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Pac-10 Roundtable - Week #2

This weeks Pac-10 Roundtable is hosted by The California Golden Blogs.

A big thank you to new CC commenter USCfootblog for answering this weeks questions for us here on CC..

1. Washington showed moxie and elbow grease in nearing knocking off Yahoo! (oh wait is that BYU, sorry the hat confused me). Also, spunk. They showed spunk. Locker finally showed some promise as both a running QB AND a throwing QB. Unfortunately, the odd ending to the game probably left a bitter taste in many Husky mouths. But should Husky fans see this game as the beginning of something big or just another emotionally brutal loss en route to Willingham's departure? And why does BYU's hat look like its from Yahoo!?

It's unfortunate that the game ended the way it did, but the team still had to win it in overtime and that wasn't guaranteed. Usually a team exhausts so much energy playing the catch up game that they run out of steam and end up losing anyway. But Husky fans should definitely be excited. It was a close game. It was an exciting game. Jake Locker and the rest of his teammates fought hard all the way. I don't see Willingham going anywhere. I don't think this program will make the same mistake that Notre Dame made. Willingham recruits well, develops his young talent, and will surely make the Huskies relevant again.

2. September is barely a week old, yet we've already seen 4 Pac-10 conference games. Stanford already has both a win and a loss in the conference. UW lost a rivalry game to Oregon before September even started. Early conference games are not exactly new, but I don't recall there ever being so many of them this early.

Cal Coach Jeff Tedford has gone on record as saying he's not a big fan of early conference games. "You like to play your non-conference games first and then get to conference play," Tedford said. "You like to be able to figure out who's exactly going to play for you in special teams, and get some game experience for guys before you have to get into conference play. That's a challenge this week to cut down to 64 for the road. You're still evaluating some situations on special teams and so on and so forth." It's worth noting that of the 4 conference games so far, only Tedford's Bears have managed to win a road game.

Are these early conference matchups good for the teams involved, or do they merely present an unnecessary challenge for teams that need their non-conference games to prepare for the rigors of conference play? Are such games, and any exposure they might garner, good for the conference as a whole? Or does it not matter when you play someone, as long as the matchups between the top teams are saved for later in the season?

Coach Jeff Tedford makes a great point. There's really no right or wrong answer to this. It just depends on how well a team can prepare itself. Playing a big non-conference game against a highly ranked team doesn't always mean it's tougher than playing a Pac 10 team. The Pac 10 really gives each other a great fight. Considering Pac 10 teams are really just playing for 2nd place, I would like to see them play their non-conference games later in the season so teams like Cal can figure out all the things Tedford mentioned in his statement. We always want our teams to be at their best when they play their non-conference games.

3. The "second tier" teams (Oregon, ASU, & Cal) have all looked strong so far. Which team from this group will turn out to be the strongest, and do any of them have a chance of challenging USC for the conference title? Arizona has also looked good (against weak competition) and UCLA (somehow) took out big, bad Tennessee; will either of these teams crack the top 4 in the conference?

ASU has definitely looked great so far even though they played weaker teams. But Ohio State just struggled against a weaker team too. ASU's wins over Idaho Northern Arizona and Toledo Stanford at least shows that they can score, they are game ready and focused, and that losing their cheerleading squad from those racy internet photos hasn't affected them too much. If I have to pick a team from that group I would have to pick Cal because they have good speed and great coaching. As we have seen the past couple years every PAC 10 team has a chance to beat USC. Stanford did it. UCLA was able to do it preventing USC from competing for the championship. We have a great conference with teams that can always put up a good fight.

4. Since the dawn of time itself, Washington State has been regarded as one of the greatest, if not THE greatest college football program. Now headed by universally hailed genius Paul Wulff and rocket armed uber-stud QB Unclear At This Time, Washington State (or Wazzu as it is sometimes called by the plebes) contends year in and year out for the brass ring (i.e.
crystal football).

Yet, Cal was recently able to defeat this troupe of pigskin superstars by the rather unbelievable score of A Lot to A Little. Does this recent gridiron mauling mean that Cal is nigh unstoppable and en route to not only this year's National Championship, but also an almost certain thousand years of never before seen dominance.

Finally, feel free to answer with "yes," "Hell Yes," or the always popular "OH HELL YES!"

Oh Hell yes! Wait, what's the question? Let me try and dissect your question. Washington State has been regarded the greatest football program? By who? Cougar fans? Cause they won the famous Copper Bowl in 1992? Paul Wulff a genius? That's a possibility. I would never question a person's intelligence, but a 53-40 record with Eastern Washington doesn't impress me too much. An 0-2 start doesn't do much for me either especially since that 66-3 lost to Cal gave Wazzu their worst loss in history. Well all know how Pete Carrol started out at USC, so it's definitely possible that Paul Wulff can do the same. Is Cal on it's way to a National Championship? No? Hell no? Oh Hell no?

5. As much as we all hate each other, I think the one thing we can agree on is how much we hate the SEC. I think everyone hates the SEC. So what are your thoughts on the Teflon reputation that the SEC has for its losses and why the losses by Tennessee to UCLA and Cal get written off?

Well first off, not everybody hates the SEC. The SEC will always get the most votes from fans when asked which is the best conference. It's going to take a lot more than a Cal and UCLA win over Tennessee to change people's perception. More importantly, someone other than USC will have to beat SEC teams consistently to really even get people to start thinking that maybe the PAC 10 is better. Besides, UCLA barely won, so in the people's mind, it could have gone either way. Honestly, this is a pointless debate. Think of the age when people thought the world was flat. It's going to take something big to change this ancient perception. Right now USC is the only one sailing the waters, and we're going to have to get everyone else to take part in this voyage to prove to the world that the PAC 10 is supreme. Right now it's just USC and everybody else the same way it's Tiger and the rest of the field. So even thought the PAC 10 is winning most of the games, they're going to say the SEC has the better collection of athletes - and I agree. Does having the best athletes equate to having the best team? No. Does it guarantee a National Championship? No, because if it did the Trojans would've won the past 5 years.