2007 Midseason Report - Pac 10
Oregon QB Dennis Dixon
Oregon QB Dennis Dixon
Posted Oct 17, 2007

The best Pac 10 players, coaches, surprises of the midseason and more. Scroll down for predictions for every team and every game.

Midseason Reports Midseason All-America Teams
- ACC | Big East | Big 12 | Big Ten | C-USA
- MAC | M-West | SEC | Sun Belt | WAC
- 2006 CFN Midseason All-America Teams

Offensive Player of the Midseason
Dennis Dixon, QB Oregon

Defensive Player of the Midseason
Bruce Davis, DE UCLA

Ten best Pac-10 players in the first half of the season
1. Dennis Dixon, QB Oregon
2. Justin Forsett, RB California
3. Bruce Davis, DE UCLA
4. Jonathan Stewart, RB Oregon
5. Rudy Carpenter, QB Arizona State
6. Alex Mack, C California
7. Sedrick Ellis, DT USC
8. Robert James, LB Arizona State
9. Ryan Torain, RB Arizona State
10. DeSean Jackson, WR California

Biggest Surprise – Arizona State
Even more unexpected than the Sun Devils’ perfect start has been how they’ve gotten here, playing sound defense and getting plenty of mileage from the running game.  This has not been your typical Arizona State, which is exactly what AD Lisa Love had in mind when she lured Dennis Erickson out of Idaho last December.  The inevitable mid-year letdown that had become a trademark of the program under Dirk Koetter has yet to happen, making Sparky very much alive for an eight-digit bowl invite.  In terms of a single game, you’ll have to venture out to different sports to find a bigger shocker than Stanford’s upset of USC as a 41-point underdog.  That outcome will forever defy logic.  Player? How about Oregon QB Dennis Dixon, who has made a transcendent turnaround from last year’s rocky junior season.        

Biggest Disappointment – UCLA
How can a team that’s 3-0 in league play be a disappointment?  By scoring 12 points in cover-your-eyes losses to Utah and Notre Dame.  The Bruins had more than enough returning talent at the beginning of the year to be where others in the Pac-10, such as Cal, Oregon, and Arizona State, are residing these days.  Instead, however, they’ve been exiled from the Top 25, and are facing a hellacious second-half schedule with a serious shortage of scholarship quarterbacks.  Go ahead and tidy up that resume, Coach Dorrell.  No single unit has been a bigger disappointment than the USC offense, which is averaging about seven points a game for each former high school All-American on the two-deep.        

The Pac-10 Champion will be ... California
While it’s going to be a 12-game dogfight for the Bears, they’ve got the early inside track to the title, and a finely-tuned offense that can overcome some of the shortcomings on the other side of the ball.  A win at Oregon two weeks ago has Cal’s confidence soaring, and the second-half schedule is manageable, including getting reigning champ USC in Strawberry Canyon.  All bets are off if the Bears can’t get past Arizona State, which will host both Cal and the Trojans over the next five weeks.     

Best Game of the First Half
Stanford 24 ... USC 23, Oct, 6
On fourth and goal from the ten, Stanford pulled off one of the biggest shockers of all-time when Mark Bradford fought his way for a touchdown catch to tie it. Derek Belch hit the extra point for the lead, and then the defense held on with its fourth pick of the night. John David Booty threw for 364 yards, highlighted by a 63-yard pass play to Fred Davis and a 47-yarder to Ronald Johnson, but overthrew his receivers late for two key interceptions, and threw one for a 31-yard Stanford pick six from Austin Yancy in the third. USC outgained the Cardinal 459 yards to 235.

Second Best Game Oregon State 31 ... at California 28, Oct. 13
Third Best Game
California 31 ... at Oregon 24, Sept. 29

Worst Game of the First Half
Oregon State 61 ... Idaho State 10, Sept. 15
Sammie Stroughter showed what he does for the Oregon State passing game with two touchdowns, scoring from 48 and seven yards out, while four different Beavers ran for scores and Sean Canfield threw three touchdown passes in the rout. Down 28-0 in the first half, ISU finally got on the board with no time left on the clock on a 26-yard Brandon Jones field goal, and didn't get into the end zone until the fourth quarter on a 47-yard Josh Barnett catch. The Beavers outgained ISU 607 yards to 335.

Coach of the Midseason – Dennis Erickson, Arizona State
While everyone else is falling by the wayside, Arizona State remains perfect. Erickson didn't just tweak the Sun Devils, he made them more physical, more efficient, and settled. QB Rudy Carpenter is a night and day different player than last year, while the team is playing better than it ever had in the Dirk Koetter era.

Player who'll step up in the second half – Cal WR DeSean Jackson
While Jackson enjoyed a good first half and a phenomenal game in the win over Oregon, his production has hardly been commensurate with his otherworldly speed and skill set.  Blame it on a nagging thumb injury and nervous special teams coaches that refuse to punt in the same zip code as the game’s most electrifying return man.  Healthy again, and with each game gaining in importance, Jackson is poised to erupt for a monster second half that’ll spark the Bears’ offense and capture the imagination of Heisman voters.    

Best performance so far – Stanford vs. USC
As a group, no one was more inspirational than Stanford, a 41-point underdog that ended USC’s 35-game home winning less than a week after its starting quarterback suffered a seizure.  While not a Rembrandt, the Cardinal delivered a gutsy effort that’s already being considered one of the greatest upsets in college football history.  From an individual perspective, no one was better than Cal WR DeSean Jackson in the 31-24 win over Oregon late last month.  In the most important Pac-10 game of the first half, he took over the game for the Bears in the final two quarters, finishing with 11 catches for 161 yards and two scores.  

Top Freshman – Washington QB Jake Locker
Forget Locker’s numbers, which have become increasingly pedestrian over the last few weeks.  There is no statistic that can accurately gauge what the freshman has been able to do for a Washington program that’s been pining for a figurehead ever since Marques Tuiasosopo graduated in 2000.  With his hard running and winning attitude, Locker has helped make the Huskies more competitive, while giving hope for the future to long-suffering fans of the school.    

Coach who needs to have a big second half – Washington State head coach Bill Doba
Doba’s job security is hanging by a thread, but that shouldn’t give much solace to Mike Stoops, who’s living on the same edge, as his Arizona Wildcats continue to underachieve.  Doba’s been a loyal soldier in the Cougar army for almost two decades, but a fourth consecutive bowl-less season on the Palouse will likely cause the administration to seek out a new direction for the program. 

Player who needs to have a big second half – USC QB John David Booty
Or Mark Sanchez, who got the start against Arizona Saturday in place of the injured Booty.  Whichever quarterback is in the huddle for the Trojans over the next six games will need to start making more plays downfield in order to ignite the offense and keep defenses honest.  Yeah, the receivers have disappointed and the line hasn’t pass protected all that well, but this is USC, where young quarterbacks go to win Heismans.  Although there’s still time for the Trojans to regroup and win another Pac-10 title, it’ll only happen if Booty or Sanchez can tap his inner Matt Leinart, and start elevating the play of those around him   

Best remaining conference game – USC at California, Nov. 10
This game will be brimming with subplots and anticipation, especially if the two programs still have just a single loss between them.  Expect there to be a changing-of-the-guard type feel in the air, as Cal inches closer to its first Rose Bowl since 1958 and USC tries to maintain its five-year grip on the Pac-10 title.  The Bears’ offense versus the star-studded Trojan defense alone will be setting aside three hours of tube time.  While the outcome won’t decide the league champ on the spot, it will go a long way to determining who goes to Pasadena and who plays in the Holiday Bowl.  

Team Mid-Season MVPs & Predictions  
ArizonaQB Willie Tuitama
predicted wins: Stanford, UCLA, 
predicted losses: at Washington, Oregon, at Arizona State   
predicted record: 4-8

Arizona StateQB Rudy Carpenter
predicted wins: Arizona, Cal    
predicted losses: at Oregon, at UCLA, USC 
predicted record: 9-3

CaliforniaRB Justin Forsett
predicted wins: at UCLA, Washington State, USC, at Washington, at Stanford
predicted losses
: at Arizona State    
predicted record: 1

OregonQB Dennis Dixon
predicted wins: at Washington, USC, Arizona State, at Arizona, Oregon State
predicted losses: at UCLA 
predicted record: 10-2

Oregon State - RB Yvenson Bernard
predicted wins: Stanford, Washington
predicted losses: at USC, at Washington State, at Oregon   
predicted record: 6-6

StanfordLB Clinton Snyder
predicted wins: Notre Dame
predicted losses: at Arizona, at Oregon State, Washington, at Washington State, Cal 
predicted record: 4-8

UCLADE Bruce Davis
predicted wins: at Washington State, Oregon, Arizona State 
predicted losses: Cal, at Arizona, at USC  
predicted record: 7-5

USCTE Fred Davis
predicted wins: at Notre Dame, Oregon State, at Arizona State, UCLA
predicted losses: at Oregon, at Cal
predicted record: 9-3

Washington QB Jake Locker
predicted wins: Arizona, at Stanford, Washington State
predicted losses: Oregon, at Oregon State, Cal, Hawaii  
predicted record: 5-8

Washington State  – QB Alex Brink
predicted wins: Stanford, Oregon State
predicted losses: UCLA, at Cal, at Washington 
predicted record: 4-8