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PAC 12 South Division Football Preview and Predictions 2011
The Pacific-12 South division is stocked full of talented teams for its inaugural run. The USC Trojans looked to be the favorite, but they aren't allowed to play in the Title game should they win. New members Utah and Colorado will make things interesting as will old salts Arizona, Arizona State and UCLA. Let's break down the division
USC Trojans - Scandal has rocked the program. However, this team will always be USC and that count for something. Lane Kiffin gets back 6 offensive starters and 7 defensive starters. QB Matt Barkley is an absolute stud and passed for 2,791 yards while boasting a 26-12 ratio last year. He has a solid RB in senior Marc Tyler who could reach 1,000 yards this year. Road games against Notre Dame and Oregon present challenges, but this team is good enough to win 10 games.
Arizona State Sun Devils - First let us start by pointing out that QB Brock Osweiler has the potential to be the top QB in the division. The 6-9 junior has a great frame and if he improves on his decision making this team will move way up. HC Dennis Erickson of "The U" fame needs that to happen. With 8 starters back on offense and 7 on defense this team has the potential to make big noise. They get Oregon State at home and they play rival Arizona at home as well. They are the preseason favorite to win the South.
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UCLA Bruins - People keep expecting this team to get better, but it never seems to happen. With 9 starters back on offense and 8 on defense this could finally be the year. Jonathan Franklin leads the charge on offense and should exceed 1,000 yards against this year. He works behind a good offensive line. The Bruins have a defense that will be among the most improved in the nation. Games at Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford and USC will make life hard, but their team has the weapons to compete. This a dark horse contender to take the top spot in the South.
Utah Utes - Welcome to the big leagues, Utes. This team went 10-3 lst year and gets back 7 offensive and 5 defensive starters from that team. Jordan Wynn will improve on his 2010 numbers at QB if he stays healthy. The defensive returns its top two tacklers and its top INT man. Getting to double digit wins will be difficult, but this is a team with a history of winning. No doubt HC Kyle Whittingham will have them pumped for their first year in the Pacific-10.
Arizona Wildcats - The Wildcats finished a disappointing 7-6 last year with a crushing loss to Oklahoma State in the Alamo Bowl. Mike Stoops gets back 5 starters on each side of the ball. Important returnees include QB Nick Foles and RB Keola Antolin. The schedule is ridiculously hard with trips to Arizona State, USC, Oklahoma State and Oregon State. They also get Stanford and Oregon at home. They might make bowl play, but it certainly won't be an easy road they must travel. Stoops has something to prove after last year and that could be the most important thing of all.
Colorado Buffalos - Last year's record of 5-7 could improve this year. They get back 9 offensive starters and 7 on defense. They have goo senior leadership in QB Tyler Hansen and RB Rodney Stewart. The defense gets back second leading tackler Ray Polk. The biggest thing standing in their way is a very tough schedule. They have trips to Ohio State, Stanford, Washington, UCLA, Utah and Arizona State. They will earn each and every win they get in 2011.
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