10. The ASU Quarterback Situation- Two guys are in the mix for the Devils including Michigan (and before that Georgia Tech) transfer Steven Threet. Brock Osweiler and Samson Szakacsy both saw starting experience last season Szakacsy is injured and that combined with the anemic performance of the ASU offense under their direction has many thinking Threet may be the guy to take Dennis Erickson off the hot seat.
The program seems to be going backwards since his arrival in 2007 and failed to score more than 21 points in their final six games last season, all losses. Without a top-flight RB, the Devils are going to have to put it up to score points and have a serviceable receiving corps that includes former Oregon Duck Aaron Pflugrad and veteran Kerry Taylor.
Whoever gets the call against the ‘Jacks from NAU to open the season will be looking to erase the memories of an offense that ranked 62nd in passing yards, 93rd in rushing yards, and 91st in points with 22.3 per game; rankings that don’t do justice to just how poor ASU looked on offense most of the year.
9. Can Washington State give the Pac-10 a reason not to offer up a trade for…well anyone?- OK, the conference isn’t going to seriously consider giving the Cougars the boot, but I don’t think anyone has a problem keeping a straight face while discussing the possibility.
The Cougs have not put a Pac-10 quality team on the field at any point the past two seasons. WSU has been competitive only three times in the past two seasons and those performances came against Portland State and (winless) UW in 2008 and SMU last year, when they needed five Mustang turnovers and two defensive scores to pull out an overtime win.
Paul Wulff has said all the right things about building a winner again in Pullman but the message has not produced results and with a new AD in place you’ve got to believe this season is a proving ground for the former Cougar offensive lineman, who prior to being hired at WSU spent the previous eight seasons at the FCS level with Eastern Washington, where none of his teams got past the quarterfinal round of the FCS Tournament.
8. Kevin Prince looks to put some (pistol) whippings on the Pac-10- Tricky-Ricky (as he’s known by everyone he isn’t currently coaching) is hoping to get the most out of athletic quarterback Kevin Prince with the Pistol offense, which combines elements of the spread with traditional I-formation and singleback philosophies.
Whether or not the changes mean success should be evident fairly soon with Stanford in Week 2 and Texas in Austin in Week 4. UCLA also travels to Cal, Washington, and Oregon’s Autzen Stadium later in the season and even with Akeem Ayers on defense, UCLA is going to need more than the 10 TDs they got in the passing game last season in order to avoid another date in the Eagle Bank Bowl…which I should mention is the class of the fifth-tier bowl games.