Archive for August, 2008|Monthly archive page

What We Know: Week One

***A look at one thing we learned about each team after the first Saturday of the season.  These are things that pertain right now and, of course, can change in Week Two.***

Arizona: They can and will score a lot of points.  Idaho isn’t the best team to measure yourself against, but the Wildcat’s Tuitama set the school record for touchdown passes.  Arizona’s defense was unable to get a sack, but when your winning 49-0 at half, pressuring the QB isn’t the top priority.  

Arizona State: Rudy Carpenter had a hell of a day, second in the conference to only Mark Sanchez.  He had to have a good game because the running game was non-existent.  Overall, just like Arizona, you can’t really measure ASU against anybody because of the competition.

California: The Golden Bears don’t have nearly the same caliber WR corp as they did last season.  This could be a factor when they have to put more points on the board than 38, which they probably will.  Jahvid Best is going to be a multi-purpose stud.  He has incredible quickness, more than we even thought.  Seeing him last night really cemented the fact that you can’t let that guy get to the outside. 

Oregon:  Apparently it doesn’t matter who is playing QB for the Ducks, they are going to score points.  Both Jeremiah Masoli and Chris Harper were able to have their way with the Husky defense, not sure if that is a positive for them or a negative for how bad Washington’s defense is.  The Oregon defense was awesome, with the pass interference penalties being Washington’s best offense of the day.  They contained Jake Locker well and delivered a few nasty hits to the big QB.

Oregon State: Lyle Moevao has the ability to lead Oregon State.  He made some good throws and, yes, some bad throws.  The Stanford picks were more a product of Moevao’s inexperience than his ability to play the QB position.  The Beavers have to do something about their running game.  They didn’t have one against Stanford.

Stanford:  Jim Harbaugh is coach and he’s 40!!!! Well, he’s 44 but he really can coach.  Stanford is about to have a Top 25 recruiting class coming in 2009 and opening the season with a Pac-10 victory is huge for the confidence of the current team.  The Cardinal need to not start the game as flat this week when they play Arizona State or they may be in big trouble.

UCLA: Nothing yet.  We’ll know more Monday night.

USC: Mark Sanchez’s knee seems to alright.  He was 26-for-35 for 338 yards and 3 TD.  If they gave out the Heisman after Week One it would go to Sanchez.  You can’t really complain out anything USC did.  Now they have two weeks to prepare for Ohio State.

Washington: They aren’t very good.  Jake Locker seemed to have made little progress from last season.  His running ability still tremendously out-preforms his passing ability.  Their coaching was horrible Saturday night and nothing from the past suggests that it will change.  Even though they played a lot of freshman, it was their experienced offensive line that let them down most of the game.

Washington State:  They might possibly have the worst Special Teams in the country.  A missed PAT, two huge punt returns, and a 90-yd. kickoff return for a TD helped bury them against OK State.  The defense played good, they limited the damage the ST caused.  The no-huddle offense was neither efficient nor quick.  The most important thing the Cougars can take away from this game is the fact that they now know where they stand.

Week One $1 Predictions

Time for making those awful predictions that get us no where every season.  The games will be picked against the spread so you gamblers know which way to bet. (Hint: Bet the opposite.)  We bet one dollar on each game, so hopefully at the end of the season we’re no more than $20 in the hole.

***Lines are of Friday’s USA Today.***

Oregon State at Stanford (+3)  – Wait, they played this game last night.  We told you our pick earlier.  But to remind everybody we took, Stanford +3 for $1

Washington at Oregon (-13.5) – This is a hard game to predict.  Oregon has their backup QB going, but they have an experienced o-line going against the Huskies youthful d-line.  UW QB Jake Locker could be a stud this year, but he hasn’t proven his accuracy yet.  We guess we’ll take the experienced Oregon defense over the young UW offense.  Oregon -13.5 for $1.

Oklahoma State vs. Washington State (+7) – This game is being played at Qwest Field in Seattle, so expect 50,000+ Coug fans to take over Seattle while UW is in Eugene.  With the recent injuries to the WSU o-line, coupled with their loss of receivers this looks like a 17-24 point Cowboy victory.  Oklahoma State -7 for $1.

Michigan State at California (-5) – Another intriguing matchup.  We’re all for watching great college football, but here’s to hoping we get this game instead of the Clemson-Alabama game Saturday night.  Not a huge Big 10 believer.  California -5 for $1.

USC at Virginia (+19.5) – USC plays Ohio State in two weeks, with a bye week next Saturday.  That means this is their only warmup for the Buckeyes.  Bad News for the Cavaliers. USC -19.5 for $1.

Idaho at Arizona (-27) – Was listening to Greg Robinson, a betting expert, on the Mitch in the Morning show this morning.  He said to take Idaho and the points.  We don’t have any idea on this game, so when all else fails, go with the expert. Idaho +27 for $1.

Northern Arizona at Arizona State – USA Today doesn’t list lines for FBS vs. FCS games.  We don’t even know if there is a line for this game and we’re not about to look.  So in this case (it only happens twice this season that a Pac-10 school plays a FCS team, unlike other conferences, *cough* SEC *cough*) we’ll bet the game straight up. Arizona State for $1.

Tennessee at UCLA (+7) – A Labor Day special.  The SEC travels to that “other” coast to play a team.  Slick Rick is making his UCLA debut.  Everybody knows Pac-10 football trumps SEC football. UCLA +7 for $1.

Thoughts On Oregon State-Stanford

Hope everybody got a chance to watch the game last night.  It was weird to watch a Pac-10 opener to start the season, on a Thursday night. 

About the game, it was pretty damn evident that it was the first game of the season.  Both teams were sloppy and unimpressive.  We think it’s very important that we remember that it was the opening game for both teams.  You can’t expect them to play like that the rest of the season.  We think you’ll see significant improvement from both teams, especially Oregon State.

How werid was it that the two of the most prominent plays involved balls rolling out of the side of the endzone?  The safety to put Stanford ahead for good, 22-20, and the fumble from Oregon State WR Darrell Catchings to seal the victory for the Cardinal.  Catchings had no business trying to turn that into a TD.  He had the first down and should have just got out of bounds.  The Beavers still had a timeout remaining, would have been at the 3 yard line, and had Stanford on their heels.

We didn’t have time yesterday to post our pick for the game last night, but if you trust us, we won $1 from a buddy by taking Stanford +3. 

We’ll post the rest of our picks sometime today.

Blogging Update

It’s almost college football season.  This is the time the blog should be ramping up.

Unfortunately, we have had a recent job change.  That is making blogging hard.  We hope to continue to blog frequently.

Let’s hope this doesn’t get in the way of writing about Pac-10 football.

Building A Team: Start With The O-Line

Your going to start a brand new football team.  You get to develop your team from the ground up.  Do you start with a QB, RB, LB?  No, you have got to start with the offensive line.  Get yourself an experienced center or a solid left tackle.

Stanford, along with Washington, has been at the bottom of the conference for the last few seasons.  There is optimism on The Farm, partly because of the return and strength of the offensive line. 

Returning three starters, along with the health of RB Anthony Kimble means that the Cardinal may be ready to make some noise in the running game.  With the QB situation still up in the air, the running game is going to have to make some serious strides if Stanford wants to rise to the middle of the Pac.

Stanford offensive linemen expect improvement this season [San Jose Mercury News]

Running With The Pac: August 22, Freshman Gonna Have An Impact

 ***Isn’t it nice when 18-year old kids are going to play a prominent role with your football team.  That’s an advantage if your a high school coach, a very scary proposition if your a college coach.***

Berekly, CA – California head coach Jeff Tedford named his starter, Kevin Riley will start against Michigan State.  This means that Nate Longshore will be watching from the sideline, at least for the first few games barring injury.

Eugene, OR – Rob Moseley gives us his season predictions for the Ducks.  Rob approached his predictions a little differently, rather than just predicting each game he assigned a value to each game that represented how many times he believes Oregon would win if the teams played 10 times.

Pullman, WA – Washington State receiver Brandon Gibson looks to break all of WSU’s receiving records this season.  Individual records are great, but Gibson prefers winning games.  The Cougs have a chance to surprise some people this season.

Los Angeles, CA – UCLA is preparing for their Labor Day battle with Tennessee by outlining which freshman will play. If your math is correct, 9 true freshman will not redshirt and help the Bruins this season.

Tempe, AZ – Freshman are making an impact with ASU as well, WR Gerell Robinson is catching on and understanding the more complex offense better.  A better name for the “bubble”, how about the Sun Devil Sauna???? No. We don’t think so either.

Oregon QB Costa Injured???

That’s the report out of Oregon.  He may have injured his knee in practice last night.  There is no official word, so we don’t know if it is true, and whether or not it is the same knee that was injured last season.

What we do know is that backup Justin Roper looked good in the scrimmage on Saturday.  He was 7-8 for 155 yards, this is the same guy who lead the Ducks to a blowout victory over South Florida in the Sun Bowl last December. 

With the UW game only 9 days away, it’s looking more and more like Roper will be starting the season against the Dawgs. 

You never know, this may be a blessing for Oregon, although you have to feel bad for Nate Costa.  All the kid wants to do is play, yet his body keeps failing him.

Bellotti Done At Oregon In 2009???

The Ducks were a healthy Dennis Dixon away from the National Championship Game last season, Mike Bellotti has a .619 winning percentage since 2002, and Phil Knight is pumping more money into Oregon athletics than USC boosters were into the Bush family.  How then, can Coaches Hot Seat be predicting that Bellotti is entering his final season in Eugene?

Frankly, we think it’s ridiculous.  You don’t fire a guy who has been at the helm of the program through its’ most successful run ever.  You can’t use the schedule as an excuse, it’s tough every season, with 9 conference games.

Predicting that Oregon is going to lose to a middle-tier Big 10 team is laughable.  Purdue’s RB is likely done and West Lafayette isn’t the most intimidating place to play.  Yes, the Ducks play USC, Arizona State, and California on the road, but they are very capable of stealing one, if not two, of those games. 

Do we expect Oregon to win the Pac-10? No. Do we expect Mike Bellotti to be the coach at Oregon in 2009? Without a doubt.

Pac-10 Projections

Isn’t it the staple of ever blog to predict the upcoming season?  While we don’t fancy ourselves experts, therefore making these predictions meaningless, we do think it’s best to put them out there. 

This way, when were way off, you can ridicule us.  But, if we are even close to right then bragging rights for all of 2009.

So, without any more ramblings, here’s how RWTP believes the 2008 Pac-10 season will shakeout:

1.) USC – Can’t really say anything that hasn’t all ready been said.  The defense will be great, the offense may falter some, but overall they are still the best team in the conference.

2.) Arizona – No, that isn’t a typo.  We didn’t forget the State at the end.  The Wildcats will finish #2 in the conference.  The value of a experienced QB is undervalued sometimes.  This is one of those cases.  Willie Tuitama will lead Arizona to their highest finish in years and give Mike Stoops a contract extension in the desert.

3.)Arizona State – A tough schedule, facing USC, Cal, and Oregon in three straight weeks will leave the Sun Devils in 3rd place.  The game that decides 2nd and3rd will be for the Territorial Cup.  QB Rudy Carpenter will get hurt behind that weak O-line and ASU won’t be able to challenge USC for the conference title.

4.) Oregon – The Ducks have playmakers: WR Jaison Williams, RB Jeremiah Johnson, and RB LeGarrette Blount.  Even though they are breaking in a new QB, an easy nonconference slate gives the Ducks another top tier finish in the Pac.

5.) California – Last year California went from #2 in the nation and National Championship Game hopes to the Armed Forces Bowl and a 7-6 season.  Jahvid Best may be the best running back no ones talking about, but the uncertainty at QB, will it be Kevin Riley or Nate Longshore?, will cause Cal to once again finish near the middle of the conference. 

6.) Oregon State – You can’t lose 8 defensive starters and your 1,000 yard RB and expect to not lose anything in the standings.  The Beavers, who the last two seasons have finished with the best record in conference not named the Trojans, can expect their run defense to suffer.  

7.) UCLA – You don’t want to be a QB at UCLA right now.  They’re dropping faster than USA Basketball opponents.  They have a master coaching staff (Neuheisel, Chow, Walker) but it’s going to take more than one year to make a difference in Westwood.

8.) Washington State – New coach, new offense, new mindset.  The Cougars will be a different team this season.  They will have the mental toughness to finish games, something they severely lacked under Bill Doba.  Will a quick tempo offense and an improved defense, the Cougs will manage to win 4 conference games and finish ahead of the Dawgs and Cardinal.

9.) Washington – People are giving Jake Locker and his young offense to much credit.  With only one receiver on the roster who has caught a pass in a college game, the Husky offense will have a hard time moving the ball against some good defenses in the Pac-10.  The Husky defense is questionable, with 3 new defensive linemen up front.

10.) Stanford – The Cardinal just don’t have the talent to compete right now.  Tavita Pritchard beat USC last year, but will be lucky to win 3 Pac-10 games this season.  They lose both their top WR, but return a decent defense including S Bo McNally.

Roaming With The Pac: August 21, Seven Days ‘Till OSU-Stanford

***Can you believe real, live college football is only one week away?  It feels like Christmas Eve around here.  This means that Michael Phelps has more gold medals in 2008 than we do days until the gridiron.***

Eugene, OR – Who’s gonna be Oregon’s starting QB against Washington? Who knows, but an announcement is expected Friday.

Los Angeles, CA – USC starting QB Mark Sanchez participated in 7-on-7 drills Wednesday. Causing further speculation that he may be able to play August 30 when the Trojans travel to Virginia.  Also ESPN’s Ted Miller sat down with Pete Carroll.  Here is  Part One and Part Two. It’s a good read, so take the time.

Bristol, CT – Former Pac-10 football analyst-turned-play-by-play man Dan Fouts has been signed by CBS to bolster their football coverage team. Fouts was let go by ABC/ESPN last year.