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Mr. Pac-10 Previews the 2010 Season

Mr Pac Ten
Posted Aug 28, 2010


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

2010 looks like an interesting year at the top of the Pac-10. Oregon is the league favorite, but it's hard to say that they've established a huge gap between themselves and the various teams chasing them. As a consequence, a road-heavy schedule that features five league road games, including nasty trips to USC and Oregon St, could certainly keep them from a second consecutive Rose Bowl berth. But no one among the teams chasing them really stands out, which means that we're likely headed towards a big jumble at the top, with a few key breaks, good or bad, separating the eventual winner from the rest. Every team has strengths and weaknesses, but overall it looks like there is very little separating Cal, Oregon St, Stanford and USC from each other, which is why I'm pegging them to have a four-way tie just behind Oregon. No, I don't really think they'll end up tied like that, but I can't separate those four teams when picking records. And even Arizona, the next team down, is pretty darn close as well, which is why I have them just one win behind.

Things start to fall off after that, with only Washington picked to make a bowl (and barely at that), ASU and UCLA picked to finish well off bowl eligibility (ASU should need seven wins), and Wazzu pegged to bring up the rear by a solid margin.

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 preseason projections from 2005 onward 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 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 (BearEEGoodSire), link here (he graciously provided both picks and his reasoning behind the picks for public consumption)
CFP predictions from collegefootballpoll.com, article here
ATHLON predictions from Athlon preview magazine
CNNSI predictions from cnnsi.com, article here
FOA predictions from the footballoutsiders annual preview, which can be purchased, here
TSN predictions from thesportingnews.com, article here
OTB predictions from offthebag.com, article here
WIS predictions from whatifsports.com, article here (note that the tables at the top are incorrect, presuming 8 league games; I generated the given numbers by summing up their individual game probabilities)
ELA predictions from a CFN forum poster (EastLansingAdam) who has provided annual previews for a number of years, link here (note that there are individual game picks he has made, but I am only currently tracking his standings projections)

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.
ATHLON, CNNSI and OTB pick records only and not individual games (I am also only tracking records for ELA).

Away Home MrPacTen CFN Haire FORUM WINNER CFP ATHLON CNNSI FOA OTB TSN WIS ELA
Stan UCLA Stan UCLA Stan Stan Stan Stan
Cal Ariz Cal Ariz Ariz Ariz Cal Ariz
UO ASU UO UO UO UO UO UO
USC WSU USC USC USC USC USC USC
ASU OS OS OS OS OS OS OS
Stan UO UO UO UO UO UO UO
Wash USC USC USC USC USC USC USC
WSU UCLA UCLA UCLA UCLA UCLA UCLA UCLA
ASU Wash Wash Wash Wash Wash Wash Wash
UO WSU UO UO UO UO UO UO
OS Ariz Ariz Ariz OS Ariz Ariz OS
UCLA Cal Cal Cal Cal Cal Cal Cal
USC Stan Stan Stan Stan Stan Stan
Ariz WSU Ariz Ariz Ariz Ariz Ariz Ariz
Cal USC USC USC USC USC USC USC
OS Wash Wash OS Wash OS Wash OS
Wash Ariz Ariz Ariz Ariz Ariz Ariz Ariz
ASU Cal ASU Cal Cal Cal Cal Cal
UCLA UO UO UO UO UO UO UO
WSU Stan Stan Stan Stan Stan Stan Stan
Ariz UCLA UCLA UCLA UCLA UCLA UCLA
Cal OS OS OS OS OS OS OS
UO USC USC USC USC UO UO
Stan Wash Stan Stan Wash Wash Wash Stan
WSU ASU ASU ASU ASU ASU ASU ASU
Ariz Stan Stan Stan Stan Stan Stan Stan
ASU USC USC USC USC USC USC USC
Cal WSU Cal WSU Cal Cal Cal Cal
OS UCLA OS UCLA OS OS OS OS
Wash UO UO UO UO UO UO UO
UO Cal Cal Cal Cal UO Cal UO
Stan ASU Stan ASU Stan Stan Stan Stan
USC Ariz Ariz USC Ariz USC Ariz
UCLA Wash Wash Wash Wash Wash Wash Wash
WSU OS OS OS OS OS OS OS
Stan Cal Cal Cal Cal Cal Cal
USC OS OS OS OS OS OS OS
Ariz UO UO UO UO UO UO UO
Wash Cal Cal Cal Cal Cal Cal
OS Stan OS Stan Stan Stan OS
UCLA ASU ASU ASU ASU ASU UCLA
ASU Ariz Ariz Ariz Ariz Ariz Ariz Ariz
UO OS UO OS OS OS OS UO
USC UCLA USC USC USC USC USC UCLA
Wash WSU Wash Wash Wash Wash Wash Wash
Projected Wins MrPacTen CFN Haire FORUM WINNER CFP ATHLON CNNSI FOA OTB TSN WIS ELA
Ariz 5 5 5 6.0 4 5 5 6 5.5 5 5 6.0 5
ASU 3 3 2 1.5 2 1 2 2 3.4 3 1 2.3 2
Cal 6 5 6 4.0 7 5 4 3 4.9 3 3 5.4 4
UO 7 6 6 7.5 7 9 7 7 7.8 8 8 7.3 7
OS 6 6 7 7.5 6 8 6 7 4.6 3 7 6.2 9
Stan 6 5 6 5.5 6 6 5 5 4.6 6 4 5.5 3
UCLA 2 4 2 2.0 2 4 2 4 3.4 2 5 5.2 5
USC 6 7 6 6.5 6 4 8 6 7.4 8 6 4.8 7
Wash 4 3 5 4.5 5 3 5 5 3.3 7 6 1.5 3
WSU 0 1 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0.2 0 0 0.8 0

Projected Non-Conference Results

Arizona:
@ Toledo: W
vs Citadel: W
vs Iowa: W

ASU:
vs Port St: W
vs NAU: W
@ Wisconsin: L

Cal:
vs UC-Davis: W
vs Colorado: W
@ Nevada: W

Oregon:
vs New Mexico: W
@ Tennessee: W
vs Port St: W

Oregon St:
@ TCU: L
vs Louisville: W
@ Boise: L

Stanford
vs Sac St: W
vs Wake Forest: W
@ Notre Dame: W

UCLA:
@ Kansas St: W
vs Houston: W
@ Texas: L

USC:
@ Hawaii: W
vs Virginia: W
@ Minnesota: W
vs Notre Dame: W

Washington:
@ BYU: W
vs Syracuse: W
vs Nebraska: L

Washington St:
@ OK St: L
vs Montana St: W
@ SMU: L

Quick team-by-team notes

Arizona:
This team has the schedule to make a Rose Bowl run, though the coaching transition and defensive losses mean that this probably won't be the year it comes together for them.
Biggest Games:
vs Iowa, vs Cal, vs Oregon St, vs Arizona St
Iowa and Cal are key chances to score meaningful wins at home early in the year. Oregon St is another Pac-10 contender that they get at home, and will need to beat them again if they want to make a run. And ASU will be fired up to avenge two straight losses, and the 'Cats can't afford a slip-up there.

Arizona St:
After two straight disapointing seasons, the Sun Devils are looking to bounce back in 2010. It's hard to see a major improvement, but they could be a bit better.
Biggest Games:
@ Washington, vs UCLA, vs Stanford, @ Arizona
It's all about piling up wins for the Sun Devils, and other than the AA games and Wazzu, the first three are their best chances. If they can somehow go 2-1 in this set, maybe they can at least make a run at a bowl game. And the Arizona game is key if they want to regain control of the rivalry, which has suddenly and decisively swung to the Wildcats.

Cal:
This team should be good enough to make a bowl without too much trouble, and not quite good enough to make the Rose Bowl.
Biggest Games:
@ Nevada, @ USC, vs Oregon, vs Stanford
Nevada is a key early-season game, as this is the sort of game Cal teams have found ways to lose in the past. Oregon is a home game they need to have if they're going to make a surprise Rose Bowl run. And USC and Stanford are key rivalry games. With six straight losses to USC and seven of eight wins against Stanford, they need to win at least one of those two to consider the season a success (unless somehow they make a Rose Bowl run despite losses in those two).

Oregon:
This is the Rose Bowl favorite, though it's far from a lock.
Biggest Games:
@ Tennessee, vs Stanford, @ USC, @ Oregon St
They CANNOT afford an embarrassing non-conference loss for the third year in a row. Beyond that, Stanford is a revenge game, and road trips to USC and Oregon St could be the difference between a Rose Bowl berth and something less.

Oregon St:
Once again, this will be a good team, and once again, they probably won't be quite good enough to win the league.
Biggest Games:
@ Boise St, @ Washington, vs USC, vs Oregon
Washington and Oregon are always important games for the Beavers, and Boise and USC are key chances to make a big statement.

Stanford:
After finally getting back to bowl eligibility, they need to keep it up, as well as turn the tables in a number of key series.
Biggest Games:
@ UCLA, @ Notre Dame, vs USC, @ Cal
Barring a surprising collapse, this should again be a bowl team. That means that these four games will decide how good the season was. USC is always a big game for them, and they haven't won at any of the other three teams since they won at Cal in 2000. Unless the rest of the schedule is a disaster, 1-3 makes this season a failure, and unless the rest is fantastic, 3-1 makes this season a success.

UCLA:
It's all about staying over .500, which will be easier said than done in 2010.
Biggest Games:
@ Kansas St, vs Stanford, vs Houston, @ Arizona St
They'll know early whether they're capable of making a bowl run. If they can't start 2-1 or better, they won't win six. And at ASU is a key contest for both teams.

USC:
Until proven otherwise, they're still a power player in this league, and are still a dangerous opponent to anyone and everyone.
Biggest Games:
@ Stanford, vs Oregon, @ Oregon St, vs Notre Dame
Until proven otherwise, it's all about the big games for the Trojans. These should be their four toughest tests (though @ Arizona won't be easy either), and Stanford and Oregon are key chances for payback.

Washington:
After taking a nice step forward in 2009, now they need to improve a bit more and finally get back to the postseason for the first time since 2002.
Biggest Games:
@ BYU, vs Oregon St, vs Stanford, vs UCLA
It's all about racking up the wins. Since Wazzu and Syracuse should be wins, 3-1 in this set would almost guarantee them bowl eligibility. 2-2 or worse would make things very difficult the rest of the way.

Washington St.:
This will be a really bad football team. Two wins would be an achievement; three would be a minor miracle.
Biggest Games:
@ OK St, vs Montana St, @ SMU, @ UCLA
These four games are probably the Cougars' best chances for wins (though they could have a shot at ASU as well). Moreover, they will set the tone for the season, as they're four of Wazzu's first five. If they're looking bad after the UCLA game, with only one win and a bunch of uncompetitive losses, they could easily enter the same death-spiral they've suffered through the past two seasons.

2009 Predictions / Results

Team Actual Wins MrPacTen CFN Haire FORUM WINNER CFP BUSTER CNNSI FOA
Ariz 6 4.0 3.0 5.0 3.5 2.0 6.0 3.0 3.0 4.5
ASU 2 4.0 5.0 4.0 4.0 5.0 2.0 6.0 5.0 4.5
Cal 5 7.0 6.0 5.0 8.0 8.0 7.0 8.0 6.0 6.5
UO 8 4.0 7.0 7.0 7.5 7.0 7.0 5.0 7.0 5.3
OS 6 5.0 5.0 5.0 5.5 6.0 6.0 5.0 6.0 4.2
Stan 6 4.0 4.0 6.0 4.0 3.0 4.0 4.0 3.0 3.5
UCLA 3 5.0 5.0 4.0 2.5 3.0 3.0 4.0 5.0 4.6
USC 5 8.0 8.0 8.0 8.5 9.0 9.0 7.0 8.0 7.9
Wash 4 3.0 2.0 1.0 1.5 2.0 1.0 3.0 2.0 2.7
WSU 0 1.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.2
Individual Games Correct 28.0 34.0 33.0 31.0 32.0 35.0
Final Standings Error 20.0 18.0 12.0 17.0 20.0 12.0 20.0 18.0 19.5

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

2005 Predictions / Results

WEEK BY WEEK RESULTS
MY PREDICTIONS ATHLON PREDICTIONS CFN PREDICTIONS HAIRE PREDICTIONS
TOTAL 28-12 28.0-12.0 24-16 26-14

note: predicted "toss-up" games are indicated by being equal to half a win and half a loss
STANDINGS PREDICTIONS 2005

MY PREDICTIONS ATHLON PREDICTIONS CFN PREDICTIONS SI PREDICTIONS
USC 7-1 USC 8.0-0.0 USC 8-0 USC 8-0
UO 6-2 ASU 6.5-1.5 ASU 6-2 ASU 6-2
UCLA 6-2 UCLA 6.0-2.0 CAL 6-2 UO 5-3
ASU 5-3 CAL 6.0-2.0 UO 4-4 CAL 5-3
CAL 4-4 UO 4.5-3.5 OSU 4-4 WSU 4-4
STAN 4-4 OSU 4.0-4.0 UCLA 4-4 UCLA 4-4
WSU 3-5 WSU 2.5-5.5 ARIZ 3-5 ARIZ 3-5
ARIZ 2-6 ARIZ 1.5-6.5 WSU 3-5 OSU 3-5
OSU 2-6 STAN 0.5-7.5 STAN 1-7 STAN 1-7
WASH 1-7 WASH 0.5-7.5 WASH 1-7 WASH 1-7
TOTAL WINS OFF BY
6 WINS 14 WINS 16 WINS 14 WINS
HAIRE PREDICTIONS CFW PREDICTIONS CFP PREDICTIONS ACTUAL RESULTS
USC 8-0 USC 8-0 USC 8-0 USC 8-0
UCLA 5-3 UCLA 6-2 UCLA 7-1 UO 7-1
CAL 5-3 STAN 6-2 CAL 6-2 UCLA 6-2
ASU 5-3 CAL 5-3 ASU 6-2 CAL 4-4
UO 4-4 ASU 5-3 OSU 5-3 STAN 4-4
ARIZ 4-4 WASH 4-4 WSU 3-5 ASU 4-4
OSU 4-4 UO 2-6 STAN 2-6 OSU 3-5
WSU 3-5 OSU 2-6 UO 2-6 ARIZ 2-6
WASH 2-6 ARIZ 1-7 ARIZ 1-7 WSU 1-7
STAN 0-8 WSU 1-7 WASH 0-8 WASH 1-7
TOTAL WINS OFF BY
16 WINS 14 WINS 18 WINS

Mr Pac-10's 2010 Blog

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