The Pac Ten is the second best conference behind the SEC, but a lot of people feel the Big 12 is the second best conference. The Pac Ten went 5-0 in Bowl Games last season, but the conference did not perform well in OOC games last season. Oregon State got beat 45-14 by Penn State and Utah edged them 31-28. Boise State beat the Oregon Ducks 37-32. Arizona State suffered a horrible 23-20 OT loss to UNLV. The California Bears didn’t feel the need to arrive in Maryland a few days early and get adjusted to the time change and an early East Coast kickoff time. As a result, the traveling mistake aided the Terrapins in beating the Bears 35-27. If the Pac Ten wants to take a big step forward players that have experience behind center must lead their teams to victories in OOC games.
Cal announced that QB Kevin Riley would be the starter when Cal opens up against Maryland on September 5th. Riley was in and out of the line-up last season when Nate Longshore was on the roster. In 2007 Riley had a tremendous game in the Armed Forces Bowl. In that game Kevin was 16/19, threw for 269 yards and 3 TD’s. In 2008 Riley’s play declined, because the Bear’s played with a lot of WR’s that did not have experience. Coach Jeff Tedford said that Riley worked on his throwing motion in the off-season. As a result, Kevin should be more accurate with the football this season. Now that the WR’s are more comfortable in the offense and Riley has Jahvid Best lined up behind him there is no excuse for Cal not to play at a high level in their OOC games. California is ranked # 12 in the country. If they truly deserve that ranking they cannot lose to Maryland or Minnesota.
The Oregon Ducks have a very good player at the QB position that is not a household name around the country. QB Jeremiah Masoli ran for 718 yards and passed for 1,744 yards. Masoli has the ability to beat defenses with his arm and legs. With the USC Trojans going with a freshmen at QB the Ducks will have an opportunity to make a move in the conference. Oregon’s rise in the standings begin with their OOC games starting on September 3rd against Boise State. With a year of experience under his belt Masoli could make a big statement by leading Oregon to a victory in a Primetime game on the Blue Turf. After the game at Boise State the Ducks get Purdue and Utah at home. If Jeremiah plays well in those games Oregon has a great chance of starting the season 3-0.
The Oregon State Beavers have two experienced QB’s in Lyle Moevao and Sean Canfield. Moevao threw for 2,534 yards, 19 TD’s and 13 picks in 2008. Canfield threw for 703 yards, 6 TD’s and 2 INT’s. The Beavers are notorious for starting the season off slow. Last year the Beavers began the year 1-4. With two SR. QB’s on the roster Oregon State should be able to avoid a slow start this season. The Beavers open the year with Portland State at home, at UNLV and Cincinnati at home.
For the Pac Ten to start getting recognition around the country they need to start qualifying two teams for BCS games on a regular basis. One of the ways to get two teams in the BCS is for multiple teams to not suffer losses in OOC games. The Trojans could get the benefit of the doubt and have two losses and still qualify for a BCS game, but another team in the Pac Ten must finish the 2009 season with no more than one loss.