Pac-10 secondaries have been ball hawking

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

During the preseason, it looked like a number of Pac-10 teams would be solid in the secondary. If ball hawking is a good measure of that, then preseason expectations are being met -- and surpassed.

Last year, Arizona State linebacker Mike Nixon and Oregon cornerbacks Jairus Byrd and Walter Thurmond III tied for the Pac-10 lead with five interceptions.

Three game into the 2009 season, UCLA safety Rahim Moore already has five interceptions, which leads the nation.

Last year, California safety Sean Cattouse ranked 10th in the conference with three interceptions.

Three games into the 2009 season, four players already have at least three and a fifth has two.

In addition to Moore, Nixon, UCLA cornerback Alterraun Verner and Arizona corner Trevin Wade rank among the nation's top 10 with three picks apiece.

Six teams have three or more picks so far, and five have already returned an interception for a touchdown. Washington State did it twice in its win over SMU.

Still, matching last year's team production won't be easy. In 2008, five Pac-10 teams ranked in the top-26 in the nation with 16 or more interceptions.