Pac-10 Preseason Dark Side Poll

Ed’s Note: Written by Jonathan Adams

Welcome to the only pre-season poll you’ll see with the Washington Huskies in the top spot. Yes, it’s the Dark Side Poll, so named because I’m about to do what Luke Skywalker never did: give in to the hate and join the dark side. Here you go, Pac-10 teams ranked in order of current level of loathing.

1. Washington – In 2001 the Ducks took a lot of heat when they erected a “Joey Harrington for Heisman” billboard in Times Square. But at least Harrington was coming off a 10-win season and an epic Holiday Bowl performance. The Jake Locker for Heisman campaign seems to be based solely on the fact that Todd McShay thinks he could be the top pick in the NFL Draft. You know, like JaMarcus Russell. It’s certainly not based on any on-the-field results, as the Huskies haven’t won 6 games in a season since 2003.

Listen up Husky fans: settle down. Seriously. Here’s the margin of victory in the last 6 Oregon-Washington games, all of which were won by the Ducks: 25, 24, 20, 21, 34, 24. And yes, the Ducks had some off-the-field issues this year, but I’m not sure we’ve officially ruled out former Husky tight end Jerramy Stevens as the Green River Killer, so let’s ease up on the “Oregon is a dirty program” argument.

Oh, and you wear purple. So stop saying Oregon’s uniforms are ugly.

Lane Kiffin's principal achievements the past few years are enraging Al Davis and Urban Meyer, stockpiling recruiting violations, and losing. Welcome to USC!

2. USC – Just when you thought George W. Bush was the king of failing upwards, a new contender emerges: ladies and gentlemen, Lane Kiffin! Look, if my favorite school was on probation and had a football coach with a 12-21 career record I’d probably take my lumps quietly. I mean, they just hired Pat Haden, a former broadcaster(!) to take over the athletic department which is like BP hiring Joe Morgan to manage their clean-up efforts in the Gulf. I’m glad to see USC finally punished for paying their players, but I wish the terms of their probation would have included a ban on that mind-numbing song their band plays after every first down. You know the one: DUN DUN-DUN-DUN-DUN-DUN-DUN-DUN STAB-STAB.

3. UCLA – I hate Rick Neuheisal. That is all.

4. Oregon State – Their fans shouldn’t talk too much about Jeremiah Masoli’s arrest record because they once had a player arrested for kidnapping a gay sheep. And another arrested for beating up a member of the National Guard. But that hasn’t stopped them. Whatever.

By the way, can anyone explain why they play chainsaw sound effects at Reser Stadium? I mean, aren’t Beavers able to cut down trees without tools? Wouldn’t this be like playing airplane sound effects at Autzen? Because like planes, Ducks also fly. Lame.

5. Arizona – Their nickname is the Wildcats, but for some reason they stencil “Bear Down” on the football field. Apparently the zoology program at UA isn’t all it’s cracked up be.

Do you think Mrs. Stoops had any sons who aren’t raging douchebag a-holes?

6. Utah – That’s right, bonus future Pac-12 hate. If we’ve learned anything from the NBA, it’s that fans in Utah are legitimately insane. I look forward to matching them crazy for crazy.

Also, I can’t wait to make insensitive jokes about multiple wives.

7. Stanford – Most potential to rise up this poll as the season goes along. Jim Harbaugh is the next Pete Carroll, and that’s a bad thing. But right now it’s hard to work up too much dislike for a team that ran up the score on USC. Still, I hate that freaking tree.

8. California – Or as I like to call them, Eugene South.

9. Arizona State – To quote Ford Prefect from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: Mostly harmless.

10. Washington State – If this was the English Premier League, they’d be relegated to Division 1-AA and Eastern Washington and their new red (yes I said red) turf would be in the Pac-10.

11. Colorado – I can’t hate them because I love Ralphie the Buffalo so much. Seriously, go to YouTube and check out the videos of him. He’s great. I’m a fan of any mascot that has the potential to single-handedly delay a game by getting loose and going on a stampede.

12. Oregon – Classy fans, simple, understated uniforms, and a donor base that never wields too much influence. What’s not to love?

— Which team do you loathe the most?

Jake Locker: the Next Jevan Snead (just cut) or Tim Tebow (rich)?

There are few things that peeve Oregon fans more than Jake Locker hype.

Tim Tebow became the first sophomore ever to win the Heisman trophy, led the Gators to a national championship, finished his career with 10 times as many touchdowns as interceptions, and he was still considered a massive reach for the Broncos in the first round.

Snead never lived up to his Heisman hype. We're still waiting for Locker to live up to his.

Locker, on the other hand, only has two more career wins than Tebow had losses, yet the St. Louis Rams were champing at the bit to draft him first overall and hand him $50 million guaranteed. All because scouts think his abilities translate better to the NFL. Or something like that.

Why do I bring this up?

Earlier this afternoon, former Ole Miss quarterback Jevan Snead was cut from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

A reader brought up Snead as a comparison to Locker — and it makes sense.

Snead was a media darling entering the 2009 season. Nearly every publication in the country — including ESPN and Sports Illustrated — projected him as a Heisman favorite.

He was a top recruit and Texas Longhorns transfer. He had a rare combination of speed, arm strength and accuracy. And his team seemed to have enough supporting pieces to enable him a special season. But just a year earlier, Snead posted a 56% completion rate, 13 INTs and 20 sacks. Not exactly Heisman-hype worthy numbers.

In what shouldn’t have come as much of a shock, Snead crumbled up the pressure and never lived up to the expectations. Then Snead decided to cut his losses, enter the NFL draft, and hope teams would think more about his pre-2009 hype than his on-field production. He didn’t get drafted.

Does this sound like a possible scenario for our rival to the north?

Locker hasn’t proven he can do anything — except induce the salivary glands of NFL scouts with his athleticism. But then again, scouts salivated over JaMarcus Russell, Tony Mandarich and even our very own Akili Smith.

All I’m saying is, while Locker would need an impressively bad season of epic proportions to not get drafted, no one deserves to be a guaranteed No. 1 pick without proving productive on the field.

Locker should have entered the draft last April (his stock will never be higher), Snead probably should have stayed another year to revamp his draft stock– and in a weird twist of fate, Snead’s decision allowed Ole Miss to make room for Jeremiah Masoli.

Washington fans are hoping that Snead’s misfortune isn’t a sign of things to come. I couldn’t be hoping the opposite any harder.

Caption Contest: Jake Locker for…Heisman??

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. Partly because I’ve been lazy, partly because I’m still adjusting to working a full-time job this summer (after not having a class before noon the past six months), and partly because there hasn’t been a whole heck of a lot of Oregon Ducks news lately.

That said, I’m going to start posting more round-ups of recruiting, shorter posts on random things I find interesting and amusing, and other things I’ll make up as a I go along.

Here’s an example from the latter category. Starting today, I will have a Caption Contest every Tuesday. Why? Because it’s easy for me and I’m still looking for a great joke about the Ghanian head coach who looked more disheveled than Phil Spector on amphetamines.

Or, since I can’t find a good screenshot of Milovan Rajevac from the game Saturday, let’s go to Plan B: making fun of Jake Locker.

The Washington athletic department is mounting a Heisman campaign for the senior quarterback who, despite winning only eight games in his three-year career for the Huskies, in the words of ESPN’s Mel Kiper, is an “absolute lock” to be the first pick in the 2011 draft.

Basically, I need to start creating enough site traffic to justify paying the $7 a month for hosting.

So here goes, it’s your chance to make fun of  Jake Locker celebrating one of his eight wins, or more likely, a completion. Go!

The winner will get the satisfaction of knowing they made me laugh, and a a twitter shout out. Woohoo!

Once Again, the Oregon Ducks Neuter the Washington Huskies

I’ve never seen so many sad people wearing purple before. I mean, wearing purple is depressing enough on its own, but factor in a 43-19 ass whooping by your cross-state rival and there’s plenty of reasons to shed a tear.

For the sixth straight year. Man, it must suck to be a Husky fan.

I couldn't resist.

I couldn't resist.

What once used to be a heated rivalry turned into the Bob Barker special: “Help control the pet population. Have your pet spayed or neutered.”

And the Oregon Ducks were happy to oblige, slicing and dicing the Huskies all afternoon. Several collective whimpers bellowed from the cheerless spectators who called the early-emptying confines of Husky Stadium home.

I couldn’t be happier that my roommate talked me into making the five-hour road trip up to the University of Washington. The jaunt marked many firsts for me, including my first away Ducks game, and my first steps within the city limits of Seattle. And boy, did I learn a lot, both on and off the field.

And lucky for you, I’m in a sharing mood.

Here are my thoughts:

  • Oregon is a dominant football team when Jeremiah Masoli is on the field and playing well.
  • LaMichael James might just be the best running back in the Pac-10.
  • Jake Locker is overrated.
  • The Washington Huskies are overrated.
  • Our marching band is much cooler than Washington’s.
  • Husky stadium does not get anywhere nearly as loud as Autzen Stadium.
  • Seattle is the cleanest city I have ever seen.
  • “I quack for chip” is much cooler than “I bark for sark”. Who said rhyming was so cool anyway?
  • It’s hard to look good when you’re wearing purple.
  • It’s hard to talk shit when you’re coming off an 0-12 season and you’ve lost to us five straight seasons.
  • But Husky fans did anyway.
  • It’s easy to counter a Husky Fan who talks shit.
  • UW’s campus is huge. They have about five times more buildings than UO does, and each building is massive and poorly marked.
  • However, I must say their campus is gorgeous. Although mildly creepy at night.
  • The Oregon student section affectionately dubbed Locker with the nickname “needle dick”.
  • Washington fans have no response when we chant “Fuck the Huskies.”
  • Husky Vision sucks.
  • Oregon’s uniforms are so clean, Mr. Clean would be proud.
  • Washington’s uniforms, however, are gross. Time to upgrade.
  • Love this quote from LMJ: “By Wednesday I knew we were going to win, because we practice harder than any team in the country.”
  • Husky Stadium is a gigantic shit hole.
  • However, tailgating on Lake Washington would be awesome.
  • Piroshkies are delicious: shout out to Piroshky Piroshky in Pikes Place Public Market.
  • Downtown Seattle is awesome. Definitely could live there.
  • Oregon committed way too many stupid penalties. If we want to beat USC, we can’t give away extra chances or give back first downs.
  • After shaking off the rust in the first quarter, Masoli looked healthy, throwing accurately and not afraid to take off and run the ball when he needed to.
  • Washington’s marching band looks like a giant group of broken purple condoms.
  • Oregon’s Color Guard is jawdroppingly terrible. No talent, no effort, no cute girls, no excitement, not worth watching. It looks kind of like the NBA all-star game: “Yea we’ll practice together once before the game but that’s it”! They are so bad they are basically asking to get made fun of, and I am more than happy to oblige.
  • Chris Polk is a very good running back. Extremely quick and deceptively shifty, shrugging off tacklers with ease.
  • Oregon’s defense and special teams once again kept them in the game. This time by creating a huge momentum swing after returning a block punt for a touchdown.
  • Cliff Harris is going to be an absolute beast.
  • Kenny Rowe is an absolute beast.
  • Javes Lewis is an absolute beast.
  • The entire defense is absolutely beastly.
  • Not many teams can keep up with the Ducks’ speed on offense.
  • The Huskies are not one of them.
  • Oregon has beaten the Huskies six times in a row – all by more than 20 points.
  • The guy who won Homecoming King for Washington looked mildly homosexual.
  • Big Balls Chip should be the frontrunner for Pac-10 coach of the year. He made great decisions on the field and had his team extremely focused for a very possible let down game.
  • Puddles is the coolest mascot in college football.
  • College Gameday better come to Eugene on Halloween for the USC game next weekend.
  • I better get a ticket tomorrow for the USC game .
  • If we win next weekend, the national championship is a legitimate possibility.
  • We better win next weekend.

View pictures from the trip here.

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Pac-10 Weekend Preview: Possibility for Perfection?

There are only two teams in the Pac-10 in the AP Top 25. Pretty pathetic, considering this West Coast perennial powerhouse prides itself as talented and deserving of BCS births as the SEC and Big 12.  But after a disappointing season last year, the Pac-10 has the makings of a bounce back season, with USC and Cal as the headliners and several other teams on the cusp of contention.

This will be a scene far too familiar for Minnesota's liking tomorrow as Jahvid Best will undoubtedly hit paydirt.

This will be a scene far too familiar for Minnesota's liking tomorrow as Jahvid Best will undoubtedly hit paydirt.

With that being said, this is a big weekend for those teams trying to hang with the big boys out west, especially for the Oregon schools, each of whom host ranked opponents this Saturday. Meanwhile, Arizona and UCLA face second-tier teams from BCS conferences, where wins would go a long way in proving the overall strength of the conference.

I really like all of the matchups for the Pac-10 this weekend, and aside from the one intra-conference   game between USC and Washington, which could actually be highly entertaining (now that U-Dub has finally won a game for the first time in 16 tries – sorry, as an Duck fan I had to get in a cheap shot), I would not be surprised if the Pac-10 finishes with a perfect Saturday.

On to the games:

#8 Cal @ Minnesota – A matchup of golden animals, how cute. After barely knocking off Syracuse and Air Force, the Golden Gophers face their first true test of the season. Even with the home field advantage of their snazzy new digs, TCF Bank Stadium, Minnesota doesn’t have nearly enough offensive firepower to be able to keep up with Heisman hopeful, Jahvid Best, talented redshirt freshman, Covaughn DeBoskie-Johnson, and surprisingly effective quarterback Kevin Riley and the rest of the Golden Bears. The only hope for Minnesota is if Cal reverts back to 2008 form, where they went 1-4 outside of Memorial Stadium (does a win at Washington State even count?), but I think Cal is too determined to stay in the BCS hunt.

Result: Cal 38, Minnesota 24.

#17 Utah @ Oregon – I wonder if Oregon looks back at their non-conference games for this season and regrets scheduling two non-BCS teams who desperately need every win to maintain their status as BCS contenders. Playing a team with everything to lose is a dangerous proposition, especially when Oregon is still figuring out its offensive personality. Fortunately for the Ducks, I feel Oregon saw enough of an improvement from Jeremiah Masoli and emergence from LaMichael James to pull out a tough win at raucous Autzen Stadium, and return to the top 25.

Result: Oregon 45, Utah 34

#3 USC @ Washington – It looks like Steve Sarkisian has really performed a quick fix for last season’s winless Huskies (ahh, can never say that enough). All of U-Dubs hopes rest in the legs and left arm of Jake Locker (who Husky fans consider as the 13th apostle), but this season it looks like he is finally ready to live up to the hype, after an impressive performance against a top 10 foe. But all that goes out the window when USC comes to town. Taylor Mays will provide a test Locker has never seen before, and the Trojan’s stable of running backs could put the game out of reach early.

Result: USC 38, 17

Arizona @ Iowa – With all the talented running backs in the Pac-10, Arizona’s Nic Grigsby often gets overlooked. But after the quick-footed back put up a 200-spot against Northern Arizona last weekend, you can bet Kirk Ferentz has done his homework.  In the end though,  it won’t matter, as the Wildcat’s ground game will prove too much to handle for the Hawkeyes.

Result: Arizona 24, Iowa 17

SMU @ Washington State – Did I say the Pac-10 would win every inter-conference game tomorrow? Sorry, I forgot how bad the Cougars were. Maybe next year, fellas.

Result: SMU 42, Washington State 13

If only the Cougars weren't horrible, the Pac-10 would be in for a perfect weekend.

If only the Cougars weren't horrible, the Pac-10 would be in for a perfect weekend.

#17 Cincinnati @ Oregon State – Wow, can those Bearcats put up points! 117 in two games is mighty impressive, but if you dig a little deeper, those games came against Rutgers and Southeast Missouri State.  Two teams not known for their pas defenses.  The Beavers, meanwhile, have a stopped the run very well this year, which will allow them to focus more attention on the Bearcats air attack. On the offensive side of the ball, look for Sean Canfield and the dynamic Rodgers brothers to do work in front of a national audience.

Result: Oregon State 48, Cincinnati 42.

San Jose State @ Stanford – For all the potentially great storylines – the Bill Walsh connection and the fact that the campuses are located less than 20 miles a part – this is one of the more boring games of the weekend. Dick Tomey has done a nice job for the Spartans but he can’t compete with the resources and firey attitude Jim Harbaugh gives to the Cardinal. The lone superstar in this game, Toby Gerhart, will determine the outcome, which doesn’t bode well for San Jose State.

Result: Stanford 24, San Jose State 20.

Louisiana-Monroe @ Arizona State – As impressive as the Warhawks 58-0 thrashing of Texas Southern was, I don’t think it matters. In a battle of the Sun Belt against the Pac-10, it doesn’t matter who’s playing (except Washington State), you can put a W in the Pac-10’s win column.

Result: Arizona State 42, Louisiana-Monroe 17.

Kansas State @ UCLA – The Bruins really made a statement last Saturday with a big-time win in Knoxville. UCLA will build on that momentum with a win over a Kansas State program battling through a down couple of seasons. The Wildcats have a positive net 2 points after games against Massachusetts and Louisiana-Lafayette: this game could get ugly.

Result: UCLA 31, Kansas State 13.

Pac-10 Weekend Preview: Possibility for Perfection?