Pac-12 Notes

December 7th

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USA Today Assistant coach pay listings

For 2017, so already outdated due to the coaching carousel which has shuffled the deck several time over, but still telling …

The full database can be found here … showing Oregon’s Jim Leavitt at No. 12 in the nation, at $1,150,000.00 annually. The next highest assistant coach in the Pac-12 was Washington defensive coordinator Pete Kwiakowski, at No. 21 nationally at $876,500.00.

Colorado defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot was No. 41 in the country in terms of salary, at $700,000.00 this fall.

In terms of total pay for the assistant coaches, Washington was the highest in the Pac-12, at $4,678,040, followed by Oregon ($3,945,000) and UCLA ($3,707,500). Colorado came in at No. 6 overall, at $3,066,269.00.

CU’s assistant coaches for 2017 (listings are national rank, school pay, maximum pay, and maximum bonus:

41ColoradoPac-12D.J. Eliot$700,000$700,000$145,834$3,066,269
116ColoradoPac-12Brian Lindgren$487,232$487,232$59,840$3,066,269
207ColoradoPac-12Darrin Chiaverini$375,000$375,000$78,125$3,066,269
289ColoradoPac-12Klayton Adams$315,000$315,000$65,625$3,066,269
293ColoradoPac-12Gary Bernardi$311,625$311,625$59,808$3,066,269
377ColoradoPac-12Jim Jeffcoat$269,012$269,012$56,043$3,066,269
462ColoradoPac-12Ross Els$225,000$225,000$46,875$3,066,269
499ColoradoPac-12ShaDon Brown$200,000$200,000$41,666$3,066,269
537ColoradoPac-12Darian Hagan$183,400$183,400$38,209$3,066,269


December 5th

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Isaiah Oliver first-team All-Pac-12; five Buffs receive honorable mention

Press release from … Junior CB Isaiah Oliver‘s first-team pick highlights the six Colorado Buffaloes selected to the 2017 Pac-12 Football All-Conference Teams that the league office announced Tuesday.

The teams, a first-, second- and honorable mention picks, are comprised via a vote by league coaches. This was the first year of polling where coaches could not vote for one of their own players.

Oliver becomes the sixth Buff to garner first-team All-Pac-12 honors since CU joined the league in 2011 (fourth via a coaches vote while the other two, Chidobe Awuzie and Tedric Thompson in 2016, were first-team Associated Press selections).

Colorado’s other five selections for this year’s honors – junior inside linebacker Rick Gamboa, senior left tackle Jeromy Irwin, senior running back Phillip Lindsay, sophomore quarterback Steven Montez and junior defensive back Evan Worthington – were all named All-Pac-12 honorable mention.

Oliver led the conference in passes defended (breakups plus interceptions) and tied for seventh in the FBS with 1.50 per game. He played in 10 contests, missing two due to injury, and despite that fact his 13 total pass breakups ranked in a tie for second in the league and tied for 12th nationally. Oliver also intercepted two passes on the season.

Last Friday, Oliver declared his intentions to leave school early and enter 2018 NFL Draft. Thus, he finishes his career tied for 10th in Colorado history for the most pass breakups with 30 in his three seasons in Boulder.

Additionally, Oliver was named a second-team All-American cornerback on Tuesday by SB Nation.

Lindsay follows up his second-team selection from 2016 with his honorable mention pick this year. Lindsay not only led the Pac-12 in rushing attempts, he also led the nation with 301, which went for 1,474 yards and he scored 14 TDs on the ground. He also caught 23 passes that went for 257 yards and another score. In all, Lindsay had 324 touches and did not fumble one single time.

He finishes his CU career with 24 school records to his name. He is Colorado’s all-time leader in career all-purpose yards with 5,760 (3,635 rushing, 976 receiving, 1,077 kickoff returns) and yards from scrimmage with 4,683, second in rushing yards (3,707), and is fourth in scoring (234 points).

Continue reading story here

From the Pac-12

First Team OffenseSecond Team Offense
QBSam Darnold, RSo., USCQBJosh Rosen, Jr., UCLA
RBRonald Jones II, Jr., USCRBRoyce Freeman, Sr., Oregon
RBBryce Love, Jr., StanfordRBMyles Gaskin, Jr, Washington
WRN’Keal Harry, So., Arizona StateWRDeontay Burnett, Jr., USC
WRDante Pettis, Sr., WashingtonWRDarren Carrington II, Sr., Utah
TEDalton Shultz, Sr., StanfordTEWill Dissly, Sr., Washington
OLTyrell Crosby, Sr., OregonOLDavid Bright, RSr., Stanford
OLNate Herbig, So., StanfordOLToa Lobendahn, RJr., USC
OLKaleb McGary, Jr., WashingtonOLCole Madison, RSr., Washington State
OLCody O’Connell, RSr., Washington StateOLKolton Miller, RJr., UCLA
OLColeman Shelton, Sr., WashingtonOLSalesi Uhatafe, Sr., Utah
First Team DefenseSecond Team Defense
DLRasheem Green, Jr., USCDLGreg Gaines, Jr., Washington
DLHercules Mata’afa, RJr., Washington StateDLJalen Jelks, RJr., Oregon
DLHarrison Phillips, Sr., StanfordDLChristian Rector, RSo., USC
DLVita Vea, Jr., WashingtonDLJoJo Wicker, Jr., Arizona State
LBUchenna Nwosu, Sr., USCLBKeishawn Bierra, Sr., Washington
LBCameron Smith, Jr., USCLBBen Burr-Kirven, Jr., Washington
LBKenny Young, Sr., UCLALBTroy Dye, So., Oregon
DBIsaiah Oliver, Jr., ColoradoDBJulian Blackmon, So., Utah
DBTaylor Rapp, So., WashingtonDBChase Lucas, RFr., Arizona State
DBJustin Reid, Jr., StanfordDBJojo McIntosh, Jr., Washington
DBMarvell Tell, Jr., USCDBQuenton Meeks, Jr., Stanford
DBJalen Thompson, So., Washington State
DBJaleel Wadood, Sr., UCLA
First Team SpecialistsSecond Team Specialists
PKMatt Gay, Jr., UtahPKErik Powell, RSr., Washington State
PMitch Wishnowsky, Jr., Utah (1)PJake Bailey, Jr., Stanford
RSDante Pettis, Sr., WashingtonRSBoobie Hobbs, Sr., Utah
AP/STBrenden Schooler, So., OregonAP/STMatt Lopes, RSr., USC
AP/STMichael Pittman Jr., So., USC



COLORADO:  LB Rick Gamboa, Jr.; OL Jeromy Irwin, Sr.; RB Phillip Lindsay, Sr.; QB Steven Montez, So.; DB Evan Worthington, Jr.


December 4th

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Stanford’s Byrce Love one of three finalists for the Heisman trophy

From ESPN … Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield made Heisman Trophy history just by being selected as a finalist.

Mayfield, reigning Heisman winner Lamar Jackson of Louisville, and Stanford running back Bryce Love were chosen as finalists for the 83rd Heisman Trophy on Monday night.

The award for most outstanding college football player will be given out Saturday night in New York.

Mayfield and Jackson are finalists for the second straight year, and Jackson is trying to become the second player to win two Heismans, joining former Ohio State star Archie Griffin.

Mayfield, though, will come to Manhattan as the clear favorite. He finished fourth in the Heisman voting in 2015, but was not invited to New York. Last year, he was one of five finalists and finished third behind Jackson and Clemson’s Deshaun Watson.

Mayfield is the seventh player to finish in the top five of Heisman voting three times , joining Glenn Davis and Doc Blanchard of Army, Doak Walker of SMU, Griffin, Herschel Walker of Georgia and Tim Tebow of Florida.

The Heisman has been naming finalists and bringing them to New York for the presentation since 1982. Mayfield is the ninth Oklahoma player to be selected as a finalist, matching Miami for the most from one school.

Mayfield is trying to become the sixth Heisman winner from Oklahoma and third Sooners quarterback (Jason White and Sam Bradford) to win since 2003.

Continue reading story here


December 3rd

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Report: Troy Walters will not join Scott Frost at Nebraska

… Significant? … Troy Walters was the wide receivers/recruiting coordinator at Colorado from 2013-15. Walters is serving as the interim head coach for UCF since Scott Frost announced he was leaving for Nebraska …

A tweet from Brandon Helwig at UCF Sports … “From what we understand, all UCF coaches will be joining Frost at Nebraska except for OC Troy Walters and TE coach Sean Beckton”

From the Orlando Sentinel … Troy Walters is the Knights’ interim coach and will lead bowl game preparation. He and tight ends coach Sean Beckton are the only remaining staff so far. Offensive line coach Greg Austin did not make the trip to Lincoln but is expected to join Frost as the offensive line coach at his alma mater.

Frost was slated to return to coach the bowl game, but it’s unclear whether the Knights will really have Walters, Frost and potentially the yet to be named coach all working to lead the program.

“If it all works out, I’d love to help out,” Frost told reporters in Nebraska Sunday afternoon during his introductory press conference.

Walters said he expected all of UCF’s assistants back to help with bowl game preparation. Currently, assistant coaches across American are busy locking up recruits before the dead period, when coaches can no longer contact student-athletes, starting Dec. 19.

Walters, who is one of five finalists in the nation for the Broyles Award, said he’s contacted all of UCF’s current recruiting class to remind them their commitment was to the school and players, not solely for Frost.

“I told them they just have to hold on and be patient and see what kind of happens in the next few days and go from there,” said Walters, who is handling recruiting duties right now. “But I’ve touched base with all of them and filled them in with what’s going on and we have a great recruiting class so far and it’ll be great to keep them all together.”

Pac-12 bowl bids announced … USC and Washington draw Big Ten opponents

From the Pac-12:

12/16 – Saturday – Las Vegas Bowl – Boise State vs Oregon – 1:30 PM – ABC – $1,100,000

12/26 – Tuesday – Heart of Dallas Bowl – West Virginia vs Utah – 11:30 AM – ESPN – $800,000

12/26 – Tuesday – Cactus Bowl – Kansas State vs UCLA – 7:00 PM – ESPN – $3,350,000

12/27 – Wednesday – Foster Farms Bowl – Purdue vs Arizona – 6:30 PM – FOX – $837,500

12/28 – Thursday – Alamo Bowl – TCU vs Stanford – 7:00 PM – ESPN – $3,825,000

12/28 – Thursday – Holiday Bowl – Michigan State vs Washington State – 7:00 PM – FS1 – $2,075,000

12/29 – Friday – Sun Bowl – North Carolina State vs Arizona State – 1:00 PM – CBS – $2,000,000

12/29 – Friday – Cotton Bowl – Ohio State vs USC – 6:30 PM – ESPN – $4,000,000

12/30 – Saturday – Fiesta Bowl – Penn State vs Washington – 2:00 PM – ESPN – $4,000,000


December 2nd

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Nebraska gets its man – Scott Frost coming back to Lincoln from UCF

From CBS Sports … Scott Frost is going home. The current coach at UCF has reportedly agreed to a deal with Nebraska to take over the program with a seven-year, $35 million contract, according to USA Today and Brett McMurphy.

Earlier in the day, it was reported that Nebraska athletic director Bill Moos has been calling recruits to tell them Frost has most of his new staff in place, according to Bruce Feldman of Sports Illustrated.

Chris Vannini of The Athletic added that Moos has called a meeting for Sunday, presumably to inform the staff and team of the news.

Given the sensitive nature of the reports, Nebraska wouldn’t be able to comment on that publicly even if it wanted to. Nevertheless, all of this was leaked while UCF is on the field competing in the AAC Championship Game, which it won 62-55 in dramatic fashion in double overtime against Memphis.

Frost was a former Huskers quarterback under legendary coach Tom Osborne. Even before Nebraska fired coach Mike Riley, there was a near universal feeling that the program would pursue Frost, who led UCF to a 12-0 regular season. The turnaround from 0-12 to 12-0 in two years is the quickest of its kind in major college football history.


December 1st

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USC claims the first Pac-12 title won by a South division school

From ESPN … With the Pac-12 championship hanging in the balance, Southern California delivered a goal-line stand followed by a 99-yard drive that gave the Trojans their first conference title in nine years.

Sam Darnold’s 54-yard pass to Michael Pittman Jr. keyed the long drive after Uchenna Nwosu preserved the lead with the defensive stop that led No. 11 USC to a 31-28 victory over No. 14 Stanford on Friday night.

“It was time to dig deep and win a championship,” coach Clay Helton said. “When you’re trying to win one, those are the plays that are going to define you and define your football team.”

The Trojans (11-2, No. 10 CFP) led 24-21 when the Cardinal (9-4, No. 12) drove down the field in position to tie the game or take the lead.

But facing a third down from the 2, Stanford kept star back Bryce Love on the sideline with his gimpy ankle to rely on short-yardage back Cameron Scarlett instead. Scarlett ran on successive plays, gaining 1 yard on third down and then being stopped just short of the end zone on fourth.

“The bottom line is we had opportunities and we didn’t make enough plays,” coach David Shaw said. “We made enough plays to keep it close but not enough plays to win. The sequence of fourth-and-1 to take the lead in the Pac-12 championship game, there’s no hesitation at all. That’s what we’re going to do.”

Shaw figured at worst, Stanford would come out of that situation with a defensive stop and good field position on the ensuing drive but those hopes ended when Darnold delivered the offensive play of the game.

After Ronald Jones gained 1 yard on first down, Darnold dropped back to pass and quickly was under pressure. He stepped up and appeared ready to run before launching a pass to Pittman to get USC out of trouble.

“That’s kind of what you expect from Sam, to make those crazy plays,” Pittman said. “That’s why he’s one of the best players in the country.”

Jones finished that drive with an 8-yard run that made it 31-21 to cap a productive night where he ran for 140 yards and two touchdowns to give USC its first Pac-12 title since 2008.

Continue reading story here

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott gives a “state-of-the-Pac-12” press conference

From the Pac-12 …

LARRY SCOTT: Good afternoon, everyone. Delighted to be here and celebrate our fourth Pac-12 Football Championship game here at Levi’s Stadium, and our seventh since the inception of the game. We’re delighted that we’ve got two very, very strong teams that are going to be competing in tonight’s game between USC and Stanford. I think two of the best teams in the country that are hot teams and doing well. These teams will also, as the 10th and 12th ranked teams in the country, feature some of the most exciting players in the country this year. All eyes have been on Bryce Love as a Heisman candidate most of the season, and Sam Darnold and some of the other talented players on USC’s team are also going to be a big attraction tonight. Not just for fans here, but fans that are watching across the country.

This has been a strong year for the Pac-12, with nine teams making bowl games, four teams ranked in the top 25 now. It’s certainly been a year where the depth and parity in the league have been showcased, and we get to finish our season in a fabulous way on one of the best stages and platforms for college football and football more generally here in partnership with the 49ers and Levi’s Stadium.

It is great to have this platform. I know the players are excited to be here, to have a chance to be in the locker rooms, on the field, in this environment. It’s really terrific. I want to thank our partners at the 49ers, city of Santa Clara, Levi’s Stadium for being great hosts.

Earlier this year we had a chance to announce that we’re going to be partners here in playing the game here at least through 2019. We’ve got options beyond that, so we’re delighted that we’ve got the continuity of the event here for a while to keep building on the event.

Also want to thank some of the other partners that go into making this not only a great event, but an event that is picking up momentum and steam. Certainly it is from the sponsor-partner community. I think just earlier today we announced, in addition to the 76 who has been the presenting sponsor the second year, Maui Jim has just signed on as a new sponsor, Geico has renewed their sponsorship. I think we’ve got more sponsors this year than we’ve had any other year, so the event continues to grow in stature, which I’m delighted about and very optimistic about the future of Pac-12 football.

We continue to be a destination that attracts some of the best coaches, some of the best players. There’s a lot of excitement that our schools continue to make investments. News this week about Chip Kelly coming back to the league after a lot of speculation around a lot of other schools, I think, is another reinforcing confirmation of that. So a lot to look forward to as we go to the future.

The only other thing I’d like to touch upon today before I take your questions is some of the things we’ve been doing around innovation, something the conference prides itself on, given our geographic location and our relationships we have. Not only are a lot of pregame events, a lot of postgame events being streamed live on Facebook Live, like this press conference, but we’re going to be experimenting one of the first sporting events to experiment with Google’s new 180-degree virtual reality product. So events around the game and the game are actually going to be shot using this technology, and soon after the game the fans are going to be able to experience this game via virtual reality, 180-degree camera on the Pac-12’s YouTube channel. So that’s something to look out for.

We’ve also piloted this season with shortened game lengths. Our average game last season was 3 hours and 26 minutes. I’ve set out an objective over time I’d like to get our games to about three hours. We’ve made some steps this year to experiment with shortened halftimes at some games that were on the Pac-12 Networks, we went with reduced commercial formats and traded some on-screen branding during the competition for 30-second TV timeouts. We also pushed the envelope to get kickoff times closer to the top of the hour. All designed to not only shorten the game length, but shorten the telecast windows.

I think you’ll see from our press release we sent out, we had some positive results from that in terms of shortening the game length and the telecast windows down to, on average, where we did these experiments, under 3:15. So we made some progress in that regard. We’re going to continue to experiment at more Pac-12 games going forward. I’ve been able to share results with colleagues from other conferences. So hopefully they try some of these elements as well, and we’re going to work closely with the football rules committee to see what can be done next in terms of the rules of the game, which is really what you need to look at next, beyond game management to try to make any significant reductions in the game length.

So a lot going on. Coming off a great year and looking forward to the future. Appreciate you all that are here, supporting this event, and happy to take any questions that you have.

Q. If you have to prioritize between a playoff game and parity, how would you do that?

LARRY SCOTT: I can’t want both? From a commissioner’s perspective, I’d say long-term you want depth and competitive teams. I like having a lot of markets and a lot of universities that are awarded for the investments they’ve made. If you’ve followed our conference for a while, every single one of our schools has made investments in facilities, coaches, coaching staffs. And I think it’s a very healthy sign for any league to have depth and parity.

So I would say that’s the ultimate measure of health from my perspective. Given that we’ve got a playoff system of only four teams but there are five major conferences and independents, I don’t think that would be the ultimate measure that we should look for. But certainly it’s important. Would like to see teams in the playoffs. We have teams that have a shot and deserving of consideration this year as well. But whether they make it or not, I think we’re in a good place. We will have our fair share of teams over time that are in the playoffs and certainly want to win National Championships as well.

Q. Wanted to ask a basketball question, if I could, involving the UCLA shoplifting incident in China. Since that happened prior to the Pac-12 China game and became such an international kind of ordeal, I was wondering, did the Pac-12 have any discussions with UCLA as far as having input in the length of the suspension? Have you talked to Dan Guerrero about that and have you been involved with that in any way?

LARRY SCOTT: Informally. I speak to the chancellor, and I speak to the athletic’s director, but we don’t have any formal role in their discipline process, because the incident is something that took place away from the competition. So once they got back to campus and the school’s trying to decide what the ultimate discipline should be, it’s not something that the Pac-12 would officially be involved in.

Q. Do you have any thoughts on what would be an appropriate suspension for those players?

LARRY SCOTT: Not something I’d speculate on.

Q. If there was an eight-team playoff, tonight’s game would feel a little more important, you’d be playing for a shot to go. As things sit, neither team is probably going to get in. Would you be in favor of the college football system moving to an eight-team field?

LARRY SCOTT: I have not been in favor of that. I think as we balance the importance of the bowls, the traditions that the Pac-12 has with the Rose Bowl and others, I think it’s been great for college football that we’ve moved to a playoff. But I think four is the right number.

Yeah, it was designed so we have fewer spots than we have conferences. So we always know it there will be years where certain conferences don’t have a team in.

Q. 2020 is when this game may open up and move to a different location. Have you started discussing that with places like Las Vegas or Los Angeles that are both building new stadiums?

LARRY SCOTT: Yeah, we’re certainly aware that there are some exciting developments happening on the West Coast when it comes to football and new facilities, and I think that’s great news for football generally. But we are delighted with our partnership here. It’s just in the last year that we extended it through 2019, and we have an option for 2020. I think as we get closer to that we’ll talk to the 49ers and Levi’s and consider all the options. But we couldn’t be happier here.

Q. The optics on this game nationally have never been very good. They’re tarping seats tonight. You made the basketball work in Vegas. How can you make the football work like you’ve made the basketball work?

LARRY SCOTT: Yeah, well, we’re happy with this event. I think it looks good on TV. Of course we’d love it to be full, but I think it’s a strong attendance for our game. I think there are always going to be challenges with neutral-site games, and especially Friday night games. I think we understand that.

We’ve been happy. Our teams have been very happy with it here. We look at the overall experience. We’ll sit down, if we have other options to considerate the appropriate time, we’ll sit down and look at them.

Q. How about changing the day of the week? If Friday night’s an issue, how about changing the day of the week?

LARRY SCOTT: What we’ve found in our new TV contracts, FOX wanted to broadcast it Friday night given other commitments they had Saturday. ESPN had the option, Friday night or Saturday. And what we found in the first few years of doing the event is that the ratings are significantly higher on Friday night than they are on Saturday. I think in order of magnitude of certain years, two and a half times, sometimes a little less, sometimes a little more, up to three times the audience. That’s got to do with a bunch of variables. The significance of the game nationally, but importantly, the competition you’re up against. There are several other championship games on Saturday.

So what we’ve found, and importantly what our broadcast partners have found, because it’s at their option when the game is played, is that the audience is much bigger. So in that regard, we’ve got multiple objectives we’re trying to balance in terms of the student-athlete experience, fan experience, and audience. But the audience you get for this game is as significant as any criteria. We want national relevance. We want as wide an audience focused on our two best teams as possible. So the fact that you get such stronger ratings being the main game in town on a Friday night on a major broadcaster like ESPN tonight has been the determining factor for ESPN and FOX.

Q. Is there anything that the Pac-12 and the Big Ten can do to put pressure on the ACC, SEC to play a nine-game conference schedule to make the playing field a little more fair when it comes to the College Football Playoff?

LARRY SCOTT: Yeah, there is nothing about our system that gives us any leverage or pressure points the way the system was designed. You only have 12 regular season games as it is. Every league is different in terms of their strength in any given year, the quality of the non-conference opponents, when those games take place, and how many conference games there are, as you point out, compared to non-conference. There are a lot of variables involved, and you identify one of them. Whether it’s nine conference games or ten. But there are other things that are as important. It’s the reason we have a committee that’s looking at these things, because it’s not that easy to compare teams, because not a lot of data points.

But to come back to your question, there is nothing about the way the College Football Playoff was designed that mandated similar scheduling. So it’s just been the nature of the system. Having said that, I think leagues — there has been a trend toward nine games. We were the first, and now you see the Big 12 doing it, and the Big Ten doing it. And I think the committee has done a very good job of signaling that strength of schedule matters, all things being their equal.

Q. You mentioned before five conferences with four spots is a problem. If you don’t make it in this year, you’ll be 2 for 4 in the first four years. Is that a good ratio for you? Over the course of 12 years, is that an acceptable ratio that 50% of the time getting a team to the playoff, or would that bother you?

LARRY SCOTT: I don’t think it bothers me at this point in time. I think if we get to year 10 or 12 and that’s a trend, I might feel differently about it. But I think our league is very strong. I think it’s deep. There are some particular circumstances that went into teams having two loss rather than one loss this year that were tough. But, yeah, it’s very elusive and hard challenge to be one of the top four teams making the playoffs.

When I look across at the overall strength of our programs, the coaches that we have, the facilities that we have, the student-athletes that we’re recruiting, I’ve got no reason to believe Pac-12 football isn’t in a great place.

Q. As a follow-up, there is potential here for three two-loss conference champions, Ohio State could be a two-loss champion, TCU, and USC. USC is not being discussed — is not in that discussion right now, at least it’s not nationally. Why is that?

LARRY SCOTT: Well, first of all, I think they are in the discussion. They’re in the discussion that matters, which is the discussion of the committee. So I know that because we talk to the committee. I think USC depending on how if they are to win the game, win the game in impressive fashion tonight, I think they’ve got a very, very strong resumé, and they’ve got a great case for the playoff, depending on what happens elsewhere. But certainly against any other two-loss team. If the committee is looking at two-loss teams, depending on what happens elsewhere, I think they’ll have a very strong case.

They played 12 games in a row. Their two losses were away. They were away at Notre Dame, who had had a bye the week before, by design. They were away on a Friday night in Washington State. Against Notre Dame they had seven players that were injured and out against Washington State. They had at least five. Of the seven that were out against Notre Dame, four of them are back tonight playing, including Stephen Carr, I think, who was one of their most prolific offensive players, was out, now is back. These are all things that matter.

The other two spots behind Ohio State, I think, in the current standings. But I think the team that the committee is going to see play tonight is different than the team that suffered their two losses due to injuries. When you look at strength of schedule, I don’t think there is any other two-loss team in consideration that’s got the strength of schedule numbers that USC has. Western Michigan, Texas, Notre Dame, some strong, very notable, non-conference games. If you look at any of the numbers, any of the services that mention strength of schedule, you’ll see USC right up there.

So I actually think they’ve got a very, very compelling case. Depending on the outcome tonight and depending on what happens elsewhere.

Q. You mentioned the USC-Washington State loss. This season with three different teams that were sort of in the mix with USC going to Washington State, Washington State going to Cal, and Washington going to Stanford were all Friday nights on short rest. How much is that going to be taken into consideration for scheduling moving forward?

LARRY SCOTT: Yeah, it’s something that got a lot of conversation over the last couple of months, as we went through the process to prepare a 2018 schedule. So like we do every year, we go through a process where we decide are we going to change any of the scheduling parameters that we have before putting together different versions of what a calendar might look like, and getting the input from our TV partners.

We’re always going to have Thursday and Friday night games to start with, because those are contractual obligations to our broadcast partners, and we’ve got about ten different scheduling parameters that get put into a computer with an outside consultant that we work with, that kicks out all those different parameters and different schedule options.

This year, one of the priorities was looking at those scenarios, and we added, for the press, we go through consulting with our athletics directors and ultimately they vote to change the parameters. We added a parameter that says you cannot schedule a team to play a Friday night road game after a Saturday road game. So it is something that got a little consideration. If you look at the losses within our conference and nationally, of the top 20, 25 teams, there’s a very high number that happened on the road on short weeks. So I think that weighed heavily on those in the conference office and on our campuses that discussed this and decided to change the parameters.

Q. Following up on that one, USC had they not had the Friday night game, might be 11-1. Where does that put them? Because they had the Friday night road game following the road game the week before last year, also this year. Should the Pac-12 maybe have picked up on that a little sooner? Because you got rid of it for next year, looking back, would you have liked to have gotten rid of it for this year?

LARRY SCOTT: Hindsight’s 20/20. If we could reengineer some things, there would probably be a long list of things we’d do differently. But, you know, no one’s got the benefit of doing that.

Q. So did people not understand that a Friday game on the road following a road game the week before would be more of a difficulty?

LARRY SCOTT: All I can tell you is it has not been an issue in our conference previously. When we sat down every year, as we do, to review the schedule from the year before, the coming year, are there any changes we want to make, it hasn’t up until now. But this year it did. And USC had the double whammy of that scenario plus 12 in a row. That was a very, very tough road, especially for a team with a tough non-conference schedule where they suffered a lot of injuries, especially coming out of the Texas game. So they had a very, very tough road. I’m hoping it’s something the committee does take into account. I know we’ve certainly made the case, and it is something that will get discussed.

If you compare, we’re going to be in a scenario — we may be in a scenario where there are a lot of teams in consideration for the last spots for the playoff that have similar looking records. When that’s the case, there are a bunch of factors that are supposed to kick in. Who won a conference championship, you know, number one on that list, head-to-head, strength of schedule. And I think if USC is a two-loss conference champion, given their strength of schedule numbers and given what I believe are mitigating factors around some of the losses and other teams may have mitigating factors too. But if you look at the losses and the injuries that they had and the difficulty of their schedule, I think they’ve got a very, very compelling case.

Q. There are two schools in the conference who combined to pay $24 million in buyout money to two coaches. Do you have any considerations with people at the different campuses about that concept of paying that much money for someone to go away?

LARRY SCOTT: I don’t. Those aren’t conversations that schools have consulted me or the conference on.

Q. I think next year there are six or seven Friday games. Do you have any options with FOX to make sure you avoid a repeat of the games that were bumped due to truck races to FS2 (Inaudible)?

LARRY SCOTT: Yeah, I didn’t want to wait until the end of the season. I was actually in China when it happened this year, and the phone was lighting up about it. I was very, very disappointed in what happened and raised it with the president of FOX. I don’t think a Pac-12 football game should ever be delayed for a truck race, and I think we should have better options. But we also realize put the truck racing from a different part of the country aside, we also know that there are always going to be situations where something runs longer or there is weather, and you might have to join a game in progress. So we get that. But what I want to make sure is that we have strong alternatives and overflow channels where fans can go that have similar distribution to the main channel they’d be watching it on.

FS2, unfortunately at this point, doesn’t have near the distribution that FOX or FS1 has. So we’ve told FOX that’s not acceptable from our point of view, and we’re going to be talking to them in the off-season about other alternatives for next season.

Q. This is your showcase event. Is it a good idea to have a team on a bye playing a team that’s playing its second game in six days?

LARRY SCOTT: This is a year where for USC, on the one hand, they were punished, you could say, by having to play 12 in a row. There is a lot of discussion around have they been treated unfairly during the regular season? Now that they’re in the championship game, right, it’s switched to are they getting some unfair benefit? So no one knew in the beginning of the season whether they’d make the championship game or not. It’s just the way the schedule worked out. No one knows who is going to make the championship game, and the schedule doesn’t get designed with that in mind, trying to figure that out.

So we have had a few years where there have been 12 in a row and other teams in a situation. So I think it just goes with the territory, unfortunately.

Q. You discussed this earlier, so you think a two-loss conference champion should get priority over a one-loss team that did not win a conference? Of course I’m speaking about Alabama here, but in general, is that your philosophy?

LARRY SCOTT: I would say this year, yes. But I don’t think that’s — that’s not a rule, that I would say is necessarily the case every year. The committee made a decision last year, for example, I think that a one-loss non-champion deserved to be in the playoff. So the committee has the ability to make that decision. But I think what you heard Kirby Hocutt, the chair of the committee, last year say, if it’s clear, if it’s unequivocal that non-champion is really one of the four best teams in the country, that’s a situation where the committee would make that choice. In a situation where sometimes they use the word cluster, where it’s not unequivocally clear, if there are a bunch of teams that might look similar, that’s when the conference champion issue, amongst others, kicks in as a determinative factor. That’s my understanding of the way it’s supposed to work.

So say when I look at the landscape this year, I don’t think there is a one-loss, non-champion out there that would trump a two-loss champion from the Pac-12, at least.

Q. Kind of following up on that question, as commissioner, do you study the SEC in a way where you say how did they do it? When you look at, there’s never, ever a discussion about whether they’re going to get one. It’s whether they’re going to get two. You have three teams playing for one or two spots this year. In a year where the conference below those three teams was down, I would say. I mean, how do you assess that situation, or do you just think that’s the system we’re in? Or are they doing something infinitely better than everyone else?

LARRY SCOTT: Yeah, we spend most of our time focused on our own league, but of course look at what others are doing. It raises conversations all the time. Every couple of years we’ll discuss should we be playing nine games versus eight games in the conference? Should we put, you know, a non-conference week later in the season where schools, if they wanted to, could schedule, let’s call it a weaker opponent, to give them some break. We’ve decided not to. That for a variety of reasons we prefer playing each other more. We’d prefer having, with the exception of Notre Dame, which is a grandfathered, historical situation where we do have a non-conference Notre Dame game later in the season, we prefer to play non-conference at the beginning of the year and then after conference season. But these things do get revisited regularly. We’ve got new coaches coming in and out of the league all the time. New athletics directors, and I think we stress test these things every few years.

Q. There is nothing in the contract with ESPN and FOX that would prevent you from scheduling Sacramento State in the middle of November?




November 30th

… Foe Pause … 

Report: Oregon upping salary for head coach to keep him in Eugene

From CBS Sports … Willie Taggart, currently Oregon’s coach, has reportedly been offered a new contract in the event he feels compelled to jump to Florida State — a job currently occupied by Jimbo Fisher, in case Fisher feels compelled to jump to Texas A&M, which he hasn’t yet.

That’s where we are in the coaching carousel, also known as “agent season.”

Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated reports that Oregon has offered Taggart a “little more than $20 million over five years” to remain the coach of the Ducks. Andrew Greif of the Oregonian adds the buyout for the deal would be $4.5 million. There has been no official announcement of a contract extension by Oregon or Taggart, and the reported deal is unsigned at the moment.

The interest in keeping Taggart comes with Florida State  conducting background work on Taggart in case Fisher leaves for A&M. That makes sense. Per Matt Baker of the Tampa Bay Times, a source called the ongoing situation between Fisher and Florida State “a disaster.” Fisher has purposefully flirted with other jobs in the past with his agent, Jimmy Sexton, but there’s no doubt this time feels a little bit different as there just isn’t a clear line of sight on what Fisher is going to do.

If Fisher does indeed move on to A&M, Taggart has been mentioned as a potential frontrunner to replace him. Taggart has recruiting ties to Florida and is a renowned program builder. His 47-50 overall record as a coach doesn’t nearly tell the entire story. He took over two programs — Western Kentucky and South Florida — when they were in the dumps and turned them into contenders within three to four years. After Oregon went 4-8 last season, Taggart pulled together a 7-5 effort for the Ducks in 2017 despite substantial injury problems.

Continue reading story here


November 29th

… Foe Pause … 

Mike Leach to Tennessee? We’ll miss his press conferences

NoteThere are stories out there about Washington State coach Mike Leach perhaps moving on to Tennessee (See, e.g., “Mike Leach has a ‘very good shot’ at being offered Tennessee job“). So I went to the Spokane Spokesman-Review website to see if were any stories there. I didn’t find any, but I did find this to share:

Leach Speech: A compendium of fine Leachisms

A few:

“I do have a Viking axe by the bed if I need to whack someone”

“A hot dog isn’t a sandwich. I’m not into hot dogs, with all due respect to those that are, but they can have mine, so there will be more for them.”

After a loss to Boise State: “OK, if there was a fight to the death and you were to clean out this room and there were no rules whatsoever to be applied. So you pick out whoever happens to be your favorite of our offensive lineman. Whoever you think is the toughest. Now whoever’s the softest of that Boise State D-line, you bring him in here. And all that’s going to be left of our offensive lineman is a grease spot at the end. Because that Boise State defensive lineman would smoke our offensive lineman so bad, it’ll be embarrassing.”

Continue reading story here


November 28th

… Foe Pause … 

USC quarterback Sam Darnold denies saying he would stay at USC in order to avoid Cleveland Browns

From ESPN … Sam Darnold denied a rumor that he might stay at USC for his junior season if the Cleveland Browns end up with the first pick in the 2018 NFL draft.

“I didn’t say anything about the Browns,” Darnold told reporters after the Trojans’ practice Monday. “I’ve never said anything bad about (an NFL) team. They know I would never say anything.”

Darnold would be one of the top quarterbacks available in the 2018 draft and has been widely projected as a high first-round draft pick.

His draft availability has been the topic of speculation since earlier this month, when the MMQB’s Albert Breer said during a radio interview that Darnold would wait to see if the Browns had the No. 1 pick before deciding whether to enter the draft.

Darnold, currently a redshirt sophomore, has passed for 3,462 yards and 24 touchdowns with 12 interceptions this season for the Trojans (10-2), who will play Stanford in the Pac-12 championship game Friday.

The 6-foot-4 Darnold was rated as the fifth-best overall prospect earlier this month on ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper’s latest Big Board.


November 27th

… Foe Pause … 

Washington State coach Mike Leach: “I don’t know if Chip Kelly is going to make a difference”

From the Oregonian … Washington State coach Mike Leach joined me on the Bald Faced Truth radio show to talk about the Apple Cup, recruiting and why he isn’t sure new UCLA coach Chip Kelly will change Pac 12 Conference.

Listen to the full interview here.

I asked Leach if Kelly is going to make a difference in the conference. Kelly was introduced on Monday at UCLA.

Said Leach: “I don’t know that he (going to make a difference) is honestly. I know Chip and I’m pretty good friends with him. It’s going to be another running team in the conference… one thing Chip’s teams do is have an identity. They decide what they’re going to do and they have do it… they will run it and they’ll do the Chip stuff I’m sure. He’s a quality coach.”

Jon Wilner: Just having Chip Kelly back in the Pac-12 helps boost interest in the conference

From the San Jose Mercury News … The Bruins just landed the hottest coach on the carousel, signing Chip Kelly to a five-year deal worth $23.3 million.

Where will he take a program that hasn’t competed for the division in three years and hasn’t won the conference in 19?

There is every reason to believe Kelly will make the Bruins vastly more competitive than they have been … that he will contend for division and conference titles … that he could, potentially, position the Bruins as a regular playoff contender.

It’s a colossal move for UCLA football, an investment in the investments, so to speak.

The Bruins just opened a $60 million (approximate) football operations complex. They want an on-field product worthy of the price tag and the commitment by top donors, including Casey Wasserman, whose name is on the building.

… Crucial point: Whether Kelly wins in Westwood or wins big in Westwood is a secondary issue for the conference as a whole.

His presence increases the quality of coaching and makes the Pac-12 vastly more interesting.

It’s somewhat akin to Jim Harbaugh’s return to Michigan and the impact, on the field and off, that Harbaugh has had on Big Ten football.

This has been a forgettable season for the Pac-12 in many regards. It has taken multiple hits on the PR front and isn’t involved in the playoff race.

The conference desperately needs a boost in appeal and success. Kelly provides the former, immediately, and a chance for the latter.

The Pac-12 football brand just got a major bump.

Continue reading story here


48 Replies to “Pac-12 Notes”

  1. After a one night stand in Oregon is Taggart really gonna jump to Fla St? I thought that sounded too weird at first but I guess it is a possibility. Crack me up if he takes Leavitt with him. Never make your move too soon. Oregon would have probably loved to have Kelly back.
    This aint a coaching carousel. Its a coaching centrifuge

    1. Spent the day watching football yesterday with an in the know Fla State fan who explained how it makes sense. Taggart coached in Florida before, and has lots of ties there. He’s young, has exhibited “turnaround” skills, would recruit well in Florida, etc. This fan said that FSU has always been Taggart’s dream job. Sounds like it’s a done deal.

      1. Taggart apparently told UO players the FSU job was his dream job. Allegedly. If you believe what you read, and that one of the players tweeted the same.

        I think EP’s right though. Centrifuge is a better description of the coaching carousel.

        And man, CU would really have to work hard to beat out teams “perceived” to be better coaching opportunities, whether for the head guy, or their assistants.

        Sort of like that kid who apparently just opted to go play for Urban Meyer, vs. Mike MacIntyre. Peoples’ perception is usually their reality.

        Fortunately, we all know better.

        Very curious to see how this Coaching Centrifuge season spins around and finally comes to a stop (for this year, at least).

        Go Buffs.

  2. It seems like there might be more support for coach Mac if he would at least speak to the facts like coach Leach. At least Leach tells you like it is. Would love to hear Mac say something like “yea, our receivers couldn’t even catch a cold this week”.

    I don’t know. Just saying

    1. Leach is a treasure! Even as the coach of two different opponents, I have always enjoyed his manner and respected his ability, and that’s saying something since he’s from Wyoming.

    2. Wait a minute. I hear Mac get roasted for publicly criticizing his players! Now you want him to joke about it while doing so? Don’t think that would go over well. Maybe Mac should say something like the OC couldn’t call the right play in a 7 on 7 drill! Mac is no Mike Leach. I’ve always thought Leach was overrated. Never seems to win the one big game that means the most. He’s made millions off of one big win over Texas while at Texas Tech.

  3. Okay then on to early signing day. December 20th. Christmas presents or lumps of coal. I am sure Stuart will get into all the commits and get us all updated before that day. The class is pretty good except for the obvious lack of the big ol dline players the Buffs desperately need. The last oline class looks mighty fine so get a couple of oline guys but man where oh where are the dline guys.

    This class has to happen. No surprises please except on the good side of course.

    Can’t wait. Hope there are some early enrollees as well. Gotta keep this depth building, and better athletes train rolling.


    Note: Hopefully the signing (and un-signing) of coaches is on an even better trajectory.

    Note 2: So a year from now there will be a bowl. Ok? I said it. Why? cause RG will make sure the right coaching moves are made. Sorry MickeyMac but perhaps you will make a good figurehead.

  4. Wish is not granted. Now MM has an entire off season to “clean a few things up”. I’m sorry for Phillip Lindsay

  5. UCLA hires Chip Kelly, Florida hires ????, Nebraska hires ??????. Oregon State hires Beau Baldwin, TA&M hires, ???? Mississippi hires ??????, et al; CU stays the same …….

    (I have never been in the fire MM camp, until this season when I saw a team that just, was not a TEAM. I’m not for firing MM; but, changes need to be made with this staff even if we make a bowl game today.)

    To rephrase University of Colorado Football coach Mike MacIntyre ” YOU are either getting better, continuing to stay at the same average level, or getting worse. There is no such thing as, could’a, would’a, should’a.”

    1. Chip Kelly is a hero of mine. The Oregon offense was so much fun to watch I tuned in whenever possible. Kelly is the anti Lindgren.

      1. I’m really curious to see where he lands, and how he does this time around. I’m not convinced it’ll be like his 4 years at Oregon.

        Have a great T-day, EP. And, same goes for everyone. Enjoy.

        Go Buffs.

  6. wow

    never make your move too soon. At the time Leavitt signed the agreement with KState he didnt know that after resurrecting the Buff D he could have his pick if schools.

    After spending 5 years in Manhattan he actually wanted to go back.

    Coaching can actually become a sickness. At 78 its obvious daddy Snyder doesnt like or want to do anything else. And sonny boy Snyder? I’m sure he is a hard worker but how do you hold your head up?

  7. This will probably another close one. If Lindgren (or MM) dont get paralyzed when they get ready to call a play during crunch time situations the Buffs might win.

  8. Are you telling me that last years Unanimous Coach of the Year Has moved up to #30 on the hot seat?


    Imagine that.

    MickeyMac started the season as the 3rd safest coach in the Pac12 Now is only the 9th safest coach?


    Imagine that.

    Well somebody did.


    Note: At some point he has to make the move on his assistants. An issue is though it always takes him 6 months to get a new one.

    Note 2: Lest we forget, MickeyMac called CU the worst program in college football when he took over. He used that excuse for 3 years. Then one good year where the defensed allowed 18.5 points per game in conference (NICG).

    Note 3: So now what’s he gonna use? He made it better and the players made it worse? Can’t wait.

  9. Well I say, clearly Chris Petersen isn’t the coach everyone thought he was.

    Or wait. Maybe they ran into Bryce Love?

    Here’s to hoping there’s another upset this weekend, right there on Folsom Field.

    Go Buffs!

    1. Holy cow gee-whiz. The coaches were great, The players lost the game. I am sure Mac and his staff will figure it out and get a win this week. They will be underdogs again but I know they can do it. Mac and Lindgren will out scheme them again. Now if the players make to many mistakes you can’t put the responsibility on the coaches. They have been brilliant all year Especially Lindgren.

      Go Buffs

      1. Oh silly VK, there’s always room for improvement. Even for the coaching staff. Unless they hit your peter principle limit you believe in. Still curious when you feel you hit yours.

        As to the coaches? They’re still working and growing. All of ’em. So are the players. You like to think there’s strife within those walls? Ok. That’s why they tanked against USC when they were down by four scores. That’s why they continue to repeat the coaches’ mantras. Ok. No buy-in there. Everyone within those walls is giving what they can.

        Can the coaches continue improving? Absolutely. Can they go and make a catch or a read, or block for a player? Nope. They can give them the tools, and I believe they are.

        And hey, don’t look now, but this team is playing their 12th game, and it still matters. How many years in the last 17 can we say that?

        Now, are they competing for championships this year? No. Did we think they would be? Not really. Did they take a step back beyond where most thought they would from last year? Probably. But, that’s certainly no evidence that the head coach, nor his staff, have hit their ceiling.

        Now, if they’re not performing markedly better next year and winning more games? Then maybe, just maybe, it’s time to wonder if Mac is “only” a turnaround guy. But, for now, the jury is way, way out on that verdict.

        They’re still very much in the lose small/win small phase of their climb out of the lost decade of CU Football. It’s a process. And, they’re making progress.

        Yes. I think they’ll get that win in SLC. They sure can use those extra practices a bowl gets them. Looking forward to a great Thanksgiving and a nice budding rivalry the Saturday after, with CU earning that key sixth win. In spite of their terrible, terrible coaching.

        Go Buffs.

        1. all those extra practices the Buffs MIGHT get would be worth a lot more if it wasnt for the “terrible, terrible coaching”
          And I will admit, the play calling has improved somewhat in the last 2 games

        2. 5 years as OJT OC and still middling at best

          At some point the mailroomguy is the mailroom guy
          and he still may be learning but he is the mailroom guy

          1. I hit the wrong button before I colud finish typing that the new plays had to be Chev’s and I’m sure the usual crunch time play calling fail is still Lindgren’s

  10. Sorry Stuart but I didnt vote in the poll. After reading the questions I decided that if one read I would love to see ricky coaching again because it would be with one of our conference competitors I would have pulled the trigger on that

  11. I, for one, would happily welcome Slick Rick back to the PAC-12.

    If nothing else, he makes life a bit more interesting

    1. Interesting for sure, as in the ancient Chinese curse. He already screwed up 25% of the teams in the conference. Might as well make it 33%. If the do interview him, I’m sure the NCAA will be watching.


    2. Not a fan of Ricky but he has been paid to watch a lot of football and unlike Lindgren I will bet he would soak in the good things he sees.

  12. Yo Stuart,

    Not buying that MacIntyre is the 10th highest paid coach in the Pac-12. Look at money guaranteed and Mac jumps up to #2 with the caveat that USC and Stanford are private schools and don’t share their contract details.

    Buyouts details:

    Washington – Chris Petersen $30,671,875

    Colorado – Mike MacIntyre $13,483,333

    UCLA – Jim Mora $12,275,000

    Arizona State – Todd Graham $12,266,667

    Utah – Kyle Whittingham $12,250,000

    Oregon – Willie Taggart $8,150,000

    Cal – Justin Wilcox $8,708,000

    Arizona – Rich Rod $6,487,500

    Washington State – Mike Leach $4,900,000

    David Shaw ????

    Clay Helton ???

    Let’s not feel that Mac is underpaid. He’s not.


    1. That logic only holds if every coach is let go this January … and that ain’t happenin’.
      If you’re telling me that Mike Leach and Mike MacIntyre are both going to be fired this fall, then yes, MacIntyre is the upper echelon of Pac-12 pay.
      Neither are, so those figures have no relevance to the bank accounts of those coaches.

      1. Yo Stuart,

        They absolutely have relevance. Mac’s has more money contractually guaranteed to him than most of the other coaches in the conference. If RichRod is fired, he’s owed a year’s pay. If Mac is fired, he’s owed five years pay.

        Mac could have asked for more money for a shorter period, but opted for long term job security. Mac gambled that a deeper pocket school could buy out his contract, and CU gambled that Mac would continue the upward trend and get the Buffs back to bowl games every year for the next five.

        CU lost their bet, while Mac hedged his bet with a guaranteed contract. The Buffs could win zero games going forward under Mac and he would still be owed his money. Sounds pretty relevant to me. Either way, I don’t see a contract extension this year for Mac.


  13. Buffs being favored is hard to fathom at this point, after losing 4 out of the last 5, and being shut out yesterday.

  14. Cornholer fans want Scott Frost. Unfortunately for them Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pedophile State are light years ahead.

  15. I heard a rumor. Nebraska’s after Leavitt. They want their blackshirts back.

    Personally, I’d rather see that guy stay in the Pac 12. Really curious how that would go.

    Most likely? Neither rumor is likely to materialize. Although, the coaching carousel sure will be interesting this off season. Seems like it spins faster every year.

    Go Buffs.

  16. wow
    from the Omaha paper no less. The guy that wrote that must have already left the state….and is far away….with some serious muscle for security

  17. Leach isnt going to Nebraska? Awww…….the Key West pirate together with all those corn farmers may have been very entertaining

  18. you here nothing from or about Sean Miller with this basketball scandal. If AZBuff reads this let us know what the local scoop us. I would love to see the little arrogant Miller join Pitino in the parking lot of a Florida Walmart holding a “will coach for food” sign.

  19. I would be so pissed if OSU hired Leavitt. Realistically, my ideal situation last year was “Baylor hires MacIntyre, CU promotes Leavitt.”


  20. Gary Anderson is my newest hero. Expectations actually meant something to him and he didn’t wait until OSU had to pay nor did he hold them hostage for what he saw as his failures.

  21. Honestly, I think this OSU game just got a lot more difficult. Yeah, there may be some dysfunction because the HC is out, but I always feel like the affected team pulls together and fights…

    Buffalo up!

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