But me and my imaginary friend Jimmy; we will
not be deceived. Also, we refuse to
parrot lazy national media scribes who are simply parroting someone else. To do so means no team disappoints; that
no team smashes expectations.
As you read in Part I, we
strive to predict the teams who fall short and that continues here. Yet we’re equally cognizant of teams who
will finish higher than popularly forecast. Each year, teams are picked to finish
near the bottom yet they wind up near, or at, the top.
Its go time, Part II. And the Dog days of Fall
WASHINGTON (7-5, 4-4)
Arguably best WR in the nation
plus a very good QB. And little
else. Terrible run-blocking last
season - little improvement, if any, so far. Still in doubt, which under-whelming TB
starts. Beyond star
Frederick, WR depth and talent is
thin. Injuries, defections and
tomfoolery further eroded depth on offense.
A dominating defense isn’t in
the offing. DT
Johnson is solid, but not a difference
maker. Adequate D-Line; but
mislabeled as a ‘great run stopping unit’.
Linebacker is a strength; Greg Carothers moves over from safety to
Cooper. Derrick Johnson, Roc Alexander will be tested at CB; but won’t
fare as poorly as the schizophrenic safeties.
Schedule: The main reason the non-losing
season streak continues. After
expected loss to Buckeyes, some tough games are at home, and they miss ASU. Different year, this weak schedule could
mean Roses. In ‘03, it means
another season of unfair, and failed,
PTW: OL Nick Newton. Second in importance only to Pickett’s
protection, the line must perform better, or even adequately, in the running
Notes: Jimmy thinks Bolton too kind. Special teams as a whole will hurt the
Huskies - P, K, return coverage, deep snapper, return men. Staff began way behind, plays catch-up
all year. Jimmy believes new OL, DB
coaches’ fiery speeches will have a negligible effect; forgotten with the first
snap. Jimmy stresses: OL run-blocking technique
still sub-par; despite fluff features heralding optimism. Anyone thinking Williams-from-Pickett is
enough is mistaken. Too many
holes.. Repeat after Jimmy: Deep.. Yawning.. Chasms. Jimmy’s Imaginary Travel Agency gladly
booked your New Orleans trip, (permission implied per your memo) But lets catch a Saturday matinee
beforehand. Now playing: AirDogs
II: The Gilby Tower Years.
Laugh track included. Wine
& cheese sold separately.
5 USC (7-5, 5-3)
‘SC in a walk? Oh, but issues are being ignored. QB situation is a quagmire. Some are gushing
Booty should start. Opponents should pray its true. Success in Chow’s offense hinges on a learned
quarterback, not just an athletically skilled one. Talented O-Line with LT Jacob
Rogers but not even the best in league. Star wideout Mike Williams will
be less without Palmer, sharp drop-off after the starters. TB Herschel Dennis adequate, but
running game under-performs.
Run defense is best in league headed in, but
pass rush won’t meet expectations.
NT Mike Patterson is a brickhouse in the middle but DE not as
strong as widely believed. LB
Matt Grootegoed, a phenomenal player who causes matchup problems. However, MLB is a concern. True weakness is in secondary, three new
starters. When D-Line is held in
check, good QB and/or running game exposes flaws. Key: D will be on the field a ton, will
Non-con foes Auburn, Notre Dame, sneaky good Hawaii, BYU. Favorable Pac-10 slate at home late in
year: WSU, UCLA and OSU.
Shaun Cody. Critical is if
his knee is completely healed.
Before injury was on track to become one of the best linemen in
The Jimmy Notes: Jimmy
laughs hearing QB, TB aren’t important for ‘SC. Jimmy often gives just as much credit to
an O-line when a QB breaks out. Not
the ’02 Trojans; Palmer was just that good. Deficiencies on the line were masked;
they surface this year. Jimmy loves
the DTs. But secondary will
falter. Jimmy requires a longer
look at Pete Carroll before bestowing hysterical accolades upon him. 2002: poetry. 2001: 6-6. Dismiss ’01 as somebody else’s players,
then do the same for ’02.
Motivation wanes in November with goals out of reach; home venue
advantage is offset. Defensive
optimism based on last year? 200
rushing yards by WSU.. beat Cal by 2 points.. surrendered 300+ to Fife through
the air. Deficiencies. Mask. Exposed. Jimmy’s work is done here in the land of
A new coach but tons of young
talent, even without Tab Perry. Regardless of starter at QB, concern exists with both
Olson, Matt Moore. Undersized Tyler Ebell proved he’s for real last
White provides straight ahead power
at FB. With wideout also now an
Bragg is primary. TE becomes even more of focal point,
remember the name Marcedes Lewis. Eyoseph Efseaff anchors talented, Senior-less
D-Line is solid and
Leisle looks to have regained 2001
form, sackmaster Dave
Ball will attack even more this year
at DE. Solid experience at
linebacker. Three DB starters
return but depth, inconsistent play is troublesome. But CB Matt Ware can take away a team’s top
WR. Bragg and Ebell lead a very
good special teams.
Schedule: Huge tests in Colorado,
Illinois and Oklahoma the first three games. Mixed Pac-10 bag with WSU, USC on the
road.. but ASU, UW come to Pasadena.
PTW: DT Ryan Boschetti. Must anchor his side of the line, keep
teams from going after new starter at DE, Mat Ball (Dave’s twin)
The Jimmy Notes:
Jimmy’s not convinced the O-line
gels at the start. But young talent
will be reenergized by new, enthusiastic staff; unlike previous years’ doom
& gloom approach to adversity.
A solid running attack, significant contribution from TE. But QB, secondary cost UCLA some
heartbreakers. With Spongecake
Bobby LargePants no longer weighing down the Bruin ship, team makes huge
strides. Westwood is abuzz about
‘04 by season’s end.
Coming tomorrow: The third and
final installment of the CF.C 2003 Pac-10 Preview! Stay