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It's all about the Trojans

8/23/2004

ESPN analyst Bill Curry picks the Pac-10 Conference champion, award winners and more:

And the winner is ...
USC

Pete Carroll had a team meeting five weeks after the Rose Bowl. The sole purpose was to show the upperclassmen highlights of the 2004 Trojan signees. The clear implication was that the competition would be fierce for playing time, whether one be a senior or a freshman. So it is that Carroll is using the single greatest motivator in team sports. Anyone resting on laurels will simply continue to rest, on the bench. He will have been replaced by the next generation in the re-budding of a dynasty.

But I would be surprised ...
If anyone else won
One must be honest here: no one will dethrone USC this year or any time soon. The Pac-10 is a one horse show for now.

Most Valuable Player ...
Matt Leinart, QB, USC
I have been pleasantly surprised by the young man's humility and poise. He seems to understand that he has the privilege of dishing the ball to an awesome array of talent, and will continue to do so with a minimum of turnovers.

Most Important Player ...
Geoff McArthur, WR, California
McArthur set school records a year ago with his QB, Aaron Rodgers. Although McArthur missed the Bears' bowl game with a broken arm, he is ready to go again.

Coach of the Year ...
Jeff Tedford, California
Tedford has done a wonderful job in Berkeley, and may make things interesting if the Trojans fall prey to big heads.

Assistant You Should Know ...
Norm Chow, Offensive Coordinator/QB coach, USC
You probably know Chow already, and if you do not, you are not much of a fan. Already a legend, Dr. Chow -- he has an earned PhD -- is simply amazing.

Player I'd pay to watch ...
Haloti Ngota, DT, Oregon
This 6-foot-5, 345-pound behemoth can move, bend at the knees and run! He was injured in the Oregon opener last year against Mississippi State and put out for the season, but Ngota is a wonder to behold!

Toughest Place to play ...
Any place the Trojans show up
Just ask Auburn.

Game of the Year ...
California at USC, Oct. 9
Payback time for Cal's overtime upset of USC last season. Golden Bears, buckle up the chinstraps, jockstraps and all other equipment.

ESPN college football analyst Bill Curry coached for 17 years in the college ranks. His breakdowns for marquee matchups appear each week during the college football season.