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PAC 10

Any talk of the Pac 10 in recent years has to start with the tremendous accomplishments by USC. Three straight conference titles, three straight BCS Bowl victories, and of course, back-to-back national titles. In fact, in 2005, the Trojans will try to become the first team ever to win three straight national championships. Clearly, every other storyline in the Pac 10 takes a backseat to that chase this season. Elsewhere, Arizona State appears to be the only other team with a reasonable chance of unseating USC in conference play. The Sun Devils come off a Sun Bowl winning season and boast one of the most potent offensive attacks in the league. California, Oregon, and UCLA are the three other returning bowl teams from 2004 but each sits a notch below USC in terms of talent and questions heading into the season. On an individual front, several key Pac 10 players are vying for various honors this season, including QB Matt Leinart and RB Reggie Bush of USC, WR Derek Hagan of Arizona State, and the UCLA duo of QB Drew Olsen and RB Maurice Drew.

The Pac 10 was one of the few conferences left unchanged by realignment so everything should remain status quo for 2005. The only minor changes to note are on the coaching front and in instant replay usage, as the league has decided to use instant replay on an experimental basis this season. As far as coaching changes are concerned, two new high profile names will be manning the sidelines in Pac 10 games in 2005 as Walt Harris takes over at Pittsburgh and Tyrone Willingham assumes the controls at Washington. The conference again has relationships with six bowl games but could place as many as seven teams in the postseason if the stars align.

Southern California

Play On: @ California 11/12

USC has had a few problems with Cal over the last couple of years; however the Bears return just 8 starters and have lost all the top playmakers. The visitor is 7-2 against the spread and Coach Carroll’s Trojans are 11-2 ATS in November.

Play Against: @ Arizona State 10/1

This will be a much anticipated shootout in the desert, with the visitor in this big Pac-10 game 3-7 ATS.

California

Play On: Illinois 9/17

After Pac-10 opener, Cal faces an Illinois team in transition under Co. Ron Zook. Anytime you can beat a Big 10(11) team if you’re from the West Coast, that is of note and the Bears are 6-1 home off an away game.

Play Against: @ Oregon 11/5

Eugene is always a tough place to win, especially if your California, who is 2-8 SU and against the spread.

Oregon

Play On: Oregon State 11/18

The Ducks will be quacking in this case as the home team is 7-1 ATS.

Play Against: @ Stanford 10/1

With a home game with USC the week prior and a trip to Arizona State to follow; this is a “classic sandwichâ€Â

slam

posted by slam

Aug. 22 2005 11:02am

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