Wednesday, August 20, 2008

New Feature: Pac-10 Power and QB Rankings

Pitchfork Nation introduces our newest feature: the PFN weekly Power Poll.

Every Monday, we'll have insight and analysis on the peformance of each team in the Pac-10 and then adjust our rankings accordingly after every week of action. It'll be especially interesting to watch these early on, as four teams get their Pac-10 seasons started before the calendar turns to September.

Just like the power polls you see on ESPN and other sites, these aren't about where they necessarily are in the standings or where we think they'll finish; these preseason rankings are my thoughts on how ready these teams are for the regular season to start.
So, without further ado, here's the preseason edition of the PFN Power Rankings.

1) USC Trojans
Mark Sanchez is already back in practice after his nerve rattling injury last week but Joe McKnight's injuries are a bit unnerving. However, they've still got the most dominating defense in the conference.
Next game: August 30 at Virginia Cavaliers

2) California Golden Bears
It's still a toss up between Kevin Riley and Nate Longshore for the starting QB spot, but it's a nice decision for Jeff Tedford to have, because both will be good this year. Jahvid Best is geared up to lead the offense. The offensive line has looked stout in camp.
Next game: August 30 vs. Michigan State Spartans

3) Arizona State Sun Devils
Injuries are starting to become a huge concern but Rudy Carpenter's throws have looked strong throughout camp. Dexter Davis and Luis Vasquez have looked strong and are looking to improve on an already outstanding 2007.
Next game: August 30 vs. Northern Arizona Lumberjacks

4) Oregon Ducks
Jaison Williams has the makings of being this year's stud receiver in the Pac but there are still questions around the running back spot and at quarterback, where they're having to replace two top flight players. Defense looks like it could be the best in the conference but is not game tested.
Next Game: August 30 vs. Washington Huskies

5) Arizona Wildcats
When Nic Grigsby hasn't been punching teammates, he hasn't looked too bad in camp. Wilile Tuitama is developing a nice rapport with his receivers, but if you believe that the defense should be ahead of the offense at this point of fall camp, then UA has a problem.
Next Game: August 30 vs. Idaho Vandals

6) Stanford Cardinal
All three quarterbacks have looked solid throughout camp, giving Jim Harbaugh a bit of a decision to make, but he'll settle on Pritchard. Toby Gerhart and Anthony Kimble could be a solid one-two punch but their youth is a question mark. Pat Maynor leads a very experienced and physical linebacking corps.
Next Game: August 28 vs. Oregon State Beavers

7) UCLA Bruins
Ben Olson goes down, leaving two very inexperienced quarterbacks, so Rick Neuheisel and Norm Chow go with the transfer Kevin Craft. Kahlil Bell is making a remarkably quick return from surgery but there are holes everywhere.
Next Game: September 1 vs. Tennessee Volunteers

8) Oregon State Beavers
Lyle Moevao, the biggest pocket statue in the Pac-10 this side of Andrew Walter, is forced to take the reins as Sean Canfield recovers from his injury. Remaining a question is who will take over as the featured RB and who will emerge as a leader in an inexperienced front 7 on defense.
Next Game: August 28 at Stanford Cardinal

9) Washington Huskies
Jake Locker is still a little bothered by an injury 10 days before the season opener and the defense's leading tackler gets booted off the team. Enough said.
Next Game: August 30 at Oregon Ducks

10) Washington State Cougars
Never good to be the leader in the clubhouse when it comes to players in trouble with the law.
Next Game: August 30 vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys (in Seattle)


baal said...

CAL #2 in the PAC is nuts and Forsett is gone.


Justin said...

I've been getting bad info from all sources on Cal all season, I realized the mistake about Forsett about 10 minutes after I posted but was away from my computer.

I stand by it. They've got two solid QB's to choose from at this point, Best is a huge factor, an experienced front 7 and a favorable early schedule. Also, compared to everyone else in the Pac right now, they're remarkably healthy.

baal said...

an experienced front 7 that was good for nothing LY--I still aint buying.
They're also breaking in a new defensive scheme hoping(3-4)hoping it will be a quick fix--they have more decent LB than DL--adjusting to the new scheme will probably hurt more than help.

Best is a small back--not the kind of guy who can carry a team--and he's injury prone. There's a QB controversy brewing too.

The schedule is not that favorable both UMD and MSU figure to be tough early tests for this team.

If you feel picking ASU #2 would make you a homer--go with the ducks.

Phil Steele took a flyer on them--I have that mag too--take it with a grain of salt.