One more week until the start of fall camp. One week. I can taste it. So, as we wait for this last week, lets get a feel for the Pac-10. Seems like just about everyone is posting their Pac-10 rankings, so lets do the same. Here is my pre-season Pac-10 predictions.
They are absolutely stacked, especially on defense. They have the best linebackers in the nation, and the best D-line in the Pac-10. I don't see too many offenses scoring on them. However, I think they will blow a game somewhere, due to the passing game. I don't feel that the passing game alone will be able to carry the team. This may not matter, as their defense is so good, but they could get into some tough games at some point.
I think that 2-4 in the Pac-10 are quite the toss up. Each team has its weaknesses, but I think Oregon's will be least important. This could simply be due to the fact that I know Oregon better than the other teams, but whatever.
The biggest hindrance to Oregon being the #2 team in the Pac-10 is the schedule. And you know what, that's not deterring me. Cal and ASU have enough holes that I think going into Tempe and Berkley will be tossups. Oregon's defense is set up to be one of the best in years, with one of the best secondaries in the nation, which Allioti will use well. They have a ton of talent on the offensive side of the ball, with one of the top 2 O-Lines in the conference, making QB transition that much easier. I think this is one of the deepest and most talented teams Oregon has ever had, and the way the team did not implode last year and fought to the end will carry over into this season. If they get B play from the QB and WR positions, I think the team will go 10-2. But, with the talent at those positions, there really isn't a ceiling. If Costa can get settled in over the first 4 games and J-Will decides not to drop any balls, the offense will be clicking, and then who knows what will happen.
3a) Arizona State
I really don't like putting ASU here. But here they are, thanks almost solely to Dennis Erickson. Their offensive line was terrible in pass protection last year, but much of that unit is now gone. Will it get better? Can it get worse than last season? Either way, I don't have much faith in this unit (and neither did Phil Steele, ranking it as the worst in the Pac-10), and if they do not improve significantly, they will have a tough time beating the upper half of the Pac-10. The rest of the team is solid, but this is a massive weakness that is being overlooked by many. Other than that, they should be pretty good at other positions, being ranking by most in the top 1/2 of the Pac-10, but I just can't put them higher due to that O-Line.
They have a stellar O-line, which will carry them for much of the season. But they lost huge players at the skill positions. While Cal fans are really excited about Jahvid Best, and the guy is highlight reel waiting to happen, will he be able to carry the load for a whole season? I'm doubtful. Also, all of their running backs weigh less than 200 pounds. Make of that what you will. For the rest of the offense I don't have a whole lot of confidence in Longshore or Riley. They have a great linebacking corp, though the rest of the defense is above mediocre. They also have an easy schedule. Overall, they have their issues, as does ASU. I feel they will end up in about the same place, with their weaknesses becoming very clear in a couple key games during the season.
5) Oregon State
This is where things get interesting. I am putting OSU here because you usually know what you have with these guys. They will not be blowing many people away, but after some huge losses at Penn State and against USC, they will settle in and do fairly well in the Pac 10. I think their D will be solid, as will their running backs and wide receivers, though I think their QBs are below average at best. I don't think they will make many big plays, which will hurt them in games where their D cannot hold the opponent to less than 25 points.
I don't like having any Mike Stoops team this high, but this team will score. They will score a lot. And they will probably give up more points over the entire season. The main reason I don't have them higher than OSU is that they will be incredibly inconsistent. They will win a few games they shouldn't, and lose some they should.
No set QB and an incredibly bad offensive line spells trouble, even with the great coaching they have at the assistant positions. They don't have anything impressive on the offensive side of the ball, and defense isn't gonna be good enough to carry the offense. But, at least they don't have Dorrell coaching them anymore, so the guys over at Bruins Nation can be happy.
Jake Locker. Jake Locker. Jake Locker. The rest of the team is flat out awful. They have the worst rated RBs, WRs, and D-line according to Phil Steele.
They have some experience back, and...well, they aren't Washington State.
10) Washington State
Yep, it's a rebuilding year. They don't have too much that is special at any position, though I think they will be decent in a couple years. I'm just glad we'll be in the Pallouse in September. I hate that place in November.
So, there you have it. That's exactly how the conference will turn out. Okay, maybe not, but leave your comments, thoughts, predictions in the comments.
This post represents the views of only myself, and not any of the other ATQ moderators.