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Northwest Supremacy: A Look Back at the 2000 Pac-10 Football Season

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Northwest Supremacy: A Look Back at the 2000 Pac-10 Football Season
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What a difference a decade can make.  

The 2000 Pac-10 season finished a far cry from the landscape of the conference today.  The early years of the millennium were dominated by the Northwest universities, while prestigious programs such as UCLA and USC began their fight in returning to prosperity.

Only one coach from 2000 (Rick Neuheisel) still remains in the conference, and Dick Tomey, Bruce Snyder, and Paul Hackett would all say goodbye following the season.

Here is a look back at the 2000 season in the Pac-10 conference:

 

2000 Pac-10 Standings

 
Conf Perc All Perc PF PA Home Away
Oregon St 7-1 .875 11-1 .917 400 212 7-0 4-1
Washington 7-1 .875 11-1 .917 387 270 7-0 4-1
Oregon 7-1 .875 10-2 .833 351 249 6-0 4-2
Stanford 4-4 .500 5-6 .455 261 294 3-3 2-3
Arizona St 3-5 .375 6-6 .500 313 303 3-3 3-3
UCLA 3-5 .375 6-6 .500 353 368 5-2 1-4
Arizona 3-5 .375 5-6 .455 254 237 2-4 3-2
USC 2-6 .250 5-7 .417 309 337 3-5 2-2
Washington St 2-6 .250 4-7 .364 281 354 1-5 3-2
California 2-6 .250 3-8 .273 246 295 2-3 1-5

 

The Battle for a Pac-10 Championship

The 2000 season will go down as one of the most competitive, intriguing conference races in recent memory. 

Controlling their own destiny, Oregon traveled to Corvallis to battle the Beavers in a unprecedented Civil War in terms of  importance.  

Led by star quarterback Joey Harrington, the Oregon signal-caller strolled into Reser Stadium to throw five interceptions in the Civil War game won by the Beavers 23-13.

The Oregon defeat placed the Ducks, Beavers, and Huskies in a three way tie to finish the 2000 Pac-10 season.  

A late September contest featured Oregon defeating Washington in Eugene 23-16.

The Huskies squeaked by Oregon State in Seattle in a 33-30 October thriller landing Washington in the 2001 Rose Bowl.

 The Beavers accepted an invitation to the Fiesta Bowl, and the Ducks were relegated to play Texas in the Holiday Bowl.

 

The Talent of the Conference

Quarterbacks -  Joey Harrington (Oregon), Carson Palmer (USC), Ortege Jenkins (Arizona), Kyle Boller (Cal), Cory Paus (UCLA), Jason Gesser (Washington State), Marques Tuiasosopo (Washington), A.J. Feeley (Oregon), Randy Fasani (Stanford)

Running Backs  - Maurice Morris (Oregon), Onterrio Smith (Oregon), Ken Simonton (Oregon State), DeShaun Foster (UCLA), Justin Fargas (USC), Sultan McCullough (USC)

Wide Receivers  - Bobby Wade (Arizona), Kareem Kelly (USC), Keenan Howry (Oregon), Shaun McDonald (Arizona State), Freddie Mitchell (UCLA), Chad Johnson (Oregon State), T.J. Houshmanzadeh (Oregon State), Keary Colbert (USC), Milton Wynn (Washington State), Brian Poli-Dixon (UCLA)

Tight Ends  - Justin Peele (Oregon), Todd Heap (Arizona State), Jerramy Stevens (Washington), Brandon Manumaleuna (Arizona), George Whrighster (Oregon), Teyo Johnson (Stanford)

Offensive Line  - Levi Jones (Arizona State), Elliot Silvers (Washington), Chad Ward (Washington), Mitch White (Oregon State), Makoa Freitas (Arizona), Victor Leyva (Arizona State), Scott Peters (Arizona State), Travis Scott (Arizona State), Langston Walker (Cal), Kwame Harris (Stanford), Eric Heitmann (Stanford), Troy Danoff (UCLA), Ryan Schmidt (Oregon), Kyle Benn (Washington), Steve Grace (Arizona)

Defensive Line  - Terrell Suggs (Arizona State), Andre Carter (California), Willie Howard (Stanford), DeLawrence Grant (Oregon State), Joe Tafoya (Arizona), James Lee (Oregon State), Kenyon Coleman (UCLA), Rien Long (Washington State)

Linebackers  - Markus Steele (USC), Zeke Moreno (USC), Riall Johnson (Stanford), Lance Briggs (Arizona), Soloman Bates (Arizona State), Scott Fujita (Cal), Tully Banta-Cain (Cal), Wesley Mallard (Oregon), James Allen (Oregon State), Nick Barnett (Oregon State), Robert Thomas (UCLA), Larry Tripplett (Washington), Raonall Smith (Washington State)

Secondary  - Adam Archuleta (Arizona State), Hakim Akbar (Washington), Rashad Bauman (Oregon), Nnamdi Asomugha (Cal), Steve Smith (Oregon), Dennis Weathersby (Oregon State), Coy Wire (Stanford), Tank Williams (Stanford), Colin Branch (Stanford), Marques Anderson (UCLA), Ricky Manning (UCLA), Chris Cash (USC), Troy Polamalu (USC), Kris Richard (USC), Omar Lowe (Washington), Lamont Thompson (Washington State), Marcus Trufant (Washington State), Billy Newman (Washington State)

Special Teams  - Nick Murphy, Punter (Arizona State), Mike Biselli, Place Kicker (Stanford), Nate Fiske, Punter (UCLA), Nick Harris, Punter (Cal)

 

2000 Season Reviews

Arizona Wildcats

The Wildcats began the season at 5-1, with a lone defeat at home to Ohio State early in September.

Under coach Dick Tomey, the team was as exciting as any other squad in the conference.  The offense was led by the versatile play-making abilities of Ortege Jenkins and receiver Bobby Wade.

The season began to tumble in week nine as Arizona lost a close game at Oregon and then proceeded to lose their final five games of the season to finish 5-6 on the year.  

The 2000 season would also be the last for coach Dick Tomey who resigned following the losing campaign. The Wildcats would not post a winning season in the decade until recording an 8-5 mark in 2008.

 

Arizona State Sun Devils

Playing a soft non-conference schedule, Arizona State jumped to a 3-0 record after defeating Colorado State, San Diego State, and Utah State.

Long-time coach Bruce Snyder would see his team run stagnant the remainder of the season with three wins over lackluster teams such as California, Arizona, and Washington State.

The Sun Devils would lose two heartbreaking double overtime games at home to Oregon and USC and finish the regular season at 6-5.  

The team accepted a bid to play in the Aloha Bowl on Christmas Day.  The trip to Hawaii was unkind as Arizona State lost 31-17 to Boston College.

 

California Golden Bears

The Tom Holmoe years in Berkeley would like to be forgotten by most Cal fans.  Following a 4-7 record in 1999, the Bears continued to disappoint with a 3-8 mark in 2000.  

After a season-opening victory over Utah, the team would then lose four straight including close games against Illinois and Washington State.

In many cases during the season, the defense would be relied upon to make up for an inconsistent offense led by young quarterback, Kyle Boller.  The lone bright spot on the year would be a sweep of the Los Angeles schools.  

The 2000 season provided little momentum for success as they returned in 2001, to go 1-10 in Holmoe's last season at California.

 

Oregon Ducks

As disappointing as the regular season finished, the 2000 campaign built enough confidence and momentum for a magical 2001 season.  

The Ducks lost a hard fought battle 27-23 against Wisconsin in Madison, and followed the defeat with eight straight victories.  Coach Mike Bellotti used junior quarterback Joey Harrington to lead a balanced offense that was supported by an underrated defense.

After a defeat to rival Oregon State in the Civil War, the Ducks finished the regular season at 9-2 and accepted a bid to play in the Holiday Bowl.  

Playing against Chris Simms and Cedric Benson, the Ducks defeated Texas 35-30 in an exciting contest in San Diego.

 

Oregon State Beavers

A success none the less, the 2000 season could have resulted in the Beavers returning to the Rose Bowl for the first time in almost forty years.  

After decades of defeat, Oregon State made a national splash after finishing the regular season at 10-1.  

The comical non-conference schedule featured games against New Mexico, Eastern Washington, and San Diego State.  The team opened with a 4-0 record and rolled into Seattle only to be set back with a 33-30 loss to the Huskies.

Coach Dennis Erickson then rallied his team with six straight wins including close games at California and UCLA.  

After missing out on a trip to Pasadena, the Beavers accepted a bid to play prestigious Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl.

 Led by Jonathan Smith, Ken Simonton, two future NFL wide receivers, and a tenacious defense, the Beavers rolled over the Fighting Irish 41-9 to finish the season at 11-1, and ranked in the top five nationally.

 

Stanford Cardinal

Returning from a trip to the Rose Bowl,  the 2000 version of Stanford was very inconsistent.

The team opened with a strong victory in Pullman, only to return to Palo Alto a week later with an embarrassing 40-27 loss to San Jose State. The Cardinal then battled a talented Texas Longhorns squad in a 27-24 Stanford victory.

Coach Tyrone Willingham then saw his team play uninspired in defeats to Notre Dame, Arizona, and Oregon State. The team would go 3-2 during the final five games of the season, only to fall a game short of bowl eligibility at 5-6 on the year.

The Cardinal would bounce back in 2001 going 9-3 on the season.

 

UCLA Bruins

The Bruins opened the season red hot, ranking high after the first three games of the season.  

Bob Toledo and his UCLA squad rolled to open the season with home victories over Alabama, Michigan, and Fresno State.  

Depending on the running of DeShaun Foster, and receiver play of Brian Poli-Dixon and Freddie Mitchell, the Bruins expectations continued to increase.

The Bruins traveled to Eugene in late September only to fall to the Ducks 29-10 in a game that began a downward spiral to finish the season.  

UCLA would go 3-5 during their last eight games of the season with mediocre victories over Stanford, Arizona State, and Arizona.

Finishing the regular season at 6-5, the team proceeded to meet Wisconsin in a 21-20 defeat in the Sun Bowl.

 

USC Trojans

The 2000 season marks the last time that USC suffered a losing season.  

The roster was full of untapped potential and talent in Paul Hackett's last season at the helm.  The offense was led by sophomore Carson Palmer, Sultan McCullough, Keary Colbert, and Kareem Kelly.

The team opened the season at 3-0 with victories over Penn State, Colorado, and San Jose State. 

The Trojans then fell apart, losing five straight before a double overtime victory at Arizona State in early November.

A lone bright spot for USC would be a victory over rival UCLA 38-35 in Pasadena to end their conference schedule.  A home defeat to Notre Dame would cap a disappointing season with a record 5-7.

 

Washington Huskies

Looking back a decade for the Huskies we see their last season of extreme success.

Led by Marques Tuiasosopo, the purple and gold opened the season with victories over Idaho, Colorado, and the highly touted Miami Hurricanes.

A late September defeat in Eugene, would be the only blemish to a great season for Rick Neuhiesel's squad.

The Huskies finished the 2000 regular season at 10-1 and happily accepted a bid to represent the conference against Purdue in the 2001 Rose Bowl.

Washington didn't disappoint after a 34-24 defeat over Drew Brees and the Boilermakers.

 

Washington State Cougars

Looking to rebound following a 3-9 season, Mike Price and the Cougars entered the 2000 campaign looking to return to the top half of the conference.  

Much like Stanford, the Cougars were inconsistent, spotted with talent, and unable to win the close games.

An opening season loss to Stanford was followed by a win over Utah, then a pathetic home loss to Idaho.

 Week six and seven would see the Cougars defeat California and Boise State before the team lost four straight conference games.

The season came to an embarrassing end as the Cougars were drubbed at home by in-state rival Washington 51-3, to finish the season at 4-7.

 

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