Friday, May 04, 2007

ESPN on the Pac 10

ESPN has a new article out today on the Pac 10. The gist of the article is this: USC great, USC tops, other teams briefly mentioned, back to USC, more USC. But here are the interesting tidbits. (full article)
Most dynamic player: When California receiver and return specialist DeSean Jackson has the ball, he's just scary. He led the nation in punt returns last year, returning four for touchdowns. He also caught 59 passes for 1,060 yards -- 18 yards per reception -- with nine touchdowns. If the Bears start fast -- read: beat Tennessee -- Jackson could become a Heisman Trophy candidate.
No brainer choice here. Most dynamic player in the nation will also be the most dynamic player in his conference. Jackson will be a Heisman Trophy candidate but will not win it because the Bear offense is too balanced. When you have Hawkins and Jordan, along with Forsett running the ball, there is too much talent for Jackson to post the numbers to win. Unless he take 6 punts to the house this year.
Team that may disappoint: California coach Jeff Tedford has laid very few eggs in his five years in Berkeley, quickly transforming a moribund program into a budding national power. Oh, the Bears went belly-up in the 2004 Holiday Bowl against an inferior Texas Tech team, but other than that things have been mostly smooth. At least until that 35-18 humiliation at Tennessee that made Cal look ill-prepared for the big time and set tongues wagging on Pac-10 mediocrity. The Volunteers visit Strawberry Canyon this fall. If Cal wins, buckle up for a banner season. If it loses, things could become unsteady. A potential Achilles' heel: Six marquee starters from last year's underachieving defense need to be replaced.
Are you serious? The one positive I take from this is that the writer has high expectations for Cal. The team that may disappoint is UCLA. Have you seen how high they are being ranked in early polls? I saw one where they were #7. UCLA was 7-6 last year with one good win against USC. Bringing back 20 starters from a team barely over .500 is not a great thing. Let's not forget they got spanked by FSU in the Emerald Bowl. UCLA will finish in the bottom half of the conference this year below Cal, USC, Oregon St, Oregon and Arizona St.