Well, Addicted To Quack is organizing this whole Pac10 Roundtable thing. 8 out of 10 of the Pac10 teams (Boo Stanford and Arizona!!) have blogs that get together to discuss the news of the day.
This week, "What's Bruin, Dawg" is hosting the Roundtable. What is "What's Bruin, Dawg", you say? Why, it's a UCLA slash Georgia blog. What? A what now?
"Please, join me in a round of WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA?" via amadeo.blog.com
Yes, Bruins and Dawgs. UGA and UCLA. That's like doing a UDub slash Alabama blog. Or Rutgers slash Texas Tech.
What's it going to be "What's Bruin, Dawg?" UCLA or Georgia. Pick a side and stick with it. We're at war here!
Oregon State will be represented by Building the Dam. The Washington schools chime in with The WSU Football Blog and our newest SBN blog, UW Dawg Pound. Conquest Chronicles and What's Bruin, Dawg? corner the SoCal market. Finally, Pitchfork Nation comes to us from the hot state of Arizona.
Behind the fold, find the questions. And, to a much lesser extent, the answers. We brought our heads together to bring you these bad boys, so I hope you enjoy them! GO BEARS!
- Every week we take a look at the Pac-10 scoreboard, and every week it just seems to get worse for the teams at the bottom of the conference. Just how bad is the bottom of the conference this year? In historical terms, can you name a year in which there were so many poor teams at the bottom of the Pac-10? What do you think is the primary factor for this huge drop-off between last season and this season in the conference?
Well, it's difficult to sort of figure these things out. UDub nearly beats BYU right before they take the paddle to UCLA. And you know that'll be a paddling!
I guess it's individual to each team. There's no real primary factor, but a lot of little ones. And it's mostly about the perception from a few key losses. Cal has beaten MSU and held Javon Ringer in stride. They generally are doing quite well, but had a perplexing loss to Maryland, so they are just written off. Even USC, which decimated its OOC sked, is really docked for losing in conference. All the wins over MSU and Ohio State and Virgina are ignored for the big losses.
As for the other teams, WSU and UDub, we knew weren't gonna be good. Stanford has made strides, but still, like UCLA, just plain lacks talent. Certain teams, like ASU have tougher schedules that last year. Other teams like OSU, just sort of start off slowly. Oregon is having trouble replacing historic levels of offensive productivity, as most would.
As for Arizona, they could be good, but haven't really beaten anybody good yet. We'll see. But I don't know if the Pac10 overall is hugely worse than last year, it's just perceived that way, because of a few unfortunate losses.
- Coming in to the season, many people thought Arizona State would be a dark-horse contender in the Pac-10. Things haven't exactly gone according to plan so far in Tempe. What does Arizona State have to do to get back on track, and can Erickson replicate the same sort of success he saw last year with the team?
Answer is clear. Run game. Run game run game run game run game. With Keegan Herring injured, their run game fell off. This put an inordinate amount of pressure on Carpenter. Carpenter is a great QB, but no man can overcome a running game that averages about 3 yards a rush. Herring was back against Cal, but mostly held in check. To keep pressure off the new injured Carpenter, the run game has to be established.
Of course, improving the offensive line can't hurt that process at all. Although Carpenter's shiftyness helped him avoid many sacks, Cal was getting a lot of pressure on him. It's like a turnstyle out there. So, the inexperienced OLine won't help the focus on the run game, but something has gotta change, bc after facing USC this weekend, they could be on the wrong end of a 4 game losing streak.
3. Well, so much for the other Oregon school beating USC. Does USC's erratic nature open the door for any other teams to surprise the Trojans the rest of this year, or do you think USC's got it out of their system at this point? Out of the Trojans' remaining opponents, which team do you feel will give USC the most trouble, and why?
Well, perhaps we are being homers by saying this, but could it be Cal? Could it be SydQuan intercepting a Sanchez pass? Could it be Jahvid Best streaking past Cinco Ocho? Could it be Bryan Anger continually coffin cornering them?
No. Probably not. Let's be honest. USC seems to stumble once a year be it from ego or whatever. Then, they go insane, mushroom slapping the next 6 teams out of anger and rage. Oregon should be INCENSED at Oregon State for beating USC the week before, because it put Oregon right in the firing line. And maybe by the time Cal/USC rolls around, the USC rage will have subsided. But it is at the Coliseum. And we don't have a miniature RB who can hide behind the OLine and then Go Go Gadget Legs his way to the endzone.
So, while Cal might have a chance to hold USC down with its staunch D, it seems unlikely that anybody will stop USC. I'd love to be wrong, oh lord I would love to be wrong. But I don't think I will be.
4. Answer: 2. 5. 10. Question: The number of years it will take for UCLA to challenge for the Pac-10 title. Discuss.
5. Gotta be at least five, right? Because we all know the problem with the Bruins is that Karl Dorrell was wholly incompetent at everything, from shaving his own beard, tying his shoes, eating breakfast in the morning, to dieting, doing his laundry, walking up flights of stairs, and recruiting healthy QBs. So to say that it would take anything less than four years is to say that at least some his recruits were able to contribute to a winning team - and I'm fairly certain that this would cause some kind of temporal rift or cataclysmic explosion to occur in at least one corner of SBN.
- So, does Cal's rotating quarterback bingo have any chance of succeeding during the rest of the year? Can Tedford continue to alternate Riley and Longshore on a game-to-game basis, and perhaps more importantly, do you think he will?
Tedford probably won't continue to alternate Longshore and Riley on a game-to-game basis. The reason for Longshore starting against ASU was because Tedford felt that Longshore would give the team a faster start. In Tedford's opinion, how a QB starts the game is critical. A QB who can start off well can help put points on the board and not put the team's back against the ropes. It takes pressure off the defense to keep the game close to make up for the lack of offensive scoring. Whichever QB can start off well, will start the rest of the season.
- Don't look too closely, but Mike Stoops may actually be in the process of saving his job out there in Tucson. What do the Wildcats need to do in order to continue their early conference success?
Uh, schedule more conference games against UW and UCLA? Seriously, 2-0 is a nice conference start (Cal is the only other team without a Pac-10 loss right now), and 4-1 is a nice start overall, but Arizona's schedule so far has been softer than pillows made entirely of clouds, stitched together with rainbows. Yes, they lead the country in pass defense, but in addition to facing Idaho, Toledo and New Mexico out of conference, they've gone up against a UCLA team currently starter a third-string JC quarterback and a UW team that was starting some quarterback not named Jake Locker, who was making his first career start. (I watched the game, but I seriously don't remember his name. It doesn't really matter.)
Now, other than the debacle at New Mexico, the Wildcats have done a good job of decisively dispensing with inferior competition. They lead the conference in scoring offense, pass defense, total defense, and punt returns, so they're clearly getting it done on offense, defense, and special teams. However, they now enter a much tougher portion of the schedule, and we'll have to see if they can respond when a good team takes a punch and hits right back. Just once this year have they trailed at halftime, and the Wildcats were not able to make up the deficit in New Mexico. How they handle adversity will be a huge factor when they host Cal and USC in consecutive weeks later this month.
What are your thoughts on these questions?
And to save a post, here are the Pac10 Top10 rankings, compiled by CougCenter. Here is the overall ballot:
1. USC - 70
2. Cal - 63
3. Oregon - 51
4. Arizona - 47
5. Oregon State - 45
6. ASU - 38
7. Stanford - 27
8. UCLA - 23
9. Washington - 11
10. WSU - 10
Note that at one point, Oregon fans made a rather large deal about how the amount of points between USC and Oregon was less than the amount of points between Oregon and Cal. Let that be a lesson for those who might look to this for hubris.
Individual votes. The blogs are all SBN Pac10 blogs, save for one. Try to guess which one!
- Arizona State
- Oregon State
- Washington State
- Oregon State
- Washington State
5. Oregon St.
6. Arizona St.
It took Cal defeating their team, but House of Sparky FINALLY moved Cal higher than 5th. Yay! So, what are your Pac10 rankings?