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PAC 12 North Division Football Preview and Predictions 2011
The Pacific-12 North division is home to last year's Pac-10 winner, the Oregon Ducks. This year the Ducks could have competition. Stanford retained top QB Andrew Luck. Even with that going in their favor they will have to fend off back of the pack teams like Oregon State and Washington as they try and win the inaugural Pac-12 Title Game. Let's take a look!
Oregon Ducks - Thanks to a super charged offense this team ended 2010 with a perfect record and earned a trip to the BCS Title Game where they nearly knocked off SEC heavyweight Auburn. HC Chip Kelly gets back star players Darron Thomas and Lamichael James for an attempt to defend their Pac-10 Title. Games on the road against LSU and Stanford are winnable, but they will have to be on their toes. Those are really their only two tough games all year long. They get USC at home. Recent scandal regarding HC Kelly could have them in hot water with the NCAA so pay attention to the news. All in all, this is a tough team that should run the show in the Pacific 10.
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Stanford Cardinal - 2010 couldn't have gone any better than it did for this team. They finished 12-1 with a win in the Orange Bowl over Virginia Tech. After that HC Jim Harbaugh headed to coach the San Francisco 49ers. New HC David Shaw arrives from San Diego State and he gets 5 starters back on offense and 6 on defense. The most important name returning is versatile QB Andrew Luck. Thanks to him they will compete in the Pac-10.
Oregon St Beavers - Things will be better in Corvallis after this team went 5-7 last year. HC Mike Riley gets back QB Ryan Katz who was a first time starter last year. He will almost certainly improve this year. A tough game at Wisconsin will get them ready to play UCLA at home two weeks later. They get Stanford at home, but travel to play Oregon. This team will have a winning record and make bowl play, but expecting them to compete against Stanford and Oregon could be asking too much.
Washington Huskies - College football in Seattle, WA is on its way back thanks to HC Steve Sarkisian. The young coach guided this team to a 7-6 record last year and a win in the Holiday Bowl. Not bad for a team that didn't win a game in 2008. They return 7 offensive starters and 8 defensive starters including top RB Chris Polk and WR Jermaine Kearse. The Huskies get a tough schedule this year that includes trips to USC, Oregon State, Stanford, Nebraska and Utah. They play Colorado, California, Arizona and Oregon at home. All in all this is a good team, but they can't afford to mess up given their strength of schedule.
California Golden Bears - Last year was forgettable as they struggled to a 5-7 record. The Bears get back 5 and 7 starters on each side of the ball this year. The defense looks improved this year thanks to some key recruits and returning starter DJ Holt. They were horrible on the road last year so HC Jeff Tedford knows where to start in order to get better.
Washington State Cougars - The beat of bad seasons kept going in Pullman, WA as the Cougars went 2-10 last year. They return 7 offensive starters and 8 on defense. They get an easy game against Idaho State to start the year, but after that things get tough. They really have no place to go but up and that should be good news for fans of this team.
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