by Fred Delkin
interference from the NCAA recruiting investigation results, Oregon is
poised to compete for a national title as the newly formed Pac12
its inaugural season. Stanford is
likely the only other league member likely to earn serious national
RASPBERRIES posies to Portland State if Nigel Burton's second
can win in a new venue at a
refurbished Civic Stadium, now dubbed Jeld-Wen Field by those sponsors
another form of football...nothing but resounding boos are deserved by
City Council that utterly failed to find a home for a pro baseball
now seems likely to show up
in neighboring Vancouver... ooo
Cardinal are in the North division, which includes Washington,
State, Oregon State and California.
USC is the best squad in the South division, which includes Arizona
State, Arizona, UCLA and newcomers Utah and Colorado. The SC
Trojans are ineligible, due to recruiting
peccadilloes, for both a league title and a bowl bid.
the Pac12 members:
OREGON the Ducks
return not one, but two Heisman Trophy player prospects in halfback
James and QB Darron Thomas. The
offensive line is a tinge green, but all other positions have proven
returning. The opening game is a
national TV headliner with
Louisiana State. UO
defensive backfield star Cliff Harris will sit this one out, but will
for the balance of the schedule. Webfoot coach Chip Kelly Has already
his leadership worth.
STANFORD The Cards
have probably the best quarterback in all the land, Andrew Luck,
lost some stellar rushing strength.
Nonetheless, new head coach David Shaw has a host of strong veterans
returning and a resume' honed under the reign of Jim Harbaugh, now
Fortyniners. Stanford went 13-1 last year, we expect them to be no
9-3 this time around. The Cards
get Oregon in Palo Alto, which should be a do-or-die confrontation.
WASHINGTON Jake Locker
now toils in the NFL and his replacement at QB will make or break this
season. The defense is good, the
offense returns running star Chris Polk, so coach Steve Sarkisian
bowling again. We predict a 7-5
record as the Huskies play their home games at the Seattle Seahawks'
Field while the campus kennel is being renovated.
OREGON STATE the
Beavers slumped into a losing season last year and don't return enough
talent to do more than break even in 2011. There are major
questions on both offense and defense. The
return of QB Ryan Katz is a plus.
CALIFORNIA the Bears
are on a search for a talented signal-caller. Coach Jeff Tedford
can produce a strong rushing attack, but
suffers elsewhere and another losing season looms.
WASHINGTON STATE Coach
Paul Wulff has gone 5-32 in his first three years with the Cougars, and
remains the sorriest squad entering a new season. This should
definitely be Wulff’s final performance in
Pullman. The Cougs do not have the
talent to play in the majors and a 3-9 record would be a peasant
SOUTHERN CAL sanctions
aside, the men of Troy are well stocked with proven players, including
QB Matt Barkley. They can be
expected to do no worse than 9-3, and if the mean ol' NCAA
weren't so harsh, they'd be odds-on
favorites for the Pac12 southern crown.
Their late season expedition to Eugene will be well worth attending.
ARIZONA STATE Coach
Dennis Erickson hasn't exceeded his national title-winning exploits at
institutions, and Sun Devil fans are growing very impatient.
Denny does have a returning QB star in
Brick Orweiler and a vicious defense, which could propel him into
outing. We predict an 8-5 mark
UTAH this newcomer has
frequented major bowls under coach Kyle Willingham, but those
earned as a member of the Mountain West conference. We expect the
Utes to go 7-5 in 2011 and retain their bowl
ARIZONA the Wildcats
return a standout QB in Nick Foles and Mike Stoops can coach, but an
2011 schedule that features Oklahoma State, Stanford, Oregon and USC
dampen any Wildcat ambitions for anything but a 6-6 record.
UCLA ll' Ricky
Neuheisel has failed so far to buff up his coaching credentials, going
his first three seasons at the Bruin helm. It's significant that
Norm Chow, who earned his reputation
as a mentor at USC before going with Neuheisel, has abandoned the
taken his background to Utah.
Looks like 4-8 is what 2011 will total.
COLORADO the Buffalos
were a perennial major bowl and national contender until their past two
coaching eras. Things won't
improve with their conference transfer.
The Gold & Black have perhaps the toughest 2011 schedule in the
college major league, facing no less than 11 recent BCS major
bowl-goers. A 3-10 mark is likely.
© 2011 Oregon Magazine