NCAAF: Pac-10 Preview

August 25, 2010


The Pac-10 would like to be considered as one of the best conferences in the nation with the likes of the SEC and the Big 10. Some years, it can be argued that the Pac-10 is as good as those other conferences, but it may be hard to make that argument this year. Other than a couple of teams, the Pac-10 seems to be made up of a collection of teams that may routinely have trouble beating teams from the likes of conferences such as the Mountain West, both in the regular and post-season. Thanks to NCAA sanctions, transfers of key players, and as mentioned before, trouble with teams from so-called “lesser” conferences such as the Mountain West, the Pac-10 may be largely overlooked. They’ll have to rely on their top tier teams to keep the buzz about the Pac-10 alive. If the top teams fall, then this conference will be lumped into the category with conferences like the Big East, ACC, and Mountain West. For the Pac-10, that is devastating.

Team(s) With the Best Shot at a National Championship

Due to their favorable schedule and the fact that they are ranked so highly in the preseason poll, the Ducks should be able to hang around in the national championship picture for most of the season. Losing quarterback Jeremiah Masoli to Ole Miss is a disappointment for Oregon, but not necessarily a major one. They still have a senior leader in quarterback Nate Costa, and one can argue that running back LaMichael James would’ve actually been more instrumental in Oregon’s success this season had Masoli still been around. If Oregon can keep the ship upright during their last five games (their hardest stretch of games this season), they have a shot at playing for the national title.

Watch Out! (Team That Could Surprise)

I was debating putting Stanford into the “Team(s) With the Best Shot at a National Championship Bid”, but for now I’ll hold off on the bolder of predictions and just say that they could surprise people. Last season, I think that Toby Gerhart gave the impression that he was the Stanford Cardinal. While he was one of the best players in the nation, that just isn’t true. Thanks to sophomore quarterback Andrew Luck and fifteen other returning starters, the Cardinal could be just as good as or better than last year if they improve their defense.

Out-Of-Conference Game To Watch
Oregon State vs. Boise State (September 25th)

The truth is, if Boise State wins their opener against Virginia Tech, the focus will be on them in this game. However, if Oregon State also comes into this game undefeated (they have to play TCU in Arlington, TX and Louisville), then they have a chance to be thrust into the Top 15 or higher with a win against the Broncos. The Rodgers brothers are upperclassmen, so if there is going to be a season that the Beavers ride them into a BCS bowl, this is it. A win against the Broncos would surely put them on track to do just that.

In-Conference Game To Watch
Oregon vs. Stanford (October 2nd)

Since USC doesn’t matter this year, this game should be the marquee matchup of the year. Last season, this game was an offensive shootout that ended in a 51-42 upset win for Stanford. Considering Stanford’s shaky defense, it could be a high scoring affair again, with the winner being the favorite to capture the Pac-10 championship. A lot can go wrong leading up to this game, but chances are this one will still have the nation’s attention.

Conference Predictions

1. Stanford (10-2, [7-2])
2. USC (11-2, [7-2])
3. Oregon (9-3, [6-3])
4. Oregon State (8-4, [6-3])
5. California (8-4, [5-4])
6. Arizona (5-7, [3-6])
7. Washington (4-8, [3-6])
8. UCLA (3-9, [3-6])
9. Arizona State (3-9, [1-8])
10. Washington State (1-11, [0-9])

– K. Becks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *