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Notes on a Scorecard

This should be the year of the strike in the Pacific 10 Conference--strikes thrown by some of the most accurate passers in the nation. . . .

Dave Barr of California set a Pac-10 passing efficiency record last season, meaning that he is rated as high as, oh, third among the conference’s returning quarterbacks. . . .

Steve Stenstrom of Stanford and Rob Johnson of USC generally are ranked ahead of Barr, with Danny O’Neil of Oregon and Wayne Cook of UCLA not too far behind. . . .

“We have, I believe, the best quarterback in college football in Steve Stenstrom,” said his coach, Bill Walsh, at the Pac-10 preseason media session Wednesday. “He’s ahead, mechanically and skillwise, of 75% of the quarterbacks in the NFL.” . . .

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“What the hell does Walsh know about quarterbacks?” cracked an old coaching rival, John Robinson of USC. . . .

UCLA probably has the toughest schedule, one that includes games at Nebraska, Washington, California, Arizona and Arizona State. . . .

“This league is a minefield every week,” Oregon Coach Rich Brooks said. “Every game will be a death march.” . . .

The surprise was that both UCLA wide receiver J.J. Stokes and Washington running back Napoleon Kaufman chose to return for their senior seasons instead of opting for the NFL draft. . . .

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“I made a commitment to Coach (Terry) Donahue and I promised my father that I would get my degree,” Stokes said. “I’m enjoying myself and want to continue to do so.” . . .

Washington Coach Jim Lambright said: “We open at USC, come home for Ohio State, go to Miami, and come home for UCLA. If Napoleon’s any damn good, you’ll be able to tell after those four games.” . . .

It used to be that every coach mentioned USC or Washington as the conference favorite. Wednesday, it was Arizona. . . .

The Wildcats, coming off a 29-0 victory over Miami in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1, should be very strong defensively again, and have an improving quarterback in Dan White. . . .

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Big game: Arizona vs. USC on Nov. 12 at the Coliseum. . . .

UCLA junior wide receiver Kevin Jordan caught 45 passes last season but remains a well-kept secret because he plays on the same team with Stokes. . . .

“We hope to repeat, go to the Rose Bowl and win it this time,” Donahue said. . . .

This is the final season for artificial turf at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, where a grass field will be installed. . . .

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Best defender in the league is Bear inside linebacker Jerrott Willard, who was a semifinalist for the Dick Butkus Award last year and is described by Coach Keith Gilbertson as the best player he has ever coached. . . .

“We need to be more physical,” said Robinson, who is beginning the second year of his second tour of duty at USC. “We didn’t dominate games physically.” . . .

Robinson is counting on some junior college transfers to add bulk and aggressiveness to his roster. . . .

USC hasn’t had a 1,000-yard rusher since Mazio Royster in 1990. . . .

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Oregon State won twice as many games last year, four, as in Jerry Pettibone’s first two years combined. . . .

“For the first time, we feel we will be competitive week in and week out in the Pac-10,” Pettibone said. . . .

“The Rating Guide to Life in America’s Small Cities” rates Corvallis, Ore. (pop. 45,000), home of the Beavers, second in overall livability. . . .

Washington State and defense are not synonymous, but the Cougars ranked second in the nation against the run and eighth in total defense last season. . . .

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Stanford has 19 returning starters, including kickers. . . .

After two consecutive 6-5 seasons at Arizona State, Coach Bruce Snyder said: “We haven’t quite reached the over-the- hump business. We have to get started faster. We’ve been a hot team late when we’ve been out of the running.” . . .

The Pac-10’s .551 winning record in bowl games is the highest of any major conference that has played in at least 30, followed by the Atlantic Coast Conference at .534 and the Southeastern Conference at .502. Lowest is the Western Athletic Conference at .434. . . .

The Trojans’ Johnson on his Heisman Trophy candidacy: “It’s like a no-hitter. You don’t want to talk about it until it happens.” . . .

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Here is how the sportswriters and sportscasters see the conference race: 1--Arizona, 2--USC, 3--UCLA, 4--Stanford, 5--California, 6--Washington, 7--Arizona State, 8--Oregon, 9--Oregon State, 10--Washington State.


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