Pac 10 preseason report: Only California is out of the picture

July 23, 2002 5:07 AM
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WASHINGTON:

Head coach: Rick Neuheisel, 4th year

Player to watch: WR Reggie Williams

2001-02 ATS record: 6-6

Victory margin: —2

Comments: 4-1 ATS in the last five openers. Allowed more points (31) on average than scored (29) in 2001. After Aug. 31 opener at Michigan, Huskies play five straight at home where they are 12-0 SU the past two seasons. QB Cody Pickett (2,403 yds) threw for the third highest total in school history despite missing several games with a separated shoulder.

 

WASHINGTON STATE:

Head coach: Mike Price, 14th year

Player to watch: QB Jason Gesser

2001-02 ATS record: 7-4

Victory margin: +11

Comments: 1-3 ATS in the last four openers, all at home. 8-4 ATS as an underdog the past two years. Ranked 10th nationally last season and tied for second in the Pac 10. Gave up regular season finale vs Hawaii to play Dec. 7 on national TV at UCLA. First test is Game 3 at Ohio State. Returns 8 of 11 starters on offense, including four on a line featuring All-Pac 10 guard Derrick Roche.

 

OREGON:

Head coach: Mike Bellotti, 8th year

Player to watch: TB Onterrio Smith

2001-02 ATS record: 7-5

Victory margin: +13

Comments: Increased seating capacity to 54,000 at Autzen Stadium, where the Ducks are 27-3 SU since 1997. 6-1 ATS as an underdog the past two years. Plays first four games at home. Smith named first team preseason All-American by The Sporting News. Posted 60 wins under Bellotti, best 7-year mark in Pac-10. WR Keenan Howry is being pushed for the Heisman.

 

USC:

Head coach: Pete Carroll, 2nd year

Player to watch: All-American S Troy Polamalu

2001-02 ATS record: 6-6

Victory margin: +8

Comments: 4-0 SU and 3-1 ATS in season openers since 1998. Allowed just 17 PPG under defensive-minded Carroll. Brutal schedule with first five games against Auburn, Colorado, Kansas State, Oregon State and Washington State. Had just one yard rushing in 10-6 loss to Utah in 2001 Las Vegas Bowl. Picked up QB help in Purdue transfer Brandon Hance.

 

UCLA:

Head coach: Bob Toledo, 7th year

Player to watch: CB Ricky Manning

2001-02 ATS record: 5-5-1

Victory margin: +9

Comments: 6-1 ATS since ’95 in season openers, including four straight covers. Manning is a first team Football News selection and candidate for the Thorpe Award. Has been ranked in the Top 10 at least one week in four of the past five years. QB Cory Paus starts as a fifth-year senior.

 

OREGON STATE:

Head coach: Dennis Erickson, 4th year

Player to watch: QB Zach Dyer

2001-02 ATS record: 5-5

Victory margin: —1

Comments: 5-2 ATS in the last seven "line" openers. Never recovered from 0-3 ATS start that included double-digit losses to Fresno State and UCLA. Hosts UNLV in Game 3, the week before revenge contest with Fresno. Erickson is 23-12 SU since coming to Corvallis and 136-52-1 overall.

 

STANFORD:

Head coach: Buddy Teevens, first year

Player to watch: QB Chris Lewis

2001-02 ATS record: 7-5

Victory margin: +7

Comments: 13-3 ATS as an underdog since 1999, including 9-0 at home vs spreads of three points or more. 2-7 ATS in openers since 1993, but covered last two years. Lost nine starters on defense. Lewis came off the bench to spark a 49-42 upset of Oregon. Teevens, a former assistant to Spurrier at Florida, replaced Ty Willingham, now at Notre Dame. Punt returner Luke Powell (16.0 YPR) was second in the nation last year in that category.

ARIZONA:

Head coach: John Mackovic, 2nd year

Player to watch: LB Lance Briggs

2001-02 ATS record: 5-6

Victory margin: —5

Comments: 0-9 ATS as a home underdog the past two years. 3-1 ATS in openers since ’98. Mackovic is a former head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs along past stints at Wake Forest, Illinois and Texas. Briggs was named first team All-American by Football News. Moved season opener against Northern Arizona to Saturday night, Aug. 31.

 

ARIZONA STATE:

Head coach: Dirk Koetter, 2nd year

Player to watch: DE Terrell Suggs

2001-02 ATS record: 5-6

Victory margin: +1

Comments: 1-4 ATS as an underdog last year. Only one starter returns from offensive line. Opens Aug. 24 at Nebraska, which was shocked 19-0 as a 24½-point favorite vs ASU in last meeting (1996) at Tempe. Suggs one of 64 nominated for Nagurski Award as the nation’s top defensive player. Must replace QB Jeff Krohn, who transferred to Division 1-AA Massachusetts.

 

CALIFORNIA:

Head coach: Jeff Tedford, 1st year

Player to watch: QB Kyle Boller

2001-02 ATS record: 2-9

Victory margin: —21

Comments: 1-3 ATS in season openers since 1998.Tedford was coveted offensive coordinator at Oregon under Bellotti and known for developing QBs. Bears were 3-6 ATS last year as an underdog, but are 25-17 in that role since ’97. Cal is 19-11 ATS over the past 10 years as a double-digit underdog. The Bears could face that situation a lot this year.