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Pac-10 Roundtable: TwistNHook is funnier than us edition

California Golden Blogs is hosting the roundtable this week.  Check it out, because they'll give you the comic relief that we lack.  They've got questions and, unlike Radio Shack, we've got answers instead of blank stares*.  Here goes:

1.  Washington showed moxie and elbow grease in nearing knocking off Yahoo! (oh wait is that BYU, sorry the hat confused me).  Also, spunk.  They showed spunk.  Locker finally showed some promise as both a running QB AND a throwing QB.  Unfortunately, the odd ending to the game probably left a bitter taste in many Husky mouths.  But should Husky fans see this game as the beginning of something big or just another emotionally brutal loss en route to Willingham's departure?  And why does BYU's hat look like its from Yahoo!?

Washington is going to have a couple of games like this on the season.  Jake Locker will bust loose, and the Huskies will make a game of a contest they shouldn’t be in (see the Oregon game last season).  But, having seen the Huskies live this year, I can tell you it’s a fluke.  This team still has no talent at the skill positions.  No talent in the secondary.  And, most importantly, no talent on either line (see pathetic “blocking” job on the missed field goal).  Locker will still be running for his life against most teams, and a forty point loss to Oklahoma will have the hounds outside Willingham’s door again.  This may have taken the heat off of him for a week, but he will be canned at the end of the season.  There is just no talent on this team.


2.  September is barely a week old, yet we've already seen 4 Pac-10 conference games.  Stanford already has both a win and a loss in the conference.  UW lost a rivalry game to Oregon before September even started.  Early conference games are not exactly new, but I don't recall there ever being so many of them this early.

Cal Coach Jeff Tedford has gone on record as saying he's not a big fan of early conference games.  "You like to play your non-conference games first and then get to conference play," Tedford said. "You like to be able to figure out who's exactly going to play for you in special teams, and get some game experience for guys before you have to get into conference play. That's a challenge this week to cut down to 64 for the road. You're still evaluating some situations on special teams and so on and so forth." It's worth noting that of the 4 conference games so far, only Tedford's Bears have managed to win a road game.

Are these early conference matchups good for the teams involved, or do they merely present an unnecessary challenge for teams that need their non-conference games to prepare for the rigors of conference play?  Are such games, and any exposure they might garner, good for the conference as a whole?  Or does it not matter when you play someone, as long as the matchups between the top teams are saved for later in the season?

Well, playing Washington is almost like playing a 1-AA cupcake, so that didn’t really bother me :<).  In all seriousness, I hate conference games early in the year.  I’d like to see at least two non-conference games before the first conference game, but there is absolutely no excuse for a conference game to be the very first game of the season.  Given what’s at stake in a conference game, you need to be able to have seen your backups and young players in action to tell who will fill in as backups at those positions, etc.  Its also made even more difficult for road teams in conference games as the conference limits the number of players you can bring on a conference road trip.  So I think it affect the team in a negative fashion (unless, of course, you’re playing a Washington school).


Not to mention, from a fan standpoint, losing a conference game to start the season just takes all of the wind out of the sails.  Ask Beaver fans—excitement for the season is non-existent.


3.  The "second tier" teams (Oregon, ASU, & Cal) have all looked strong so far.  Which team from this group will turn out to be the strongest, and do any of them have a chance of challenging USC for the conference title?  Arizona has also looked good (against weak competition) and UCLA (somehow) took out big, bad Tennessee; will either of these teams crack the top 4 in the conference?


First off, I don’t buy Arizona for a minute.  They still have Mike Stoops at head coach.  And Idaho and Toledo are hardly a measure of anything.  I also need to see a bit more to believe in UCLA, but they have a credible coach so I’m more likely to give them the benefit of the doubt (though their schedule still makes 6-6 likely).


ASU, Cal, and Oregon will finish 2-3-4 in some fashion.  Keep in mind, however, that Cal beating a very average Michigan State team is the best win for anybody in that bunch.  I believe that these are good teams, but we’ll see a lot more this weekend.  Maryland and Purdue aren’t great teams, but they’re similar to middle of the road Pac-10 teams.  If Oregon can Cal beat them solidly, we can assume they’re pretty good.  We’ll know a lot more about ASU if they play Georgia tough.  I think Oregon is the best of these teams, but their schedule may prevent them from challenging for the conference crown

4.  Since the dawn of time itself, Washington State has been regarded as one of the greatest, if not THE greatest college football program.  Now headed by universally hailed genius Paul Wulff and rocket armed uber-stud QB Unclear At This Time, Washington State (or Wazzu as it is sometimes called by the plebes) contends year in and year out for the brass ring (i.e.
crystal football).

Yet, Cal was recently able to defeat this troupe of pigskin superstars by the rather unbelievable score of A Lot to A Little.  Does this recent gridiron mauling mean that Cal is nigh unstoppable and en route to not only this year's National Championship, but also an almost certain thousand years of never before seen dominance.


Finally, feel free to answer with "yes," "Hell Yes," or the always popular "OH HELL YES!"

Washington State?  I didn’t know they still had a team.

5.  As much as we all hate each other, I think the one thing we can agree on is how much we hate the SEC.  I think everyone hates the SEC.  So what are your thoughts on the Teflon reputation that the SEC has for its losses and why the losses by Tennessee to UCLA and Cal get written off?

I’ll give the SEC credit.  They’ve got some really good teams.  But their attitude of “we play an SEC schedule, so we can have creampuffs OOC” is a joke.  Tennessee’s gotten exposed simply because they’ve been willing to put themselves out there.  Credit to Tennessee, who’s played UCLA and Cal recently, and will be playing Oregon in a few years.  Georgia’s starting to play some good games as well.  But Florida hasn’t left the state of Florida OOC since 1990, LSU’s annual road game is at Tulane (though they did play Arizona a few years back, and will be visiting UW next year.  Way to schedule the toughies, LSU).  Mostly, they play 1-AA cupcakes, or ACC teams where they don’t have to leave the south.  Its getting better, but still not good enough.


As one of our readers pointed out the other day, the fact is that the Pac-10 is 10-6 this decade against the SEC.  And the SEC is 1-6 at Pac-10 stadiums.


The SEC is good.  The SEC may even be the best.  But their attitude that the SEC is the god-given king of conferences is dead wrong.  The difference between the Pac-10 and the SEC is small, if it exists at all.  Until the SEC puts up by not getting waxed every time they step foot in a Pac-10 stadium, they can leave their tired arguments at the door.

* Dave's attempts at poor humor will remain infrequent, and should be soundly booed.


--Dave (