The Hokie Guru welcomes you to the sports blogosphere only on GovLoop. We continue our tradition of speaking in the third person. Today, we take a look at the Pacific-10 Conference (Pac-10) Football Bowl Subdivision teams. In December 1915, the Pac-10 was founded at a meeting at the Oregon Hotel in Portland, Oregon. The original members of the conference, called the Pacific Coast Conference (PCC), included the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Washington, the University of Oregon, and Oregon State College (now Oregon State University). The Universities of Montana and Idaho were also part of the league. Anyway, you can find more about the history of the Pac-10 here (and now you know that the Oregon colleges are the epicenter of the Pac-10… everyone always seems to think that the Pac-10 runs through California… it does not… the Hokie Guru must debunk these myths).
Woodrow Wilson, the father of the civil service, was President during the formation of the Pac-10. The Hokie Guru strongly recommends that you read Wilson’s essay, The Study of Administration, published in 1886. Wilson felt the need for a competent, professional administrative service. One that “is removed from the hurry and strife of politics” (an obvious, massively clear break from Andrew Jackson’s “to the victor go the spoils” form of governance). Did you think you would get a government history/public administration lesson in a college football conference preview? A two for one deal only offered on GovLoop by the Hokie Guru.
Let’s begin the Pac-10 rankings!!! In the Pac-10, you have to play every team in your conference. That means that you play nine games in conference (there are no weekends off here).
1. University of Southern California (USC) – Ho, Hum… another year, another national title run. Life is really, really good for Pete Carroll; he has $2.8 million reasons to be happy.
2. Arizona State University (ASU) – The Sun Devils are my sleeper pick to win the Pac-10 (I say sleeper because any person in the right frame of mind is going to pick USC… it’s why the Guru has USC at the one spot). ASU has a veteran QB and coach in Rudy Carpenter and Dennis Erickson, respectively, and have depth at the skill positions. But, if ASU can pull off the upset against the University of Georgia (at home… and the nation will be watching this early game on September 20), this could be the spark that this team needs to run the table. ASU has Oregon at home and USC on the road. Dennis Erickson also recruited Jack Elway, son of NFL Hall-of-Fame QB, John Elway.
3. University of Oregon – The Hokie Guru loves Eugene and has often thought of retiring to this Mecca. Did you know that Animal House was filmed on the University of Oregon campus? The Hokie Guru wanted to put Oregon at #2 on the list, but is worried about experience at the skill positions (e.g. QB Dennis Dixon and RB Jonathon Stewart are no longer with the Ducks), but he sees promise with QB Nate Costa. The Ducks, however, must go on the road to ASU and USC… not good for a new starting QB.
4. University of California – This is the only school I know in the country that basically has a tailgate session at any location on the campus on game day. The Hokie Guru went to a game here in the late 1990’s when USC came to town (prior to the arrival of Pete Carroll) and actually saw people drinking beer on the library steps. Berkley is the only place in the world where nature activists can block construction of athletic facilities; the Hokie Guru thinks time has run out for the protestors. However, we live in a democracy that supports peaceful protest and the Hokie Guru supports their right to protest. California always has an excellent offense under Jeff Tedford. As for the defense, where’s the beef?
5. University of Arizona – Coach Mike Stoops is on the hot seat. He needs to get to a bowl game to save his job (and he will because he has veteran QB, Willie Tuitama).
6. Oregon State University – Oregon State surpasses expectations every year (or so says ESPN’s Ted Miller in the link that follows), so the Guru had to move the Beavers to six on this list (he almost had the Beavers at the seventh position). According to Ted Miller, the Beavers have questions at QB and have to rebuild the front seven on the defense.
7. Washington – The Hokie Guru began his career as federal civil servant in Seattle, WA, at the United States Department of Education Office of Student Financial Assistance. Seattle is home to the University of Washington (U-Dub). Husky Stadium is the most picturesque sports facility in the country. Tyrone Willingham has the hottest seat in all of college football and if he doesn’t get to a bowl game this year, he will not see this stadium view again. That said, Husky QB Jake Locker, is a stud and might be the best duel-threat QB on the West Coast. It is hard for the Guru, however, to imagine a scenario where the U-Dub has a winning record.
8. University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) – The Hokie Guru thinks the UCLA Bruins have the toughest schedule in the country. They have to play every team in the Pac-10. In addition, their nonconference opponents include Fresno State University, the University of Tennessee, and Brigham Young University. The one plus here? Coaching. UCLA has Rick Neheuisel (former Bruin QB) as the head coach, Norm Chow as the offensive coordinator (Norm was also the former offensive coordinator at USC under Pete Carroll), and DeWayne Walker as the defensive coordinator. This might be the most experienced group of coaches on the West Coast. The Bruins might surprise some people and take the final bowl slot from the University of Arizona.
9. Stanford University – The Cardinal (notice this is not plural… Stanford refers to the athletic program as the Cardinal) arguably pulled off the second biggest upset in college football last year when they defeated USC. I’m a big believer in Jim Harbaugh as a coach. He did a great job as head coach at the University of San Diego and we know about his NFL career as QB with the Chicago Bears (he also played QB at the University of Michigan under Bo Schembechler). The Hokie Guru thinks that every coach needs 4-5 years so that he has enough time to recruit his own players and educate them in, for lack of a better term, his system (e.g. his playbook, culture, etc.). In two years, Harbaugh will have the Cardinal in a bowl game. In four years, the Cardinal will compete for the Pac-10 title.
10. Washington State University – Pullman, WA is not an easy place to recruit.
The Guru hopes that you take away Wilson’s essay as a homework assignment (for extra credit, post your thoughts on his essay to my blog). I promise you that reading the essay will be well worth your time. The Hokie Guru admires Woodrow Wilson, a brilliant man and President far ahead of his time. The Hokie Guru will post again in a couple of days. We have the Big 12 Preview, our analysis of the USA Today Coaches Top 25 Poll, and Week 1 Picks (the Guru might combine the analysis of the top 25 and the week one picks).