Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Pac-10 Football 2010 Straight Ahead - Season Picks

I'm getting excited for the upcoming college football season! Most schools start their schedules this weekend.

Of course at this time of the year hope springs eternal and the talk is all about what's going to happen...predicting.

In thinking about the Pac-10 and which teams might do what this season, I realized that over the past 6-7 seasons, each Pac-10 football team has performed in remarkably similar fashion over that period of time. For example and in no particular order:
  • USC - dominates wire-to-wire
  • OSU - starts slow but finishes strong
  • Cal - starts strong but fades in the second half of the season
  • Oregon - erratic, can beat anyone but can lose to anyone too
  • UW - not very good beginning to end of the season
  • WSU - lose virtually every game
  • ASU - always picked to be a contender, never delivers
  • UCLA - see ASU comment
  • UA - See ASU comment (except for last season)
  • Stanford - scrappy team making headway
And guess what? I bet this is exactly what happens again this year...with two exceptions. Those are: 1) I doubt USC will dominate everyone and even if they do it does not matter as they are not eligible to win the conference due to NCAA penalties, 2) I think UW will be better and could win as many as eight games.

Past that, I think we're going to see these programs perform similar to their recent track record:
  • Oregon may go 11-1 and win the league going away, or they could go 7-5 (or worse).
  • OSU could be a contender if they start even a game or two faster than most seasons.
  • Inversely, Cal could contend if they don't fade as early as in recent seasons.
  • ASU, UCLA and UA...well, I just won't believe they're Pac-10 title contenders until I actually see it happen. More likely they will be the "middle of the pack."
All that said, here is my prediction for the upcoming Pac-10 season:
  1. Oregon - stars align enough that they come out on top, Darron Thomas performs well at QB, BSC bowl
  2. USC - good team does well, but cannot play post season
  3. OSU - similar story to last season...solid team, start a bit slow, finish very strong, bowl
  4. Stanford - the scrappy team keeps scrapping and getting better, very good QB helps, bowl
  5. UW - Locker finally is consistent and the team surprises, wins enough to get to a bowl
  6. UA - comedown from last year and back to underachieving, might make a bowl 
  7. Cal - late season fade comes earlier this season, no bowl
  8. UCLA - don't believe the hype
  9. ASU - sorry, not this year either
  10. WSU - sad but true, may lose 9 or more games
There. Those are my picks. I did them in the moment here just before the season starts, and it's eerie how similar they are to my thoughts following spring practices earlier this year. At least I'm consistent.

In the end, I think trends and tendencies from the past will continue for the most part this season.

For those of you who say sure Marc, you  picked Oregon to win it because that's your school, I say you are correct in part...but the other part is that I honestly challenge you at this stage of the year to tell me there is a better team Pac-10 team front-to-back, O and D than the Ducks. Another team might end up being better, sure, but as of now I don't see one better as we kick off the season. Hey, I know Oregon will eventually slide...all programs do and football is cyclical...but I don't think it'll be in 2010.

Here's to an entertaining season.

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