1. Southern California (11-1)
2. Oregon (9-3)
3. California (9-3)
4. Arizona (8-4)
5. Oregon State (6-6)
6. UCLA (5-7)
7. Arizona State (5-7)
8. Stanford (4-8)
9. Washington (3-9)
10. Washington State (2-10)


ARIZONA - The Cats were picked to finish eighth in the league according to the conference media poll. A large part of this thought process is mainly due to the fact Willie Tuitama, the school record holder in most every major statistical category, is no longer behind center. The defense however is the best in Stoops’ five years and the ground attack on offense is potent. While most seem to favor Oregon and Cal as being the two teams that are chasing USC, count Arizona as another.
OREGON - Six players were taken from new head coach Chip Kelly in the NFL Draft. While Masoli is an up-and-coming quarterback, this won't be the same team that suited up in Eugene last fall. The blockers on offense only have a combined 20 starts under their belts while Will Tukuafu is the only starter coming back to the defensive line. The receivers, too, are just as inexperienced. The non-conference schedule is tough (Boise State, Purdue and Utah). Oregon continues to win but could easily finish somewhere around the middle of the Pac 10 standings. The high preseason rankings only make the pressure that much greater.
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: RB Jahvid Best - California
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: RB Jacquizz Rodgers - Oregon State
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: DB Taylor Mays - Southern California
SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE YEAR: James Rodgers - Oregon State
TOP BLOCKER: Kristofer O'Dowd - Southern California
TOP PASS RUSHER: Dexter Davis - Arizona State

QB Jeremiah Masoli - Jr. - Oregon
RB Jahvid Best - Jr. - California
RB Jacquizz Rodgers - So. - Oregon State
WR Damian Williams - Jr. - Southern California
WR James Rodgers - Jr. - Oregon State
TE Rob Gronkowski - Jr. - Arizona
OL Kristofer O'Dowd - Jr. - Southern California
OL Jeff Byers - Sr. - Southern California
OL Chris Martinelli - Sr. - Stanford
OL Charles Brown - Sr. - Southern California
OL Mike Tepper - Sr. - California
K   Kai Forbath - Jr. - UCLA
KR James Rodgers - Jr. - Oregon State

DL Brian Price - Jr. - UCLA
DL Dexter Davis - Sr. - Arizona State
DL Daniel Te'o-Nesheim - Sr. - Washington
DL Tyson Alualu - Sr. - California
LB Reggie Carter - Sr. - UCLA
LB Keaton Kristick - Sr. - Oregon State
LB Mike Nixon - Sr. - Arizona State
DB Taylor Mays - Sr. - Southern California
DB Syd'Quan Thompson - Sr. - California
DB Alterraun Verner - Sr. - UCLA
DB Devin Ross - Sr. - Arizona
P   Bryan Anger - So. - California
PR Kyle Williams - Sr. - Arizona State

1. Jeremiah Masoli - Oregon
2. Jake Locker - Washington
3. Lyle Moevao - Oregon State

Southern California (Stafon Johnson, C.J. Gable, Joe McKnight)

Arizona (Delashaun Dean, Terrell Turner, William Wright, Rob Gronkowski, Chris Gronkowski)

Southern California (Kristofer O'Dowd, Charles Brown, Jeff Byers, Nick Howell, Tyron Smith, Alex Parsons, Butch Lewis)

California (Cameron Jordan, Derrick Hill, Tyson Alualu)

UCLA (Akeem Ayers, Reggie Carter, Kyle Bosworth)

Southern California (Josh Pinkard, Shareece Wright, Will Harris, Taylor Mays, Kevin Thomas)


1. Southern California at California (Oct. 3)
2. Southern California at Oregon (Oct. 31)
3. California at Oregon (Sept. 26)
4. Oregon State at Southern California (Oct. 24)
5. Oregon at Arizona (Nov. 21)

1. Southern California at Ohio State (Sept. 12)
2. Utah at Oregon (Sept. 19)
3. Oregon at Boise State (Sept. 3 - Thursday)
4. Southern California at Notre Dame (Oct. 17)
5. UCLA at Tennessee (Sept. 12)

1. Matt Barkley QB Santa Ana, CA Southern California
2. Devon Kennard DE Phoenix, AZ Southern California
3. Vontaze Burfict LB Corona, CA Arizona State
4. Patrick Hall ATH Ventura, CA Southern California
5. T.J. McDonald DB Fresno, CA Southern California
6. Randall Carroll ATH Los Angeles, CA UCLA
7. Cliff Harris DB Fresno, CA Oregon
8. Shayne Skov LB Pawling, NY Stanford
9. Xavier Su'a Filo OL Provo, UT UCLA
10. Michael Philipp OL San Bernardino, CA Oregon State

STRENGTHS: The athletes catching passes are plentiful. Tight end Rob Gronkowski earned All-American honors to close out 2008. The offense will evolve around him and receivers Terrell Turner and Delashaun Dean, two legitimate downfield threats. Nic Grigsby and Keola Antolin return to take care of the ground attack; they combined for almost 1,700 yards and 23 touchdowns last fall. The defensive front appears stellar. Earl Mitchell is a beast at tackle, and line depth is the best of the Stoops era.

CONCERNS: Either Matt Scott or Nick Foles will have to take over at quarterback for the departed Willie Tuitama, the school record holder in most every major statistical category. This is priority No. 1. The Wildcats also lost both starting tackles along the offensive line, including NFL bound Eben Britt

PROGNOSIS: The original plan was to copy the Texas Tech offensive playbook since former Red Raider offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes is now at Arizona. However, with a new man behind center and quality ball carriers, the run will likely be the main focus out of this spread look. The season comes down to the effectiveness of the new quarterback, as the defense is the best in Stoops' five years. The Cats finally cleared a big hurdle last fall capturing a winning season. Look for a repeat performance.


STRENGTHS: The front seven on defense has a chance to be one of the better groups in the conference. End Dexter Davis is one of only three players in the country to have posted double-digit sacks in each of the past two seasons. The linebackers go eight deep and are led by 25-year old Mike Nixon, a former minor league baseball player. The Sun Devils have one of the best trios of receivers in the Pac Ten with Chris McGaha, Kerry Taylor and Kyle Williams. Kicker/punter Thomas Weber is a former Lou Groza winner.

CONCERNS: Rudy Carpenter started 45 consecutive games at quarterback. His replacement will be senior Danny Sullivan, and after an unimpressive '08 campaign as a back up where he completed just 15-of-43 passes, uncertainty abounds. He won't get much help from his running backs (ranked 113th in team rushing), and they are still lacking a true go-to tailback. The offensive line has given up a national leading 89 sacks over the last two years. Improvements will never happen if the protection problem does not get solved.

PROGNOSIS: Arizona State, noted for its offense over the years, is changing gears. The defense is about to take over with a more physical style of play and some quality personnel. This could be one of the better defenses in the league. However, the offense has too many holes to guarantee a bowl spot. ASU heads into the season lacking playmakers at quarterback, running back and tight end - the offensive line has been a huge disappointment thus far. Can a good defense with a questionable offense work in this conference?


STRENGTHS: The tailback tandem is first class. Jahvid Best is a sure-fire All-American; he and Shane Vereen combined to average 187 yards rushing per game last year. Best is also an incredible return man. Cal has been stockpiling quality offensive linemen and is very deep at this unit. All-American candidate CB Syd’Quan Thompson leads a top rate secondary with all four starters returning. They get plenty of help from the pass rushers - ends Cameron Jordan and Tyson Alualu are also all-league material.

CONCERNS: Passing and catching is the big concern. Coach Tedford hasn't name the starter under center - part-time starter Kevin Riley has to improve his accuracy and decision-making, but Brock Mansion is pushing him. The uncertainty at receiver is just as great; no proven playmakers have emerged that can consistently catch the ball. The Bears take a devastating defensive blow by losing starting linebackers Follett, Felder and Williams.

PROGNOSIS: Cal returns 16 starters from a nine-win team. The lines of scrimmage, secondary and running backs are loaded for "Bear". Last fall Jahvid Best gave the Bears a 1,000 yard rusher for the seventh year in a row, the second best streak in the Pac Ten ever next to USC's 10 in a row from 1972-81. No injury bug means that streak will obviously continue. All coach Tedford needs is some stability at quarterback to actually become more than just the team chasing USC in the Pac Ten race.


STRENGTHS: Large-framed LeGarrette Blount (6-2, 240) has become a fast emerging touchdown machine taking handoffs. He makes a great power compliment to dual-threat quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, a JUCO transfer who quickly mastered this spread offense last season. Oregon also has an all-conference candidate with TE Ed Dickson. This is a tough secondary - cornerback Walter Thurmond was the defensive standout after stealing five interceptions last fall, and safety T.J. Ward was the team's top tackler.

CONCERNS: Holy cow, the offensive and defensive lines took some major losses. The blockers on offense only have a combined 20 starts under their belts while Will Tukuafu is the only starter coming back to the defensive line. The receivers, too, are just as inexperienced. However, their fate looks better with Masoli pulling the trigger.

PROGNOSIS: Six players were taken from new head coach Chip Kelly in the NFL Draft. While Masoli is an up-and-coming quarterback, this won't be the same team that suited up in Eugene last fall. Coach Kelly will continue to work his spread offense magic, but the chore becomes more difficult with the concerns of rebuilding the offensive line. The defense as well will be attempting to plug a good-many holes. The non-conference schedule is tough (Boise State, Purdue and Utah). All this shapes up to a winning season, just not another 10-win variety...but not far off either.


STRENGTHS: Expect a steady diet of All-American running back Jacquizz Rodgers. He’s coming off a sensational freshman outing after taking the Pac Ten by storm. The Beavers will also get the ball to brother James Rodgers, who lines up at receiver any way possible. These are the game breakers. Last year's starting quarterback, Lyle Moevao has big play ability but spent the off-season recovering from shoulder surgery. That made way for 2007 starter Sean Canfield to regain his spot. The Beavers can win with either.

CONCERNS: Gone are eight starters on defense, including the entire secondary. Outside of Stephen Paea, the defensive line features inexperienced players rotating to help cover up each of their weaknesses. The pass defense is going to take its share of lumps. The offensive line must also be revamped to some degree.

PROGNOSIS: For Oregon State to conclude a fourth straight season in the top 20, they will have to rebuild their defense from front to back, patch up the offensive line where three starters departed, and replace a pair of sure-handed receivers. The defense is almost completely starting over which is going to spell growing pains. Oregon State usually finds a way to be respectable in these situations, the sign of a good program. The Rodgers brothers, along with experience at quarterback, will keep OSU bowling, but not their usual Top 20 standard.


STRENGTHS: To no surprise, the offense goes two deep at every position. Every single component of this offense returns with the exception of quarterback Mark Sanchez and receiver Patrick Turner. But there are plenty of targets running routes with Arkansas transfer Damian Williams as a superstar ready to explode. The running backs have six studs just waiting for a chance to shine. But the anchor is a veteran offense line led by center Kristofer O'Dowd - every starter is back. Defensively, it's all about the secondary led by future NFL first round pick Taylor Mays at free safety.

CONCERNS: USC will be operating with a new quarterback, likely one of two sophomore in-state products who seem nearly ready – it’s either Aaron Corp or Matt Barkley, the first junior high school player to ever been named the Gatorade National Football Player of the Year in 2007. Talent yes, experience no. The defense has lost eight starters. While the D won't be up to last year's level based on inexperience with the front seven, it's just another case of phenomenal recruits having to wait their turn. A new punter and kicker have to be found.

PROGNOSIS: The Trojans are reloading -- again. The only thing standing between USC and their first national title in five years (outside of another meltdown against the Stanford's of the world) is getting veteran decision-making from quarterbacks loaded with pure ability. Also huge is getting a completely new set of linebackers to step in and continue the team's dominance at stuffing the run. The toughest games are all on the road (at Ohio State, Notre Dame, Cal and Oregon) making the inexperience more glaring.


STRENGTHS: The power blue-collar rushing attack should prove to again be more than formidable with 237-pound Toby Gerhart lining up in the backfield. Gerhart will attempt to repeat the success of a year ago where he ran for 1,136 yards. The top pass catchers are all back and there’s some talent behind them, although none have displayed all-star potential. Three players on the defensive line have both starting experience and the ability to continue their success at applying pressure on quarterbacks (11th nationally in sacks).

CONCERNS: The Cardinals are far from set at quarterback, where freshman Andrew Luck appears to be edging out mediocre returning starter Tavita Pritchard. Working in three new starters from a secondary that posted only seven interceptions is easily the next biggest challenge, but turnover in personnel may lead to more TOs by DBs. If running back Toby Gerhart gets injured or opts to play pro baseball instead, such a blow would be severe.

PROGNOSIS: The team's weak approach to the pass (both producing it on offense and stopping it on defense) is going to spell trouble at times. One of these quarterbacks has to “raise the bar” before Stanford ever gets taken seriously as anything more than a middle of the pack conference foe. The power running game keeps Stanford's bowl hopes alive early, but the brutal closing schedule does them in.


STRENGTHS: The Bruins are solid up front on defense, where All-Pac Ten honorees DT Brian Price and LB Reggie Carter roam. Alterraun Verner is an elite shutdown cornerback. Free safety Rahim Moore is coming off an outstanding freshman campaign that helped make this unit No. 8 nationally at defending the pass. The receivers are gifted and aching to be utilized more often.

CONCERNS: Protecting the passer has been a sore issue, and running the ball is not proving to be much of a proven commodity either, which means this experienced offensive line has to start showing some signs of life. The running backs lack a big time contributor. Freshman Kevin Prince won the quarterback job this spring, beating out last year's starter Kevin Craft, who tossed 20 interceptions. Lots of if’s…

PROGNOSIS: The Bruins are starting to find an edge defensively. However, putting points on the board has been challenging, which last year made this one of the school’s worst offensive showings in nearly 40 years. The defense can be expected to compete, but that won't be enough to overcome the lack of game-breakers on the other side. Not going to a bowl for the second year in a row would put coach (and alum) Rick Neuheisel on the hot seat rather quickly.


STRENGTHS: Quarterback Jake Locker's running skills are the focal point of the offense. He is healthy after missing eight games last fall with a broken thumb. Every significant running back and receiver will be back again. Defensive end Daniel Te'o-Nesheim is the star on the other side of the ball, where nine starters are back. All three of the linebackers remain intact and are bolstered by the return of E.J. Savannah, the team's leading tackler in 2007.

CONCERNS: The tailback spot is completely uncertain, and Locker needs someone to step up to keep the offense from becoming predictable. The offensive line continues to be a major issue killing the offensive efforts. The defense gave up a school record 542 yards per game in ’08, and nine of the starters responsible for the lagging effort remain in place. Despite the experience factor, this defense needs to be overhauled by new coordinator Nick Holt, who was lured away from calling the vaunted USC defense.

PROGNOSIS: New head coach Steve Sarkisian plans to install a pro-style type of offense while leaving some of the spread looks in place. No one from the previous coaching staff remains on board. Plenty of experience returns from a team that went winless in 2008, but getting quarterback Jake Locker back healthy will do wonders. They won't go winless again, but they won't do much better either. The LSU opener will make it 15-straight losses.


STRENGTHS: Running back is the most stocked unit on the team as five experienced ball carriers surge onward. Adding Cal transfer James Montgomery will only help; he will challenge four-year starter Dwight Tardy. Veteran leadership available on the offensive line - combined with the emergence of former JUCO player Zack Williams – will mean running the ball takes priority.

CONCERNS: On defense, WSU has no proven run stoppers on the line and had all three potential starting linebackers hurt in spring ball. Cornerback remains a huge issue with two new starters taking over. An undersized and undermanned defense looks to be a problem. The quarterback job is still unsettled between two players that have battled through injuries to remain behind center - Kevin Lopina (broken neck) and Marshall Lobbestael (knee surgery).

PROGNOSIS: The Cougars were next-to-last nationally in total offense last year, and they’re likely to start just two seniors. That may be the strong point. The defense gave up 570 points - the most in the history of Division I football - with no immediate relief in site. Head coach Paul Wulff, in his second campaign, sure has inherited a tough job. These Cougars might be a consensus pick to finish last in the Pac Ten, but the closer should determine who is worst in both the conference as well as in the Evergreen State.



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