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Pac-10 Media Day

The Players and coaches from all 10 Pac-10 teams gathered at the Sheraton Gateway on Thursday to discuss the upcoming season. Press from across the nation was present, and USC was voted to be champion of the Pac-10. Oregon State head coach and Strong Safety Sabby Piscitelli were Oregon State's representatives. Here's what they had to say:

Head Coach Mike Riley: "We are excited about the start of the new year. We had a productive off-season and we've grown a lot since last year. When you look at our offense, our entire offensive line is returning, our quarterback is returning and I feel good about the core that is heading into camp. We slipped a little bit on our defense last year, but we were still tops in rushing defense. We have some outstanding people returning and they have made a commitment to our program as we head into camp ... Matt Moore has ability, he has a great arm and is extremely tough. We went through some lumps starting a new quarterback, he was new to us, our system, but he made tremendous plays. We obviously turned the ball over too much, but my feeling is that through that year of experience, all the growth, he will have a good year ... I like the full round-robin, it's most equitable. You can count on the sequence and I like the 12- game schedule."

S Sabby Piscitelli: "I think the biggest thing that happened last year was that we lost that momentum. We beat a good Cal team on the road, we had a lot of confidence, but a couple opportunities didn't go our way. One play can make a game and there were little things we didn't capitalize on."

To read all the team's comments, click here.

For the most part, I think Riley and Sabby speak the truth. We can only hope that the offensive core will be improved with the first year under their belts, and mostly everyone returning. And he's right, the run defense was there, but the pass defense still suffered. Cornerbacks, along with Matt Moore at Quarterback, were both positions where we started players new to the program. Both those units return this year, so we can only wait and see what happens.

Media day also included a pre-season ranking of the Pac-10:

1. USC (18) 276
2. California (7) 247
3. Oregon (3) 229
4. Arizona State (1) 204
5. UCLA 145
6. Arizona 133
7. Oregon State 125
8. Washington State 96
9. Stanford 90
10. Washington 50
They claim that the Pac-10 Media Poll has correctly picked the conferance champion the last 6 years, (Washington in '00, Oregon in '01, Washington State in '02, and USC the next 3 years) and a grand total of 23 of 45 since the poll started.

No matter what the poll says, this year is going to be a hard year to predict. Will USC bounce back to the top, and will they have the recruits to get there? Will Oregon settle its QB situation? What will happen to Karl Dorell and UCLA?

Oregon State was picked 7th, which is right where they were at the beginning of last season. But I still believe the Beavers could do better or worse then that. I expect that they could surprise us all and finish anywhere from 4th to 8th. They need to capitalize on home field advantage. Oregon State plays the top 4 projected teams all at home. (USC, Cal, Oregon, Arizona State) The Beavers knock two of these teams off, they're in good shape. (USC and Oregon, Pleeeaase???) But that definitely doesn't mean they could take all 4. ;)

We'll take a look at the accuracy of this poll a little later.

Go Beavers!