Preseason prognostication: ten questions

Publisher Lars Ahlstrom, football BootPowerRatings writer TreeBoy, Stanford recruiting guru Matt Squeri, football columnist (and ESPN's very own) Troy Clardy, football recruiting reporter Andy Drukarev and yours truly take a stab at ten vexing questions to help make that offseason go by a little quicker.

First of all, a major thanks to all the above for participating in the roundtable. And to our readers, feel free to tell us why we're all wrong on the message boards, but put your money where your mouth is and fill out those ten questions yourself! Okay, without further ado…

1. What will Stanford's 2009 final record be?
TreeBoy: 9-4 overall (counting a bowl win), 6-3 in the Pac-10
Lars Ahlstrom: 7-5 overall, 5-4 in the Pac-10
Matt Squeri: 7-6 overall, 4-5 in the Pac-10
Troy Clardy: 6-6 overall, 5-4 in the Pac-10
Andy Drukarev: 6-6 overall, 4-5 in the Pac-10
Daniel Novinson: 6-6 overall, 5-4 in the Pac-10

2. If Stanford doesn't win this many, I'll…
TreeBoy: Swear profusely and break things.
Lars Ahlstrom: Keep buying season tickets – I'm a lifer!
Matt Squeri: Still block out time for the 2010 bowl trip.
Troy Clardy: Not use deodorant for 72 hours.
Andy Drukarev: Start nasty internet rumors about Jim Harbaugh leaving Stanford for an administrative position in the Australian Rules Football League.
Daniel Novinson: Hope that the 2010 class stays intact and write a 1,500-word rant ripping into whoever thought to put Wake Forest and Notre Dame on this year's schedule.

3. Time to hand out the trophies. The Stanford Player of the Year will be…
TreeBoy: Andrew Luck
Lars Ahlstrom: Andrew Luck
Andy Drukarev: Andrew Luck
Matt Squeri: Toby Gerhart
Troy Clardy: Toby Gerhart
Daniel Novinson: Toby Gerhart

4. And the Stanford Rookie of the Year will be…
TreeBoy: Andrew Luck
Lars Ahlstrom: Andrew Luck
Daniel Novinson: Andrew Luck
Andy Drukarev: Jemari Roberts
Matt Squeri: David DeCastro
Troy Clardy: Alex Debniak

5. In a topic near and dear to our hearts at The Bootleg, where does Stanford's 2010 class end up ranked? The Card were No. 15 in 2009.
TreeBoy: 8th
Matt Squeri: 12th
Troy Clardy: 19th
Daniel Novinson: 13th
Andy Drukarev: 24th
Lars Ahlstrom: 25th

Ed: Interesting that while all six panelists expect the Card's record to improve this season, only half think Stanford will sign a better recruiting class than last year's. For what it's worth, the staff is genuinely thinking top-10 -- and not in a coachspeak, "oh we try to go 12-0 every year" type of way. I think the Card do come just short of No. 10, but they sign a better class than last year's. Honestly though, so much depends on the on-field results this season. Can the Card can get that critical sixth win?

6. What will be this year's surprise story in the Pac-10?
TreeBoy: Cougar QBs will combine for a better passer rating than Weenie QBs.
Lars Ahlstrom: Oregon winning the conference.
Matt Squeri: UCLA finishing ahead of Oregon.
Troy Clardy: The Huskies upset the Ducks on October 24.
Andy Drukarev: Steve Sarkisian and the Washington Huskies find themselves in bowl contention until the last few weeks of the season, finish the year with four wins and establish themselves as a program on the rise with a top-30 recruiting class.
Daniel Novinson: For the first time in years, USC truly has to struggle to win the conference, with Cal and the Oregon schools really pushing the Trojans. The rest of the country starts to see it's not just USC and the Little Nine any more.

7. Who will be the Pac-10 Player of the Year?
TreeBoy: Oregon QB Jeremiah Masoli
Lars Ahlstrom: Stanford QB Andrew Luck
Matt Squeri: Cal RB Jahvid Best
Troy Clardy: Jahvid Best
Andy Drukarev: Jahvid Best
Daniel Novinson: USC S Taylor Mays [And how about this for a piece of trivia: Mays is half-Jewish, according to Wikipedia.]

8. Who will win the national title?
TreeBoy: Florida
Lars Ahlstrom: Texas
Matt Squeri: USC
Troy Clardy: Alabama
Andy Drukarev: Florida
Daniel Novinson: Florida

9. What will be this year's surprise story in college football?
TreeBoy: Michigan State plays in the Rose Bowl.
Matt Squeri: Miami's return to relevance.
Troy Clardy: Duke makes a bowl game.
Andy Drukarev: The re-emergence of the Miami Hurricanes as a perennial national title contender.
Daniel Novinson: Somebody, anybody, from the ACC has a one-loss season, is in the national title hunt, and makes that conference relevant for the first time in five years. My money is on either Virginia Tech or Miami.

10. And finally, who'll win the Heisman Trophy this year?
TreeBoy: Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford
Troy Clardy: Sam Bradford
Andy Drukarev: Sam Bradford
Lars Ahlstrom: Texas QB Colt McCoy
Matt Squeri: Colt McCoy
Daniel Novinson: Andrew Luck. No pressure kid. No, I tease, I tease. Has anyone heard of this guy Tim Tebow? He's won the thing already, is coming back for a senior season with the defending national champions, and is a media darling and a quarterback to boot. I'd say he's not only my pick, but an odds-on favorite to take home his second Heisman.

Still to come, our panelists unveil their projected Pac-10 final standings. Who do we see winning the conference? Where do we see Stanford? Who are we pretty sure about, and who do we have absolutely no clue on? Stay tuned!


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