Friday, December 31, 2010

Countdown to "The Natty" - Do We Have the Best Matchup?

Is Auburn vs. Oregon truly a matchup of the two best teams in NCAA football this season?

Yes, it is. The undefeated champion of the SEC and the undefeated champion of the Pac-10 are easily the best two teams in college football this year.

Yes, there are others who are very, very good. Stanford, Wisconsin, Ohio State, TCU, Boise State, Michigan State all come to mind. But all of those teams lost a game. They lost. Oregon and Auburn did not. They found ways to win. Every game.

For those teams in the “big” conferences with only one loss, they will all be going to great bowl games.

For undefeated TCU, well, they just don’t play in a league with tough enough competition to vault them into the top two positions in the rankings. They just don’t. Simple as that. None the less, they're in the Rose Bowl.

And so it is that we are indeed getting the best matchup of this season for the national championship. For all the debate and conversation, no matter who wins, we’ll know they were the best team this season.

Hey, if Oregon contains Cam Newton and wins, you’ll know…the Ducks are the best team. And conversely, Newton and Auburn go off on Oregon and win, there will be no doubt the Tigers are the best.

And that's what you want in the big game.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Countdown to "The Natty" - Does America Even Know Oregon Is In This Game?

To count down each day between now and the National Championship college football game (aka "The Natty") on Jan. 10, 2011 between the University of Oregon and Auburn University I will pose and attempt to answer a daily question about the match up. On Jan. 10, I'll answer the question, "who will win the game?"

I'll start out with a question that's been on my mind since viewing the media coverage of college football following the end of the regular season...

Does America even know Oregon is playing in the national championship game?

Oh, you didn't know the University of Oregon is playing the BCS college football national championship game on Jan. 10, 2011?

Well, I can't blame you. That's because the media - especially ESPN - is monolithically focused on Auburn QB Cam Newtwon and the Auburn team. They're cranked up full tilt to promote this wonderful player and the season his team had.

Between talk about the Heisman Trophy winning Newton (some of it bad by the way given off-the-field issues) and the Tigers undefeated run through the SEC - assumed (not by me) to be the best conference in college football - it's the all Auburn-all-the-time show on TV and online.

Sure, if you look hard enough, you'll see that there is this team from this place called Oregon (isn't that somewhere out there next to Kansas or maybe west of Michigan?) that somehow has a role in Auburn's ultimate fate this season. But, that's about it.

I actually think this is good for the Ducks. The media hype and attention on Newton and Auburn clearly paints Oregon as the underdog and feeds that underdog mentality among the Oregon coaches and players...motivation.

Meanwhile, even if Auburn's coaches and players are focused on the game, they cannot NOT notice the massive accolades being heaped upon them. That's gotta have an an Oregon fan, at least I hope it does. Ratchet up "the pressure" on them to deliver, make them take Oregon too lightly, etc.

We'll see.

In the meantime, you are on notice that indeed the 12-0, Pac-10 champion (two years running) Oregon Ducks are the competition for Auburn in the championship game. And, they score more points per game, amass more yards per game and statistically have a better defense. But you wouldn't know it. Now you do.

Check back tomorrow and each day between now and Jan. 10 to hear a new question about the game and my thoughts in attempting to answer.

Monday, December 27, 2010

My 2010 The Year In Pictures and Picture of the Year

I've created a year-in-review "best of" set of pictures that I took in 2010. With trips to Egypt, the Grand Canyon, Iowa, the Rose Bowl and other fun places, it was quite a year for photography.

You can see the full set of my 2010: The Year In Pictures by clicking HERE.

Picture of the Year
While it was a tough one to chose, my selection for the best shot I took in 2010 is below. The exotic locale of this picture, the history and importance of the monuments, as well as the symmetry of three pyramids and three camels...and no tourists in view...create a pretty dang good shot if you ask me.

Trivia question: There actually is a person in this picture, can you find him/her?

NOTE: You can also see my 2009: The Year In Pictures set by clicking HERE.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

RIP Joe Strummer - 8 Years Ago Today

It's hard to believe it's been eight years ago today that one of my all time heroes, Joe Strummer, died suddenly at age 50 of a congenital heart condition. Every year I think about what a sad shame it is that he's gone, but also glad that he was around in the first place.

Above: Joe Strummer on top of 30 Rock in NYC in 1981.

If you don't know much about Joe, here are some suggestions...

--Redemption Song - an excellent, honest biography of Strummer

--The Clash - London Calling
--Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros - Global A Go Go

--The Future Is Unwritten - biography of Strummer well worth watching
--Mystery Train - a fictional film in which Joe has a starring role

I'll leave you with a couple lines from more recent songs that include mentions of Joe...

"I'll keep listening to the great Joe Strummer, 'cause through music he will live forever." - line from the song "Indestructible" by the band Rancid.

"Lets raise a glass to Saint Joe Strummer, I think he may have been our only decent teacher." - line from the song "Constructive Summer" by the band The Hold Steady.

"And then I heard it like a shot through my skull to my brain,
I felt my fingertips tingle and it started to rain,
When the walls of my bedroom were tremblin' around me,
This ramshackle voice over attack of a bluesbeat,
Tellin' me he's only looking for fun.
This was the sound of the very last gang in town."

--from the song "I Would Have Called You Woody, Joe" by the band The Gaslight Anthem (about Joe Strummer).

Monday, December 20, 2010

Gallup Poll on Religious Beliefs May Have Insights for Voting Patterns

A new poll by the Gallup organization has found that 40 percent of Americans believe in "creationism." That is, four out of every 10 people you pass on the street today believe that a god (or more likely the Christian God) created the earth, the heavens, humans, animals and everything else just as they are today over a six day period about 10,000 years ago.

Another 38 percent believe that humans evolved from more basic organisms or forms, but that a god (or God) played a role in that evolution.

Sixteen percent of Americans said they believed humans developed over millions of years with no divine involvement.

And, perhaps not surprisingly, the same poll found that the less education a person has, the more they believe in creationism.

Here's one thought I had when reading over the poll results...

I think the notion that the less educated a person is correlates to his or her willingness to believe unprovable stories that defy science and logic may give insight into how those same people are also able to vote against their own interests in elections and in favor of politicians or political parties that can "tell a good story" and appeal to their religious or emotional hot button issues.

My Year-End "Best Of" for 2010

2010 was a good year by virtually all measures personally. Here in no particular order is my own personal Best Of list for 2010...
  • Our trip to Egypt - in particular the hot air baloon ride, pryamids and snorkeling in the Red Sea
  • Our trip to the Grand Canyon - great views and hikes
  • Seeing the Beatles Love show in Las Vegas - simply awesome
  • Our trip to Iowa to visit my grandma and tour around small town Iowa
  • Follwing the Oregon Ducks football team to its 12-0 record and a birth in the BCS National Championship game
  • Celebrating Diane's birthday with a mini-trip to the San Juan Islands
  • Seeing Public Image Ltd. live in Seattle at the Showbox at the Market - incredible and never thought I'd see them
  • Not getting hurt (at all!) when a car rolled out of a parking garage and hit me as I was running by on the sidewalk
  • Visiting friends in Portland and Hood River this December
  • Enjoying our friends around Seattle for dinner, drinks, movies and outings of all kinds
  • Running in two half-marathons - the Eugene Half in May and the Bellingham Half in September
  • Oh...and Season 2 of Eastbound & Down. Kenny Powers is back!
Sure, there were plenty of other fun acitivities and profound events in 2010, and all of them together made the year one worth remembering. But, these are the ones from my life that shone through as the best.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Pac-10 Bowl Predictions

Here are my predictions for Pac-10 bowl games that are not the BSC Championship Game...

Holiday Bowl: 6-6 Washington vs. 10-3 and #18 ranked Nebraska on Dec. 30 in San Diego
Earlier this season Nebraska visited Husky Stadium in Seattle and absolutely obliterated the Huskies by the score of 56-21. As bad as that score is for the Dawgs, it was actually worse than that. UW could not stop the Cornhuskers and could not get anything going on their own offense. It was a first class beat-down.

OK, so how is this going to be a game worth watching? Well, the Huskies did improve some since their early season drubbing by Nebraska, and Nebraska - despite finishing with a very nice 10-3 record - cooled off. So, the gap between the teams is probably closer. Also, this is the second year in a row that Nebraska is playing a Pac-10 team in the Holiday Bowl. Last year they killed Arizona by the score of 33-0. Between already having beaten UW and having played in and dominated this bowl last season, Nebraska may not be as motivated as Washington - a team seeking its first bowl win in a long, long time.

Prediction: Nebraska wins 41-24. All of the above considered, I just don't think UW can compete with Nebraska and they will roll the Huskies again.

Alamo Blow: 7-5 Arizona vs. 10-3 and #14 ranked Oklahoma State on Dec. 29 in San Antonio
This one also seems to be a mis-match. Oklahoma State is coming off quite a good season, including playing in the Big-12 championship game. Meanwhile, Arizona finished its season by losing its last four games in a row. The Wildcats are probably better than what their record indicates and could give OK St. some troubles, especially through the air. However, I don't see them winning this game against a well-rounded, quality team.

Prediction: Oklahoma State wins 28-17.

Orange Bowl: 11-1 and #4 ranked Stanford vs. 11-2 and #13 ranked Virginia Tech on Jan. 3 in Miami
Conventional wisdom suggests that this will be a blow out by Stanford. Certainly they will dominate the champion of the underpowered Big East, right? After all, isn't VA Tech the team that lost both to Boise State and James Madison this season? And, wasn't Stanford QB Andrew Luck the runner-up in the voting for the Heisman award this season? For sure, Stanford will roll...right? Well, maybe that could happen. However, more likely will be that VT's own dynamic QB weapon Tyrod Taylor will have some success against the Stanford D and we'll get a closer game than most people think.

Prediction: Stanford wins 31-24. With a win, Stanford could finish as high as #2 in the nation if TCU loses the Rose Bowl to Wisconsin and Oregon were to lose to Auburn in the BCS Championship Game.

So, to summarize, I think the Pac-10 will be 1-2 in bowl games before Oregon plays Auburn for the BSC championship. I'll predict that one just before the game.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Surprise! Fox News Viewers Are Most Uninformed

Here's one from the "no duh" file...

According to a new study by the University of Maryland, viewers of Fox News are the most uninformed and misinformed consumers of news. Story HERE.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Mitt Romney to the Unemployed: You're On Your Own

Prominent Republican and potential 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney has said that unemployed workers should have to pay for their own unemployment benefits.

That's right. His idea is that the government should not help individuals who lose their job and cannot find one right away. Indeed, in Mitt's mind, a person should pay a little bit from each of their paychecks into an unemployment insurance fund and if they lose their job...they can tap into that fund of their own money to help out when they lose a job. This, in his mind, will provide incentive for the unemployed to find work rather than count on the government helping them in a time of need.

Many in conservative circles call this type of thing building an "ownership society" where "each individual is responsible his or her own life." Sounds good, but the real translation of that kind of talk is "you are on your own." In this instance, the Mittster is saying, "if you lose your job, you are on your own. The government should not and - if I were to get things my way - would not help you."

There are SO MANY things wrong with this approach - both generally and for unemployment insurance specifically:

It's goes against long established norms for our society. Between the founding of the nation and the early part of the 20th Century, there was zero safety net for Americans. All you had to help you out in times of trouble were either your own savings (great if you were rich, not so great if you were not), your relatives or religious organizations. That was it. Nothing else. You lose your job? You out of money? Sick? Tough. You're on your own and on the street.

This situation was addressed only after the massive unemployment and associated problems of the Great Depression brought it to a head. Indeed, as part of the New Deal championed by the Roosevelt administration, several key functions were set up. The best know is the Social Security Act, which in addition to setting up safety net for the retired and elderly included an unemployment insurance provision.

These things are predicated on the notion that at some level we are indeed all in this thing called the United States together and as such we have a duty to our common man and woman...and through our elected government we agree that a minimal level of safety net should be set up and maintained to help our fellow citizens out if or when they hit hard times and in their old age.

And this is the approach that has endured through the balance of the 20th Century and up to the current time. Sure, conservatives scoffed at this the moment it was enacted and have long wanted to repeal Social Security and related programs, but it hasn't happened. The Supreme Court has upheld them, and try as they might, Republicans have been unable to repeal it. It's existence is settled law and a settled cultural issue. Why? Because Social Security and minimal unemployment insurance is the right thing to do. It's fair and the fundamental reason for it are sound. Americans support it.

Mitt Romney's approach flies in the face of this and offers up more of this "repeal the New Deal" philosophy that's been a burning issue with Republicans since the 1930s. This is one of the key flaws in the Republican cause in my opinion. On many fronts, they are essentially waging a battle to roll back all government programs to pre New Deal models as part of either a naive (and disproven) political/economic philosophy or in a cynical ploy to enrich corporations and cronies.While voters may rage against "the government," you ask them if they want Social Security, Medicare, Medicade and unemployment insurance repealed. They don't.

It won't work. "Empowering" every individual to "control" his or her own future sounds great when people like Mitt Romney trot out these ideas, but the reality is that these schemes won't work. Fundamentally, if you repeal something like unemployment insurance and you tell people they can chose to pay into their own "unemployment rainy day" fund or something like that, guess what a majority of Americans are going to do? That's right, they're NOT GOING TO PAY IN. They'll opt out and take the cash now thank you very much. It's their money after all. And then what happens? You guessed it again, people still lose their jobs and have no money to get by. This will create major problems in terms of health, homelessness, foreclosures in the real estate market, retail spending and public safety. Not only is all that bad...those problems are expensive to fix!

So, why would conservatives like Romney want to repeal unemployment insurance and set us all out on our own? Well...

It usually ends up enriching corporations. Usually when conservatives talk about things like "ownership society" and champion plans that would shift the onus onto the individual, there often a component of their plans that will enrich or benefit big corporations. The classic example is when the Bush administration attempted to privatize Social Security by proposing a privatized system in which people's payroll deductions for social security would be managed and run by private money management companies and stock brokerages rather than the government. Wow, a massive influx of money from Americans for money management firms to make profit on. That sure would have been great for those banks and money management firms. Ultimately, and thankfully, that initiative failed.

And so it is with Mitt's idea here with unemployment. Yep, the U.S. unemployment insurance model is paid for by payroll taxes collected from...companies. This is about eliminating payroll taxes for companies. And as a bonus, while Romney likes the idea of everyday people paying their own way when they're laid off, under his proposal he is also in favor of the government giving companies money as "incentive" to hire people. So, for the record...Mitt wants to put you out on your own if you lose your job, and he's in favor of giving companies a massive tax break and then paying them money to potentially hire people. Nice.

Finally, I would also add that floating this idea is a concrete, glaring and easy-to-spot warning sign of how out of touch with everyday American conservatives like Mitt Romney truly are.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

RIP John Lennon

Today is the 30th anniversary of the murder of musician John Lennon. He would have been 70 years old this year had he lived.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pac-10 Finish Vs. Pre-Season Predictions

OK, with the Pac-10 regular football season now over, lets look back and see how I did in predicting where teams would finish.

Back in early September, I wrote that I thought the league would finish in the following order:
  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
 And here is how they actually finished:
  1. Oregon 9-0 in the league, 12-0 overall - my prediction was correct. And not only that, the Ducks went undfeated! BCS Natinal Championship Game.
  2. Stanford 8-1, 11-1 - not correct. I think my sentiments about the team were right, but I was wrong in that I underestimated how good these guys are and how the would roll so many teams. Orange Bowl.
  3. Washington 5-4, 6-6 - correct in terms of sentiment and bowl, not correct in terms of placement. I didn't think that the Huskies would climb to third place, but at 6-6 that's not too much for them to brag about. Holiday Bowl.
  4. USC 5-4, 8-5 - not correct. I thought the Trojans would be better than they were. No bowl.
  5. Oregon State 4-5, 5-7 - not correct. Injuries and new players in key positions doomed the Beavers to an inconsistent and ultimately losing season.
  6. Arizona State 4-5, 6-6 - not correct. I was right about how they played, but off by three spots in where they finish. Sorry ASU, not your year...again.
  7. Arizona 4-5, 7-5 - not correct. I'm one place off here, so not correct. But, echoing my prediction, UA did not play as well as last season, did underachieve by losing its last four games, but did make a bowl. Alamo Bowl.
  8. California 3-6, 5-7 - not correct. Their typically late season fade actually began very early this year. No bowl.
  9. UCLA 2-7, 4-8 - not correct. I got their placement wrong, but not the way they played. Thanks for participating in the season Bruins. No bowl. I look forward to August when you'll again be a trendy pick to finish near the top of the league.
  10. Washington State 1-8, 2-10 - correct. Progress was made - believe it or not - but still..two wins. No bowl.

Going strictly by order of finish, that's only 2 correct and 8 incorrect picks. However, I think if you factor in how the teams performed and whether they made a bowl or not, I think I did much better in guaging how the leage would go. Some of my picks were only one place off and most of the sentiments I wrote were correct.
Surprises were USC, Stanford and Oregon State, and ultimately the league broke down in three groups:
  • Oregon and Stanford
  • Everybody but WSU
  • WSU

 I think that'll change a bit next season, especailly with Utah and Colorado joining to make it the Pac-12...but that's getting way ahead of the game at this point.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Reinventing Football - Oregon Ducks

OK, so the University of Oregon Ducks football team has earned a spot in the national title game against Auburn on Jan. 10.

As an alum from the school and avid fan, I've seen each of their games this season, not to mention in previous years. For those of you not in the know, the Ducks this season aren't undefeated simply and only because they've fielded a traditional team that happens to be beating other teams.

No, you can clearly see in any of their games that coach Chip Kelly, his staff and the players at Oregon are literally "re-inventing" football before your eyes. And this is translating into not just wins, but impressive victories...often routes.

So, what are they doing that's so different or special?

Here is my assessment on the key elements that - taken together - have resulted in a new brand of football that we'll be seeing more of over the next few years:
  • Speed. Recruit with speed as a top criteria - not just for running back, receiver and corner, but at every position (including linemen) on offense and defense.
  • Depth. Have two-deep starting talent - particularly on defense - to ensure you can rotate multiple players in and out all game your side is fresher all four quarters than fatiguing opponents.
  • A fast tempo. Put your offensive players on hyper speed in-between plays to limit defensive substitutions that normally could put your next play at risk. Over the course of a game, this also means your opponent's defense fatigues faster. Don't give 'em time to substitute or think. Make them reactionary and tired and - hopefully - miss-matched and confused.
  • Spread them out. On offense, combine your advantages in speed and tempo to stretch the field side-to-side and vertically. Get your super speedy players out in the open and one-on-one where they can outrun would-be tacklers or make them miss.
  • Keep them guessing. On offense, deploy a scheme in which on every play the defense has to account for any number of options - inside run, outside run, screen pass, sweep, short pass, long pass, over the middle pass, etc. Every play. Have all of these options available to you from one set alignment so the defense cannot simply look at how you're lined up and determine what's coming. Teach your players deception with the ball to further fool the defense - fake hand offs, pump fake on passes. Go for it on fourth down occasionally - more often than most teams. On defense, generating guesswork is more traditional. But, it's effective. Mix up your look at the line. Blitz linebackers sometimes and fake blitz/drop back too. And on special teams...line up in odd formations and occasionally snap the ball from them for a fake kick, an onside kickoff or two point conversion.
  • Practice intensely, but not as long. Part of the reason the Ducks can wear teams out is that they run a manic pace on offense. However, that takes a toll on the Oregon players too. How do you minimize the negative impact while getting the most out of the pace? Well, practice at an even faster tempo than game speed so when in the actual game it's not as frantic. And also, trim down practice time so you don't wear out players on a week-to-week and season-long basis.
  • "Play to a vision" rather than game planning for one opponent vs. another. This may be the most ingenious thing about Oregon football right now. Coach Chip Kelly insists that he does not prepare his players to go against the strengths and weaknesses of the differing opponents each week. Rather, he and his staff coach the players to perform to a "vision" or standard of excellence that, regardless of the opponent, will deliver success. It also has the effect of evening out the highs and lows that come with wins and losses...and the attendant problems those highs and lows can bring to a team.
The combination of these practices have really changed what Oregon does. Will it be enough for them to win the big title game against Auburn? I don' know. But even if it does not, it has earned them a 12-0 regular season this year, a 22-3 record over two years and back-to-back Pac-10 titles in a league everyone assumed USC had an indefinite strangle hold on.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

What We Learned - Final Week of Pac-10 Football 2010

Well, the Pac-10 regular season is now over. For one last time, lets see what we learned...

Oregon (12-0 overall, 9-0 in Pac-10 play) defeated Oregon State (5-7, 4-5) by the score of 38-20 in the Civil War game played this year in Corvallis. Boy oh boy, did we learn some things here.
  • We learned that the Ducks finish their season undefeated in league play - beating every single other team in the conference. What a season! A very entertaining, very impressive, very talented, very well coached, very well rounded team. The best I've seen as a Duck fan. Congratulations Ducks!
  • We learned that the Ducks for the third year in a row have vanquished their in-state and biter rival, the Oregon State fans, students and athletes associated with the Ducks have 12 more months to NOT hear crap from the bark rats.
  • And most importantly, we learned that this victory catapults the Oregon Ducks into the National Championship game on Jan. 10, 2011 in Glendale, AZ.
  • We also learned that they will be facing Auburn in the big game. I will go right ahead and say here and now that Auburn scares me. More accurately, their unbelievable QB Cam Newton scares me. More on that in future posts as we count down to the game, but suffice it to say that Newton is not something the Ducks have seen at any time during this season yet...and his is a massive talent running and throwing.
  • In the Civil War game itself, we once again learned that Oregon's offense is potent and its defense under-rated. We learned that Kenyon Barner is as good as LaMichael James. We learned that Oregon QB Darron Thomas is a cool customer, and we learned that - as always - the Ducks keep fumbling the ball away to other teams. So far, they've obviously overcome those mistakes, but Auburn will punish Oregon in ways not seen yet if they do it against them. For Oregon State, we learned they are not bowl eligible and have some work to do on their run defense. Oh, and we learned that those Oregon State throwback uniforms look really good.
Washington (6-6, 5-4) defeated Washington State (2-10, 1-8) by the score of 35-28 in the Apple Cup played in Pullman this year. We learned that Washington is now bowl-eligible. This is an odd one because most teams that finish 6-6 go to "lower tier" bowl games befitting their non-winning season. However, because USC is ineligible this season for a bowl and because the rest of the Pac-10 outside of Oregon, Stanford, Arizona and now Washington are not bowl-eligible, the Huskies will essentially move up on bowl quality to fill in spots normally taken by better teams. So, through that we learned that the Huskies will be going to a pretty decent bowl. Who will they play? How big a miss-match will it be? We'll see.

In the Apple Cup, we learned that UW had the spirit and tenacity to win this game. We learned that UW running back Polk is the real deal with a huge game running the ball. Of course, the team Washington plays in their bowl will have a much better D than WSU, but from what I saw Polk is a legit weapon more so that I previously thought. 

For the Cougs, we learned that they are still improving. Despite the loss, this was one of their best games of the season. We learned that their QB is a pretty dang good passer and leader. But, we learned that their defense has a lot to be desired. And lastly, today we learned that WSU will keep its coach despite several losing seasons in a row.

USC (8-5, 5-4) defeated UCLA (4-8, 2-7) by the score of 28-14 in Los Angeles. We learned that USC is only two touchdowns better that a dreadful UCLA team. We learned again, that, well, UCLA is dreadful. No bowls for either of these teams - USC is ineligible and UCLA does not have enough wins.

Arizona State (6-6, 4-5) defeated Arizona (7-5, 4-5) by the score of 30-29 in the second overtime period in the Territorial Cup played in Tucson this year. We learned that ASU has some guts. We learned specifically that their #34 can seriously jump high as he blocked two critical kicks - including the potential game tying extra point in the second overtime.  We learned that Arizona has some serious issues with its kicking game. And we learned that despite losing its last three games, Arizona is still going to a bowl because of its overall record. 


The Oregon Ducks football team has won the 2010 Civil War game, the 2010 Pac-10 championship and are now off to play in the National Championship Game!


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Final Week Pac-10 Football Predictions

Below are my predictions for the final week of Pac-10 regular season football.

Once we're through this weekend and "what we learned," I'll dial up some additional posts like comparing pre-season predictions with what actually happened, bowl predictions and some questions to ask before the Ducks play in whichever bowl they end up in - either the Rose Bowl or the National Championship Game.


Oregon will defeat Oregon State by the score of 45-21 in the Civil War game in Corvallis. The Ducks have too much on both sides of the ball and on special teams for them to lose this game. Baring an injury to QB Thomas or an orgy of turnovers by Oregon, I don't see this one as in doubt for the Ducks. By no means, however, do I think OSU will give anything other than their very best effort. They WILL be ready to play and play least for a while. If all the other games are a guide, this one will start out with the Beavers getting it done and perhaps even in the lead at half by a few points...but in the second half the Ducks will take over and cruise to a win as the Beavers fatigue and the Ducks superior talent prevails. I think there is also the possibility that this one could be a blowout by the Ducks from pretty much the beginning, but I won't predict that. Just an Oregon win.

Washington will defeat WSU by the score of 24-14 in the Apple Cup in Pullman. Neither team is a scoring machine. Neither team has a particularly good defense. Could be one of those games where no offense happens or neither team can stop the other. I think the UW will prevail with their senior QB, slightly better defense and motivation to make a bowl at 6-6. The Cougs will be up for it, however, and this one may come down to who wants it more and who gets a lucky break or two.

Arizona will defeat Arizona State by the score of 38-21 in Tempe on Thursday. Arizona is a better team. They will win. Simple as that.

USC will defeat UCLA by the score of 21-10 at the Rose Bowl stadium in Los Angeles. While the Trojans are not having a great season and could not go to a bowl even if they were given sanctions against them, I think they have more talent across the board than UCLA does and I think that will show in this game. On top of that, UCLA is a team in shambles. They are not going to a bowl no matter what happens, so they'll just play this out and get into the off season...with a loss.

Cal and Stanford have completed their seasons.