Pac-10, Up and Down
Taking a look at the conference, the Pac-10 has never looked stronger. No one will finish with ten losses this year, and the team that might finish last (UW) has the hardest schedule in all of Divison I. Respectable year for the Pac-10, which probably has asserted itself as at least the second best football conference in the land.
Hopefully, they can get a commissioner with half-a-brain who understands the importance of national TV deals and the insignificance of volleyball ratings. I already have the perfect idea: give it to NBC! Find a way to buy out their ludicrous contract with Notre Dame, and put up a Saturday night broadcast, just like CBS does with the SEC. It’d be a hit, trust me. Call up Marv Albert and Cris Collinsworth to do the game. Or lure Keith Jackson out of retirement; he can do the play-by-play from his home. Wouldn’t mind one bit.
But I dream. No one could possibly be that smart. Onto the Pac-10 rankings…
Rank the Pac-10 in the comments and rank Cal in the poll in the sidebar.
Searching for next year.
10. Wazzu (3-6, 1-5 in the Pac-10). That Wazzu is dead last in this conference attests to the relative strength of the Pac-10, which is good for overall credibility of the Pac but sobering for the thought of Cal reaching national prominence in the near-future. Alex Brink wasn’t nearly as impressive as I thought he’d be (very erratic for three quarters before gunslinging it for the last quarter), and the Wazzu defense was the beneficiary of three moronic turnovers. It’ll be hard for them to win more than one game without a running attack. That Apple Cup will be a fun battle for next-to-last in the Pac.
9. Stanfurd (3-6, 2-5 in the Pac-10). After signs of life against TCU and Arizona, they’ve fallen back to earth with listless performances against OSU and Washington. Nevertheless, they still have a decent chance for bowl eligibility with gift-wrapped games against Wazzu and Notre Dame coming up. Winning the Big Game might be a chance for the Armed Forces Bowl, something we simply cannot allow.
8. Washington (3-6, 1-5 in the Pac-10). If football was only played up to the first half, the Huskies would be in the top 20 right now, since their biggest deficits up to that point were 3 to USC and 7 to Oregon. In the end, they simply couldn’t overcome the difficulty of their schedule and opponents (it doesn’t get easier with a trip to Beaver Stadium). I am terrified of going to Seattle next week. Jake Locker provides all the tools necessary to give our defense fits.
Will you ever be fired?
7. Arizona (4-6, 3-4 in the Pac-10). Mike Stoops will not die my friends. If he upsets Oregon or ASU (entirely possible), all bets are off on his job security. This man could be here for eternity. All credit goes to Willie Tuitama, who has somehow overcome the lack of a running game to throw 60 passes a game and somehow take USC to the wire and beat Washington and UCLA. But really, fire Mike already. Please. You are setting yourself up for numerous 5-7 seasons. Find someone who knows what he’s doing in September. Because I’m scared to death of playing him in November.
EDIT: Sounds like he’ll be back. Oh well.
6. UCLA (5-4, 4-2 in the Pac-10).
You would think that the entirely expected meltdown against the great football powerhouses of Wazzu and Arizona would be the end for Dorrell. Sadly, inexplicably, UCLA is STILL alive for the BCS. All they need to do is win out with Oregon and ASU coming home (definitely within the realm of possibility), and beat a weak Trojan team…ta-da, Rose Bowl. Utterly sickening to even consider–it would make the Pac-10 a laughingstock again and Karl Dorrell would get an extension. I don’t know how suicidal Bruins fans are at that prospect. Let’s move on.
Eh, we’ll take it.
5. Oregon State (5-4, 3-3 in the Pac-10). With Yvenson Bernard, they have a good offense that can beat you. Without him, they have no offense. Not a hard team to figure out on that side. Their defense continues to be mighty impressive, but I think the Beavers are mighty happy with where they stand.
4. Cal (6-3, 3-3 in the Pac-10). Could have an inside track for the Holiday Bowl with a win on Saturday, as long as ASU or Oregon don’t stumble in front of them. There is some ridiculous scenario for the Rose Bowl, but I don’t want to even think about it. Not the worst thing in the world to end up in the second tier bowls, considering the modest expectations for the season. At least we haven’t forgotten we’re nerds.
Coming around to the idea that Pete Carroll isn’t a great coach
3. USC (7-2, 4-2 in the Pac-10). Great defense, turgid offense. The Trojans only drove 124 yards on their four scoring drives and spent the 2nd half engaging in a puntfest royale. Naturally, human pollsters still have them ranked at 13th. Makes plenty of sense, since USC’s most impressive win was pouncing on hapless Notre Dame. I would venture any ranked team in the SEC would beat them right now with a significant deal of confidence. Hell, I’d be more confident with UConn than USC.
There is also the depressing thought of the Trojans themselves being alive for the BCS; win out (including a Thanksgiving date at Arizona State) and an at-large bid will certainly be theirs. Let’s quash that notion, shall we?
Cashing in on success.
2. Arizona State. All in all, two more wins, including one to USC, would probably seal a BCS berth, and winning out would definitely place them in. Well, as long as that loss isn’t to ‘Zona. Not a bad start for the Dennis Erickson era. Definitely a lot of promise with that bunch, although they need to fix up that O-line–poor Rudy Carpenter seems to be delving into the extremes of his emotional barometer.
1. Oregon. Clearly in the driver’s seat, now that they’ve disposed of both USC and Arizona State. Their identity is clearly on offense and thanks to the awesome Dennis Dixon, they run with it to maximal efficiency. That defense has pretty much gone to a blitz-wacky strategy; cover packages are for pussies. Big blubbering pussies. What a fun team to watch; they now have three signature wins over the Trojans, Sun Devils, and the beatdown of the Wolverines.
They could technically lose one more game and still be Rose Bowl bound, but I think they have much bigger ambitions. If someone loses ahead of them, they’ll get their title shot. And it’d always be nice to be the one team to beat the national title contenders. Gives the season more of a excited 2003 feel (beating an eventual champion) than icky 2005.
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