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Pac-12 Notes – Bye Week

September 22nd

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No. 10 Washington holds off a late Arizona State rally to win, 27-20

From ESPN …  Jake Browning spent the first three weeks earning his share of criticism for the kind of miscues not expected of a fourth-year starting quarterback.

Saturday night was a return to Browning looking more like the quarterback Washington has come to expect with plenty of touchdown passes and very few mistakes.

Browning threw a pair of touchdown passes in the first quarter, added a third TD toss early in the fourth quarter, and No. 10 Washington outlasted Arizona State 27-20.

Browning began the week with the same number of touchdown passes as interceptions. He finished Saturday committing zero turnovers and without any of the shaky moments from the first three games.

“The night before I could tell he was mentally locked in. I’m glad to see him play the way we all know he can play,” Washington wide receiver Ty Jones said.

Browning hit Aaron Fuller and Jones on TD passes during a brilliant first quarter, and found Cade Otton in the back corner of the end zone early in the fourth quarter on a 5-yard TD to give Washington (3-1, 2-0 Pac-12) a 27-13 lead.

“I thought he threw the ball well. He found guys even when guys weren’t open,” Washington coach Chris Petersen said.

Herm Edwards suffered his second straight loss in charge of the Sun Devils’ after a promising 2-0 start that included an upset of Michigan State. The problem against Washington was simply a lack of punch from Edwards’ offense.

Continue reading story here

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No. 7 Stanford stuns No. 20 Oregon with late comeback, win in overtime, 38-31

From the Oregonian … The Oregon Ducks stumbled in the glare of the national spotlight by losing to No. 7 Stanford 38-31 in overtime Saturday at Autzen Stadium.

Stanford quarterback KJ Costello threw a 23-yard TD pass to Colby Parkinson for the winning touchdown on the first overtime possession.

The Ducks were unable to answer.

With 58,453 fans and an ABC television audience looking on and the popular ESPN “College GameDay” crew in town, Oregon grabbed a big lead in the first half and squandered it in the second.

Oregon’s Heisman candidate, Justin Herbert, made strong case for himself by throwing for 346 yards and running for 35. He was the best player on the field. But he couldn’t prevent late disaster.

Stanford (4-0) tied the game 31-31 on Jet Toner’s 32-yard field goal as time expired in regulation.

Continue reading story here

Arizona posts 442 rushing yards in 35-21 win over Oregon State 

From the Arizona Daily Star … For the second year in a row, the Arizona Wildcats pounded their way to a victory over Oregon State.

For the first time in 38 years, a first-year UA coach won his first Pac-12 game.

Arizona defeated Oregon State 35-21 on Saturday afternoon in front of an announced crowd of 33,022 at Reser Stadium. The Wildcats rushed for 442 yards — giving them 976 in their past two meetings with the Beavers. Arizona rushed for a school-record 534 yards in last year’s game vs. OSU.

Kevin Sumlin became the first first-year UA coach to win a Pac-12 opener since Larry Smith in 1980.

J.J. Taylor rushed for a career-high 284 yards behind a dominant offensive line.

Arizona expanded its lead to 28-7 on Gary Brightwell’s 8-yard touchdown run 2:23 into the fourth quarter. It was the first TD of the sophomore’s career.

Oregon State answered with an 18-yard TD pass from Conor Blount to Timmy Hernandez that made the score 28-14 with 6:54 remaining. But Taylor put the game away with a 62-yard TD run, his second score of the game.

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September 21st 

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USC holds on to defeat Washington State, 39-36, with late field goal attempt block

Related … “Cougs come up short” … from the Spokane Spokesman-Review

From ESPN …  Southern California trailed by 13 points in the second half, and the smallish Coliseum crowd grumbled at the prospect of an already shaky season slipping away entirely from this powerhouse program.

Right before the Trojans really got in trouble, they started making big plays. And when Jay Tufele slipped into the perfect spot and got his big arm up to block a field goal, USC’s season was back on track.

J.T. Daniels passed for 241 yards and three touchdowns, and Tufele blocked Washington State’s attempt at a tying field goal with 1:41 to play in USC’s 18th consecutive home victory, 39-36 Friday night.

After back-to-back road losses to Stanford and Texas put the Trojans in dire September straits, the Trojans (2-2, 1-1 Pac-12) fell behind the Cougars early, but made a series of big stops and slick adjustments down the stretch to remain unbeaten at the Coliseum under coach Clay Helton.

None was bigger than the special-teams call on the Cougars’ last field goal attempt, allowing Tufele to get in an ideal position for the block.

“The kids knew exactly what to do,” Helton said. “Our last team meeting, we showed it. We showed the gap that would be open. It was the absolute perfect call at the right time.”

One year after the Trojans took their first loss of last season in a Friday night game in Pullman, USC showed resilience and fourth-quarter tenacity while avoiding a disastrous start to the season. Vavae Malepeai rushed for his second touchdown with 8:03 to play as USC rallied from two scores down in the second half and eventually held off the Cougars (3-1, 0-1).

“I’ve always thought that adversity kind of defines who you are,” Helton said. “Being in that second half down two scores, a bunch of great kids defined who they are as men, and I can’t tell you how proud I am of them.”

Gardner Minshew passed for 344 yards and three touchdowns in the new quarterback’s latest strong performance for Washington State, while James Williams and Max Borghi rushed for scores.

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UCLA backup quarterback Devon Modster announces he is transferring

From ESPN … UCLA quarterback Devon Modster is transferring, he announced Friday on Twitter.

Modster, who started UCLA’s final two games in 2017 following Josh Rosen’s injury, appeared in one game for the 0-3 Bruins this season but left after one play.

The 6-foot-1, 215-pound Modster redshirted in 2016 and appeared in five games last fall, passing for 671 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions.

He competed for the starting job under new coach Chip Kelly, who went with Michigan graduate transfer Wilton Speight in the opener and then true freshman Dorian Thompson-Robinson after Speight suffered an injury.

Kelly said shortly before the season that Speight, Thompson-Robinson and Modster had distinguished themselves in a six-man competition.

“I would like to thank [former UCLA coach Jim Mora] for giving me the opportunity to play and attend such a prestigious school!” Modster wrote on Twitter. “Also, I’d like to thank the Bruin fans who continued to support my teammates an [sic] I throughout these years. I’d like to thank Coach Kelly and the strength coaches for allowing me to continue to play the game I love.”

Modster’s departure comes in the same week that Thompson-Robinson’s father criticized Kelly in a series of tweets, writing Sunday that the Bruins coach is a “million dollar coach who bares [sic] no responsibility” for the team’s winless start.

Nebraska replaces Akron on the schedule with … Bethune-Cookman

Note … When you are 0-3 and desperate to get to six wins, you turn to … the 1-2 Wildcats of Bethune-Cookman (who were within 31 points of Tennessee State – 34-3 – in the 2018 season opener) … 

From ESPN … Nebraska has added a home game against FCS-level Bethune-Cookman on Oct. 27, making up for the Cornhuskers’ Sept. 1 date against Akron that was cancelled because of severe weather in Lincoln.

“Our great fans and our football student-athletes deserve a full schedule,” athletic director Bill Moos said in a statement released Thursday. “We appreciate the patience of our fans through this process. While there may be some conflicts on what was originally a bye week, we know Memorial Stadium will be packed to watch the Huskers on a fall Saturday.”

Nebraska has sold out an NCAA-record 363 consecutive games, dating to 1962. Tickets will be re-issued to the original Week 1 ticket-holders for the game against Bethune-Cookman, scheduled for the Huskers between a home meeting with Minnesota and a visit to Ohio State.

As thunderstorms lingered on the night of Sept. 1, Nebraska officials attempted to postpone the Akron game until Sept. 2 at Memorial Stadium. But Akron was unable to find sufficient lodging for the extra night. Initially, leaders from both schools said they wished to reschedule the game for Dec. 1, barring appearances from either school in their league title games.

But over the past three weeks, Nebraska has moved in this direction. First-year coach Scott Frost said last week that he wanted his players to take aim at the Big Ten championship game.

The Week 9 game leaves Nebraska in position to play 12 consecutive weeks.

Nebraska has agreed to pay $800,000 to Bethune-Cookman for the visit. It was contractually obligated to pay $1.17 million to Akron for the Sept. 1 game. No resolution to that agreement has been announced.

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September 20th

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Salt Lake City Tribune: Pac-12 South winner may have 5-4 conference record

From the Salt Lake City Tribune … Colorado was a popular pick to finish fifth or even sixth in the Pac-12 South. So the Buffaloes’ status as the division’s only unbeaten football team through three games is either a compliment to them or a commentary about the other schools.

“Maybe all those people that have them at the bottom of the league don’t know what they’re talking about,” UCLA coach Chip Kelly said this week.

By that logic, questions should be raised about those who picked Kelly’s Bruins to finish fourth in the South in the Pac-12′s official media poll — with two first-place votes, placing them ahead of Colorado and Arizona State. So far, UCLA is 0-3.

Although most teams have yet to play a conference game, the mid-September trend of Pac-12 football is unmistakable: The South is down. Utah coach Kyle Whittingham’s description of the division race is “wide open,” a nice way of saying there’s no great team. ESPN’s Football Power Index suggests the division winner could have a 5-4 conference record.

The downturn comes after the South featured five AP Top 25 teams (everybody except Colorado) in November 2014 and received some endorsements as the best division in college football, at least challenging the SEC West. These days, ESPN’s preseason ranking of the South as the worst of the nine divisions in Power Five conferences appears accurate.

Just try making a case for any team as the favorite, at this point.

Continue reading story here

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September 19th

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Washington a heavy favorite at home this weekend over Arizona State

With four Pac-12 teams idle – Colorado, UCLA, Cal and Utah – there are only four games this weekend involving Pac-12 teams.

The lines from 5Dimes

— USC – a 3.5-point favorite at home against Washington State – Friday, 8:30 p.m., MT, ESPN

— Oregon State – a 6.0-point underdog at home against Arizona – Saturday, 2:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks

— No. 20 Oregon – a 2.0-point underdog at home against No. 7 Stanford – Saturday, 6:00 p.m., MT, ABC

— No. 10 Washington – a 17-point favorite at home against Arizona State – Saturday, 8:30 p.m., MT, ESPN

Stanford star running back Bryce Love cleared to play in keep matchup against Oregon

From CBS Sports … No. 7 Stanford will have its top offensive playmaker, running back Bryce Love, for its key Pac-12 North road game against No. 20 Oregon in Week 4.

Coach David Shaw confirmed to reporters that Love has been cleared to play after sitting out last week against UC-Davis with an undisclosed injury. Love left Stanford’s Week 2 win over USC in the fourth quarter and did not return. However, the injury never sounded serious and withholding him in Week 3 appeared to be more of a preventative measure.

“The game against USC was a physical game and (Love) took a lot of shots,” Shaw said via ESPN. “It was good to get him a chance to recover.”

Love, a preseason Heisman contender, has 165 yards and a rushing touchdown through three games. He rushed for more than 2,100 yards and 19 touchdowns a season ago.

UCLA head coach Chip Kelly: “We have to play better”

From ESPN … UCLA coach Chip Kelly isn’t going to let criticism from the father of his freshman starting quarterback bother him.

Michael Robinson, the father of Bruins starter Dorian Thompson-Robinson, criticized Kelly in a series of tweets Sunday night, writing that the Bruins football coach is a “million dollar coach who bares [sic] no responsibility” for the team’s 0-3 start.

“I have no response,” Kelly told reporters on the Pac-12 teleconference on Tuesday. “I mean, everybody’s entitled to their opinion. That’s what’s the great thing about sports: When you win, people say good things, and when you don’t, people don’t say good things.

“That’s life, you know?”

Continue reading story here

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September 18th

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Los Angeles Times: “Progress can’t come soon enough for Chip Kelly and his Bruins”

From the Los Angeles Times … UCLA fired Jim Mora for this?

For an 0-3 start under Chip Kelly? For another penalty-filled effort in a 38-14 loss to Fresno State that was a step backward from the Bruins’ loss Sept. 8 at Oklahoma?

If Mora’s last two seasons didn’t meet expectations, as athletic director Dan Guerrero said when announcing Mora’s dismissal last November, how far short has Kelly fallen of expectations that he’d bring about progress even in small measures?

UCLA has a tough schedule. This is a young team. Those are factors that must be considered in any judgment of the early days of the Chip Kelly Era. But if wins don’t come, improvement must become evident. There was no improvement visible on Saturday in the Bruins’ disjointed mistakes and their constant flow of penalties — 11 for 96 yards, many of them at momentum-killing moments.

“Too many times we were inflicting lost yardage on ourselves,” Kelly said, and that’s an obstacle the Bruins don’t need. They have enough already.

The Bruins haven’t started a season 0-3 since 1971 in their first season under Pepper Rodgers. They were 0-4 that season, too. This year’s team is off this week before it plays at Colorado, which has won its first three games, on Sept. 28. After that, the Bruins are home for Washington followed by a game at Cal. By then, 0-3 might seem like the good old days.

Continue reading story here

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September 17th 

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Larry Scott: Ruling in Todd McNair case could “threaten the NCAA membership” of California schools

From the Los Angeles Times … Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott warned that a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge’s tentative decision that the show-cause penalty against former USC assistant football coach Todd McNair violated California law “would threaten the NCAA membership” of the organization’s four schools in the state if adopted.

“If California law prevents institutions in that state from honoring such commitments, it is hard to see how the Pac-12’s Member Universities in California could continue to meet the requirements of NCAA membership,” Scott wrote in a three-page sworn declaration filed in court Friday. “Thus, the Court’s tentative ruling would place at risk the competitive and scholarship opportunities that flow from NCAA participation for the Pac-12’s California Member Universities.”

The ominous words are the latest twist in McNair’s seven-year legal fight with the organization in the wake of an extra-benefits scandal centered on former USC running back Reggie Bush.

While McNair lost his defamation trial against the NCAA earlier this year, Judge Frederick Shaller entered a tentative ruling last month finding the one-year show-cause against McNair constituted an “unlawful restraint” on pursuing a lawful profession. The judge declared the NCAA bylaws supporting the penalty to be void.

Scott’s declaration floating the possibility of removing the nation’s second-largest market from the NCAA was attached to a filing by NCAA attorneys objecting to the tentative ruling.

The Pac-12 declined to comment further and did not make Scott available for an interview.

“Under McNair’s interpretation of California law, even if the NCAA has conclusive proof that a coach was breaking the rules — say, a video of the coach paying players or receiving money from agents — it would be powerless to sanction that coach in any way that would restrain his ability to continue unabated in his present duties and responsibilities,” the NCAA’s filing said.

Continue reading story here

Oregon/Stanford to host ESPN College GameDay this weekend 

From the Oregonian … ESPN’s “College GameDay,” the network’s popular college football pregame show, is headed to Eugene to broadcast next Saturday before the Oregon Ducks’ Pac-12 North showdown against Stanford.

No. 20 Oregon beat San Jose State 35-22 to improve to 3-0 on Saturday, while No. 9 Stanford topped UC Davis 30-10 to also start the season 3-0.

“College GameDay” has visited Eugene nine times before, but not since Oregon’s matchup against Michigan State in September 2014

CBS Power Rankings … CU up to No. 20 in the nation

From CBS Sports … How many teams have a legitimate shot at the College Football Playoff? John Kincade of CBS Sports Radio asked me that very question Sunday. I told him four. I wasn’t being flippant. Obviously, it is a four-team playoff.

But after three weeks, it is my humble opinion Alabama, Clemson, Georgia and Ohio State have separated themselves from the field. That statement does not ignore the fact that LSU deserves to be ranked No. 2 this week in my College Football Power Rankings. It is one of the biggest movers this week after stunning Auburn at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

From the Pac-12 … 

No. 9 Stanford … We didn’t learn much in a 20-point win over UC Davis. Bryce Love was rested to heal injuries. The schedule gets much tougher with consecutive games at Oregon and Notre Dame before a return home against Utah.

No. 11 Washington … It dawned on me Saturday. Had the Huskies lost at Utah, the Pac-12 would have been all but out of the playoff race. UW turned in an admirable defensive performance in winning 21-7.

No. 16 Oregon … Justin Herbert and the Ducks move on after a surprisingly close win over San Jose State. Oregon finally plays someone this week with Stanford coming to town.

No. 20 Colorado ... (up from No. 24 last week) … Playing only its eighth all-time game against an FCS opponent, the Buffs rolled against New Hampshire. Is it too early to consider CU a contender in the Pac-12 South?

No. 25 Arizona State … San Diego State essentially won by targeting Sun Devils receiver Frank Darby near the Aztecs’ goal line with time running out. If not for head-to-head contact, Darby likely catches the ball and Arizona State sends the game into overtime. That makes it possible to commit pass interference or targeting to save a big play with time running out.

ESPN Power Index – CU up to No. 21 in the nation

From ESPN … It wasn’t all bad news for the Big Ten on Saturday.

On a day when Big Ten members Maryland, Nebraska, Northwestern and Wisconsin each lost to double-digit underdogs at home — and Rutgers lost at Kansas by … ahem … 41 points — Ohio State salvaged what was left of the league’s reputation.

… Remember, the Power Rankings are about how you look and whom you play each week. Forget the body of work or the brand name. These rankings drip with recency bias.

Here are the rankings after Week 3 …

From the Pac-12:

No. 6 – Stanford

Week 3 result: Defeated UC Davis 30-10
What’s next: at Oregon (Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, ABC)

Playing without Heisman Trophy contender Bryce Love, who missed the game because of an undisclosed injury, the Cardinal rolled through their final warm-up before next week’s Pac-12 North showdown at Oregon.

No. 14 Washington 

Week 3 result: Defeated Utah 21-7
What’s next: vs. Arizona State (Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)

The Huskies still aren’t firing on all cylinders without All-American left tackle Trey Adams, who remains out because of a back injury. They still had enough production to pick up an impressive road victory at Utah, with Myles Gaskin running for 143 yards and one touchdown, and quarterback Jake Browning throwing for one touchdown and running for another. Washington’s defense continues to play well, holding the Utes to 261 yards of offense and forcing three turnovers.

No. 15 Oregon

Week 3 result: Defeated San Jose State 35-22
What’s next: vs. Stanford (Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, ABC)

The Ducks weren’t especially sharp in their final nonconference game, but they still moved to 3-0 heading into Pac-12 play. Oregon struggled to establish its running game, and quarterback Justin Herbert completed only 16 of 34 passes with two interceptions. But he did throw three more touchdown passes, giving him 12 this season.

No. 21 Colorado 

Week 3 result: Defeated New Hampshire 45-14
What’s next: vs. UCLA (Sept. 28, 9 p.m. ET, FS1)

Colorado’s defense flexed its muscles in a blowout of an FCS opponent, limiting New Hampshire to 42 rushing yards and forcing three turnovers with five sacks. The Buffaloes are 3-0 for the second straight season and get a bye week before opening Pac-12 play against the 0-3 Bruins.

Father of UCLA starting quarterback lashes out at Chip Kelly

From ESPN … The father of UCLA starting quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson criticized Chip Kelly in a series of tweets Sunday night, writing that the Bruins coach is a “million dollar coach who bares [sic] no responsibility” for the team’s 0-3 start.

Michael Robinson on Sunday responded to two tweets from Bruin Report Online, the first of which noted that Dorian Thompson-Robinson struggled in Saturday’s loss to Fresno State but that the problems in UCLA’s passing game reflect a poor scheme.

“He is speaking on and about the factual,” Michael Robinson responded, using the Twitter handle @DoriansDAD. “It is all about the coaching, lousy coaching and play calling… Coaching that is so bad that it demands closed practices… Million dollar coach who bares no responsibility… Just random observations from a frustrated dad!”

After Bruin Report posted a GIF of Kelly confronting Thompson-Robinson after the freshman threw an interception, Michael Robinson responded, “Look, coach Kelly, if you wish to call him this is 4 and 26 for his last offensively called football games… Dorian has only played in 3 of the last 30 games… Can you say duped!”

Michael Robinson later responded to another tweet, writing that Kelly’s success at Oregon “was simply a fluke” that stemmed from him relying on other offensive play-callers.

Continue reading story here

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September 16th

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Pac-12 South goes 2-4 on Saturday, leaving CU as the only undefeated team in the Pac-12 South

UCLA falls to 0-3 … “McMaryion scores 4 touchdowns to lead Fresno State over UCLA” … Game recap from ESPN

Related … “UCLA loses to Fresno State, off to first 0-3 football start since 1971” … From the Orange County Register

Utah loses first conference game … “No. 10 Washington shuts down Utah in 21-7 victory” … Game recap from ESPN

Related … “Utes left with regrets after hurting their own cause in 21-7 loss to No. 10 Washington” … from the Salt Lake City Tribune

No. 23 Arizona State falls to San Diego State … “San Diego State upsets No. 23 Arizona State after wild ending” … Game recap from ESPN

Related … “San Diego State wears down ASU football for Herm Edwards’ first loss” … From the Arizona Republic

No. 22 USC struggling … “Ehlinger 2 touchdown passes lead Texas over No. 22 USC 37-14” … Game recap from ESPN

Related … “USC collapses at Texas, suffering second straight defeat” … from the Orange County Register

12 Replies to “Pac-12 Notes – Bye Week”

  1. So what’s the excuse now Necrapska? Lost to CU “we didn’t have a game last week and our qb got hurt” lost to Troy, “poor us, we had to play a walk on”. So what’s the excuse now? The only thing that sucks is we almost lost to those corn crappers instead of doing what Michigan just did to them. Holy cow, talk about a change of expectations. 2 weeks ago the Lincoln media was predicting at worst an 8 win season. Now it looks like the worst season in Nebraska football.

  2. Too bad WSU didn’t beat USC. Coulda used the cushion in the pac 12 south standings. And dang it.

    That Stanford coach is a coach. A real coach. Ducks. Yuck. Duck O gave it away. 3 turnovers will kill ya. I like the Stanford win, cause I like that coach.

    Buffs

    Note: Buffs don’t play either of these teams. Nice.

    Note 2: Got em both next year. (North…W, WSU, O, Stanford. no cal no osu.) Gotta make it happen this year.
    Note 3. Course the Buffs whipped O and S in 2016.

    Friday night lights……………….Uh Oh night time is the right time for the mighty Buffalo

  3. Maybe the Huskers can win that one. They were certainly taken behind the woodshed by Michigan today. When Frost was named their coach, I saw a car driving in Colorado the next day with Husker magnets and flags. Really? This isn’t instant oatmeal where you pour water in and get a national championship in year zero. Their fan base is busy dissing CU as a mediocre program. They should worry about their own problems like starting 0-3 for the first time since 1945 and having a losing season last year and losing to Troy last week and….when is the last time the Huskers won a division title let alone a conference title? Love the outcome in Ann Arbor today. Go Buffs!!!

  4. Bethune-Cookman…seriously?
    Brings to mind an article I say in the Star Journal about one of their recruits. I think the kid was from Colo Spgs and his name was JoJo Dorman. Mac was recruiting him but he wanted to go to the corn hole to play “big time football.” I laughed for a good several minutes when I read that
    To paraphrase the Beatles it looks like he got back to where he belongs.

  5. Welcome the the world of “The Greatest Fans in College Football” Mr Fornelli. Nub fans are gracious as long as they are winning.

    1. Hear ! Hear ! Silver is the color…… not the dull-all grey/gray unis. One needs contrast to create visual excitement and eye appeal. Black/white. Gold/Black. Silver/white. I’ve harped on this before. Glad you agree Billy.

      Go Buffs

    2. Disagree. I liked the silver/silver w/ black helmets. I like all of our combo’s except the white/white/white. There is nothing like the classic black pant, white jersey and gold helmet – but the crazy kids today demand uniform combos! Just be glad we don’t have to wear Duck colors in various shades of puke ugly greens or Husker red.

      1. Kevin, you must be color blind. Either that or you didn’t have your glasses on. Our Buffs had dull, grey/gray unis on….not silver. Billy agrees, they were gray. I agree with you, I love silver………BUT not grey/gray. Ugh….

        1. How about “Matte Silver”. I don’t think you could pull off a true silver uniform unless they were space or disco suits. But I get it, not for everyone! I was glad they went full traditional for the Nebraska game.

          1. A shiny, silver fabric is available. I’ve seen it on other teams incl’ Raiders….. so, anything true silver works, incl’ Matte Silver.

            Just not that UGLY GRAY. As VK said, up close the grey/gray looks OK…. just not at distance and definitely not on TV. I wasn’t at the game. VK (in his cozy suite) was. That combined with some good ‘ol Coors and a pair of binoculars makes anything look better.

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