Three ace mid-terms

  • John Sleeper / Herald Writer
  • Thursday, October 18, 2001 9:00pm
  • Sports

By John Sleeper

Herald Writer

Remember mid-terms?

Yucko.

I always wondered what good mid-terms were, when all that really mattered was what you got out of the class when it was over.

Mid-terms? Big deal. It’s like evaluating a football season when it’s half over.

Which is what were doing here. Sure, mid-terms are unnecessary and meaningless, but out of respect for the sanctity of secondary education, here we are.

Besides, a lot has happened in the Pacific-10 Conference since teams broke preseason camp in August, and not all of it has to do with Sept. 11:

  • Did anyone expect Oregon State’s free fall, just months after the Beavers drilled Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl and finished fourth in the BCS?

  • Washington State, kids, is 6-0 and ranked 19th in the AP poll.

  • UCLA has a defense, one of the best in the country, and looks like Ohio State before Woody Hayes decided to slap around opposing linebackers.

  • At USC, Pete Carroll’s already getting blasted by the media.

    So let’s take an analytical look at each team and try to get an idea of where they’re headed, if anywhere.

    And keep your eyes on your own paper.

    Highlight: A 38-21 victory over UNLV, which isn’t saying much.

    Lowlight: A tie between a 63-28 loss to Oregon and a 38-3 loss to Oregon State, in which the Wildcats had just 159 yards of offense.

    MVP: Linebacker Lance Briggs is showing why he was all-Pac-10 last year. Great hitter who’ll play on Sundays.

    Who’s left: at Washington, USC, at Cal, Stanford, at Arizona State.

    Projection: Maybe a win at Cal, then it’s basketball season.

    Highlight: 38-7 win against San Diego State.

    Lowlight: 48-17 loss to USC.

    MVP: Close call between quarterback Jeff Krohn and defensive end Terrell Suggs, but Suggs gets the nod based on his consistently nasty style.

    Who’s left: Oregon State, Washington, at Oregon, Washington State, Arizona, at UCLA.

    Projection: Not a pretty schedule to end the year. Dirk Koetter left Boise State for this? Still, if the Sun Devils can upset Oregon State or Washington and finish 6-5, they might sneak into the Las Vegas Bowl, and what’s wrong with Las Vegas?

    Highlight: 31-28 loss to Washington.

    Lowlight: The rest of the year.

    MVP: Quarterback Kyle Boller is starting to show the promise he had as a recruit. The problem: a horrid supporting cast.

    Who’s left: at UCLA, at Oregon State, Arizona, USC, at Stanford, at Rutgers.

    Projection: Hey, buddy. Need a ticket to the Rutgers game?

    Highlight: 31-28 win over Wisconsin.

    Lowlight: 38-21 win over Utah State, which was closer than the score indicates and much closer than it should have been.

    MVP: Quarterback Joey Harrington had a so-so start, but is the reason Oregon’s offense is starting to gather steam.

    Who’s left: Stanford, at Washington State, Arizona State, at UCLA, Oregon State.

    Projection: Holiday Bowl. Might move up to the Fiesta Bowl if they get by Washington State in Pullman Oct. 27, which will be a gonzo game. But we think WSU is just better.

    Highlight: 38-3 win over Arizona.

    Lowlight: 27-22 win over New Mexico State.

    MVP: Tailback Ken Simonton isn’t having the Heisman year many expected, but is showing leadership and the occasional burst.

    Who’s left: at Arizona State, Cal, at SC, Washington, Northern Arizona, at Oregon.

    Projection: The Beavers finally might be adjusting to a young offensive line, which has been a big reason for the fall-off on offense. Seattle Bowl awaits.

    Highlight: 38-22 win over Boston College.

    Lowlight: 45-39 loss to Washington State.

    MVP: Quarterback Randy Fasani, who’s spreading the ball out to all his receivers. Great arm, great leader.

    Who’s left: at Oregon, UCLA, at Washington, at Arizona, Cal, Notre Dame, at San Jose State.

    Projection: San Francisco Bowl. A natural fit. The loss to WSU might prevent Stanford from getting into a more lucrative bowl.

    Highlight: Its defense, which has allowed 26 points in the last three games.

    Lowlight: Fumbles that haven’t hurt the Bruins yet, but could.

    MVP: It’s tempting to pick tailback DeShaun Foster, a strong Heisman candidate, but we like linebacker Robert Thomas, the leader of a front seven that reminds us of the great Nebraska front sevens of the ’90s.

    Who’s left: Cal, at Stanford, at Washington State, Oregon, at USC, Arizona State.

    Projection: Hard to pick a game the Bruins will lose the rest of the way, although Pullman in November won’t be a picnic. We see them running the table and getting to the Rose Bowl for the BCS championship.

    Highlight: 48-17 win over Arizona State, just because of the confidence factor.

    Lowlight: Every time the band plays “Conquest.”

    MVP: Quarterback Carson Palmer has been more consistent than tailback Sultan McCullough. Best thing for him will be to get out of USC and start making money.

    Who’s left: at Notre Dame, at Arizona, Oregon State, at Cal, UCLA.

    Projection: No bowl here. And blame the schedule. The Trojans lost to Kansas State, Oregon, Stanford and Washington by a total of 14 points.

    Highlight: 23-18 win over Michigan.

    Lowlight: 35-13 loss to UCLA.

    MVP: Defensive tackle Larry Tripplett, by far. No one’s been more consistent or hard-working. Tripplett’s constantly double-teamed, which makes his year even more amazing.

    Who’s left: Arizona, at Arizona State, Stanford, at Oregon State, Washington State, at Miami.

    Projection: Brutal schedule. Split the last four and it’s the Sun Bowl. Anything less, and they’ll break in Safeco Field for football.

    Highlight: What an offense!

    Lowlight: Dave Minnich’s injury.

    MVP: Quarterback Jason Gesser. We’ll say it again: Why is nobody mentioning him and Heisman in the same breath? OK, OK. We know. Pullman.

    Who’s left: Oregon, UCLA, at Arizona State, at Washington.

    Projection: Another brutal schedule, but at least the Cougs have Oregon and UCLA at home. A split there is not out of the question. Say “Hola” to the Fiesta Bowl.

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