Posts Tagged ‘Pac-10’

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The Official Gridiron Goddess CFB Picks: Week 3

September 24, 2010

Recap: 13-3

Hey Football Fiends-

I am taking the week off from Official NFL Picks. I will however let you know how I fare this week in my pick em league. I’ve been stinking up the joint so far this season so…

But College Football! YAY! Here are my picks for this week. I am rooting for Oregon State to upset Boise State, after all, Oregon State painted their practice field blue to prepare for the Smurf Turf.

Gridiron Goddess Week 3 College Football Picks

USC over Washington State

Texas over UCLA

VA Tech over Boston College

Penn State over Temple

GA Tech over NC State

Florida State over Wake Forest

Georgia over Mississippi State

Alabama over Arkansas

Stanford over Notre Dame

Arizona over California

Nevada over BYU

South Carolina over Auburn

Oregon over ASU

Tennessee over UAB

Florida over Kentucky

Oregon State over Boise State

-Your Gridiron Goddess

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NCAA Football Week 3 Recap: This is why I love College Football

September 20, 2010

Football Fiends!!!

This past Saturday of FOOTBALL GOODNESS encompassed so many examples of why College Football is vastly prefereable to the No Fun League. (And you all know how much I love ALL football!) You just don’t get the passion, the spirit, the excitement, in the NFL that you get on a weekly basis in College Football.

For every Alabama battering Duke (62-13) and Oregon dismantling Portland State (69-0), there was Auburn kicking an OT FG to best Clemson 27-24 or ASU nearly pulling off the big upset in Madison (Wisconsin 20- ASU 19).  No matter what part of the country you live in, or which BCS conference you root for, there was a heart-stopping (quite literally in the case of Michigan State Coach Mark Dantonio) game to tune into.

Michigan State’s controversial last second fake field goal lifted them above Notre Dame 34-31. Notre Dame had to be feeling shades of 2005 USC @ ND with that clock ticking down trickery.

Auburn and Clemson dueled it out the entire game and it took a field goal in overtime for the Tigers to beat the Tigers 27-24. (What is it with all the Tigers in that part of the country, anyway?)

Everyone had Arizona State as the big underdog going into their game at Wisconsin. The Sundevils surprised everyone by nearly pulling off the upset 20-19.  Even UCLA, who started their season 0-2,  pulled off the upset of #23 Houston 31-13.  Speaking of the Pac-10; USC beat Minnesota in highly unimpressive fashion 32-21, Stanford clobbered Wake Forest 68-24 and Oregon State beat Louisville 35-28.

But the biggest game of all of the marquee games in the Pac-10 and, in fact, the country  was Iowa at Arizona. Iowa went into Tucson ranked #9 to Arizona’s #24. People expected it to be a game, but not many thought Arizona would pull off the upset. (Am sure all of AZ’s Pac-10 competitors could have predicted it, though. Let us not forget, The Pac-10 OWNS the Big Ten)

Arizona was up 14-0 at the end of the first quarter. At the end of the 2nd quarter the Wildcats were up 27-7.  In the 3rd quarter Iowa rendered the AZ offense inoffensive and scored 7 to the home team’s 0. 27-14 Arizona heading into the 4th. The Hawkeyes were not going to make this easy as they went on to score 13 in the 4th quarter to even things up.  With 3:57 remaining in the game QB Nick Foles threw a 4 yard pass to William Wright for a touchdown and the Arizona D held the Hawkeyes off for the rest of the game to win it 34-27 in one of the most exciting games of the weekend.

Arkansas-Georgia was another great one. Arkansas ran away with the first 3 quarters. The Razorbacks were up on the Bulldogs 24-10 at the end of the third quarter with QB Ryan Mallet firmly inserting himself into the Heisman race. In the 4th quarter UGA came back to tie the game with under 4 minutes to play. Then, when it looked like this game was heading into overtime, Ryan Mallet lobbed a 40 yard pass to Greg Childs for a touchdown with :15 seconds on the clock.

Back in the Pac-10 for all the big and near wins we had, we also had some big losers. Washington State continued its disappointing record against FBS opponents with a 35-21 loss to SMU. California lost a stunner of a game to mid-major Nevada 52-31 and Washington’s 56-21 performance against Nebraska likely put an end to Jake Locker’s Heisman hopes since he went 4 for 20 on the day for an abysmal 71 yards.

My Trojans have the dubious distinction of being the only FBS team in the country to win each week so far and drop two points in the polls each week. We started at #14, beat Hawaii and moved down to #16. We beat UVA and moved to #18.  We beat Minnesota and moved down to #20.  Sure, they haven’t been overly impressive showings by the men of Troy. But we WON. And sure with the sanctions and everything, we’re bowl ineligible. But STILL it feels like a slap in the face and another way for the polls to punish the current USC team who had nothing to do with Reggie Bush’s shenanigans five years ago. But, I am biased and might have a small chip on my cardinal & gold sheathed shoulder.

College Football season truly is the most wonderful time of the year!

-Your Gridiron Goddess

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To the Hawai’i fans present at Aloha Stadium: A Clarification

September 5, 2010

Dear Hawai’i fan holding the sign U Suck Cheaters,

Gee how creative you are. Jumping on the bandwagon of people lambasting a team that had nothing to do with the Reggie Bush-Lloyd Lake fiasco of 2004-2006. You do realize that in 2004 Matt Barkley was in 8th grade, right? That he and his fellow teammates were not members of the USC Football Team yet and wouldn’t be for many years?

You also do realize that Reggie Bush’s family getting all those shady benefits from the super shady Lloyd Lake had nothing to do with the Trojan football team’s on field success, right? You do realize that Reggie’s parents living in a house in San Diego that they didn’t pay for didn’t have any bearing on all the passes Matt Leinart completed, all the runs Lendale White had, all the catches Patrick Turner pulled down, right?  None of it had any bearing on Reggie Bush’s on-field performance, either.

In fact, an argument could probably be made that with all the shady shit going down in Reggie’s family at the time, he was distracted. Maybe without all of that, he’d have been even better. Maybe if all of that hadn’t been going on he would not have tossed that pass off to someone who’d never carried a ball before in the 2006 Rose Bowl National Championship Game vs Texas. Maybe, but we’ll never know.

NCAA rules say a player must complete three years before becoming eligible for the NFL draft. So Reggie would have been at USC, would have been the truly breathtaking player he was, and we still would have won all those games — whether or not Reggie and his family violated NCAA rules by taking money from Lloyd Lake.

So let me just spell it out for you, misguided Rainbow Warrior: USC did not cheat. Reggie Bush cheated. Reggie Bush’s step-father cheated. And unfortunately, kids that were in 7th grade, 8th grade, 9th grade when all of that happened are paying the price.

If you want to point a finger somewhere, I suggest you go to a New Orleans Saints game and heckle Reggie Bush. Legions of Trojan fans would love you forever if you did that.

Smooches,
Gridiron Goddess

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The Official Gridiron Goddess 2010 Pac-10 Football Preview: Part 1

August 30, 2010

PAC 10 Preview 2010

by Gridiron Goddess

The long, cold, dark days of the off-season are almost over. And what an off-season it’s been! NCAA Sanctions (ugh), coaching defections, quarterback scandals; a new commissioner and expansion have all been news stories this spring and summer.

USC won’t be playing in a bowl game for a couple of seasons, unless they successfully appeal the sanctions. Lane Kiffin may want to rethink his son’s name of Knox now that he is once again a son of Troy. Jeremiah Masoli is no longer quacking like a duck, having been dismissed from Oregon. New Pac-10 Commish Larry Scott has hit the ground running. For a few moments we were almost the Pac-16 with Colorado, Texas, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State as a part of our conference of champions. In the end though, only Colorado lept at the chance to join the Left Coast’s Premiere Athletic Conference. Soon after Utah left the MWC, a conference they’d long since outgrown, to join the new Pac-12.

How the conference will be divided, where the championship game will take place, etc are all yet to be determined and the topic of interesting debates. Myself, I’m a fan of the North/South division with California, Stanford, USC, UCLA, AZ and ASU in one division and the Washingtons, Oregons, Utah and Colorado in the other division. This keeps traditional rivalries like the Civil War, Apple Cup, Cal-Stanford and USC-UCLA in place for yearly matchups. That seems the most logical to me, and yet, that is not the setup that has hit the rumor mill.

For the 2010 season we’re still the Pac-10, so let’s get on with it and pardon me if I can’t muster up my usual enthusiasm. I am sure you understand why. It’s been a rough spring and summer for USC fans. I am sick of all the speculation and talk about USC’s sanctions. I am ready to just PLAY already and see how it all shakes out.

USC TROJANS

This is a hard one to call folks. Of course USC has talent. And I do think the coaching staff will turn out to be insane. Forget what everyone says about Lane Kiffin. With Monte, Coach O and Kennedy Pola (who is Troy Polamalu’s uncle) – how can we go that wrong? Sure there are the sanctions. The loss of scholarships. The transfers and releases from letters of intents. The behavior issues (as of today Freshman safety Patrick Hall has been suspended indefinitely). USC is going to lack their trademark depth for a few years. And that is troubling, to say the least. Especially once injuries are factored in.  In fact, Coach Kiffin now has the Trojans practicing NFL style – as in tackling is a scrimmage only event. As he said, the team just can’t risk injury like it could in past years. They are basically playing with an NFL roster rather than the larger roster an NCAA team is permitted to have.

Matt Barkley showed remarkable poise and leadership as a freshman last year and he’s back and a year older. That can only be good. He’s got the exceptionally seasoned Mitch Mustain behind him on the depth chart. Fullback Stanley Havili is back, a senior and will be a key factor in Barkley’s passing game. Havili is a fifth year senior and the most experienced member of the Trojan offense.  Marc Tyler is getting the start at RB vs Hawaii.

In terms of the SC defense, the front seven are the experienced group, with the secondary being the less experienced players.  Senior cornerback Shareece Wright will be joined by freshman cornerback Nickell Robey and sophomore safeties T.J. McDonald and Jawanza Starling. This is, per the usual, a gifted group. They just lack USC’s usual depth and they will have some growing pains. Whereas USC’s offense has struggled at times in the last two seasons; we’ve been able to rely on our defense when it counted. This year, it may be the offense we rely on while the defense gets its engines all firing in the right direction.

Oh and by the way, USC still hasn’t lost a game outside of the Pac-10 since 2002 and it won’t be happening this year either.

The key to the Trojans’ success in 2010 begins and ends with Matt Barkley. And this Trojan Alum happens to think if the success of our program is in Barkley’s hands, then we’re in good shape.  A pal in Vegas told me the odds on USC are for a 10 win season. So come on Trojans, let’s give them an 11 or 12 or 13 win season just to show them what we’re made of. Pride. Heart.  Spirit. Let’s show them that the USC Football team embodies all the qualities of an ideal Trojan: Faithful, Scholarly, Skillful. Courageous and Ambitious.

USC opens its 2010 season on Thursday, September 2nd @ Hawaii.

STANFORD CARDINAL

Will Jim Harbaugh’s Stanford Cardinal (why the singular, Stanford?) take advantage of USC’s sanctions and Oregon’s QB issues and win the Pac-10? Not likely. But you can bet your ass Harbaugh’s big fat mouth is telling his players that they are the team to beat. And let’s face it, confidence and swagger do count. The loss of Toby Gerhardt makes their running game a bit of an unknown, but QB Andrew Luck looks to make a Heisman bid of his own this season. Luck is projected to be a potential #1 draft pick in 2011, and with Gerhardt gone we’ll get a chance to see him truly shine.

I personally believe that Stanford minus Gerhardt will have a tough time matching last season’s eight wins. But they won six Pac-10 games last season, you’re thinking. Yes they did. However, their defense is fairly atrocious. Stanford’s 2009 defense was ranked 110th against the pass last year – this year’s squad has LESS experience. And look around the Pac-10 – a lot of Stanford’s opponents have offenses that will only be more potent than last year in their experience under center. It’s hard to think that Stanford will be as successful this year as they were last year unless their defense has improved dramatically.

That said, if they haven’t improved – there should be a number of high scoring QB shootout style games vs Stanford in the Pac-10 this year and those are ALWAYS fun.

Stanford opens the season at UCLA on Saturday, September 4th.

OREGON DUCKS

The Ducks have not had the easiest of off-seasons. When the 2009 season ended (and who can forget the Halloween smack down of my beloved Trojans?!), they looked to be sitting on top of the Pac-10 pile for 2010 with phenom QB Jeremiah Masoli under center. Yeah, not so much. A few months later and things look mighty different up in Eugene. Masoli is now at Ole Miss.

All spring and summer speculation about who the Ducks staring QB would be swirled around the blogosphere. Would it be senior Nate Costa? That seemed to be the logical choice, since he was experienced. Would it be sophomore Darron Thomas – he would seem the best choice if Coach Kelly were trying to recapture the lightning in a bottle that Masoli (and before him Dennis Dixon) was.

The Ducks are a veteran team, returning 18 starters for 2010. Running back LaMichael James looks to be a major force for the Oregon offense and their experienced O-Line will keep the new QB well protected in the pocket.  On defense, well the Ducks are not especially known for their defense though it is certainly serviceable and solid. With the insanely fast and powerful offenses the crew from Eugene has fielded in recent years – that’s what they’ve become known for.

The Ducks will be a contender in the Pac-10 and even with a new QB and all kinds of off-season drama, they are still the favored to repeat as Pac-10 champs.

Oregon opens its season at home against New Mexico on Saturday, September 4th.

OREGON STATE BEAVERS

Jacquizz Rodgers. Damn. He still sparks fear in the hearts of Trojans. Wily little motherf*cker. Hell of a player. Oh wait, there’s more to Oregon State than Quizz Rodgers? Alright then.

Sophomore Ryan Katz takes over as QB for the Beavers and has a cannon of an arm. Then, of course, there are the Rodgers brothers. Jacquizz ran for 1,440 yards and 21 touchdowns last year. Oh and he also had 78 catches for 522 yards and a touchdown as well. James, on the other hand, had 91 catches for 1,024 yards and nine touchdowns. Oh, and James is a frightening return man. Frightening if you’re the team on defense, that is. The O-Line returns four starters and should provide good protection for their new QB.

Oregon State is another Pac-10 school known for its explosive offense who is just average on defense. Last season the Beavers defense ranked 84th against the pass. They ranked 105th in sacks. That’s not too scary.

Oregon State opens their season against TCU at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, Texas on Saturday, September 4th.

ARIZONA WILDCATS

Arizona under Mike Stoops has been quietly and gradually improving over the years. So much so, that The Wildcats could very well be a sleeper contender for Pac-10 champion in 2010. I would not be at all surprised if come January 2011, Arizona has turned in a 9 win season.

QB Nick Foles heads a Wildcat offense that returns much of last year’s squad. Foles took over the QB job during the 2009 season and went on to throw for 2,486 yards and 19 touchdowns while going 6-4 as the starter. All three of Arizona’s threatening running backs return for 2010. Nic Grisby is possibly the most talented of the group but  missed much of last season due to injury. Combined with Keola Antolin and Greg Nwoko, the ‘Cats are a threat with the run.  The Wildcats receiving corps is depleted this year; but Juron Criner looks to be the breakout star of the group of WRs left in Tucson.

Arizona has had a stifling defense for a few years now. This year they come back with five of their starting front seven from a year ago lost to graduation and/or the NFL. Senior DE’s Ricky Elmore and Brooks Reed are back for 2010 and are quite simply the best defensive ends in the entire Pac-10. Not many offensive lines can match the size and power in these two Arizona players. Arizona also lost half of a very strong and consistent secondary, but look to reload with Trevin Wade and Robert Golden.

Arizona has not been to the Rose Bowl in 31 years. You can bet your ass the Wildcats have their eyes trained on that particular prize this season.

Arizona opens their season at Toledo on Friday, September 3rd.

Part 2 of The Official Gridiron Goddess Pac-10 Preview will be up Tuesday or Wednesday.