Posts Tagged ‘Washington State’

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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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Week 2 Pac-10 Wrap up: Oregon & Stanford lead the way

September 12, 2010

Football Fiends,

It was an interesting weekend for the Pac-10.  With the exception of Stanford @ UCLA, the Pac-10 went undefeated against four different conferences, including future Pac-12 member Colorado.  Let’s take a look:

USC vs UVA : – 17-14 USC. Where did last week’s offense go? We sputtered offensively and GOD you know I love my Trojan football but when you’re heading into the 2nd quarter and the score is still 0-0,  AND you’re sitting up in Row 90 with fog rolling in… well its not all that exciting. The good news is our defense looked much better this week. The bad news is it was against a mediocre at best ACC team.  USC was up 14-7 at the half,  17-7 near the end of the 4th, and then the defense allowed a late TD from the Cavaliers.  Winning 17-7 is one thing. Winning 17-14 is another and it is very strange to win and feel like you lost. I am very worried for the start of Pac-10 play. With USC @ Minnesota next week and @ Washington State the following week we should head into the meat of our schedule 4-0 but have no real clear indicator of whether this team is good, out of shape, or just plain bad.  Our next home game is vs. Washington and GULP–Steve Sarkisian and Jake Locker scare me.

Oregon @ Tennessee – 48-13, Oregon. The Ducks are a force to be reckoned with. They went down to Rocky Top and hung 48 points on the Volunteers.  Oh and by the way, those 48 points are the most allowed @ Tennessee since Washington State scored 52 points in 1988. With Oregon now ranked #6 in the Coaches poll, they are within striking distance of being a national title contender.

Stanford @ UCLA – 35-0, Stanford. I said in my 2010 Pac-10 Preview (Part One) that I wasn’t sure Stanford would be able to match last season’s 8 wins. I have changed my mind. Stanford is the main challenger to Oregon for the Pac-10 title. The Cardinal went into Pasadena and shut out Coach Neuheisel’s Bruins. Stanford being so strong is not that much of a suprise. Andrew Luck is one hell of an efficient passer, runner and clock manager. What is shocking, even to this Trojan is how bad UCLA is. Stanford was 9-16 on 3rd down conversions to UCLA’s 1-9. UCLA turned the ball over 4 times, Stanford never did. Kevin Prince threw 2 interceptions to Luck’s zero. UCLA fumbled twice, Stanford never did. Jim Harbaugh went in and decimated the Bruins.   Oh, and by the way, Stanford pitched that shutout on the road without two of their best players – LB Shayne Skov and WR Chris Owusu.  It will be interesting to see how Stanford’s season plays out. UCLA – well, they might finish ahead of Washington State, but right now it’s hard to imagine them really competing in the top half of the conference.

Cal vs Colorado – 52-7 Cal.  Colorado is no powerhouse, but they may be nervous about their 2012 date to join the Pac-12 after being totally dominated by the Golden Bears in Berkeley. Cal’s new defense was remarkably efficient in dominating the line of scrimmage. Colorado turned over the ball five times, lost two fumbles and QB Tyler Hansen threw three interceptions.

Washington  vs Syracuse -41-20, Washington. It is clear that this Washington team is on the rise. Sure, they absolutely SHOULD have beaten Syracuse, but 2-3 years ago this game would not have been a gimme.  QB Jake Lockers connected with WR Jermaine Kearse for three teams en route to their convincing victory over the “Cuse.  After getting off to a slow first quarter start, the Huskies rolled with Locker completing 22 of 33 and hitting seven different receivers. Washington’s offense was expected to be one of the best in the conference with Locker under center. Last week against BYU, the Huskies faltered. By the second quarter Saturday night, they hit their stride.

Washington State vs Montana State -23-22 Wazzou. Well hey, lookie there the Cougars won a game. Never mind that it took a herculean 4th quarter effort to make it happen. The crowds were rejoicing in Pullman Saturday night.  Oh and that effort was required against an FCS opponent. I’m worried about my Trojans in Pac-10 play, but I am terrified for Wazzou. This program needs wins to gain the confidence to keep winning. And I am not sure they have quite the firepower for that yet.

Arizona State vs Northern Arizona -41-20 ASU. Looks impressive, right? It really isn’t. NAU is another FCS school that the perennial Pac-10  pre-season contender (until they implode) ASU should have beat without breaking a sweat.  The game was 17-10 at the half and 27-20 at the end of three. Only QB Steven Threet’s two 4th quarter passes put the game out of reach for the NAU Lumberjacks.

Arizona vs Citadel –52-6 Arizona. This was just a good old-fashioned rout of another outmatched FCS team down in Tucson.  I mean, do we really gain anything beating up on non-FBS conference teams. Sure Nic Grisby rushed for three touchdowns including one that was 62 yards. Sure QB Nick Foles completed 17 0f 22 passes in three quarters, but do we really know how this team will stack up against Oregon and Stanford? That is the problem I have with these cupcake out of conference schedules. Arizona is good, but Pac-10 play is brutal and it will determine just how good these Wildcats are.

-Your Gridiron Goddess

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Week 1 CFB Picks

September 2, 2010

Football Fiends!

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!!!! College football is back and with it, Gridiron Goddess’ CFB Picks. Straight Picks, no spread (tho I might do both as the season progresses, we’ll see). The first couple of weeks there will appear to be a lot of gimmes, given certain school’s propensities to schedule FCS and/or cupcake teams (Georgia, I’m looking at you).  However, it was just 3 years ago when Michigan opened their season with a stunning loss to Appalacian State. So anything can happen. (That said Louisiana-Lafayette and Appalachian State are about as different as Florida and Wazzou, for instance.)

Gridiron Goddess’ Week 1 College Football Picks

USC over Hawaii

Miami over Florida A&M

Nevada-Reno over Eastern Washington

Arizona over Toledo

Penn State over Youngstown State

Iowa over Eastern Illinois

Georgia over Louisiana-Lafayette

Mizzou over Illinois

Oregon over New Mexico

UCLA over Kansas State

Notre Dame over Purdue

Cal over UC Davis

Virginia over Richmond

Stanford over Sacramento State

Wisconsin over UNLV

Boise State over VA Tech

-Your Gridiron Goddess

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The Official Gridiron Goddess 2010 Pac-10 Preview: Part 2

September 1, 2010

Getting it in just under the wire!!! FOOTBALL SEASON STARTS TOMORROW! OMG, Thank You gods of football for seeing us all safely through another long, long, long offseason.

The 2010 Pac-10 Preview: Conclusion

by Gridiron Goddess

WASHINGTON STATE COUGARS

Washington State. (What you can’t see is me shaking my head.) Well, I am not the first writer/blogger/fan to say this: They cannot get any worse. They really really can’t. There are 120 FBS football teams and last season the Cougars ranked 119th in total offense and 120th in total defense. Pitiful doesn’t even begin to describe the team they fielded last year in Pullman.

Last year’s Wazzou offensive line gave up 53 sacks.  I’m thinking sophomore QB Jeff Tuel has to be suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome from all the times he went down last year. They did win ONE game last season, so I suppose the Cougars COULD get worse this year, but that is just beside the point.  It has to get better for Alumnus and Coach Paul Wulff. He took over in December 2007 and this year’s team will FINALLY contain players he recruited.

All eyes will be on Washington State this year, will this be the year the pathetic program finally turns around and contends for at least the middle of the Pac-10 pack?

Not this year. Look for Wazzou to improve a bit on both sides of the ball, but still finish dead last in the Pac-10.

Washington State opens its season at Oklahoma State on Saturday, September 4th.

ARIZONA STATE SUN DEVILS

Dennis Erickson would appear to be on the hot seat, wouldn’t he? I mean he has all this talent, and each year the Sun Devils are SUPPOSED to contend for the Pac-10 crown and then… they fall apart. They implode. They self-destruct. (Shall I twist the knife in a little further Pat? Remember 1987? USC 55 – ASU 0. But I digress ;-)…)  Surely Erickson’s Sun Devils will have to improve on last year’s 4-8 record for his job to be secure.

This offseason, one of ASU’s issues was at quarterback. As in, who would the Sun Devil starting QB be. They waited until August 31st to name Michigan transfer Steven Threet the 2010 starting QB. Threet started eight games at Michigan in 2008 before transferring. Coach Erickson has not ruled out sophomore Brock Oseweiler seeing playing time at QB. Now doesn’t that just make you want to strangle him ASU Fans? Stop being so wishy-washy, pick a QB, pick a game plan and fricking STICK WITH IT. Erickson doesn’t seem able to just stick with a plan at ASU and that lack of consistency has been apparent in the on field results.

But hey- Threet also seems to suffer from this disease of indecision. ASU is his third school. He spent the Spring of 2007 at Georgia Tech before transferring to Michigan in 2008. At Michigan he was the leading passer in 2008, but he was not a good match for RichRod’s offense. So maybe this will be a match  made in heaven. A union of commitment-phobes.

My prediction is that only Wazzou will finish lower in the Pac-10 than Arizona State. And next season the Sun Devils will have a new coach.

Arizona State opens their season at home against Portland State on Saturday, September 4th.

UCLA BRUINS

Rick Neuheisel (and his big giant forehead) enters his third season as head coach of that team in Westwood. Their 2009 offense was ranked 88th in the nation. But let’s not forget this is a team that has been beset by QB injuries so severe it is almost comical. (OK, Let’s be honest, it IS comical for Trojan fans.) Even this season is not without injury, as QB Kevin Prince has a torn back muscle from camp that is still on the mend. Neuheisel and former SC assistant coach Norm Chow are installing their version of the Pistol offense in Westwood this season, which should prove to be a good move for the Bruins.  Prince will be backed up by sophomore Richard Brehaut with junior college transfer Darius Bell sitting on the third string. Bell is a more athletic QB who seems to be what UCLA needs for their new offense. Anyway, the point is, remember when UCLA lost two QBs in one pre-season practice? They’ve learned from that, and it shouldn’t happen again this year.

UCLA’s version of the Pistol offense is the Revolver, which looks to make use of a revolving QB plan – at least in the opener against Kansas State. Depth on the O-Line will be an issue for the Bruins with some academic ineligibility and injury issues hitting their bench. Oh and don’t forget the player (Xavier Su-a-Filo) who is on a LDS Mission. The starting five must stay healthy or Prince is in trouble.

On another note, UCLA has new road jerseys this year. Gone is the effeminate powder blue, replaced with navy blue (the stripes and numbers).

I’m thinking its a 7 win season for the Bruins.

UCLA opens its season at Kansas State on Saturday, September 4th.

CAL GOLDEN BEARS

Well Cal opens their season against powerhouse UC Davis, so that tells us a lot. I’m sorry, but I have no patience for big teams that schedule cupcakes. And plenty FBS teams do. (SEC I am looking at you. Try scheduling Ohio State instead of Louisiana-Monroe for f’s sake. But I digress… again…) Anyway, back to Cal.  Cal’s QB is Kevin Riley and he is the key to their success. When Riley is on, Cal wins. When Riley is off, Cal falls apart. And consistency has never been Kevin Riley’s strong suit.  Wide receiver was one of the weak spots on last year’s team and was a big factor in Riley’s lack of consistency.  True freshman wideout Keenan Allen could go a long way towards bringing some much needed consistency to Riley’s offense. Allen is the most highly-rated recruit Coach Tedford has ever had.

Of course, Cal’s running game has a huge hole where first round draft pick Javid Best used to run his plays. Shane Vereen is another running back out of Berkeley who looks to fill Best’s shoes for the Golden Bears.

Cal also has some mental weak spots. They were blown out five times last season and when they get too far down, the mistakes grow even greater and build upon each other until they have a near disaster on their hands. This also speaks to some offensive consistency. That WILL go a long way to healing what ails Tedford’s Golden Bears.

Defensively, Cal was decent against the run in 2009, but struggled against the pass. Cal has one of the best linebackers in the Pac-10 in Mike Mohamed, but the other three LB spots in the Bears’ 3-4 D are green. Time will tell, I suppose.

Cal opens the season at home against UC Davis on Saturday, September 4th.

WASHINGTON HUSKIES

Make no mistake, USC will be out for revenge on October 2nd at the Coliseum. Last season’s shocking loss to the Huskies at the hands of former USC Assistant Coach Steve Sarkisian HURT, y’all.  But that aside, let’s give Coach Sark a big round of applause. In 2008, UDub went 0-12 and last season they went 5-7, which by any other standard would not be a good season but after the slide into the depths of suckitude the Huskies had been on for a number of years, 5-7 was something to celebrate.

We will know soon if the 2010 Huskies will be an even better team as they open their season at BYU. Talk about trial by fire. But then, Washington is not one to schedule patsies even in their down years.

QB Jake Locker is making a run for the Heisman and the hype alone should do a lot to elevate this Husky team and make them hungry for wins. The team returns all five starters on the offensive line – led by all-conference candidate Jermaine Karse. Sophomore Chris Polk started last year at tailback, wide receiver and defensive back and was the first freshman in school history to rush for more than 1,000 yards.  All reports on the Husky defense are that they were a pleasant surprise in training camp.

2008 was rough and had Coach Sark not gotten in there and turned it significantly around, things could have been bleak for years for the Huskies. After last season, they know how to win. And last season many of their seven losses came by just a few points. This year, they will know how to close the gap and the Huskies should be bowl eligible for the first time since 2002 at season’s end.

Washington opens its season at BYU on Saturday, September 4th.

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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.

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Separated at Birth?

August 12, 2010

Washington State Coach Paul Wulff


and

Donny Osmond