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2008 Pac 10 Preview - Unit Rankings
Oregon S Patrick Chung
Oregon S Patrick Chung
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jun 24, 2008


2008 CFN Preview - Pac 10 Unit Rankings from top to bottom

2008 CFN Pac 10 Preview

Unit Rankings

Team Previews & Predictions
Arizona | Arizona State | California | Oregon | Oregon State
Stanford | UCLA | USC | Washington | Washington State

- 2008 CFN Pac 10 Preview
- CFN All-Pac 10 Team & Top 30 Players
- Pac 10 Team-by-Team Capsules

-
Pac 10 Unit Rankings

- Pac 10 Schedules & Predictions

Offenses
1. USC
Mark or Mitch? The battle between Mark Sanchez and Mitch Mustain to replace John David Booty at quarterback isn’t exactly over, even though Sanchez got the nod in April. Although he’s the logical heir apparent and the most experienced hurler, Mustain has done nothing but impress the staff since transferring from Arkansas. Whoever gets the ball will have gobs of speed and explosiveness surrounding him. After getting a taste of action as a freshman, RB Joe McKnight is on the tarmac and preparing for national lift-off. The receivers are a year older, with the size, athleticism, and addition of former Hog Damian Williams to dominate opposing secondaries. The line loses four starters, putting the onus on sophomores Kristofer O’Dowd, Butch Lewis, and Zack Heberer to perform like vets.

2. Oregon
3. California
4. Arizona State
5. Arizona
6. UCLA
7. Oregon State
8. Washington State
9. Washington
10. Stanford

Quarterbacks  
1. USC
After playing to mixed reviews last fall, Mark Sanchez acted throughout the offseason as if he has something to prove. It’s been enough for him to hold off the contenders, but that doesn’t mean Mitch Mustain is going away. While the two will continue making each other better, it’s up to Pete Carroll to keep the peace in a backfield with at least two all-league-caliber quarterbacks.

2.
Arizona State
3. California
4. Washington
5. Arizona
6. Oregon
7. UCLA
8. Oregon State
9. Washington State
10. Stanford

Running Backs
1. USC
 As is the case with many USC positions, Pete Carroll will be forced to do a juggling act to be sure that all of his gifted runners are well fed throughout the season.  It’s going to be a challenge.  While Joe McKnight is the star-in-waiting, Stafon Johnson might actually finish the year with the most carries.

2. Oregon
3. UCLA
4. Arizona State
5. Oregon State
6. California
7. Washington State
8. Arizona
9. Washington
10. Stanford

Receivers
1. Oregon State
With Sammie Stroughter and James Rodgers back, the receivers should be the strength of the Beaver offense. They’ll form a dynamite duo, which will be even more effective if Darrell Catchings and Chris Johnson can capitalize on the single coverage they'll see and make occasional plays as the No. 3 receiver.

2.
Arizona
3. USC
4. Arizona State
5. Washington State
6. UCLA
7. Oregon
8. California
9. Washington
10. Stanford

Offensive Line
1. Oregon
The pieces are in place for Oregon to again have one of the Pac-10’s most formidable offensive lines. C Max Unger and OT Fenuki Tupou are legitimate anchors at their respective positions and assistant Steve Greatwood is doing a nice job of building depth and coaching up some of the younger Ducks.

2.
California
3. USC
4. Oregon State
5. UCLA
6. Washington
7. Arizona
8. Washington State
9. Arizona State
10. Stanford

Defenses
1. USC
When linebackers Rey Maualuga and Brian Cushing decided to forego the NFL Draft for one more year, it ensured that the Trojans would have one of the nastiest back sevens in the country.  Not only are the two seniors All-America-caliber, but the secondary is sensational. Safeties Kevin Ellison and Taylor Mays are among six players with starting experience.  Even without current pros Sedrick Ellis and Lawrence Jackson, the defensive line will be just fine. On the outside, speedy Everson Griffen is good enough to make folks forget about Jackson. On the inside, senior Fili Moala is about to shed his anonymity while making a strong push for All-American honors and a spot in the first round of next year’s NFL Draft.

2. Oregon
3. California
4. UCLA
5. Oregon State
6. Arizona State
7. Washington
8. Stanford
9. Washington State
10. Arizona

Defensive Lines
1. USC
Sedrick Ellis and Lawrence Jackson were two of the first 28 picks in April’s draft, yet the Trojans are going to be okay at the defensive line. Reason No. 32 why USC is a perennial contender for a national championship. Fili Moala and Everson Griffen are the new headliners of a front wall that’ll rely on a deeper group of players this fall.

2. Oregon
3. UCLA
4. California
5. Oregon State
6. Arizona State
7. Stanford
8. Washington
9. Washington State
10. Arizona

Linebackers
1. USC
Rey Maualuga and Brian Cushing are a pair of NFL-ready linebackers still hanging around the Pac 10. Their presence will help ease the transition of Luthur Brown or Kaluka Maiava into the lineup, while giving the program a couple of intimidating defensive players who opposing coaches will have to account for every Saturday.

2. California
3. UCLA
4. Stanford
5. Washington
6. Washington State
7. Oregon
8. Arizona State
9. Oregon State
10. Arizona

Defensive Backs
1. Oregon
With a least three of this year’s defensive backs (Patrick Chung, Jairus Byrd and Walter Thurmond) eventually headed to the NFL, Oregon will feature one its best secondaries in school history. Although they still need to tighten up a bit in coverage against deep balls, these Ducks will make a ton of big plays and a ton of quarterbacks regret throwing in their direction.

2. USC
3. Oregon State
4. Arizona State
5. UCLA
6. Washington
7. California
8. Arizona
9. Stanford
10. Washington State

Special Teams
1. UCLA
While there’s uncertainty everywhere else on the roster, the Bruins can take solace in the special teams, their most stable unit. Sophomore PK Kai Forbath was brilliant in his first season replacing All-American Justin Medlock, connecting on 25-of-30 field goal attempts, including 5-of-5 outside 50 yards. Back for a third year as the punter is Aaron Perez, a strong-legged senior who has gotten better with each passing season.

2.
Arizona
3. Arizona State
4. USC
5. Oregon State
6. Oregon
7. California
8. Washington
9. Washington State
10. Stanford