BtD Super Spring Pac-10 Preview, Part 1 (UA, ASU, Cal)

We're just 220 days from the start of the Pac-10 football season on September 26, which means it's a perfect time to take a glance over all of the teams in the conference. This preview will be rolled out in three installments, like this:

  1. Arizona, Arizona State, Cal
  2. Oregon, Stanford, UCLA
  3. USC, Washington, Washington State
Let's get started:

Arizona Wildcats

What We Know:

Arizona may have more question marks than anyone else in the conference, and that leads to a very intriguing campaign for last year's Las Vegas Bowl winners. Losing Willie Tuitama and Mike Thomas was going to be difficult as it is, but while they have playmakers still at running back (Grigsby, Antolin) and wide receiver (Dean), they have no real established quarterback going into the Spring. My guess is that highly touted Sophomore Nick Foles (6'5", 240) ends up getting the nod. And here's guessing that no matter who starts at QB in the fall, Junior Rob Gronkowski will be getting plenty of passes thrown his way.

Keep Your Eye On:

The Texas Tech and Mike Leach saga. For those who haven't been up to keep up with it, start with this article and read all related until it makes sense. You may be asking, "What does this have to do with Arizona?" Well if Texas Tech and Mike Leach should end up parting ways, my feeling is the front runner for the job would be former Texas Tech and current UA offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes. And the feeling is that head coach at Texas Tech is a big step up from OC at Arizona. This wouldn't be a good thing for Arizona right before Spring practices start.

Key Dates:

Sept 19th @ Iowa-- Arizona lacks a marquee non-conference win under Stoops, this game would be a chance to change that.

Oct 17th, 24th v Stanford/UCLA-- back to back home games against teams that are comparable are going to be crucial if Arizona wants to get back to a bowl game.

Impact Freshman:

Adam Hall, Safety from Tucson. Son of a former UA player, he was sporting offers from USC, Oregon, Cal, among others. He was one of the most sought after players in the West, and will probably step in and start right away.

Prediction:

I think that Arizona takes a step back this year and goes 4-8; best case scenario, 6-6. If the Wildcats want to go to a bowl this year, they are going to need to start hot because they have the toughest 4 game stretch of any team in the Pac-10 this year to end the season: @Cal, Oregon, @Arizona State, @USC. Ouch.

Arizona State Sun Devils

What We Know:

The Sun Devils lost their best QB, RB, and WR from a team that struggled offensively. They do return Demitri Nance and Chris McGaha, but with so many question marks at QB, it may not matter. They have had three loaded recruiting classes since Erickson has been there, and it's time that it starts paying off. They should be better on the offensive line, where they have lacked the last two years, and the defense should be muched improved.

Keep Your Eye On:

The quarterback competition in the Spring. There seems to be some thought that the freshman Brock Osweiler, who is already in Tempe, could step in and start. Senior Danny Sullivan has the leg up at this point, as he has the most experience. But the 6'8", 240 pound freshman from Kalispell is more athletic and has a better arm. If he can get a grasp of the offense, watch out.

Key Dates:

Sept 26th, @Georgia-- The Sun Devils will want to avenge the loss last year to the Bulldogs, and what better way to get that then at their house after they break in a new QB and RB

Nov 14th, @Oregon-- the second to last game of the season for the Sun Devils, this could mean the difference between a decent bowl game (Sun/Las Vegas) and a great one (Holiday/BCS)

Impact Freshman:

While Osweiler may get the most time on the field this year, look out for Vontaze Burfict to step in and make a difference. ASU has lacked depth at linebacker the last two years (a position that they have excelled in over the last decade), and Burfict will probably start from day 1.

Prediction:

A lot of toss up games, but it isn't unreasonable to think that the Sun Devils may go 9-3 this year. It also isn't unreasonable to see them go 6-6 if they get spotty QB play.

California Golden Bears

What We Know:

They return arguably one of the country's top runnin back tandems in Shane Vareen and Jahvid Best, and they have some talent at the wideout to stretch the field. We also know they loss a lot on the offensive line, including their OLine coach. And we know that if Kevin Riley doesn't improve, they could be looking at another disappointing season for the Bears.

Keep Your Eye On:

Quarterback play all year. Tedford had produced some great QBs in his time, but has yet to get Riley to realize his full potential. If it keeps up, look for Brock Mansion to step in. I know there has been some talk over at California Golden Blogs that Mansion may very well end up being the guy in Berkeley. Another year long QB controversy would be good for everyone in the Pac10, except Cal.

Key Dates:

Sept 26th/Oct 3rd, @Oregon, USC-- if Cal wants to

 challenge for the Pac10 title this year, they are going to have to start hot. A home game with Maryland, then on the road to an improving Minnesota, then start the Pac10 season with arguably the two best teams in the conference. Start off 5-0, and you could be looking at the #1 team in the country. Even 4-1 gets you a top 10 ranking.

Impact Freshman:

Steve Williams. The speedy defensive back from Texas is a little skinny (5'10", 160 pounds) but has the talent necessary to play cover in a pass happy conference. For a team that just graduated perhaps the greatest DB in school history, Williams could very well be his replacement.

Prediction:

Don't be surprised if, with Kevin Riley playing well at QB, Cal goes undefeated this year. They have the defensive talent to catch Oregon right at the right time, and USC while it's still breaking in a new QB. However, I think 10-2, 9-3 is a bit more reasonable for a team with a lot of question marks at QB.

--The VD Special

 

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Building The Dam

You must be a member of Building The Dam to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Building The Dam. You should read them.

Join Building The Dam

You must be a member of Building The Dam to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Building The Dam. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker