Pac10 Pigskin Prospects
Promise Great Season
By Fred Delkin
The King is dead, the Pretenders, but one, seem very evenly matched and Pac10 fans will
see a 2010 season fraught with unpredictability. Yes, mighty USC has been taken out of title
contention by the NCAA while all the other conference members except the pussycats of the
Palouse show enough talent to whip each other on any given weekend. Let's run down our
predicted records for each squad, with schedule factors a key ingredient.
OREGON the Ducks dumped SC last season to earn the crown and a Rose Bowl berth. Chip Kelly has shown his mentoring expertise and has a full complement of proven talent, with 17 starters returning, though not at QB. The Ducks have only four home conference games in the friendly confines of Autzen stadium, hosting Stanford, , UCLA, Washington and Arizona, but look like sure winners in their opening four contests vs. New Mexico, at Tennessee, Portland State and at Arizona State. Tough tests will be at California and Oregon State. We expect an
overall mark of 10-2 and a repeat championship.
STANFORD we see the Cardinal as a definite title contender. Coach Jim Harbaugh has the
finest QB in the Pac10 with Andrew Luck. The Cards have a tough schedule with an away game
at Notre Dame immediately preceding a conference opener at Oregon and only four league games at home. We see them winding up at 7-5.
CALIFORNIA the Golden Bears have patsies for foes in their first three games vs. UC Davis,
Colorado and at Nevada. Then they get five league games at home, finishing with three straight vs. Oregon, Stanford and Washington to end the season. Veteran QB Kevin Riley returns and running back Shane Vereen is a star. Defense is a question mark but we see an overall mark of
ARIZONA the Wildcats have key returnees in QB Nick Foles and running backs Nic Grisgsby
and Keola Antolin, but have defensive problems and real challenges in a schedule that includes
trips to Stanford and Oregon. They do open at home with back-to-back league foes Cal and
Oregon State. We'll guess a 7-5 record overall.
OREGON STATE the Beavers will be lucky to survive an opening trio of games against TCU,
Louisville and Boise State. They then come up with travels to Arizona and Washington and later
in the season go to Stanford. A new QB will leave the offense very dependent on rusher
Jacquizz Rogers and brother receiver James. Only four defensive starters return. We see the end result a 6-6 record.
WASHINGTON the Huskies are coming back from the dead with a vengeance led by coach
Steve Sarkisian and superstar QB Jake Locker. Like a majority of conference brethren, the
Dawgs must answer some defensive lacks. The schedule is no friend, with away games at USC,
Arizona, Oregon and Cal, though they host contenders Arizona and Oregon State and look
forward to a visit from UCLA and former Husky coach Rick Neuheisel. Best hope here is a 7-5
USC the Trojans can't be a title threat, thanks to NCAA sanctions, but new coach Lane Kiffin
has a lot of talent under his control, though morale will be a factor. QB returnee Matt Barkley
and a slew of rushers promise offense. Again, defense has a lack of returning starters. We
foresee the fall from grace ending with a 5-7 mark.
UCLA the Bruins will suffer from lack of offensive firepower and the defense has few proven
talents. Coach Ricky is a fine job recruiting, particularly in the afterglow from the SC crash felt throughout the southern California neighborhood. Trips to Texas, Cal, Oregon and Washington are sure losses, as are hostings of Stanford, Arizona and Oregon State. Best the Bruins can hope for is a 5-7 season.
ARIZONA STATE the Sun Devils won 10 games in veteran coach Dennis Erickson's first
season in the desert, but the former national championship mentor at Miami (Fla) seems to have lost his mojo. The start of the 2011 season will be grand with home games vs. Portland State and Northern Arizona, but then comes a trip to Wisconsin and a visit from Oregon and three straight journeys to Oregon State, Washington and Californa. The talent cupboard is bare at key positions on both offense and defense. 4-8 will be as good as this bunch can get.
WASHINGTON STATE this will undoubtedly be coach Paul Wulff's final season. He has been
unable to recruit at the Division I level and his current team is an easy mark for every foe on the schedule, with the possible exception of Montana State. If the Bobcats fall, the Cougars could wind up 1-11 for 2010.
ROSES & RASPBERRIES a peck of posies to new Portland State coach Nigel Burton (and he'll
need 'em) who faces a pair of Divsion I foes in Oregon and Arizona State and home games at a
Hillsboro stadium stand-in in while PSU's traditional home at PGE Park is being renovated. We
think Burton is very capable of returning Viking pigskin glory after the Jerry Glanville coaching fiasco, but he'll need another year to show his capabilities...raspberries to anyone who believes that Trailblazer owner Paul Allen has any idea what it takes to win in the NBA.f The man has billions but no understanding of the basics of an organized business.
© 2010 Oregon Magazine