The Pac-10 Roundtable is an ancient symbol of links and bonding; it simultaneously binds and isolates. It is also a circle which delineates an outside from an inside. This is a perfect symbol for the ego, an island of consciousness, a ring of self-awareness. It binds us inside as a separate individual, and also isolates us from something greater outside, the universe. With that, onto the questions!
1. Montgomery. Great coach or the Greatest Coach!
Considering the 6-12 record and 9th in the Pac-10 last year, it is pretty hard to argue against Mike Montgomery's work at Cal this year. The only disqualifier I would have for him is that he had some talent on the bench coming into the season. Coach Robinson up in Corvallis may have done the best coaching job this year, getting at least 2 wins in the first half of conference play (and with Oregon still to play, it will probably be 3+) with a bare cupboard talent wise.
2. UCLA lost to ASU in a thriller. Is this a sign that UCLA's iron grip on the Pac10 is loosening or just a slight bump along the way to yet another Final 4 appearance?
Several teams are making a run at UCLA this year. When you are the defending champ in anything, you will always get your opponents' best every time out on the floor. There are a lot of great players out there that UCLA doesn't pick up and many are choosing other opportunities in the Pac-10. Arizona State has had a nice season, Washington is doing well. Despite their recent loss to Oregon State, Cal is performaning better than expected. At least for this season, the conference doesn't appear ready to roll over for UCLA and their eventual conference championship.
3. Fire Ernie Kent! Agree / Disagree
If he goes 0-fer in the conference, then yeah. He needs to go. He's a great recruiter, a great x and o's coach and especially good at getting his players to graduate. He just isn't a good sheppard of the program. In college athletics, no one likes extremes. People generally prefer an even-keeled experience than having to reset expectations. Even the strongest "Fire Kent" people can't argue with Ernie having a pretty good resume at his time in Oregon. The problem that he has is that people remember the bad times so vividly because they happen in such dramatic fashion. If those happen enough, it can be easy to forget the good times you have had. That being said, you can't do a whole lot if he has lost the team. The last half of the season will determine if he has lost the team. If he has, there is no way he can stay.
4. Mark Sanchez is off to the NFL. Does this give you hope for your team upsetting the Trojan Train next season?
USC will still be the team to beat come next season but nothing like breaking in a new quarterback at Autzen. Sanchez had a rough go of it last year when he was subbing for John David Booty and ended up throwing a key pick at the end of the game. Depending on the start of the season, there is a chance Oregon could be undefeated going into that game on Halloween and boy will Autzen be electric. We have some very important holes to fill across the board but the prospects of facing a first year starting QB for the Trojans gives me a confident feeling.
5. Right now parity seems to be the name of the game in the Pac 10, and the separation between UCLA, ASU, Washington, California, USC, and possibly WSU and Stanford seems small. With that in mind it also seems like the Pac 10 will only get about 4 (or fewer) NCAA tournament berths. Which teams make it by the end of the season?
UCLA, Arizona State, and Washington are definites. Cal has had some tough losses in the first half losing to Stanford and Oregon State. Stanford and USC are in similar boats and Washington State seems too young to turn it on the last half of the year. Stanford and Cal seem to have the best shots to make it along with the definites.