Well, most schools have now completed their spring practices...typically capped with a intra-squad spring game. My Alma Matter - the University of Oregon - just played their game this past weekend. The great thing is that no matter what school you follow, spring gives you hope.
For anyone who follows the Pac-10, you certainly have heard about 3-4 players from the Ducks football squad who had run-ins with the law this past winter - the most significant being QB Jeremiah Masoli who is now suspended for the full 2010 season.
However, what you may not know is that the Duck are loaded on offense, including two very capable QBs in senior Nate Costa and near Dennis Dixon clone Daron Thomas. Plus, Masoli never played defense or special teams. And, if that wasn't enough...the Duck D is looking very good.
So, I'm going to go ahead and bait controversy and say that the Ducks are going to win the Pac-10 again in 2010. This is mostly based on the significant number of returning players the team has from its championship season last year, but also based on the fact that no other Pac-10 team is - at least to me - clearly better.
Washington? Probably better than last year. Hell, they might even finish in the top three of the league. But, I don't think they are the best team. I definitely don't agree with the UW radio announcers who declared this spring that the Huskies are league champion contenders and their QB as a top level Heisman Trophy candidate. USC? OK, well, new coach, major losses to the draft and graduation. I'm sure they'll win more than they lose (might even beat my Ducks down in LA), but I am not sure their the class of the league. Could win it if they get a few breaks. Top three for sure. UCLA, Arizona, Cal, ASU? All four are hyped every year and every year all four find ways to tank it. I will only believe these schools will win the Pac-10 when they actually do it. So, this is your middle of the pack. WSU? Forget it. Sorry, I like the Cougs, but they're not winning the Pac-10 this year. Stanford? Not that's an interesting team. I'm going to say they finish in the top half of the league - maybe outside chance they win it all. That leaves the hated Oregon State Beavers. Despite losing their senior QB, they return a lot of talent and I think we could be looking at another "Civil War for the Roses" come late fall.
Below is my predicted order of finish:
- Oregon State
- Arizona State
- Washington State
Hey, I know a lot can happen between now and the first weekend of games - not to mention as the season progresses. But right now, coming off of spring practices, keeping focus on my favorite team and their league...I'm feeling pretty good about the Ducks' chances in 2010.
OK, now that I've jinxed the Ducks with my confidence - thus ensuring a disappointing season - I'll wait to see how it all unfolds starting in September.