Well besides Lane Kiffen looking bug-eyed crazy, the Pac undergone some major changes, no more is it the Pac-10, it is now the Pac-12 conference. The Pac-12 tried to grab Texas and Oklahoma as well as other Big 12 schools, but had to settle for one, Colorado. The Pac also grabbed Utah from the Mountain West conference making it a 12 team conference which means the conference is eligible for a Pac-12 title game! Do you feel the excitement all over the west coast!? Lets see if the new teams can spark something in this conference as the Pac 10 last year only sent four teams to a bowl. I repeat FOUR teams to a bowl. USC was ineligible because of the sanctions, and AZ and Washington barely got made a bowl. Oregon and Stanford though held the Pac flag high as both made BCS bowls. Stanford trashed Va Tech, and Oregon was so close to winning the National title. Still with the addition of two new teams, conference play must improve and non-conference games HAVE to be won to bring more notoriety to the name PAC-12!
1. Stanford, 11-1 – It all begins and ends with Andrew Luck, beat Oregon and the Cardinals win the conference. Yes Jim Harbaugh is gone to the Niners, but Luck though stayed. Wouldn’t shock me though to see the Niners tank the season so Harbaugh can have his boy again, but right now its all about college. Their is more to the Cardinals other than Luck, two of his offensive lineman may join him in NYC for the draft party; offensive tackle Jonathon Martin and the right guard David DeCastro. The rest of the oline is fairly new, but should get on board quick or they will be pulled! Andrew Luck will make Chris Owusu a monster this year, blessed with speed and size he should do damage to the soft secondaries of the Pac-12, but the tightend Coby Fleener will again be a problem. At 6-6 250 the stud giant caught 7 touchdowns last year and is looking to hit double digits this year. The running game also brings back Stepfan Taylor who was 2nd team Pac-10 last year. Last season he topped the 1000 yard mark(1137) and punched in 15 touchdowns as well! The questions are all on the other side of the ball. Linebackers Shayne Skov and Chase Thomas are both legit. Fast and big, both should see NFL dollars next year. The lack of size on the defensive line is concerning. The Cards run a 3-4 scheme, but the Terrance Stephens is only 285lbs with Ben Gardner at 260lbs. Matthew Massifilo is the other end at 280 and should have another solid season. The secondary features All-American candidate Delano Howell as strong safety. He is the captain of the secondary and will ball hawk anything in the air which is great as they will be breaking in a cover corner. As long as the defense makes some stops, and Andrew Luck plays like the first pick of the draft like he is, this could be a very special first season for new HC David Shaw.
2.Oregon, 11-1 -Explosive, ridiculous, super-sonic speed! Any verb that describes speed applies to Oregon, I guess that must be the reason why Cliff Harris was doing 120mph on the freeway this summer?! Oregon was three points away from creating pandemonium in Eugene, Oregon. Phil Knight was on his way to releasing the National Champion Air Force Ones in Oregon colors. Well put the design away for another year Phil as this year won’t be the year either. Darron Thomas and LaMichael James have speed to burn and the two combined would make the Road Runner jealous! One of those two should be in NYC for the Heisman presentation, as the other running back Kenjon Barner would also be in consideration for a post season award if he didn’t play in Eugene. Oregon also brings in freshman D’Anthony Thomas who has more shakes than an ice cream parlor. The offense is set. The defense is another story. The dline has to replace three out of four starters, and the one returning starter, Terrell Turner, isn’t really that good. In fact besides the All-World corner, Cliff Harris, and safety John Boyett, the defense is not good at all. Expect a lot of shootouts this year in Eugene. As the defense really needs to step up if this team wants to win the conference.
3.Washington, 7-5 – All-American Jake Locker is gone to the NFL, and in comes in Keith Price. He has some pretty big shoes to fill, but All-Pac12 running back Chris Polk is also back to help. Polk rushed for 1400 yards last year, and with a strong junior year he could top the Washington record books, he just needs 1600 yards. His offensive line is big enough, and Washington should fuel a strong rushing attack as teams will fear the deadly wideout Jermaine Kearse. Kearse racked up 12 touchdowns and a 1005 yards last season, what can he do for an encore?? The defense is big, really big! At DT Alameda Ta’amu is 330lbs big! A run-stuffer by nature who will see double-teams all year so that redshirt freshman Josh Shirley attacks the QB at the defensive end position. Quinton Richardson and Desmond Trufant are solid corners that will make safety Nathan Fellner enjoy another productive season. Last year Fellner caught 5 interceptions from opposing QB’s, he’s looking to add to that this year. This is a solid Washington team that should improve, the schedule though is tough with road trips to Neb, Utah, Stanford, USC, and Corvallis, Oregon is always a tough game. Still this team should go bowling again for the second consecutive year.
4.California, 6-6 – Remember when this team was good? They were supposed to rise up and knock USC off its perch and take over?! Yeah well it never happened. The Golden Bears have not seen a bowl unless they are eating Fruit Loops. This team has been such a disappointment as of late and Jeff Tedford may need to get the boot. He does bring in good classes, but that’s more so cause of amazing recruiter Toshi Lupoi who is regarded as one of the top recruiters in the nation. What the team has always lacked is a QB and they are STILL looking for the heir of Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers graduated in 2004 and it has not been the same since. This year it is Zach Maynard who will be given the shot, if he fails, its going to be another long season.
5.Oregon St, 4-8 – Mike Riley always fields a competitive team, and his QB’s seem to always do much better in their second year in his system. Unfortunately their is no one on this team that is good. The defense is undersized as well, but this is Mike Riley and he has taken worst to a bowl. This team could possibly upset a couple Pac schools ahead of it, and in the other division.
6.Washington St, 3-9 – Does someone have Mike Price’s number??? This team is far from legit, should be replaced with Boise St as the Cougars are just plain awful!
1.USC, 10-2 – Yes they are on probation so they cannot win the division and go to the Pac-12 title game. Its ridiculous that a school that makes tons of money off Reggie Bush jerseys gets hammered with these sanctions. Yes Reggie did move his parents from the projects to a $800,000, whats the point? Lets see if the NCAA chairs want to live in the projects. In fact where is Paul Dee at, the hypocrite let his Hurricanes run wild under his watch, but hammer USC?! Lets get back to football, that will be for another post. Matt Barkley is back, but so is that bum Marc Tyler(vomit). DJ Morgan may be the starter down the stretch for the Trojans at running back as Tyler is just taking up space. What has Trojan fans excited is the return of all-world Robert Woods who showed huge promise at wideout last season. Not to mention that a new all-world wide receiver sets foot on campus, the George Farmer. Its going to be a lot of fireworks in LA, but only for SC’s offense cause that D is legit! The defense features size, talent, speed, but can they show some killer instinct!? They allowed anyone to run the ball all over them, Oregon St, Notre Dame, UCLA?! Linebackers where are you guys at?! Chris Gallipo has to play big this year as he has been a huge disappointment. He does have the size and speed, but where are the results?? Devon Kennard must be a bigger force, at 6-3 250lbs he should be playing for the NFL instead of trying to be a bouncer at a club. The great thing for this team is that the DT’s, George Uko and DaJohn Harriss, are both in the 300+ club. Blockers are going to be tied up allowing the linebackers to run wild this year. One thing that is for sure, TJ McDonald is a head hunting killer who should end a couple lives on the field this year. Feeling it right now for opposing wideouts.
2.Arizona State, 9-3 – Lets stop all the dark horse national title talk. This team is good, but not amazing. The positives about this team is that it brings back all FIVE starters on the offensive line. The running backs are by committee and are pretty efficient. The wideouts are good, but no standouts. The offense kind of reminds me of South Park’s Officer Barbrady “nothing to see here, move along.” The defense features All-American stud Vontaze Burfict, and if AZ St featured 10 more of this animal then YES it is a dark horse candidate. Instead has a bunch of vanilla. DE Junior Onyeali had 6.5 sacks last year which is pretty good, and the other end Jamaar Jarrett chipped in 4.5. Ok thats pretty good, but nothing else on this team screams talent. Both Stanford and Oregon will have their way with this team, and actually, if USC was not on probation, the nation would not be talking about this team. Live it up now Sun Devils, cause its a WRAP once USC is allowed to participate for the title again.
3.Utah, 8-4 – Welcome to a BCS conference, it has been a long time coming! The Utes should have been in the BCS for years now, but its finally here and I could actually see this team beating out AZ St for the #2 spot. Utah has a great homefield advantage as their stadium is played in high altitudes giving their opponents asthma attacks while they would continue to put up points. Expect returning QB Jordan Wynn to improve and throw for even more yards. While widouts Devonte Christopher and Luke Matthews should have no problem decimating secondaries. The key is big freshman Harvey Langi, if he can pile up huge yards behind that massive wall the Utes call an oline, the Pac-12 title game is within reach. The defense is stout, and will always be STOUT! Its time to see though if the defense can hold up against BCS opponents though. If the secondary wasn’t so green beating AZ St would not be a problem.
4.UCLA, 5-7 – When?! When is this team going to be good again?? I’m leaning towards……..Feb 30 2012?? This team stays awful! Rick Neuheisel is the coach who has done nothing with this team. USC is now on probation and it still can’t beat the Trojans for recruits, in fact they lose recruits to Oregon, Stanford, and Cal. The defense this year is really big, but slow as dirt. A linebacker with a 4.9 forty won’t catch anything but a cold! Kevin Prince at QB is disgusting at best, and Neuheisel is a QB guru??? Fire him already and hire Mike Leach. He could turn this team around.
5.Arizona, 5-7 – Nick Foles is actually pretty good and should see NFL dollars one day. Ok that is where the compliments stop as the rest of this team is awful. Stoops recruiting is shameful, and its going to get worst Tuscon fans. At least the basketball team made it to the Elite 8 last year. Keep celebrating cause their is nothing to see on the football field.
6.Colorado, 3-9 – So the Buffs leave one conference to finish in the basement of another conference. Rodney Stewart is undersized, but will have a great career in Canada. OG Ryan Miller will have a pro career, but new head coach Jon Embree will have his hands full in his first year. But nothing can replace the running of the Buffaloes!!!!!
Conference Title Game
Stanford wood shedding Az St 40-14, its going to be bad!
USC may have lost D’Anthony Thomas to Oregon, but George Farmer and Marquise Lee will soften that loss. The two stud wideouts will hook up with Matt Barkley first and Max Wittek later when he learns the playbook. Even with the sanctions the Trojans pulled off a top 10 class. Hey its hard to say no to La-La land!