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The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

December 8, 2009 at 9:14 AM

Revisiting my Pac-10 picks

It’s looking like a popular topic this morning to review what people thought about the Pac-10 a few months ago and how it instead unfolded on the field.
Bud Withers of our staff had this review of the season today and ESPN.com’s Ted Miller chipped in witih his own.
I’ve spent most of my career following those two guys, so figured why stop now? So here’s the ballot I sent in last July for the Pac-10 media poll, followed by a look at how it actually developed.
1, USC — Actually finished fifth, getting the tiebreaker from Cal. Youth at QB and on defense proved too much to overcome. And maybe they missed a couple of coaches now working at some school up north. But I think it would be foolish to think this is the end of the Trojans.
2, Cal — Finished sixth. The Bears are beginning to earn a reputation for being annually overrated. This year was no exception as there were high hopes for a team that seemed to have a lot of top-flight talent but instead just was completely dominated four times. But young enough that the future is still bright.
3, Oregon –— Finished first. Biggest question mark about Oregon heading into season was a young OL, and that looked to be a real issue in the opener against Boise State. But Chip Kelly did a masterful job holding things together and Ducks won first Pac-10 title since 2001.
4, Oregon State — Actually finished third. Pretty much everyone was right on about the Beavers, I think. They had some significant losses after 2008 but due to the presence of the Rodgers brothers and a coaching staff that deserves the benefit of the doubt that it will figure out a way to get it done, everyone assumed OSU would still compete for a top spot. That’s pretty much what happened.
5, Arizona State — Finished ninth. I figured ASU would have a good defense, and it did. I also figured Dennis Erickson would figure out a way to get an unproven offense on track. But that never happened. ASU also just never really looked a together team. Erickson will be firmly on the hot seat heading into 2010.
6, Arizona — I had UA higher than a lot of people, but not high enough as the Wildcats technically finished second, getting the tiebreaker with Stanford and OSU. Mike Stoops said at media day he had his most talented team, then proved it wasn’t just an empty promise. UA now looks here to stay in the upper reaches of the conference.


7, Stanford — Finished third. And I actually had Stanford higher in some of my initial polls, ahead of ASU and UA in one I was about to send in before I revised it late. I liked Stanford a lot, and I think other voters did, too, as it was obvious Jim Harbaugh was building something. But it was also hard to really move the Cardinal up until you saw it on the field. Hard to know how lasting this revival will be, however, with Harbaugh maybe looking at other jobs (though word today is he’s not in the running at Notre Dame) and Toby Gerhart likely gone.
8, UCLA — Finished eighth, ultimately one of only two direct hits I had. But Bruins will likely get a bowl game due to a 3-0 non-conference record. UCLA is young but also loses a lot of good defensive players, so hard to know exactly what’s being built here.
9, Washington — Finished seventh and so much closer to more than that. I wrote at the time I thought UW would pull an upset or two but it was hard to know how consistent the Huskies could be. But the progression at the end of the year was a little better than most imagined it would be.
10, Washington State — Finished 10th, the one team I don’t think anyone missed on. And given that just about everyone else is young, as well, hard to see a significant move anytime soon.
PROGRAMMING NOTE Steve Sarkisian’s end-of-year press conference is this morning at 11 so I’ll have lots more on here later.

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