Yahoo Sports!/Rivals.com writer Olin Buchanan just came out with his super ridiculously in depth, more comprehensive that probably necessary but still entirely worth reading Pac-10 conference preview.
The theme: It’s wide open. (Sad note: It wouldn’t be if Jeremiah Masoli didn’t decide to well, you know…)
There are lots of interesting nuggets in here. Namely, Olin has already gazed into the crystal balls and declared Nate Costa the Ducks’ starting quarterback. He must not be a fan of eggs over-easy.
Here’s what else Olin thinks about the Ducks this season:
- Oregon is picked to finish first, with USC, Oregon State, Stanford and Washington rounding out the top five.
- Olin dubs Oregon-USC as the conference’s game of the year. “If Oregon gets by USC, the Ducks could enter the last month of the season as national championship contenders.” I can dig it. The Civil War also ranks among the 10 best games.
- Four Ducks are selected to finish on the the all-conference first team: LaMichael James, Bo Thran, Kenny Rowe and Casey Matthews. Nothing too surprising there.
- And four more Ducks were selected to represent the second team: Jeff Maehl, Carson York, Brandon Bair and Kenjon Barner, as a return specialist. I’m disappointed that Jordan Holmes, Eddie Pleasant and especially John Boyett didn’t get love from Buchanan.
- In the “team unit” offensive rankings, Oregon is ranked as having the fifth best backfield (despite being loaded at running back), seventh best receiving corps (not much proven production beyond Maehl), and the number one offensive line (as they should be).
- On the defensive side, the Ducks look to be in much better shape, coming in third on the line (Rowe is in for a big year), second best at linebacker (Ducks go a strong eight deep), and second again in the defensive backfield (Olin says no team is deeper at safety).
- Despite the explosive return threats Oregon has, Olin doesn’t have much confidence in the Ducks’ special teams unit, noting the inconsistency from Rob Beard and Jackson Rice.
- “Big Balls” Chip and Co. come in just behind Mike Riley’s staff for the top spot on the sidelines. For the Beavers to do anything this year, Riley better do a helluva job breaking in new quarterback Ryan Katz.
Some other interesting tidbits:
- Despite plenty of love for Jake Locker, Olin thinks Washington will disappoint this year because of their inexperienced defense. Why can’t they just Locker play both ways? Then UW would be unstoppable.
- Washington State comes in dead last in every unit ranking except for one, where they’re slotted ninth. Yea, the Cougs still have a long way to go.
- Buchanan expects Quizz to be offensive player of the year. Let’s see what LMJ thinks about that.
Lastly, some other bits of Quack from earlier today:
- In a poll of 125 NCAA football players by ESPN, 53.7% picked Oregon’s uniforms as their favorite in the country. This survey means you can’t bitch about Oregon’s unis anymore. They’re doing exactly what they were designed to do. One unnamed Big Ten star was particularly blown away. “I don’t even have to think about that one,” he says. “I almost wanted to transfer there just for those uniforms.” Yup, they’re working.
- Phil Knight is profiled in the magazine Fast Company, with the apt headline: How Nike’s CEO shook up the shoe industry.
- My San Francisco 49ers just announced they’ve signed former beloved Duck Will Tukuafu to a two-year contract.
- Jason McIntyre over at The Big Lead compares college football players (and coaches) to Jersey Shore characters. Jake Locker is compared to Ronnie for his “beastlyness” but I think it has more to do with their shared love for grenades. And Lane Kiffin is the equivalent of Angelina because, well, nobody likes either of them. That one was easy.