Something like this needs a scoring system, so here's mine. Ten points for an exact prediction, and negative points for the number of spots missed. For instance, the Pac-10 media will get 10 points for its correct analysis of Washington State as conference champ. I will lose three points for picking WSU fourth.
No. 1: Washington State
Pac-10 media pick: 1st: Schu pick: 4th.
Washington State stayed relatively healthy throughout the course of the year and parlayed last season's success and the leadership of quarterback Jason Gesser to a spot in the Rose Bowl. Lost in the meteoric second-half-season rise of USC is that Washington State is good, and has been all year long. It should compete well against Oklahoma, a team that has struggled against the pass.
Score: Pac-10 media 10, Schu –3
No. 2: USC: Pac-10 media pick: 4th: Schu pick: 1st.
USC struggled offensively in the early going, then found its stride. This might be the hottest team in football, so hot that quarterback Carson Palmer is knocking on the Heisman door. Additionally, his stock as an NFL prospect has gone off the charts. The Iowa/USC matchup in the Orange Bowl could be the best of the post-season encounters.
Score: Pac-10 media 8, Schu –4
No. 3: Arizona State: Pac-10 media pick: 9th: Schu pick: 10th.
Boy did we miss this one. In fact, I flip-flopped Arizona and ASU. I thought the lack of an experienced quarterback and last year's monumental defensive struggles would spell doom. Little did I know about Andrew Walter, the come-out-of-nowhere player of the year. ASU hit some bumpy roads down the stretch, and could be looking at a serious pummeling at the hands of Kansas State in the Holiday Bowl, but the future looks good. Arizona State figures to score at will next year, and will get more than its share of preseason attention.
Score: Pac-10 media 2, Schu –11
No. 4: Oregon State: Pac-10 media pick: 5th: Schu pick 8th.
Oregon State started off well against marginal non-conference competition, then hit the skids offensively once Pac-10 play started. But the defense was always a strong point, and OSU found its rhythm down the stretch. My early pick for conference favorite next season.
Score: Pac-10 media 1: Schu –15
No. 5: California: Pac-10 media pick: 10th: Schu pick 6th.
After winning just one game last season, against lowly Rutgers, Cal started off well under new head coach Jeff Tedford, highlighted by what was then an impressive victory at Michigan State that landed the Bay Area school in the national rankings. Reality set in as the season progressed, and next year could be long again, but Tedford has brought hope to Berkeley's gridiron fortunes.
Score: Pac-10 media –4, Schu –16
No. 6: UCLA: Pac-10 media pick: 6th: Schu pick 7th.
Tough times for the Bruins, especially at the quarterback position, although this team looks like it could be loaded in the future. By putting freshman Drew Olson under the gun, UCLA figures to be in good shape at quarterback for many years to come. Consecutive lopsided losses to USC and Washington State led to Bob Toledo's dismissal. The new coach has a lot in the cupboard.
Score: Pac-10 media 6, Schu –17
No. 7: Washington: Pac-10 media pick: 2nd: Schu pick 5th
Washington looked pretty talented, but the season-opening setback to Michigan formed a prelude. This program built its reputation on the ability to rebound from fourth-quarter deficits, but other teams got the better of it this year. Additionally, off-the-field recruiting circumstances involving Rick Neuheisel didn't help matters.
Score: Pac-10 media 1, Schu –19
No. 8: Oregon: Pac-10 media pick: 3rd: Schu pick 2nd
Oregon looked awesome early, but two things led to the meltdown: injuries in the running game and the loss to ASU. Prior to the ASU game, Oregon was very much in the mix on a national scale. After that, the rubber dissolved on the wheels. Perhaps this is just a bump in the road for the conference's most consistent program.
Score: Pac-10 media –4, Schu –25
No. 9: Stanford: Pac-10 media pick: 7th: Schu pick 9th
This might have been the easiest pick in the conference. Stanford was a program in for a rough ride. Tyrone Willingham left at the right time. The Cardinal has a lot of rebuilding to do.
Score: Pac-10 media –6, Schu –15
No. 10: Arizona: Pac-10 media pick: 8th: Schu pick 3rd
The lack of a front line. The mass injury count. The brutal statistics. The revolt. The tears. The drug bust. The debacle. Nuff said.
Score: Pac-10 media –8, Schu –22
Number breakdown: The Pac-10 media nailed two, including the biggie in conference champ Washington State. I hit Stanford. Oregon and Washington were the biggest misses, although I came closer on UW. The Arizona schools drilled me. I reversed ASU and Arizona, and that was my downfall.
Verdict: Go with the experts, for the conference media folk squashed me. Maybe I can bounce back a bit with Pac-10 basketball. Those picks forthcoming.
I am frustrated with our education system, especially in regards to messages left on bathroom stalls. This is a wholly confusing concept to me. Having never left a message on a bathroom stall, but having utilized many a stall at many a stop, I would expect a certain range of carved, intellectual monologue. Instead, it's like America's ultimate form of communism. It's all basically the same.
How can that be? Not to stereotype here, but in general terms it's probably safe to say the folks at the University possess a better grasp of the English language, and its syntax, then say, the gang at the Triple T Truckstop.
But is this discernible through the scribble on bathroom stalls? Not in the least.
I guess I first took notice of stall graffiti in junior high school. Not one who reads during these occasions, I'd have to focus on something, and I suppose those words of wisdom were the only things available. Admittedly, they were pretty juvenile, but I'd expect that from junior high clientele.
Then I made the jump to high school, and nothing changed. Same juvenile ramblings, same limited vocabulary, same myopic topic utilization. Being a keen study of the human condition, I found this bewildering.
And then more years passed, and I made the jump to that bastion of higher education, the community college. Same thing. Well, ok, so maybe the best and the brightest isn't always on hand at the juco campus, but not even an iota of improvement. So I made the big jump. Yup, I served my time at a university, and not just any university. The University of Arizona. Highly regarded, bright, smart, young achievers.
And how does the UA represent itself on the bathroom stall? Not even at a level befitting limericks about Nantucket. I was expecting insight, poetry, brilliant philosophical debate, a new formula for the expansion of the universe, the discovery of a star cluster. Instead, curious meeting times and four-letter dissertations. From rest stops in Sacaton to the UA Main Library, not a change in any degree.
Where are the prophets? Where are the visionaries?
Apparently, doing their business at home, or keeping their thoughts to themselves.
[Editor's note: I once saw this bit of wisdom in the stall of Cluck-U Chicken, a former UofA hangout: "If God is love and love conquers all and Vikings were conqueror, then is God a Viking?"--Brad]
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