Eight of our SB Nation Pac-10 blogs recently got together to publish a Pac-10 Football Preview, which you can find in it's entirety on CougCenter.com. Voting for projected order of finish was done, as well as Pac-10 Heisman voting. But the main part of the preview were the capsules done on each team. Here is the capsule I filed for the preview:
Overview: For the second straight year, Oregon State will be looking to reload on defense. All four members of the secondary are gone from a year ago, as well as three from the defensive line. The linebackers, led by Keaton Kristick, will be the strength of the defense and should help stop this year's talented crop of Pac-10 running backs. Any pressure the defensive line (watch out for DT Steven Paea) can put on the quarterback will help the young secondary. On offense, the healthy quarterback is Sean Canfield, with Lyle Moevao taking a backseat -- for now. Jacquizz Rodgers returns at RB, but there is little proven depth behind him -- and the receivers are young.
Key to Success: Two things quickly come to mind. The first is the offensive line. LT Andy Levitre and LG Adam Speerare off to the NFL, leaving behind a young, inexperienced group-- especially on the left side. Highly touted recruit Michael Philipp has come into camp to compete for the LT spot, and has been turning some heads. According to HC Mike Riley, Philipp will either "start or redshirt", but at 6-3, 320, the Beavers need him to learn the system and start this year. The other key is Jacquizz Rodgers. He needs to stay healthy all year, or this could turn into a train wreck on offense with the inexperience at receiver, especially with Darrell Catchings going down with a wrist injury early in fall camp.
Potential Achilles Heel: The secondary, which isn't young -- just inexperienced -- could be the achilles heel this year. It shouldn't be quite like 2005, when the Beavers baptized freshmen Brandon Hughes and Keenan Lewis by fire at cornerback, but all four to-be starters don't have much starting experience. It will be up to Tim Clark to hold down the group -- he has the most experience and should turn into the leader of the defensive backfield.
Best Case Scenario: The best case scenario this year is that the Beavers win all their home games (it's doable), and then go out and win most of their tough games on the road. With road trips to Cal, Arizona State, USC, and Oregon, it's not going to be easy, but the Beavers know they have the talent and the wherewithal to do it.
Worst Case Scenario: The worst-case scenario would be that the Beavers can't win the games they need to win at home, and they struggle against the Pac-10's best on the road -- which could mean that Jacquizz Rodgers goes down with an injury.
Likely Scenario: Most likely, the Beavers will win seven or eight games. It's very possible that this squad could win more-- and it probably wouldn't surprise many, based on what Riley has been able to do in the past. Look for the Beavers to get off to a better start in years past with the more favorable pre-season schedule, have a solid season, and win their sixth straight bowl game.
Feel free to agree or disagree with what I had to say. Once again, you can read the entire preview here.