Golden Nuggets: Pac-10 Predictions

Wilner recently posted his post-spring Pac-10 predictions.  I think he's overrating Arizona but otherwise I find it surprisingly tough to disagree with him.

1. USC: The defensive line alone (stocked with future draft picks despite Christian Tupou’s injury) will keep USC in the hunt. Difference between first place and fourth place lies with Matt Barkley/Mitch Mustain and the receivers.

2. Oregon: I’ve waffled on the Ducks for two months. They’re loaded everywhere but QB and could very well get solid play under center from the Costa-Thomas combination. But what impact, if any, did the winter chaos have and how will the Ducks fare in their new role as the hunted?

3. Washington. Expecting to change my mind on the Huskies come August, but for now I’m taking the all-things-are-possible approach with a senior QB as gifted as Jake Locker. So long as the defense is decent, UW will be in the mix. (You know that one team will provide a major upside surprise come the fall. Why not Locker and Co?)

4. Arizona: The offense should be as potent as any in the conference, which means the difference between challenging for the title and clawing for a bowl bid depends on the seven new defensive starters. And all the new coordinators.  

5. Oregon State: I always underrate the Beavers despite believing Mike Riley to be the league’s premier coach. Combination of a new QB and the attrition defensively makes me wonder if the Beavers can withstand that brutal first-half schedule.

6. Stanford: Another team that could finish anywhere from, say, third to eighth depending on the performance of a handful of players. WRs and DBs are the key — well, that and finding 1,800 yards on the ground.

7. Cal: Expectations are low but the potential for an upside surprise is high with a veteran OL and senior QB. But there are enough questions with the aerial attack and the defense, especially the back seven, to justify slotting the Bears seventh at this point.

8. UCLA: Viewed the Bruins as a sleeper candidate prior to spring ball, but current thinking has the offense being too erratic to offset a revamped defense.

9. Arizona State: Defense will be solid and coaches desperate (Dennis Erickson’s seat is heating up). With decent quarterback play, Devils could climb into the middle of the Pac.

10. Washington State: Should be better, but even with 100 percent improvement the Cougs would still be 50 percent worse than everyone else.

After the jump Ted Miller wraps up his spring practice coverage, Chris Moncrease talks about how spring practice has helped him improve, baseball posts a tough pair of losses to WSU and more.

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