This week's Roundtable is hosted by the "Semitic Superstuds" at the California Golden Blogs.
1. Although it's still too early to make bowl predictions with any sort of accuracy, it seems at this point in the season that the Pac-10 is unlikely to fill its 7 contractual bowl slots. How many Pac-10 teams do you think will eventually become bowl eligible?
Unless ASU gets its act together it will be 6 teams that hit the bowls. If all you need are six wins the then the top six in the Pac-10 are all in pretty good shape to get to a bowl game. The more interesting question is who wins the Pac-10? Once again it will come down to the big three of USC, Cal and Oregon. I am not quite sure that either Stanford or Arizona are there yet, so to me the conference championship pretty much hinges on the winner of the USC v. Cal game.
2. After dispensing with Oregon and Arizona State, USC seems to have righted itself back onto the path towards another Pac-10 championship. Obviously everyone's looking to Cal as the last serious challenge, while no one expects this weekend's trip to Wazzu to be anything but ugly, but 3 potentially tricky road trips remain: Arizona, Stanford, and UCLA. Where are the Trojans most likely to be tripped up?
Ahem…I guess I should read all the questions before answering them (see above)…
Anyway, a lot of pundits say Arizona is SC’s trap game but I am not so sure. As our friend Peter Bean says Mike Stoops loses games…seriously though Arizona is much improved and it looks like Tuitama is going to break some records this season though I don’t remember which ones (I’m too lazy to look up where I read that). I still think SC will Arizona the can handle mobile QB’s, though not perfectly and I think the USC defense will come to play, I really don’t think there is a better defense in the conference and after the debacle in Corvallis they have absolutely come to play. The USC offense did all they could to give the game away against ASU but the defense took it as a matter of pride to not give up a single point.
I still think ucla is where SC can be tripped up if for no other reason than it’s a rivalry game. It is the nastiest most bitter rivalry in all of college football and ucla will look to back up all the crazy things they done this season…like the ad in the L.A. Times all the proclamations that the “dream team” made during halftime rallies at Pauley. They want it…they need it and they will do just about anything to get it, Slick Rick has no soul and he wants this one bad. SC could be looking at another trip to the BCS title game when that game comes around and we saw what happened last time…have they learned their lesson? I’m not sure as Stanford last year and Oregon St. this year proved…what’s the old golf saying…”I tend to putt better where there is no hole in front of me”
3. The season is 7 weeks old, nearly half over. What's the biggest surprise in the Pac-10 so far this year?
I am surprised at the amount of QB’s that have been injured. With all the injury write-ups I have done I can devote a whole website to QB injuries in the Pac-10 alone this year.
4. Is it possible that USC puts itself back in the national title race? Is it deserving to be back in the national title race?
Yes and yes. They only have one loss and there still a lot of things left to be determined.
Look, I am not sure if SC deserved to bumped up in the polls last week after that poor win against ASU but if the voters don’t do their due diligence that’s not USC’s problem. Like it or not the Pac-10 is down this year and if the Big 12 and SEC beat each other up that’s not USC’s problem either. The Big-12 and SEC got greedy with conference championship games…it was a total money grab so those are the risks you take when you go for the brass ring. The problem will be if you have a bunch of one -loss teams who do pick then? SC will probably be hurt because of SOS but it is always possible that there could be a bunch of two loss teams in the mix as well…as we saw in 2003 and 2004 you can’t trust the system in place.
5. Arizona State has obviously been a massive disappointment so far this year. Dennis Erickson has never been one to stay in a "rebuilding situation." How long do you anticipate Erickson staying for and what can be done for next year to rebound from the disaster that is 08?
Oh, he will be there for a couple of more years…he wouldn’t have a leg to stand on if left this team hanging especially after last year. They hung tough until the end of the season and that was supposedly all because of Erickson if that’s true then he has to credit for this season.
I never understood how anyone thought that ASU was going to be significantly better than last year’s team when it was virtually the same team. I never thought that they were that good to challenge SC for the Pac-10 title, I thought Oregon was the sleeper. Erickson simply needs to live up to the hype that he is a recruiting genius. He certainly has the talent to coach but you still need talent. He needs a couple of more years yet.