How Will Oregon's Blunders Impact the Pac-10?
The Oregon Ducks find themselves in a tricky situation after it was revealed the Jr. QB Jeremiah Masoli would be suspended for the 2010 season.
The star QB completed 177 of his 305 passes for 2,147 yards, 15 TDs, and six INTs last season. He was second on the team in rushing numbers, putting up 668 yards on 121 carries, 13 TDs, and averaged 5.5 yards per carry.
His performances on the field helped lead the Ducks to a Pac-10 Title and a Rose Bowl berth against Ohio State, where the Ducks fell 26-17 to the Buckeyes.
His performances off the field are causing all sorts of problems in Eugene.
Head Coach Chip Kelly suspended Masoli for the 2010 season after Masoli pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary charges back in March.
I think I can speak for fans of every Pac-10 school in saying, "Whew!"
I mean, with the exception of Stanford, who beat the Ducks 51-42, Masoli and his teammates made a mockery out every opposing defense they came across.
In wins against Pac-10 teams alone, the Ducks racked up 333 points.
Relax Ducks fans; Masoli still has one red shirt year left, so he could play again.
But Masoli isn't the only one stirring the pot in Eugene.
In fact, there's six other Oregon players who are in legal shambles.
Garrett Embry, LaMichael James, Rob Beard, Kiko Alonso, Matt Simms, and Jamere Holland.
Out of these six players, three have been dismissed from the team: Garrett Embry, Matt Simms, and Jamere Holland.
LaMichael James and Rob Beard are in the least bit of trouble, as they're only suspended for one game. Kiko Alonso was also suspended for the 2010 season after pleading not-guilty to drunken driving charges.
And as if things weren't bad enough, Ducks' Athletic Director Mike Bellotti called it quits and is heading for ESPN to become a college football analyst.
What's the deal in Eugene? Why does it seem that everything bad that could happen IS happening?
Will there be any relief?
The answer is "yes."
Despite the loss of Masoli, which is a devastating loss, the Ducks still have LaMichael James, who is only suspended for the Sept. 4 home-opener against the New Mexico Lobos.
If the Ducks need James against the Lobos, they've got bigger problems than I thought.
Keep in mind that James set the Pac-10 freshman rushing record last season, so not all is lost in Eugene.
Plus, Nate Costa and Darron Thomas are battling for the starting QB spot, but my money's on Costa, who at least recorded some playing time last season.
Will Oregon be the doormat of the Pac-10? Not likely, considering they still have James. But the loss of Masoli is huge, and that will balance the scales a little.
With Washington showing signs of life, coming off a 5-7 season and USC bringing in familiar faces, the Pac-10 just got a whole lot more interesting.
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