Hello Followers. Hope you’re ready for the weekend.
As many of you know, every year this here blog casts an official Pac-10/Pac-12 media ballot.
And so, with Media Day coming up this very next Tuesday, we take our annual plunge into the abyss. So, if you want to check out a set of predictions that are sure to make you laugh harder as the year goes on, then click on the old jumperoo….(read on)
Followers, there are a few things that you can count on in this life.
The first is that the sun will come up tomorrow.
You can always count on that…
And with respect to this blog, well, you can pretty much bank on a of things happening as summer starts to give way to fall:
- Sean will tell me that CAL is going to be really good at football. I tell him he is crazy. And, at the end of the year, I’m typically right.
- I tell Sean that the Huskies are going to be terrible and Sean disagrees. And every so often during game week, Sean predicts that the Dawgs are going to beat someone who’s pretty darn good. Unfortunately, most of the time he’s dead spot ON.
So, this year, after looking at the schedules of ALL conference teams for several months, I’m bucking the trend a little. And, at the risk of landing my punch line way too early once again, a few words about these picks.
First and foremost, I think the Huskies are going to have a pretty down year. And while I’m more than prepared to eat crow like I do most years…
…I think they’re going to bite it this year because their schedule, frankly, just doesn’t shape up for them to have a successful season.
That said, because I am bucking trends this year—and because I am giving you all a year to forget that I ever said this—I will say this about the Muttlakes: The University of Washington will be at least co-champions of the Pac-12 North Division in 2013-2014. In other words, just like the 1997 Cougs turned a 5-6 campaign the year prior into a Rose Bowl birth, the Dawgs will soon have their day.
But. Not. This. Year.
Thank god for that....
Followers, normally when we provide our Pac-12 Media Day ballot, we provide you with final won loss records for each team, including how we think they’ll fare in non-conference play. This year, we’re not doing that. The reason? Well, each time that I went through and picked all the conference games, I kept coming out with members of the South Division having records that are too horrible to actually put in print. That noted, there a few things to take away from that conclusion—things that I mentioned a few weeks back on our radio show. Namely, whenever you have a conference that has teams at the top with good records, the bottom gets really, really soggy.
And so it will be again this year, followers.
So let me be clear: IF the South Division is NOT filled with teams that have two or fewer league wins, then there are going to be a few teams in the North who are going to take it in the shorts.
Unfortunately, we figure to stand as one of those teams--assuming that the South winds up being better than advertised.
So, this year I simply give you the order of finish for each team in their respective Division. Then, I give you each team’s home-away conference split, followed by an opponent or two that I think will be key in determining that team’s conference standing. And we’ll follow-up on that a few weeks from now when camp starts up.
Pac-12 South Division
- USC (4-5, @Stan, CAL)
- Utah (4-5, CAL, @UW)
- UCLA (5-4, OSU, @WSU)
- Arizona (5-4, UW, CU)
- Colorado (5-4, UCLA, ASU)
- Arizona State (4-5, OSU, WSU)
Pac-12 North Division
- Oregon (4-5, @USC @CAL)
- California (5-4 @Utah, @WSU)
- Stanford (4-5, @UW, WSU)
- Washington State (5-4, @Oregon State, UCLA)
- Washington (4-5, @AZ @CAL)
- Oregon State (5-4, @AZ, WSU)
Pac-12 Championship: Oregon over USC in an LA rematch
Couple of quick hits. I have Oregon and USC both going to BCS games with Oregon slipping into the National Championship game after upsetting #1 USC in the Pac-12 Championship in LA. Utah will be heading to the Alamo with 9 or 10 wins and a top 15 ranking for the second most underrated coach in America.
CAL is my sleeper team of the year. The defense, though inexperienced on paper, is physical, fast, and highly under-rated. And while Maynard is nothing to write home about in some ways, their experience on the OL, their depth at Running Back, and the Deep Threat provided by Allen make me think that they are going to KILL teams over the top through play action. What’s more, CAL has the unique fortune of hosting all of the big boys in the North at home. Key match-ups for me are road contests at WSU and at Utah. Win both of those and CAL will be playing for the Division title when Oregon comes around in November.
And us? Well, I’ve gone back and forth on our Cougars. Certainly, there’s a lot to be learned about us during fall camp. But, as of this writing, I have us winning the first four games of the year as well as the last three. That’s 7-5 overall, 4-5 in league, just edging out Washington and Oregon State.
My sense is that Washington is going to find their way to bowl eligibility at 6-6 simply because Sark has shown himself to be one helluva motivator of teams that are down in the dumps. But in my mind, even that outcome rests on them finding a way to beat Stanford at the end of September. If they start 2-4, I think they’ll find themselves home for the Holidays, with the reason being that the North Division is going to be UP this year. WAY up.
So, there you have it, another Pac-12 Media Ballot in the books. Give us your takes in the comments section. And have a great, great weekend.
All for now. Go Cougs.
And in the "you might be interested" section below:
"Mike Price Won't Confirm Deny Interest in WSU Job" by Sean Hawkins in 2007.
Here is the way I see it. Oregon and USC are the teams who will win each division. Then over in the south, really, Arizona, ASU, Colorado or UCLA could each be a cellar dwellar. Then up in the north OSU, UW and Wazzu could each finish in the basement of the division. That being said, the worst team in the north, could possibly be the third best team in the South!
I'll do a more in depth look at some point as the season gets closer, but taking a quick look, I think the changes I would make would be to flip Colorado and ASU in the South along with Stanford and Cal in the North. I think I'd probably have UW ahead of us too, but man their schedule really is rough. We'll see what happens when I bust out my trusty coin and start flipping to see who's going to win every game. Umm, I mean do my research.
Does anyone know why the apple cup was scheduled for 12:30pm the day after Thanksgiving?? What are us westsiders supposed to do leave at 3:00am the day of the game? Miss Thanksgiving with our families? Not to mention the WSU student body will be home with their families. Seems all around dumb to me...
When the pac12 TV contract was announced, it was made perfectly clear that every pac12 school would have one Friday and one Thursday home game in the next 2 years. That's what happens when you sell your soul to TV.
=-As far as the 12.30 start, for the A/C, it's by FAR the best start time for the fans. It allows fans to get on the road by 5pm or so after the game. It's safer for driving back over the pass, and safer for many older drivers who don't wish to drive at night. What did you want, a 3.30 start so you can leave at 8pm and be driving over the pass at 2 am ?? That's a nice touch for the safety of the fans.
@Soze @bpcoug54 I'm trying to plan a Thanksgiving dinner @ the holiday Inn express Thursday in conjunction with the South Sound Cougar Club. If you come early and are looking for a place for dinner, let me know. No details yet, but we have a meeting the first Tuesday of every month @ river's edge in Olympia at the Tumwater Valley golf course. Come join us.
Of course no one who stays for the whole game will be over the pass in daylight. I am perfectly aware that sunset is about 5pm that time of year. My point is that leaving at 5pm is a whole lot better than leaving at 8pm in case of bad weather on the pass. I should have explained that point.
@bpcoug54 I think the agreement was that every team must host one Thursday or Friday home game every other season. Cal and Stanford requested and received a Friday-only exemption because of traffic / resedential / city govt concerns about Thursday games.
@bpcoug54 He probably wanted a sleepover in Pullman...?
@LukeNelson91 Or you could just go to Pullman for Thanksgiving. I've heard The Coug will be having turkey dinner. Also heard rumblings that Moos might have a turkey dinner in the Field House.
The Pac 12 just backed the Brinks truck up to Bohler and Moos is doing good things with that money. We have to make sacrifices, not excuses.
@LukeNelson91 Television agreements. Same reason why the Big Game b/t Cal and Stanford is in October this year. It sucks, but given the $$$ we're getting, we gotta deal.
Our schedule is pretty favorable this year though. Cal never plays to expectations in pullman and having the apple cup at home is always helpful. I think we start the season 4-0, split with OSU and cal, split with ASU and UCLA and win the apple cup to finish 7-5.
Cal never plays to expectations in Pullman? We have lost 7 straight to Cal (home and away) and the last WSU win in Pullman was 2001.
--- Apple Cup in Pullman is always helpful? We are 2-6 in the last 8 home Apple Cups. Some of our bitterst losses have been home A/C, including the 2002 A/C ., a game we had NO BUSINESS losing.
(thanks again, Mike Price).
==Feel free to make stuff up.
Thanks for checking the facts.
Talking to Cal fans, they always hate playing WSU in Pullman because the game is closer than they would prefer ex. 2010. Expectations aren't always in wins and losses. --Also, Home field is always helpful especially to a young/struggling team. Do you think we would have won the 2008 apple cup if it was in seattle? probably not.
I respect your opinion though. Try to have a nice weekend :)
@bpcoug54 Don't good teams typically win at home and split on the road?
Expectations for WSU ARE about wins and losses...they are now after 8 years of misery . This program must start winning games. Don;t get me wrong : I'm overjoyed to have a real football coach at WSU. .
--I think home fiield advantage is over-rated. Home field advantage has been meaniningless to us for some time now. Good teams win on the road.
@bpcoug54 Hey now, play nice. We're all Cougs here.
Ok, I'll start. I pick WSU for last; as far as I am concerned, we still suck until proven otherwise. We still have a huge talent gap (and I might point out that Leach's first recruiting class was ranked last in the league). 6-6 would be a success for me.
-- I think your objective analysis (which I appreciate a lot) is marred by your hatred of the UW. Sarkisian is a good coach, I think. He's an aggressive recruiter, which is what we want our coach to be, too. Putting UW and OSU below us is stretch. I think Mike Riley will be back this year, and I might point out that OSU kicked our ass in that debacle in Seattle.
I hate to say it, but I think your right. And I never agree with you. Ever. But this time I think your dead on. If we go 6-6 I'll sob like a little girl. So, although I beleve we'll be more competative this year, your right, 6-6 would be a success.
I think wsu goes 8-4 this year. We nearly beat Utah and UCLA last year and stayed competitive with Oregon. Leach is popping the machine guarding off the passing game, with the risk being other teams know what to expect from us, but no one has taken our run game serious for the last seven years so no big deal there. We had the chops to beat Oregon St last year but Wulff probably thought he could use the same strategy we used on them the year before but it didn't work. I say we win the first four, ASU, Oregon St and split with Utah and UCLA and the Apple Cup will be for bowl position with UW and WSU tied for wins going in.
@bpcoug54 OSU is just about as hard to figure out this year as us. As of now, I have them beating us head to head, but finishing 3-6 in conference...The big question is whether or not they can win 1 or 2 in that opening stretch in games @ AZ and @ UCLA. And then there's the question about whether they can beat Washington. If they can, then they could scratch to 7 or 8 wins easily...Who knows?
Again, all "hatred" for Washington aside, I think they're a year away from snagging a share of the north. But again, IF you assume a 2-4 start, then they're three losses away from not making a bowl with games @Arizona (who has a bye week the week prior) @CAL, @WSU, plus Oregon State (which also whooped them last year) and Utah at home.
It just doesn't set up right for them...and I'm not alone in thinking that way either...
And hey, I too could see us eating it this year--particularly if the south (e.g. ASU and UCLA) is better than advertised...We'll see how things look once fall starts..
Clayton may already be out...
@Sutra @bpcoug54 @Arizona If Clayton is indeed out, as he hinted at via Twitter yesterday, it hurts our "defensive line by committee and hope for the best" approach that we're looking at. It also puts a huge dent in the possibility of real life Justin Clayton approaching the legendary status that Fake Justin Clayton did in my NCAA 12 dynasty. Just bad all around.
Jeez I hate/love this time of year. First of all, I think you're spot on with UW. Too many hill to climb too early. OSU will be a test for nearly everyone this year. They may not win as many as some think, but they will be a spoiler. Oregon is Oregon, what more need be said. Cal and Stanford will be tough but both can be had if the stars align.
Us, well there's the question isn't it. I hate to say it this way, but we'll be competitive every week. I think we're going to score LOTS of points. I just hope our D comes together and keeps the other guys from scoring more. I really think we can go anywhere from 4-8 to as much as 8-4 (a stretch for sure, but potentially do-able). Reality has me thinking 6-6 or 7-5 with a bowl somewhere.
@Ambush184 See, I'm the exact opposite of you. I <3 this time of the year, because the Cougs are going to go 12-0!
I hate the middle of the year, when we are 2-5 and wondering why we have so many injuries?!