QBs, Oregon RBs will boost Pac-10 power rankings
Peering into the crystal ball revealed the following five predictions for the 2007 Pac-10 season:
1. The second half of USC's season will be a legitimate test of a champion.
Four of the Trojans' final six games are on the road, and all six are against '06 bowl teams. The road games: Notre Dame on Oct. 20, Oregon on Oct. 27, California on Nov. 10 and Arizona State on Nov. 22. The two home games will be against the only teams that beat USC last year: Oregon State on Nov. 3 and UCLA on Dec. 1. If the Trojans start 6-0, then run that table, there will be no debate about who is No. 1.
Seven of the conference's top eight in pass efficiency last year are back, led by 3,000-yard guys John David Booty of USC and Nathan Longshore of Cal. But only two Pac-10 QBs managed efficiency ratings of more than 140 last season, and nobody was over 145, so these guys all need to step up their games. Especially if they intend to score on USC's defense.
3. Power ratings for Pac-10 teams again will be high -- deservedly.
Last season, the Pac-10 placed seven teams in the final Sagarin top 40 and nine in the top 50. The biggest reasons? They are not afraid to schedule a difficult nonconference game or two, and they play a full nine-game, round-robin league schedule. Nobody else plays nine league games -- how are you going to get Louisiana-Monroe and Florida Atlantic on the slate doing that? But the payoff is in the power ratings at season's end.
4. The RBs in the state of Oregon will be worth watching.
Oregon State senior Yvenson Bernard is Mr. Durable -- his 339 touches last season tied for the most in the nation. Oregon junior Jonathan Stewart is Mr. Explosive -- he averaged 28 yards per kickoff return and 7.8 yards per touch overall. Which one you think is better probably depends on the color of your face paint. For the neutral observers, they will settle it on the field Dec. 1 in Eugene.
5. The new coaches will make an immediate impact.
Stanford's Jim Harbaugh will tick off somebody with his fresh mouth. Arizona State's Dennis Erickson will start 7-0 before things get dicey down the stretch.
2007 College Football Preview
The long wait for the start of the 2007 college football season is finally over. Get ready for the season with an in-depth look at the teams, trends, players and coaches. Index
• Forde: Arkansas' favorite son also rising
• Forde: Welcome to Trickeration Nation
• Albright: Glanville has Portland State all shook up
• Maisel: Boise State part of quiet revolution
• Edwards: BCS system needs update
• Forde: QBs face burden of proof in '07
• Schlabach: Biggest shoes to fill this season
• Maisel: (Southern) State of the Game
• Schlabach: Hot or Not for 2007
• Ivan Maisel's preseason All-America team
• Heisman Watch: Voters go Hog wild
• SportsNation: Rank the Heisman contenders Fearless Forecasts
• Experts: Conference title projections
• Maisel/Schlabach: Bowl predictions
• McShay: Don't sleep on these teams
• Games to watch: National | Conference Campus Confidential
• Forde: Woodson stepping out of the shadow
• Schlabach: Shhhh! Uncovering 2007's secrets
• McShay: Seven secrets from the film room
• Feldman: Saturday's secret agents revealed
• EA Sports: Trick play simulations
• Arkansas: Wildhog formation
• Boise State: Statue of Liberty
• LSU: Flea flicker
• Texas: Wide receiver pass
• USC: Halfback pass ACC Features
• Schlabach: ACC needs quality Miami, FSU
• Schlabach: Wright, Freeman still battling at Miami
• Schlabach: Wake sets bar high for encore
• Schlabach: Five ACC predictions Big East Features
• Maisel: What's next for the Big East?
• Maisel: USF's QB exudes old school cool
• Maisel: Five Big East predictions Big Ten Features
• Schlabach: Michigan seniors return on a mission
• Schlabach: Downsized Hill means supersized play
• Schlabach: Big Ten at the crossroads
• Schlabach: Five Big Ten predictions Pac-10 Features
• Forde: Now is the time for UCLA
• Forde: Five Pac-10 predictions
• Maisel: After long wait, Turner ready for stardom
• Maisel: Ten Little Trojans running backs
• Feldman: DeSean Jackson's born identity SEC Features
• Maisel: Saban snapshot reveals double feature
• Higgins: Spurrier, Gamecocks thinking big
• Schlabach: SEC balance of power shifts East
• Schlabach: Five SEC predictions Coaching Corner
• Schlabach: Coaches on the hot seat
• Schlabach: Rise of the assistants
• McShay: Assistant coaches on the rise
• McShay: Position coaches who deliver Rule Changes
• Kickoffs, timing rules highlight changes
• McShay: Changes put premium on specialists
• College Football Live: Impact of kickoff rule
• Joe Tiller: Kickoff changes raise safety issues
• College Football Live: Matter of time Campus Call
ESPN.com will hit eight practice sessions to get an early pulse on the season. Check out what's happening on campus.
• Aug. 7: Gators looking for bite on D
• Aug. 6: ND's Weis plays respect card |
McKnight makes USC debut
• Aug. 5: Brown resolute in face of Texas' troubles
• Aug. 4: WVU has speed to burn
• Aug. 3: Taylor made Jacket
• Aug. 2: Hokies begin road back to normalcy
• Aug. 1: Report day is still a thrill for Tuberville