Not that these predictions are anymore worth reading than the thousand others, but here are some random predictions I wanted to get out there before the season starts.
*Before reading this, please be advised that I grew up in Los Angeles and went to college at UC Berkeley, otherwise known as the California Golden Bears.
**Amendment – September 20th, 2011 – Um, Andrew Luck looks REALLY GOOD. Barkley looks good too, but Luck seems to be at another level. I think these guys are the best qbs in the nation, but yeah, Luck looks exceptional right now. I think I might be eating my words about Stanford. Either way, I’m rooting for them because they’re in the Pac-12 (maybe soon to be Pac-16)!
– De’Anthony Thomas, aka Black Mamba and freshman running back at Oregon, will electrify the country and be the most exciting player since Reggie Bush.
I watched some of Anthony’s games on tv when he played at Crenshaw high school, and the kid is unbelievable.
– Andrew Luck will be the first player taken in the draft, but I think Stanford is overrated and will struggle because their line is unproven.
I’m really not trying to hate on Stanford. I love Luck’s game and I think he’s a great talent, but I think the game will be harder for him this year because the line is not as good. Stanford will be good, but not great, as some people have predicted a top-10 finish for them.
– USC will surprise people, and will finish in the top 2 of the Pac-12 race.
I like SC. I know, as a Cal fan, that’s really troubling to say. But seriously, being on the East Coast for 10 years has lent me to rooting hard for any west coast school.
Plus, former Venice High (my alma mater) running back Curtis McNeal is primed to start for SC!
I think SC’s got great talent, and their defense (their achilles heel last season) will be markedly improved now that Monte Kiffin has another year with the players.
– Aside from Oregon, USC, and Stanford, Arizona, ASU, UCLA, Washington, Utah and Cal will all get ranked at some point throughout the year.
Yes, there are that many quality teams in the conference. Of those teams, I think UCLA will struggle the most, although I hope this is not the case.
I think ASU will be good and win the Pac-12 South (not surprising, as many other prognosticators predict the same thing).
– Matt Barkley is as good as, and just might be better than Andrew Luck.
I think this will be the biggest debate going into the NFL draft. I think Barkley is going to have a sensational season, a better season than Luck, even.
I still think Luck is better (more mobile, takes less chances), but Barkley is elite too (many others have said this, but I thought I’d weigh in too).
I think both of them have incredible makeup, which makes them poised to be great pros. They have physical tools, but something about their fortitude and poise is really impressive.
– Cal will win at least 8 games this year, and Zach Maynard will play well this season.
I know. This sounds crazy, but I truly believe it’s gonna happen. Maynard already has a year of division 1 football under his belt, and I think he comes out with a lot of weapons on offense.
I’m feeling really good about Cal this year. We have solid players at every position, had a great recruiting class, and I actually think we’re going to beat Stanford this year and surprise some people.
I know, I say the same thing every year, but this year is different.
Note: My fellow Cal alum and die-hard fan Jerry Limb was the first to say this, but if we do have the kind of year that I predict, we just might be talking Pac-12 champions next year.