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Pac Ten Alley

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Back when we started the blog this was a weekly feature that we used to give exposure to other blogs and to also get to know the other people who were doing what I was doing up and down the West coast. I haven't done it since we moved over to SBN for no particular good reason.

Since this is the start of the season maybe its time to see what the other Pac 10 blogs are thinking about going into the first games of the season. So lets take a walk down Pac 10 alley to see what the neighbors are up to.

Washington State

The guys over at Coug Center aren't happy about a two QB system. Chances are there will be a lot of things they aren't happy with this season

Over the last couple of weeks, I've made no secret of my disdain for two quarterback systems. They smack of indecisiveness, and rarely are effective. So, I was less than thrilled when Paul Wulff came out this weekend and said that Kevin Lopina and Marshall Lobbestael would share the duties against Stanford on Saturday, with Lopina getting the start and Lobbestael making an appearance somewhere around the fourth or fifth series.

Oregon

Everything you need to know about tonights game from the guys over at Addicted to Quack. they provide some great game day links if you want to do some last minute reading about the Ducks.

John Hunt of The Oregonian has his game day preview up, asking "can Ducks keep their cool?" John Canzano has a level-headed take on this game, suggesting the Ducks need to be business-like to leave Boise with a win. John Hunt also files a piece on Chip Kelly, as he makes he head coaching debut.

Oregon State

My friend Jake over at the OSU blog goes over the depth chart for Oregon State. Chances are most of the depth will get some playing time on Saturday.

Despite being out of practice for two weeks due to the NCAA Clearinghouse issue, Marcus Wheaton is still listed second on the chart at flanker by the Oregon State coaching staff. This probably shouldn't be read as great hope that the issue will finally and suddenly be resolved, but rather, an indication that if James Rodgers needs a break, look for more plays without a true flanker, with the slot up on the line, and more use of the H-backs.

California

The Bears are getting ready for Maryland.

Cal coach Jeff Tedford says this Maryland group is so different from last year that it is a virtual unknown. That makes the Terps difficult to prepare for.

The big uncertainty is on defense. Maryland has a new defensive coordinator, Don Brown, who has introduced aggressive new blitzing schemes and has his guys pressing receivers at the line.

Here's Tedford:

"I know there's going to be an element of surprise there. There is no background. As far as us playing them last year, they’re not the same team."

 Stanford

Stanford doesn't have a blog which i think is strange because god know;s somebody who watches football down there should be able to write. In absence of that we go with Jon Wilner who knows a little something about football. He also thinks Cal will win the Pac 10. As far as Stanford is concerned he thinks going with a freshman QB with delay Stanford's bowl plans for another year.

The push-pull of Stanford’s season comes down to this, simply and indisputably: In good shape at most positions, the Cardinal is trying to reach its first bowl game in eight years with a freshman quarterback.

Which got me wondering how many Pac-10 teams have accomplished that feat.

Or, put another way: How many freshmen quarterbacks have led their teams to bowl games?

I checked with some Pac-10 pals and it quickly became apparent that it hasn’t happened often — partly because very few teams have relied on freshmen QBs.

UCLA

Bruins Nation reports that air quality concerns could cancel Saturday's game against San Diego St because of forest fires in the San Bernandino mountains. Conditions are improving so I think it is a safe bet the game is on.

We should find out sometime today whether we will have a game to play this Saturday. I started my morning by checking the AQMD website. It looks like the air quality around Pasadena is still in the "unhealthy for sensitive groups" category. However, the AQI value keeps dropping. It is around 117 as of right now. It was around 135 yesterday afternoon and actually somewhere around 340 2-3 days ago.  FWIW per the 10 day forecast on weather.com, the temperature projection for Pasadena area is trending downward (oh oh ... this weather forecasting gig seems to be just as easy as writing columns for the LA Times). Also, note this game is scheduled for late afternoon/early evening. We are not scheduled for a noon time kickoff. Remember the Michigan game from few years ago when everyone baked for few hours in the hot Pasadena sun in near 100 degree temperature? It can't be that bad on Satuday. Can it?

Southern California

The Trojans get a linebacker back from academic limbo.

Linebacker Luthur Brown has been fully reinstated and will practice today for the first time this fall, Coach Pete Carroll announced this afternoon.

Brown, who sat out all of training camp, has regained his academic eligibility and will be available to play in Saturday's season opener. Brown adds versatile depth to the linebacking corps, as the redshirt senior can play all three positions.

Arizona

The guys that run Desert swarm are optimistic about 2009. I am not so sure and I think the Wildcats stumble on opening day.

Appearing in a bowl game last season, for the first time in a decade, whet the appetite of Arizona fans, and players.  More is expected.  This team has the depth and athletes to compete with anyone in the Pac-10, it just lacks that prototypical star player who changes the game every week.  Head Coach Mike Stoops received his long-awaited contract extension this off-season.  The hot-seat will remain cool for Coach Stoops as long as the team continues to improve.

 Arizona State

I guess the House of Sparky doesn't know Dennis Erickson very well. Games are won and the program improves but the side effects are usually behavior problems.

A word no one wants to hear just 4 days before the season opener.  The Arizona Republic claims that 5-6 players will be suspended for the opener against Idaho State, and Burfict is likely to be sitting out while waiting for clearance from the NCAA.  This seems like it has the potential to be a major blow to our team on Saturday, however I think we will still prevail.  Erickson is setting the precedent to the rest of the team that if you break a rule, he'll discipline you. 

LSU

Assorted propaganda from the LSU blog. The overall feeling down South is this game is going to be a blowout. None of us really know anything till this game is actually played.

 

I've got a feeling LSU will knock Washington across the universe.  And they'll do it for all the LSU fans that took the long and winding road to Seattle.  (Sadly, none of them seats will be filled by yours truly, as I sold I me mine a few days ago.)