2009 Pac 10 Football Predictions


It’s a 3 team race for the Pac 10 title in 2009. If ever there is a time to knock USC off its perch atop the conference it’s this year. The Trojans have to replace their starting QB and a boatload on defense. The window of opportunity is small though, as Pete Carroll’s USC team always manages to re-load and be among the most talented teams in the country year in and year out. Oregon and Cal are the top challengers for USC’s throne this year; read on to see if we think they have enough to get it done.

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T-1st (wins the tiebreaker with USC). Oregon (8-1) Coach: Chip Kelly (1st year) – Jeremiah Masoli had double digit TD’s both on the ground and through the air last season, and ended the season as one of the hottest QB’s in the nation. RB Jeremiah Johnson is gone, but Senior LeGarrette Blount rushed for over 1,000 yards and 17 TD’s last year, as a backup! The only major question on offense is the offensive line; they must replace 3 starters and return only 20 starts combined. The defense loses 3 off the line, but returns a good LB corp and a secondary that should improve over last season’s 111th ranked pass D. The Ducks get Cal, USC and Oregon State all at home, and we think they have enough to knock off the Trojans and earn the Pac 10’s birth in the Rose Bowl.

T-1st (loses tiebreaker with Oregon). USC (8-1) Coach: Pete Carroll (9th year) – The only losses on offense are QB Mark Sanchez and WR Patrick Turner. Aaron Corp is the favorite to win the QB job, but will be challenged by incoming freshman Matt Barkley and Arkansas transfer Mitch Mustain. The backfield returns everybody from a year ago, and will again use a committee approach, rotating Stafon Johnson, Joe McKnight, CJ Gable and others. This group of WR is deep and talented, and the entire offensive line is back. The defense, however, returns just 3 starters. But as we all know, USC doesn’t re-build, they re-load. Safety Taylor Mays is one of the best secondary players in the nation, and the Trojans have blue-chip talent competing to fill in everywhere else. If USC can find a QB who is at least serviceable, the offense will be one of the best in the country. The inexperience on defense might be a concern for some, but there have been heavy losses in the past and Pete Carroll always has his defense among the best in the nation. Despite the talent, the Trojans are prone to at least 1 hiccup each year, and this year we think that comes against the Ducks @ Autzen Stadium, which will be enough for USC to miss out on their first Rose Bowl since 2005.

3rd. Cal (7-2) Coach: Jeff Tedford (8th year) – The Bears return maybe the best back in the country in Jahvid Best. Best averaged a ridiculous 12 yards per carry over the final 3 games last year, and 8.1 YPC for the season. The rest of the offense is a little more unsettled. Kevin Riley is the favorite to start at QB, but Tedford insists its an open job. There are no immediate standouts at WR, but the offensive line should be good enough to keep Best and the rest of the offense going. The defense could be the best in the conference. The entire defensive line returns, as does the entire secondary. The Bears must replace 3 LB’s, but have many talented guys ready to step in and the experience is there for a big season. If Cal can get steady QB play, this team could steal one @ Autzen to close September or shock USC to begin October and make a run towards the Pac 10 title.

4th. Oregon State (5-4) Coach: Mike Riley (9th year) – The offense could be explosive, with pint-sized running back Jacquizz Rodgers and two reliable quarterbacks. Jacquizz’s older brother, James, is the top returning WR and is dangerous both through the air and taking handoffs. The defense loses 8 starters, including the entire secondary. With all of the high powered offenses in the Pac 10, the Beavers will have a hard time stopping opponents, and will need to win some shootouts to stay in the hunt for the league title. Though we think the offense could be near the top of the league, the defense will hold the Beavers back this year and prevent them from another top 3 finish. It’s a testament to Mike Riley’s coaching ability that we are this high on the Beavers considering their schedule and all they lost from last year.

T-5th. Arizona (4-5) Coach: Mike Stoops (6th year) – Record-setting passer Willie Tuitama is gone, and the Wildcats top priority is finding someone to replace him. The race is between Sophomores Matt Scott and Nick Foles, but neither is of Tuitama’s caliber. Beyond the QB situation though, the offense should be deadly. The Wildcats return 1,000 yard rusher Nic Grigsby, top WR’s Terrell Turner and Delashuan Dean, and terrific TE Rob Gronkowski. The starting OT’s must be replaced, but the rest of the o-line is experienced and should be solid. The defense returns 7 starters, including all 4 up front. Brooks Reed had 8 sacks last year in his first year on defense, and Earl Mitchell is a force in the middle. This defense should be the best that Mike Stoops has had, and could end up being one of the best in the conference. If the ‘Cats can find a productive QB, they could improve on last season’s 8-5 record. But the schedule is difficult, including conference road games @ Oregon State, Cal and USC, and will prevent the Wildcats from challenging for a top 3 spot in the conference.

T-5th. UCLA (4-5) Coach: Rick Neuheisel (2nd year) – The Bruins have a ton of questions on offense: Can Kevin Prince be the answer at QB? Can the Bruins find a running game? Can the offensive line protect long enough for the offense to get going? The only place to go on offense is up, as last season UCLA had the 111th ranked offense in the nation. The good news is all the top receivers return. On defense, the Bruins return a good core with DT Brian Price, LB Reggie Carter, FS Rahim Moore and CB Alterraun Verner. The rest of the defense will have to step up and keep the team in games, but the inexperience beyond the starters could be troublesome. Neuheisel is turning in solid recruiting classes and is gaining ground on the juggernaut across town, but it’s still too soon for the Bruins to start challenging the top of the conference.

T-5th. Stanford (4-5) Coach: Jim Harbaugh (3rd year) – Bruising RB Toby Gerhart leads the Cardinal offense in 2009. RS Freshman Andrew Luck should win the QB job, and will need to provide a big enough threat to keep defenses from stacking the box against the running game. The offensive line could be a concern, as every starter is either new to the unit or switching positions. On defense, the secondary will be the primary concern after struggling a year ago. Luckily, the line should be able to get consistent pressure on the quarterback with tackles Ekom Udofia and Sione Fua and ends Erik Lorig and Tom Keiser. The schedule is tough, with 11 games against BCS conference opponents and road dates @ Wake Forest, Oregon State, Arizona and USC. The Cardinal have the potential to win 6 games and reach a bowl, but will need Gerhart to carry the load and steady play from the QB position to get there.

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8th. Arizona State (3-6) Coach: Dennis Erickson (3rd year) – QB Rudy Carpenter is gone after 4 years as the starter, but the rest of the offense returns largely intact. Senior Danny Sullivan will get first crack at replacing Carpenter, but will need help from a running game that was putrid last year. The line should be improved from last year, which should help the running game and help keep Sullivan off his back. The Sun Devils, usually known for offense, are building a defense to be reckoned with. DE Dexter Davis is coming off back-to-back double digit sack seasons, and tackle Lawrence Guy is a rock in the middle. The LB group will be good once again, and the secondary has top-of-the-line speed. K/P Thomas Weber is one of the best kickers in the nation. The Devils’ defense could allow them to pick up a win or two they shouldn’t, but the offense will keep this team from being a threat in the Pac 10.

9th. Washington (2-7) Coach: Steve Sarkisian (1st year) – Sarkisian takes over a Huskie team that was winless last year, but has more potential than it showed. QB Jake Locker is talented if he can stay on the field, and WR D’Andre Goodwin is a quality receiver. The line returns 3 starters but will need to vastly improve from a year ago. The same can be said of the running backs. 9 return on defense, where Sarkisian brought in USC defensive coordinator Nick Holt to run the show. DE Daniel Te’o Nesheim is an all-conference type of player, and the linebackers should be a solid group. An entirely new coaching staff means a fresh start for the Huskies, and Locker will lead a team that will add a few games in the win column this year and provide hope for the future.

10th. Washinton State (0-9) Coach: Paul Wulff (2nd year) – The Cougars were next-to-last in the country on offense last year, and don’t look like they will improve much this year. There are question marks at QB, where Kevin Lopina will battle Sophomore Marshall Lobbestael for the starting job. Whoever wins will have a tough task ahead of them, with a line that allowed 43 sacks last year. The running game may actually be the bright spot this year, where 4-year starter Dwight Tardy will be helped by the addition of Cal transfer James Montgomery. The defense will be even worse than the offense. The Cougars were last in the nation in rushing defense last year, and return only 1 starter on the line. The LB corp is equally thin. The secondary returns 3 starters, but they won’t mean much if the Cougars can’t stop the run. This team will have a difficult time even reaching the 2 wins they got last year.

There it is; 2009 is the year USC finally stumbles and misses the Rose Bowl. Don’t think they will be down too long though, as they should be early national title favorites again in 2010. But 2009 will be the year of the Duck, as Oregon will burst onto the BCS scene and likely roll another Big 10 team in the Rose Bowl. The Pac 10 wraps up our conference predictions, but be sure to check back regularly as we talk more college football and NCAA 10.

And as always, don’t forget to let us know YOUR thoughts on the Pac 10 in our comments section.


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10 Responses to “2009 Pac 10 Football Predictions”

  1. matt12 says:

    i agree with the tie for 1st but the upper hand goes to USC. I know they lost Sanchez, but I think there running game will be so dominant that losing the star QB won’t even phase them. and the D is gonna look great like always

  2. BearsFan says:

    you’re retarded. there’s no rhyme or reason for your picks. Take for Example… you talk about how bad UCLA was last year and how they have continuing issues, what makes you think they’ll be in the top 5 in the conference… I just wasted the 5 minutes of my life watching your video. Please stop blogging.

    Brian Kaldenberg Reply:

    We talked about how bad they were “last” year. UCLA has put together some nice recruiting classes. 5th place in a what will be a very mediocre Pac 10 this year isn’t exactly setting the world on fire anyways.

  3. USCFanDan says:

    USC is indeed questionable this year. They could lose 2 or 3 games. They are horrible away in
    Oregon. However, they have one advantage in 2009. They are not pre-season number one, so they might surprize and end up at the big one. Their year to year consistency should have put them there last year. Too bad that a team with only one come from behind close loss to Texas in BCS competition keeps being discriminated against. Should have been USC vs. Florida last year; or perhaps Utah vs USC?
    Florida, Oklahoma, etc. should be avoided for the title game due
    their avoidance of strong competition outside of their conferences.

  4. Bob Glaudel says:

    Most of USC’s tough games are away this year, and I think they will lose at least one and probably two of them. If the QB position doesn’t gel, they will probably end up with 3 losses.

  5. John B says:

    For the simple fact that you put stanford not making a bowl game, discredits anything you said. Experts are listing them at a minimum of 7-5 and some might think they have the potential to win 8 or 9 games. Their offensive line is one of the best in the conference,and their defense has improved. They have 5 good receivers,not great but good, and will most likely have a potent Passing attack with Freshman Andrew Luck leading the team. Gerhart will indeed be a pivotal part, but I think a speedster freshman if he doesn’t redshirt will back up the load of gerhart.
    Overall, Stanford Will go 7-5 and win a bowl game.
    They will start of 4-0 and fizzle of a little bit, the future is promising for the card, with the potential to be in a bcs bowl in 3-4 years.

  6. Josh says:

    Who do you have Oregon losing to? Just curious, I think this could be the year Oregon does it, I think they could even go to the NC, but it all depends on how good the talent is on the D and O lines, because everything else looks great. Should be a great Pac-10 season this year!

  7. Bruno-Trojan says:

    Oregon may go 8-1 in Pac-10 and win the tie-breaker vs. USC but I doubt it. Nevertheless, it probably won’t get them a berth in the Rose Bowl as you predict. The Rose bowl hosts the BCS championship game in 2010.

  8. CJ says:

    you are horrible, you cannot even pronounce names right…tell you what, go study up on the pac10 a little more, well, alot more, and come back next year….maybe your predictions will be a little more believable.

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