Thanks to TwistNHook from CGB for the organizing the questions for this weeks roundtable. Things really begin to pick up in the Pac 10 starting...right...NOW!
1. USC and OSU win out. OSU wins the Pac10 and goes to the Rose Bowl. USC doesn't win the Pac10, but due to the BigXII and the SEC cannibalizing themselves, manages to get into the National Championship game. Discuss.
This would send the nation into an uproar. I can hear the fans from opposing conferences now. SEC- "MY GOD, HOW CAN USC, WHO LOST TO CRAPPY OREGON STATE, GET IN OVER FLORIDA, GEORGIA, LSU, ALABAMA?! HELL EVEN OLE MISS WOULD BEAT SC BECAUSE THEY CAN BEAT FLORIDA AT THE SWAMP! DIDN'T YOU KNOW THAT THE SEC RULES EVERYTHING!" $C is the scum of the football community, because they regularly embarass us and we have nothing to fight back with." Big 12- "Texas beat USC in the NC a few years back. Oklahoma has a 2-1 record recently against Oregon. Texas Tech beat Cal in the Holiday Bowl. Since USC beat Oregon and Cal this year, how can you put them in over any one of us?" Big 10- "Penn State and USC both have 1 loss. Penn State beat Oregon State. Oregon State beat USC. 'Nuff said." I would refuse to blog for one calendar year if SC got in just so I wouldn't have to listen to SEC retards.
2. Oregon State is the only team that controls its Pac-10 destiny due in large part to freshman phenom Jacquizz Rodgers, but their next 3 games will be their toughest stretch of conference games. What are their chances of winning out and going to their first Rose Bowl since 1965?
It's going to be tough. Real tough. I believe we are playing better than all three teams we have remaining on our schedule, but to beat two solid teams in Cal and Arizona (at Arizona) and win the Civil War is never an easy task. I can only imagine a Civil War with the Rose Bowl on the line. Nothing the Duckies would love more than to ruin those hopes like we did for them in 2000. We would hear it for years. But all that being said, there is no reason the Beavs can't do it--and they are likely to be favored in each remaining game. I would rather play this 3 game schedule with everything on the line than 1 game against USC with everything on the line. Anyone care to disagree? I would call you an idiot.
3. It's pretty widely accepted as of now that the Pac-10 is having, across the board, its worst season in years. Give us your #1 reason for this sudden downturn in quality.
Two main reasons, and one has to do with the other. 1) Poor QB play, largely due to youth, injury and/or instability at the position--pretty sure Rudy Carpenter is the only Pac-10 QB to play in every game for his team this year! Head over to ESPN.com and read Ted Miller's blog for some interesting insight into the QB play this year in the Pac 10. 2) Recruiting. Again, another article written by somebody else, but USC has essentially sucked dry California and a majority of the west coast on the premise that "practice time at SC is more valuable than playing time at UCLA." After watching the Bruins tank this year, I don't think anybody would disagree. Not sure if it can effect an entire conference, but teams are now more likely to be recruiting elsewhere. Oregon and Oregon State have since dipped into Texas and Oklahoma for players, and I think it's a trend you will continue to see with other Pac 10 teams. But it just goes to show how important coaching is. Oregon State is having another strong showing--solidifying our spot at the top of the Pac-9--and it's due to the fact that we pick up guys that the USCs/Cals/UCLAs of the world overlook, and we turn them into gems.
4. Each season can bring significant change to a college football team, whether from graduation or a change in starters. Now that we've seen the majority of the 2008 season, what do you think will be the significant changes for your team to contend with in 2009?
I'm not sure where there will be significant changes in our team except for the better. Losing our DBs might hurt, but it's the deepest area of the team this year. And losing Sammie and Shane Morales hurts. But we return a wealth of QBs, obviously Quizz and James Rodgers, a lot of our OLine is back, and we have some young guys on the defensive front that are solid. However, I think the biggest loss is going to be losing Norris and Butler on the defensive ends--they change the way that opposing team runs their offense. But if Simi Kuli (and a couple other JC transfers who may be in the pipeline) decides he ever wants to show up, that would be huge for our depth and allow us to continue our 8-10 player rotation. I think next year's team, with a hot start/favorable early schedule, can go 10-2 or 11-1.
5. Will USC ever suck again? EVER!
No. There are certain programs that will never be down (even though USC was down for a while before Carroll got there and variously throughout the 90's). Sure, they may have a bad season here or there. But programs like Michigan, Ohio State, Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, and SC don't stay down for long, if at all. Pete Carroll has made it his priority to make USC into a program that wins forever, and there's no doubt that it's looking that way right now. He has also turned that job into the #1 job in the country, so if and when Pete decides to up and leave for the NFL, USC will have its pick of the litter of coaches. And don't think that Paul Hackett is going to be running USC again anytime soon.
The real question is when will Washington decide they want to be respectable again?