Thursday, July 23, 2009
Breaking Down the NCAA Part 7 of 12
Pacific-10 Conference Order of Finish
1. USC- Death, Taxes and USC winning the Pac-10. Its automatic. USC just replaces one 5 star recruit with another when a starter (or backup) goes for greener pastures in the NFL. The defense did lose 9 starters, but we have seen this happen before. QB Aaron Corp will be the starter if he can beat out transfer player Mitch Mustain. FS Taylor Mays is probably the best player in the nation on defense, and the Trojans are lucky he did not leave too. Should be another year where USC plays in the BCS, but not the national championship.
2. California- RB Jahvid Best is making a huge case for the Heisman and the NFL. He added 15 pounds of muscle to withstand a long season of hits. The Bears get USC at home, and if they run the table they could win the Pac-10. A lot has to happen but they have a lighter non conference schedule and all their tough Pac-10 games at home. I do not think they have enough to overcome USC, but they will put up the biggest challenge the Trojans have had in a while.
3. Oregon-Jeremiah Masoli could be the best QB in the conference this year. He looks to lead a Ducks attack that has not had a lot of spark since Dennis Dixon graduated. RB LeGarrette Blount will balance the attack. Oregon has to travel to Boise State and play Purdue and Utah for non conference.
4. Oregon State- James and Jacquizz Rodgers are the foundation of this offense. Although they both stand at 5'7'', their production is huge. The Beavers beat USC on a Thursday night prime time game, but there might not be enough defense to compete for the Pac-10 crown.
5. Arizona State- A new offensive line and Quarterback could mean a tough year for the Sun Devils. They were disappointing last year with only 5 wins, but Dennis Erickson is building a solid team. They have the pieces in place but could need a few more years to put it together. A light non conference schedule helps out ASU, and they get Cal and USC at home. This team has spoiler and a bowl written all over it.
6. Stanford- Coach John Harbaugh is starting to get his team built in his image. Highly touted RFR Andrew Luck looks to bring more than a game manager under center. The defense was awful last year but was young and should be able to build and get better. They face a brutal back end of the schedule (Oregon, USC, Cal Notre Dame), so they must have at least 6 wins before that. Harbaugh has done a great job so far and should continue to build on his success.
7. Arizona- The Wildcats went to a bowl game for the first time in a decade under Willie Tuitama but he has graduated. The Wildcats still have WR Delashaun Dean and TE Rob Gronkowski to help the new QB. In a loaded Pac-10, they could be the odd man out for a bowl game.
8. UCLA- Rick Neuheisel looked like a genius early in the season. The thrilling win against Tennessee (which turned out to be a terrible Volunteer team) made Neuheisel look like his bold predictions would come true. The homecoming for him did not last long. They barely won 4 games last year and USC continued their dominance by winning by 3 touchdowns. This should be a better, but still tough year for the Bruins.
9. Washington- A new coach replaces the disappointing Ty Willingham in Steve Sarkisian. The former USC offensive coordinator looks to use QB Jake Locker to resurrect a program fallen on hard times. They could be a very quick turn around (0-12 last year so any wins is an improvement) and could be in a bowl in a year or two. Sarkisian brought with him defensive coordinator Nick Holt from USC with him, as the Huskies could not stop anybody last season.
10. Washington State- They could not score enough points, but made up for it by giving up a ton. Second year Head Coach Paul Wulff looks to improve his defense in its second year of its 4-2-5 system. With no D-II school on the schedule and traveling to an improved Washington team, they could struggle to get a win.
Corbitt Gutsy Guarentee: Arizona State will beat either USC or Cal. Sure Cal and USC are far more talented than the Sun Devils, but ASU gets back to back home games against the best teams in the Pac-10. Both teams will be looking for the Pac-10 title and beyond (maybe a national championship) but will be shocked mid season by ASU.