Tuesday, October 03, 2006

USC is pretty good

USC is a pretty good team despite losing three superstar caliber offensive players from last years team. The main knock against the men from Troy is experience, they only have two seniors starting on a defense that is allowing 12.5 points per game so far this season. On offense they lose Bush, Leinhart, and White to replace them with Washington, Booty, and Jarrett. The offense has been averaging 31/5 points a game, but over the last 3 have only averaged 25.5. You can see why the last three games were closer than expected. The Trojans still have great talent, but you can never immediately replace three year starters so the Trojans won't be as powerful offensively as they have been over the last 3-4 years.

The area where the Trojans have little dropoff is on the offensive line, and at wide receiver. Duane Jarrett when healthy is the best receiver in the country and a sure first round draft pick. Like Mike Williams before him, he can take over a game. It is uncertain if he will play this weekend. Booty has had a decent start doing everything the Trojans have asked of him. He currently is second in passing in the Pac Ten. The key to Booty doing well is protection. UW drilled him last year when he was inserted in the game. I know Booty has improved, has more experience under his belt, but he isn't Leinhart who could just mercilessly pick you apart. The running backs haven't done as well as expected, and are going to have a problem running against the Washington defensive front which has been stingy against the run. Washington is the best of the group and is just rounding into shape after shaking off nagging injuries. What this all adds up to is a team that isn't scoring as many points as they did last season.

On defense the Trojans are made up of a who's who's list of HS All Americans, what they lack in experience they make up with talent. Taylor Mays from O'Dea is starting at Safety and he made the interception that ended the game and sealed the win against WSU. Guy's like Maualuga, Rivers, and Cushing, are all off to solid starts. You have speed, size, and athletic ability at every position. You also have a young defense that is going to be very challenged by Stanback.

On offense Washington needs to establish the running game. It would be nice if Rankin and James could pick up 150 to augmet Isaiah. IS needs to be able to work his magic, he is going to draw a pass rush just like Brink did last week, but his mobility will allow him to create out there. This is the biggest game IS has ever played in. It is the chance of a lifetime to pull off a major program changing upset. It is an achievable goal if the Huskies, especially IS can give us high level play for four quarters.

Defensively it will be interesting to see what Baer cooks up for the Trojans. Applying pressure to Booty will lead to Trojan mistakes. Defensive TD's are a good thing. We need to force some mistakes and turn them into TD's. The defense is more aggressive than it has ever been, and I expect them to leave it all out on the field this weekend. CJ Wallace, and Scott White are having great years and will compete for natonal honors. Do you realize that both are in the top three for tackles this year in the Pac Ten? This kind of leadership and experience will help fill the talent gap. For USC to win they need to be succesful throwing the ball, and the WR's are the most talented group. Not giving up the long one against some very speedy athletes is going to be a challenge. A solid pass rush will be needed.

Washington can beat USC, but the task will be much tougher on the road then it would be at Husky Stadium. Ty Willingham was the last coach to win in the Coliseum, and that was while he was at Stanford. This will be a tough game, and Washington needs four quarters of excellence to have a chance to win. The things to key on are that USC is not scoring as much as they have in the past, and Washington has a good defense that should control the run. The key will be pressure on Booty. IS needs to play like Vince Young, and he is capable of a performance liek that since he may be the most talented athlete on either side of the field.

This is going to be an interesting, and competitve game.

Tid Bits

Boise State and the WAC are starting a campaign for the Bronco's to go to a BCS bowl game this year if they go undefeated. I like the Bronco's and I think they are a good team, but who exactly have they played? Sacramento St, Oregon St, Wyoming, Hawaii, and Utah....sorry that isn't good enough to get a high enough ranking at the end of the year. You have to schedule at least one top 25 team, and the WAC is down this year with Fresno St, and Nevada being less than impressive. A weak schedule may keep the Bronco's out. Next year they take on Washington in Husky Stadium in the first game between the two schools.

Miami beat Houston 14-13 last weekend and all I have to say is what a trip....a victory is a victory for the 2-2 Cane's, but Coker is still on the hotseat down there. You can possibly see Miami playing a Pac Ten opponent in the Emerald Bowl.

A Heisman at Northern Illinois? Tailback Garrett Wolfe the other Huskies' sensational tailback, ran for a career-high 353 yards with three touchdowns on 31 attempts in Saturday night's 40-28 victory at Ball State. This kid is the real deal.

John L. Smith is melting down along with his team at Michigan St. The loss to the Irish just sucked all the spirit, desire and confidence out of the team. Losing to a poor Illinois is like losing to Stanford, it doesn't happen unless your team completely mails it in. "All week. That's the way we practiced, what you saw," Smith told reporters after the Illinois loss. "We can't get them to go. And apparently I don't have the answer. We can't get them to go hard in practice, so we've got to continue to look for the answer." I don't know what it is about Michigan State, but not many survive their.

Pac Ten Power Ratings

1. USC....You can't dethrone the king till somebody beats him. You can however elevate the other two contenders to the same level after you have close ones at Arizona, and WSU. If the Trojans can get by UW it is easy sledding until November when they finish with Oregon, Cal, UCLA, and Notre Dame. Carroll hopes to use this time to steel his young troops to defend the title.

1. Oregon....The Ducks look like the best team in the conference after their dominating victory over Arizona State. They look great on both sides of the ball. Dixon has done a great job at QB, and he leads the conference in total offense. Jonathan Stewart is great when healthy. If the Duck's win this week they could be headed to their best season ever.

1. California.....California throttled the Beavers, and they get the Duck's at home this week in a must win situation as far as the conference championship, and BCS possibilities are concerned. Cal has their offense running on all cylinders. The loss to Tennessee to open the season still stings.

4. Washington....The 4-1 Huskies are the surprise of the conference. They meet USC who has been virtually unbeatable at home. The Trojans are mortal, and the Huskies are improved. Ty Willingham is the last head coach other than Carroll to win at the Coliseum.

5. Washington St....The Cougars are 3-2 and a good bet for a bowl game after the spirited game they gave USC last week. Just how good is WSU? The Beavers find out this week. A bowl game for Doba and the Coug's would be a good thing as long as we beat them to end the year.

6. UCLA....The Bruins are 3-2, and beat Stanford last week 31-0, but being up only 7-0 at halftime show that they had a tough time getting their shizzle together after the loss to UW. The Bruins are dysfunctional, they aren't getting along, and the wisdome of replacing half your staff after a 10-2 season is being questioned.

7. Arizona St....These guys were supposed to be contenders, but now they are simply looking for a team they can beat. They have a bye this week, then play USC...ouch! Koetter is in big trouble, this is his 6th year, he has talent, but he hasn't been able to make them perform. Adios!

8. Oregon St....The second best team in Idaho resumes it's quest for a Northwest championship by hosting the Cougars in Potato Salad Stadium. I am not really sure what the Beavers do well.

9. Arizona....If these guys could score some points they could be in the upper division. I am not a fan of Stoops because he had the audacity to beat us during his first year, and also he has been a pest by attracting good athletes to Tucson. It is a matter of time before the lightbulb goes on down there.

10. Stanford....The Tree is the worst team the league has seen in some time, perhaps even worse than Gilby's last squad because they have a decent coaching staff. Teevens didn't leave much in the cupboard. The Senior, Junior, and Sophmore classes are his, and of course you can always give a Mulligan to an incoming coaches first class. The Tree has alot of work to do.

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