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Pac-10 Roundtable Week #6

It's time for another roundtable! This weeks Pac-10 Roundtable is hosted by Jason over at What's Bruin, Dawg.

Here are the participants:

Building the Dam.
UW Dawg Pound.
What's Bruin, Dawg?
Pitchfork Nation
Coug Center
Addicted to Quack
The California Golden Blogs

The particulars after the jump!

1. Every week we take a look at the Pac-10 scoreboard, and every week it just seems to get worse for the teams at the bottom of the conference. Just how bad is the bottom of the conference this year? In historical terms, can you name a year in which there we re so many poor teams at the bottom of the Pac-10? What do you think is the primary factor for this huge drop-off between last season and this season in the conference?

Coaching and talent, the bottom tier of teams either have new coaches or had poor coaches before the coaching change, WSU & UCLA come to mind though in the case of UCLA they have some talent on defense but as we saw with the BYU game that talent certainly was exposed. This type of poor play and coaching affects recruiting, though in the case of UW, Willingham has recruited some talent but he just hasn’t been effective at coaching them up and it will cost him his job this year. Stanford will always have a tough time with their academic standards. Arizona has made some big strides and actually looks pretty good…so far but can Stoops keep it up?

2. Coming in to the season, many people thought Arizona State would be a dark-horse contender in the Pac-10. Things haven't exactly gone according to plan so far in Tempe. What does Arizona State have to do to get back on track, and can Erickson replicate the same sort of success he saw last year with the team?

I didn’t buy into the hype on ASU. They had a good run last year but their offensive line proved to be their undoing as we all saw SC unload on Rudy Carpenter last Thanksgiving. This year they are not much better and Erickson needs to recruit some talent for his offensive line, simple as that.

3. Well, so much for the other Oregon school beating USC. Does USC's erratic nature open the door for any other teams to surprise the Trojans the rest of this year, or do you think USC's got it out of their system at this point? Out of the Trojans' remaining opponents, which team do you feel will give USC the most trouble, and why?

I thought Oregon or Cal had the inside track. Oregon was my pick to be the sleeper in the conference but their QB situation is dire. Masoli is impressive but he has some maturing to do and Oregon completely surprised me in how their defense was absolutely torched by Sanchez.

Cal has the tools but their QB situation could be the stumbling block as well. Tedford has to make a decision with his guys and stick with it. Rotating Riley and Longshore just doesn’t provide the stability needed to get an offense flowing. If Tedford can right the ship in regards to the QB play they can give SC a run for their money.

4. Answer: 2. 5. 10. Question: The number of years it will take for UCLA to challenge for the Pac-10 title. Discuss.

I think it will take 5 years and that’s using the expectations of a certain Bruin site. Here is the problem…Walker has been the supposed key to recruiting in L.A. but I don’t expect him to be there past next season and there is a good possibility he may be gone after this season. Chow doesn’t recruit so that puts it all on Neuheisel and he is already behind the 8-ball in L.A. Sure, he will get his recruits there are plenty to go around, but will he be able to setup a pipeline quickly to catch up to the other schools? Its going to take time, the question is how much time and can Neuheisel keep his patience and not cut the corners that have gotten him in trouble on the recruiting trail in the past.

5. So, does Cal's rotating quarterback bingo have any chance of succeeding during the rest of the year? Can Tedford continue to alternate Riley and Longshore on a game-to-game basis, and perhaps more importantly, do you think he will?

As I answered above…no. Tedford has to pick his man and, barring injury, stick with him. Having two captains of a ship doesn’t work and the offense will sputter.

6. Don't look too closely, but Mike Stoops may actually be in the process of saving his job out there in Tucson. What do the Wildcats need to do in order to continue their early conference success?

He needs to keep winning. For the most part he has done it under the radar but against inferior teams. Stoops still has a bad loss to New Mexico that shows he can still wet the bed. He has a very good offense that can give opposing defenses fits. But if you look closely they haven’t beat a team with a winning record. Those four wins came against teams who have a combined 4-17 record and the team that beat them is only 3-3 so while I think they can compete that have a long way to go before anyone takes them seriously.