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Pac-12 Notes

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Pac-12 Notes

 

August 20th 

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Utah names sophomore to start at quarterback

From the Salt Lake City Tribune … The Utah football coaching staff named sophomore Tyler Huntley its starting quarterback on Monday, about a week and a half before the season opener against the University of North Dakota.

Huntley beat out returning starter and senior captain Troy Williams, who started all 13 games for the Utes last season. The Utes went into camp with an open competition for the starting job with Huntley, Williams and graduate transfer Cooper Bateman all named as candidates. Williams and Huntley separated themselves as the top two during camp.

Last week, the Utes selected the 6-foot-2, 208-pound Williams a team captain for the second consecutive season. However, the Utah staff seemed to become enamored with Huntley’s athleticism and the strides he made in his second offseason in the program, the first under new offensive coordinator Troy Taylor.

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August 19th

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Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez sued

From ESPN … Arizona football coach Rich Rodriguez is being sued for breach of contract by the agency that used to represent him.

Creative Artists Agency filed a lawsuit Wednesday in federal court seeking $230,250 it says it is owed for completed work on Rodriguez’s behalf.

The lawsuit says Rodriguez entered into an oral agreement with CAA in 2011, after which the agency negotiated his contracts for an on-air analyst role at CBS Sports Network and as the coach at Arizona. CAA claims Rodriguez agreed to pay 10 percent of his earnings from his CBS deal and 4 percent from his contract at Arizona, which totaled more than $300,000 until sometime in the fall of 2015, when Rodriguez ended his relationship with CAA.

CAA contends that even though it is no longer representing Rodriguez, it is still owed money from the contract it negotiated before their separation. The lawsuit says CAA attempted to resolve the dispute with Rodriguez’s attorney, who refused to negotiate.

Bennett Speyer, Rodriguez’s attorney, said Friday they plan to fight the allegations vigorously.

Continue reading story here

Arizona could play “as many as 20 freshmen” in 2017

From the Arizona Republic … Rich Rodriguez first floated the idea of a full-blown youth movement at last month’s Pac-12 media days. He was especially high on his class of newcomers, saying that “there’s probably 20 of them that will play this year.”

Even though the Wildcats dealt with a wave of de-commitments leading up to national signing day, Rodriguez still labeled this 2017 class as, potentially, the best since he was hired at Arizona five years ago.

Whether that part of it comes to fruition won’t be decided for a while, and probably not even this season.

That part about the 20 players playing right away? Rodriguez might not have been too far off, if the early days of training camp are any indication. Most of those 20 newcomers are true freshmen; others include transfers like junior college defensive lineman Dereck Boles.

Rodriguez says his team includes 50 newcomers. That he thinks 20 could play is notable.

Consider: Just 25 freshmen have recorded statistics in Rodriguez’s first five years as Arizona’s coach. The Wildcats flopped a year ago, going 3-9, and still only played six freshmen.

Continue reading story here

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August 18th

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CBS ranks conferences … Pac-12 the lowest of the Power-Five conferences

From CBS Sports … There is always a lot of crowing about conference supremacy during media days. Whichever league finished the previous season with the most trophies puts them on display and has the chance to use its time at the microphone to fill the empty July news cycle with flattering stories and headlines.

The final years of the pre-College Football Playoff era were owned by the SEC. Not only did the SEC run off seven straight national titles, but it also recruited Missouri and Texas A&M from the Big 12 and inked a 20-year deal for a cable network. When Florida State bested Auburn in the final BCS Championship Game and Ohio State bounced Alabama from the first CFP, the perception of conference power shifted ever so slightly to entertain, for the first time since the early 2000s, that maybe another league could claim to be the best in college football.

With the top spot up for grabs, the ACC’s coaches were more than happy to claim it for themselves after Clemson’s national championship, Florida State’s Orange Bowl win and Lamar Jackson’s Heisman Trophy run headlined the most successful college football season in league history.

5 Pac-12 The years of parity are over — we think — as USC has reasserted itself as a position of dominance in the Pac-12 South and Washington and Stanford are in control in the Pac-12 North. To have a nine-game conference schedule with 12 conference teams means no one really escapes with an “easy draw” and the rest of the league ends up beating each other up. The result is a crowded middle pack where the fifth best team isn’t all that distinguishable from the 10th best, forcing an even heavier reliance on nonconference wins to showcase the conference’s strength on a national stage.

Continue reading story here

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August 17th

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Pac-12 men’s basketball teams near site of Barcelona attack

From the Associated Press … Men’s basketball teams from Oregon State, Clemson and Arizona were staying at a hotel in Barcelona, Spain, near where a van drove into pedestrians on Thursday, but team officials said everyone was safe.

Spanish police have confirmed they are investigating the bloodshed in Barcelona’s historic Las Ramblas district as a terror attack. The area is a popular summer tourist spot.

Tulane also was playing in Barcelona, but it was unclear if they were staying in the same hotel as the other teams.

Oregon State assistant coach Gregg Gottlieb posted to Facebook: “We are all luckily ok. Our hotel/restaurant is located right on Las Ramblas. This tragedy happened right in front of us as our team just sat down for pregame meal. Thoughts and prayers for all those that are were hurt.”

The Beavers’ game Thursday night was canceled. It was supposed to be the first of a five-game tour.

Clemson was scheduled to play Thursday night against a Spanish All-Star team.

“We’ve been in contact with our men’s basketball program currently in Barcelona and the entire travel party is safe and secure. Their exhibition game for tonight has been cancelled and the team will return to Clemson as previously scheduled tomorrow morning. Our thoughts are with the people of Barcelona,” the South Carolina school said in a statement.

Continue reading story here

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August 16th

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UCLA coach Jim Mora: Josh Rosen will not leave for NFL after this year

From CBS Sports … From the moment UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen arrived on campus, he seemed destined for a three-year plan. The former blue-chip recruit started as a freshman and threw for a nice 3,669 yards and 23 touchdowns vs. 11 picks. And though his follow-up effort was cut short due to a shoulder injury, he still enters the 2017 season as one of college football’s top quarterbacks. Add in his critiques about the college athletics system in general and it’s almost a foregone conclusion that Rosen will leave early.

His coach, Jim Mora, disagrees.

“My firm belief is that he will not leave,” Mora told Yahoo Sports. “I don’t think he’ll leave.”

“I want a disclaimer, I have an option to change my opinion,” Mora continued. “But as we sit here right now, I can really honestly say I don’t think he’s going to leave.”

Continue reading story here

Pac-12 Network on-air talent includes former Buffs Jeremy Bloom and Chad Brown

Press release from the Pac-12 … Pac-12 Networks today announced its on-air broadcasters for live event, original programming, and studio coverage, as well as specific talent assignments for the Networks’ coverage of 15 Pac-12 football games over the first three weeks of the season. Coming off Pac-12 Networks’ most watched football season ever in 2016, the Networks will once again bring Pac-12 fans the most dedicated expert analysis and insight into Pac-12 football, in addition to live broadcasts of 35 games throughout the 2017 season.

The team of experts providing play-by-play for football on Pac-12 Networks this year will include returning veterans Roxy Bernstein, Guy Haberman, J.B. Long, Ted Robinson and Jim Watson along with Kate Scott who will become the first woman to do regular season football play-by-play for the Pac-12 Networks when she calls Arizona’s home opener on Saturday, Sept. 2.

Game analysts for the Networks’ coverage of Pac-12 football this season will include returners Anthony Herron, Glenn Parker and Yogi Roth along with Chad Brown and Jeremy Bloom. Providing sideline reports this year will be returners Cindy Brunson, Lewis Johnson and Jill Savage along with Camryn Irwin.

Analysts for studio programming will include a rotating cast of Nick Aliotti, Eric Allen, Nigel Burton, Curtis Conway, Lincoln Kennedy, Ronnie Lott and Evan Moore, along with hosts Ashley Adamson and Mike Yam. Original programming of each Pac-12 Networks football broadcast will again include “Pac-12 Football Pregame Show” and “Pac-12 Football Postgame Report” along with “Pac-12 Football Gamebreak,” “Inside Pac-12 Football” and “Pac-12 Final Score.” The Networks flagship program, “Pac-12 Sports Report,” will surround each week’s coverage of Pac-12 football with regular Sunday evening episodes in addition to expanded coverage in a multiplatform format that will see several “Sports Report Updates” produced throughout each week of the season, delivering Pac-12 fans more news, highlights, and expert analysis as it happens.

Pac-12 Networks will be home to the most and best Pac-12 football coverage for the first week of the season. A total of seven games will air on Pac-12 Networks in week one, followed by five in week two and three in week three.

Special elements for week one’s coverage will include the Networks’ broadcast of the “Rocky Mountain Showdown” between Colorado and Colorado State at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Friday, Sept. 1, with Ted Robinson and Chad Brown on the call and Cindy Brunson providing sideline reports. In addition, Pac-12 Networks will travel its “Pac-12 Football Pregame Show” and “Pac-12 Football Postgame Report” for live shows from Mile High, with Ashley Adamson hosting and Yogi Roth providing analysis.

Providing wall-to-wall coverage for the Networks’ week one slate of seven Pac-12 football games will include several Pac-12 Networks talent with multiple assignments. In the booth, Roxy Bernstein, Anthony Herron and Yogi Roth will each call multiple games with Lewis Johnson and Jill Savage also providing sideline reports for two games each.

Specific game assignments for talent during the first three weeks will be as followed below:

Date Time (PT/MT) Game (Home vs. Away) Play-by-Play Analyst Reporter:
Thurs, Aug. 31 4:30pm/5:30pm Utah vs. North Dakota Guy Haberman Yogi Roth Jill Savage
7:30pm/8:30pm Arizona State vs. New Mexico State Roxy Bernstein Anthony Herron Lewis Johnson
Friday, Sept. 1 5pm/6pm Colorado vs. Colorado State* Ted Robinson Chad Brown Cindy Brunson 
Sat, Sept. 2 11am/12pm Oregon State vs. Portland State Jim Watson Jeremy Bloom Camryn Irwin
2:15pm/3:15pm USC vs. Western Michigan Roxy Bernstein Anthony Herron Lewis Johnson
5:15pm/6:15pm Oregon vs. Southern Utah J.B. Long Yogi Roth Jill Savage
8pm/9pm Arizona vs. Northern Arizona Kate Scott Glenn Parker

Sat, Sept. 9 11am/12pm Colorado vs. Texas State Jim Watson Jeremy Bloom Camryn Irwin 
2pm/3pm UCLA vs. Hawaii J.B. Long Yogi Roth Jill Savage
2pm/3pm California vs. Weber State** Ted Robinson Glenn Parker
5pm/6pm Washington vs. Montana Guy Haberman Chad Brown Cindy Brunson
8pm/9pm Arizona State vs. San Diego State Roxy Bernstein Anthony Herron Lewis Johnson

Sat, Sept. 16 11am/12pm Colorado vs. Northern Colorado J.B. Long Chad Brown Cindy Brunson 
2:30pm/3:30pm Washington State vs. Oregon State Roxy Bernstein Anthony Herron Lewis Johnson
6:30pm/7:30pm Washington vs. Fresno State Ted Robinson Yogi Roth Jill Savage

* Friday, Sept. 1 Colorado vs. Colorado State game to be played at Sports Authority Field at Mile High
** Sat, Sept. 9 Cal vs. Weber State game to air live locally on Pac-12 Bay Area

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August 15th

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Athlon No. 1 Pac-12 upset … Colorado over Washington

From Athlon Sports … Pac-12 football never fails to surprise. Don’t be caught off guard if the most shocking upset out of the conference comes not from this list – but considering the following a good starting point in projecting some of what’s in store out west in 2017.

… No. 5 … Oregon State over Colorado … 

1. Colorado over Washington, Sept. 23

Last December’s Pac-12 Championship Game served as an interesting example for just how dramatically a game can shift on a handful of plays. The Colorado defense performed superbly much of the night, limiting the multifaceted Huskies offense.

However, a few turnovers turned a competitive affair into an all-out romp. Washington’s lopsided victory may well be a case of just a handful of plays suggesting a much greater gap than actually exists.

Despite being picked to finish fourth in the South in the preseason media poll, the defending divisional champion returns an outstanding offensive core, including multi-dimensional running back Phillip Lindsay and one of the best wide receiving corps in the nation. Washington is undergoing considerable change in the secondary, so seeing that unit early in the season should be a boon for the Buffs.

So, too, is drawing the Huskies at home. This game bears several significant similarities to Washington’s early-season trip to Arizona a season ago, when the Wildcats took the Huskies to overtime. The difference? This Colorado bunch is significantly better than 2016 Arizona.

Pac-12 Networks celebrate five year anniversary

From the San Jose Mercury News … Five years ago today, the Pac-12 launched a TV network that was groundbreaking in scope:

Structured for cable, digital and satellite delivery, it had seven feeds (one national and six regional) designed to super-serve fans … to fill the gaps in football and men’s basketball exposure … to generate unprecedented attention for Olympic sports athletes … to help spread the conference brand worldwide … and to make a few bucks.

As they currently stand, the Pac-12 Networks are a point of pride for many within the conference and a source of frustration for legions of fans.

They are fabulous and awful, remarkably innovative and grossly mismanaged — a raging success and abject failure. They are all of that, and none of it.

Continue reading story here

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August 14th

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Utah loses projected starter at running back

… This after losing the starting safety and starting center (see August 3rd stories, below) … Utah named No. 25 team in the nation despite bringing back only three starters on offense and four on defense … 

From ESPN …  Sophomore Zack Moss is officially the No. 1 running back for the Utah Utes after a tight camp competition with Armand Shyne that ended with a long-term injury to Shyne.

The junior went down during a team period on Saturday in what coach Kyle Whittingham called a fluke. Utah does not typically disclose details of injuries that are not season-ending.

That leaves the 5-foot-10, 210-pound Moss of Hialeah Gardens, Florida, as the successor to last year’s 1,400-yard rusher, Joe Williams.

… Utah’s run game will look much different in 2017 with the hiring of new offensive coordinator Troy Taylor. He brings a pass-first spread scheme that should keep defenses from loading up against the run. The changes, however, might keep the Utes from having a 1,200-yard rusher for the first time since 2013. Utah has been a run-heavy team under Whittingham and has had just one season without a 1,000-yard rusher since joining the Pac-12 in 2011.

… Junior college transfer Josh Nurse will play safety after being tested on both sides of the ball during camp. Whittingham said the decision ultimately came down to good depth at wide receiver versus little at safety. Strong safety Chase Hansen, 2016’s leading tackler, is out indefinitely with an undisclosed injury and Utah only has four scholarship safeties on the roster. Nurse, the 6-foot-4, 195-pound transfer from Blinn College, was a highly anticipated recruit due to his length and athleticism. … Utah announced junior Alani Havili-Katoa has moved from defensive tackle to the offensive line and sophomore Jake Jackson has switched from linebacker to tight end.

Pac-12 Networks name new President

Press release from the Pac-12 … The Pac-12 Conference announced today the appointment of widely-respected sports media executive Mark Shuken as the new President of the Pac-12 Networks. Shuken, who will lead the next phase of growth for Pac-12 Networks, brings a track record of success in driving growth and value for sports networks to the new position, including having run sports networks for major media companies Time Warner Cable, DirecTV, Liberty Media and Fox Sports. Shuken is set to join the Pac-12 officially on September 6, 2017.

“Mark Shuken has consistently delivered growth across all areas of the sports media business and his track record of success and effective leadership makes him the right choice to take our Pac-12 Networks to the next level,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott. “In a rapidly changing media landscape, Pac-12 Networks is well positioned to take advantage of new technologies, platforms and consumer habits, and Mark’s creative leadership skills and expertise will enable us to continue to best serve our fans and University members.”

“I am thrilled to join the Pac-12 Networks, which I believe have a great opportunity to reach new audiences and deliver even more value for our universities and student-athletes,” said Shuken. “The athletic departments in the Pac-12 and student-athletes deliver incredible sporting moments and championships year in and year out. I’m really excited to work with them to further the Pac-12 Networks’ best-in-class media platforms for our fans. The Pac-12 Networks wholly-owned model gives us a unique ability to innovate across digital and linear content, production, programming and distribution, and I’m looking forward to working closely with our Networks management team to explore new ways to do so.”

Prior to joining the Pac-12 Networks, Shuken served in a number of sports media leadership roles at major media companies, including having worked directly with many Pac-12 universities. At Time Warner Cable Sports Networks, Mark led the creation and branding of three regional sports networks for the Los Angeles Lakers, LA Dodgers and LA Galaxy. As President and CEO of DirecTV Sports Networks, he led branding, content, cross-promotional and acquisition strategies to increase asset value and subscriber acquisition. As President and CEO of Liberty Sports Group, Mark created and led the stand-alone division of regional sports networks and doubled revenues. Prior to that at Fox Sports Net Northwest, he was responsible for a significant increase in distribution, ratings and brand presence, including through innovative programming strategies and partnership agreements with both professional and collegiate teams. Previously, Shuken also served as President of Rivals Networks, a leading digital network of over 600 sports websites, where he increased gross revenues by 400% and entered into distribution deals with major digital media companies.

Since it’s launch in 2012, the Pac-12 Networks has delivered innovative and significantly increased national exposure for Pac-12 sports and student-athletes. The Pac-12 Networks serves as a showcase for Pac-12 Universities and supports efforts to attract the very best student-athletes to the conference, and field winning teams that win championships.

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August 13th

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The Sporting News: Steven Montez a potential “breakout candidate” 

From The Sporting News … Last year, Mitch Trubisky rose from a somewhat obscure first-year starting quarterback replacing Marquise Williams at North Carolina to a quarterback NFL teams couldn’t get enough of. Trubisky was college football’s most surprising star a season ago, and catapulted into a top-five choice in the NFL draft.

Anticipating the next quarterback to emerge from minimal media attention to become a household name name is difficult, but these 10 quarterbacks have the stage set to have a similar rise as Trubisky’s.

10. Steven Montez, Colorado

Montez replaces graduated Sefo Liufau, but already made a remarkable impression in the Pac-12 from just three games in 2016. He went 2-1, showcasing tremendous velocity and a smooth release to drive the ball on the perimeter and on mid-range passes. He even showed running upside, as demonstrated in his game against Oregon, when he rushed for 135 yards on top of his 333 passing yards.

The redshirt sophomore is certainly a project, and will need to make major strides in his first full offseason as the team’s starting quarterback. But his arm talent has caught the eyes of NFL evaluators, and he could emerge as one of the most productive Pac-12 quarterbacks in a conference that includes Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen and Jake Browning.

… Also on the list … No. 7 Nick Stevens, Colorado State … No. 5 Blake Barnett, Arizona State …

Continue reading story here

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August 11th

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Top 10 Pac-12 Heisman Trophy Candidates for 2017

From Athlon Sports … In total and throughout its various incarnations, the Pac-12 claims 11 Heisman winners; Pac-12 programs make for 12, with recent newcomer Colorado boasting a 1994 recipient in the late Rashaan Salaam.

And the Pac-12 is loaded with contenders to make it Lucky No. 13. Heading up the Pac’s cast of candidates is arguably the most hyped prospect of the 2017 season, Sam Darnold. And while USC has had a historic edge on the Heisman in comparison to its conference brethren, don’t sleep on some of the league’s other names – especially considering the last five Pac-12 Heisman finalists all came from Stanford (Toby Gerhart, Andrew Luck, Christian McCaffrey) and Oregon (LaMichael James and Mariota).

4. Phillip Lindsay, RB, Colorado

Colorado’s 2016 season was a big surprise. One of the key reasons was the Buffaloes’ smallest first-string player.

The 5-foot-8, 180-pound Lindsay was a dynamo in 2016, racking up 1,252 rushing yards with 16 touchdowns. His impact in the ground attack was sizable, but there may not be a running back in college football who packs as much of a punch in the receiving game as Lindsay. He was good for nearly 500 receiving yards and a score last season.

Operating behind a solid, veteran offensive line, and coupled with one of the best wide receiving corps in the nation, Lindsay has the personnel around him to improve his numbers further. Should Colorado again surprise pundits and return to the Pac-12 title hunt, Lindsay has a big chance to get to New York.

Read other top ten candidates here

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August 10th

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CBS Bowl projections … Buffs heading to Las Vegas

From CBS Sports … With the CFP semifinals in the Rose and Sugar Bowls this year, three of the other four New Year’s Six matchups are simply at-large vs. at-large. That provides the greatest opportunity to have games filled with the most highly ranked teams. The best-case scenario for that to happen is for the semifinals to be games between conference champions with either the ACC, Big Ten or SEC left out. That would put the excluded team in the Orange Bowl, which is committed to an ACC versus Big Ten/SEC/Notre Dame matchup. The Group of Five champion will likely get one of those six other at-large spots, regardless of ranking, but the remaining five would go to the highest-rated teams left in the CFP Rankings.

Below are my first set of projections for the College Football Playoff and the entire 2017-18 bowl schedule ahead of the start of the season:

The Pac-12 …

Jan. 1 Rose Bowl
Pasadena, Calif.
5 p.m.
ESPN
Semifinal (2) Ohio State vs. (3) USC
Dec. 30 Fiesta
Glendale, Ariz.
4 p.m.
ESPN
At-large vs. At-large Wisconsin vs. Washington
Dec. 29 Sun (Pac-12 No. 6)
El Paso, Texas
2 p.m.
CBS
Pac-12 vs. ACC/ND Utah vs. Pittsburgh
Dec. 28 Holiday (Pac-12 No. 4)
San Diego
6 p.m.
FS1
Big Ten vs. Pac-12 Michigan vs. Oregon
Dec. 28 Alamo (Pac-12 No. 3)
San Antonio
9 p.m.
ESPN
Big 12 vs. Pac-12 Oklahoma vs. Stanford
Dec. 27 Foster Farms (Pac-12 No. 5)
Santa Clara, Calif.
8:30 p.m.
Fox
Big Ten vs. Pac-12 Minnesota vs. UCLA
Dec. 26 Cactus (Pac-12 No. 8)
Phoenix
TBA
ESPN
Big 12 vs. Pac-12 West Virginia vs. Washington St.
Dec. 16 Las Vegas (Pac-12 No. 7)
Las Vegas
3:30 p.m.
ABC
Pac-12 vs. MWC Colorado vs. San Diego State

 

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August 9th

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Forbes: Schools which dominate athletically and academically

From Forbes … When deciding on a college, most high schoolers and their families think about academics first and foremost. But for many others, a college tradition rooted in athletic prowess is equally important.

Nearly 70% of this list of schools that shine in the classroom and on the field is made up of large state universities. This should not come as a total surprise, given larger schools reputation for athletic success and ability to spend lavishly on athletics. In the latest data released by the U.S. Department of Education, 22 of the 25 colleges and universities with the highest athletic expenses are public schools – the three highest spenders were University of Texas at Austin at $155 million, The Ohio State University at $151 million and University of Michigan at $140 million.

Two of the three exceptions – Stanford University and University of Southern California – sit atop this list, spending $112 million and $106 million.

… The metric used to determine which schools historically “dominate” athletically was based on total Division I Team NCAA championships and football national championships. For a school to qualify, they must fall in the top 1% of the all-time total number of NCAA championships – which according to NCAA records, there have been 1,949 total national titles won (NCAA and football), meaning a minimum of 20 championships were required to be considered for this list.

As a result, notable schools such as Duke University (16 titles) didn’t make the cut.

The athletic dominance scale was then compared to the FORBES America’s Top Colleges list. The top school on this academic/athletic dominance ranking is Stanford, which is the No. 2 school overall. Louisiana State University came in at No. 20 of this list while ranking lowest in the college ranking at No. 219 overall.

The 25 schools on the list below all excel both academically and in sports:

1. Stanford University

2. University of California, Los Angeles

3. University of Southern California

4. University of Texas at Austin

5. University of Michigan

6. University of California, Berkeley

7. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

8. Yale University

9. Princeton University

10. Pennsylvania State University

11. University of Notre Dame

12. University of Florida

13. University of Virginia

14. University of Maryland

15. University of Wisconsin

16. Ohio State University

17. University of Georgia

18. University of Denver

19. Villanova University

20. Louisiana State University

21. University of Minnesota

22. University of Connecticut

23. University of Oklahoma, Norman

24. University of Colorado

25. Indiana University, Bloomington

 

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August 8th

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CBS releases its 1-130 rankings

From CBS Sports … No preseason poll is as inclusive or expansive as the CBS Sports 130, the only longtime weekly college football rankings you will find with all 130 FBS teams represented and sorted in order against their peers.

Just because the CBS Sports 130 has 105 more places than your normal rankings doesn’t mean we’ve got wildly different opinions on the No. 1 team in college football entering 2017. Just like the Coaches Poll and presumably the AP Top 25 (not released yet), we’ve got Alabama on top.

… See, that’s the thing about the CBS Sports 130. College football doesn’t exist in a 25-team league. That little number next to a team’s name, while a method of bragging for fans on Saturday, doesn’t ultimately mean that much. Depending on the season, there really might not be that big of a difference between No. 13 and No. 30 or No. 14 and No. 41. By viewing the college football landscape through a 130-team lens — with the addition of Coastal Carolina and return of UAB this season — we can get a more accurate view of the movement and distribution of strength in the sport.

The Pac-12 … 

4. USC

7. Washington

14. Stanford

24. Washington State

28. Utah

33. Oregon

38. UCLA

43. Colorado

70. Arizona State

72. Arizona

74. Oregon State

90. California

also … 53. Colorado State … 128. Texas State

Athlon – Top Receiver Groups in the Nation: CU No. 3

From Athlon Sports … The 2017 season features a significant amount of turnover at wide receiver, opening the door for new stars and breakout players to emerge this fall. However, despite some big names moving onto the NFL, there is a clear No. 1 receiver group returning this season. Oklahoma State is loaded with talent, including first-team All-American James Washington, LSU transfer Tyron Johnson and senior Marcell Ateman. With quarterback Mason Rudolph also returning, the Cowboys will rank among the nation’s best through the air. Clemson, Colorado, Penn State and Florida round out the projected top five, with Alabama, South Carolina and Ole Miss also making an appearance in the top 10.

3. Colorado

The Buffaloes return their top six statistical wide receivers from last season, which should ease the transition for new quarterback Steven Montez. Shay Fields led the team with 883 yards and nine scores, but Devin Ross (69 catches) and Bryce Bobo (44) are also All-Pac-12 candidates. Jay McIntyre and Kabion Ento return after combining for 40 catches last year, while Juwann Winfree — a top junior college recruit in 2016 — adds depth after sitting out 2016 due to injury. Four-star prospect K.D. Nixon ranked as the No. 2 recruit in Colorado’s 2017 signing class by the 247Sports Composite and could push for snaps in a deep rotation this fall.

From the Pac-12 … 

14. Washington

15. USC

23. California

30. Washington State

31. UCLA

35. Arizona State

Also … 38. Colorado State …

Not ranked … Arizona … Utah … Oregon … Stanford … Oregon State …

New Rules for 2017 Season

From SaturdayTradition.com … Rule changes are always a big topic of conversation before the start of any college football season. And heading into the 2017 campaign, there are some key alterations to keep an eye on this fall.

Probably the most significant change is the get-back rule for coaches.

Coaches stepping on the field to argue with officials – a longtime college football tradition – will now come with some consequences. A 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty will be assessed for coaches who storm onto the field solely to argue with an official.

Horse-collar tackle

Yanking down a ball-carrier by grabbing the inside of his jersey or shoulder pads has been barred from the college game for a few years now. But the nameplate area will also be off limits to tacklers when a ball-carrier is outside of the tackle box. This could make a difference on potential open-field tackles.

Equipment

Players must have pants and knee pads that actually cover their knees. If the pants aren’t long enough or knee pads aren’t covering the knees while on the field, a player will be forced to leave the game for at least one play until the equipment is fixed.

Continue reading story here

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August 7th

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Athlon: College Football’s Top 50 running back group

From Athlon Sports … While every college football team would prefer to have an established, superstar No. 1 running back, using a committee of options is the preferred approach to save wear and tear on the starter. Some teams prefer to split the carry workload close to a 50-50 split or use certain players in situational roles. Regardless of the usage, more teams are looking to a committee of players to establish a rushing attack. And with that in mind, it’s not easy to rank the best backfields in college football for the 2017 season. Weighing a team with a clear superstar but little depth, as opposed to a team with three proven options and no standout No. 1 option is a tough assignment.

From the Pac-12 … 

7. Washington

8. Oregon

9. USC

20. Stanford

23. Arizona State

28. Colorado

29. Oregon State

31. Washington State

48. Arizona State

… unranked … Arizona … Cal … Utah …

Jon Wilner: “Pac-12 South preview: Best case, worst case for each team”

From the San Jose Mercury News

COLORADO

Best case: 9-3. The Buffaloes play with the same urgency they showed last year, charge through non-conference schedule and let their veteran playmakers (Phillip Lindsay and the receivers) lead the way. The rebuilt defense quickly finds its footing and fellow contenders in the South fade away. CU remains on USC’s tail until the final weeks to further validate the ’16 breakthrough.

Worst case: 4-8. Colorado fails to build on its success as injuries and lethargy take root. Quarterback Steven Montez struggles in his first year as the starter, the defense takes too much time to solidify, especially on the back line, and the Buffs plod through the second half with a lower-tier bowl berth, not a division title, as the goal.

Read other Pac-12 South scenarios here

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August 3rd

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Utah down two starters

From Salt Lake City Tribune … University of Utah star strong safety Chase Hansen, the most experienced player in what will be an almost entirely new defensive backfield, will be out indefinitely.

The Utes athletic department announced Monday morning via email that Hansen would not be available to practice “until further notice.” Coach Kyle Whittingham said after practice that Hansen, who did participate in offseason workouts, would sit out due to a lingering injury that required downtime.

Hansen, a hard-hitting 6-foot-3, 220-pound junior, went into camp as the lone returning starter in a five-man Utes secondary (two cornerbacks and a nickleback along with two safeties).

Hansen came to Utah as a state championship-winning quarterback from Lone Peak High School, the Utah Gatorade Player of the Year and a Parade All-American. Hansen played in two games as a quarterback in 2015 as well as seven at strong safety (one start) before sustaining a season-ending ankle injury.

Last year in his first full season on defense, Hansen led the Utes in tackles and started all 13 games, including one at linebacker.

From ESPN …  Utah starting center Lo Falemaka was carried off the field by teammates with an injury at Thursday’s practice.

Coach Kyle Whittingham declined to detail the injury, but was “hoping for the best” immediately after practice and was expecting to talk to doctors once he finished his media obligations. Utah does not typically publicize injury specifics unless they are season-ending.

The 6-foot-5, 287-pound senior was slated to start at center after backing up the graduated J.J. Dielman last season. He played 10 games in 2016.

Sophomore Johnny Capra (6-6, 296 pounds) or sophomore Paul Toala (6-4, 317 pounds) are next in line to step in with the No. 1 unit.

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August 2nd

… Foe Pause …

Jon Wilner: Pac-12 training camp preview: What to watch for each team

From the San Jose Mercury News … Some teams have been on the field for more than a week, some for a few days. But in each case, it’s far too early to draw conclusions.

In place of conclusions, this training camp preview will pose questions and highlight issues, with an attempt to avoid too much attention on the quarterbacks.

… Colorado: Significant attrition at every level of the defense leaves CU with a slew of personnel issues to resolve, particularly in the secondary. But recent off-the-field developments — the dismissal of linebacker N.J. Falo (violation of team rules) and suspension of cornerback Anthony Julmisse (allegations of domestic violence) — places as much August attention on the Buffaloes’ conduct as on-the-field competition, at least until the situation settles.

Continue reading story here

Athlon rates the Pac-12 quarterbacks 

From Athlon Sports … The Pac-12 boasts a strong collection of signal-callers for 2017. Washington’s Jake Browning, Washington State’s Luke Falk and USC’s Sam Darnold clearly have a place among the nation’s best, while Oregon’s Justin Herbert and Colorado’s Steven Montez look to build off promising freshman campaigns. Josh Rosen’s return to full strength should be a huge boost for UCLA after a disappointing 4-8 record in 2016.

To help compile the rankings, there was some projection involved for 2017. This was not a ranking of quarterbacks only based on accomplishments so far or pro potential. All factors – pure talent, supporting cast, previous production, 2017 projection and scheme changes (just to name a few) – were considered and projected to rank the quarterbacks in the Pac-12 for 2017.

6. Steven Montez, Colorado

Montez is one of Athlon’s top breakout candidates at quarterback for 2017. He impressed in his first opportunity for playing time as a redshirt freshman last year, which included 10 appearances and three starts for an injured Sefo Liufau. Montez threw for 1,078 yards and nine scores and added 231 yards and one touchdown on the ground. He’s surrounded by a strong supporting cast, including the Pac-12’s top receiving corps.

Read entire story here

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38 Responses to “Pac-12 Notes”

  1. ep

    These pundits never cease to amaze. maybe I can get a job over at the CBS sports desk. I hear they pay pretty good. Not sure of the “Einstein’s” name who wrote the conference supremacy article but his rational for making the PAC 12 the worst conference is that they beat each other up? HUH? To me that signifies quality depth in the conference. Is it the east coast bias again? or are they actually picking the best conference based on its top 2 teams? Either way you cant take these people seriously.

  2. buffnaustin

    Athlon is my favorite College Football publication… this week.

  3. buffnaustin

    As far as I am concerned CU is ranked number 1 since we haven’t lost a game yet. There are 130 teams tied for first place.

  4. ep

    I went for th 13-0 vote in today’s poll Stuart. Bout as valid as anything Wilner puts out

  5. Paul

    The link to see the other Best/Worst Outcomes for the rest of the Pac-12 South in Foe Pause doesn’t work. Whenever I click on it, it just sends me to a blank page.

  6. Mark Mensik

    The folks at the Coloradoan act as if beating the Buffs is a formality! Silliness. Even when Buffs were at their lowest the little lammies barely beat us half the time. I expect another trip to the woodshed for the little brothers to the north.

  7. ep

    The Coloradoan always brings a smile. Its almost as if Baghdad Bob was writing for them. I guess they feel the need to pull out all the stops to get a decent showing of fans in that new stadium.
    I am glad we have a couple of guys, Rooney and Howell, who arent on homer acid trips all the time (sure glad Ringo is long gone though).I get a little sideways with them occasionally like when they came down hard on Mac for the Tumpkin affair but I have to go with Rooney’s realistic assessment of what is going on the hoop floor and Howell’s prediction of a step back on the W/L for the coming football season. The wild card is the new DC. If the O doesnt have to score 41 a game while being hamstrung by banal play calling things might be ok.

  8. ep

    Murphy has to be salivating over any intraconference realignment plans. What was the Duck’s record last year? and Stanford wasnt their usual self either. Washington is the only clear and present big dog in the North right now constantly and painfully reminding me of the horrible Hawkins choice. We hired nothing more than a big mouth with a kid to promote when one of the absolute best coaches in the country was right under our noses.

    • AZBuff

      ep, while I agree with you almost all the time, the one subject where I have to part company with you is your many years of haranguing that we should have hired Peterson rather then Hawkins. Yes, the Hawkins hire turned out to be probably the worst hire or worse then the Chuck Fairbanks hire, and had we hired Peterson maybe things would have been totally different. We’ll never know.

      But face reality, hardly anyone even knew who Chris Peterson was, a pretty much obscure asst. coach for a non power conference team. Big time schools just don’t take that kind of chance, and what had at that time Peterson proved that he belonged in a job as a HC at a school like CU? No one takes a chance like that, and I can’t think of any big time school that ever has. Hawkins, sad to say for CU was the coup of the year in the eyes of many people associated with college football. How do we know if Peterson would have been any more effective at CU? The guy you see now at Washington had a few years to learn how to be a big time coach, but he had a lot of support at Boise St. doing that, and he also inherited a good situation at Udub. That was not the atmosphere at CU when Hawkins arrived for sure.

      Get over it as Peterson is now at a PAC 12 school which we will play this year, and maybe the best thing for your psyche is if CU beats the pants off the Huskies this fall.

      • buffalobilly

        We need to get over that past mistake and deal with the issues at hand AZ. Lindgren. He has had ample time and personnel to absolutely kill it. Hasnt done it.

  9. Hey Stuart, regarding the Stewart Mandel article, the Buffs are with the Barons. I think that is probably appropriate based on their overall history. Those who only know about their recent history probably son’t agree. Overall I would mostly agree with his list but I wouldn’t put so many in the Kings category. Miami is highly suspect especially when you consider that most of their success came by cheating (and getting away with it).

  10. buffnaustin

    Baylor will not close the football program because of the money. Being a Baptist University has no bearing on profit. The NCAA on the other hand should hand down the death penalty. This is by far worse than SMU. FACT.

  11. buffnaustin

    I try not boycott football games but I haven’t watched a championship game in since Oregon – Auburn so they can do what ever they want at halftime and it wont affect me being asleep by that time. Does anyone hear me? Does anyone care?

    • ep

      I havent either. Who cares bout a team (Alabama Ohio State etc) who have nothing but 5 and 4 star players starting and 3 deep on the bench who could make the local JV coach look good.
      Even though I love to hear anything that frosts Phil Knight’s buns as in the Tyner story I would always watch the ducks because of their entertaining offense….which may be a thing of the past

  12. ep

    Baylor. The NCAA death penalty isnt enough. The entire school should be forced to shut down…by the Baptist church if no one else. Is it worse than Penn State? I dont know but the guy riding herd over the whole university was the same guy who put 40 million dollars in his pocket of your taxpayer money for crucifying Bill Clinton for getting a little consensual sex.

  13. iriebuff

    Until the Pac12 get it straight with DirectTV the conference and therefore CU is not maximizing revenue potential that is sitting on the table. Unfortunately NFL Sunday Ticket wins over Pac 12 Network in my household every year!!

  14. ep

    Athlon….they really have the goods on Montez….right? He already has a 100 yard game rushing and they dont think he is a dual threat? How can I take anything they say seriously about other teams?

    • Eric Grathwol

      I chuckled at the same thing. First qb in CU history to throw for 300 and rush for 100 in the same game. Nope. No dual threat there. I will not be surprised to see a fair amount of Steven running by design. To the outside. He is much faster than Sefo.

      Go Buffs.

    • AZBuff

      I really never thought much of Sefo as a dual threat, although due to poor pass protection a lot of the time he did gain some yards. Then they started scheming actual plays around him running, mostly off tackle. He was a big guy and pretty hard to bring down. He also was not the greatest passer and many times held on to the ball too long and lacked consistent accuracy. Big Heart Though. All that said I still never thought of him as a major dual threat, but more of a last resort option.

      Now Montez, that is a different story as he can run but that I don’t think is what they truly want him to be, a running QB. They need to protect him and let his natural passing talents develop along with a great stable of WRs and rely on the RBs to do the majority of the running. All this as usual hinges on the OL performing at a higher level then we have seen for many years in Boulder. Loved those OL’s of the McCartney era.

  15. Casey

    The projected starting quarterback heigth is ridiculous in the Pac 12. Seems gone are the days for a 6′-0″ quarterback, now they gotta be 6′-3″ 225lbs with agile feet.

  16. Victor King

    Ya know? This draft is pretty exciting actually.

    Wow Buff(s) in the first round. Maybe 3 before the end of the second.

    Dang Nab it, I like it.

    BuffsUp

  17. ep

    CBS is short changing Chris Peterson. What else does the guy have to do to prove himself? He should be at least in their Spurrier catagory

    • ep

      and you wonder if Bohn still loses sleep about taking HWSRN instead of Peterson

      • AZBuff

        ep, Chris Peterson was not a known quantity when Hawkins was hired at CU. Boise St had started to make some noise out west in college football with Dirk Koetter and his hiring at ASU. Then Hawkins took over and the success at B St. continued. Hawkins by the time he was hired at CU was a very hot property. UofA was very interested in Hawkins the year before CU snagged him.

        How many coaches with the pedigree at that time that Chris Peterson had as an assistant at not even a Power Five conference school have you seen hired for the big time? I can’t think of very many. Power Five schools hire head coaches when they take a chance on a new guy from a smaller school, not assistants.

        Obviously looking back, sure they got the wrong guy but not too many AD’s are going to take that chance, and what had Chris Peterson proved up to that time frame? Fess up you and 99% of all of us Buff fans would have been underwhelmed and disgusted.

  18. ep

    Kinda slow this time of year for college sports writers. Cant wait for their next no value analysis.

  19. VK

    Welp the Coloradian. How does FT Hope get that name?

    Webb. Never been a Webb that helped out the Buffs at QB.
    “I’m a first round Guy”…..What? hahahahaha………….
    Talk about a Strawman. Must be a loaner type. Related???
    Gawd that guy. (And that guy too………sheesh. Glad he never showed up.

    Rank em if ya got em”

    Buffs.

    Are they ever gonna free Mac2?
    Are they ever gonna free RG?

  20. ep

    Word has it Javier is outworking a lot of his linemates

  21. ep

    Baylor has filed for relief due to technicalities? But have they asked forgiveness from Jesus?

  22. ep

    The Coloradoan is actually admitting the Ram secondary aint all that good?

  23. That’s funny, EP. I too would be pretty surprised to see Webb go in the first round. As I say, I’m no QB savant (or football savant, in general, for that matter) but I saw Davis toss what looked like plenty of passes, right into LB’s and DB’s hands, that, from my untrained eye, it appeared he just didn’t even see in the coverage.

    Yet, in his words from the story at espn.com “I try to show off a bit,” Webb said. “I try to show them that I know my stuff, about defenses and about fronts. I think my potential is through the roof.”

    Hey, at least he’s got some confidence, if not false bravado. I do hope the kid does well though.

    I hope Sefo gets his shot, and does much better. His mechanics seem to still be his biggest knock. I did watch the QBs at the combine, and didn’t notice much difference from him to Davis or many of the other dudes. But, unlike most of the QBs in the draft this year (by my speculation only, who had QB coaches from an early age) Sefo only was really dedicated to his craft the last four years. Give the kid some time, and he may be able to make the transition w/ better mechanics. I think his reads were generally better than Davis’ (again, complete speculation by me, not that I need to qualify that more, but I will anyway) and his other “intangibles” are off the charts. At least in my view. Either way, I know the young man will be successful in whatever he chooses as enters the next chapter of his life.

    As for our Buffs? It appears they’ve got two or three guys coming up who are likely more physically talented, and hopefully have the other components, to be even better than Sefo was for CU. Love that. In fact, in thinking about it, they could be the most talented trio of QB’s CU’s had on the field at the same time since Sal, Darian and CJ. That’s a long time. Hey, thank you Mike Mac and company.

    Go Buffs.

  24. ep

    Baylor gets humiliated…nuff said 🙂

  25. ep

    Not going to wish you luck Davis. I will say that NFL teams are busy spreading smokescreens about this time. I will be surprised if you go in the first or second round.

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