The Year Of Living Dangerously

Much like the rest of the civilized – and portions of the uncivilized – world, CougZone selected USC to be the Pac-10 champion in football and California to be runner-up. That is not exactly what happened in 2007. Arizona State, picked by CZ as a Holiday Bowl candidate, came up from the outside using their eight-home-game schedule as a whip and officially tied the Trojans for the Pac-10 title. So CZ technically missed on ASU but it was the only one of the top four we missed – 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 8-0-1 coming into the 2007 season – but was only 3-3 against Steele's mag since we began adding him into the mix. But there was genuine fear at the posh and swanky CZ headquarters this year because after everybody got done picking USC to win and Cal for second ['ceptin' for Phil – who went for Oregon] – 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 either the first or second slot. But, by the time USC was finished backing into the conference championship last week, the order of finish looked closest to how CougZone had predicted it back in July. With this year's results, CZ has now taken 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 9-0-1 in our 10 years of predicting and was able to stave off Steele as well to move to 4-3 against him and claim the crown.
Actual 2007 Pac-10 finish
1] USC/7-2
Everybody in agreement, nothing to see here, move on.
1] Arizona State/7-2
Those eight-game home schedules sure do come in handy, don't they? [Phil and Traditionals – 4th]
3] Oregon State/6-3
This is where CougZone won it in 2007. We were confident of the Beaver defense going into the season and they backed that up despite offensive uncertainties [Traditionals – 5th, Phil – 6th].
4] UCLA/5-4
Both Phil and the Traditionals gave the Bruins too much undeserved credit in the summer whereas CougZone put them perfectly in their predicted place [Phil – 2nd, Traditionals – 3rd].
4] Oregon/5-4
Both Phil and CougZone suspected something was amiss in Eugene and the Ducks would not underachieve this year – and if Dennis Dixon and three other Oregon starters had stayed healthy, we both might have been geniuses. But injuries exposed the system and the Traditionals [Phil – 2nd, Traditionals – 6th].
6] Arizona/4-5
Everybody had the Wildcats pegged for seventh – and they did only one better.
7] California/3-6
Phil lived up to his reputation here – rightfully putting the Bears in the middle of the conference while both CZ and the Traditionals guzzled the sweet-tasting Tedford Kool-Aid [Both CZ and Traditionals – 2nd].
7] Wazzu/3-6
The pre-season consensus for the Cougars was 8th – which both CougZone and the Traditionals adhered to – but Phil didn't get the memo and lost a point to Wazzu.
7] Stanford/3-6
With an new, unproven-at-Division I head coach inheriting a last-place team, nobody in their right mind was picking Stanford even remotely close to ninth – so naturally, all parties take a bath here.
10] Washington/2-7
With the Trees having a lock on last-place predictions, both CZ and the Traditionals put UW ninth - next to their rightful place in the conference - while Phil failed to see the light and thought they would rise to a miraculous eighth. He paid the price though as this and his UCLA over-prediction sealed his loss to the Traditionals.
Final Order
CougZone – 17 points
Old "traditional" media - 19
Phil Steele – 20
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