2004 Pac-10 Football Prospectus
April 27, 2004
2003-04 PAC-10 BOWL RESULTS:
Rose Bowl presented by Citi - USC 28, Michigan 14
Pacific Life Holiday Bowl - Washington State 28, Texas 20
Insight Bowl - California 52, Virginia Tech 49
Las Vegas Bowl - Oregon State 55, New Mexico 14
Wells Fargo Sun Bowl - Minnesota 31,Oregon 30
Silicon Valley Bowl - Fresno State 17, UCLA 9
THE RETURNEES: The Pac-10 boasts a host of returning players from an excel-lent 2003 season as a total of 138 starters are back for another season of action in2004.That's out of a possible 240 (including kicking specialists), which comesout to 57.5% of last year's starters returning.Six of 10 Conference schools haveeither 14 or 15 starters returning.Arizona has more with 18;Oregon State hasfewer with 12, as does USC with 13 and Washington State with a league-low sevenstarters back.The 'average' Pac-10 team returns 14 starters--7 on offense, 6 ondefense and 1 kicker.
THE HEADLINERS: Despite nine early defections to the NFL ranks, includingtwo consensus All-Americas and two other first-team All-Pac-10 performers, theConference returns a wealth of all-league-caliber players. A total of 20 players whoearned either first or second-team All-Conference honors in voting by the league'scoaches return.Included is the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year and three play-ers who garnered some form of All-America recognition. USC QB Matt Leinartburst on the scene last year, passing for 3, 556 yards and a Pac-10 record 38 TDs toearn Offensive Player of the Year honors and stamp himself as a leading HeismanTrophy candidate entering 2004. Returnees who already have some All-Americaaccolades on the shelf from 2003 are California WR Geoff McArthur and P TomMalone and DT Shaun Cody , both of USC. A slew of 2003 Pac-10 statisticalleaders return. Malone led the league in punting (49.0), McArthur in receivingyards (1, 504/115.7 per game), and Leinart in TD passes (38), completion percent-age (.634)and passing efficiency (164.5).Oregon State QB Derek Andersonpaced the Conference in both passing yards (4, 058/312.2 per game)and totaloffense (302.5).Beaver WR Mike Hass led in yards per catch (23.0).USC TBReggie Bush led the league in kickoff returns (27.3)and Washington WR CharlesFrederick led in punt returns (11.7).USC PK Ryan Killeen lead in kick scoring(9.4 per game).
BOWL PARTNERS: The Pac-10 Champion plays in the Rose Bowl (unlessranked No.1 or 2 in the BCS rankings, in which case it would go to the BCSNational Championship Game in the FedEx Orange Bowl)The rest of the Pac-10bowl lineup looks like this:Pacific Life Holiday Bowl, Vitalis Sun Bowl, InsightBowl, Las Vegas Bowl, Diamond Walnut San Francisco Bowl and Silicon ValleyBowl.
THE MISSES: The Pac-10 scheduling format calls for eight Conference games--four home and four away--which means each institution misses one other leaguefoe.
NEW COACH: Just one new head coach will grace Pac-10 sidelines this year,to slow down a changing of the guard which has seen nine of the 10 Conferenceschools turn over coaches in the last four years (all but Oregon).The new manis Mike Stoops at Arizona.Stoops comes to Tucson after five highly successfulseasons as associate head coach and defensive coordinator at Oklahoma.Prior toOklahoma, Stoops served stints as an assistant at Kansas State and Iowa.
PAC-10 NOTES: Pac-10 teams compiled a solid 29-17 (.630)mark against out-side opponents in 2003, including 4-2 in post-season bowl games.Against BCSleagues, the Conference had a winning record against the ACC, Big Ten, Big Eastand SEC, with only the Big 12 having an edge (3-2)over the Pac-10....NewArizona coach Mike Stoops has participated in three Rose Bowls.He was in twowith Iowa, once as a player and once as a coach, and added a third as a coach withOklahoma....Stoops joins Pete Carroll of USC and Bill Doba of WashingtonState as Pac-10 head coaches who have made their reputations on the defensive sideof the ball....UA returns the most overall starters (18)and most offensive start-ers (10)in the Pac-10....The Wildcats got good news when top OT BrandonPhillips , who played three games as a senior last year before a season-ending kneeinjury, was granted another year of eligibility by the NCAA....ASU QB AndrewWalter has passed for 52 TDs and almost 7, 000 yards (6, 921)over the last twoseasons....Sun Devil TB Loren Wade was the top freshman rusher (and fifthoverall)in the Pac-10 with 773 yards and a 5.7 yards per carry average.He is thesecond-leading returning rusher (behind Arizona 's Mike Bell )in the league thisyear....You may see ASU with a two tight end look this season....California,the only team to defeat National Champion USC last year, is coming off back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in 12 years....The Golden Bears finishedthe season winning five of their final six games and topped the 50-point mark inthree of those wins....Cal returns second-team All-America WR Geoff McArthur . In 2003, McArthur trailed only Pitt 's Larry Fitzgerald in receiving yards pergame (115.7).He could team with QB Aaron Rodgers to be the best pass-catchcombo in the league this year....Oregon closed the 2003 regular season withthree consecutive wins against bowl-bound teams (Cal,UCLA and Oregon State)....As a sophomore last year,QB Kellen Clemens shared time with senior JasonFife for most of the season,before taking over for good for most of the last fourgames.Over that four-game span,he completed 65%of his passes with nine TDsand just two interceptions....Duck coach Mike Bellotti is just two wins shy ofcareer victory No.100....Oregon State will be the only team in the country toplay both of last season 's National Champions (USC and LSU)....Last year,QBDerek Anderson became just the second player in Conference history to pass for4,000 yards in a season....Stanford returns nine players on defense,top figureamong Pac-10 teams....Seven of Stanford 's top offensive linemen were freshmenlast year....UCLA WR Craig Bragg enters the season with a reception in 36consecutive games,longest such current streak among Pac-10 receivers.Bragg isthe only receiver in Bruin history to record two 50-reception seasons....Bruindefense allowed only two of eight Conference opponents to score a second-halftouchdown last year....Defending National Champion USC has the longestcurrent winning streak among Pac-10 teams with nine straight victories entering2004.The Trojans also have won 15 consecutive home games.The overall markfor the last two seasons is 23-3....Trojans look loaded again this year,althoughfour starters are gone from the offensive line....SC QB Matt Leinart last year be-came just the second sophomore to be named Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year.The other was Stanford 's John Elway.Leinart threw a Pac-10-record 38 TD passes....Washington has a streak going of 27 consecutive years without a losing season.Only Nebraska and Michigan have longer current streaks going.The Huskies alsohave a string of 15 straight non-losing seasons in Conference play....Big chorefor UW this season will be replacing three-year starting QB Cody Pickett,one ofonly four QBs in Pac-10 history to pass for 10,000 yards....Washington Statecomes off three consecutive 10-win seasons,making it no surprise the Cougs havefinished either first or second in the Pac-10 all three years.Only one other timehas a Pac-10 team had three consecutive 10-win seasons (USC in 1931-32-33)....However,the Cougars have by far the fewest returning starters in the Pac-10 withseven,including just two starters back on defense.And with just four starters anda new starting QB on offense,WSU may resort to the run more this season....All-Pac-10 OLB Will Derting will get a look at middle linebacker.www.pac-10.org
2004 PAC-10 FOOTBALL MEDIA DAY: 2004 Pac-10 Football Media Day is scheduled for Wednesday, July 28, at 9:30 a.m. at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel at Los Angeles International Airport.Pac-10 head football coaches and a leading returning player from each team will bein attendance.