50 Pac-10 Predictions

Apparently no one has told Michigan or Ohio State it’s
fine to end the year against someone else.

But here come the objections.

In recent years, the Pac-10 has seen such storied contests as
Washington-Cal and USC-Oregon State close out the docket with no
such complaints.

Prediction? Jim Delaney backs down from the public pressure and
guarantees the rivalry will close the regular season.

That’s not the only one I’ve got one week out from
the start of the 2010 season.

1. Led by a resurgent defense, USC finishes with the best record
in the Pac-10 but can’t play in the Rose Bowl because of its
two-year bowl ban.

2. The Trojans’ penalties result in another
winner-takes-all Civil War, which Oregon wins to claim its second
straight trip to Pasadena.

3. Stuck choosing between 7-5 Oregon State and 9-3 Stanford,
each sitting on the edges of the Top 25, the Alamo Bowl starts
looking for loopholes in its contract to select a 5-7 Michigan
team.

4. The Cardinal dismantles Texas A&M in the Alamo Bowl,
resulting in a record low TV rating.

5. MVP Andrew Luck declares for the 2011 NFL Draft, where the
quarterback is selected No. 1 overall by the Buffalo Bills.

6. Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh is hired to replace Rich
Rodriguez at Michigan.

7. Harbaugh has the Wolverines back in the Rose Bowl by
2014.

8. His mortal enemy, Pete Carroll, is back in college football
as a head coach by 2014.

9. Carroll’s replacement, Lane Kiffin, leads USC to a
38-17 romp over the Cardinal.

10. No fewer than four newspapers or web outlets use variations
on or puns about “What’s Your Deal?” as the
headline for the gamer.

11. Despite failing to win a conference game for the second
consecutive season, Paul Wulff is given a fourth year at Washington
State.

12. Athletic Director Bill Moos cites the development of
sophomore quarterback Jeff Tuel, who throws for 2,400 yards and 15
touchdowns, in the decision.

13. The Cougars still give up more than 35 points per game on
defense.

14. On the other end of the spectrum, Arizona State allows just
15 points per game, best in the conference.

15. Linebacker Vontaze Burfict has 12 tackles for loss as a
sophomore for the Sun Devils, solidifying his status as the most
vicious hitter in college football.

16. Burfict is also called for six personal fouls.

17. Despite the presence of Burfict and standout defensive
tackle Lawrence Guy, Arizona State finishes just 4-8.

18. The offense is again racked by inconsistency, largely
because of an offensive line that surrenders 31 sacks.

19. Dennis Erickson returns for another season, facing a must
win 2011.

20. UCLA alumnus Rick Neuheisel faces the same scenario after
his own 4-8 campaign.

21. The Bruins abandon their new Revolver almost immediately
after quarterback Kevin Prince takes several brutal hits at Kansas
State.

22. Without the Revolver and a makeshift offensive line, UCLA
fails to average 125 rushing yards per game.

23. Cal running back Shane Vereen averages 115 rushing yards per
game.

24. Even with Vereen’s exploits, the Bears finishes 8-4 in
the regular season largely because of quarterback Kevin
Riley’s continued inconsistency.

25. After being benched midway through the season, Riley redeems
himself by starting the Big Game and retaining the Axe.

26. Over the next three years, each member of USC’s
starting defensive line – Jurrell Casey, Armond Armstead, DaJohn
Harris and Nick Perry – is drafted in the first 40 picks of the NFL
Draft.

27. Counting Armstead, Casey, Guy, Stephen Paea of Oregon State
and Cameron Jordan of Cal, the Pac-10 has more defensive linemen
selected in the first round than any other conference, including
the SEC.

28. Oregon fans derisively chant “SEC, SEC” in a
nearly empty Neyland Stadium at the end of a 45-10 romp over
Tennessee.

29. Nate Costa starts at quarterback for the Ducks in that game,
throwing for 240 yards and three touchdowns.

30. Costa holds onto the job all season long, despite a few
shaky performances.

31. That sets up an intriguing three-way race between Darron
Thomas, Daryle Hawkins and Bryan Bennett in 2011.

32. Bennett wins the job as a redshirt freshman.

33. Jacquizz Rodgers rushes for 17 touchdowns and 1,520 yards,
but the Oregon State running back doesn’t finish in the top
seven of the Heisman Trophy vote.

34. Quizz is honored as Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year.

35. His brothers James catches 74 balls for 1,127 yards and 10
touchdowns, but isn’t a finalist for the Biletnikoff
Award.

36. Arizona quarterback Nick Foles sees his yards per attempt
and yards per completion rise dramatically.

37. However, Foles’ completion percentage drops below
61.

38. Coach Mike Stoops abandons his coordinator-by-committee
approach at year’s end.

39. Washington returns to a bowl game in spite of one of the
nation’s toughest schedules.

40. Quarterback Jake Locker is most responsible for 34
touchdowns, best in the Pac-10.

41. Locker posts career-bests in passing yards, completion
percentage and passing touchdowns.

42. Locker still falls to No. 6 in the draft, where he is
selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars.

43. By 2012, the Jaguars relocate to Los Angeles.

44. Their new state-of-the-art stadium hosts the inaugural
Pac-12 championship game.

45. The fans of 10 schools object vehemently that the location
gives USC and UCLA an unfair advantage.

46. In response, commissioner Larry Scott offers to hold the
game at Cowboys Stadium.

47. By 2020, the Pac-16 championship game is held at Cowboys
Stadium.

48. Texas and Oklahoma, among others, join the league after the
Big 12 finally implodes.

49. Pac-10 officials are selected to officiate the BCS title
game and the league boasts its best officiating in more than a
decade.

50. At least one Pac-10 fan base will be outraged after a
questionable call costs their team a game.

Some things never change.

 

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