Pac-10 Conference Preview
2001 record: 5-6
Coach: John Mackovic
Outlook: Most of the offense should come from RB Clarence Farmer, who led the conference with 1,229 yards to give the Wildcats the leading rusher in the Pac-10 for the third time in four years. Although Farmer is the No. 1 option, QB Jason Johnson has a strong arm and has one season as a starter under his belt. Johnson passed for 2,347 yards and had back-to-back 300-yard games against Southern California and California. The defense should be improved, but it would be hard to do worse than allowing 39.6 points per game in conference action. There is a lot of depth at linebacker as seven that saw significant playing time return.
Noteworthy: The Wildcats have not won a Pac-10 title since 1993 and are coming off consecutive 5-6 seasons. They have not been to a bowl game since 1998, when they beat Nebraska, 23-20, in the Holiday Bowl to finish 12-1.
Schedule: Arizona opened last season with three non-conference wins. It might be hard to duplicate that feat as the Wildcats visit Wisconsin on Sept. 21 after hosting Northern Arizona and Utah.
2001 record: 4-7
Coach: Dirk Koetter
Outlook: A young team as 16-18 underclassmen are expected to start and 36 players on the two-deep depth chart have at least two years of eligibility remaining. The offense returns just four starters and it will be hard to make up for the loss of RB Delvon Flowers, who rushed for 1,041 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2001. RB Mike Williams rushed for 514 yards as a true freshman in 2000, but last year had just 188 yards on 38 carries. WR Shaun McDonald caught 47 passes for 1,104 yards and 10 touchdowns last year, but most of those passes were thrown by the departed Jeff Krohn. Sophomore QB Andrew Walter threw for 546 yards last year and has good size at 6-5, 219 pounds. The defense has eight returning starters. DE Terrell Suggs had 10 sacks and anchors the defensive line. CBs R.J. Oliver and Lamar Baker both gained a lot of experience playing as freshmen last season.
Noteworthy: DT Danny Masaniai was suspended for the first two games of the season after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct with a weapon in July. Masaniai was fined $1,000 and will serve a month of jail time, beginning in December.
Schedule: Arizona State plays 13 games as it opens the season Aug. 24 in the Black Coaches Association Classic at Nebraska. The Sun Devils play three of their final four games on the road.
2001 record: 1-10
Coach: Jeff Tedford
Outlook: The Bears were one of the worst teams in a major conference last season with their only victory coming against woeful Rutgers in the final game of the season. QB Kyle Boller is a senior and has not lived up to lofty expectations since starting eight games as a true freshman. Boeller completed just 133 of 271 passes for 1,741 yards last season. Tedford, offensive coordinator at Oregon last season, replaces Tom Holmoe, who was 16-39 in five seasons. LB John Klotsche is a two-year starter and led the team with 71 tackles in 2001. DE Tully Banta-Cain is another returning starter and had a team-high eight sacks last season. Eight seniors could start on defense.
Noteworthy: Junior WR Geoff McArthur, who had 336 yards as a freshman and suffered a torn triceps after last year's season-opening loss to Illinois, was impressive in spring practice.
Schedule: The Bears open the season with home games against Baylor and New Mexico State before visiting Michigan State on Sept. 14. California's last game is home against Stanford on Nov. 23, two decades after the Bears won on a miraculous five-lateral kickoff return that is known as, "The Band Play."
2001 record: 11-1 (Beat Colorado in Fiesta Bowl)
Coach: Mike Bellotti
Outlook: The Ducks are coming off the best season in school history, with their only loss coming at home against Stanford. QB Joey Harrington was a Heisman Trophy finalist and the third pick in the NFL draft. Harrington's successor, Jason Fife, was an actor as a child. Last year he threw just nine passes, completing six. RB Onterrio Smith carried 175 times for 1,058 yards and seven touchdowns in 2001 and should top that. The Ducks could use a backup for Smith. WR Keenan Howry is the second-leading returning rusher with 51 yards on four carries. Howry caught 52 passes for 682 yards and nine touchdowns in 2001 and needs 30 receptions to break the team record of 162. Junior LB Kevin Mitchell was second on the team with 104 tackles and led Oregon with six sacks in his first season as a starter.
Noteworthy: Offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford departed for Stanford, leaving Andy Ludwig in charge. Oregon has won four its last five bowl games, with the only setback coming in 1998 against Colorado in the Aloha Bowl.
Schedule: Oregon opens with four straight home games and has a week off before playing its first road contest at Arizona on Oct. 5. The Ducks host Stanford on Nov. 2 before playing what could be their toughest game of the season at Washington State.
2001 record: 5-6
Coach: Dennis Erickson
Outlook: The Beavers had a highly disappointing 5-6 record last season after finishing with 11 wins and a school record No. 4 ranking in 2000. With the graduation of QB Jonathan Smith and RB Ken Simonton, defense will be the team's strength. Nine starters return on defense, led by LBs Richard Seigler and Nick Barnett. Seigler had had 72 tackles and three interceptions as a freshman in 2000. Last season, he lead the team with 93 tackles, including 15 for losses. Barnett had 73 tackles and two sacks last season. QB Derek Anderson completed 17 of 41 passes for 263 yards in 2001 and has three returning starters in front of him on the offensive line. RB Steven Jackson, like Anderson A sophomore, is 226 pounds and has been clocked at 4.44 seconds in the 40-yard dash. Jackson ran for five touchdowns last year.
Noteworthy: The Beavers return seven starters on offense and eight on defense. Smith and Simonton combined for 3,398 yards and 22 touchdowns. Last year was just Erickson's second losing season in 16 years as a college coach.
Schedule: Oregon State faces a Big East Conference school for the first time when it visits Temple on Sept. 5 in a Thursday night game. The Beavers get a chance to avenge an out-of-conference loss Sept. 21 when they host Fresno State. The first conference game is at Southern California on Sept. 28.
2001 record: 9-3
Coach: Buddy Teevens
Outlook: Stanford had the No. 1 Pac-10 defense against the run last year, but just two starters return. DL Matt Leonard is one of the returning starters and missed five games in 2001. There is speed in the secondary, with CBs Gary Cobb and Leigh Torrence, who are both sprinters on the track team. Cobb had 27 tackles last season and Torrence played sparingly as a redshirt freshman. The offense features seven returning starters. RT Kwame Harris is 6-7, 308 pounds and has made several preseason All America teams. Last year's starting RB, Brian Allen, is gone after rushing for 940 yards, but three players with experience return. RB Kerry Carter carried 134 times for 493 yards and nine touchdowns. FB Casey Moore is a three-year starter.
Noteworthy: Teevens replaces Tyrone Willingham after spending the last three seasons as an assistant to Steve Spurrier at Florida. He was previously a head coach at Maine (1985-86), Dartmouth (1987-91) and Tulane (1992-96).
Schedule: Stanford faces former coach Willingham on Oct. 5 when it visits Notre Dame. The home team has won the last five meetings between the Cardinal and Fighting Irish.
2001 record: 7-4
Coach: Bob Toledo
Outlook: Cory Paus is a senior and is the only QB with experience. He completed 101 of 194 passes for 1,740 yards and eight touchdowns in 2001. Paus was bothered by a thumb injury early last season and was intercepted eight times after throwing for 17 TDs with nine interceptions as a sophomore. Last season, RB DeShaun Foster was one of the best in the nation, but the Bruins played the final three games without him. This year, RB Akil Harris is expected to be the starter after totaling 375 yards and three touchdowns on 76 carries in 2001. RB Manuel White carried 63 times for 290 yards and three TDs and has great size at 6-3, 241 pounds. The line could be the strength of the team with RT Mike Saffer and LT Bryce Bohlander being returning as seniors. TE Mike Seidman is one of the best in the Pac-10. DT Rodney Leslie is an All-America candidate and LB Brandon Chillar led the team with 4 1/2 sacks last season.
Noteworthy: Last season, UCLA was hurt by the loss of Foster and dropped four straight games before ending the season with a 52-42 win over Arizona State. Toledo has had three of the top four passing teams in school history (1997, 1998, 2000).
Schedule: The Bruins host Colorado State and Colorado around a meeting at Oklahoma State to start the season. UCLA is 4-0 all time against Colorado and won its only meeting with the Rams in 1962. UCLA has lost its last three meetings with rival USC, its longest current skid against a Pac-10 club. The Bruins host the Trojans at the Rose Bowl on Nov. 23.
2001 record: 6-6 (Lost to Utah in Las Vegas Bowl)
Coach: Pete Carroll
Outlook: Look for QB Carson Palmer to put up numbers that match his size and potential. Palmer completed 221 of 377 passes for 2,717 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2001 as a junior, but it was a step backward after passing for 2,914 yards and 16 TDs as a sophomore. Palmer has 7,876 passing yards, 596 away from the school record set by current Tampa Bay Buccaneer Rob Johnson. RBs Sultan McCullough and Sunny Byrd combined for 746 yards and nine touchdowns last year. WR Kareem Kelly caught 49 passes for 801 yards and has over 50 receptions in each of his first two seasons. SS Troy Polamalu was a first team All-America as a junior and has returned three of his five career interceptions for scores.
Noteworthy: USC won its last four Pac-10 games last season, but suffered a 10-6 defeat to Utah in the Las Vegas Bowl. The Trojans have not won a bowl game since a 41-32 triumph over Northwestern in the 1996 Rose Bowl.
Schedule: The Trojans open the season against Auburn on Labor Day. It is just the second meeting ever, with Auburn defeating USC in the 1987 Citrus Bowl. The Trojans follow with consecutive road games against Big 12 Conference foes Colorado and Kansas State. USC has road games against Washington State, Oregon and Stanford.
2001 record: 8-3 (Lost to Texas in Holiday Bowl)
Coach: Rick Neuheisel
Outlook: The Huskies return 50 lettermen, including QB Cody Pickett, who completed 169 of 301 passes for 2,403 yards last year, his first as a starter. But he was intercepted 14 times while throwing 10 touchdowns. The Huskies scored 353 points, but allowed 370. A big reason for that point margin was a 65-7 loss to Miami in the last game of the regular season. The defense also struggled in the Holiday Bowl, where the Huskies suffered a 47-43 loss to Texas. Neuheisel knows that the defense must improve. LB Ben Mahdavi led the team with 93 tackles and five sacks in 2001. SS Greg Carothers was second with 81 tackles.
Noteworthy: The Huskies have gone to a bowl game in each of the last seven seasons, but have lost three of the last four. Washington has gone 25 straight years without a losing season, the fourth longest streak in the nation.
Schedule: The Huskies open the season against Michigan on Aug. 31. Washington has won four of the last five meetings with the Wolverines. Four of Washington's last six Pac-10 games are on the road.
2001 record: 10-2 (Beat Purdue in Sun Bowl)
Coach: Mike Price
Outlook: QB Jason Gesser leads seven returning starters on a potent offense. Gesser passed for 3,010 yards in 2001, fourth on the school's all-time list behind Timm Rosenbach (1988) and former first-round picks Drew Bledsoe and Ryan Leaf. He threw for 26 touchdowns and was intercepted just 13 times. WR Mike Bush had 46 receptions for 959 yards and 10 TDs. Running back is a question mark as Dave Minnich's 815 yards and six TDs will have to be replaced. The Cougars recruited three junior college RBs. Jermaine Green could be the starter. He rushed for 1,010 yards and led Butler County Community College to the Kansas JCCC title in 2001. Six starters return on a defense that scored 42 points last season. FS Erik Coleman, CB Marcus Trufant and LB Al Genatone each had three interceptions. Genatone also returned a fumble for a TD in a 20-14 victory over UCLA.
Noteworthy: Backup QB Matt Kegel is a cousin of Leaf. Kegal played 12 games last season, completing 20 of 43 passes for 289 yards. He made two starts as a freshman in 2000. The 6-6 Bush ended his basketball career with 1,052 points, ranking 20th on the school-'s all-time list.
Schedule: The Cougars play five games before October, with its Pac-10 opener coming at California on Sept. 28. There is an interesting non-conference game at Ohio State in September.