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.
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.
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,
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.