Pac-10 Weekend Preview

Basketball Editor
Posted Sep 7, 2007


Week 1 was nice for the conference. Week 2 is already off to a rough start as OSU committed seven turnovers in a Thursday night loss to Cincinnati. With several other critical non-conference games on the slate, the Pac-10 will again put their oft-maligned reputation on the line against a quality list of opponents who will give every conference team a run for their money.

 

OREGON STATE @ CINCINNATI

September 6, 2007

 

OSU has made it a habit of playing lose-lose non-conference games in recent memory and this “trap” game came up and bit them in the tail AGAIN.  Even before knowing the final score – 34-13 Cincy – the odds against the Beavers’ getting a road win east of the Mississippi were against them, regardless of what the experts thought.  OSU lost at Fresno State 16-14 in 2003, got embarrassed at Boise State 53-24 in 2004 and again on the blue turf in 2006, losing 42-14.  Give the Beavers credit for being willing to play these teams on the road but they had little to gain and a whole lot more to lose in playing a school like Cincinnati.  On Thursday, they lost, and like in years past, they lost a game like this big.  OSU may go on to have a great season and perhaps even knock off a team like USC for the second straight season.  But a loss like Thursday night’s won’t soon be forgotten.  Strangely, had they actually won the game, it would’ve been a victory that a national audience would have dismissed by Friday morning. 

Nippert Stadium – 35,000

Field Turf 

 

 

BOISE STATE @ WASHINGTON

September 8, 2007

 

This is the first ever meeting between these two schools and could prove to be a disaster for Washington.  After developing some confidence in traveling to the northeast to pound Syracuse, the Huskies run the risk of throwing any gained momentum out the window by getting humiliated in their own backyard to a very good Boise State team.  That might not happen, though, as Washington looks to be vastly improved on offense – an aspect of their game that they’ve struggled with since 2003.  The other good news is the fact that Washington is 51-5-2 against current WAC teams.  The bad news is this decade the WAC teams they’ve faced primarily include Idaho and San Jose State, and most certainly not a nationally recognized team to be reckoned with in Boise State.

Husky Stadium – 72,500

Field Turf 

 

 

BYU @ UCLA

September 8, 2007

 

Arizona fans will join Bruins and Cougars fans in watching this game.  Arizona fans assumed a win over BYU was likely and watched in horror as their ‘Cats were dominated in Provo.  How BYU plays at the Rose Bowl Saturday will tell Arizona as much about their team as it will tell UCLA and BYU about theirs.  The hope is that a well-played and competitive showing by the Cougars will encourage Arizona in that their own squad is not as bad as many fear right now.  After seeing what I saw last week, BYU has a better than average chance of pulling off the upset.  Mendenhall is proving to be a fantastic coach while Dorrell’s abilities are still called into question.  QB Olson was named Pac-10 Player of the Week and his being of the Mormon faith and almost playing for BYU certainly makes for an intriguing subplot.  When all is said and done, UCLA’s offense will prove to be much better than Arizona’s which should allow the Bruins the opportunity to put the required 21 plus points on the board required to beat this talented BYU team in a relatively close game.

Rose Bowl – 91,500

  Natural Grass

 

 

COLORADO @ ARIZONA STATE

September 8, 2007

 

“This is Division-I football.  This is the Big 12.”  This is me quoting Buff’s head coach Dan Hawkins.  The Sun Devils took care of business last week as did Colorado who pulled out a must-win overtime thriller against rival Colorado State.  In 2006, the Buffs went 2-10.and were winless on the road in five tries.  They also lost to ASU at home 21-3 early in the season.  The good news is the Buffs are 7-2 in the last nine years following their game with CSU.  The bad news is ASU is 7-2 against non-conference BCS teams and this was achieved before Dennis Erickson and his career record of 149-65-1 stepped onto the Tempe campus.  This game might be close for a while, but the second half should belong to ASU.  Also, don’t be surprised if there’s plenty of, “This is the Pac-10,” shouts on the field from ASU linebackers and strong safeties after delivering big hits on the Buffs. 

Sun Devil Stadium – 71,706

Natural Grass 

 

 

CALIFORNIA @ COLORADO STATE

September 8, 2007

 

Can you say letdown game?  This game shouldn’t even be close and if Cal remains focused it won’t but these are things much easier said the done.  Add to this the fact that the game is played at CSU and the fact that CSU is coming off a disheartening OT loss to in-state rival Colorado and you’ve got a recipe for disaster for the Bears.  If they truly are a national contender, the Bears will take care of business, beat CSU, and move on.  The bad news for the Bears is they were just 2-3 on the road last season and are just 3-5 in their last ‘first’ road games of the season.  Last year, Cal followed a key 38-24 win over UCLA with a loss to unranked Arizona 24-20.  When Cal beat #3 USC 34-31 (3OT) in 2003, they then lost to Oregon State 35-21.  The history is clearly there for another Cal letdown but this is not an average Cal team.  If they get solid play out of their secondary, Cal’s offense will score enough points to beat CSU.

Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium – 34,400

Natural Grass 

 

 

OREGON @ MICHIGAN

September 8, 2007

 

Oregon could not have picked a worse week to play Michigan who is coming off the Appalachian State loss.  Oregon beat then #3 Michigan in Autzen back in 2003 and would love to make it two in a row, but who on this planet doesn’t think that Henne, Hart and Manningham won’t play like gangbusters against an Oregon defense that gave up 29.5 PPG last season.  Michigan is 69-10 under Carr at home.  Even better, the Wolverines are 21-3 under Carr when coming off a loss.  Oregon, all time, is 12-26 against Big 10 opponents and has never scored a single point in all three of their trips to the Big House.  None of this is good news for Oregon, but here’s the thing:  If Oregon can come out and blitz Michigan in the first quarter (something they’re entirely capable of doing) the Wolverines just might to begin to play the ‘what if we start the season 0-2’ game and that could be all she wrote.

Autzen Stadium – 54,000

Field Turf 

 

 

NORTHERN ARIZONA @ ARIZONA

September 8, 2007

 

No disrespect to NAU but the outcome of this game will be decided by the play of Arizona.  Make no mistake about it, Arizona can lose.  Arizona can also win by 50 points if they can get their offense going.  NAU plays a version of the spread offense similar to Florida, Oregon and Utah where the QB tucks the ball in the belly of the fullback or tailback on nearly every play.  If he reads pass, he’ll pull the ball back and throw a quick strike.  If he catches the defense on their heels, he'll let the running back loose to do their thing.  The best way to defend this type of offense is to be ultra-aggressive.  If the ‘Cats sit back and wait to read the QB – guess what – the QB will pick them apart.  If they attack, they’ll then dictate what NAU’s QB is going to do and with Arizona’s strength in the secondary, the ‘Cats could force NAU into some tough situations.  Expect Arizona to win but by how much is anyone’s guess at this point.

Arizona Stadium – 56,002

Natural Grass 

 

 

SAN DIEGO STATE @ WASHINGTON STATE

September 8, 2007

 

If you have to work in the garden this weekend, this might be the game you forego watching on television in order to get some things done.  SDSU did not play last week and that’s bad news for them considering the fact that they’re 2-23 in road openers and are in the midst of a 14 game road opener losing streak.  To make matters worse, the Aztecs are just 11-54-3 against current Pac-10 teams.  For Wazzu, 2007 marks the fifth straight season the Cougars play a “home game” in Seattle to assist in recruiting and exposure.  They are 3-1 in these games and should extend that record to 4-1 by disposing of SDSU in rather easy fashion.

*Game played in Seattle

Field Turf 

 

 

USC

Bye Week

September 8, 2007

 



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