Pac-12 Notes – Washington State

November 10th

… Foe Pause … 

Cal becomes bowl-eligible with first win over USC in 14 years

From ESPN … Patrick Laird took his fourth-and-1 carry deep into Southern California territory with less than two minutes left, and the roars from a hearty contingent of California fans echoed in a mostly silent Coliseum.

The Golden Bears are bowl-eligible and riding high after a landmark victory, while the Trojans have hit yet another low.

Chase Garbers threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score, and Cal snapped its 14-game losing streak against USC with a 15-14 victory Saturday night.

Vic Wharton III made his first TD catch of the year as the Golden Bears (6-4, 3-4 Pac-12) rallied from a 14-point halftime deficit and secured bowl eligibility for just the second time in seven seasons with their first win at the Coliseum in 18 years.

“It means a lot, and I’m so happy for all of our guys,” said Laird, a fifth-year senior who has never played in a bowl. “The first goal of our team was to get six wins to make it to a bowl game. It means so much more to do it here, too.”

Two programs that appear to be moving in opposite directions kept going their separate ways while Cal beat USC (5-5, 4-4) for the first time since its famed 34-31, triple-overtime victory over the vaunted Trojans in Berkeley in 2003.

The Trojans hadn’t lost to the Bears at the Coliseum since 2000, coach Paul Hackett’s final season at USC before Pete Carroll took over.

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Utah surprises Oregon with backup quarterback and backup running back

From ESPN … In his first start, Jason Shelley ran for two touchdowns and Armand Shyne had 174 yards rushing to power Utah past Oregon 32-25 on Saturday.

The Utes (7-3, 5-3 Pac-12) lost Tyler Huntley, their starting quarterback, and running back Zack Moss, who had already rushed for 1,092 yards this season, to injury within a few days of each other.

Shelley utilized quick passes, a strong running game and some misdirection in the offense to pass for 262 yards. The redshirt freshman completed 18 of 31 passes with no interceptions.

On a drive keyed by a 36-yard pass to Jaylen Dixon, Shelley punched in the go-ahead touchdown from 2 yards out with 6:48 to play.

The Utah defense, which dominated in the first quarter and then was on its collective heels when Justin Herbert starting finding receivers all over the field, stopped the Ducks (6-4, 3-4) on the ensuing possession when Jaylon Johnsonbroke up a fourth-down pass.

Herbert went 20-for-33 for 288 yards but was sacked four times and simply ran out of time. Dillon Mitchell caught eight passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns, including multiple acrobatic grabs.

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Arizona State still in control of its own destiny in the Pac-12 South after 31-28 win over UCLA 

From ESPN …  Arizona State quarterback Manny Wilkins emerged from an emotional Saturday with a victory that keeps his team in great shape in the crowded Pac-12 South.

The three-year starter, in his final home game, ran for two touchdowns and threw for another and the Sun Devils held off UCLA 31-28.

Eno Benjamin carried it a career-high 34 times for 182 yards and a score for the Sun Devils (6-4, 4-3), who won their third straight — all over Pac-12 South foes — and became bowl eligible under first-year coach Herm Edwards.

“We didn’t tackle him,” UCLA coach Chip Kelly said of the Arizona State running back. “Too many times the contact was six or seven yards down the field.”

Wilkins’ voice was choked with emotion when he spoke at the postgame news conference.

“I’m ecstatic, blessed to be a part of this football team,” he said. “We just stayed the course. They knew what we were going to run, we knew what they were going to run. It’s all about who wants it more. I think you could see the look in our eyes. Want sure wanted it and we still want it. We’ve got two more (games).”

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Jon Wilner a believer: Utah is cursed in November

From the San Jose Mercury News … The conversion took a few years, but I’m now a true believer. The Utes are cursed in November.

The only team that hasn’t won the South in seven years of division play has lost its starting quarterback and tailback — they were high school teammates — in the span of five days:

First, Tyler Huntley broke his collarbone in the third quarter of a close game at Arizona State.

Now, Zack Moss, arguably the best back in the conference, has been lost for the remainder of the season with a knee injury reportedly suffered in practice on Wednesday.

(Severe injuries in practice are rare this time of year, because teams have typically eased off. We don’t know the specifics of the Moss injury, but I’m betting this was a freak situation. There is no chance coach Kyle Whittingham was using Moss in a full-contact workout.)

Short-circuiting on matters of execution in games you should win, as the Utes have done frequently in past Novembers — that’s one thing.

But these injuries, coming with the Utes steamrollering to their first division title — well, that does suggest they have permanently angered the football gods.

Read full story here


November 9th

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Report: Utah star running back Zack Moss lost for the season

From the Salt Lake City Tribune … Utah running back Zack Moss injured his knee in practice Wednesday and likely will miss the rest of the season, The Salt Lake Tribune has confirmed.

On Thursday evening, Moss tweeted, “So many emotions. So many tears. I’m coming back stronger. God’s plan.”

The program typically announces season-ending injuries; Utah Athletics is not addressing his status in advance of Saturday’s game vs. Oregon, but Moss reportedly has a torn meniscus. That’s not as significant as ligament damage, but he will have surgery in the next week, Sean O’Connell of Sirirus XM’s Pac-12 Radio reported.

Moss, a junior from Florida, has rushed for 1,092 yards in nine games and was on track to break Utah’s single-season and career rushing records with three regular-season games remaining, plus a bowl game.

His injury comes after junior quarterback Tyler Huntley, Moss’ high school teammate, sustained a broken collarbone in last Saturday’s loss at Arizona State. Huntley will be out for at least Utah’s remaining three regular-season games, the school said.

Utah (6-3, 4-3 Pac-12) is bowl-eligible; after facing Oregon, the Utes will close the regular season by visiting Colorado and hosting BYU. Utah is tied for the South division lead with USC and Arizona, although Arizona State (3-3) holds a potential tiebreaker over the Utes.


November 8th

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Sean Tufts and Buffs4Life featured in ESPN article on mental health

From ESPN … Sean Tufts is searching for the right words.

The former Colorado linebacker is sitting in front of a beer, a basket of wings and a virtual stranger. He’s attempting to have an uncomfortable conversation about the countless uncomfortable conversations he has been attempting to have for the past year. The stranger wants to know if all this talking has made him any less angry.

He considers the question carefully, approaches it from a couple of different angles, stopping and starting anew a couple of times before settling on the most direct answer.

“No,” Tufts says. “Am I still mad at him for that decision? Yeah. Am I mad at myself, that I didn’t know, that I didn’t do something sooner? Yeah. There’s no tithing that I think can wash that away.”

Tufts is the new president of the Buffs4Life Foundation, a 13-year-old nonprofit originally aimed at helping former Colorado athletes and their families deal with a wide variety of medical problems. A little more than a year ago, in the wake of two high-profile suicides of former members of the football team — including a close friend of Tufts’ — the group shifted focus to “never again” have a member of their athletic alumni take their own life. This week, the organization announced a fundraiser partnership with Hilinski’s Hope, a mental health charity started by the family of deceased Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski.

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Les Miles has talked with Kansas about open coaching position

From CBS Sports … Les Miles and Kansas have spoken about the program’s open head coaching job, sources tell CBS Sports. There seems to be mutual interest between the parties.

Miles was listed by CBS Sports as a top candidate at KU earlier this week. However, at that time, the two sides had not yet spoken.

Kansas athletic director Jeff Long said Sunday that he prefers “an experienced head coach” to replace David Beaty. Long also said he wants to hire a replacement “sooner rather than later.”

Recruiting pressures related to the Dec. 19 early signing period could have factored into his decision to fire Beaty with a month left in the regular season.

“There really isn’t a frontrunner,” Long told reporters on Sunday. “I’m going to be looking for a leader of young men, someone who has maybe a history and track record of building a program, because we have to build a program and it’s really important to do that.”

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November 7th

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Coaching carousel: Les Miles a front-runner for Kansas job? Helton safe at USC?

From The Athletic … A person with knowledge of the matter told The Athletic that there is a lot of momentum at Kansas for former LSU head coach Les Miles to become the Jayhawks next head coach and that he’s emerged as a frontrunner for the job. Miles who turns 65 next week, led the Tigers to a national title and went 114-34. He also spent four seasons coaching in the Big 12 at Oklahoma State, going 28-21.

Lincoln Riley isn’t the only 30-something Big 12 coach that has folks intrigued. I’m told the NFL’s interest in Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell is mounting.

Don’t expect anywhere near as much coaching turnover as there was last winter. One job that many have figured might come open is USC, but people with insights into the Trojans situation have told me this week that AD Lynn Swann and Trojan brass are backing Clay Helton and like the idea of having more stability. They like Helton and hope that some staff shake-up (USC dismissed its O-line coach Neil Callaway and Helton took over play-calling responsibilities last week) is their solution. I’m told that unless the team falls apart down the stretch, don’t look for USC to make a move on Helton.

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Pac-12 South race: A “beautiful disaster”

From The Athletic …  Just take​ a look at​ the beautiful disaster that​ is the Pac-12​ South​ standings.</span​>

The​ team with​ the​​ inside track to the division title, Arizona State, is currently in fourth place and was picked to finish last in the preseason, back when it was the butt of every joke for hiring Herm Edwards, who had been out of coaching since 2008.

The midseason favorite, Utah, is 13-16 in November since joining the conference and just lost its starting quarterback to a broken collarbone. USC was the preseason favorite, but most of the talk about the Trojans this season has centered on their coach, not their play.

The team with arguably the best coach in the division, UCLA, sits in last place. The team that got off to the hottest start, Colorado, has lost four in a row. Arizona, a preseason dark horse to win the division, got off to a slow start under new head coach Kevin Sumlin before starting to heat up these past few weeks.

All in all, it’s a complicated mess, so we asked our most knowledgeable Pac-12 South reporters to sum up the division and give their insight about what they expect the rest of the way.

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November 6th

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Three teams from the Pac-12 remain in the CBS Bottom 25

From CBS Sports … Last weekend I saw one of my favorite things happen in college football, and I saw something I hate to see. Both are related to The Bottom 25.

We’ll start with the thing I hate to see so we can get it out of the way and move on to the good news. When it comes to The Bottom 25, I realize that the whole premise of this enterprise seems to be mocking teams that are having bad seasons. I certainly make jokes at their expense, but the truth is, even if it seems cruel on the surface, the fact is I care about all of these teams. I want to see every team do well. It’s heartbreaking to watch teams go out every week, try their hardest and lose anyway.

Once in a while, though, I see a team that I don’t think is trying all that hard, and I saw one this weekend. Louisville lost to Clemson 77-16 on Saturday. The Cardinals were 39-point underdogs before kickoff, and while I had no delusions they’d be able to give Clemson a scare, I at least thought they’d go out and play hard. But I didn’t see that on Saturday. Instead, I saw a team that seemed a bit too content to take a beating. As a result, the Cardinals are now 2-7, and they fell from No. 12 to No. 7 in this week’s ranking, the lowest-ranked team with two wins in our poll.

If they play as hard the rest of the season as they did against Clemson, they just might reach The Bottom 25 Playoff.

On the flip side of Louisville was UTEP. The Miners went into their game against Rice having lost 20 straight. If ever there was a team with an excuse to pack it in, the Miners had one. Instead, they came out on fire and took a 27-0 lead in the first half. Now, things got a bit tense afterward, but the Miners held on to win 34-26 to get their first win of the season.

They also became the final team to get a win in 2018. That’s right, there are no winless teams remaining on the FBS level. No matter what happens from this point forward, every team in the country will have had the opportunity to celebrate at least once in 2018.

Even our Bottom 25 champion …

No. 25 Nebraska … The Cornhuskers lost to Ohio State but fell a spot in the rankings and would almost certainly drop out of The Bottom 25 with a win over Illinois this week. (Last Week: 24).

No. 24 Colorado State … I just realized Colorado State is in third place in its division. It has no shot of catching either Utah State or Boise State, but it goes to show how top-heavy the Mountain West is this season. (23)

No. 23 UCLA … The Bruins make a not-so-triumphant return to The Bottom 25 after losing to Oregon 42-21. But you know what? The Bruins are still mathematically alive in the Pac-12 South! They just have to win out and to do that they’d have to start by beating Arizona State this weekend. (Not Ranked).

No. 13 Oregon State … A week after beating Colorado, the Beavers trailed USC by only seven heading into the fourth quarter. These are things that are happening too late in 2018 to have an impact on this season, but they might be good omens for 2019. (16)

Dare to Dream … Six-way tie in Pac-12 South would result in Colorado winning the division

From The Athletic … It’s​ Nov. 5 and​ the Pac-12​ South race is exactly​ where it was​ before​ any football was​ played this​ season​​ — wide open.

And not just open as in, “Oh, any team can win it this year (except, you know, that one team and that other one).” It’s open in that three weeks from the end of the season, there’s not just a small chance, but a real probability that the South could end in a six-way tie for the divisional title. And yes, there are only six teams in that division.

“You try to anticipate all potential tiebreak scenarios, and in most cases, it comes down to just two teams where the tiebreak procedures are pretty clear-cut in determining the champion or representative in the Pac-12 Football Championship Game,” said Pac-12 vice president of communications Dave Hirsch. “It’s a little overwhelming to imagine that a six-team tie is still possible with three weeks remaining.”

So, how exactly would that be possible? Like this:

Six-way tie at 5-4 in Pac-12 play

Arizona: Beats Washington State | Loses to Arizona State
(Pac-12 South record: 1-4)

Arizona State: Beats Oregon and Arizona | Loses to UCLA
(Pac-12 South record: 3-2)

Colorado: Beats Washington State, Utah and Cal
(Pac-12 South record: 3-2)

UCLA: Beats Arizona State, USC, Stanford
(Pac-12 South record: 3-2)

USC: Beat Cal | Loses to UCLA
(Pac-12 South record: 2-3)

Utah: Beats Oregon | Loses to Colorado
(Pac-12 South record: 3-2)

Six-way tie at 4-5 in Pac-12 play

Arizona: Loses to Washington State and Arizona State
(Pac-12 South record: 0-5)

Arizona State: Beats Arizona | Loses to UCLA and Oregon
(Pac-12 South record: 3-2)

Colorado: Beats Utah | 1-1 vs. Cal and Washington State
(Pac-12 South record: 3-2)

UCLA: Beats USC and Arizona State | Loses to Stanford
(Pac-12 South record: 3-2)

USC: Loses to Cal and UCLA
(Pac-12 South record: 2-3)

Utah: Loses to Oregon and Colorado
(Pac-12 South record: 3-2)

… In these six-way tie scenarios, head-to-head results are the same as intra-divisional records since every team in the division is involved. In either scenario (six-way tie at 5-4 or 4-5), the head-to-head tiebreaker leaves a four-way tie among Arizona State, Colorado, UCLA and Utah as each would be 3-2 against the Pac-12 South.

Hirsch explained that at that point, once teams have been eliminated by a particular tiebreaker, the process restarts from the beginning and the head-to-head records of the four remaining teams would be examined against one another.

And that would be where we’d finally determine a Pac-12 South champ: Colorado. The Buffs, in both scenarios, would finish with 3-0 records against Arizona State, UCLA and Utah.

Continue reading story here


November 5th

… Foe Pause … 

Mike MacIntyre on the “Won’t Get Fired, But … Win Now” list

From the College Football News

“Coaches On The Hot Seat: No, No, NO, They Won’t Get Fired, But … WIN NOW”

5. Mark Richt, Miami

4. Bobby Petrino, Louisville

3. Mike MacIntryre, Colorado

It really, really, really stinks that the offense lost its groove with Laviska Shenault getting banged up. Now, the team that started out 5-0 and looking like a real danger to take the West title is going to have to battle just to go bowling.

To be fair, three of the four games in the losing streak were on the road to USC, Washington and and against an improved Arizona – no real shame there.

Real shame in the collapse Oregon State at home.

With Washington State, Utah and at Cal to close, it’s going to be a fight to get that sixth win.

2. Kalani Sitake, BYU

1. P.J. Fleck, Minnesota

Jon Wilner: Sorting out the Pac-12 South race

From the San Jose Mercury News

Okay, here we go with the cheat sheet …

Conference record: 4-3
Intra-division record: 1-3
South head-to-head: Beat Colorado; lost to UCLA, USC and Utah
Remaining games: at Washington State (5-1), vs. Arizona State (3-3)
Path to the title: Win out and losses by Utah and USC

Conference record: 4-3
Intra-division record: 2-2
South head-to-head: Beat Colorado and Arizona; lost to Utah and Arizona State
Remaining games: vs. Cal (2-4), at UCLA (2-4)
Path to the title: Win out and losses by Arizona State and Utah

Conference record: 4-3
Intra-division record: 3-1
South head-to-head: Beat Arizona, USC and UCLA; lost to Arizona State
Remaining games: vs. Oregon (3-3), at Colorado (2-4)
Path to the title: Win out and loss by Arizona State

Arizona State
Conference record: 3-3
Intra-division record: 2-1
South head-to-head: Beat Utah and USC; lost to Colorado
Remaining games: vs. UCLA (2-4), at Oregon (3-3), at Arizona (4-3)
Path to the title: Win out

Conference record: 2-4
Intra-division record: 2-2
South head-to-head: Beat Arizona State and UCLA; lost to USC and Arizona
Remaining games: vs. Washington State (5-1), vs. Utah (4-3), at Cal (2-4)
Path to the title: Win out and pray

Conference record: 2-4
Intra-division record: 1-2
South head-to-head: Beat Arizona; lost to Utah and Colorado
Remaining games: at Arizona State (3-3), vs. USC (4-3), vs. Stanford (3-3)
Path to the title: Win out and pray

Read full story here


November 3rd

… Foe Pause …

Washington State defeats Cal with last minute touchdown, 19-13

Game story from ESPN … Gardner Minshew threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Easop Winston Jr. with 32 seconds left to lift No. 10 Washington State to a 19-13 win over California on Saturday night, extending WSU’s long-shot quest to crash the College Football Playoff.

Minshew threw for 334 yards for Washington State (8-1, 5-1 Pac-12, No. 8 CFP), which is also seeking its first Pac-12 North title. The Cougars have a 12-game home winning streak, fourth-longest in the nation.

Utah loses quarterback Tyler Huntley for the season in loss to Arizona State

Game story from ESPN“Wilkins, Harry lead Sun Devils past No. 16 Utah 38-20”

Related … “Utah QB Tyler Huntley done for season with broken collarbone” … from ESPN

From the Salt Lake City Tribune … Utah’s seemingly well-paved road to the Pac-12 South football championship turned extremely bumpy Saturday.

The Utes lost quarterback Tyler Huntley to an apparent shoulder injury late in the third quarter and missed their opportunity to take full command of the division race, falling 38-20 to Arizona State at Sun Devil Stadium.

After the game, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said Huntley likely was done for the season due to the injury.

The loss means Utah (6-3, 4-3 Pac-12) is tied with Arizona for first place in the Pac-12 South, pending USC’s outcome at Oregon State. ASU (5-4, 3-3) is a half-game behind the Utes, owning the tiebreaker between the teams. Utah will have beat Oregon and Colorado in its last two conference games and get some help from one of ASU’s remaining opponents: UCLA, Oregon or Arizona.

Utah’s future may be complicated by Huntley’s injury, with redshirt freshman Jason Shelley as his replacement. Beyond Utah’s division title-hopes, the question becomes how much of this season the Utes can salvage.

Does anyone doubt there’s a November curse on this program?

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Oregon spoils Chip Kelly’s return to Autzen with 42-21 win

From ESPN … Justin Herbert threw for 264 yards and two touchdowns and Oregon defeated UCLA 42-21 on Saturday in Bruins coach Chip Kelly’s first game at Autzen Stadium since he left the Ducks following the 2012 season.

Dillon Mitchell caught eight passes for 156 yards and two touchdowns for the Ducks (6-3, 3-2 Pac-12), who became bowl eligible. The victory also snapped a two-game losing streak that had dropped the Ducks out of the rankings.

With the loss, UCLA (2-7, 2-4) was guaranteed to finish below .500 in Kelly’s first season with the Bruins.

During Kelly’s four-year tenure Oregon made four straight BCS bowl appearances and he was lauded as the architect of the Ducks’ up-tempo “blur offense.” He was greeted with warm applause when he was introduced prior to the coin flip.

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3 Replies to “Pac-12 Notes – Washington State”

  1. Les Miles to Kansas..huh?
    Does the KU hoops program make enough money to pay him?
    And Miles actually wants to take on probably the biggest rebuilding job in the country?
    Barring the magnitude of a divine intervention he doesnt want to wait a little longer and come back to Boulder? (Maybe it would be culture shock after spending so many years in Ba-
    Tone Roooge) or (maybe he lost a coin toss with Barnett)
    And will Rick George wait until all the other available better choices are already spoken for? Seems like that may have happened before to the Buffs.

  2. Pretty dang exciting. Sheesh an OSU win would have done what for the Buffs?
    What a conference. What a division. Screw the Big 12…………..what a stupid conference………..Bad places to visit as well…………….Especially Stinkn Linkn

    Welp is there a miracle in their future…………..meaning the Buffs…………..pretty much on the down side of any breaks really……………..(knebraska victory was pure kick their arse……… luck involved.

    It’s only Tuesday……………….can’t wait……………..I am pulling for the players to take control and win regardless……………….of the mediocre coaching staff.

    Go Buffs.

    Note: Chev needs to be on the sidelines calling plays. Put roper in the box…………..He can see and evaluate…………advise chev……………….make the call…………….(Make sure mac 1/2 has his mic turned off.

    Go Buffs

  3. Yo Stuart,
    We’re here to support a hopefully winning program. It’s what we all want, except for maybe the troll of mediocrity.

    *** Mike Leach has had 15 winning seasons and only two losing ones.

    *** Bill McCartney had three losing seasons and then 10 straight non losing seasons (9 winning records and one 6-6 year). Mac’s teams had two tries in the National Championship game, and one National Championship. In his last six years the Buffaloes were 58-11-4. Under McCartney, the Buffaloes played games 74 times as a ranked team. Their record in those games was 58-12-4.

    *** Mike MacIntyre has two winning seasons in eight. He can make it three of nine if they win a couple more games. More likely it will be two of nine.
    Under MM, Colorado has played 8 games as a ranked team, with a record of 5-3. Under MM, they are 0-17 against higher ranked teams.

    Just win. “You are what your record says you are.” — Bill Parcells


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