July 30th

Pac-12 Network to be profitable “from year one”

Jon Wilner from the San Jose Mercury News was able to extract more details from Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott in an article this weekend.

A few of the highlights:

– The heirarchy. Now that the Pac-12 Network has been announced, the next step is to pick someone to lead it. The new chief executive for the Pac-12 Media Enterprises will handle the business arm of the national and six regional networks. While the new hire will have an extensive background in both media and marketing, all Scott will allow for now is that it will not be Scott’s right hand man, deputy commissioner Kevin Weiberg.

– Rights fees. Because of the deal already in place with four major distributors (see story, below), the Pac-12 Network will be profitable from year one. “How profitable”, Scott allowed, “depends on future distribution and advertising.” Start up costs, a major concern in earlier discussions concerning the new network, will be covered by the league, and not borne by individual schools. (As to the amount of the rights fees, there is an unconfirmed report from another site that Pac-12 teams should expect another $6-8 million per year from the wholly-owned Network – on top of the $21 million average payout from the 12-year, $3 billion deal from Fox and ESPN for television rights).

– Distribution. While those of you in the Pac-12’s six-state footprint will have the Network as part of your basic tier programming, the rest of us will have to wait and see how the remaining negotiations with other distributors play out over the next year. Not to worry, said Scott. “It’s unprecedented for a network to have so much distribution lined up one year before it launches,” he said. “The fact that we are in more than 40 million homes (already) — we’re way out in front.” Because the Pac-12 Network has retained the rights to so many football and men’s basketball games, Scott said, he expects to get “significant additional distribution. “How long it takes to do the deals, it’s impossible to say because they are negotiations. But we are committed to getting the broadest possible distribution.”

– Programming. True, there will be a national network and six regional networks. Does that mean that Stanford fans living in Washington will not be able to watch every game Washington plays? No, say Scott.

Regardless of which regional network you receive, everyone will have the same core 350 events:

All football games (that aren’t on Fox or ESPN).
All men’s basketball games (that aren’t on Fox or ESPN).
40 women’s basketball games.
Best-of-the-best Olympic sports.
All spring football games.

Once you get to event No. 351, everything gets separated by region.

While there is significant work which remains to be accomplished in the next year, Buff fans can sit back and relax. Starting next fall, when the Buffs on the gridiron and hardwood are preparing to make their presence known in the Pac-12 (more so than in 2011-12, I’d say), Colorado fans will be able to enjoy every single game.

With the Colorado athletic department smiling all the way to the bank …


July 28th

Big Ten Network giving Pac-12 Network a working  model

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott has often stated that he looked at the Big Ten Network for ideas as to how to structure the Pac-12 Network.

For starters, Scott learned that giving away 51% of the store to distributors was not the way to go, with the Pac-12 retaining 100% ownership of its network. Scott also managed, as part of the league’s 12-year, $3 billion television contract with ESPN and Fox, to retain a significant number of football and men’s basketball games for the league in order to make the new Network more atractive to distributors.

Now the Pac-12 Network can keep an eye on how the Big Ten does with its internet platform.

“BTN2Go” will feature a live, online simulcast of all BTN linear network programming, including more than 40 football games, over 100 men’s basketball contests and hundreds of other events. Moreover, there will be extra football game channels for scheduling conflicts, on-demand programming and archived content, including contests that premiered on ABC and ESPN.

BTN president Mark Silverman said BTN2Go will be offered exclusively through the network’s participating cable, satellite and telco distribution partners as an authenticated digital service to customers who already receive BTN as part of their video subscription. Once their provider agrees to carry the service, BTN subscribers will be able to access BTN2Go on three platforms: the Internet, iPad and iPhone. Silverman said that Time Warner Cable, DirecTV and Dish Network have committed to launching BTN2Go on the aforementioned platforms.

As with everything else Larry Scott et al. have done with the Pac-12 since its inception, look for the Pac-12 Network to take what works for BTN2Go, improve on the rest, and give Pac-12 fans an even better package.

July 27th

Pac-12 Network details disclosed!!

The Pac-12, in an historic joint deal with Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, and Bright House Networks, announced the formation of the Pac-12 Networks. 

The Pac-12 has issued a press release giving some of the details of the new network …

Press Release Highlights:

NEW YORK, N.Y. — In an innovative arrangement providing unprecedented exposure for its athletic and academic programs, the Pac-12 Conference announced today the creation of Pac-12 Networks, which will include a national network and six regional networks, in conjunction with four of the nation’s largest cable operators: Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications and Bright House Networks.

In addition to broadly distributing the Pac-12 Networks, the four cable operators are utilizing iN DEMAND to provide certain production and operations services to the Pac-12 Networks, which will continue to be wholly owned by the Pac-12 Conference.

This transformative arrangement, set to begin in August 2012, marks the first time a U.S. collegiate conference or any other programmer has launched a collection of networks across a variety of platforms rather than a sole network. And it includes “TV everywhere” rights, permitting the networks to be viewed outside customers’ homes on any digital device, such as smartphones and tablet computers, creating a virtual “Pac-12 Everywhere.”

…Under the agreement announced today, Pac-12 Networks eventually will telecast a total of 850 live events annually – 350 on the national feed and 500 on the regional feeds — including every football game and every men’s basketball game that isn’t carried by national telecast partners. Additional events will include spring football, and every sport played by Pac-12 programs including all conference championships. Pac-12 also will be working to launch additional content on broadband.

The agreement will provide unprecedented exposure for women’s sports, as well as exposure for both men’s and women’s programs that have been traditionally underserved on television. This includes extensive coverage of Pac 12 athletes in Olympic sports, where the Pac-12 has had more success than any other U.S. conference. Over 200 Pac-12 athletes competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and if the Pac-12 were its own country it would have finished sixth in the total medal count.

Pac 12 Networks will feature extensive educational, academic and lifestyle programming from the Pac-12 Institutions, some of the most renowned and recognizable higher education institutions in the world. Programming will extend beyond athletics to other subjects of interest to students, faculty, alumni and fans of the Pac-12 universities.

Through this agreement Pac-12 Networks will be available nationwide to almost 40 million cable customers. Within the Pac-12 Conference’s six-state footprint, Pac-12 Networks will be broadly distributed and available to Pac-12’s far-flung alumni and fans across the country.

“This announcement provides a springboard for our fans, alumni and followers nationwide to connect in a stronger fashion with our student-athletes and the institution,” said Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn in a prepared statement.

Scott did not say what the startup costs of the networks would be but at spring meetings in Seattle last month, multiple conference officials and athletic directors said those costs could be between $60 and $80 million.

The financial impact of the networks on individual schools remains to be seen, but Scott and others have said the goal is to generate revenue to rival what Big Ten Conference schools are receiving from that conference’s network. Pac-12 athletic departments could eventually see $6 to $8 million in additional revenue annually on top of the annual distributions they will receive from the landmark $3 billion deal with ESPN and FOX announced last month. That deal also covers 12 years.

“It’s a tremendous accomplishment and I salute Larry Scott and his team for that,” Bohn said. “It’s a privilege to be a part of pulling this together with the commissioner and the league. The announcement couldn’t come at a better time as recruiting and all the excitment associated with the upcoming season comes together.”

What does all this mean for Buff fans?

The Pac-12 network will be available on basic cable in the conference’s six-state footprint (good for Buff fans living in Colorado) and in an add-on sports tier in other states that requires an extra fee (that would be folks like me who don’t live in the Centennial State or the west coast). The new deal also includes “TV everywhere” rights, permitting the networks to be viewed outside customers’ homes on any digital device, such as smartphones and tablet computers.

Launch of the networks is scheduled for August 2012. The deal is for 12 years but the financial terms were not disclosed. The networks will be wholly owned by the conference and will be initially available to 40 million homes nationally.

One issue: What about the satellite TV companies, such as Direct TV, and other cable companies? “We are hopeful, expect, we will have additional distribution with satellite companies and other cable companies,” Scott said. Scott said such talks are on-going.

Another issue: In a teleconference about the deal, Scott said the regional networks could televise high school football games, if the NCAA permits it. The rumblings out of Texas has been that the Texas Longhorn Network was looking into televising high school football games, a potentially huge recruiting advantage for a school already owning every possible edge against its competition. The possibility of such airings has brought about immediate protests from other schools, and the NCAA will be convening special meetings to address the issue.

If Texas gets away with televising high school games on its network, look for Larry Scott to have high school games lined up on the Pac-12 Networks a few minutes later …

Embree “chats” on ESPN

Colorado head coach Jon Embree took part in an on-line chat with ESPN this morning.

Here is a link to the entire chat (scroll down past the chat with Arizona State head coach Dennis Erickson).

A few highlights:

David (NJ) – Coach, what’s your social media policy? Do a lot of your players have Twitter and Facebook and all of that?

Colorado’s Jon Embree – They can have it. I just don’t want them Tweeting anything about the team good or bad. Or Facebooking about their teammates good or bad. They might be thinking they’re saying something good, but it might not come across that way.

 Kevin (Denver) – With Jimmy and Jalil gone. Who do you see contributing at corner in 2011 ?

Colorado’s Jon Embree – Well, that’s something we’ll have to find out in training camp. I’m interested to see what Parker can do. Jarod, Kyle, Paul and some others. Between all of them, we need to come out with 4-5 corners.

 Jim (Rifle,CO) – Coach Embree, Special Teams performance has been dismal for the last several years. How do you think the Buffs are looking as far as improvement in that category? Who are some players we might see on special teams this year? Go Buffs!

Colorado’s Jon Embree – Well, it’s an issue we addressed this spring. We’re going to have a lot of competition at both of our kicking positions. Justin has been getting better since the spring. Will is coming in to compete with him. The job that JD is capable of doing, I think we’ll see marked improvement.

Travis (Boulder) – Coach, first of all congrats on the job you have brought back the passion and pride in this program already. This is the first time since I started school that I have seen tons of CU pride all the way down in Colorado Springs. My question for you is how much are the critics in this country underrating your team? It seems with the senior class, the strength at some key positions, and the physical attitude that is already coming through when I hear the players talk, that the nation is in store for a surprise.

Colorado’s Jon Embree – I definitely think we’ll surprise some people this year. There is no doubt that a lot is not expected of us. I joke around that we’re supposed to finish 13 in a 12 team league. We’ll need our fans to help will us to a couple of victories. That’s the great thing about being Buff, I’ve been a part of some great games. That’s from our fan base. We’ll need them to help us this year.

Jamie S (Iowa) – The Buffs have a daunting schedule, do you feel like the incoming freshman are going to have to be ready to play with no bye weeks?

Colorado’s Jon Embree – Definitely. That’s where one of the things we have to continue to improve the depth in our program at all positions. If we’re going to be a physical team, we might have a guy get nicked or miss a game with an injury. You need your freshmen ready to go. That puts pressure on our training camp and coaches so we know what they can and can’t do so we don’t put them in a position where they can’t perform.

July 26th

CU game day shirts ….

If you are looking for right gift for your favorite CU fan, check out the CU bookstore website, where they already have gameday t-shirts for every Pac-12 home game.

Embree/Hansen face the media

The three-day event known as Pac-12 Media days kicked off with press conferences with each of the 12 head coaches, as well as one player representative from each school. Colorado head coach Jon Embree brought his senior quarterback, Tyler Hansen, to the event, but, as was the case with most of the question and answer sessions, most of the questions were directed toward the head coach.

Some of the highlights of the Jon Embree press conference:

– On playing 13 straight games … “You know, that’s one of the things about coming from the NFL. I think last year in Washington we didn’t get our bye until I think we played nine or ten straight. So you factor that in with preseason and all of that, you get used to it. We’ll just have to be smart how we practice towards the end of the season.

“But what it really does is it creates a lot of opportunity for our young players because we’re going to have to play everybody that we can that’s not redshirting to give us a chance in these games.”

– On picking one thing CU can improve on to increase its win total … “I want to improve the identity of our program. I want when people see us play, I want them to understand we’re a physical program, physical team. Being able to run the football. I don’t think we’ve run the football like we should.

“When Colorado’s been successful in its past, we’ve been a good running team. And that’s what we need to do. I think to be an effective team running the ball; you have to have a physical kind of mindset.”

On where Tyler Hansen fits in in a conference loaded with great quarterbacks … “I think Tyler fits and belongs with the groups of guys that you have here, and the quarterbacks that you have in this conference. For Tyler to be effective, I look at touchdown and reception ratio. If he’s throwing a lot of touchdowns, a lot of interceptions, I’m happy with it. My last year at UCLA we had Drew Olson who was overshadowed by everybody in the conference, and I think Drew finished 37 touchdowns and four interceptions in that range. I’ll take that every year.”

– On Tyler Hansen off the field … “I tell Tyler, the thing that I think will make him a successful person and help him be successful this year is he loves to prepare probably more than he loves to play. When you have that within you, that allows you to be successful. You know, he loves watching tape. He gets the guys out there to throw. He understands when we say something to him. He picked up the offense very quickly. He had a spring practice where he went 18 out of 19 for about 250 and three touchdowns. The thing that was really most impressive about that is out of his 19 attempts, only twice did he get downgraded for having a poor decision.

“So that tells me he knows where to go with the ball. He understands progression, he understands how coverage dictates some things to him, and he had a good feel for it.”

– On having to prepare for an entirely new slate of opponents … “Well, they still have to prepare for us too, so it’s hard for both teams. I do have some familiarity with this conference. I was at UCLA for three years and then my son’s been at UCLA the last three years going into his senior year. So I’ve watched a lot of different games, always UCLA involved, but watched some of the teams play.

“There is so much diversity in this league offensively and defensively that you’re not going to see the same style on both sides of the ball maybe week to week. So you always have to prepare. You can’t go in with a cookie cutter kind of mentality and say if we just do this, we’ll be prepared for everybody in our conference.

“So because of that, I think that you have to have within your systems, you have to have great flexibility and adaptability to what’s going on and what you’re going to face from week to week. If you play Oregon you’re going to play fast break football, right. And next week if you’re playing Stanford, it’s power football.”

– On joining a program which hasn’t won on the road since 2007 … “We haven’t?” (laughs) … “I believe there is no one on our team that’s played in a road win. I’m taking it head on. I believe it all starts from how you prepare. It all starts with the mindset. Good teams win on the road. Obviously we haven’t been a good team or I wouldn’t be here.

“So if we want to do the things that the players want to do, be it Bowl games and championships and all that, we have to win on the road. The schedule was mentioned here earlier, and about us playing 13 straight. The thing I’m excited about is our first game’s on the road because we need to address that issue immediately. I’ll leave it at that. We need to address that issue immediately. It does not sit well with me.”

All in all, not a bad press conference. No one actually asked about Colorado being picked last in the Pac-12 …

My least favorite comment – “Tyler loves to prepare more than he loves to play”. I understand that Embree was trying to say that Tyler was a hard worker off the field, but Colorado has been great in practice the last five years. The Buff Nation is anxious for success on the field as well.

My favorite comment – “We need to address that issue (the road losing streak) immediately. It does not sit well with me”.  Gotta like a coach who doesn’t want to ease into his first game as a head coach, but wants the opportunity to burst right through the barrier which has eluded the team for four years.

 A good Pac-12 introductory video, to get you ready for this …

Colorado picked last in the Pac-12 South

Okay, so this was not unexpected …

In the poll of Pac-12 media members, Colorado finished last in the Pac-12 South. In fact, in terms of overall votes, the Buffs finished last in the entire conference.

Here are the numbers …

North (first place votes):

1. Oregon (29)… 239

2. Stanford (13)… 220

3. Washington… 142

4. Oregon State… 120

5. California… 110

6. Washington State… 51

South (first-place votes)

1. USC (24) … 230

2. Arizona State (13)… 207

3. Utah (4)… 170

4. Arizona (1)… 140

5. UCLA … 89

6. Colorado… 46

The media poll has picked the correct champion in 27 of the previous 50 polls, including 10 of the past 11. The Ducks were picked to win in 2010. They also won the title in 2009, when USC was the media selection.

Oregon was picked by 28 voters to win the title game. Stanford was picked by 11 and Arizona State by three.

Buck up, Buff fans. Colorado hasn’t finished last alone in the conference since 1915 … and I don’t believe it will happen this year, either.

July 25th

Pac-12 television Network talk heats up

On the eve of the Pac-12 media days, Jon Wilner has posted an update as to the status of the Pac-12 Network talks.


– We are at least a week away from an announcement, and perhaps several weeks;

– Despite its statement that it is “not in any discussions with the conference about a Pac-12 Network”, Fox Sports, is, according Wilner, “definitely in play”;

– While the internet will certainly be a part of the future of the Pac-12 Network, it will not be the exclusive provider; and

– Wilner’s conclusion about the announcement as to how the Pac-12 Network will work: “Expect something unique”.


July 22nd

Arizona State senior cornerback chances to play in 2011 “slim”

Omar Bolden was an All-Pac-10 selection at cornerback in 2010.

Bolden will not earn that honor in 2011.

A good candidate to leave college early and pursue an NFL career, Bolden instead opted to return to Tempe for his senior year, only to suffer a torn ACL during spring practices. While rehabiliation is proceeding well, it is unlikley that Bolden will be able to suit up this fall. “To be honest, I don’t want to rush, Bolden told AZCentral.com. “I’m trying to look at the big picture. If I’m ready in six months, then I’m ready. If I’m not, then I’m not. I don’t want to give out a time or date because I don’t want to disappoint the fans, and I don’t want to disappoint myself. What I can tell you is I worked hard yesterday and I’m working hard today, just to get better tomorrow. That’s my approach.”

Bolden would be a good candidate for a medical red-shirt, and a sixth season of eligibility in 2012, but it does not sound as if Bolden wants to take that approach.  “I just kind of feel like (after this season), my time is done here,” said Bolden, who missed eight games in 2009 because of a knee injury.

Which reduces Bolden to an Arizona State cheerleader this fall … one Colorado will not have to face on the football field on October 29th.

Utah to stay in state for most non-conference games

What do you do when your football team’s television revenue jumps from $2 million to $21 million?

Reduce travel costs, of course!

Already tied at the hip to BYU for one of its three future non-conference games (see: Colorado/Colorado State), Utah realistically only has two non-conference games with which to schedule quality opponents.

Make that one non-conference game.

Utah has signed a four-year deal with Utah State, beginning in 2012. Each team will host two of the games, with Utah making the trip to Logan in 2012 and 2014.

With the Utes already scheduled to play BYU in upcoming years, Utah is now slated to stay within 82 miles of home (its 45 miles from Salt Lake City to Provo and the BYU campus) for most of September for the next four years.

That’s one way to help the athletic department budget!!

(Anyone checking on Northern Colorado’s September, 2012, availabilty? Or Wyoming’s? Or Air Force’s?) …

July 21st

Pac-12 Network still a work in progress

The latest report from Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News on the Pac-12 Network … we still don’t know what is going to happen.

The original timeline for an announcement concerning the new network was late June or early July. The next target date was next Tuesday, when the Pac-12 Media days kickoff.

And now?

It may be mid-August.

The hang-up? Trying to figure out a structure for the network which will serve the needs of today’s viewers (read: cable/satellite), but will also be flexible enough to take advantage of future technology (read: Apple or Google taking over the way we access football telecasts).

Wilner speculates that, rather than risk alienating Pac-12 fans by placing the network in an arena as yet unaccessible to the majority of fans, that the league will come up with a hybrid solution, opting to go with a cable or satellite operator for at least the first few seasons of the Pac-12 Network’s existence.

So, if a cable or satellite provider will take on the Pac-12 Network in 2012, which operator will it be?

Wilner has a few thoughts …

Fox – unlikely. “We’re not in any discussions with the conference about a Pac-12 Network,” Fox Sports spokesman Chris Bellitti told me. “We’re happy with our new Pac-12 media rights agreement.”

Comcast – also unlikely, if for no other reason than sour grapes over losing out on the Pac-12 television contracts.

ESPN – nope. The mother ship only has one network to deal with – the Texas Longhorn Network – and there are already problems with that exclusive deal.

Time Warner – the likely winner, according to Wilner. Time Warner already has two million subscribers in Los Angeles alone (a factor which cannot be ignored by the conference), and is getting more aggressive about picking up sports inventory.

For those who do not have TimeWarner, Wilner speculates that deals will be made with other providers to gain the greatest amount of exposure possible, using marquee football and basketball games as a lure for other partners to agree to sign on.

Stay tuned.

The expected announcement may not be coming in the next week, but the issue must be resolved soon. Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott has said on several occasions that he believes that it will take about a year to get the new Network operational …

… and the league is looking to launch the new Pac-12 Network in August, 2012.

July 20th

Hawkins family has a good week

Apparently Dan Hawkins is not an old soldier, because he is not going to just fade away …

Former Colorado head coach Dan Hawkins, 19-39 in his four-plus seasons in Boulder, is not going to just take his $2 million buyout and sit on the beach. The Idaho Statesmanis reporting (thanks for spotting this, Buffnik!) that ESPN has hired Dan Hawkins to call games on ESPNU this fall. The play-by-play announcer Hawkins will work with is Pam Ward.

Here’s hoping that the assignment Hawkins is given is the early morning second-tier Big Ten game of the week …

Meanwhile, Dan’s son Cody has also been faring well.

According to cubuffs.com, former University of Colorado quarterback Cody Hawkins helped the United States National Team to the gold medal last Saturday in the IFAF Senior World Championship in Vienna, Austria.

Team USA rolled to a 3-0 record in Group A (round-robin) play, defeating Australia (61-0), Germany (48-7) and Mexico (17-7), with all of those games in Innsbruck.  Then last Saturday, the United States defeated Canada, 50-7, to win the gold medal.           

Hawkins only played one full game in the four, against Mexico, otherwise the games were well in hand and he played in just 11 quarters, including just the first few series in the gold medal game.  Considering that the entire tournament was played in eight days, not playing four full games in basically a week’s time likely played a role in his effectiveness.

Hawkins completed 60 of 88 passes (68.2 percent) for 784 yards, with five touchdowns and just one interception; if applying the NCAA rating system to his numbers, it worked to a 159.5 rating.  In the title game, he also rushed once, covering seven yards for a touchdown.

Congratulations, Cody … and Dan.

The Buff Nation wishes you well in your new endeavors.

July 20th

Oregon apologist makes his case

I don’t know if you have spent much time on the Oregon/Willie Lyles saga. If you have, then you have, like me, read numerous apologist/defender posts by Oregon faithful.

Today I read one of the more reasoned defenses I’ve seen from an Oregon fan. It was attached as a comment to Jon Wilner’s article on his picks for the Pac-12 this fall (yes, he picked Colorado to finish last in the Pac-12 South. Be prepared for Colorado to be chosen to finish last when the Pac-12 media poll is released prior to the Pac-12 media day July 26th. Until Embree/Bieniemy et al., can demonstrate progress on the field, this is going to be the media consensus), and it is worth quoting here. I can’t say that I agree with all of the conclusions, but several valid points are raised:

By: AtlDuck: “Couple of issues to think of… first, Lyles was not paid by Oregon when LaMichael James was recruited. Like many of the media members you scold, you fell into that trap. James’ recruitment is not, and should not, be an issue regarding Lyles. At the time, Lyles worked for a different scouting service. His help with James does not qualify in this debate.

Second, there are 2 problems with even talking about vacating anything… IF it is found that Oregon violated bylaw 13.14.3 Recruiting or Scouting Services, then there is a very applicable part of this rule at the end of the bylaw which reads: Effect of Violation. Violations of Bylaw 13.14.3 and its subsections shall be considered institutional violations per Constitution 2.8.1; however, such violations shall not affect the prospective student-athlete’s eligibility… therefor, no player(s) will be ruled ineligible, hence no vacating of wins. Second problem is that, supposing for a moment that Oregon is found to have violated different rules regarding the 2 players who Lyles mentored during the same recruiting season as Oregon signed them, neither of the players playes last season, again, negating the concept of vacating wins.

Third issue is the mere fact that Cal and LSU are also involved with this. By all accounts, Cal and LSU supposedly “did it right” by getting documentation, etc. IF this is true, then the NCAA would be, in effect, ruling that Lyles service was legitimate. If he had a legitimate service, Oregon’s violations are minimal… not obtaining and maintaining proper documentation. If the NCAA rules that Lyles service was not legit for any of the 3 schools, then they are left defining Lyles as a booster for multiple schools… if that is the case, considering one of those schools is an SEC team, I cannot see them taking away 12 scholarship… that is actually insane… especially given what was announced today regarding LSU’s OTHER violation which was a clear and willful violation of recruiting rules and extra benefits to a player… 2 TOTAL scholarship reductions… no way Oregon get 12…

Fourth issue, you are using the rules, as they exist now, to condemn the program for what happened over a year ago. The importance of the distinction is that the bylaws regarding recruiting services changed in August 2010. Prior to this the “quarterly written report” was NOT required by the NCAA… So, regarding the written reports, at worst, the Ducks are guilty of not obtaining proper documents after the rule change… and, it may be that they thought the agreement with Lyles was “grandfathered” in so that they did not need to go back in time to produce the records… it COULD be that the “scramble” was nothing more than Oregon getting direction from Bill Clever that they should attempt to obtain some information anyway…

Fifth issue, and this is huge. There are some facts not being reported ANYWHERE which might cast a different light on the subject.
FACT 1: Lache Seastrunk made several unofficial visits to Auburn in Summer 2009
FACT 2: On each of these unofficial visits, there were a few minor recruiting violations that occurred.
FACT 3: Lache Seastrunk was originally committed to Auburn.
FACT 4: The NCAA, in light of a host of minor violations told Auburn to stop recruiting Seastrunk.
FACT 5: Oregon agreed to become Lyles’ first client in December 2009
FACT 6: USC was Lache’s 2nd choice, until the coach left
FACT 7: Pete Carroll’s departure from USC was announced January 11, 2010
FACT 8: Josh Gibson’s email to Bill Clever re: Lache’s signature was dated January 12th
FACT 9: Lache Seastrunk did not officially commit to Oregon until January 27.
FACT 10: Lache’s mom visited LSU with him
FACT 11: She wanted him to go to LSU
FACT 12: lache Seastrunk’s mom was in and out of his life as a child, she had her own demons and did not raise him.

You see, Oregon was actually his 3rd choice. Yet, the Ducks had agreed to be Lyles 1st client while Lache was committed elsewhere… and Oregon stayed true to this even when Lache committed to USC (silent commit)… so, to say that the 25K was to get Seastrunk is extremely naive… the problem is that the facts I present do not generate clicks or sales… they are not “headlines” that make people happy, so they get tossed on teh side of the road… sometimes headlines are better than facts…”

Food for thought …

July 19th

Juron Criner back in the fold

Arizona star wide receiver Juron Criner will apparently be ready for some football this fall.

Criner’s status for the coming season was in doubt following reports last month of an undisclosed medical issue, is now on campus and is working out with the team. Criner will join the Wildcats when they begin preseason camp Aug. 4, the Arizona Daily Star reported.

We anticipate having Juron,” Stoops told the Daily Star. “He had some family issues that were concerning over the summer, and those are personal. We anticipate him being the same player — or a better player — than he was a year ago.” Criner missed a scheduled trip in June, and Arizona officials, citing privacy laws, wouldn’t reveal the player’s exact condition, though a source told ESPN.com that it was a “non-injury, medical issue.”

Criner, listed at 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors last year after leading the conference in receptions (82) and receiving yards (1,233) while scoring 11 touchdowns. He recently was named to the Biletnikoff Award watch list.

July 18th

USC suspends starting running back

Southern California tailback Marc Tyler will be suspended – at least – for the 2011 season opener against Minnesota.

The senior tailback, who led the Trojans in rushing last season with 913 yards rushing, was suspended for comments he made to TMZ which implied he gets paid to play for USC.

Tyler, who appeared intoxicated on video, said he was “joking” when he said he responded to a question about if athletes were paid more at USC or in the pros.

“USC,” Tyler said. “They breaking bread.”

Trojans coach Lane Kiffin wants Tyler to recognize that the punishment is a way to show the “high standard for player behavior.”

“I was very disappointed when I learned of Marc Tyler’s inappropriate comments that were captured by the media last week,” Kiffin said in a statement. “That is not the way that we expect our players to represent USC and our team.

“I have consulted with athletic director Pat Haden and I am suspending Marc for our upcoming season opener and potentially further, and in the meantime I am also suspending him from all team activities.”

You may recall that Tyler is the same player who appeared before the school’s Office of Student Judicial Affairs to discuss complaints made by two female students. Both females accused Tyler of inappropriate touching. While no discipline has yet to be handed down by the school, it is not anticipated that the events will lead to any punishment which will keep Tyler from the playing field.

July 15th

Arizona showing Colorado how to schedule non-conference games?

This year, Colorado will have five home games. In 2012, Arizona will play eight home games.

Advantage, Arizona.

Arizona has filled out its 2012 non-conference calendar by adding a match-up on September 15, 2012, against South Carolina ………. State.

Including the 2011 season opener against Northern Arizona, the Wildcats have played a lower division opponent every year since 2004. Four of those years, the sacrifcial lamb … I mean, opponent, has been Northern Arizona. The Wildcats have also racked up early season victories against Stephen F. Austin, the Citadel, and now will take on South Carolina State. (The trip to Tucson will represent the furthest the Bulldogs – no, I didn’t know that one off the top of my head – have ever traveled for a football game).

The 2012 non-conference schedule gives Arizona a mix of opponents — a game with potential national interest (Oklahoma State), a game against a good non-BCS program (Toledo) and a lower-division opponent. “We think it’s a good balance that will be able to attract our fan base and, at the same time, give us a chance to get ready for the Pac-12 schedule,” said Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne. With the five Pac-12 conference home games, Arizona will now have eight home games in 2012.

In 2011, Arizona faces Northern Arizona and Louisiana-Lafayette at home, traveling to Stillwater to face Oklahoma State in its only non-conference test.

In the seven seasons of the Mike Stoops era at Arizona, the Wildcats have faced five non-conference games against BCS opponents, going 2-3 in those games. Meanwhile, Arizona has gone undefeated under Stoops against FCS teams during that span, winning each game – all at home – by an average score of 35-12.

Meanwhile, Colorado will have six home games next season – five Pac-12 opponents and a non-conference game to be announced. The Buffs are also scheduled to play four Pac-12 road games, face Fresno State in Fresno, and play CSU in Denver.

With so many seniors on the 2011 roster, it would be nice to open the 2012 season with a home opponent that is, shall we say, more predictable.

Perhaps Mike Bohn could give Greg Byrne a call and get some tips on how to create an eight game home schedule for the Buffs one day …


July 14th

Utah still short four members of the Class of 2011

According to the Salt Lake City Tribune, Utah is still missing four members from the recruiting Class of 2011.

Offensive linemen Po’u Palelei and Benjamin Kemoeatu, defensive back Keith McGill, and linebacker Tevita Bloomfield are all still trying to clear academic hurdles in order to enroll at Utah this fall.

By comparison, Colorado only suffered one recruiting casualty due to academic issues, running back Rashad Hall.

Not too bad, coaches … for a staff put together in December!

July 13th

Arizona State starter leaves team

James Brooks, a two-year starter at defensive end for Arizona State, will not play in 2011. “James has done a lot of great things for our football program,” Arizona State coach Dennis Erickson said in a statement released by the school. “We will continue to help him in any way we can.”

In 2010, Brooks had 25 tackles, 7 1/2 tackles for loss, and four sacks last season. He blocked two extra points in the double-overtime win over Arizona in last season’s regular seaon finale.

Brooks is the fourth projected starter the Sun Devils have lost since the end of the 2010 season. In spring practices, first-team All-Pac-10 cornerback Omar Bolden and receiver T.J. Simpson suffered knee injuries. Quarterback Steven Threet also was forced to retire due to multiple concussions.

Arizona State is the favorite to be the South’s representative in the inaugural Pac-12 championship game. Much of the hype for the team (which finished 6-6 last season) was due to the large number of returning starters (19 – the most in the Pac-12, and one more than Colorado). Now, Arizona State has lost four projected starters.

The Sun Devils will likely be in the Top 25 when the preseason polls come out.

We’ll see how long they remain there. After a warm-up game against UC-Davis, Arizona State will face Missouri (10-3 in 2010) at home and travel to Illinois (7-6) before opening conference play at home against USC.

July 11th

Pac-12 Prospectus released!!

Okay, for some of you that might not be exciting news.

For stat geeks, it means that the season is really upon us. With the Pac-12 media day set for July 26th, the inaugural Pac-12 football prospectus has been released (link to prospectus here – July 11th entry).

Time to get ready for some good Pac-12 trivia, including:

Other than Arizona State, which has 19 returning starters, Colorado has more returning starters (18) than any other school in the Pac-12. At the  bottom of the chart is Stanford and Oregon State, each with only 12 returning starters (makes you wonder how far out of the top ten Stanford would be projected if Andrew Luck was not returning at quarterback);

– Counting kickers and punters, there are a possible 288 returning starters, and the league has 180 returning, or an average of 15 per team;

– Of the 180 returning starters, ten were first-team and 12 were second-team All-Pac-10 in 2010. Two returning stars, Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck and Oregon running back LaMichael James, were Heisman trophy finalists last season;

– Only three teams – Washington; Cal; and Arizona State – have to start the season with a new quarterback;

– We know that Utah has it the easiest in terms of scheduling, missing both Oregon and Stanford. In the north, the team arguably with the easiest conference schedule (in terms of missed conference opponents) is Washington State, which misses USC and Arizona;

– Of the returning running backs, Rodney Stewart ranks third in terms of 2010 yardage. Only LaMichael James (with 1,731 yards) and Washington’s Chris Polk (1,415 yards) had more than Stewart’s 1,318;

– In the 33 years of the Pac-10, only seven teams finished the conference season undefeated. Last season, Oregon became the first team to finish to post a 9-0 mark (the league went to a nine-game conference schedule in 2006);

Team trivia …

– Arizona, under Mike Stoops, has a 40-45 overall record, and only twice in eight seasons have finished with a winning record in conference play (and only once have the Wildcats finished in the top four of Pac-10);

– Arizona’s only non-conference road game is at Oklahoma State. The teams met in the Alamo Bowl at the end of the 2010 season, with the Cowboys winning 36-10;

– After posting a 10-3 record in Dennis Erickson’s first season at Arizona State, the Sun Devils have gone 5-7, 4-8, and 6-6 the past three seasons (and this is your Pac-12 South favorite, fans);

– When Arizona State hosts Colorado on October 29th, it will be in the middle of a stretch where the Sun Devils play four games out of five on the road;

 – Cal claims five national championships in football, including four straight between 1920-23 (the fifth title coming in 1937, two years before the start of the NCAA);

– With the Bears’ stadium under renovation, Cal will play its 2011 home games at AT&T Park in San Francisco. Cal will open the seasson, though, at a “neutral site” game against Fresno State – at Candlestick Park;

– Oregon opened its doors the same year as Colorado – 1876. The Buffs started playing football four years before the Ducks (1890 to 1894). Overall, though, Colorado has almost 100 more all-time victories (671-578);

– In what has to be a typo, the Pac-12 prospectus lists Oregons’ all-time record against 2011 opponent Missouri State as 56-46-10. That’s a lot of game against a team from Springfield, Missouri;

– Oregon State’s 5-7 record in 2010 was the first losing season for the Beavers since 2005. Oregon State averaged nine wins per season between 2006 and 2009;

– Oregon State should be happy to see Colorado and Utah join the Pac-12. The Beavers trail in every series against teams from the Pac-10, but hold a 9-5-1 all-time record against Utah and a 3-2 all-time record against Colorado;

– Stanford finishes with three games at home in 2011, but all three will be tough – Oregon; rival Cal; and Notre Dame;

– Stanford boasts two national championships, in 1926 and 1940 (that would give Cal and Stanford seven national titles between 1920 and 1940);

– In 11 years as a collegiate head coach, UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel has three ten win seasons – with two of those in Neuheisel’s first two years in Boulder (the other was with Washington in 2000);

– UCLA leads the all-time series against every team in the Pac-12 … except USC (the Trojans lead 45-28-7);

– In 1999, USC head coach Lane Kiffin was the offensive line coach at Colorado State;

– USC only leaves Los Angeles for one game before October 13th – a September 24th road trip to Arizona State;

– Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham grew up in Provo, Utah, and received his undergraduate degree from BYU;

– Utah, like Colorado has never defeated USC (both teams are 0-5 all-time against the Trojans) (Correction: Utah has defeated USC, beating the Trojans 10-6 in the 2001 Las Vegas Bowl – good catch, Neil!!).

and there is always at least one typo … Under the Utah “Quick Look”, the Pac-12 Prospectus lists that Utah leads the series with Colorado, 30-24-3. We all know that the numbers are correct, but reversed.

or more … in addition to the error Neil spotted, above, Erik H noticed that the Pac-12 believes that the Pac-12 offices believe the “Buffaloes” should be referred to as “Buffalos”. Sigh …

Do you want to tell the league offices, or shall I?

July 10th

Willie Lyles also paid by Cal and LSU for recruiting services

According to an article in the Oregonian, Houston-based talent scout Willie Lyles also sold scouting packages to LSU and California.

From the Cal Bears, Lyles received $5,000 for what was arguably the same package of information sold to Oregon for $25,000. The “2010 National Package” described in the Cal invoice from Complete Scouting Services appears identical to what Oregon received as its “2011 National Package”.

From LSU, Lyles received $6,000 for what was described as game film from Kansas and California junior colleges.

Do these revelations help or harm Oregon’s case?

The argument to exonerate the Ducks would be that other schools also took advantage of the services Willie Lyles provided – “There’s nothing to see here. Move along …”.

The argument against the Ducks’ case is that, if the above is true, why did Oregon pay Lyles five times what Cal paid for the same material?

July 8th

Harris pays fine, remains on suspension

Oregon star cornerback Cliff Harris, projected as a top ten pick for the 2012 NFL draft, paid his court fines on Thursday. Harris paid $1,620 in fines associated with his being clocked at 118 mph while driving with a suspended drivers license in June.

Head coach Chip Kelly suspended Harris indefinitely on June 15th, with the suspension to carry through “at least” through the Ducks’ September 3rd season opener against LSU. “It could be the LSU game only… It could be longer, it could be much longer,” Oregon Sports Information Director Dave Williford said at the time.

“Cliff’s future clearly is in Cliff’s hands,” Kelly said in a prepared statement. “Earning an opportunity to represent the University of Oregon and this football program certainly rests far beyond a player’s ability on the field of play. Our behavior out of the spotlight often is more important and will be held to a higher standard. Until Cliff is able to conform to the same standards all of us must comply with, his status will remain unchanged.”

Oregon officials had no additional comments after Harris paid his Court fines on Thursday.

A consensus all-American last season, Harris led the nation with 23 passes broken up and was second in punt returns with an 18.8-yard average. He led the Pac-10 Conference with six interceptions.

July 6th

Pac-12 Network – Leverage = Quality Content

I wouldn’t want to ever steer you away from CU at the Game, but … if you have a keen interest in keeping up with the evolving Pac-12 Network, Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News seems to have a better handle on it than anyone else in media.

In his latest article, Wilner brings us up-to-date on the latest on the Pac-12 Network, the details for which should be forthcoming in the next few weeks. Some highlights:

– On average, the Pac-12 Network will have either the first or second pick for games in seven of 13 weeks of a given football season. If you have a preseason magazine, go ahead and pick a conference weekend in October or November, and its easy to see why the Pac-12 Network will be popular with distributors: there are a number of quality games every weekend once conference play begins.

– Each January, the Pac-12 will consult with its television partners, ESPN and Fox, to formulate a plan for “drafting” games throughout the season. There will not be a pure rotation (e.g., Weekend one: ESPN 1st choice; Fox 2nd choice; Pac-12 Network third choice; Weekend two: Fox 1st choice; Pac-12 Network 2nd choice; ESPN third choice, etc.), but rather a prescribed rotation agreed to by the parties.

– Here’s the real kicker … The league will then come up with a schedule within 60 days of the “draft”. In other words, the Pac-12 will know where it is drafting each weekend before it makes up the schedule! As Wilner points out in his article, stacking the deck in the Network’s favor (e.g., putting USC v. Oregon on a weekend it picks first every year) would not be met with a favorable response from the league’s partners. However, the Pac-12 could also make sure that on weekends when the Pac-12 picks third, that there are at least three “quality” games to choose from (with “quality” being a relative term, as the schedule will be made out in the spring – teams could rise or fall between the date the schedule is announced and the games are played).

– The Pac-12 will utilize a three-window model for game times: 1:30; 5:00; and 8:30 MT.

– When there are “overflow” games (five games scheduled for 1:30, and three networks to show them), the league will utilize an “overflow” channel to show the additional games (the same will hold true for men’s basketball games).

I don’t know about you – but this seems to just get better and better the more I hear about it …

July 5th

Rodney Stewart on watch list for the Maxwell Award

Senior running back Rodney Stewart, who led the Buffs with 1,318 yards rushing in 2010, is on the preseason Maxwell Award Watch List. Stewart is one of 57 players named overall, and one of 11 players from the Pac-12 (only the SEC, with 12 candidates, had more than the Pac-12).

The watch list candidates have been chosen by the Maxwell Football Club’s selection committee, evaluating past performance and future potential. The Club reserves the right to make additions and deletions to these lists as the 2011 season unfolds. All members of the Maxwell Football Club, NCAA sports information directors, head coaches, and selected national media are eligible to vote for the awards.

The watch list will be pared down to semifinalists in October, with three finalists named on November 20th. The winner (last season’s winner was Cam Newton from Auburn) will be announced at the ESPN HomeDepot Awards show on December 8th.

Here is the complete list of candidates.

July 4th

What Oregon is saying about Lyles

Well, the University of Oregon has very little to say about the latest revelations by Willie Lyles (story below). The official statement from the school:

The University of Oregon athletic department has and will continue to fully cooperate with the NCAA inquiry,” Oregon Director of Athletics Rob Mullens said. “Our department is committed to helping the NCAA in any way possible and until their work is complete, we are unable to comment further. Oregon athletics remains committed to operating a program of integrity.”

However, the same cannot be said about the writers in Oregon.

George Schroeder of the Register-Guard had this to say:

“I like Kelly. Sure, he coaches circles around other guys. Away from the field, he’s brash and quotable, and if he’s East Coast abrasive, he seems good-hearted. He preaches doing things the right way, even as we know coaches exploit those gray areas, and you want to believe him. But the evidence keeps coming, destroying the Ducks’ defiant narrative: We’ve done nothing wrong.

 “A brush fire has become an inferno. And it’s possible this debate is about to become what’s more important to Oregon: salvaging the dynamic coach or protecting the emerging football program?”

Concluding … 

“Lyles’ bombshell exploded their case. Although Lyles hasn’t yet discussed with the NCAA the things he told Yahoo, the investigators had already reached out by Friday afternoon, wanting a follow-up interview. They’ll probably be calling on Oregon again soon, too. And maybe you’ve heard, the cover-up is sometimes worse than the crime.

“Maybe Oregon has crafted the perfect explanation. Perhaps it’s true. And I suspect the administrators are still backing their coach, even as the temperature keeps rising. Among the documents Lyles provided to Yahoo was a handwritten note from Kelly from a couple of years ago, thanking Lyles for “orchestrating everything” during a visit by several recruits.

“The debate now is what Kelly orchestrated. And whether he’ll be conducting this show much longer.”

Even the ultra-pro Oregon “Addicted to Quack” website was unsure about the future of the program under Chip Kelly.

“What is important is did Oregon abide by the letter of the law and what was their intention in their dealing with Lyles? These are the things that Oregon will be judged on by the NCAA. You can decide by reading the rules whether you think Oregon followed the bylaws. Intention is going to be more difficult to determine as bias from fear or greed will cloud that judgment, but do not mistake the two. Letter of the law and intention are two separate variables. One is not more important than the other, but they both deal with how the NCAA will review this investigation. Even if Oregon followed every rule but their intentions were wrong, they may still face punishment. Just like if they had the right intentions but didn’t follow the rules, the NCAA will still hand down penalties, and rightfully so.”


July 2nd

Oregon coach called out after Lyles interview released

Willie Lyles may have fired what Oregonian columnist John Canzano called “a kill shot”.

Lyles gave Yahoo Sports what was described as a multi-day, wide-ranging interview concerning his $25,000 payment for providing recruiting services to the University of Oreon.

Lyles still insists Oregon did not make a direct request or payment to steer recruits to Eugene. However, he now says Oregon did not pay him for his work as a traditional scout, but for his influence with top recruits and their families and his ability to usher prospects through the signing and eligibility process. That dual role as mentor to prospects and paid contractor to Oregon is believed to be a focus of the NCAA probe.

“I look back at it now and they paid for what they saw as my access and influence with recruits,” Lyles told Yahoo Sports. “The service I provided went beyond what a scouting service should … I made a mistake and I’m big enough of a man to admit I was wrong.”

Lyles went on to describe his assistance in recruiting running back Lache Seastrunk. Lyles said Oregon’s assistant director of football operations, Josh Gibson, had direct knowledge – and played an ancillary role – in Lyles helping Temple (Texas) High School star Lache Seastrunk petition to have his grandmother, rather than his mother, sign his national letter of intent with the Ducks in February 2010. Seastrunk’s mother, who expressed opposition to her son about attending Oregon, otherwise could have blocked the signing.

“Indirectly I played a pivotal role in [Seastrunk signing with Oregon],” Lyles said.

It gets worse …

Lyles said Kelly and Oregon committed to becoming the first client for CSS prior to Lyles aiding Seastrunk with the letter-of-intent issue. Then, just after the guardianship switch, Lyles said Kelly instructed him to “find out what the best paying service is” and to bill Oregon that amount. When Lyles settled on the $25,000 figure, he said he called Kelly and Kelly personally approved it.

Eleven months passed – from March 2010 until February 2011 – before the Ducks requested a single written recruiting profile, Lyles said. And when that moment came, Lyles said the demand for the reports was sudden and emphatic, leading him to believe Oregon was “scrambling” to establish that he’d provided legitimate traditional scouting services because they were aware of a Yahoo! Sports investigation. Previously, Lyles said he had provided scouting reports verbally in frequent calls with Oregon coaches. 

“They said they just needed anything,” Lyles said of the embarrassingly thin recruiting profiles that Oregon made public earlier this month –  a 2011 “National Recruiting List” which included 133 Texas players out of 140 total, almost all from the recruiting Class of 2009. “They asked for last-minute [stuff]. So I gave them last-minute [stuff] … I gave them, like, old stuff that I still had on my computer because I never thought that stuff would see the light of day.”

Will this come down to a case of “He said, She said?”

Not likely.

Lyles also produced several hand-written thank-you notes from Oregon coaches, including head coach Chip Kelly, expressing gratitude to Lyles for bringing Seastrunk and other recruits to visit Oregon.

While Oregon has issued no comment to the story, the same cannot be said for Oregonian columnist John Canzano. In his report on the story, Canzano (think Neill Woelk) opened with the following:

“I spoke with University of Oregon football coach Chip Kelly in early March, amid reports that a Texas man named Willie Lyles was involved in a recruiting scandal that could bring down the Ducks program. Kelly told me he didn’t know who Willie Lyles was.

“I believed him.

“That same evening, a Yahoo Sports story reported that Lyles was paid $25,000 by Oregon. So I texted Kelly, asking him why he lied to me, and we ended up on the telephone, where Kelly insisted I’d confused him by asking about “Willie Lyles.” He said, “around here, we call him ‘Will.’ We’ve already distanced ourselves from him, trust me.”

“I was a sucker then. I’m a sucker now.”


June 30th

Utah Pac-12 Day Celebration!

How  are you spending Pac-12 Day?

If you find yourself in Salt Lake City, you can participate in a celebration scheduled for noon on the south lawn of the state Capitol. (If you are stuck on the UU campus Friday morning, free shuttles to the Capitol building will begin around 10:30 a.m.).

The student union is hosting a Student Tent Party at the Pac-12 Day celebration, providing free ice cream sandwiches. Utah cheerleaders, dance team, and mascot (Swoop) will help with face tattoos while the Ute pep band plays “a medley of school favorites”.

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott will be there! Also in attendance will be Lt. Governor Greg Bell, who will formally declare July 1, 2011, as Utah Pac-12 Day. Other speakers will be: Utah athletic director Chris Hill; University of Utah Interim President Lorris Betz; and ASUU Student Body President Neela Pack.

Get there early – it’s first come, first serve for the free event!

Meanwhile … on July 1st in Colorado …

Who knew?

July 1st will also be Pac-12 Day in the State of Colorado.

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has declared Friday, July 1st, as “Pac-12 Day in the State of Colorado”. Boulder mayor Susan Osborne has also gotten into the act, with Pac-12 Day in the City of Boulder also being proclaimed.

All three bells on campus will ring 12 times on Friday to signify the Buffs’ entry into its new league.

Here’s the story as posted on cubuffs.com, with links to both the Governor’s and mayor’s Proclamations.

If you are lucky enough to live in Boulder, here is a link to the merchants providing Pac-12 day discounts.

The 12 Days of the Pac-12 …

Note: The University of Colorado website CUBuffs.com, counted down the 12 (business) days before the official first day of the Pac-12 on July 1st. Each day, there were interesting notes posted about the Buffs’ new Pac-12 rivals. Below is a running list with pertinent information, along with memorable games from the Archives …

June 30th


Stuff I didn’t know about the Utes

– All of Utah’s athletic teams answer to the “Utes”, except one, the women’s gymnastics team, which goes by “Red Rocks”;

– Of Utah’s 20 national championships, nine have been won in women’s gymnastics. A big deal in Salt Lake City, the Red Rocks bring in over 14,000 per meet;

– Half of Utah’s national championships have been in skiing, with Colorado’s chief rival (along with DU) winning ten titles (Colorado has won 18 national skiing titles, 17 in the NCAA and one women’s title in the AIAW);

– Utah was the first school to produce the No. 1 draft pick in both football and basketball in the same year. In 2005, quarterback Alex Smith went to the San Francisco 49ers, while Andrew Bogut was selected by the Milwaukee Bucks;

– The Utes, as you probably knew, are a native American tribe. Utah teams were also known as the Redskins, but that nickname was dropped in 1972;

– The Utah mascot is a red-tailed hawk known as Swoops;

– Urban Meyer led Utah to a Mountain West title in 2003, ending a 46-year drought for the school. The previous outright title for Utah came in 1957, when the Utes were members of the Skyline Conference (which at the time included Montana, Utah State, and Denver University, along with BYU, Colorado State, and Wyoming).

– What the above stat means is that Utah was a member of the Western Athletic Conference for 37 years (1962-98), and never won an outright conference title as a WAC member;

– The Utah fight song includes the lyrics: “I am a Utah man, sir, and I live across the green / Our gang, it is the joliest that you have ever seen / Our coeds are the fairest, and each one’s a shining star / Our yell, you hear it ringing through the mountains near and far”.

– Utah’s Rice/Eccles stadium is named for two donors. Robert Rice donated $1 million for renovations to Ute Stadium in 1972, while George and Delores Eccles donated $20 million for renovations in 1997.

Memorable Colorado v. Utah Games from the Archives:

Colorado has played more games against Utah than any other Pac-12 rival. Unfortunately, all 57 games in the series (CU leads 30-24-3) pre-date CU at the Game’s Archives.

But, fear not … from the cubuffs.com archives:

1937 – Colorado at Utah – Bryon “Whizzer” White scores all 17 points for Colorado in 17-7 victory (including a 95-yard punt return; a 15-yard field goal; and a 57-yard run)


June 28th


Stuff I didn’t know about the Wildcats

– The Wildcats owe their nickname to an L.A. Times article in 1914, when the newspaper’s columnist, Bill Henry, said the football team “showed the fight of wildcats” in a game against Occidental College (though Arizona lost the game, 14-0, the only loss in a 4-1 1914 season);

– Before joining the Pac-10, Arizona was a longtime member (1962-77) member of the Western Athletic Conference;

– National Championships won: fifteen, with over half of those (eight) in women’s softball;

– A pair of bells were taken off of the USS Arizona after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The bells are in the clock tower on campus, and is rung seven times on the third Wednesday of every month at 12:07 p.m. It is also rung following football victories (but not in victories over other Arizona schools);

– Despite being the Wildcats, the teams are encourged to “Bear Down”. The origin – “Tell them … tell the team to bear down” – last words of John Byrd “Button” Salmon, student-body president and quarterback, who died in a hospital shortly after an auto accident in 1926. Not exactly “Win one for the Gipper”, but it has stuck;

– Like UCLA, Arizona used to have a live mascot, but now rely on Wilbur and Wilma, whose identities are not revealed until the final home basketball game;

– Famous alumni: Don Knotts; Craig T. Nelson; Bob Dole; Geraldo Rivera.

Memorable Colorado v. Arizona Game from the Archives:

Now, this is more like it. After two teams which Colorado has never beaten in football, USC (0-5 all-time) and Arizona State (0-2), comes the Buffs’ whipping boy, Arizona. Colorado is 12-1 all-time against the Wildcats. (Okay, the Buffs lost the last time the two teams played … back in 1986).

 1985 – Colorado at Arizona – After six straight losing seasons (sound familiar?), Colorado back “amongst others receiving votes” in the polls after win over Arizona

June 27th

Arizona State

Stuff I didn’t know about the Sun Devils

– Stanford may have won the most NCAA team titles (107), but that is nothing compared to Arizona State’s 132 … if you count the 96 titles ASU has won in archery and badminton;

– National Championships won (for real): 19, including five in baseball;

– Phil Mickelson is the last amateur to win a PGA event (okay, we knew that). He also won the 1990 CU-Fox Acres Invitational;

– The CU women’s basketball team has already been in conference play with Arizona State. Both were competing as members of the Intermountain Conference (CU owns a 5-0 record over ASU in conference play, and 9-0 overall);

– Prior to 1946, the Sun Devils were known as the “Bulldogs”

– Erected in 1958, Sun Devil Stadium’s original capacity was 30,000;

– In the first part of the 20th century, Arizona State was no match for Arizona. In nine games prior to 1931, Arizona State did not so much as score a touchdown. After winning in 1931, Arizona State went another 18 years without a victory.

Memorable Colorado v. Arizona State Game from the Archives:

Okay, the only other team Colorado has never defeated in football besides USC is Arizona State (0-2). If you must, tough …

2007 – Colorado at Arizona State – Buffs go up 14-0 in the hottest game (102 degrees) in CU history, and then …

June 25th


Stuff I didn’t know about the Trojans

– USC started playing cross-town rival UCLA in 1929 … but started playing inter-sectional rival Notre Dame in 1926;

– The Trojans have 26 men’s track and field championships, and their 12 baseball titles is twice as many as any other school;

– In the 1976 Summer Olympics, USC swimmers won more medals than any other country other than the United States;

– USC has won ten national championships in football (11 if you count the stripped 2004 title), and has produced six Heisman trophy winners (seven if you count Reggie Bush);

– Before 1912, USC teams were known as the “Methodists” or the “Wesleyans”. In that year, USC athletic director Warran Bovard asked Los Angeles Times sports editor Owen Bird to come up with a nickname, and Bird came up with “Trojans”.

– The white horse mascot, Traveler, didn’t exist at USC until 1961. In that year, the USC director of special events, Bob Jani, saw a fellow named Richard Saukko riding his white horse in the Rose Parade. Jani asked Saukko if he and his horse, which just happened to be named Traveler, to appear at USC games, and a tradition was born.

– The USC/Notre Dame series began after a Notre Dame/Nebraska game, and had a woman’s touch … It was 1925, and USC graduate manager Gwynn Wilson traveled with his wife, Marion, to Lincoln, to watch a game between Notre Dame and Nebraska. Wilson joined Knute Rockne and the team on the train back to Chicago, hoping to persuade Rockne to have his team play USC. Perhaps unhappy about his 17-0 loss to the Cornhuskers, Rockne was not interested. However, in another compartment, Marion Wilson spoke about the wonders of southern California (including the warmer weather), and Rockne’s wife convinced the coach to give the trip a try. The series began in 1926 with Notre Dame defeating USC in Los Angeles, 13-12.

– Famous alumni – Will Farrell, Ron Howard, Michael Landon, George Lucas, Tom Selleck, Cybill Shepard, Marlo Thomas, John Wayne, Art Buchwald, Norman Schwarzkopf, 16 astronauts.

Memorable Colorado v. USC game from the Archives:

– Well, there aren’t any, as USC owns a 5-0 advantage over Colorado in the series. The Buffs did fare well against a pair of talented Trojan teams. In 1963, in the first game of the Eddie Crowder era, the Buffs opened the season against the No. 1 ranked team in the nation, USC. The Buffs were coming off of a 2-8 season in 1962, but hung tough against the Trojans, falling at home, 14-0 (the 1963 team would also go on to post a 2-8 record).

2000 – Colorado at No. 11 USC – The Buffs, on their way to a 3-8 record, the worst for Colorado since 1984, fall in the final minutes to No. 11 USC.


June 24th


Stuff I didn’t know about the Bruins

– UCLA now has 107 NCAA team titles, the most in the nation. The latest: the Bruin women’s golf team won the team title this spring;

– The Bruins have double digit national titles in men’s volleyball (19); men’s tennis (16); and men’s basketball (11);

– UCLA’s powder blue uniforms were introduced by legendary coach Red Sanders, who dubbed the lighter shade “powderkeg blue – powder blue with an explosive kick”. The Bruins went to a slightly darker blue in 2001;

– In 1962, the CU men’s basketball team defeated UCLA, 82-60. Not only was the victory over the greatest men’s basketball coach in history, John Wooden, but the 20-point loss would only be matched twice more in the remainder of Wooden’s career;

– UCLA did have a live mascot at least three times, in the 1930’s, the 1950’s and 1960’s;

– Before 1982, UCLA shared the Coliseum with USC. It was only after 1982 that the Bruins began playing their home games in the Rose Bowl;

– UCLA has one national championship in football (in 1954), one Heisman trophy winner (quarterback Gary Beban, 1967), and 17 Pac-8/Pac-10 titles (11 outright);

– Famous alumni: Jack Black; Carol Burnett; Ben Stiller; Jim Morrison; Randy Newman.

Memorable Colorado v. UCLA game from the Archives:

2002 – Colorado at No. 20 UCLA – Buffs take down Bruins in 99-degree heat

2003 – No. 24 Colorado v. UCLA – Joel Klatt leads Buffs to victory late – CU welcomes home Karl Dorrell, Jon Embree, and Eric Bieniemy

1984 – Colorado v. No. 17 UCLA – “Coach Whitehair” – This is one of Brad’s favorites games, the day I lost it and almost went over the railings to have a talk with Coach Mac

June 23rd


Stuff I didn’t know about the Bears

– Cal won the conference basketball title four times in five years in late 1950’s – then went 50 years before winning another;

– Cal’s first sport was men’s crew … back in 1868, the first year the school was open;

– National Championships won: 30 – of which 13 are in men’s water polo.;

– Cal is credited with winning the 1920 national championship in football, the first school west of the Mississippi to do so. The 1920 team went 9-0, including a 28-0 victory over Ohio State in the Rose Bowl;

– Cal has a victory cannon mounted on Tightwad Hill (a venue from which fans watch the game for free). The cannon goes off at the start of the game, after each Cal score, and after each Cal victory;

– Famous alumni: Gregory Peck; Jimmy Doolittle; Earl Warren; Jerry Brown; nine astronauts

Memorable Colorado v. Cal game from the Archives:

1982 – Colorado v. Cal – Bill McCartney makes his debut as head coach at Colorado (as does Joe Kapp, a name familiar to us old-timers)

The Hiring of Bill McCartney – Which has nothing to do with Cal, but it is an interesting story, and much more interesting than the only other game in the Archives between Colorado and Cal, last season’s 52-7 embarrassment).

For the record, Cal leads the all-time series 3-2, with Colorado’s victories coming in 1972 and 1975, and Cal’s other victory coming in 1968. Here is a link to the cubuffs.com account of the 1972 CU/Cal game.


June 22nd


Stuff I didn’t know about the Cardinal

 – Stanford has won 100 NCAA team titles in its history (only UCLA has more). That’s more than all but a handful of other conferences have won;

– The sport which Stanford has dominated the most is Tennis. The Cardinal has won 17 men’s tennis titles and 16 women’s tennis titles. Next on the list is men’s water polo (ten titles), then golf, men’s swimming/diving; and women’s swimming/diving (eight titles in each);

– Stanford has won the Director’s Cup (formerly the Sears Cup) in 16 of the 17 years that the Cup has been awarded;

– Amongst the legends who have coached at Stanford … Pop Warner (1924-32);

– Stanford athetes won 28 medals (eight gold) in the 2008 Bejing Summer Olympics;

– Stanford defeated Colorado in football in 1904 (33-0), the first game CU played against a “Pac-12” rival (okay, I did know that one); and

– Famous alumni: Scott Turow; 17 astronauts; Sigourney Weaver; Jack Palance; Ted Koppel.

Memorable Colorado v. Stanford games from the Archives:

1987 – Colorado v. Stanford – Eric Bieniemy’s first 100-yard game

1990 – No. 6 Colorado v. Stanford – Eric Bieniemy (barely) scores on fourth down late to pull out the win

1993 – No. 7 Colorado at No. 20 Stanford – Cardinal score controversial touchdown in the last minute for upset

June 21st

Oregon State

Stuff I didn’t know about the Beavers

– The last 0-0 tie in NCAA history was the 1983 Civil War game between Oregon State and Oregon.

– Dal Ward, Colorado’s legendary coach – and the namesake of the CU athletic center, was a 1927 Oregon State graduate.

– National Championships won: three. Two in baseball; one in men’s cross country.

– Oregon State has a decent wrestling program, with 18 top ten finishes in the NCAA tournament – twice finishing as the national runner-up.

– Famous alumni: Dick Fosbury (“Fosbury flop”); A.C. Green; Gary Payton.

Memorable Colorado v. Oregon State games from the Archives:

1988 – Colorado v. Oregon State – Eric Bieniemy goes for over 200 yards against Beavers

1983 – Colorado v. Oregon State – “Here we go, CU! Here we go!!”

June 17th


Stuff I didn’t know about the Ducks

– Before becoming known as the Ducks, the Oregon teams (at least the 1939 NCAA championship basketball team) were known as the “The Tall Firs”. Other Oregon teams were known as the “Webfoots”.

– The association between athletic director Leo Harris and Walt Disney in the 1940’s led to the use of a mascot resembling Donald Duck. The Duck mascot stuck, taking over for the Webfoots.

– National Championships won: 18. All but one of the Ducks’ national championships have been won in track and field or cross country. The only other national championship came in men’s basketball, in 1939. For those scoring at home, Colorado has 22 NCAA championships. The number rises to 23 if you count the AIAW women’s skiing national title won the year before skiing became a team title; and 24 if you count the 1990 football championship (the NCAA doesn’t award the national title in football, and so doesn’t count football championships in its totals).

– Phil Knight’s total contributions to Oregon athletics … over $300 million.

– Oregon has played in five Rose Bowls, the first in 1917. The other appearances were in 1920, 1957, 1995, and 2010.

– Oregon, along with Alabama and Notre Dame, has been the Buffs’ most common bowl opponent – three games (1996 Cotton Bowl; 1998 Aloha Bowl; 2002 Fiesta Bowl).

– Famous alumni: David Ogden Stiers (M*A*S*H); Ken Kesey; Steve Perry

Memorable Colorado v. Oregon games from the Archives:

1985 – Colorado v. Oregon – Mickey Pruitt takes down Chris Miller; McCartney: “I think that could be a turning point for our program”

1996 Cotton Bowl – No. 7 Colorado v. No. 12 Oregon – In the “Forgotten Bowl”, Rick Neuheisel makes an ememy

1984 – Colorado v. Oregon – A week after setting the school record for receptions, Ed Reinhardt collapses near the end of the Oregon game

June 16th

Washington State University

Stuff I didn’t know about the Cougars

– Before becoming known as the Cougars, the Washington State teams were referred to as the “Warriors”.

– The Warriors won the 1916 Rose Bowl, capping a 10-0 season in which they out-scored their opponents by 204-10. In the Rose Bowl, Washington State defeated Brown, 14-0, to complete a 7-0 season.

– The Cougar mascot was adopted in 1919. The mascot’s full name is “Butch T. Cougar”, named in honor of former football star Herbert “Butch” Meeker. The nickname does not come from cougars in the eastern region of the state of Washington, but refers back to a 1919 game against California (won by WSU, 14-0), in which a bay area journalist noted that the team from Pullman “played like cougars”.

– NCAA championships won: two. One in men’s track and field (1977); the other in men’s boxing (1937).

– Famous alumni: Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft (who spends his money on the Seattle Seahawks instead of his alma mater); Edward R. Murrow; Gary Larson (Far Side); and announcer Keith Jackson (actually, I did know that one).

Memorable Colorado v. Washington State games from the Archives:

1982 – Colorado at Washington State – Coach Bill McCartney’s first victory a shutout on the road

2004 – Colorado v. Washington State (Seattle) – A makeup game from 9/11/01, Colorado preserves road win with a goal-line stand

June 15th

The University of Washington

Stuff I didn’t know about the Huskies …

– A student committee selected the “Husky” as the school mascot in 1922. The “Huskies” replaced the “Sun Dodgers” as the official nickname;

– Don James, Washington’s winningest football coach, was the defensive coordinator at Colorado for three seasons (1968-70) under Eddie Crowder;

– NCAA championships won: Six. All six are in women’s events, including three in women’s rowing;

– Famous alumni: Irv Robbins, co-founder of Baskin-Robbins; Bruce Lee; Dawn Wells; nine astronauts

Memorable Colorado v. Washington games from the Archives:

1989 – No. 5 Colorado at No. 21 Washington – The first game after the death of Sal Aunese

1990 – No. 12 Washington at No. 20 Colorado – Deon Figures interception in the final minute preserves Buff victory

1985 – Colorado v. Washington – Freedom Bowl – A loss, but the Buffs did score on a fake punt: Barry Helton to … Jon Embree!


June 10th

“Utah Pac-12 Day” scheduled for July 1st

Think they’re not excited in Salt Lake City about getting into the Pac-12?

The state of Utah has declared Friday, July 1st, as “Utah Pac-12 Day” in commeroration of the official start of the Pac-12 Conference. Local, state and University of Utah officials, along with the Utah marching band and spirit squads, will lead the celebration of Pac-12 Day on the lawn of the Utah State Capitol building.

If there is any such celebration scheduled in the state of Colorado, I have have not heard about it (if you have, drop me a note at cuatthegame@gmail.com).

There may be several reasons why the state of Colorado is not planning to commemorate July 1st as “Colorado Pac-12 Day”:

– Utah is moving from the Mountain West Conference to the Pac-12, while Colorado is moving over from the Big 12. The Utes have been playing in the little brother, nose pressed up against the glass conference”, while the Buffs have been in a BCS conference from the outset of the Bowl Championship Series. In other words, Utah is finally seated at the adult table, moving up from the kiddie table, and has more to celebrate;

– The income stream for Colorado in the new Pac-12 will rise significantly, but for Utah it is like winning the lottery. For the Buffs, the media revenue will triple from what Colorado was receiving in the Big 12 – serious money. For Utah, though, the increase is over ten-fold what the Utes were receiving in television revenue from the Mountain West Conference;

– Colorado lawmakers have to be politically correct. The only other large school in the state of Utah is BYU, a private school. Meanwhile, a “Colorado Pac-12 Day” would not be perceived as being nice to the Buffs’ little brother up in Ft. Collins; or

– It could just be that Utah has won an even 50 games over the past five years (for the mathematically challenged – that’s an average of ten wins per season), and are very excited about getting the chance to strut their stuff in the new league. Colorado, meanwhile, has won 21 games over the past five seasons, and is limping into the new conference predicted by most to be a bottom feeder in the new Pac-12 South. The Colorado program, as a member of the Big Seven, Big Eight, and Big 12 never finished last alone in conference play, but that could change in the new Pac-12 – hardly a reality worth celebrating.

Your thoughts?

June 9th

Updated Pac-10 conference revenue figures show how much the league will gain from new contracts

Jon Wilner from the San Jose Mercury News has put out an article which provides some context to how much the Pac-12 schools will benefit from the new televison contracts.

In reviewing the distributions to the league and the individual schools, it is hard not to start thinking about how much benefit Colorado will derive from being a part of the new league.

In fiscal year 2007-08, the Pac-10 as a league received just over $50 million in television rights fees. When combined with bowl revenue (just over $25 million), NCAA tournmanent revenue ($12.6 million) and other sources of income ($7.8 million), the league brought in $95.8 million. The distributions in the Pac-10 (as was the case in the Big 12) were not even, with USC taking home the most income ($11.4 million), with second place UCLA ($9.2 million) well back. Bringing up the rear in 2007-08 was (surprisingly enough) Stanford, with $6.8 million.

In fiscal year 2008-09, the numbers for the league were fairly constant, with the league taking in $56.6 million from television, $25 million from bowl games, $13.5 million from the NCAA tournament, and $1.6 million in sponsorships and other income. The total, $96.8 million, was just over a 1% increase from 2007-08. As for the individual teams, USC once again reigned supreme, once again bringing in over $11.4 million in income, followed in 2008-09 by Oregon, with the second place team again well back, with $9.2 million. In last in 2008-09 was Washington State, with the Cougars netting $6.6 million.

In fiscal year 2009-10, which ended last June, the Pac-10 cracked the $100 million mark in total income. Television revenue continued to rise, this time up to $58.2 million. Bowl revenue rose to $26.9 million, NCAA tournament rose to $15.3 million, with miscellaneous income coming in at $1.1 million. Once again, USC was at the top of the heap – but this time by a narrow margin, $11.0 million to Oregon’s $10.9 million and Stanford’s $9.5 million. Bringing up the rear, once again, was Washington State, with $6.4 million.

What do these numbers tell us?

– That the old Pac-10 was not dissimilar from the old (and new) Big 12. With an unequal distribution of income, generally the rich (USC; Oregon) get richer under the old contracts, while the poor (Washington State) get poorer. While the Pac-12 is moving forward, it will be the “same old same old” in the new Big 12. Even with the increase of equal distribution within the Big 12 (from 57% to 76%), there will still be a huge disparity between what Texas takes home in revenue and what Iowa State takes home.

– That the new equal distribution agreement for the Pac-12 was a huge concession by USC. By agreeing to the “all for one, one for all” package in the new Pac-12, USC walked away from a substantial income advantage over its peers. Granted, other sources of income – ticket sales, sponsorships, apparel sales – will still favor the Trojans, but USC’s advantage over its peers was sacrificed.

– That the Pac-12 teams are looking at a huge increase in overall revenue. Yes, we knew that. But the numbers are staggering. In fiscal year 2009-10, the Pac-10 broke the $100 million barrier for the first time. Now, the league will be regularly be bringing in – from television alone – over $250 million per year. Factor in the bowl revenue (figure that the $25 million will now be a floor, not a ceiling), NCAA tournament revenue (with two more teams potentially qualifying for March Madness), plus the potential tens of millions of dollars the Pac-12 Media Enterprises can generate (estimated at $1 billion over the next seven to ten years), and it’s not hard to see how Pac-12 schools will be thriving over the next decade.

Sometimes … “It’s good to be the king!”.

June 7th

Leading rusher for USC faces Student Judicial Affairs

University of Southern California running back Marc Tyler is awaiting potential discipline from the school with regard to two off-campus incidents involving alcohol and female students.

Tyler, a red-shirt senior, met with the Office of Student Judicial Affairs last month, and should hear about his punishment in 2-3 weeks. “The worst-case scenario is them kicking me out of school,” Tyler, 22, said Tuesday after a players-only workout on the USC practice field. “The best is nothing happening, just me having to do some classes in the fall, probably.”

The range of penalties is consistent with school policy on student conduct. According to the USC Student Affairs Web page, “Sanctions which may be assessed include but are not limited to: educational classes, warning, disciplinary probation, service, restitution, removal from university housing, suspension and/or expulsion.”

Both incidents in question took place in April, one in which Tyler allegedly spit on a female student while intoxicated and another in which he allegedly inappropriately touched another female student at a bar near campus.

Tyler was the Trojans’ leading rusher in 2010, with 913 yards on 171 carries and nine touchdowns last season.

Pac-10 claims 400th title

The Pac-10 has long called itself the “League of Champions”, and with good reason. Even before Colorado – with its 24 national championships – joins the Pac-12, the league has far out-distanced the NCAA competition.

The Arizona State women won the NCAA softball title this week, giving the league 400 national titles, almost double what the next conference in line (the Big Ten) has produced.

With nine team titles thus far in 2010-11, the Pac-10 has now led the nation in NCAA national championships in 45 of the past 51 years.

Overall, the conference has now won 271 men’s titles and 129 women’s titles. All ten (soon to be 12) institutions have won multiple national championships, with the league winning titles in 26 of the 37 Division 1 sports the NCAA sponors. The top three schools in overall team championships come from the Pac-12, with UCLA leading the way with 107, followed by Stanford with 101, and USC with 93.

How dominant are these three schools? Next on the all-time list is Oklahoma State, with a distant 50 national titles.

Colorado will bring its 22 national championships to the party on July 1st. Colorado has won five NCAA national championships in cross country, as wesll as 17 in skiing (with the latest coming this past March). (Notes: 1. The 1990 national championship in football does not count, as the NCAA does not award a national championship in football; 2. Colorado claims another national title in skiing, but it was by the women’s team the year before skiing championships for the NCAA went co-ed).

Excited about Colorado starting up baseball and women’s softball at the end of the decade? The Buffs better be prepared to land on their feet, as the league has won 24 of 30 of the women’s softball titles, and is in contention annually for the men’s baseball championship.

Ted Miller likes CU’s defensive line

ESPN blogger Ted Miller speaks highly of the Colorado defensive line … video

June 6th

Pac-12 names Coordinator of Football Officiating

The preparations for a new world in the Pac-12 continues.

As noted in the Pac-12 notes for May 27th, the Pac-12 has hired 18 new officials for the upcoming season, and has instituted a plan whereby the Pac-12 will be the first football league – collegiate or professional – to hire a supervisor for each of the seven officiating positions on the field. Six of the supervisors will be current NFL officials. Each position group will work together during the week, rather than compete against one another for coveted post-season assignments.

Now, the new group has a new leader. Tony Corrente has been named the first Pac-12 Coordinator of Officiating, replacing the interim Coordinator, Mike Pereira (who will remain as a consultant during the 2011-12 season).

“Tony Corrente has extensive experience in both college football and the NFL, and has earned the reputation as one of the most respected leaders in officiating,” said Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott in a press release. “With numerous NFL postseason assignments in his background, including the Super Bowl, Tony has worked at the very highest level in the sport. We are very fortunate to have him leading our new football officiating program.”

“This is a welcomed challenge and I really look forward to working in the new structure of the Pac-12 Conference, and with the quality of officials we have on our staff,” said Corrente. “I credit Mike Pereira for laying the groundwork in restructuring the program, and know our officials will be prepared in positioning the Pac-12 officiating program as a role model program.”

Corrente has served as a game official in the NFL since 1995, and will continue to work as an on-field official. This may come as a surprise to some, but most officials continue to maintain other work other than officiating. From 1983-2011, Corrente was a high school history and sociology instructor, as well as a baseball coach, at La Mirada, California.

Oregon/LSU a sellout

The Oregon v. LSU game to open the 2011 season is already sold out.

The matchp between two potential national championship contenders will be played in Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on September 3rd (a night game, and a good lead in for Buff fans staying up to watch the CU/Hawai’i game that night).

Will it be an even split between the fans in Arlington?


“LSU fans have purchased 37,000 tickets. Oregon has bought 15,000,” Rich Baker, President of the Cotton Bowl committee told the USA Today. “Most of the rest have been sold. This is our third time hosting this game, and we have not had a sellout this fast.”

The first game in the new Cowboys’ stadium, a matchup of BYU and Oklahoma in 2009, was a sellout, while the game between TCU and Oregon State did not sell out last year.

June 5th

Pac-12 Spring meetings discuss Pac-12 Media Enterprises

A year ago, the Pac-10 spring meetings were all about expansion.

Would there be a Pac-12? A Pac-16? Would Texas bolt and join the league? Was it better to stand pat with a ten-team league?

After the dust settled last June, Colorado and Utah were new members of a new league, the Pac-12. Larry Scott got the expansion he wanted … and he hasn’t rested since.

The 12-year, $3 billion contract with ESPN and Fox Sports made the rest of the BCS conferences stand up and take notice. But Scott’s major coup may still be yet to come – the successful introduction of a Pac-12 Network.

Unlike the SEC, which has agreed not to have a league network, or the Big 12, which is allowing Texas and Oklahoma to have their own networks, or even the Big Ten, which only owns 49% of its network, the Pac-12 Network could be a financial windfall unprecedented in college sports.

But, like everything else he has done in his two years as commissioner, Larry Scott is taking the time to do it right.

The first step was to make sure that there would be desirable content available for those interested in the Pac-12 Network. Somewhat lost in the hoopla associated with the ESPN/Fox contract announcement was the fact that the league was retaining the rights to premium content – a number of football games (including some high profile contests), as well as the majority of league basketball games. It is because of this extra content that league officials have been very popular at the spring meetings in Seattle this week.

“I think our plans became very real because they saw what they held back,” Scott told reporters. Scott met with Pac-12 athletic directors, senior women’s administrators, and faculty representatives, and then met with the league’s presidents and chancellors on Saturday.

Not being the first league to have its own network, the Pac-12 can learn from what has gone on before. One boon is that Stanford athletic director Bob Bowlsby spent 15 years as the athletic director at Iowa, and was involved in the Big Ten’s preparations for its own network. “I would say that the one thing I took away from (that experience) is you really had to be forthright on an institution by institution basis, putting your cards on the table, and going into it one for all and all for one,” Bowlsby told the Daily Camera. “I think that’s how you build the strongest entity and the strongest relationship. I think we’ve taken some good steps in that regard.”

Scott also has the benefit of relying on deputy commissioner Kevin Weiberg, the former Big 12 commissioner who left that job to help the Big Ten Network get started. “It’s complicated to start a new network and to launch it,” said Weiberg. “I think the most complicated part is getting the kind of distribution you really need to make it successful. When you do these kinds of things, you want your fan base to be able to see it. That’s kind of obvious. That part can be complicated, though, because you have to negotiate agreements, either through a partner or on your own, with cable companies, satellite companies.”

Selecting a partner or partners to help build the Pac-12 Network is the next step. The pool of candidates includes networks like Fox Sports, but could also include private investors or cable and satellite distributors.

League officials understand that the Pac-12 Media Enterprises, which will include the Pac-12 Network and encompass digital media platforms and corporate sponsorships, will not be a money-maker to start. “I think you have to start it off really understanding there is an investment on the front end to make it high quality,” said Utah athletic director Chris Hill.

With the track record Larry Scott has already established, though, few will doubt that the upfront investment will render a hugh payoff down the road …

June 3rd

Colorado looking for a one-year television partner

In many ways, the 2011 season will be a unique year for the Colorado Buffaloes. In addition to joining a new conference, the Buffs have a new head coach, as welll as a daunting (and unusual) 13-game regular season schedule.

But 2011 will also be a transition year.

While Colorado fans can bask in the glow up the upcoming $3 billion, 12-year television contract with ESPN and Fox Sports, the fact of the matter is that the new television contract does not kick in until the 2012 season.

Which leaves the Colorado athletic department in an interesting situation this fall. After 15 years of being in the Big 12, where the league controlled all of the television rights, and before starting the new Pac-12 television contract, where the league will control all of the television rights, Colorado will play this fall as a nominal partner under the old Pac-10 television contract, which allows teams to sell games not picked up by for broadcast by the Pac-12’s television partners.

As a result, instead of having games going unbroadcast (which happened twice last year, v. Texas Tech and at Kansas), Colorado will have the option of teaming up with a local television station to air games not selected for broadcast with national rights holders. “With the excitement of our alumni on the West Coast and across the country and the new teams, we want to beable to make sure they can watch it,” Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn told the Daily Camera. “We need them to be able to follow the program.”

The Hawai’i, Colorado State, USC and Utah games this fall have already been spoken for, leaving nine games up for grabs. The Ohio State game (barring any NCAA ban) and the California games are all but guaranteed to be picked up, as are the Oregon and Stanford games. The Washington and UCLA games are also good bets to be televised (even if Colorado and UCLA are poor teams, as predicted, storylines of Rick Neuheisel v. his old team and Jon Embree coaching against his son angles will be very tough for networks to ignore).

This leaves the games against the Arizona schools (@ASU, home against Arizona) along with the home Pac-12 opener against Washington State, as games which might end up as “third-tier” games. Such games will be shown on the Pac-12 Network in future seasons, but for 2011, Colorado is left to its own devices.

Not that showing games on a local network is a financial boon. The Camera reports that Washington and Washington State, when they have sold third-tier games in the past, have earned between $100,000 and $200,000 per game. Not insubstantial amounts, but not exactly budget savers, either.

Still, for those of us who commute to home games from other states, knowing that games we cannot attend will still be shown on television will be a huge plus.

Then there is this:

If every game this fall is televised, followed by the Pac-12 contract, which guarantees every game will be televised, you will be able to tell your children and grandchildren the following story …

The last football game which the University of Colorado played which was not televised?

Why, it was the 2010 game against Kansas …

(and we all know now why that was a good thing!)

June 2nd

Pac-12 Bowl lineup set

“New Year’s Eve in San Francisco”?

Has a nice ring to it.

Much better than, “I can’t wait to be a participant in the 2nd annual Kraft Fighting Hunger Bowl”.

The Pac-12 will have six bowl games contracted for in 2011, with a seventh (the New Mexico Bowl) to be added in 2012. With USC ineligible for a bowl game this year, Colorado will be vying with the other 11 members of the conference for the following bowls:

Pac-12 champion: Rose Bowl, January 2nd (if not playing in the BCS National Championship game in New Orleans)

Pac-12 No. 2: Alamo Bowl v. Big 12 No. 3, December 29th

Pac-12 No. 3: Holiday Bowl v. Big 12 No. 5, December 28th

Pac-12 No. 4: Sun Bowl v. ACC No. 4, December 31st

Pac-12 No. 5: Las Vegas Bowl v. Mountain West Conference champion, December 22nd

Pac-12 No. 6: Kraft Fighting Hunger Bowl v. Army (if eligible by winning six games), December 31st

Just like it always seemed skewed when Colorado was a member of the Big 12 conference, the bowl tie-ins of the Pac-12 conference don’t seem to match up comparable teams.

On one side of the coin, a Pac-12 team which could be ranked (Arizona State, Utah, Washington?) could clean up in a relative home game against a mediocre 5th place team from the Big 12 (Missouri, Texas Tech?).

Meanwhile, a relatively mediocre No. 5 team from the Pac-12 could face off against a Mountain West champion (and highly ranked team) like Boise State or TCU in the Las Vegas Bowl.

All things considered, a 6th place finish in the Pac-12 (or 7th place if the conference earns two BCS bids) and a trip to San Francisco to take on Army at 12:30 (PT) on New Year’s Eve Day sounds pretty good.

Followed by New Year’s Eve in San Francisco?

I think my wife is going to enjoy having Colorado as a member of the Pac-12 …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *