Pac-12 Notes – UCLA Week

September 29th

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Colorado the lone undefeated team in the Pac-12 as Oregon knocks off Cal and Notre Dame takes down Stanford

Cal defense can’t handle Oregon offense

No. 19 Oregon beats No. 24 California 42-24” … Game recap from ESPN

Related … “Cal picked apart by Oregon for first loss of season” … from the San Jose Mercury News

Stanford knocked from the ranks of the unbeaten

Book, defense lead No. 8 Irish past No. 7 Cardinal” … Game recap from ESPN

Related … “Stanford falls at No. 8 Notre Dame, Love leaves injured” … from the San Jose Mercury News

Utah falls to 0-2 in Pac-12 play in loss to Washington State

Minshew leads Washington State over Utah 28-24” … Game recap from ESPN

Related … “Call it a bad dream, in the end: Ute star Julian Blackmon gives up the winning TD pass to Washington Staten” … from the Salt Lake City Tribune

Washington makes its case as the Pac-12’s College Football Playoff candidate with rout of BYU

“Browning shines as No. 11 Washington routs No. 20 BYU 35-7” … Game recap from ESPN


September 28th

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CU chancellor Phil DiStefano: “I don’t have the answers, but I think we need to ask those questions”

From the San Jose Mercury News … The new boss of the bosses in the Pac-12 believes all options should be considered for using the conference’s media content to create maximum value for the schools — even if it means selling an equity stake in the Pac-12 Networks or renegotiating the contracts with ESPN and Fox before their expiration.

That eye-opening strategic vision comes from Colorado chancellor Phil DiStefano, the new chair of the Pac-12’s board of directors (the presidents and chancellors).

“No decisions have been made, but we should start looking at what possibilities exist for leveraging the networks,” DiStefano told the Hotline during a recent interview.

“I’m open to thinking outside the box. Let’s put as many things on the table as possible.”

Those considerations should include selling an equity stake in the Pac-12 Networks, which would create a partnership akin to what the Big Ten Network has with Fox, and/or renegotiating the $3 billion Tier 1 contracts with ESPN and Fox.

The conference’s Tier 1 deal runs through the summer of 2024; that’s one year after the expiration of the Big Ten’s major media contracts.

“There are challenges in the next three-to-five years,” DiStefano said. “Which way are the winds blowing? Should we get in before the Big Ten, or is it better to wait and see what the Big Ten does?

“I don’t have the answers, but I think we need to ask those questions.”

Continue reading story here


September 27th

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Stanford using passing game, not Bryce Love, to win games

From ESPN … This was supposed to be the year that 2017 Heisman runner-up Bryce Love charged his way to the podium at the PlayStation Theater in midtown Manhattan, where he’d become the first Stanford player in almost a half century to claim that bronze stiff-arm trophy.

Love returned to college football this fall as one of its biggest stars, having turned down the NFL for a chance to lead the Cardinal to a Pac-12 title — if not more — and to thrive behind an offensive line that returned four starters. He seemed well-positioned to do what Toby Gerhart, Andrew Luck and Christian McCaffrey couldn’t: bring home the Heisman.

Then K.J. Costello came to the line of scrimmage in the season opener against San Diego State.

“It was a huge eye-opener,” Costello said. “They were going to make sure to do whatever they could to make sure [Love] couldn’t beat [them].”

Continue reading story here

Orange County Register: Buffs should win by two touchdowns

From the Orange County Register

Colorado wins if: QB Steven Montez stresses the UCLA linebackers with the zone read that Fresno State thrived on two weeks ago. … A secondary that’s growing increasingly healthy with CB Chris Miller locks down a struggling UCLA passing game. … WR Laviska Shenault, the Pac-12’s leading receiver, continues his hot streak against a talented UCLA secondary. … A steady Colorado defense can dominate the line of scrimmage against what’s expected to be a new-look offensive line for UCLA.

UCLA wins if: Offensive lineman Boss Tagaloa, now eligible to play after a three-game suspension, immediately jumps into the rotation and shores up the struggling unit. … The Bruins can shorten the game by establishing the run to control the clock and set up the passing game. … The UCLA defense used its bye week to sort out how to cover the zone read and can prevent Montez from using his legs to extend drives.

Prediction … Colorado 31, UCLA 17

Arizona State brings an end to the short-lived “turnover curl bar”

From the Arizona Republic … As for the curl bar that unexpectedly, at least to the coaches, debuted at Washington when Chase Lucas was doing lifts after his game-opening interception, it now becomes a less than one-hit wonder.

“You’ll see it in the weight room only going forward,” Edwards said. “Short-lived. Great idea, not on my watch.”

Edwards said Monday he was going to talk with strength coach Joe Connolly about the curl bar, which wide receiver N’Keal Harry later said was his idea. Lucas said Wednesday he could have pumped better and took some grief about his effort on social media, which is probably another reason not to continue with curling after turnovers or big plays.

“I don’t like gimmicks,” defensive coordinator Danny Gonzales said. “We take pride in causing turnovers, that’s our job. We’ll celebrate together, but nothing gimmicky. It made me laugh, but you’re not going to see it any more.”

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September 26th

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From the Opposition: “Joe Bruin” previews CU game

From … The UCLA football team is not exactly where many thought they would be after three-games in Chip Kelly’s first season. UCLA is 0-3 and they are set to begin conference play against the 3-0 Colorado Buffaloes.

The Bruins had some positives in a 48-21 loss to Oklahoma in Week 2 but had a lot more negatives in their 38-14 loss to Fresno State in Week 3. If the Bruins expect to get their first win of the season, they are going to have to put forth a tremendous effort against Colorado, a team that is turning a lot of heads this season.

… Right now, the Buffaloes are looking really good and an argument can be made for winning the Pac-12 South Division (something they accomplished two seasons ago).

Colorado has shown some grit in the first three games of the season. In their last game, which was their home opener for the 2018 season, they stymied New Hampshire, but only after shocking Nebraska on their home field and beating down rival Colorado State. “Gritty” perfectly describes the Buffaloes at this time.

Continue reading story here

Four CU opponents (including UCLA) in CBS Bottom 25

From CBS Sports … Now that we’re four weeks into the season, we see teams starting to settle into their places, and the Bottom 25 title race is beginning to take shape. Last week’s No. 1 New Mexico State beat our No. 3 UTEP to pick up its first win of the season, and that was a theme for the week. At this time last week, we had 14 winless teams and New Mexico State was one of 10 who picked up their first victory of the season. That means there are only four winless teams left compared to 21 undefeated teams.

So you tell me, which title is more prestigious? The College Football Playoff or The Bottom 25?

CU opponents … 


September 25th

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San Francisco Bowl changes sponsorship (again) – now the Redbox Bowl

… Note … The Redbox Bowl game in San Francisco is fourth in the Pac-12 pecking order, behind the Rose Bowl, Alamo Bowl, and Holiday Bowl. It ranks ahead of the Sun Bowl, Las Vegas Bowl, and the Cheez-It Bowl in terms of team selections … 

From ESPN … For the sixth time since its inception as the San Francisco Bowl in 2002, the Bay Area’s college bowl game is changing names.

After being known as the Foster Farms Bowl the previous four seasons, the game has agreed to a multiyear deal to become the Redbox Bowl, according to an official announcement Tuesday. The game will continue to pair a Pac-12 team with a team from the Big Ten and be played at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara on Dec. 31 — a week before the stadium, home to the San Francisco 49ers, will host the College Football Playoff championship game.

“We are in the midst of an incredibly exciting year for college football in the Bay Area and the addition of an innovative brand like Redbox as the game’s new title partner greatly adds to that excitement,” said Ryan Oppelt, executive director of the Redbox Bowl. “This year’s Redbox Bowl features a family-friendly noon kickoff that will help launch a weeklong celebration of college football in the Bay Area and we welcome Redbox and their brand of entertainment to the party.”

Prior to being the Foster Farms Bowl, the game was known as the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, the Emerald Bowl and the Diamond Walnut San Francisco Bowl. It moved from San Francisco to Santa Clara in 2014 — about 45 miles south — when Levi’s Stadium opened.

In last season’s game, Purdue beat Arizona 38-35.

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott defends Pac-12 After Dark

From the Oregonian … Larry Scott is aware that many Pac-12 football fans aren’t happy with the conference’s growing number of night games.

Despite the complaints, Scott believes in the benefits of Pac-12 After Dark.

“It’s clear that for certain fans, that’s a real irritation and it’s a concern for our athletic departments because we do get a significant amount of negative feedback about the start times,” Scott said Saturday prior to Oregon State’s matchup with Arizona. The 53-year-old Scott has been the conference’s commissioner since 2009.

A season ago, Scott said 24 of the Pac-12’s 80 conference games had local start times of 7 p.m. or later. He did not give an estimated figure for 2018.

“The reason we play almost a third of our games at night is that was a way to unlock significant value from television in our last negations,” Scott said. “ESPN and Fox placed a high value on us giving them a little more flexibility and being willing to play more night games.”

The Pac-12 is the only Power 5 conference with schools in the Pacific time zone. Late starts are a way to avoid competition for eyeballs with the SEC, ACC, Big Ten and Big 12.

“We essentially extend their day,” Scott said. “We give them a whole other window of high-quality, highly rated games. … Playing more night games than we did in the past unlocked the kind of value our schools were looking for.”

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September 24th

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Pac-12 lines: Colorado, Washington, and Arizona State double-digit home favorites this weekend

From 5Dimes

Colorado – A 10.0-point favorite at home over UCLA … Friday, 7:00 p.m., MT, FS1

Washington State – A pick ’em game at home against Utah … Saturday, 4:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks

Arizona State – A 21.5-point favorite at home over Oregon State … Saturday, 8:00 p.m., Pac-12 Networks

No. 11 Washington – A 17.5-point favorite at home over No. 20 BYU … Saturday, 5:30 p.m., Fox

Arizona – A 3.0-point underdog at home against USC … Saturday, 8:30 p.m., MT, ESPN2

No. 7 Stanford – A 4.5-point underdog on the road against No. 8 Notre Dame … Saturday, 5:30 p.m., NBC

No. 24 California – A 3.0-point underdog at home against No. 19 Oregon … Saturday, 8:30 p.m., FS1

The Athletic: Don’t count out Arizona State from Pac-12 South race

From The Athletic … Let’s start​ with a question,​ one that seems to​ perfectly frame where​ Arizona State​ football sits four​ games into​ the​​ Herm Edwards era.

“How close do you think you guys are, coming off two close losses on the road?”

“Right there. We’re right there,” quarterback Manny Wilkins said following Saturday night’s 27-20 loss to No. 10 Washington. “It’s one thing to go into a spot and get blown out. Then you’d just be like, ‘Hey, the other team was better.’ But when you make critical errors on your own side of the football and you do it to yourself, you just know when you fix those little mistakes it’s going to turn on.”

After a surprising start — leaping into the national polls — the Sun Devils (2-2, 0-1 in the Pac-12) have dropped two in a row, both on the road. Both to established programs. If you don’t think that matters, just look at the Pac-12 South.

Colorado (3-0, 0-0) and Utah (2-1, 0-1) are the top teams in the overall win-loss column. And they just happen to be the only two  programs in the South Division not going through some sort of major transition. ASU, Arizona and UCLA all have first-year coaches. USC has a true freshman quarterback. The South right now is like junior high school, a lot of programs going through awkward, uncomfortable phases. And it’s showing on the field.

It will get better at some point. The team that develops quickest will probably meet Oregon in the Pac-12 championship. (What’s that? Stanford came back? Are you serious?) The point is, ASU’s two losses — both by a single touchdown — eliminate the Sun Devils from nothing. It just puts them in a very large group that has more questions than answers. ASU’s biggest: How much better can this team get?

Continue reading story here


September 23rd 

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California enters Associated Press poll … Colorado in at No. 26

From CBS Sports … Kentucky is ranked in the AP Top 25 for the first time since 2007, checking in at No. 17 after knocking off a previously-ranked No. 15 Mississippi State team at home to improve to 4-0. The Wildcats broke into the rankings one spot ahead of Texas, which also made a big move up to No. 18 after beating TCU. Mississippi State held on in the top 25, down nine spots to No. 23, but TCU was not as fortunate, falling all the way out of the rankings.

There were several new arrivals at the back end of the rankings with No. 22 Duke, No. 24 Cal and No. 25 Texas Tech all making appearances.

Let’s take a look at where the new AP Top 25 stands through the first four weeks of the 2018 season.

1. Alabama
2. Georgia
3. Clemson
4. Ohio State
5. LSU
6. Oklahoma
7. Stanford … same as last week
8. Notre Dame
9. Penn State
10. Auburn
11. Washington … down one from last week
12. West Virginia
13. UCF
14. Michigan
15. Wisconsin
16. Miami (FL)
17. Kentucky
18. Texas
19. Oregon … up one from last week
20. BYU
21. Michigan State
22. Duke
23. Mississippi State
24. California … up five from last week
25. Texas Tech

Others Receiving Votes: Colorado (3-0) 83; Boise State (2-1) 58; Virginia Tech (2-1) 55; South Florida (4-0) 50; Oklahoma State (3-1) 44; Texas A&M (2-2) 41; Iowa (3-1) 31; South Carolina (2-1) 31; Florida (3-1) 29; North Carolina State (3-0) 28; Syracuse (4-0) 25; TCU (2-2) 24; Cincinnati (4-0) 10; North Texas (4-0) 10; Utah (2-1) 9; Missouri (3-1) 7; Ole Miss (3-1) 7; Maryland (3-1) 6; Buffalo (4-0) 6; San Diego State (3-1) 5; Arizona State (2-2) 4

USA Today / Coaches’ poll

Neither Colorado nor California break into poll … CU at No. 29; Cal at No. 33

1. Alabama
2. Clemson
3. Georgia
4. Ohio State
5. Oklahoma
6. LSU
7. Stanford
8. Notre Dame
9. Penn State
10. Auburn
11. Washington
12. West Virginia
13. Wisconsin
14. UCF
15. Michigan
16. Miami (FL)
17. Kentucky
18. Michigan State
19. Mississippi State
20. Oregon
21. Oklahoma State
22. Texas
23. Duke
24. Virginia Tech
25. Boise State

Others Receiving Votes: BYU (3-1) 141; South Florida (4-0) 113; Syracuse (4-0) 83; Colorado (3-0) 73; TCU (2-2) 67; North Carolina State (3-0) 61; Texas Tech (3-1) 56; South Carolina (2-1) 52; California (3-0) 38; Washington State (3-1) 34; Florida (3-1) 29; Texas A&M (2-2) 29; Appalachian State (2-1) 25; Iowa (3-1) 23; Cincinnati (4-0) 22; North Texas (4-0) 17; Missouri (3-1) 14; Maryland (3-1) 9; Boston College (3-1) 8; Arizona State (2-2) 8; USC (2-2) 8; San Diego State (3-1) 6; Troy (3-1) 5; Army West Point (2-2) 4; Virginia (3-1) 3; Arkansas State (3-1) 3; Utah (2-1) 2; Buffalo (4-0) 2

UCLA senior quarterback Wilson Speight may be available for CU game

From the Orange County Register … Chip Kelly answered before reporters could even ask.

“Wilton!” the coach interjected Wednesday before the first question of his news conference. “Wilton is day-to-day.”

Reporters were not planning to ask the coach about the quarterback’s official injury status, knowing it has remained unchanged for the past two weeks since Speight injured his back in the season opener. But when the practice doors opened for UCLA’s first training session of the bye week, Speight appeared to have made a step forward in his recovery.

The former starting quarterback participated in most every drill during Wednesday’s open viewing period, including those that required him to throw on the run. During the past week, he threw only stationary passes, then watched as the other quarterbacks simulated rolling out of the pocket and throwing.

This week’s bye could provide Speight additional time to recover before UCLA’s game at Colorado on Sept. 28, when the Bruins (0-3) will try to win their first road game in more than two years.

Freshman Dorian Thompson-Robinson has started the past two games and has 522 passing yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions while completing 54.7 percent of his passes.

While Kelly has said he wanted to tailor his scheme to his personnel, he said changing the offense wasn’t necessary when going from the grad transfer, known more for his passing ability, to the freshman, who was one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the country for his recruiting class.

“There’s not much difference between them,” Kelly said of Speight and Thompson-Robinson. “It’s a big misconception that Wilton can’t run. I don’t know what that conception is, but you look at miles per hour, he’s one of our faster guys. He runs over 20 miles an hour. There isn’t much difference between our offensive scheme when Wilton’s in and when Dorian’s in.”

Speight, in a quarter and a half of action before getting injured, showed his mobility by side-stepping free rushers and with a 13-yard scramble. He was 8 for 12 passing for 45 yards and an interception before suffering the back injury, his second in less than a year after fracturing three vertebrae last September.



4 Replies to “Pac-12 Notes – UCLA”

  1. Th PAC will never get any respect even if 3 of the members beat Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State in pre con with one of the three going on to the NC. All the PAC games are after the East coast’s beddie bye time and after they have already watched one of their east coast games.
    When I got off work today I turned on ESPNU for the hour’s drive home. Some guy who admits he was broad casting from upstate NY barking about Syracuse and how great their QB was. After about 10 minutes of that I switched to some music for another 10 and went back to ESPNU Now the topic was Old Dominion taking down VTech and after a few minutes of that it was back to Syracuse again. Sheesh
    Close to home I gave it one more try. He actually moved on the the rest of the ACC but gave the red river shootout 2 sentences.
    I’m happy the Buffs are in a conference that is perennially up for grabs. (nice that USC has been relegated to human) It makes for exciting games instead of watching ‘Alabama, Clemson or Ohio State smash the rest of their conference into a hopeless chase.

    1. Yo EP,
      Hope all is well. I don’t care how weak the Rams or the Kornholers are. The Buffs whipped em. Whipped em both. Whipped em good.

      Most impressive is the 2nd half of the holer game. Buffs never quit. (Like last year at Utah). Coaches made adjustments. (Unlike most of the last 5 years) Defensive stopped the holers in the 2nd half. Offense allowed 1 sack after 11 min in the 3rd quarter (6 before that time) Adjustments.
      Yup the players upped the play. But the coaches gave em the opportunity to win and they did. Just have to like that alot eh? The running game needs work. Adams needs to frigging settle on a starting line. Chev needs to open up the offense cause it is not on full throttle yet. Next two games are key. At home. Against possible challengers. Win those two and the Buffs are rolling. 3 more at home (OSU, Utah, WSU).

      UCLA game is the biggest game in years. Many years. Have to set the tone.

      Can’t wait.

      Uh Oh Buffalo

      Note: Where the heck did California come from? That BYU win must have been huge.


      1. Hello VK
        BYU must field a team of robots. They have to swear off anything and everything that is remotely close to fun off the field. Still trying to figure out how Jim McMahon survived there

        1. MacMahon survived the “Y” like all good Jack Mormons do: He moved his “Krazy” over a couple of counties where he wasn’t easily recognized!

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