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2006 Pac 10 Preview

2006 College Football News - August 7th, 2006 8:00am
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Mysb - College Football Preview - Pac 10 Conference


Philadelphia, PA (My Sportsbook) - The Pac 10 held a share of the national title in two of the last three years, as U-S-C split the 2003 championship with L-S-U and stood alone in 2004 after an undefeated season.

However, U-S-C's 34-game winning streak came to an end in last year's Rose Bowl, losing to Texas for the national title.

The Trojans toyed with their competition last season, but showed signs of slowing down late in the year, allowing over 40 points in two of the final three contests. The last time U-S-C gave up more than 40 points twice in a season was 10 years ago when both Arizona State and U-C-L-A tallied 48 against Southern Cal.

The Pac 10 had a 74 percent win ratio against non-conference opponents and was one of only three conferences with a winning bowl record last season. Those numbers should rise as the entire conference, sans U-S-C, continues to improve.

Here is the Pac 10 preview with odds to win the BCS Championship:

1) Pac 10 Preview - CALIFORNIA (15-1): The one team that will improve the most in the conference is Cal. Its defense is on par with Nebraska and Michigan, and will dominate Tennessee the first week of the season. Both Arizona State and Oregon come to Berkeley, leaving the game at U-S-C as its only stumbling block. However, the Golden Bears have outscored the Trojans 73-69 in the last three meetings in Los Angeles. In the last game at Memorial Coliseum, the Bears defense held U-S-C to 205 total yards and only 12 first downs, but fell 23-17 and failed to score from inside the Trojans' 10-yard line with under two minutes left.

ANALYSIS: Cal's only question mark is at quarterback where Joe Ayoob took over for an injured Nate Longshore last season and was mired in mediocrity. If Longshore can stay healthy, look for an undefeated season and a meeting with Auburn in the BCS Championship game.

2) Pac 10 Preview - U-S-C (17-2): Prior to the Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush era, the Trojans offense only averaged between 25 and 29 points per game. It's highly unlikely they'll drop to that level, but this obviously will be not be the 40-50 ppg offense of the last three seasons. Another trouble spot is the defensive line, which fell apart in the second half of the season. U-S-C allowed 5.1 yards per carry and gave up 100 yards or more in each of its last six games. The Trojans run defense was almost impenetrable earlier in the year giving up only 2.7 ypc the first seven contests.

ANALYSIS: It's a good thing Nebraska, ASU, Oregon and Notre Dame all come to Los Angeles. Otherwise, U-S-C would have its first three-loss season since the 2001 campaign.

3) Pac 10 Preview - OREGON (80-1): The Ducks were one of my four top sleeper teams in '05, along with Alabama, Nebraska and Tulane. All they did was improve from 5-6 to 10-2. Can Oregon take it to the next level? It's doubtful with the loss of its three best defensive players in Haloti Ngata, Devan Long and Anthony Trucks. The Ducks have the horses to stay afloat offensively as RB Jonathan Stewart could go from 188 yards to 1,000 since all five offensive linemen return.

ANALYSIS: Coach Bellotti brought in a ton of junior college transfers, so eight wins is not out of the question. The less experienced defense combined with a potent offense should bring lots of OVERS in games involving the Ducks.

4) Pac 10 Preview - ARIZONA STATE (60-1): Bigger things are expected in Tempe this season as the Sun Devils have the country's top QB duo in Sam Keller and Rudy Carpenter. Four offensive line starters return, as does a healthy and productive Zach Miller. The tight end caught 56 passes his freshman season, but injuries and a much-improved ground game limited him to only 38 catches in '05. ASU gains the services of former Northwestern DE Loren Howard, who had eight sacks for the Wildcats in '03. On the negative side, five of ASU's top six tacklers are gone and the secondary is extremely inexperienced, which is not a good sign in the pass-happy Pac 10.

ANALYSIS: I expect a lot of shootouts in the desert this year. ASU will be better than its 7-5 record from a year ago, but the defense will prevent a 10 or 11-win season.

5) Pac 10 Preview - WASHINGTON STATE (500-1 or higher): No team in the country lost as many close games last season as the Cougars. Five contests were lost by four points or less, including four by only a field goal. Despite a 1-7 conference mark, they were only outgained by a grand total of 15 yards. QB Alex Brink improved his completion rate from 50 percent in 2004 to 57 percent last season. He also threw 24 TD passes as opposed to only seven the year before. The only offensive question unanswered is at RB where Jerome Harrison leaves after gaining 1,900 yards last season. Look for junior college star, JT Deiderichs, who originally signed with Wash State in '04, to fill the void.

ANALYSIS: The Cougars returned only two defensive starters in '04, which caused them to finish 113th in the nation in passing defense last year. With a more veteran presence this season, Washington State will be one of the most improved teams in the country despite one of the toughest schedules.

6) Pac 10 Preview - OREGON STATE (500-1): QB Derek Anderson left Oregon State in 04 as its all-time passing leader throwing for 3,615 yards with a 54 percent completion rate his senior season. Junior Matt Moore took over and hit 59 percent of his passes but for only 2,711 yards. Superstar TE Joe Newton, who caught 56 passes and seven touchdowns in 04, missed last year due to injury so Moores numbers will improve. The Beavers led the Pac 10 in three key defensive categories: rushing yards, yards per carry and passing percentage. They did finish dead last in the conference and 115th in the nation in passing defense, but return all four starters in the secondary

ANALYSIS: Despite its 5-6 record, OSU did have its moments beating Boise State, and knocking off California in Berkeley. With 16 starters back, plus a few that missed the season, the Beavers are on their way back. An eight-win season is definitely a possibility.

7) Pac 10 Preview - ARIZONA (200-1): The formally offensive-challenged Wildcats managed to score 23 ppg last season, up from 15 the year before. With eight starters returning including freshmen QB Willie Tuitama and WR Michael Thomas, much more is expected. On the negative side, Arizona will miss RB Mike Bell, who rushed for over 900 yards each of the last three years. Like its Pac 10 competitor Washington State, U of A suffered many close defeats last season, but did snap U-C-L-A's eight-game winning streak with a 52-14 win in Tuscon.

ANALYSIS: There are many things to like about this Wildcat team, but the ground game must improve in order for them to make some noise in the Pac 10.

8) Pac 10 Preview - U-C-L-A (50-1): The Bruins are the only club that may finish under .500 of all the teams in the country that are 50-1 or lower. In spite of their 10-2 season, they were actually outgained by 73 yards in conference play and now they lose their leading passer, rusher and receiver. QB Drew Olson and his fourth-quarter comebacks are gone which leads Ben Olson in charge. The former high school superstar will find the going a bit rough after throwing only four passes since 2001. Only three teams in the nation gave up more yards on the ground than U-C-L-A last season, but pro prospect DT Kevin Brown missed the year so improvement is forthcoming.

ANALYSIS: U-C-L-A was the luckiest team in the country last year with five comeback victories. The Bruins go from a 10-win team to five.


9) Pac 10 Preview - STANFORD (500-1 or higher): It's a good thing QB Trent Edwards is still at Stanford because the Cardinal cannot produce running the football. Stanford has rushed for 100 yards in only 14 of 33 games the past three seasons. WR Even Moore, who missed almost all of last year with a hip injury, returns along with the entire offensive line. This will be Stanford's best offensive attack in years. Regrettably for Coach Harris, five of last season's top eight tacklers have graduated, so look for redshirt freshman Ekom Udofia to make an immediate impact.

ANALYSIS: Stanford will be better in '06 but its record may not reflect the improvement. Matching last season's 5-6 mark may be asking too much in a vastly superior Pac 10.

10) Pac 10 Preview - WASHINGTON (500-1 or higher): The Huskies improved their offense from a paltry 14 ppg to 21.5 last season, but that was with 10 returning starters, including all five on the line. This year, they lose four of those five starters, which could slow down QB Isiah Stanback, who threw for over 2,000 yards last year. The defense is in better shape, but still allowed a 66.8 percent completion rate which was the worst in the Pac 10.

ANALYSIS: The Huskies will find the going tough early in the campaign, but may surprise some teams in the second half of the season.

Click Below for More 2006 College Football Previews:

Posted by MySportsbook - August 3rd, 2006
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