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Mr Pac-10 Previews the 2007 Season

Mr Pac Ten
Posted Aug 27, 2007


Collegefootballnews' Mr Pac-10 reviews each Pac-10 team, picks all the Pac-10 games and compares his picks to all the experts'.

So who's second? That seems to be the question these days, as just about everyone is assuming that USC will win the league, with at most one loss somewhere along the way due to an unusually nasty road slate. And while the Trojans certainly do have some issues of their own to address (receiver and the running game), they still are the safe pick and the deserving preseason national #1.

So who's second? UCLA seems like the obvious answer given the massive amount of returning talent, but the Bruins were still only 7-5 (5-4) in the regular season last year, and they have a history of falling for the big upset. Cal has a good quarterback and a great receiver corps, making them a very dangerous team, but they also need to rebuild their defense and replace a fantastic runner in Lynch. And don't forget about Oregon, the big X-factor of the league, with a fantastic pair of running backs, a good O-line, a good secondary, all the big games at home, and a passer that will either get his head straight or drag the team down with more bad picks.

There is some sleeper potential around the middle of the "Pac". Arizona returns a lot of talent, has a more experienced QB in Tuitama, and may have the league's best player in CB Cason, but have no running game, a road-heavy schedule, and still need to show they're good enough to make a bowl before they can move any further than that. Arizona State has a strong running back, a solid O-line, a proven head coach, but also a QB looking to recover from a sophomore slump and another shaky defense.

As for the rest of the league, no one really stands out as being especially good, but there could still be some decent teams here. Oregon State should have another good defense, a good (though somewhat injury-prone) running back, but need a lot of help from an inexperienced quarterback and a receiver corps that is very thin after the loss of star Sammie Stroughter (assuming he stays out this year). Washington State has a great quarterback, and a talented young runner in Tardy, but has questions everywhere else, especially on defense. Stanford was absysmal last year, and needs to be healthy if they want to avoid the cellar. And Washington has issues everywhere, but has hope for the future if hotshot QB Jake Locker can step up and show the potential everyone's been raving about.

With many of the Pac-10 teams boasting distinct strengths and weaknesses, and a couple of teams that will probably be very inconsistent, it looks like there will once again be a fair number of upsets, a projection that is reflected in my game by game picks. Factors which will come into play include: home-field advantage, potential letdown games, and most importantly the matchups between individual units (for instance, Arizona, with a pass-happy attack and a great pass D, will have a chance against a Cal team that has most of its talent at quarterback and receiver, but could really struggle against UCLA, who likes to run it and also has a strong secondary).

As always, I will compare my Pac-10 league picks against picks available elsewhere, whether online or, in the case of Athlon, in their season preview edition. Last year's results are posted at the bottom of this article.

Individual Team Capsules:

Arizona Arizona State Cal Oregon Oregon State
Stanford UCLA USC Washington Washington State

FORMAT OF PREVIW CHART:

TEAM 1 @ TEAM 2
ME WIN OR BLANK WIN OR BLANK
ATHLON WIN OR BLANK WIN OR BLANK
CFN WIN OR BLANK WIN OR BLANK
HAIRE WIN OR BLANK WIN OR BLANK
FORUM WIN OR BLANK WIN OR BLANK
ACTUAL RESULT WIN OR BLANK WIN OR BLANK

notes:
ATHLON predictions from the Athlon preseason preview publication
CFN predictions from collegefootballnews.com, article here
SI predictions from cnnsi.com, article here
HAIRE predictions from Tom Haire, uscfootball.com, article here
CFP predictions from collegefootballpoll.com, article here
FORUM predictions from fan polls from CFN and Scout forum users, article here

one note: As usual, I only am looking at in-conference games; there are a lot of teams that I don't know about, and it can be difficult to pick non-conference games, especially early in the year, so I choose to pass those over in my comparisons

In-Conference Predictions for Each Week
Week 1
UCLA @ STAN
ME WIN
ATHLON WIN
CFN WIN
HAIRE WIN
FORUM WIN
ACTUAL RESULT WIN
Week 4
ARIZ @ CAL
ME WIN
ATHLON WIN
CFN WIN
HAIRE WIN
FORUM WIN
ACTUAL RESULT
OS @ ASU
ME WIN
ATHLON WIN
CFN WIN
HAIRE WIN
FORUM TOSS UP
ACTUAL RESULT
UO @ STAN
ME WIN
ATHLON WIN
CFN WIN
HAIRE WIN
FORUM WIN
ACTUAL RESULT
WASH @ UCLA
ME WIN
ATHLON WIN
CFN WIN
HAIRE WIN
FORUM WIN
ACTUAL RESULT
WSU @ USC
ME WIN
ATHLON WIN
CFN WIN
HAIRE WIN
FORUM WIN
ACTUAL RESULT
Week 5
WSU @ ARIZ
ME WIN
ATHLON WIN
CFN WIN
HAIRE WIN
FORUM WIN
ACTUAL RESULT
ASU @ STAN
ME WIN
ATHLON WIN
CFN WIN
HAIRE WIN
FORUM WIN
ACTUAL RESULT
CAL @ UO
ME WIN
ATHLON WIN
CFN WIN
HAIRE WIN
FORUM TOSS UP
ACTUAL RESULT
UCLA @ OS
ME WIN
ATHLON TOSS UP
CFN WIN
HAIRE WIN
FORUM WIN
ACTUAL RESULT
USC @ WASH
ME WIN
ATHLON WIN
CFN WIN
HAIRE WIN
FORUM WIN
ACTUAL RESULT
Week 6
ARIZ @ OS
ME WIN
ATHLON WIN
CFN WIN
HAIRE WIN
FORUM WIN
ACTUAL RESULT
ASU @ WSU
ME WIN
ATHLON WIN
CFN WIN
HAIRE WIN
FORUM TOSS UP
ACTUAL RESULT
STAN @ USC
ME WIN
ATHLON WIN
CFN WIN
HAIRE WIN
FORUM WIN
ACTUAL RESULT
Week 7 WIN
ARIZ @ USC
ME WIN
ATHLON WIN
CFN WIN
HAIRE
FORUM WIN
ACTUAL RESULT
WASH @ ASU
ME WIN
ATHLON WIN
CFN WIN
HAIRE WIN
FORUM WIN
ACTUAL RESULT
OS @ CAL
ME WIN
ATHLON WIN
CFN WIN
HAIRE WIN
FORUM WIN
ACTUAL RESULT
WSU @ UO
ME WIN
ATHLON WIN
CFN WIN
HAIRE WIN
FORUM WIN
ACTUAL RESULT
Week 8
STAN @ ARIZ
ME WIN
ATHLON WIN
CFN WIN
HAIRE WIN
FORUM WIN
ACTUAL RESULT
CAL @ UCLA
ME WIN
ATHLON TOSS UP
CFN WIN
HAIRE WIN
FORUM TOSS UP
ACTUAL RESULT
UO @ WASH
ME WIN
ATHLON WIN
CFN WIN
HAIRE WIN
FORUM WIN
ACTUAL RESULT
Week 9
ARIZ @ WASH
ME WIN
ATHLON WIN
CFN WIN
HAIRE WIN
FORUM WIN
ACTUAL RESULT
CAL @ ASU
ME WIN
ATHLON WIN
CFN WIN
HAIRE WIN
FORUM WIN
ACTUAL RESULT
USC @ UO
ME WIN
ATHLON WIN
CFN WIN
HAIRE WIN
FORUM WIN
ACTUAL RESULT
STAN @ OS
ME WIN
ATHLON WIN
CFN WIN
HAIRE WIN
FORUM WIN
ACTUAL RESULT
UCLA @ WSU
ME WIN
ATHLON WIN
CFN WIN
HAIRE WIN
FORUM WIN
ACTUAL RESULT
Week 10
UCLA @ ARIZ
ME WIN
ATHLON WIN
CFN WIN
HAIRE WIN
FORUM WIN
ACTUAL RESULT
ASU @ UO
ME WIN
ATHLON TOSS UP
CFN WIN
HAIRE WIN
FORUM WIN
ACTUAL RESULT
WSU @ CAL
ME WIN
ATHLON WIN
CFN WIN
HAIRE WIN
FORUM WIN
ACTUAL RESULT
OS @ USC
ME WIN
ATHLON WIN
CFN WIN
HAIRE WIN
FORUM WIN
ACTUAL RESULT
WASH @ STAN
ME WIN
ATHLON TOSS UP
CFN WIN
HAIRE WIN
FORUM TOSS UP
ACTUAL RESULT
Week 11
ASU @ UCLA
ME WIN
ATHLON WIN
CFN WIN
HAIRE WIN
FORUM WIN
ACTUAL RESULT
USC @ CAL
ME WIN
ATHLON TOSS UP
CFN WIN
HAIRE WIN
FORUM WIN
ACTUAL RESULT
WASH @ OS
ME WIN
ATHLON WIN
CFN WIN
HAIRE WIN
FORUM WIN
ACTUAL RESULT
STAN @ WSU
ME WIN
ATHLON WIN
CFN WIN
HAIRE WIN
FORUM WIN
ACTUAL RESULT
Week 12
UO @ ARIZ
ME WIN
ATHLON TOSS UP
CFN WIN
HAIRE WIN
FORUM WIN
ACTUAL RESULT
CAL @ WASH
ME WIN
ATHLON WIN
CFN WIN
HAIRE WIN
FORUM WIN
ACTUAL RESULT
OS @ WSU
ME WIN
ATHLON WIN
CFN WIN
HAIRE WIN
FORUM WIN
ACTUAL RESULT
Week 13
USC @ ASU
ME WIN
ATHLON WIN
CFN WIN
HAIRE WIN
FORUM WIN
ACTUAL RESULT
UO @ UCLA
ME WIN
ATHLON WIN
CFN WIN
HAIRE WIN
FORUM TOSS UP
ACTUAL RESULT
WSU @ WASH
ME WIN
ATHLON TOSS UP
CFN WIN
HAIRE WIN
FORUM WIN
ACTUAL RESULT
Week 14
ARIZ @ ASU
ME WIN
ATHLON TOSS UP
CFN WIN
HAIRE WIN
FORUM WIN
ACTUAL RESULT
OS @ UO
ME WIN
ATHLON TOSS UP
CFN WIN
HAIRE WIN
FORUM TOSS UP
ACTUAL RESULT
CAL @ STAN
ME WIN
ATHLON WIN
CFN WIN
HAIRE WIN
FORUM WIN
ACTUAL RESULT
UCLA @ USC
ME WIN
ATHLON WIN
CFN WIN
HAIRE WIN
FORUM WIN
ACTUAL RESULT

Projected Non-Conference Results

Arizona:
@ BYU: W
vs NAU: W
vs NM: W

Arizona St:
vs SJ St: W
vs Colorado: W
vs SD St: W

Cal:
vs Tennessee: W
@ Colo St: W
vs LA Tech: W

Oregon:
vs Houston: W
@ Michigan: L
vs Fresno St: W

Oregon St:
vs Utah: W
@ Cincy: W
vs Idaho St: W

Stanford
vs San Jose State: W
vs TCU: L
vs Notre Dame: L

UCLA:
vs BYU: W
@ Utah: W
vs Notre Dame: W

USC:
vs Idaho: W
@ Nebraska: W
@ Notre Dame: W

Washington:
@ Syracuse: W
vs Boise St: L
vs Ohio St: L
@ Hawaii: L

Washington St:
@ Wisconsin: L
vs SD St: W
vs Idaho: W

Quick team-by-team notes

Arizona:
This team should be improved from last year, where they just barely missed a bowl game. The schedule is more road-heavy but there's no LSU, so it's a rough wash. Barring something weird, this is a bowl team.
Biggest Games:
@ BYU, vs New Mexico, @ Cal, @ Arizona St:
BYU will be an early indicator of which way this team is headed. New Mexico could be a sneaky trap game for them, and Cal will be their big upset shot. By the time September's done, we'll have a pretty good idea where they're headed. And after last year's ugly loss to the Sun Devils, this year's game becomes very important as well.

Arizona St:
Dennis Erickson is a proven success as a coach, but this team has big issues on defense, and Rudy Carpenter has yet to prove himself against a good defense (those 2005 numbers everyone remembers came against Stanford, the Washington schools, UCLA and Arizona, remember). And they still need to prove they can win on the road. They're a bowl team, but probably not by much.
Biggest Games:
vs Oregon St, @ Stanford, @ Washington St, vs Arizona:
Oregon St is the big early home test, and the pair of road games represent the sort of games the old ASU lost but that the new ASU needs to win. Nothing else is super-important for where this season is going, but the Arizona game will have a big impact on how ASU is perceived, especially in recruiting.

Cal:
Too many questions on defense to expect this to be a truly top-notch team, but they're good enough to bag a big win or two.
Biggest Games:
vs Tennessee, @ Oregon, @ UCLA, vs USC:
These are the four toughest games on the schedule. They absolutely need at least one, and if they can bag two, Cal will be at the top of everyone's list in 2008, which is what they're building for.

Oregon:
If Dixon stops throwing picks, this team could be great. If not, they're in trouble. That's really what it all boils down to.
Biggest Games:
@ Michigan, vs Cal, vs USC, @ UCLA:
Michigan is an early season upset chance against a team known for dropping important early season games. Cal and USC are big home tests that could give them significant momentum, and the same is true for that big late-season trip to the Rose Bowl to face UCLA. The Civil War matters, but these are the games that will really define their season.

Oregon St:
This is going to be a rebuilding year unless the defense gets really tough (as opposed to just "good"), Canfield grows up quickly, and Bernard stays healthy. If Stroughter ends up playing this year, things look better, but it probably only adds about a win to the projection.
Biggest Games:
vs Utah, @ Arizona St, vs UCLA, @ Oregon:
Utah, ASU and UCLA will show how this season is going to play out for the Beavers. The Civil War would be a massive coup if they could finally pull one out at Autzen, regardless of anything else which might happen during the year.

Stanford:
This is going to be a quest to stay out of the cellar. Whether they succeed will depend a great deal on how healthy they are; last year was a pretty clear sign of how bad things get when the injuries pile up.
Biggest Games:
vs San Jose St, vs Arizona St, vs Washington, @ Washington St:
These are the four most winnable games for the Cardinal. If it's 1-3 or 2-2, that'll be all the get, but at least they won't be winless. If they can hit 3-1, they might actually be good enough to sneak another one somewhere along the line.

UCLA:
It's put up or shut up time in Westwood. The Bruins have a veteran team and a strong defense. This is their year to make a BCS game, or else.
Biggest Games:
@ Utah, vs Notre Dame, vs Cal, @ USC:
There are a couple of other potentially tough games, but these are the biggest ones. 3-1 is the goal, 2-2 means they need to be absolutely perfect everywhere else, and 1-3 or worse is a disaster.

USC:
Another year, another national title-caliber team.
Biggest Games:
@ Nebraska, @ Notre Dame, @ Oregon, @ Cal, vs UCLA:
It's cheating to list five games here, but the truth is that each of these games could be legitimate challenges for the Trojans. And with all but one of them on the road, that's a nasty set of games. If they can go 4-1 or better here, they won't stumble elsewhere, and they'll find themselves in another national title game.

Washington:
With a rebuilding defense and a young quarterback, this will be a rebuilding season in Seattle. This is another contender for last place, unless Locker is fantastic right away.
Biggest Games:
@ Syracuse, vs Boise St, @ Stanford, vs Washington St
Boise is a reach, but they have a shot if the Broncos really have lost too much from last year. The rest are simply games they've got a decent shot at. The goal is to get as many wins as they can, and these are the most likely ones.

Washington St.:
They've got a great quarterback and not a whole lot else.
Biggest Games:
vs Arizona St, vs Stanford, vs Oregon St, @ Washington
With Brink at the helm, Wazzu has the potential to steal one or two elsewhere, but these are the absolute must-win games for them to have any realistic shot at a bowl game. 3-1 makes it tough, and any lower makes it all but impossible.

At the end of the year, I’ll post a comparison with other places that have provided season previews, just like I did last year, when I got the second best results for picking the league standings at only 12 games away from a perfect pick set (CFN won at 10 games away), and third best game by game picks (1.5 behind Athlon, 1 behind AZC).

2007 Predictions / Results

STANDINGS PREDICTIONS 2007

MY PREDICTIONS ATHLON PREDICTIONS CFN PREDICTIONS SI PREDICTIONS
USC 8-1 USC 8.5-0.5 USC 9-0 USC 9-0
UCLA 7-2 CAL 8.0-1.0 UCLA 7-2 CAL 6-3
UO 6-3 UCLA 7.0-2.0 CAL 6-3 UCLA 6-3
CAL 6-3 OSU 6.0-3.0 UO 5-4 UO 5-4
ARIZ 5-4 UO 4.5-4.5 WSU 4-5 OS 4-5
ASU 4-5 ASU 4.0-5.0 ASU 4-5 ASU 4-5
WSU 3-6 ARIZ 4.0-5.0 OSU 4-5 WSU 4-5
OS 3-6 WSU 1.5-7.5 WASH 4-5 ARIZ 3-6
STAN 2-7 WASH 1.0-8.0 ARIZ 2-7 WASH 3-6
WASH 1-8 STAN 0.5-8.5 STAN 0-9 STAN 1-8
TOTAL WINS OFF BY
0 WINS 0 WINS 0 WINS 0 WINS
HAIRE PREDICTIONS FORUM PREDICTIONS CFP PREDICTIONS AZC PREDICTIONS
USC 9-0 USC 9.0-0.0 USC 9-0 USC 9-0
CAL 7-2 CAL 7.0-2.0 UCLA 8-1 UCLA 7-2
UCLA 6-3 UO 6.5-2.5 CAL 7-2 CAL 6-3
OS 5-4 OS 6.0-3.0 OSU 6-3 OS 5-4
ARIZ 5-4 UCLA 6.0-3.0 ASU 4-5 ASU 5-4
ASU 4-5 ASU 4.0-5.0 ARIZ 4-5 UO 4-5
UO 4-5 ARIZ 3.0-6.0 UO 4-5 ARIZ 4-5
WASH 3-6 WASH 1.5-7.5 WSU 2-7 WSU 3-6
WSU 2-7 WSU 1.5-7.5 WASH 1-8 WASH 2-7
STAN 0-9 STAN 0.5-8.5 STAN 0-9 STAN 0-9
TOTAL WINS OFF BY
0 WINS 0 WINS 0 WINS
ACTUAL RESULTS
ARIZ 0-0
ASU 0-0
CAL 0-0
UO 0-0
OS 0-0
STAN 0-0
UCLA 0-0
USC 0-0
WASH 0-0
WSU 0-0

2006 Predictions / Results

WEEK BY WEEK RESULTS
MY PREDICTIONS ATHLON PREDICTIONS CFN PREDICTIONS HAIRE PREDICTIONS AZC PREDICTIONS
TOTAL 29-16 30.5-14.5 25-20 27-18 30-15

note: predicted "toss-up" games are indicated by being equal to half a win and half a loss

STANDINGS PREDICTIONS 2006

MY PREDICTIONS ATHLON PREDICTIONS CFN PREDICTIONS SI PREDICTIONS
USC 7-2 USC 8.5-0.5 USC 8-1 USC 9-0
CAL 7-2 CAL 8.5-0.5 CAL 7-2 CAL 8-1
UO 6-3 UO 6.0-3.0 OSU 5-4 ASU 7-2
OSU 5-4 UCLA 6.0-3.0 ASU 5-4 UO 6-3
ASU 5-4 ASU 5.5-3.5 UO 5-4 UCLA 4-5
STAN 4-5 ARIZ 4.0-5.0 WSU 4-5 ARIZ 3-6
ARIZ 4-5 OSU 2.5-6.5 UCLA 3-6 WSU 3-6
UCLA 3-6 WSU 1.5-7.5 STAN 3-6 STAN 3-6
WSU 2-7 STAN 1.5-7.5 ARIZ 3-6 OSU 1-8
WASH 2-7 WASH 1.0-8.0 WASH 2-7 WASH 1-8
TOTAL WINS OFF BY
12 WINS 16 WINS 10 WINS 20 WINS
HAIRE PREDICTIONS AZC PREDICTIONS CFP PREDICTIONS ACTUAL RESULTS
USC 9-0 CAL 8-1 USC 9-0 USC 7-2
CAL 8-1 ASU 7-2 CAL 8-1 CAL 7-2
ASU 6-3 USC 7-2 ASU 7-2 OSU 6-3
UO 5-4 UO 6-3 UO 6-3 UCLA 5-4
UCLA 4-5 UCLA 5-4 UCLA 5-4 ASU 4-5
ARIZ 4-5 ARIZ 4-5 STAN 4-5 UO 4-5
WASH 3-6 WSU 3-6 OSU 2-7 ARIZ 4-5
STAN 2-7 OSU 3-6 ARIZ 2-7 WSU 4-5
WSU 2-7 STAN 2-7 WSU 2-7 WASH 3-6
OSU 2-7 WASH 0-9 WASH 0-9 STAN 1-8
TOTAL WINS OFF BY
14 WINS 14 WINS 22 WINS

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