Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Around the Pac Ten Blogs

Washington vs LSU

The 17th-ranked (AP) Washington Huskies (8-1) host a rare game against a Southeastern Conference foe when No. 12 LSU (6-2) invades Bank of America Arena, Wednesday, Dec. 20 at 7:30 p.m. LSU, which advanced to the 2006 Final Four, is the second of three ranked opponents for the Huskies during their current six-game stretch. UW visits top-ranked UCLA on Dec. 31. The Tigers make their first Seattle appearance since defeating the Huskies 70-61 in their last meeting on Nov. 27, 1985. That was the last time an SEC member played at Washington. The Huskies opened the season with eight consecutive home victories, beginning with a three-game sweep en route to the championship of the Basketball Travelers Classic. The LSU contest is the second of three straight home games for the Huskies who then begin Pac-10 play in Los Angeles. The Huskies entertain Weber State on Friday, Dec. 22 in their final non-conference home game.

The Star for LSU is 6'9 290 lb Glen Davis whose nickname is "Big Baby". "Big Baby" is a charismatic force in the middle for the Tigers and will provide a big test for Washington's equally talented front court of Hawes, and Brockman. He averaged 18.6 points and 9.7 rebounds last season, and he was named an All-American and SEC Player of the Year. He helped lead the Tigers to the Final Four as a sophomore and has even better numbers this season after shedding about 50 pounds, allowing him to stay on the court longer. He's averaging 20.1 points and 10.3 rebounds through eight games. "Big Baby" also is a very good guy and it should be fun for the Northwest fans to watch this Charles Barkley like clone. He may play somewhat like Barkley, but he has a sweet, but competitive temperment that just charms the crowd.

The Tigers like the Huskies have been hit hard by graduation, and are a little raw out along the perimeter. Oregon State played them, and narrowly lost to them in Corvallis on Sunday. According to the Oregonian the Beavers played a zone to isolate Big Baby but still couldn't overcome them in the end. UW isn't a zone team so it will be interesting to see what Coach Romar decides to throw at the Tigers.


The Huskies picked up another big time recruit from California to bolster the Defensive Line. Go over to Dawgman to check it out.

Idaho hires Akey

The University of Idaho conducted a nationwide search that included former coach John L. Smith, and Montana St Coach Mike Kramer, but ended up with WSU Def Coordinator Rob Akey who was about eight miles away. Former Idaho, and Michigan State coach John L. Smith and Montana State coach and former Idaho player Mike Kramer withdrew their names from consideration last week.

I expected the Vandal's to end up with Smith who like Erikson would vault to the next Pac Ten opening, but Akey is a great pick because he is only 40 and is the recipient of either a dead end to his career, or a a good position to vault into a Pac ten job if he can produce some wins.

Pac Ten Alley

Now it's time to take a walk down the coast and see what the neighbors are up to in the Pac Nine this week.

USC's basketball program is on the upswing with Tim Floyd at the helm. The football team prepares for Michigan in the Rose Bowl.

USC tailback Chauncey Washington revealed Monday that his sprained knee was actually a tear of the medial collateral ligament, which explains why his recovery was so slow. Washington suffered the injury against Oregon on Nov.11 and is still not 100 percent, although he said he hopes all the swelling in his knee goes down by the end of the week.

In California they are still battling over the plans to renovate Memorial Stadium as they prepare for yet another Holiday Bowl. Looks like Lynch is headed to the draft.

Jeff Tedford said Monday he hasn't yet had his summit sitdown with Marshawn Lynch about the star tailback's plans for next year. Maybe that's because the coach already knows what he's going to hear, even though he publicly professes that he doesn't. That would be that the Dec.28 Holiday Bowl against Texas A&M will be Lynch's last game as a collegian at Cal, because the lure of the NFL is simply too strong to pass up for the junior from Oakland.

Is Oregon a basketball school again? The Duck's are also reeling in the best football recruiting class in their history.

Oregon senior defensive end Darius Sanders, who led the Ducks in sacks in the regular season, did not travel with the team Monday morning to Las Vegas. The Ducks practiced in cold, breezy conditions at the Lied Athletic Complex on the campus of UNLV as they continued preparing for Thursday’s Las Vegas Bowl matchup with BYU.

At Oregon St they have a little basketball resurgence going on and the football team is preparing for Gary Pinkel and his Missouri Tigers. Still they digress back to the good old days when DE was at the helm.

I mean, come on. Here's a guy that's won two National Championships with Miami, turned our Oregon State team around after 20-some consecutive losing seasons, and you don't expect him to get offers in the off-season.

At UCLA they have the #1 basketball team in the country, and the football team is preparing for the Emerald Bowl in San Francisco to play Florida State. The UCLA blog is one of the very best out there. This guy is funny, he is brutal, and if anything mysterious ever happens to Karl Dorrell you know he was involved.

Once again the Bruins pulled out a ho-hum, methodical win by comfortable margin over a pretty good mid-major team in a game that was close at the outset, and once again the beat writers are whining and bitching for no reason. In a night when many of the top-ranked teams were locked in close battles for most of their games, before putting the game out of reach in second half, the Bruins followed the pattern by starting the game in a sluggish manner, however eventually finding their defensive intensity, and wore down yet another team.

In Arizona basketball season is now in full swing and the long suffering Wildcat fans now have something to root for until March.

Perhaps the most universally accepted way to judge whether or not a college football program had a good year is if that team plays in a bowl game. Some bowl games obviously mean more than others, but to be invited to one signifies that your team made it to the postseason while many others did not. From the number of wins a team has to the potential revenue a team's fan base might produce, there are multiple factors which go into deciding which teams are deserving of a bowl. It is the idea of who deserves to go to the postseason and the process used to make that determination that I wish to address in this blog. The purpose of a bowl is to reward a team for a good regular season. Well, at least that is what we are led to believe.

Arizona St has officially announced that Eric Yarber has accepted a position on Dennis Erickson's staff. Word on the street is Eric will be the new recruiting coordinator.

Craig Bray, a former Erickson aide who is an assistant at Minnesota, has been speculated to fill the defensive coordinator position. The confirmed assistants are Rich Olson offensive coordinator, Gregg Smith offensive line, Dan Cozzetto tight ends, Eric Yarber receivers, Grady Stretz defensive line, Al Simmons cornerbacks, and Jamie Christian, role to be determined."It's a staff I like and know I can rely on," Erickson said. "I'm happy with how it's come together. We haven't been turned down by anyone we offered a job to."

Is Washington St turning into a basketball school after beating the Zag's at home? They also mourn the loss of Coach Robb Akey to Idaho. Nice thing about taking that job, you don't have to box everything up and move.

I'll miss his post-game comments on the radio broadcast, where he was so hoarse he couldn't speak. The guy brought the enthusiasm, no question, and he could coach defense pretty well. Remains to be seen how things unfold going forward. What assistants will he try and take with him? Will any of them want to go work for Akey 8 miles down the road, or will they want to stay and coach in the Pac-10? Who will be the new defensive coordinator?

At Stanford they are welcoming Jim Harbaugh as the next coach of the Tree. Harbaugh is a curious choice because he doesn't have a lot head coaching experience. He comes from U of San Diego which has a non scholarship football program. I would have opted for Stanford Alum, and ex Husky LB coach Tom Williams.

Jim Harbaugh blasted through the door at Stanford, merrily shook Bill Walsh's hand, cracked a nuclear-powered smile and stood at the podium like he was trying to sell me something. Yes sir, Harbaugh's an attention-getter all right, a mega-pixel personality arriving at Stanford's neediest, darkest football moment. Will Harbaugh fix the Cardinal? Impossible to know until we see him on the field, chattering to his players and, well, actually coaching football.

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