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2007 PAC-10 FOOTBALL PREVIEW

USC - It should be no surprise that USC once again tops everyone's list as potential 2007-2008 National Champs. They may very well be right. This power house team returns 10 on defense and although they return just 5 on offense, it shouldn't matter. This is the number one recruiting school in the nation. Talent galore. So there's little doubt that USC will be right in the thick of things at the end of November of this year. Many observers point out that USC has a tougher schedule this year. That's true. It's tougher than last year. If Nebraska brings anything to the table this year, we'll know by Sept 15th what to expect from USC this year, as the Trojans travel to play the Cornhuskers on that date. They also play at Notre Dame and Cal this year, which should be interesting. But count me among those that say, no matter how tough their schedule is perceived to be, it still can't compare to an SEC schedule. But that's not their fault. They play the teams that are put in front of them and USC looks primed to make another title run.

California - At the start of the 2006-2007 season, all eyes were on the California Golden Bears. There were whispers of a National Title run. The team was loaded and chompin at the bit to get things rolling as they headed into Tennessee to kick of their year. They left Tennessee with their tail between their legs after being spanked to the tune of 35-18. The responded though, by pretty much blowing away the next 8 opponents they faced, not losing again until November when they dropped two in a row to Arizona and USC, before finishing up with two wins to close out the year with 10 wins. Good but not great. We'll know right off the bat this year where this team stands as they'll have a chance to grab a little revenge against the Vols in the very first game of the year. This time, in their building. Who knows what might have been had Cal beat Tennessee in last years first game? So expect a huge effort from Cal on September 1st this year. A win will more than likely set up a showdown with USC later in the year with all the marbles on the line. So, yeah, their very first game this year has National Title implications. Gotta love College football. The offense should be loaded again, so if the defense can hold up, Cal could make things interesting. We'll know more Sept 1st.

UCLA - We know UCLA should be good this year. We just don't know how good. They return pretty much the entire team from a year ago with 10 returning starters on offense and 10 on defense. But they came up short against the stiffer competition last year. Yes, they knocked off USC and lost by just a field goal to Notre Dame. But they lost by 10 or more to everyone else with any talent including a season ending 44-27 Bowl game loss to Florida State. So it remains to be seen just how much they'll be able to close the gap this year. But with 7 wins last year, if they can turn just a couple of last years losses into wins, and pull off an upset or two, than this team has the potential to win 10 games or more. One thing we know for sure as a result of last seasons 13-9 win over USC.......UCLA has the talent to beat any team on their schedule. As handicappers, you should pay special attention to UCLA this year any time they are a very short priced favorite, or an underdog.

Oregon State - Oregon State in off a very good 10 win season a year ago, a year which saw them upset USC along the way. They return most key starters on both sides of the ball with the exception of the all important Quarterback position. But if new QB Shane Canfield can get the job done, this team should be bowl bound once again. Whether or not they can pay back Cal for the 41-13 pasting a year ago remains to be seen. Likewise, it's doubtful they'll be able to upset the Trojans two years in a row. However they will have a shot for a little revenge against UCLA and Washington State. We'll call it an 8 or 9 win season for Oregon State.

Oregon - If you're looking for spots to back the Ducks this year, look to the beginning of the year as well as the final four games. After winning 7 of 9 to start the year last year, Oregon dropped 4 straight to close the year including the 38-8 pounding to BYU in the Las Vegas Bowl. Spring practice has been rough this year with head coach Mike Bellotti determined to right those wrongs from a year ago. With a full cast of characters back from a year ago, it looks like the Ducks will have some wins in them. Look for some big wins to start the year and also look for the Ducks to win down the stretch in 2007.

Arizona State - We have to take a wait and see approach with the Sun Devils in 2007. They'll be taking the field with a new head coach, Dennis Erickson. Certainly Erickson is capable, but anytime you have a new staff, with a new system on a team with the talent level of an Arizona State, it can take some time. It looks to us like they could have 7 wins in them once again this year, which really wouldn't be a disappointment.

Arizona - Coach Mike Stoops heads into year number 4 at Arizona. In his first two seasons he won 3 games each year. Last season he doubled his win output to 6. This year, anything less than 7 wins would be a major failure as he returns 10 starters on defense and 8 on offense from last years 6 win season. This year should be a Bowl game or bust for Stoops and company.

Washington - Washington could very well be buried before we get out of September this year. After opening up at Syracuse on August 31st, they play Boise State, Ohio State, UCLA and USC!! Not many pushovers the rest of the way either, so it may take a small miracle for this squad to achieve their goal, which is a Bowl game.

Washington State - Another team which may have a coach on the hot seat. This team needs a bowl birth this year, but looking at the schedule, you can already pencil in 6 losses. That leaves no room for error.

Stanford - It will be interesting to see what new coach Jim Harbaugh can do with this program. There's only one way to go and that's up, as this team won only 1 game a year ago. Stanford would be better suited for the Ivy League........this program is years away.

To Sum Up - It looks like more of the same for the PAC 10 in 2007. USC, loaded with talent, will once again lead the way with the bulls eye on their back. Shooting at that bulls eye will be Cal and UCLA followed by the two Oregon schools. Both Arizona State and Arizona look to have an upset or two in them this year and the rest of the league will have to wait another year.

 

2007 PAC-10 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

Thursday, August 30
Utah at Oregon State

Friday, August 31
Washington at Syracuse (8:00 p.m., ESPN)

Saturday, September 1
Arizona at BYU
Tennessee at California
San Jose State at Arizona State
Idaho at USC
UCLA at Stanford
Houston at Oregon
Washington State at Wisconsin

Thursday, September 6
Oregon State at Cincinnati (7:30 p.m., ESPN)

Saturday, September 8

Northern Arizona at Arizona
Colorado at Arizona State
BYU at UCLA
California at Colorado State
Oregon at Michigan
Utah at Oregon State
Boise State at Washington
San Diego State at Washington State (played in Seattle)

Saturday, September 15
New Mexico at Arizona
San Diego State at Arizona State
USC at Nebraska
UCLA at Utah
Louisiana Tech at California
San Jose State at Stanford
Fresno State at Oregon
Idaho State at Oregon State
Ohio State at Washington
Idaho at Washington State

Saturday, September 22
Arizona at California
Oregon State at Arizona State
Washington State at USC
Washington at UCLA
Oregon at Stanford

Saturday, September 29
Washington State at Arizona
Arizona State at Stanford
USC at Washington
UCLA at Oregon State
California at Oregon

Saturday, October 6
Arizona at Oregon State
Arizona State at Washington State
Stanford at USC
Notre Dame at UCLA

Saturday, October 13
Arizona at USC
Washington at Arizona State
Oregon State at California
TCU at Stanford
Washington State at Oregon

Saturday, October 20
Stanford at Arizona
USC at Notre Dame
California at UCLA
Oregon at Washington

Saturday, October 27
Arizona at Washington
California at Arizona State
USC at Oregon
UCLA at Washington State
Stanford at Oregon State

Saturday, November 3
UCLA at Arizona
Arizona State at Oregon
Oregon State at USC
UCLA at Arizona
Washington State at California

Saturday, November 10
Arizona State at UCLA
USC at California
Stanford at Washington State
Washington at Oregon State

Thursday, November 15
Oregon at Arizona

Saturday, November 17
California at Washington
Oregon State at Washington State

Thursday November 22
USC at Arizona State

Saturday, November 24
Oregon at UCLA
Notre Dame at Stanford
Washington State at Washington

Saturday, December 1
Arizona at Arizona State
UCLA at USC
California at Stanford
Oregon State at Oregon
Washington at Hawaii

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