With nearly three months until football season begins, it's time to throw out my thoughts and bold predictions for the 2010 Pac-10 football season. Bookmark this article and check back in January 2011 with your congratulations for me.
2010 Season Recap
Oregon Ducks 11-2 (7-2).
Recognized as a perennial contender, the Oregon football program is expected to win games year in and year out. The 2009 Pac-10 champions will be tested on the road against conference foes and finish the year behind only USC in the standings.
Chip Kelly continues to bring in more talent every year, and the 2010 squad is full of speed, toughness, and experience. With its only defeats at USC and Arizona State, the Ducks will accept an invitation to play in the Rose Bowl against Wisconsin.
With the loss of Jeremiah Masoli, Kelly will be forced to situationally use both Darron Thomas and Nate Costa during the season. Costa will lead with experience, while Thomas will provide a spark when the offense lacks productivity. The two quarterbacks will combine for 2,300 passing yards, 22 touchdowns, 14 interceptions, and 500 yards rushing.
After missing the first game of the season because of a suspension, LaMichael James will run for 1,100 yards and 12 touchdowns. Kenjon Barner and newcomer Lache Seastrunk together will provide nearly 1,600 all-purpose yards for the Ducks.
Steady receiver Jeffrey Maehl will match his 2009 totals with 55 receptions and just over 700 yards. Tight end David Paulson will become the best tight end in the conference with 50 receptions for 600 yards and seven touchdowns.
The explosive offense will score an average of 37.2 points per game.
The defensive line will compete but not stand out. 2009 team sack leader Kenny Rowe will be held to under five sacks, paving the way for ex-tight end Dion Jordan to lead the team with nine.
The linebacking corp, led by Casey Matthews and Spencer Paysinger, will pace the defense and combine for 190 tackles, five sacks, and six interceptions.
The secondary will be beaten often but will follow the old "bend but don't break" adage. Safeties John Boyett and Eddie Pleasant will be solid, but the cornerbacks will only provide glimpses of consistency. The Oregon defense will give up an average of 25.3 points per game in 2010.
September 4 vs. New Mexico - Oregon 37, New Mexico 13
September 11 @ Tennessee - Oregon 24, Tennessee 23
September 18 vs. Portland State - Oregon 66, PSU 9
September 25 @ Arizona State - Arizona State 41, Oregon 35
October 2 vs. Stanford - Oregon 40, Stanford 23
October 9 @ Washington State - Oregon 55, WSU 20
October 21 vs. UCLA - Oregon 31, UCLA 27
October 30 @ USC - USC 34, Oregon 24
November 6 vs. Washington - Oregon 42, Washington 28
November 13 @ California - Oregon 24, California 16
November 26 vs. Arizona - Oregon 41, Arizona 14
December 4 @ Oregon State - Oregon 38, Oregon St. 20
2011 Rose Bowl @ Pasadena California
January 1, 2011 - Oregon 27, Wisconsin 17