2007 CFN Pac 10 Preview
Offenses, Defenses & Depth Charts
Arizona | Arizona State
| California |
Oregon | Oregon State
UCLA | USC |
CFN All-Pac 10 Team &
Top 30 Players
- Pac 10 Team-by-Team
- Pac 10 Unit
- Pac 10 Schedules &
Richard Cirminiello &
Whether or not you like
the Pac-10, you have to give the left coast league its just due for
being the BCS conference that does the most for college football
Beyond getting it right by scheduling all the teams to play each other
(wake up Big Ten: figure out how to make this happen), it does the best
job of pushing itself out of conference.
Outside of Arizona (who’s making a respectable trip to BYU), every
Pac-10 team plays a non-conference game against a BCS-league team or
Notre Dame. And we’re not talking about showdowns with Duke and Baylor
California vs. Tennessee, Oregon vs. Michigan, USC vs. Nebraska,
Washington vs. Ohio State and Washington State vs. Wisconsin highlight
the non-conference match-ups, and there are plenty of other juicy ones
throughout the year. There’s only one embarrassment against a D-IAA team
when Oregon State hosts Idaho State.
But does the league get any love east of the Mississippi for playing it
tough? No. The national perception is that it’s still USC and a bunch of
other teams. That will only change once the Pac-10 starts winning some
of these big match-ups.
Oh sure, Cal blew away Texas A&M in the Holiday Bowl, but the Bears were
all but dismissed by the SEC after an opening-day loss to Tennessee.
UCLA is remembered for choking late against Notre Dame and being the one
team Florida State was able to run over. Even when the non-USCers pulled
off a seemingly really big win (Oregon over Oklahoma), it wasn’t exactly
a clean victory.
It doesn’t matter; the league should be applauded for having teams
willing to put themselves on the chopping block. This year, the tough
games aren’t going to be limited to the non-conference showdowns.
USC will be everyone’s preseason number one (or somewhere in the top
three), and Cal and UCLA are each good enough to be in the top ten.
Oregon State deserves to be in the top 25, while Arizona State, Oregon,
and Washington State should all spend time in the rankings at some point
in the year. Arizona has its best team yet under Mike Stoops (and that’s
not intended to be a back-handed compliment), Washington has its best
team year under Ty Willingham (though that’s not saying much), and
Stanford, well, Stanford can’t be any worse.
The league is good enough to be in the running for the number two spot
behind the SEC in the conference rankings. Unlike others, the Pac-10
actually gives itself the chance to earn that recognition.
Team That'll Surprise
UCLA. This is a legitimate top-ten team that’s been building to this
point for the last four years under head coach Karl Dorrell. There’s
enough talent on both sides of the ball to beat anyone in America (that
win over USC wasn’t a fluke), and now the Bruins will be in the hunt for
the Pac-10 title, at least until the trip across town in early December.
Team That'll Disappoint
Arizona. Every year, Arizona is the hot team that’s about to explode
under head coach Mike Stoops. Every year, Arizona stinks under Stoops
(while Dick Tomey, two coaches removed, has done a masterful job up at
San Jose State). While there are some nice playmakers on each side of
the ball, QB Willie Tuitama hasn’t proven he can stay healthy, and the
team hasn’t proven it can play at a consistently high level. This year
won’t be any different.
Offensive Player of the Year
QB John David Booty, Sr. USC. - He doesn’t have Dwayne Jarrett or Steve
Smith to throw to anymore. Boo-hoo. There’s still a who’s who of future
NFL talent to throw to, with Patrick Turner and Vidal Hazelton ready to
step in and shine. If the Trojans do what they’re supposed to, Booty
will be seen as the ringleader who got them there.
Defensive Player of the Year
CB Antoine Cason, Sr. Arizona. – It’s possible a USC lineman like tackle
Sedrick Ellis or end Lawrence Jackson will get the nod if the Trojan D
is lights-out, but Cason will be the league’s best player if anyone
bothers to throw his way. Just his intimidation factor could be enough
to alter games.
5 Big-Time Players Who Deserve a Bigger Spotlight ...
1. RB Yvenson Bernard, Sr. Oregon State
2. C Alex Mack, Jr. California
3. S Chris Horton, Sr. UCLA
4. S Josh Barrett, Sr. Arizona State
5. LB Spencer Larsen, Sr. Arizona
Coach on the Hot Seat
Washington State – Easily the league’s most star-crossed program,
Washington State has been on the verge of being a player over the last
three years, but something always seems to go wrong. A fourth straight
season without a bowl game won’t go over well. No, Tony Bennett can’t
5 Non-Conference Games the Pac-10 had better take very, very
1. UCLA at Utah, Sept. 15
2. Washington at Hawaii, Dec. 1
3. Oregon State at Cincinnati, Sept. 6
4. San Jose State at Arizona State, Sept. 1
5. California at Colorado State, Sept. 8
5 Best Pro Prospects
1. OT Sam Baker, Sr. USC
2. CB Antoine Cason, Sr. Arizona
3. WR DeSean Jackson, Jr. California
4. LB Keith Rivers, Sr. USC
5. LB Rey Maualuga, Jr. USC
5 Biggest Shoes to Fill
1. Patrick Turner for Dwayne Jarrett, WR USC
2. Robert Peele for Daymeion Hughes, CB California
3. Nikola Dragovic for Justin Hickman, DE UCLA
4. Worrell Williams for Desmond Bishop, LB California
5. Justin Forsett for Marshawn Lynch, RB California
5 Bold Predictions
1. USC will win the national title, and it’ll be because of its defense.
The offense will certainly be fine, but it’ll be more functional than
amazing. This Trojan team will roll its way to its second unquestioned
national title under Pete Carroll (sorry 2003 fans, it’s a BCS world and
we’re all living in it) with its best D of the current era. Enjoy it now
2. … Carroll will finally get the offer he can’t refuse from some NFL
team ready to give up control. Consider this a lead-pipe lock if the
NCAA starts dropping some hammers. Carroll knows he’s in the perfect
situation and has become a college football god, but will he want to
stick around if he’s not able to play for the national title?
3. The league will have a hard time filling out its bowl bids. It’ll
come down to late in the year when Arizona vs. Arizona State, Oregon
State vs. Oregon and Washington State vs. Washington
will all matter in the bowl scramble. USC, Cal and UCLA can already book
their tickets, but the rest of the conference will have to work for it.
4. Washington’s Ty Willingham will be all but fired by mid-October, and
then will save his job with the finishing kick. How’s this for the first
seven games? At Syracuse, Boise State, Ohio State, at UCLA, USC, at
Arizona State, Oregon. If the Huskies come out better than 2-5, consider
it a success.
5. John David Booty will win first team All-Pac-10 honors, and maybe the
Heisman, but Arizona State’s Rudy Carpenter will be the league’s most
effective passer. He’ll settle down and bounce back in a big way under
Dennis Erickson. He might not have a star-studded receiving corps to
work with, but he’ll lead the league in passing efficiency.
What Will Happen
- UCLA will be upset at Oregon State, but will bounce back a few
weeks later to beat Cal to get right back in the title hunt. The
showdown with USC on December 1 will be for the Pac-10 title, with a
groundswell of support for the Bruins to play for the national
championship if they can pull off the upset. They won’t.
- California will beat Tennessee to kick-start a 6-0 beginning and a
top-five ranking, only to lose at UCLA. After giving USC all it can
handle in a close loss, the Bears won’t gear it back up for Washington
the next week, getting knocked out of the Pac-10 race for good.
- USC, UCLA, California, Oregon, Oregon State, Arizona State and
Washington State will go bowling.