Another Year Of Living Dangerously

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Much like the rest of the civilized – and portions of the uncivilized – world, CougZone brazenly selected USC to be the Pac-10 champion in football. That is exactly what happened in 2008 – although Oregon State threw a little scare into the Trojans, karma came back to bite them in the tail and USC won the conference outright – again. But after that, things got dicey. However, CZ selected two teams besides USC [California and Arizona] to finish exactly where we said they would finish – something neither the old "traditional" media nor vaunted Phil Steele can say. CougZone engages in an annual comparison of our picks with those of the old "formerly known as traditional" media [who we will refer to as the "Traditionals"] and Phil Steele, who touts his magazine as the most accurate in the land. CZ has an extensive history of doing well against the Traditionals – chronically crushing them to the tune of 9-0-1 coming into the 2008 season – but was only 4-3 against Steele's mag since we began adding him into the mix. There was genuine fear at the posh and swanky CZ headquarters this year because after everybody got done picking USC to win – the rest of the conference was, if you will pardon the expression – a mess of fruitcake.
It could have finished any which way and for a good amount of time, there was no one team clamping down on the second slot. But, by the time USC was finished claiming the conference championship last week, the order of finish looked closest to how CougZone had predicted it back in July. Phil Steele actually tied CZ but CZ won the tiebreaker by selecting three teams exactly to their spots while Phil only selected two. With this year's results, CZ has retained the title as most accurate Pac-10 prediction media entity in the land [unless there is another one currently unknown to us] based on the point scoring system that gives more points the farther away the team falls from the original prediction, CZ defeated the "Traditionals" again to remain undefeated there at a stunning 10-0-1 in our 11 years of predicting and was able to barely stave off Steele as well to move to 4-3-1 against him and retain the crown.
Actual 2008 Pac-10 finish
1] USC/8-1
Everybody in agreement, nothing to see here, move on.
2] Oregon/7-2
The Nikes were not in the Trojans' category but they were good enough when it mattered other times. [Phil and Traditionals – 3rd]
2] Oregon State/7-2
Everybody whiffed on the Beavers – CZ, Phil, the Traditionals, even Wally [Phil and Traditionals – 6th].
4] California/6-3
This is where CougZone took out Phil – who overestimated the Fighting Tedfords and placed them in second – while the Traditionals wisely followed CZ's lead [Phil – 2nd, Traditionals – 4th].
5] Arizona/5-4
This is where CougZone performed their annual take-out ritual dance on the Traditionals [Phil – 5th, Traditionals – 7th].
6] Arizona State/4-5
CZ and the Traditionals took the biggest hit on Erickson's bust team this year. [Phil – 3rd, Traditionals – 2nd]
6] Stanford/4-5
CZ absorbed a branch to the groin from the Trees – who finished far better than the last place prediction we had them pegged for in July [Both Phil and Traditionals – 9th].
8] UCLA/3-6
Somebody better check the Traditionals ballots for voter fraud or their brains for synapse misfiring – they missed wildly on the Bruins and their new monopoly in L.A. [Phil – 6th, Traditionals – 5th]
9] Wazzu/1-8
Everybody got the same point for the Cougs – but only CZ got it in a good way. [Both Phil and Traditionals – 10th]
10] Washington/0-9
Nobody picked the Hussies last but some of CZ's voting panel dipped into a batch of last year's nog and tagged us with a point we did not need to have. [Both Phil and Traditionals – 8th]
Final Order
CougZone – 18 points
Phil Steele - 18
Old "traditional" media - 20
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