Pac-12 Notes – Arizona State Week


October 6th

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Pac-12 parity … Conference games raise more questions about the hierarchy in the conference

Related … “Saturday Night Five: Reassessing the division races, Colorado’s rise, Utah’s path and Stanford’s missing identity” … from Jon Wilner at the San Jose Mercury News

Related … “Stanford’s Bryce Love sits out loss to Utah” … from the San Jose Mercury News

Arizona Wildcats take advantage of turnovers to beat Cal 24-17” … Game recap from ESPN

Related … “Cal loses in the desert, remains winless in Pac-12” … from the San Jose Mercury News

Related … “UCLA looks better but loses to Washington 31-24 to fall to 0-5 for the first time since 1943” … from the Los Angeles Times

Minshew II, Washington St. beats Oregon State 56-37” … Game recap from ESPN

Related … “Oregon State Beavers lost, but were entertaining and went down swinging” … from the Oregonian


October 5th

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Arizona Republic – Sun Devils take down Buffs

From the Arizona Republic … Arizona State (3-2, 1-1 Pac-12) takes a third stab at its first road win of the season, this time against Colorado (4-0, 1-0), the lone remaining unbeaten team in the conference, at Folsom Field in Boulder.

ASU’s most recent road win was November 2017 at Oregon State. The Sun Devils were 2-4 in road/neutral games last season including a loss to North Carolina State in the Sun Bowl. Since 2015, ASU is 4-16 in road and neutral games.

Colorado is 4-0 for the first time since 1998 with wins over Colorado State (45-13), at Nebraska (33-28), FCS New Hampshire (45-14) and UCLA (38-16). Those opponents are a combined 1-16.

Bottom line

ASU has played three teams ranked higher (Sagarin) than any of Colorado’s opponents including a split vs. No. 10 Washington and No. 19 Michigan State. But is the more tested team capable of winning on the road at altitude (chance for rain now is slight)? Buffs QB Steven Montez (No. 19 nationally total offense) is a veteran like ASU’s Manny Wilkins (No. 36) so don’t expect either to be easily rattled. This feels like the right time to take a chance on the Sun Devils (2 1/2-point underdog) because of their evolving identity as a ball-control team.


ASU 35, Colorado 28.


October 4th

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CBS Sports: Arizona State the “lock of the week” over Colorado

From CBS Sports … Things did not go as planned in last week’s Six Pack. After getting off to a 2-0 start on the week with winners in the Rutgers/Indiana and Kansas/Oklahoma State games, I had to sit in horror as my final four picks of the week all came up short.

I was rooting very hard for an Ohio State pick six after the Buckeyes went ahead of Penn State so I could get to 3-3 on the week, but alas, it was not to be.

Though it sucks I wasn’t able to build on the momentum of my 5-1 performance the week before, I’m still on the plus side of the ledger for the season as a whole, and I don’t plan on having that change any time soon. And definitely not with this week’s picks.

Lock of the Week

Arizona State (+3) at No. 21 Colorado: Listen, Colorado is off to a 4-0 start, and it’s ranked No. 21 in the country, and I’m happy to see it. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for the Buffs, and I love the way Folsom Field looks at night, so I want them playing in as many big games as possible. But they’re being overvalued here. Yes, the Buffs are 4-0, but they’re 4-0 against Colorado State, Nebraska, UCLA, and New Hampshire. Those four teams are a combined 1-16 on the season. If you look at F/+ ratings, Arizona State is ranked No. 39 in the country while Colorado is at No. 57. Yes, Arizona State has two losses, but metrics suggest it should be the team favored in this matchup, so if I’m catching a field goal with it, I’m not passing up that value. Arizona State 31, Colorado 30

Laviska Shenault featured in USA Today article

From the USA Today …  Laviska Shenault had a decision to make several years ago. If he wanted to play basketball at his high school in Texas, he would need to follow team rules and cut his dreadlocks.

It was hair vs. hoops. And the choice was easy.

“It was my first sport, but I couldn’t play for my high school because of my hair,” said Shenault, now a star sophomore receiver at Colorado. “So I stopped playing basketball, and that’s why I started taking football seriously.”

Shenault isn’t the same as Samson, the biblical figure who derived his strength from his hair and lost his power when his hair was cut. But it’s true: There is something special about those dreadlocks. They’re flying all over the place for the No. 22 Buffaloes (4-0) – not just wide receiver, but at every position on offense except offensive line, including at wildcat quarterback and tight end.

Continue reading story here


October 3rd

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Washington State coach Mike Leach: A balanced offense if “50% stupid”

From CBS Sports … The definition of offensive balance in football has been changing for a while, but Washington State coach Mike Leach is one of the more extreme examples.

Take his team’s 28-24 win over Utah in Week 5, for instance. The Cougars finished the game with zero rushing yards. Yes, zero. (Disclaimer: Wazzu did in fact run the ball. It actually finished with 13 yards on five carries from running back James Williams; the -13 yards came on kneel downs at the end of the game. Not that Williams’ 2.6 yards per carry changes the narrative.)

When asked about the team’s offensive distribution, Leach offered a spin on his philosophy as only Leach can.

“I want all of the positions to touch it,” Leach said. “There’s nothing balanced about 50 percent run, 50 percent pass, because that’s 50 percent stupid.”

“Now, what is balanced is when you have five skill positions … if all five of them are contributing to the offensive effort in a somewhat equal fashion, then that’s balanced,” he continued. “But this notion that, if you hand it to one guy 50 percent of the time and then you throw it to a combination of two guys the other 50 percent, that you’re really balanced … you probably pat yourself on the back and tell yourself that, and people have been doing that for decades. Well, you’re delusional.”

Continue reading story here


October 2nd

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CSU, Nebraska, and UCLA all still inhabit Bottom Ten at both CBS Sports and ESPN 

From CBS Sports … It’s October, which means we’re still early enough in the season that anything can happen, but we’ve also seen enough football to get a better idea of what to expect. It also means that my rankings, while still somewhat volatile, are settling in. We’ll see a big change here and there — like possibly a Bottom Five team falling out of the rankings altogether — but for the most part, our Bottom 25 teams are our Bottom 25 teams.

When you’re ranked here early in the season, you might be a victim of circumstance. When you’re ranked here in October, well, it might be time to start unpacking those boxes you’ve left unattended. Sit down. Get comfortable. Stay awhile.


5. Arkansaw Corn-Bruins (1-12)

Just because we aren’t doing that all-Power 5 thing again this week doesn’t mean there aren’t any Power 5 programs that deserve to be here. So we’re mashing them all together for this week’s Coveted Fifth Spot. If you’re having the kind of season that Arkansas, Nebraska and UCLA are having, you feel like you need to brew up some corn-mashin’s and drink it. You know, the stuff they sing about in that one fight song … what’s it called? Oh yeah, “Rocky Top.”

Waiting List: Boiling Green State (1-4), State of Kent (1-4), My Hammy of Ohio (1-4), R-O-C-K in the UTSA (2-3), Western Kentucky Hillstoppers (1-4), Coloraduh State (1-4), Ore-gone State (1-4), Iowa State Auntie Ems (1-3), Old Duh-minions (1-4), the team that lost to Old Duh-minions (3-1), grabbing people on the sideline.


October 1st

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ASU head coach Herm Edwards press conference

From YouTube – ASU coach talks about the Oregon State win and facing the Buffs:

“Colorado scores a bunch of points … They’re a well-coached football team; they’ve got a good program … It’s going to be tough, it’s going to be loud … I tell my offensive coordinator to call what they want – they’re not going to boo you on the road … The onus is on the home team to keep the crowd in the game … (Why ASU is running the ball instead of passing) It’s not about stats, it’s about winning the game … You don’t have to run every play in the playbook … ‘Have they stopped it yet?’ If not, keep running it … Wherever I’ve been, we run the ball. I grew up in an era when running the football is important … it travels well. It’s really hard to mess that one up. The ball’s not heavy – that’s my philosophy … I just like running. It’s fun to watch … Just run it, and see what happens … “.

Arizona Republic: Why Sun Devils fans are sweating four touchdown win over Oregon State

From the Arizona Republic … Arizona State took care of Oregon State 52-24 at Sun Devil Stadium late Saturday, but the win didn’t feel as dominant as the numbers would indicate.

ASU rushed for 400 yards, led by Eno Benjamin’s school-record 312. But Oregon State’s Jermar Jefferson blazed the Sun Devils for 254.

ASU won by four touchdowns. But the Beavers put together three consecutive scoring drives in the first half to keep the game close.

And ASU quarterback Manny Wilkins threw for three touchdowns. But he had just 162 yards and completed just 56 percent of his 25 throws.

Let’s take a look at why ASU fans were sweating what should have been a cool win, and what it means as the Sun Devils get into their Pac-12 South schedule starting next week in Colorado:

Continue reading story here

Pac-12 lines: Colorado a 2.5-point favorite over Arizona State


— No. 21 Colorado … a 2.5-point favorite at home over Arizona State … 2:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks

— UCLA … a 21.0-point underdog at home against No. 10 Washington … 5:30 p.m., MT, Fox

— Oregon State … a 16.0-point underdog at home against Washington State … 7:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks

— Arizona … a 1.5-point underdog at home against California … 8:00 p.m., MT, FS1

— No. 14 Stanford … a 5.0-point favorite at home over Utah … 8:30 p.m., MT, ESPN

September 30th

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

Related … There are 14 undefeated teams left in 2018 … from the NCAA

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


7 Replies to “Pac-12 Notes – Arizona State”

  1. I understand that ASU is a talented team and has played superior competition. But “lock of the week”? This should be posted in the Buffs locker room.

    1. Right? Homey’s got to have something interesting as his hook, and seems to be falling into the ol’ “metrics” trap. Metrics don’t play the game. Kids/young men do. I’m putting my money on the brotherhood that is the CU Buffs this year. As well as the skill Viska, Montez and co are playing with on offense, and the rising defense. Being at Folsom Field should help, too. Looking forward to watching another fun game.

      Go Buffs.

  2. Wow. Great story about Viska. Tragic for sure. Glad dude is going to get his due in the nfl, and glad he found his way to CU.

    Was it Abrams who said “don’t worry ma, i’ll Get you out of the ‘hood soon”? I think we often forget the lives these kids live on their way to and through CU.

    Go Buffs.

  3. Looking at the Leach article wasnt there Denver kid RB who was committed to the Buffs and switched to Wash St? Either Leach made him a WR or he is sorry as hell

    1. Max Borghi … 18 carries for 104 yards and three touchdowns in the first five games. He also has 18 receptions for 86 yards and a touchdown.

      1. Yeah, Borghi’s looked pretty good for Wazzu, I think. Really, he reminds me of Lindsay. Tremendous effort. Pretty fast. Built similarly. I’m curious to see the guys CU took in that class instead of him though.

        Since they’re red-shirting, or appear to be so far, I figure either the coaches felt the dudes they have were solid enough, or the dudes they were bringing in would be and made that clear to Max. Or maybe Borghi chose to flip, looking for earlier playing time.

        But, wasn’t he pretty fired up to be a Buff, allegedly?

        If so, that seems to firm the idea that the CU staff felt they had better options, and made that clear to Max. Based on their ability to bring in, and develop talent during the last six years, I’d give them the benefit of the doubt, for sure.

        Nice to see the kid doing well, either way. As long as he doesn’t go crazy when Wazzu comes to town, it’s all good.

        Go Buffs.

  4. I’m real excited for this ASU game. They have alot of talent and a good coach who has done a good job up to this point with players he inherited from the past regime. What really excites me is the talent we have across the board and the adjustments our coach have made at half time. remember, we have basically shut down our offense in the latter part of the 3rd quarter in 3 of the 4 games we have played because of the score. We will have our hands full with this bunch and don’t forget the alltitude and it effects teams from lower elevations. CU 34 ASU 20

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