator last year for Oregon and one of the most potent offenses in the nation. Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli is very special and if the retooled offensive line can gel then the Ducks could even be more explosive than last year.

Things drop off a bit after the big three, but there are still some programs to keep an eye on this season. Oregon State led by head coach Mike Riley consistently has a tough defense and Jacquizz and James Rogers is a powerful combo in the backfield. Arizona started to turn things around finally last year and will look to take another step ahead with this year’s squad. Rick Neuheisel brings legitimacy back to UCLA and if he can only find some offense the Bruins should do well with All-American candidates Alterraun Verner, Brian Price, and Reggie Carter on the defensive side of the ball. The Stanford Cardinal has been improving during the two years under Jim Harbaugh and they have aspirations of going bowling this year for the first time in EIGHT years. Arizona State is on the decline and probably won’t be much of a force in the overall scheme of things this year.

Washington State and Washington appear to be the two basement teams this year, but look for the Huskies to improve on their 0-12 season from last year. Quarterback Jake Locker is back and former USC offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian is now the head coach for Washington.

Below is a short list of players to keep your eyes on this year in the PAC 10.
FS Taylor Mays, Sr. USC
RB Jahvid Best, Jr. Cal
DT Brian Price, Jr. UCLA
RB LeGarrette Blount, Sr. Oregon
TE Rob Gronkowski, Jr. Arizona
RB Jacquizz Rodgers, Soph. Oregon St
QB Jeremiah Masoli, Jr. Oregon
DE Dexter Davis, Sr. Arizona State
CB Alterraun Verner, Sr. UCLA
QB Jake Locker, Jr. Washington
RB Tony Gerhart, Sr. Stanford
CB Walter Thurmond, Sr. Oregon

Surprise Team

Stanford – Jim Harbaugh has lifted this team to new heights during his first two years as head coach of the Cardinal. Stanford will make a bowl game this year after looking like it had a chance last year until fading over the last month of the season. Recruiting is dramatically improved and Stanford seems ready to make some noise again in the PAC 10.

Disappointing Team

USC – Too many new faces on the field and on the sidelines makes this USC team just a good team, but not a great team. Look for a 9-3 season which for most programs is fantastic, but in SoCal it is below par without a doubt. Oh and a loss to UCLA and Notre Dame will happen this year.

Game of the Year

Boise State at Oregon. What a way to start the college football season. This game on the opening night of the season is huge for both programs. Whoever wins this game grabs an upper hand in either of their BCS chances and its only week 1! If Boise wins they may run the table due to the lack of strength overall in the WAC. If Oregon wins they are Top 10 in the polls the next week with tons of confidence as well.

Bottom Line – The Pac 10 is coming off a 5-0 bowl season and is slowly getting some respect as a conference to be held in the top 3-5 BCS conferences in college football. Considering the sputtering of the Big 10 and Big East that is a safe assumption to make. So who will be the team to take down USC this year? Cal finally breaks through this year in the PAC 10. The best running back in the country with a Tedford led offense that always scores points in conjunction with a strong defense lends itself to a 10-2 record at worst. This time they won’t lose to a 1-8 team at home when they have an opportunity to claim a Top 3 spot in the polls like they did 3 years ago against Oregon State.

After opening up at home against Maryland, with an axe to grind for their loss last year, they play Eastern Washington at home and then travel to Minnesota before their PAC 10 opener at Oregon. Cal has USC on Homecoming Oct 3rd a week after they play at Oregon so they can take control of the conference before they take a week off after USC before heading to UCLA.

The PAC 10 has USC, Oregon, an improved Oregon State, 2nd year Neuheisel/Chow combo at UCLA, a resurgent Stanford all waiting for their chance to shine this year. Rest assured they will, but with a huge bull’s eye on USC, Cal will be the team with a favorable home schedule who will walk away with a Pac 10 crown and a trip to the Rose Bowl for the first time in 51 years.

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