BtD Super Spring Pac-10 Preview, Part 2: UO, SU, UCLA

The Super Spring Pac-10 preview rolls on... If you missed the first installment, find it here.

Oregon Ducks

What We Know:

They return the two components to an absolutely deadly offense from last year (Masoli, Blount). They are going to put up points in a flurry, just like they did at the end of this year. We also know that they have one of the greatest offensive minds in the country, but that it could be very well be negated by one of the worst defensive minds. How do you beat Oregon? Stop their offense once, because you will probably score every time.

Keep Your Eye On:

The defense. Yes, they have some playmakers coming in on D. But, as mentioned above, it will probably be negated by Nick Aliotti. If they can somehow manage to pull together and play well on D, this could be a very, very good team. If not, it could be a long year for our brethren from down south.

Key Dates:

Oregon has a very favorable schedule, with key games against USC, Cal and Oregon State all at home, and all with a few weeks of the rest of the conference in between them. Other than those three:

Sept 5th, @Boise State-- Oregon needs to avenge the loss from last year if it wants any chance of nabbing an at-large BCS 

bid. If Oregon can win in Boise, and against Cal, look for them to be undefeated going into Halloween's game against USC. It would be a top 5 and national matchup. God, I hate Oregon.

Impact Freshman:

Cliff Harris seems to be the most talented freshman coming in, but with all the losses at wide receiver, Dionte Jackson is going to be the one to watch. He's fast and has skills. My guess is a lot of quick screen passes in the flat and letting him juke his way for yardage.

Prediction:

Everyone is jumping back on the Oregon bandwagon (seems to happen whenever they find a competent QB) and some think a NCGame may be coming, but too many questions linger on defense for me to think they can go undefeated. Still, I don't think anyone would be disappointed with an 11-1 season, and a definite BCS bid. Worst case scenario: 8-4, with losses to Boise State, Cal, USC, and throw in a loss to Stanford/UCLA/Oregon State.

UCLA and Stanford after the break. 

 

Stanford Cardinal

What We Know:

They return Toby Gerhart, who is playing baseball all spring (where have I heard this before...) and Tavita Pritchard returns as the QB for one of the worst passing teams in the conference last year. We also know that Harbaugh is one hell of a coach and has put together some solid recruiting classes his last two years. How this translates to this year is yet to be seen.

Keep Your Eye On:

Quarterback competition. If Pritchard doesn't step it up this Spring, look for talented RS Freshman Andrew Luck to have a say in matters. There are some in the Stanford camp who want Luck to be #1 right now, but Harbaugh is smarter then to rip away the starting job and hand it to an untested kid. My guess is Pritchard is on a very short, very tight leash.

Key Dates:

Sept 12th, @Wake Forest-- this is going to be a chance for Stanford to show all the east coasters that they have arrived. A good showing from the Cardinal, and they could burst into the top 25 by their Nov 7th game against Oregon.

Oct 24th, Arizona State-- The Cardinal may need this game to get to their 6th win, with games against Oregon, USC, Cal, and Notre Dame to follow.

Impact Freshman:

Another solid recruiting class that could see as many as 5-6 freshman getting significant playing time this year, but I would expect to see running back Tyler Gaffney get a lot of touches, especially if Gerhart bolts for the MLB. A nice blend of size (6'1", 215) and speed (4.44 40), he will definitely see significant playing time.

Prediction:

A reasonable schedule to start the year, don't be surprised to see them as good as 7-1 going into their game with Oregon. However, the winning may stop there. 8-4 isn't entirely out of the question, and would certainly be a step up for a team that is only a couple years removed from a 1 win season. 7-5, 6-6 is most likely.

UCLA Bruins

What We Know:

They have a solid coaching staff, and that's about it. We also know they have had spotty QB play and are going to have a heavy reliance on freshmen and sophomores this year.

Keep Your Eye On:

Another QB competition to watch this Spring, and maybe more so than anyone else. Forcier, Price, and Brehaut all will want to take down incumbent Kevin Craft. But will it matter if they don't have an offensive line worthy to play in the Pac10? That is the real competition: if the current OLineman aren't playing well, look for talented and highly touted guys like Stanley Hasiak and Xavier Su'a Filo to step up and try their hand.

Key Dates:

Oct 31st @Oregon State-- This game may be the difference for the Bruins between a bowl game or not. A win in Corvallis at the end of October is not going to be easy, but if they can get it, then they may have exceeded expectations for the year.

Impact Freshman:

Randall Carroll is going to be the playmaker that UCLA has lacked the last few years, it's just a matter of when it happens. I would expect to see him early and often for the Bruins.

Prediction:

Slick Rick is a good coach an

d 8-4 isn't completely out of the question. Like Stanford, look for them to be the 6-6, 7-5 range.

--

Discuss!

Look for Part 3 of this series tomorrow, featuring USC, Washington, and Washington State!

--The VD Special

 

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