What's Bruin, Dawg? hosting this week:
1. Every week we take a look at the Pac-10 scoreboard, and every week it just seems to get worse for the teams at the bottom of the conference. Just how bad is the bottom of the conference this year? In historical terms, can you name a year in which there were so many poor teams at the bottom of the Pac-10? What do you think is the primary factor for this huge drop-off between last season and this season in the conference?
Can we just call it the Pac-8? The State of Washington does not deserve to be represented by a Division 1 football team. UW and WSU are epically bad, but that's not the worst of it. The worst is that, in spite of many bad seasons in a row, they've actually regressed, and are years away from making any noise in the conference. UW will be 0-11 going into the Apple Cup, and WSU will be 1-10, though its worth noting that the Cougars only won a game because they played 1-AA creampuff Portland State.
UCLA, while bad, is much, much better than the Washington Schools. Injuries are unavoidable plus, they already have their proven coach in place, so they get more of a pass for this year. But the Washington schools would have a tough time winning the Big Sky, let alone competiting in the Pac-10.
What's the primary reason? A lack of talent. Other than Jake Locker, name one player on either of these teams that anyone should fear. Oh, and Locker may miss the rest of the season. There are many reasons for the lack of talent (bad coaching, poor facilities, etc.). But, the fact of the matter is that neither Washington school is even remotely close to being competitive.
2. Coming in to the season, many people thought Arizona State would be a dark-horse contender in the Pac-10. Things haven't exactly gone according to plan so far in Tempe. What does Arizona State have to do to get back on track, and can Erickson replicate the same sort of success he saw last year with the team?
Arizona State's problem is that they don't have an offensive line and, couple that witht the fact that their quarterback is about as mobile as Mark Mangino after a Big Mac binge, then you can start to see why they have problems.
I'll let the MSM answer this one:
With six players, including sophomore left tackle Jon Hargis, in their first season on the offensive line depth chart, ASU is 110th of 119 nationally in rushing offense and 97th in sacks allowed.
That's a recipe for losses right there. And, no, there's no reason to suspect Erickson will turn it around this year. Unless a bunch of 300 lb. skilled lineman magically appear on the ASU campus.
3. Well, so much for the other Oregon school beating USC. Does USC's erratic nature open the door for any other teams to surprise the Trojans the rest of this year, or do you think USC's got it out of their system at this point? Out of the Trojans' remaining opponents, which team do you feel will give USC the most trouble, and why?
Who knows? USC will likely lose another game, because they almost always do, but I don't have any idea to whom. Last year they lost to the worst team in the conference (Stanford), and the one that, for most of the season, was the best (Oregon). I could see them struggling with a Cal, or an Arizona, or even a UCLA if the conditions are right. They won't lose to a Washington school, though. I promise you that.
4. Answer: 2. 5. 10. Question: The number of years it will take for UCLA to challenge for the Pac-10 title. Discuss.
There are so many variable that who knows how long it will actually take. However, I think a better question is "In how many years could UCLA compete for a Pac-10 title? The answer is two.
The coach is in place, and that's really the key vis-a-vis, for example, the Washington schools. There's actually some talent there, too, although most of it is hurt. But in Los Angeles, with the Weasel at the helm, they'll be able to recruit. And, once you start getting players, its just a matter of time.
5. So, does Cal's rotating quarterback bingo have any chance of succeeding during the rest of the year? Can Tedford continue to alternate Riley and Longshore on a game-to-game basis, and perhaps more importantly, do you think he will?
Yeah, I think I'm qualified to speak on the subject of two QB systems (Harrington/Feeley, Fife/Clemens, Dixon/Leaf).
No, it won't work. It never does. Its the dumbest idea in the history of mankind. Jason Fife sucked and still played, and it cost us untold numbers of games. Brady Leaf sucked and still played, and it cost us a Holiday Bowl. In both cases, the QBs that we all knew were better to begin with (Clemens, Dixon), ended up being the respective starters. We saw it coming from a mile away.
With respect to the Cal situation, here's the bottom line. Nate Longshore sucks. His well documented crush on Jessica Simpson shows that he has terrible judgment and should never be trusted, and his on field play backs this up. If you look up Nate Longshore in a thesaurus, it will say "Jason Fife."
If Cal's quarterback of the future is on the roster right now, its Kevin Riley. There is no reason to hinder his development. If you look at Cal right now, you cannot tell me that playing Longshore over Riley at all will have any appreciable effect on their records. This being the case, playing Longshore over Riley can only hurt Riley's development, thus hindering Cal's future records. It'd be a foolish decision to keep playing him.
6. Don't look too closely, but Mike Stoops may actually be in the process of saving his job out there in Tucson. What do the Wildcats need to do in order to continue their early conference success?
Keep playing teams with a combined four wins on the season. This is not a good football team. And once they start playing anyone with a pulse, they will be exposed. Mike Stoops is still Mike Stoops. His anvil is waiting.