Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Pac Ten Alley

Welcome to hump day once again as we contemplate our fate as we start to head downhill into the weekend. USC is coming to town, and that is a scary thought to me because their defense might be a lot better than the one we faced against Ohio State a couple of weeks ago. I have just a couple of wishes going into this game. Those wishes are for Jake Locker to stay healthy, for the Huskies to throw down field, and over the middle earlier this week to give their offense a chance. A little misdirection wouldn't be bad either.

Nathan Ware of the PI Dawgblawg, and I are going to start collaborating together here, and at the PI on an article or two per week. We really are just at the searching for the common ground stage right now, but having two writers will make it easier on both of us, and it should make for more entertaining reading for all of you. We all go on vacation, we all need a break, so I think the idea of two laptops are better than one is pretty valid. Since we are independent bloggers we aren't edited by anything other than our own moods, and conscience. Having an extra voice will help us do a better job in that area too.

If you read the Dawgblawg you will realize that Nathan is an excellent football analyst, and writer. His PI blog today deals with the conscience of blogging, and I think he makes some great points.

Since seeing Oklahoma State Head Coach Mike Gundy blow up on a media member at a weekend press conference, I've been doing a lot of thinking about the subject: What do we have the right to say? It's a topic I think about every time I write a blog post but Gundy's rant really touched a nerve with me. It was perfect timing, too, because I felt like getting on the keyboard and doing a world-class rant of my own after the Dawgs melted down in the Rose Bowl Saturday night. I had some less than nice things to say about Kent Baer, the UW offensive line, both of our starting safeties, and whoever is responsible for the kick coverage that is driving me to go visit Pat O'Day at my local rehabilitation facility.

Pac Ten Alley

Now it's time to take a walk down the coast to see what the neighbors are up to.

We start the week off with USC. The rich are only getting richer as a JC recruit the Huskies really covet is likely headed to USC, or Cal. As for the game with Washington the Trojan faithful are approaching it with a big yawn.

Carl Moore, the 6-foot-4, 220-pound five-star wide receiver from Sierra Junior College in Rocklin, Calif., has decided he will officially visit USC on Oct. 6 for the Stanford game, instead of going to LSU that weekend.

Always one to joke, Coach Carroll began his weekly press conference this afternoon by parodying the weekend blowup of Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy. While approaching his seat at the press conference, Carroll scowled while holding a newspaper before he threw it down in phony anger.

ASU is still celebrating the unlikely win over Oregon State last weekend,

Oregon State: Nobody in Corvallis realizes how much they're going to miss departed QB Matt Moore. He was the heart and soul of the team that beat USC and I don't expect them to be in fighting shape by week four.At this time I’d like to toot my own horn and point out that I totally called this game... in July. Did they miss Moore? F%$*in’ A right they did, to the tune of FIVE interceptions and a few more almost-picks. Oregon State got away from their gameplan after the Devil D stopped RB Yvenson Bernard a few times and Canfield started churning out interceptions like free candy flowing from a van without windows.

The Ducks will be hosting the game of the week, and ESPN is coming to Eugene. Let's hope the classy Oregon fans will give them the typical, and classy Duck welcome.

It's official, ESPN Gameday will be in Eugene for the Cal game this Saturday. It was just announced on the local news stations, the location of the set is to be determined no later than tomorrow afternoon.

When senior wide receiver Brian Paysinger went down for the season with a knee injury last Thursday, it was a serious blow to No. 11 Oregon (4-0 overall, 1-0 Pacific-10 Conference) as it lost one its most seasoned and explosive players. Paysinger was the one who caught the winning touchdown catch against Oklahoma last year. He's the one who hauled in an 85-yard touchdown in the 39-7 win against Michigan. He led the team with 165 receiving yards before last week's 55-31 win over Stanford. "That was just a horrible loss," right tackle Geoff Schwartz said. "Brian is one of our great receivers and he's a great guy and it was tough for him to go out like that." For the fellow wide receivers, the loss stings even more. "We felt like we lost a family member when he got hurt," Garren Strong said. While the Ducks will miss his production and positive attitude on the field, fortunately for Oregon, it has enough talent to offset the loss of a starting wide receiver.

At Arizona they are using poise, and Mike Stoops in the same sentence. It won't be long till they use Mike Stoops and unemployed in the same sentence.

If Arizona is going to fight and crawl its way out of the doldrums then it needs to keep its poise.
Usually it is the coach talking about players when poise becomes an issue, not the other way around. But it was UA defensive tackle Lionel Dotson bringing up the more relaxed Mike Stoops on the sidelines against Cal. “I like how coach Stoops handled his poise,” Dotson said. “He showed poise. I think everybody on the team respected that. That is what we want to see. That was good.”

Next up for Oregon State is UCLA. I wonder how many turnovers the two teams combined will make?

I think that we have our work cut out for us. UCLA is very talented. I think it Is one of the best defensive teams in the Pac-10. Last year they played some outstanding defense. Of course we played them and they did a pretty good job against us and they appeared to just get better. They have 10 starters returning, so we have our work cut out for us there. They have also been running the ball extremely well offensively. They have also been very balanced. So they had their one clunker against Utah but besides that they have played good football, really rebounded and played a very good game against the Huskies last week

California goes into the Oregon game as 5 1/2 point underdogs.

Cal opened the week as a four-and-a-half point underdog, and as of Tuesday, the Ducks were five-and-a-half point favorites. But a few of the Bears players don’t mind the low expectations. “That’s good,” linebacker Worrell Williams said. “We like to think that we’re a team that is confident and explosive. To come into a game ranked higher than them and still be the underdogs gives us a little extra something to fight for.” One reason for the unfavorable odds may be the fact that Cal has not won in Autzen Stadium since 1987. Under coach Jeff Tedford, the Bears have been involved in tightly contested games, losing 21-17 in 2003 and dropping an overtime decision 27-20 in 2005. “We’ve had a chance to win up there both times we’ve gone up there,” Tedford said. “Twenty year streaks and stuff like that has nothing to do with these guys—some of these guys weren’t even born 20 years ago. It’s about this year. That’s what counts.”

WSU is licking it's wounds after being dominated by USC.

Don't you just love Pete Carroll? High School Harry, as they call him, but that genuine enthusiasm is infectious. Look at all the talent he gets on a yearly basis, just so much talent in the pipeline it's amazing, and yet all those kids play their butts off for him. He's got "open" Wednesdays in practice, where literally all jobs are up for grabs and the players fight like hell. On Fridays he's got the lineman vs. lineman game, wherever they are, and the only rule is no running plays. I know the Reggie Bush scandal, I know about the Matt Lienart - Dwayne Jarrett free rent deal, but they are the teflon program right now.

Hawaii slipped by Charleston Southern and Colt Brennan has recovered.

Stephen Tsai writes about the injuries to Colt Brennan and Blaze Soares, who both plan to play this weekend, Jason Rivers, who may not, and Ryan Mouton, who had an MRI done on his knee and feels good about his chances to play. On the other hand, freshman safety Le'Marcus Gibson looks to be done for the year due to an ACL injury:

Syracuse had the upset of the week knocking off Louisville.

The State of the Orange has a much sunnier outlook as I write this. Syracuse is coming off a big time upset of #18 Louisville, and quite frankly has re-energized Orange Nation. There is excitement and talk after this major statement win. But one game does not define a coach, so I will write this assessment with the bitter disdain and cold heart I wrote Part 1 with.

Boise State is taking on Southern Miss this week.

Once the Boise State football schedule was finalized, one of the games I was most looking forward to was Thursday’s contest against Southern Miss. I’ve always thought the Golden Eagles have fostered a very good program that has kind of flown under the radar…quite similar to Boise State before last season. Southern Miss has had 13 straight winning seasons, something even the Broncos haven’t matched (BSU has not had a losing season since 1997). “It’s so easy in college football today, maybe even around here, to go ‘13 winning seasons. Winning seasons? Who cares about that?” Boise State head coach Chris Petersen said. “That’s impressive … to be that consistent for that long is why we have a lot of respect for their program.”

At Ohio State a backup QB is going to be doing a little community service.

Just as Ohio State quarterback Antonio Henton appeared to be moving up the depth chart, the freshman was arrested, suspended from the team and subjected to a judge's scolding. Henton, 20, was arrested Monday night in a prostitution sting and charged with soliciting an undercover female police officer. He pleaded not guilty yesterday morning, then posted $250 bond and was released in the afternoon. In court, a handcuffed Henton said nothing and hung his head. Judge Amy Salerno, though, had plenty to say.

At UCLA they got the bad news that Pat Cowan is going to be out for at least three weeks.

Any budding quarterback controversy at UCLA was pruned Monday when the school said backup Patrick Cowan suffered a partial tear of the medial collateral ligament in his right knee. Cowan will be sidelined for at least three weeks, but given that time frame and UCLA's schedule, it will be at least a month before he is ready for a game.That gives Ben Olson, who missed Saturday's win against Washington because of headaches (the school still is not calling it a concussion), time to cement his role as starter. UCLA plays Saturday at Oregon State, and hosts Notre Dame on Oct. 6. After a bye week, the Bruins host California Oct. 20, which could be when Cowan is again available.

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