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Mr. Pac-10 Previews the 2009 Season

Mr Pac Ten
Posted Sep 1, 2009


Collegefootballnews' Matthew Smith picks every Pac-10 game and compares his picks to all the experts'.

2009 looks like the year when parity will really rear its head in the Pac-10, much like it did last year in the ACC. USC looks great at the top, Cal shouldn't be far behind at #2, Wazzu looks like they'll be in last, U-Dub looks a step or two behind the rest of the pack, but other than that, it's a giant jumble in the middle. Out of Arizona, Arizona St, Oregon, Oregon St, Stanford and UCLA each team has strengths and weaknesses, but overall, it's hard to say that there's a whole lot separating any of them from the others, either positively or negatively. There's a reasonable chance one of the six will have a couple breakout players, suffer few injuries, and separate from the pack; similarly, one of the six could very well suffer a lot of injuries, struggle in close games, and fall behind the others, but it's impossible to say which, if any, it will be.

Whether you think that's a good thing or a bad thing depends on your perspective, but it certainly looks like the middle of the Pac-10 will be one of the most interesting races we've had in quite a while, with each of them trading wins and losses back and forth all year long, and probably ending at four or five wins, which is where I'm pegging each of them. Of course, we won't really see eight teams hit six wins including non-conference (i.e. bowl eligible), but I bet we see six or seven, with the other one or two just one win behind, and Washington at least making something of a run.

As always, I will compare my Pac-10 league picks against picks available elsewhere, with the links to the sources posted in the Source Notes. Results for the last few years' preseason projection are included at the bottom of the page.

Individual Team Capsules:

Arizona / Arizona St Cal / Stanford Oregon / Oregon St UCLA / USC Washington / Washington St

FORMAT OF PREVIW CHART:

Away Home MrPacTen CFN HAIRE ...
TEAM 1 TEAM 2 TEAM 1 TEAM 2 TEAM 2 ...
TEAM 3 TEAM 4 TEAM 3 TEAM 3 TEAM 4 ...

Sourcesnotes:
CFN predictions from cfn.scout.com, article here
HAIRE predictions from Tom Haire, uscfootball.com, article pending (if not posted this year then this entry will be removed)
CFP predictions from collegefootballpoll.com, article here
FORUM - predictions from a public picking contest on the CFN forum; each game's pick is the forum consensus, details here
WINNER - predictions from last year's forum picking contest winner (Alderian), link same as FORUM
BUSTER predictions from Buster Sports, article here
CNNSI predictions from cnnsi.com, article here

A couple of notes:
As always I am only comparing in-conference predictions; 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
FORUM has tossup picks; I treat these as half a win and half a loss for each team when compiling final records.
CNNSI and BUSTER pick records only and not individual games.

Away Home MrPacTen CFN Haire FORUM WINNER CFP BUSTER CNNSI
Stan WSU Stan Stan 0 Stan Stan Stan
USC Wash USC USC 0 USC USC USC
Ariz OS OS OS 0 OS OS OS
Cal UO Cal UO 0 Cal UO
Wash Stan Stan Stan 0 Stan Stan Stan
WSU USC USC USC 0 USC USC USC
OS ASU ASU ASU 0 OS OS
USC Cal Cal USC 0 USC USC
WSU UO UO UO 0 UO UO UO
UCLA Stan UCLA UCLA 0 Stan Stan Stan
Ariz Wash Wash Wash 0 Wash Ariz
ASU WSU WSU ASU 0 ASU ASU ASU
UO UCLA UO UCLA 0 UO UO UO
Stan OS OS OS 0 OS OS OS
Stan Ariz Ariz Ariz 0 Ariz Ariz Ariz
Wash ASU ASU ASU 0 ASU ASU ASU
Cal UCLA UCLA Cal 0 Cal Cal Cal
OS WSU OS OS 0 OS OS OS
UCLA Ariz Ariz Ariz 0 Ariz UCLA Ariz
ASU Stan Stan Stan 0 Stan ASU Stan
WSU Cal Cal Cal 0 Cal Cal Cal
UO Wash Wash UO 0 UO UO UO
OS USC USC USC 0 USC USC USC
Cal ASU ASU ASU 0 Cal Cal Cal
USC UO USC UO 0 USC USC USC
UCLA OS OS OS 0 OS OS OS
WSU Ariz Ariz Ariz 0 Ariz Ariz Ariz
USC ASU USC USC 0 USC USC USC
OS Cal Cal Cal 0 Cal Cal Cal
UO Stan Stan Stan 0 UO UO UO
Wash UCLA UCLA UCLA 0 UCLA UCLA UCLA
Ariz Cal Cal Cal 0 Cal Cal Cal
ASU UO UO UO 0 UO UO UO
Wash OS OS OS 0 OS OS OS
Stan USC USC USC 0 USC USC USC
UCLA WSU UCLA UCLA 0 UCLA UCLA UCLA
UO Ariz Ariz UO 0 UO UO Ariz
ASU UCLA UCLA UCLA 0 ASU UCLA
Cal Stan Cal Cal 0 Cal Cal Cal
WSU Wash Wash Wash 0 Wash Wash Wash
Ariz ASU ASU ASU 0 ASU ASU Ariz
UCLA USC USC USC 0 USC USC USC
Ariz USC USC USC 0 USC USC USC
Cal Wash Cal Cal 0 Cal Cal Cal
OS UO UO UO 0 UO UO UO
Projected Wins
Ariz 4.0 3.0 0.0 3.5 2.0 6.0 3.0 3.0
ASU 4.0 5.0 0.0 4.0 5.0 2.0 6.0 5.0
Cal 7.0 6.0 0.0 8.0 8.0 7.0 8.0 6.0
UO 4.0 7.0 0.0 7.5 7.0 7.0 5.0 7.0
OS 5.0 5.0 0.0 5.5 6.0 6.0 5.0 6.0
Stan 4.0 4.0 0.0 4.0 3.0 4.0 4.0 3.0
UCLA 5.0 5.0 0.0 2.5 3.0 3.0 4.0 5.0
USC 8.0 8.0 0.0 8.5 9.0 9.0 7.0 8.0
Wash 3.0 2.0 0.0 1.5 2.0 1.0 3.0 2.0
WSU 1.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0

Projected Non-Conference Results

Arizona:
vs Central Mich: W
vs NAU: W
@ Iowa: L

ASU:
vs Idaho St: W
vs UL-Monroe: W
@ Georgia: L

Cal:
vs Maryland: W
vs E Wash: W
@ Minnesota: W

Oregon:
@ Boise St: L
vs Purdue: W
vs Utah: W

Oregon St:
vs Portland St: W
@ UNLV: W
vs Cincy: W

Stanford
@ Wake Forest: W
vs San Jose State: W
vs Notre Dame: L

UCLA:
vs SD St: W
@ Tennessee: L
vs Kansas St: W

USC:
vs SJ St: W
@ Ohio St: W
@ Notre Dame: W

Washington:
vs LSU: L
vs Idaho: W
@ Notre Dame: L

Washington St:
vs Hawaii: W
vs SMU: W
Notre Dame: L

Quick team-by-team notes

Arizona:
After finally breaking through to a bowl game, the Wildcats now hope to break into the upper tier of the Pac-10. That probably won't happen, but they do appear heading in the right direction.
Biggest Games:
vs Central Michigan, @ Oregon St, vs Oregon, @ Arizona St
After too many cases of crapping out in early season games, the Wildcats need to not blow another one, this time around to CMU. At Corvallis is an early chance to show that they're better than most people think, a late-season home game against Arizona is a chance to score a big win against the Ducks for the third time in four years, and after finally knocking off ASU last year, the game in Tempe will prove whether they're really closing the gap in the rivalry or whether they're only good enough to sometimes win home games against the Sun Devils.

Arizona St:
After last year's disapointment, the Sun Devils are looking to bounce back in 2009. It's hard to see a major improvement, but they ought to be better.
Biggest Games:
vs Oregon St, @ Washington St, vs Cal, vs Arizona
Oregon St is a big chance to score a win against an upper-division team, a trip to the Palouse could turn into a big disaster, Cal is another chance to score a win against an upper-division team, but the most important game is Arizona. After losing last year in Tucson, on the heels of a number of close games, they need to show that they're in charge of this rivalry.

Cal:
This ought to be USC's biggest challenger for the league title, and with this year's matchup at home, they have a very realistic chance of finally beating the Trojans head to head. This ought to be a legitimate contender for a BCS game, though as long as USC is still USC, it probably won't be the Rose Bowl. This should be a good team, even if the luster has started to wear off of the Tedford mystique. With home games against ASU and Oregon, they're in very good position to make some noise in the league.
Biggest Games:
@ Minnesota, @ Oregon, vs USC, @ UCLA
This is the huge stretch of games for the Bears. Arizona St, Oregon St and Stanford could all potentially turn into challenges, but this is the stretch which determines where the season goes. If they go 3-1, they can afford to drop another game along the way and still be a BCS team. If they're 2-2, they need to sweep the rest, a very tough thing to do, and if they're 1-3 or worse, their season is sunk.

Oregon:
Many people think that this team is a serious BCS contender and challenger to USC. If they want to prove their backers right, they're going to need to answer a lot of questions, and they're going to need to do it very quickly.
Biggest Games:
@ Boise St, vs Utah, vs Cal, vs USC
By the time September ends, it'll be obvious whether or not this team is for real. If they can sweep, or even if they can just do 3-1, they'll look like a team with a real chance to make some serious noise. If it's 2-2 or worse, though, they're in serious trouble. USC is a chance to score an important win in front of the home crowd. Obviously, the Civil War remains important, but thanks to the high expectations, whether this season is a success or a failure will be decided well before the Beavers come to town.

Oregon St:
This should be an upper-division team. There's definitely a gap between them and the top two (USC and Cal), but they still look like a strong team, despite the personnell losses.
Biggest Games:
@ UNLV, vs Arizona, @ Arizona St, @ Oregon
As always, early season games remain the Achilles Heel for this team until proven otherwise. If they struggle early as they've done too many times in the past, they'll have knocked themselves out of contention for a big year by then. If not, this could be a surprisingly big year in Corvallis.

Stanford:
They've notched some big wins, they've learned how to avoid getting blown out, now they need to put it all together and get themselves to six wins. It's far from guaranteed, but they definitely have a shot.
Biggest Games:
@ Washington St, @ Wake Forest, vs Cal, vs Notre Dame
Considering that the softest part of the schedule comes early, this team really needs a fast start, which really means 2-0 and playing well. If they can do that, four more wins is very doable. But if they're 1-1 (or really go into the toilet at 0-2), they're in serious trouble. There are too many tossup-type games on this slate for them to be able to afford not racking up as many wins as they can, as quickly as they can. At the end of the year, they really need to at least split home games against Cal (to show that the 2007 win wasn't just a fluke) and Notre Dame (because at some point they actually need to win this game), no matter how else the rest of the season goes.

UCLA:
This should be a big bounce-back season for the Bruins. How big of a bounce they get depends on whether or not they can finally learn to win on the road.
Biggest Games:
@ Tennessee, @ Stanford, vs Oregon, vs Cal
Assuming SD St and Kansas St are wins, the other four games in the first half of the year will define how things will go for UCLA. 3-1 would be great, but 2-2 still gives them tremendous margin for error the rest of the way. If they're 1-3, hitting six wins might be tougher than expected, and if they go 0-4 in this set, they're in major-league trouble, and might not even improve on last year's record at all.

USC:
As always, they're very good, and as always, they're the league favorite. There are definitely question marks, but until proven otherwise, they're still a great football team.
Biggest Games:
@ Ohio St, @ Cal, @ Notre Dame, @ Oregon
These are their most significant chances to be knocked off. As always, 12-0 is the target, and 11-1 leaves them needing some breaks to reach the title game.

Washington:
This team should definitely be much better than last year, but they're still not a bowl team, especially with a nasty slate of games.
Biggest Games:
vs LSU, vs Arizona, vs Oregon, vs Washington St
Since they won't hit six wins, their season will mainly be measured by progress. A huge home game against LSU provides a chance for a big upset to start things off with a bang, and will at least be an immediate measuring stick. Other than Idaho and Wazzu, Arizona is the most winnable game on the slate and one they really need if they're going to make the season respectable. Oregon and Wazzu are important rivalry games which, no matter how else the season goes, they really want to have.

Washington St.:
This will be a really bad football team, but they might find a way to pick up a couple of wins along the way.
Biggest Games:
vs Hawaii, vs SMU, vs Arizona St, @ Washington
These four games are probably the Cougars' best chances for wins (though they could have a shot at UCLA as well). If they can win in Seattle, even if everything else goes wrong they'll still be able to take something from the season.

2008 Predictions / Results

Team Actual Wins MrPacTen Athlon CFN Haire Forum CFP CHS CNNSI AZC
Ariz 5 4 5.5 4 6 1.5 3 1 3 5
ASU 4 7 7.5 5 6 7.0 6 6 7 7
Cal 6 6 5.0 4 7 6.5 5 7 5 5
UO 7 5 8.0 6 6 6.5 8 5 5 6
OS 7 5 1.0 5 4 5.0 7 8 6 4
Stan 4 3 1.0 2 2 2.0 1 1 3 2
UCLA 3 3 5.0 5 2 4.0 4 3 4 3
USC 8 7 8.0 8 9 9.0 9 8 8 8
Wash 0 3 2.5 4 2 2.5 1 5 3 3
WSU 1 2 1.5 2 1 1.0 1 1 1 1
Individual Games Correct 31 27.5 29 37 30.0 36 32
Final Standings Error 14 20.0 16 14 16.0 12 18 14 13

2007 Predictions / Results

WEEK BY WEEK RESULTS
MY PREDICTIONS ATHLON PREDICTIONS CFN PREDICTIONS HAIRE PREDICTIONS FORUM PREDICTIONS
TOTAL 28-17 29.5-15.5 29-16 31-14 28.5-16.5

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
16 WINS 17 WINS 20 WINS 16 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
18 WINS 17 WINS 18 WINS 14 WINS
ACTUAL RESULTS
ARIZ 4-5
ASU 7-2
CAL 3-6
UO 5-4
OS 6-3
STAN 3-6
UCLA 5-4
USC 7-2
WASH 2-7
WSU 3-6

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

Mr Pac-10's 2009 Blog

Questions, comments or suggestions? Email me at cfn_ms@hotmail.com

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