1. #1
    Chance Harper
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    Pac-10: Carroll's USC Trojans best bets again

    Pac-10: Carroll's USC Trojans best bets again

    There's really no question as to the best college football program the past six years as Pete Carroll and the USC Trojans have reeled off 11 or more wins each season and once again enter a campaign as the odds-on favorite to win the BCS. The only question seems to be can the Trojans run through the rest of the conference unbeaten, or could an Oregon, Cal or Arizona State upset those plans?


    The Pacific-10 Conference has gotten a lot more respect over the past decade. Too bad that respect is concentrated almost entirely in Los Angeles.

    The USC Trojans are once again your preseason favorites on the national championship betting odds at 3-1; it’s a long way down the list before you find anyone else from the Pac-10.

    Perhaps that’s as it should be. So let’s look at the over/under on wins for each of the Pac-10 teams.

    USC Trojans (10½)
    Finished 11-2 last year after a midseason slump. They’ve won at least 11 games in each of the last six years under Pete Carroll. The Trojans should do it again – maybe even 12-1 and a national title if they can run the Pac-10 table.

    Arizona State Sun Devils (8½)
    Dennis Erickson turned this program around in a hurry, finishing 10-3 last year. But the Sun Devils have a weak offensive line and a killer schedule of road games including USC and Cal back-to-back. Eight wins is enough, and 35-1 to win the BCS championship is overly optimistic.

    California Golden Bears (8)
    Cal stumbled to a 7-6 record last year after starting the season 5-0, and the Bears appear stuck there after losing RB James Montgomery to Wazzu. Watch for another late-season slide with this backloaded schedule.

    Oregon Ducks (8)
    The best value on the board. The Ducks were third in Fremeau efficiency last year and were a Dennis Dixon injury away from greatness at 9-4 (both SU and ATS). Dixon is gone, but the Ducks defense and a forgiving schedule will keep Oregon close on the Trojans’ tail. The Ducks are 60-1 to win the BCS title and worth a look at that price.

    Oregon State Beavers (6½)
    Mike Riley has enjoyed a couple of strong seasons in Corvallis, finishing last year at 9-4 (8-4 ATS). However, the entire defensive front seven needs to be replaced. A low-end bowl victory should still push them to seven wins.

    Arizona Wildcats (6½)
    Bob Stoops has his back against the wall. The ‘Cats have an excellent offense and a lousy defense; if they don’t make it to a bowl game this year, Stoops will almost certainly be packing his bags. After finishing No. 28 in efficiency last year, the ‘Cats should take advantage of a soft schedule and finally go bowling.

    Washington Huskies (4½)
    Five wins is an entirely reasonable expectation in Washington – not that it will save Tyrone Willingham’s job. His Huskies have underperformed despite having strong recruiting classes year after year. Now they have to play arguably the toughest schedule in the nation; Washington’s non-con visitors are BYU and Oklahoma.

    Washington State Cougars (4½)
    The Cougars hope they can get an Erickson-like bounce from new coach Paul Wulff and his version of the spread offense. Wulff learned from the master, having played center for Erickson at Wazzu. A repeat of last year’s 5-7 is within reach, thanks to the collapse of the Hawaii program.

    Stanford Cardinal (4½)
    First-year coach Jim Harbaugh made huge strides in 2007, none bigger than Stanford’s upset of USC. His work is far from over, though, and the Cardinal has seven (!) road games to worry about, including what should be an improved Notre Dame club. It’ll take more miracles this year for Stanford to achieve even a push against this total.

    UCLA Bruins (OFF)
    The Bruins are off the board because of serious QB problems. Pat Cowan (knee) is out for the year; Ben Olson (foot) will probably be ready this fall, but who knows. Not the way the Rick Neuheisel-Norm Chow regime wanted to begin. Assuming Olson makes it back, pencil UCLA in for another six-win season to match last year’s QB follies.

  2. #2
    Willie Bee
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chance Harper View Post
    UCLA Bruins (OFF)
    The Bruins are off the board because of serious QB problems. Pat Cowan (knee) is out for the year; Ben Olson (foot) will probably be ready this fall, but who knows. Not the way the Rick Neuheisel-Norm Chow regime wanted to begin. Assuming Olson makes it back, pencil UCLA in for another six-win season to match last year’s QB follies.
    Yeah, breaks my effin' heart to hear the Pretty Boy Era is off to a horrible start. Would be so bloody sweet to see UCLA go winless. Maybe Neuheisel can pick a sorrowful tune on his guitar after the season to console himself and his team.

  3. #3
    elliott0924
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    Overrated!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. #4
    casper
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    As a regular follower of Cal football I think this is the year that Tedford gets exposed. He is not in the same league to so speak with Ericson and Carroll...Though Cal returns 9 starters on defense they could never lock anyone down last season. They lost tons of playmakers on offense, the whole receiving corps and most of the running backs. Running back Jahved Best is exceptional but coming off hip surgery. Golden Bears will be about .500

  5. #5
    badhunter
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    Write this one down: Oregon will beat USC again and win the Pac-10 Championship.

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