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Football: Pac-10 ballot: No. 4

No. 4 Oregon: The Ducks are some experts’ trendy pick to challenge USC for the Pac-10 title. I just don’t see it. Yes, Oregon always seems to be there in contention in the end. But this looks like a transition year to me. There’s no question the Ducks have some intriguing pieces back from last season, most notably quarterback Jeremiah Masoli. Bruising running back LeGarrette Blount should really shine now with Jeremiah Johnson departed, and the Ducks have some playmakers in the secondary with cornerback Walter Thurmond III and safety T.J. Ward. But Oregon is going to run into a couple of teams that will be able to slow down the spread option, one that doesn’t figure to be too productive through the air. The Ducks’ defense was fast and underrated last season but doesn’t figure to match its effectiveness this year. And you never know how a team will react under a new coach, and even though Chip Kelly was on Mike Bellotti’s staff, it’s always a new culture with a new person sitting in the biggest chair.

Jonathan Okanes

Jonathan Okanes is in his fourth year covering Cal's football team. Previously, he covered Cal's men's basketball team for four years. He can also be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/OkanesonCal.

  • Pete Carroll

    Hey JO let me write the No. 3 pick for you

    With an unproven quarterback, a new offensive coordinator and only 3 starters returning on defense…USC is expected to finish #3 in the PAC-10. This is the year that the rest of the PAC-10 steps up to put an end to USC’s dominance. Oregon State has too much offense for the Trojans and the Cal Bears will have too much defense.

    PC

  • Jan K Oski

    Thanks for the sensibility, JO! I agree with everything you said, except I seriously doubt Blount shines behind that inexperienced o-line.

    PC, why are you still feeding the troll? If you think you’re being funny, look at the complete lack of responses. I seriously doubt them Beavers will be #2. They might be able to overachieve, but overachievers always have a ceiling. I think they’ll be hitting theirs at #3 for this year.

    Go BEARS!

  • Pete Carroll

    Sorry Jan K Oski – I really don’t mean to feed the trool as you suggest. I am very high on Cal this season. I think it’s their best team in years. I have a lot more confidence in Kevin Riley than most. I’ve been going to Bears games for 30 years and have been following the PAC-10 avidly. So I say with confidence that Cal will win the PAC-10 and go to the Rose Bowl this year. I’m just waiting for JO to come to the same conclusion.

    PC

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    I am calling right now before JO posts his numbers 1-3. You guys will lose 4 straight games.

    Minnesota – loss which is in keeping with your string of away game losses;
    Oregon – loss because the Ducks will be gunning for you after 3 straight losses;
    USC – no brainer here. You will be demoralized after two straight losses and we will chalk up the W;
    pucla – as much as it pains me to say it you will lose again down in Pasadena keeping JT’s streak alive for away losses.

    That’s it. 4 straight losses. I am calling it right now.

  • Larry

    I don’t think Blount will last that far into the season. Didn’t Blount leave the Cal game last year with an injury to his hand? Big boy, no heart. He will be a non factor in the Oregon running game this year.

  • Larry

    Plus Masoli will get worn down trying to run all the time. Remember what happened to Dennis Dixon?

  • BluenGold

    No one here cares about your predictions, moron. You are wrong far more often then you are right anyway. You predict Cal to lose every game, so anyone can predict what your predictions will be.

  • B

    What I don’t understand about Oregon is the love Masoli gets. He seems to me to be in much the same position Kevin Riley was in coming into last year – got a chance to play for the second half of the season and showed some good things, but has hardly proven himself the way people make it sound.

    I think there’s a good chance Masoli disappoints this year, and with an inexperienced offensive line, they’d be hard pressed to compete for the Pac-10 title if that happens. If Masoli starts putting up performances like he did against UA last year, well then obviously the Ducks are a team in competition to win the conference. I just don’t know how likely that is. (Oregon’s injury history at QB would also scare me if I was a Ducks fan).

  • iamalcindor

    Ha ha ha ha!

    Can you spell CLUELESS? Okanes… ha ha ha ha ha…
    Clueless BURQAlee fans deserve a clueless reporter.

    Little OSU ahead of Oregon? hahahaha
    I would be ok if you had BURQAlee above Oregon, but little OSU? C’mon Okanes, you are losing it!

  • Jethro

    Oregon gets USC, Cal, Oregon State, ASU and Wazzu at home. They could win 4 of those games.

    Their success will be determined by whether they can beat Stanfurd, UCLA, Az, and Wash on the road.

    They also have a fairly tough non-con schedule with Purdouche and Utah at home and Boise State on the road.

    I think the key to Oregon’s season is whether they enter the Cal game 3-0 or 2-1 and have enough morale and confidence to beat Cal. If they then beat Cal, they are on a roll. If they enter the Cal game 1-2, and Cal plays them tough, I think they fold and end up 4th as JO says.

  • Rob

    Can’t see Oregon State having great success with quarterbacks who have been injured and otherwise marginal. Canfield hasn’t played for awhile and Moevao threw four picks, two for TDs, in the Civil War game last year. The Beavs also lost their entire secondary to gradation and have other significant experience iseues on both side of the ball, particularly at recever. I acknowledge that they often overachieve, but to pick them to finish 3rd in the conference is really stretching it.

  • AMYthicalprogram

    Moevao is actually better at this stage of the game than our own Riley. Quiz was Pac 10 player of the year. His bro can play to as we learned in our game. They will need to replace OL and DL personnel but OSU just gets the job done when needed. Their game against us is in Berkeley but that matters little since they have beaten us 3 times in a row at our own field. I would say the Beavs and Cal are a toss up.