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Pac-12 Notes

August 22nd

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Former starting safety for CSU Rams declared academically ineligible

From the Coloradoan … Braylin Scott, a starting safety for the Colorado State football team two of the past three seasons, failed to meet academic requirements to play his senior season, coach Mike Bobo said Thursday.

The 6-foot-3, 196-pounder from Bakersfield, California, started seven games for the Rams as a sophomore in 2016 and six games last season. Scott redshirted in 2017 while serving a team suspension and battling legal issues that were resolved when he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor theft charge days before he was scheduled to go to trial on two felony charges of burglary and one of theft.

… Scott was the Rams’ fifth-leading tackler last season with 42 stops, including 19 solo. He led the Rams in interceptions in 2016 with three and finished the year with 39 tackles.

Read full story here

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August 21st

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Air Force loses two wide receivers; Falcons down four skill position players this off-season

From The Colorado Springs Gazette … A pair of Air Force receivers expected to vie for starting jobs will not be available to the team because of academy issues.

“Cadets Brandon Lewis and David Cormier are not in good standing,” the academy said in response to an inquiry from The Gazette. “Cadets who have received a loss in status are not able to represent the U.S. Air Force Academy in any official capacity.”

The school offered no further explanation, leaving the nature of the offenses and the length of time the players will be unavailable in question.

Infractions over this offseason have taken a significant chunk away from Air Force’s offense. Fullback Cole Fagan, who ran for 997 yards last year as a junior, and tailback Joseph Saucier, whose 6.4 yards per carry led the team, were removed from the team. Both seniors remain cadets.

Add Cormier and Lewis, and that makes four potential contributors at skill positions the Falcons will be without.

Senior Geraud Sanders is expected to start at wide receiver, but the team has no experience behind him at the position.

Pac-12 not even in discussions with DirecTV – Larry Scott: “We’ve made a different bet than others have made”

From the San Jose Mercury News … Even all these years later — seven, to be exact — the question comes at Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott as pointedly and relentlessly as if it had been beamed down from above.

Anything new with DirecTV?

It’s about time we put the kibosh on that one, folks.

Not only is nothing new, there won’t be anything new anytime soon, if ever.

Based on comments by Scott and Pac-12 Networks president Mark Shuken, the conference no longer views a distribution deal with the satellite provider as a high priority … or any kind of priority.

Scott didn’t slam the door entirely during a recent roundtable discussion, but he described the pursuit of a carriage deal with DirecTV as akin to skating where the puck “has been.”

The Pac-12, he added, prefers skating “to where the puck’s going.”

That was just one nugget (boulder?) from Scott and Shuken that we’ll explore in a multi-part series on Pac-12’s media strategy.

Continue reading story here

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August 20th

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OMG … Pac-12 teams now aspiring to play in the “Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl”

From KFOXtv.com … The Sun Bowl Association announced a new title sponsor for the Sun Bowl Tuesday.

Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes has entered into a multi-year partnership as the new sponsor of the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl.

According to the Sun Bowl Association, this partnership will help the Sun Bowl return to its inaugural mission of helping kids play sports.

The Sun Bowl Association said the first Sun Bowl in 1935 was played to benefit underprivileged children and finance improvements for the El Paso High School Stadium. By partnering with the “Mission Tiger” initiative, the Sun Bowl will help raise awareness and funds for at-risk middle school sports programs through a multiyear partnership with nonprofit DonorsChoose.org.

“Tony the Tiger has been dedicated to fueling active kids since 1952, and it’s a core value we share with the founders of the Sun Bowl Association,” said Brant Wheaton, Marketing Director of Kellogg U.S. Ready-To-Eat Cereal segment. “At Frosted Flakes, we believe every kid should have a chance to be able to play like a Tiger and are committed to keeping middle school kids active in the El Paso community and beyond.”

Associated Press All-American team announced; Laviska Shenault a second-team All-American

From ESPN … Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence headlines The Associated Press preseason All-America team presented by Regions Bank.

He has two teammates from the top-ranked Tigers with him on the first team.

Lawrence, the first freshman quarterback to lead a team to a national championship in more than 30 years, was joined on the first-team offense by Clemson running back Travis Etienne. Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons was a first-team selection on defense.

Clemson and No. 2 Alabama tied for the most first-team selections with three.

From the Pac-12 … 

First Team – Offense

Tackles: Walker Little, junior, Stanford.

Guards: Shane Lemieux, senior, Oregon.

First Team – Defense

Cornerbacks: Paulson Adebo, junior, Stanford.

Second Team – Offense

Running backs: Eno Benjamin, junior, Arizona State.

Tackles: Trey Adams, senior, Washington; Calvin Throckmorton, senior, Oregon.

CenterNick Harris, senior, Washington.

Wide receivers: Laviska Shenault Jr., junior, Colorado.

Second Team – Defense

Tackles: Leki Fotu, senior, Utah.

Linebackers: Evan Weaver, senior, California.

Oregon star wide receiver out; may miss CU game

… FYI … CU plays Oregon on October 11th, which is (to save you from counting) 7 1/2 weeks from now … 

From ESPN … Oregon freshman wide receiver Mycah Pittman will miss six to eight weeks after suffering a shoulder injury during Saturday’s scrimmage, head coach Mario Cristobal announced Monday.

“Mycah suffered a shoulder injury while making a diving catch during Saturday’s scrimmage that will result in him missing the start of the 2019 season,” Cristobal said in a statement. “He is a relentless competitor who will come back stronger and ready to compete this season.”

Pittman enrolled at Oregon before spring practice and was an ESPN 300 member in the 2019 recruiting class. After a strong showing during the spring and in fall camp, Pittman was expected to contribute early to a receiving corps looking to replace Dillion Mitchell, who set the Oregon single-season receiving record with 1,184 yards in 2018.

Pittman’s injury further weakens a receiving unit that has already dealt with a rash of injuries. Senior Brenden Schooler, who has 41 career catches, and freshman J.R. Waters are both out for an extended period of time after suffering foot injuries that required surgery. Tight ends Cam McCormick and Jacob Breeland have also missed time during fall camp, but Cristobal said he expects both to be back at practice this week.

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August 19th

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So … who voted for USC, Arizona, Nebraska, and Arizona State in the AP poll?

Poll analysis from CBS Sports … The college football preseason AP Top 25 Poll was released on Monday, which is important news for two reasons. The biggest reason, at least in my mind, is that it means the season is almost here; seriously, at the end of this week, there will be teams strapping on helmets and pads and taking to the field to play games in anger. The second reason is that, meaningless as they should be, preseason polls matter.

I harp on it every year because I hate that it’s true, but they do. Preseason polls set an expectation and a perception for teams — both of which will follow the teams all season long and — intentionally or not — could help decide the eventual national champion. For example, if Florida loses to Miami on Saturday, it will fall from No. 8 in the next AP poll but it won’t fall out of the rankings altogether even though Miami’s unranked. Then, should Florida win the following week against Tennessee-Martin, it will still hover around the top 10 at 1-1 because that’s where everybody already believes it belongs.

But let’s say an unranked team like Georgia Tech, which didn’t appear on any ballots, loses to Clemson in Week 1 and follows it up with a win over South Florida in Week 2. Georgia Tech will not appear on any ballots despite having a better theoretical loss than Florida’s and a better win, as well. Why? Because everybody will still believe Florida is the much better team since they felt that from the beginning, whereas Georgia Tech will be doubted until it proves itself repeatedly.

It’s just a simple fact of the sport, and whether fair, it’s reality. So that’s why we can call preseason polls meaningless all we want, but it doesn’t make it true. So, with that in mind, here are five takeaways from the preseason AP Top 25 poll …

Nobody knows what to do with the Pac-12. As in the Coaches Poll before it, we see that once voters finished putting together their top 10, they all had a collective moment of “oh crap, I haven’t put a Pac-12 team on my ballot yet.” They then spun the Pac-12 Wheel of Destiny to determine which order they should put Oregon, Utah and Washington in. The AP voters landed on Oregon more often than the coaches did, putting the Ducks at No. 11 with Washington at No. 13 and Utah at No. 14. Texas A&M settled between them. In the Coaches Poll, it was No. 12 Washington, No. 13 Oregon and No. 15 Utah.

This is a problem the Pac-12 faces due to its lack of a dominant team. The one program that has long been the shining beacon of the conference, USC, received one point. That means, of the 62 voters in the AP Poll, only one felt compelled to put USC on their ballot, and they did so at No. 25. This is in stark contrast to the 47 points USC received in the Coaches Poll, so the media is far more skeptical of the Trojans, which will have an impact on the conference’s playoff hopes. The Pac-12 can’t afford to have a dormant USC and three teams the media likes but remains unsure of if it wants to get to the playoff. Simply put, one of those three need to pull away from the pack, and if USC wouldn’t mind picking itself up and dusting itself off, the conference would be all the better for that.

The media really believes in Nebraska. The Cornhuskers just missed the cut in the Coaches Poll but crept into the AP Top 25 at No. 24, which tells me that the media is buying into the hype surrounding the program and Scott Frost right now. I can’t question them for it, either, because while I’m not a voter and wouldn’t have had Nebraska in my preseason poll, I’m not exactly a non-believer, either.

Still, that said, Nebraska went 4-8 last season. Since firing Bo Pelini following a 9-4 season in 2013, the Cornhuskers are 23-27. Now, would Nebraska appear in preseason AP poll if it were in the same situation but was Purdue or Kansas State or Boston College?

The Voters … 

Arizona State, Arizona, and USC all received the support of one of the 62 Associated Press voters (Arizona State received three votes, but that was because the Sun Devils received a vote as the No. 23 team, giving ASU three points. USC and Arizona, meanwhile, received one vote for the No. 25 team) …

Sam McKewon, Omaha World-Herald … voted Arizona State as the No. 23 team. McKewon also voted Oregon as the No. 6 team (the highest of any pollster); and voted Nebraska as the No. 19 team;

Chris Murray, Nevada Sports Net (Reno) … voted USC as the No. 25 team;

Davis Potter, Casper Star-Tribune … voted Arizona as the No. 25 team. Potter also voted Stanford as the No. 15 team (the highest of any pollster).

Who voted for Nebraska? … Doug Lesmerises of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer had Nebraska as the No. 12 team in the nation, while Robert Cessna of the Bryan-College Station Eagle (College Station, Texas) had Nebraska at No. 15. In all, 32 of the 62 voters left Nebraska off of their ballot …

Associated Press releases preseason Top 25 poll – Five Pac -12 teams ranked; nine CU opponents receive votes

From CBS Sports … Week 0 of the 2019 college football season is here. Come Saturday, Aug. 24, you’ll be able to watch Miami vs. No. 8 Florida in Orlando, followed by Arizona at Hawaii on CBS Sports Network. Speaking of games involving ranked teams, the 2019 Preseason AP Top 25 is out. And the top 10 looks identical to that of the Preseason Coaches Poll.

From Clemson to Texas, the first 10 teams in both top 25 polls are identical. The defending champion Tigers beat out Alabama as the preseason No. 1 team in the nation for the first time in program history. Clemson had 52 first-place votes, per the AP, with Alabama landing the remaining 10. Georgia comes in at No. 3 after missing the College Football Playoff last year, while the Sooners round out the preseason top four with Ohio State coming in at No. 5.

The changes start coming at No. 11, which is where AP voters have placed Oregon. The Ducks are projected to win the Pac-12 North this season and could be a playoff contender with quarterback Justin Herbert coming back. Pac-12 favorites Utah come in at No. 14. UCF is once again the highest-ranked Group of Five team at No. 17 — which is also their ranking in the Coaches Poll.

The Big Ten leads all conferences with seven teams in the poll while the SEC is second with six, including four in the top 10. All SEC teams are ranked in the top 16 — same as the Coaches Poll. The Pac-12 has five teams listed while the Big 12 has three teams placed. The ACC rounds out the Power Five conferences with two teams. Notre Dame (Independent) and UCF are the two remaining ranked teams.

1. Clemson
2. Alabama
3. Georgia
4. Oklahoma
5. Ohio State
6. LSU
7. Michigan
8. Florida
9. Notre Dame
10. Texas
11. Oregon
12. Texas A&M
13. Washington
14. Utah
15. Penn State
16. Auburn
17. UCF
18. Michigan State
19. Wisconsin
20. Iowa
21. Iowa State
22. Syracuse
23. Washington State
24. Nebraska
25. Stanford

Others receiving votes: Missouri 117, Army 94, Mississippi State 87, Miami 70, Northwestern 63, TCU 57, Virginia 44, Boise State 38, Cincinnati 16, South Carolina 15, Virginia Tech 12, Fresno State 8, Utah State 8, Minnesota 7, Memphis 6, Appalachian State 5, West Virginia 3, Oklahoma State 3, UAB 3, Arizona State 3, Arizona 1, USC 1

Jon Wilner: The 2016 season was a “mountainous outlier” for CU – 2019 prediction: Laviska leaves CU without a bowl

From the San Jose Mercury News … The 2016 season, in which Colorado confounded all expectations and captured the South division title, was dubbed ‘The Rise’ by CU and its faithful.

Given everything else we’ve seen from the Buffaloes during their time in the Pac-12, a more appropriate moniker might be The Juke. Those three stunning months led so many of us to believe CU was ready to compete at a consistently high level in its new conference.

Not before that season or since have the Buffs contended for the South title.

Not before that season or since have the Buffs posted a winning record in conference play.

In fact, they won almost as many conference games in 2016 (eight) as they’ve won in their other seven seasons combined.

That’s a mountainous outlier, folks. The Hotline would challenge longtime observers to name anything like it in the 10- or 12-school era.

Best-case scenario: Montez is sharp from the start as CU racks up early wins to provide a cushion for November, a second option emerges in the passing game to take advantage of the attention paid Shenault, the level of physicality rises on both lines of scrimmage, the inexperienced defensive backs play like veterans, the South competition proves toothless (aside from Utah) and Colorado sneaks into the postseason to give Tucker some much-needed momentum.

Worst-case scenario: The Buffaloes drop one early to a Front Range opponent and get run off the field by Nebraska, the overworked Shenault breaks down in October (again), Montez is what he has been, Johnson is a one-man defensive line, the secondary is a turnstile, the second-half schedule is as difficult as it appears and CU staggers to the finish with questions unanswered and Shenault’s bowl-less career in the books.

Prediction … 3-9, 1-8 …

Read full game-by-game picks here

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August 18th

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Washington State will be part of a “Hard Knocks” style HBO program this fall

From ESPN … Washington State’s football team will be part of a series with HBO this season, the team confirmed on its Twitter account on Saturday.

No details about the show have been released, but representatives from HBO paid a visit to the Washington State campus on Thursday and sent a camera crew to the Cougars’ practice on Friday at Martin Stadium, according to the Spokesman-Review.

On Tuesday, ESPN and multiple outlets reported that HBO was in negotiations with four college football programs to create a behind-the-scenes access show this season.

The other teams involved in negotiations were the Alabama Crimson Tide, Arizona State Sun Devils and Penn State Nittany Lions, according to ESPN and multiple reports.

Although the structure of the show has not been finalized, the schools have discussed allowing cameras to document each program for a week. The show will be similar to the network’s “Hard Knocks,” which provides behind-the-scenes access and interviews during NFL training camps.

“As we do with all opportunities we feel can enhance our program, we are exploring the prospect of working on this project with the appropriate officials from all parties involved,” Penn State said in a statement Tuesday.

Also Tuesday, a spokesman for HBO said there is nothing to announce at this time.

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August 17th

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Five-star USC receiver Bru McCoy out with mysterious illness

Update (7/18) … “USC WR McCoy (fever) still not cleared to practice” … from ESPN 

From YardBarker.com …USC wide receiver Bru McCoy has been unable to practice leading up to the season, but doctors can’t seem to figure out what it is that is causing his health issues.

McCoy, a 5-star wide receiver and who is ranked by 247 as a top-10 recruit, has been battling fevers for nearly two months now. He has visited with a number of specialists and been treated for a variety of illnesses, but his father said this week that no one has been able to provide answers.

USC will not allow McCoy to return until his fevers have subsided, but head coach Clay Helton recently said McCoy is “actually getting a little better.” The receiver is also waiting to hear back from the NCAA about his eligibility, as he transferred multiple times this offseason.

McCoy enrolled at USC back in January, but he decided to leave a few weeks laterand transfer to Texas after Kliff Kingsbury ended his brief tenure as the Trojans’ offensive coordinator. McCoy was with the Longhorns for just five months before deciding to transfer back to USC, as he reportedly did not feel comfortable at Texas.

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August 16th

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CU revenue has almost doubled since leaving the Big 12 (but still 10th in the Pac-12)

Data from the USA Today

Top Five in the nation (2017-18 finances): 

  • No. 1 – Texas – $219,402,579
  • No. 2 – Texas A&M – $212,399,426
  • No. 3 – Ohio State – $205,556,663
  • No. 4 – Michigan – $195,769,104
  • No. 5 – Alabama – $177,481,937

From the Pac-12 … (USC and Stanford, which are private schools, do not report revenues):

  • No. 21 – UCLA – $130,960,560
  • No. 22 – Washington – $130,919,331
  • No. 26 – Oregon – $122,541,827
  • No. 29 – Arizona State – $113,636,755
  • No. 41 – Arizona – $95,867,717
  • No. 43 – Utah – $91,386,593
  • No. 44 – California – $91,247,489
  • No. 45 – Colorado – $89,581,544
  • No. 51 – Oregon State – $80,712,000
  • No. 53 – Washington State – $65,117,715

Compare … Colorado revenue in 2010 (CU’s last year in the Big 12) … $49,521,517

*Video – New Targeting Rules explained by NCAA (with video examples)*

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Holiday Bowl to replace the Big Ten with the ACC as Pac-12 opponents

From the Daily Camera … The San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl is currently in the final year of six-year contracts with the Pac-12 and Big Ten.

At a press conference earlier Thursday, it was announced that, beginning in 2020, the Pac-12 will remain in the lineup, but will instead square off against teams from another Power 5 conference – the ACC.

“The SDDCU Holiday Bowl is known for high-scoring, exciting finishes,” said Mark Neville, CEO of the Holiday Bowl. “Pitting the Pac-12 up against the ACC, two of the highest scoring conferences in the country, is going to feed perfectly into our reputation. San Diegans can expect some thrilling games ahead, no question about it.”

Not one of the 15 ACC schools has ever played in the Holiday Bowl. ACC schools include Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Miami, North Carolina, NC State, Pitt, Syracuse, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest. If bowl eligible and not in a College Football Playoff game, Notre Dame is also available to ACC bowls.

The ACC has won more football national championships than any other conference since 2013 (three of the last six years), and in 2018 the conference had 11 schools participating in bowl games.

Continue reading story here

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August 15th

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USC unveils Coliseum renovations

From FoxLA.com … With football season upon us, USC officials unveiled the results of a $315 million renovation project at what is now known as United Airlines Field at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

The two-year project reduced the Coliseum’s overall seating capacity, dropping from 93,607 to about 77,500. All of the seats were replaced, and the project included handrails, new suites, upgraded entryways and video screens.

Other elements of the renovation include:

— additional aisles, widened seats and increased leg room in some sections;
— a new south-side structure including suites, loge boxes, club seats, a concourse and press box;
— restoration of the peristyle to resemble its original design;
— updated WiFi technology;
— additional concession stands;
— electrical, mechanical and plumbing systems; and
— new field and stadium lighting.

The Coliseum was built in 1923 and last underwent substantial renovations 20 years ago when $93 million was spent to repair damage from the 1994 Northridge earthquake. The stadium has hosted two Olympics, two Super Bowls, a World Series, a papal Mass and visits by three U.S. presidents.

The Los Angeles Rams will actually play a game at the renovated facility before USC. The Rams will play host to the Denver Broncos for a preseason game Aug. 24. USC will open its season at the Coliseum the following
Saturday, playing host to Fresno State.

Continue reading story here (including video) …

Former Oregon top RB recruit transferring to Division II

From YardBarker.com … Taj Griffin was one of the most highly coveted running backs of the 2015 college football recruiting season.

According to Rivals.com, Griffin was the No. 1-ranked all-purpose back that year. The four-star recruit from Powder Springs, Ga., also ranked No. 70 overall nationally.

After a solid freshman season that saw him go for 732 total yards at a clip of 8.4 yards per touch, Griffin fell off the map in Eugene. It was primarily due to a whole host of injuries.

The redshirt senior has now decided to move on from Oregon and will reportedly transfer to Central Oklahoma.

This could be Griffin’s way of going up against lesser competition in hopes of catching the eye of NFL teams heading into the 2020 draft season.

Griffin received offers from Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, Notre Dame and Ohio State, among others, before ultimately deciding on the Ducks. There certainly is some untapped potential here.

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August 14th

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Pro Football Focus ranks the quarterbacks (Steven Montez No. 28 nationally; No. 5 in the Pac-12)

From Pro Football Focus … The college football season is nearly upon us and after months of scraping the PFF data on all the projected starting quarterbacks for this season, it’s time we unveil our Starting Quarterback Rankings for 2019.

Combing through our play-by-play data ad nauseam, these rankings take into account a quarterback’s PFF grade both from last season, and all other subsequent sets of data that we have on their time in college. The list projects these players as the starter but is also influenced by the situation behind the projected starting quarterback if he were to miss any amount of time going forward.

Following our PFF College 50 that counted down the top 50 overall players in college football, here are the rankings for the starting quarterbacks for all 130 FBS teams as we enter the 2019 season:

97. Jayden Daniels – Arizona State
95. Gage Gubrud – Washington State
89. Isaiah Sanders/Donald Hammond – Air Force
74. Collin Hill – Colorado State
68. Dorian Thompson-Robinson – UCLA
67. JT Daniels/Jack Sears – USC
36. Jacob Eason – Washington
27. Tyler Huntley – Utah
24. Adrian Martinez – Nebraska
10. Khalil Tate – Arizona
7. KJ Costello – Stanford
3. Justin Herbert – Oregon

28. Steven Montez – Colorado … Consistency is the name of the game for Montez and if he can maintain that level of consistency, we’ll see his grade rise even higher than the levels we’ve seen from him in the past. Still, his lowest-graded season came in 2016 when he finished with a 73.7 and he’s been capable of high-level play in the Pac-12 that rivals the best in the conference. He’s got a big arm and can make all the throws when given time to do so. His 2,485 passing yards from a clean pocket are the 13th-most among returning quarterbacks.

Jon Wilner’s Top 25 poll: Utah a top ten team

From the San Jose Mercury News … Eleven teams ranked in the 2018 AP preseason poll did not appear in the AP end-of-season poll.

If you’re curious (with preseason position and final record):

No. 4 Wisconsin (8-5)
No. 8 Miami (7-6)
No. 9 Auburn (8-5)
No. 11 Michigan State (7-6)
No. 13 Stanford (9-4)
No. 15 USC (5-7)
No. 16 TCU (7-6)
No. 18 Mississippi State (8-5)
No. 19 Florida State (5-7)
No. 20 Virginia Tech (6-7)
No. 24 Oregon (9-4)

The one constant is the lack of guarantees (except maybe Alabama and Clemson).

The trick, of course, is identifying the right sleepers and surprises.

From Jon Wilner’s preseason AP ballot … 

24. Washington State: The Cougars have spent more weeks ranked than unranked over the past three seasons despite losing assistants, quarterbacks and high-level linemen. Maybe … just maybe … Mike Leach knows what he’s doing.

22. Nebraska: The Cornhuskers are a trendy selection (here and elsewhere) based on improved play in the second half of Scott Frost’s first season and the return of quarterback Adrian Martinez. Also: The Big Ten West is wide open.

19. Washington: Nine starters must be replaced on defense, and the presumptive starting quarterback (Jacob Eason) hasn’t actually been a starting quarterback since the first game of the 2017 season. On the bright side for UW: All but one of the toughest games are at home.

17. Stanford: The non-conference schedule could be the toughest in the country (UCF, Northwestern and Notre Dame). But the more pressing concerns for the Cardinal are solidifying the offensive front and igniting the power running game … and doing it without Bryce Love.

9. Oregon: The combination of quarterback and offensive line is first class, and the Ducks’ weakest position, receiver, was partially filled with the addition of Penn State transfer Juwan Johnson. But to reach its potential, a program that has struggled on the road in recent years must manage trips to Washington and Stanford.

6. Utah: Our pick to win the Pac-12 based on sound quarterback play (Tyler Huntley) and overpowering lines. The soft non-conference schedule (BYU, Northern Illinois and Idaho State) and cross-division misses (no Oregon or Stanford) provide the framework for 10+ wins.

Read full story here

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August 13th

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CBS Sports: Laviska Shenault a second-team All-American

From CBS Sports … With the 2019 season on the horizon, our panel of our college football experts has convened to select the 2019 CBS Sports Preseason All-America team. Thirty-two of the 130 FBS teams are represented among the 54 total selections across the first and second teams listed below.

There were a stunning nine unanimous first-team selections this year with Purdue playmaker Rondale Moore picking up such honors as our all-purpose starter; he also checks in as a first-team wide receiver.

Alabama led the way with three first-team selections and seven overall. Clemson is one of six teams with two first-team picks and was second to Bama with five overall. Eight of 14 SEC teams saw at least one selection — the most of any conference — but while the league tied the Big Ten with nine first-team picks, it stood out with 19 overall (35.2 percent).

Nine members of our preseason All-America first team were also part of our 2018 postseason selections.

CONFERENCEFIRST TEAMTOTAL SELECTIONS
SEC919
Big Ten911
ACC510
Pac-1218
Big 1203
AAC12
MWC11
Independent11

From the Pac-12 … 

First team:

  • OL – Walker Little – Stanford

Second team: 

  • WR – Laviska Shenault – Colorado
  • OL – Calvin Throckmorton – Oregon
  • OL – Shane Lemieux – Oregon
  • DL – Leki Fotu – Utah
  • LB – Troy Dye – Oregon
  • CB – Paulson Adebo – Stanford
  • All-Purpose – J.J. Taylor – Arizona

HBO in discussions with Arizona State and Washington State about access show

From ESPN … HBO is in negotiations with four college football programs — Alabama, Arizona State, Penn State and Washington State — to create a behind-the-scenes-access show this season, multiple sources told ESPN on Tuesday, confirming multiple reports.

While the structure of the show has not been finalized, the schools have discussed allowing cameras to document each program for a week. It would be similar to the network’s popular long-running NFL show “Hard Knocks,” which provides behind-the-scenes access and interviews during NFL training camps.

“As we do with all opportunities we feel can enhance our program, we are exploring the prospect of working on this project with the appropriate officials from all parties involved,” Penn State said in a statement.

A spokesman for HBO said there is nothing to announce at this time.

Arizona State names true freshman as starting quarterback (with another true freshman as backup)

From NBC Sports … This is something you don’t see very often.  At all.

Heading into summer camp, Jayden Danielswas seemingly the favorite to land Arizona State’s starting quarterback job.  Overnight, head coach Herm Edwards confirmed that Daniels has won the competition over a handful of (mostly) youthful contenders and earned the starting job.

If Daniels is under center when ASU kicks off 2019 against Kent State Aug. 29, it will mark the first time in school history that a true freshman has begun a season as the starting quarterback.

But wait, there’s more.

In addition to naming Daniels, Edwards also confirmed that Joey Yellen will be Daniels’ primary backup.  Like Daniels, Yellen is a true freshman.  It’s believed that this is the second time an FBS school has gone into a season with true freshman Nos. 1 and 2 on the depth chart, the first* being Texas Tech in 2013 with future Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield and Davis Webb.

Yet another true freshman, Ethan Long, was in the mix as well, as was redshirt junior Dillon Sterling-Cole.  With a mere 57 — 55 of which came in 2017, incidentally — Sterling-Cole is the only quarterback on ASU’s roster to attempt a pass at the collegiate level.

The only other quarterback listed on the roster is Trenton Bourguet… who is also a true freshman.

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August 11th

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Oregon loses a receiver; UCLA star running back “day-to-day”

From the San Jose Mercury News … Roughly one week into training camp for Pac-12 teams, several developments stand out amid the routine August machinery.

Oregon

The Ducks, in desperate need of better play from their wideouts, have lost an important one:

Flanker Brenden Schooler will miss at least six weeks — and perhaps eight — after undergoing surgery to repair a broken foot suffered early in camp.

Either way, he won’t be available for Auburn and is unlikely to be full speed for Stanford (if he plays at all).

Schooler had 21 catches last season and was expected to team with Penn State transfer Juwan Johnson and returnee Jaylon Redd to form the starting trio for Justin Herbert.

Schooler is also a dynamo on special teams.

The Ducks’ freshman class features a slew of well-regarded prospects, but this is a significant injury to a key player at what we view as their weakest position.

UCLA

Starting tailback Joshua Kelley is listed as “day-to-day” with a knee injury, according to reports out of Westwood.

While that seems innocuous enough given this early stage, the news strikes us as potentially significant for the longer term:

Kelley rushed for 1,243 yards last season and is expected to carry a running game that must operate efficiently in order to relieve pressure on sophomore quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson.

Chip Kelly downplayed the impact of the injury, and he would certainly know best.

But we wonder: How often does a starting tailback sustain a knee injury in camp, then experience no recurrence through the course of a three-month, 200+ carry season?

The Bruins have several options should Kelley be limited during the regular season, including dynamic sophomore Kazmeir Allen.

None of them are 220-pound redshirt seniors who had 27 catches last season and rushed for 289 yards against USC.

(The Bruins are also without inside linebacker Tyree Thompson, at least for the near future.)

Read other fall camp reports here

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August 10th

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“Fifth Down” Game voted one of the most iconic moments in 150 years of College Football

From CBS Sports … College football is celebrating its 150th birthday in 2019, and it’s time celebrate as the season draws near. Legendary plays, dramatic games and superstars of the sport have littered the college football landscape during its existence. To help remember the past, the CBS Sports college football crew got together to determine the 25 most iconic moments in college football history.

Obviously, the first football game between Princeton and Rutgers in 1869 gets the whole thing started. There would be no college football without it. But we’re looking at everything since then: jaw-dropping on-field moments, key hirings (or firings), advancements in the game that make it what it is today and everything in between.

Let’s take a look at 25 of our favorite moments over the 150 years of college football.

The Fifth Down Game

There are officiating blunders, and then there’s the Fifth Down Game between Colorado and Missouri in 1990. The Big Eight contest was marred by the officiating crew accidentally allowing the Buffaloes an extra down coming out of a timeout on what would be their game-winning drive. Mizzou fans, who rushed the field thinking they had won, will also contend that Buffaloes quarterback Charles Johnson was short on his fifth-down keeper. The end of the game was utter chaos, but after a lengthy deliberation, the score stood and Colorado won 33-31 on its way to an AP national championship. The two sides have since agreed to a 2030 game at Mizzou in celebration (if you will) of the 40-year anniversary of that game.

SaturdayBlitz.com: Bowl-eligibility for CU “definitely attainable”

From SaturdayBlitz.com … Mel Tucker inherits an experienced team and hopes to re-establish mental toughness back into Colorado football after it ended 2018 on a losing streak.

Last season Colorado got off to a 5-0 start for the first time since 1998 and was ranked No. 19 in the AP Poll heading into game six at USC. However, the Buffaloes didn’t win another game for the remainder of the year and parted ways with Mike MacIntyre after six seasons.

The debacle was a black eye for the program and athletic director Rick George knew he needed to hire a coach who could bring about a culture change in Boulder. A defensive-minded individual who’s well respected amongst his peers and has a knack for recruiting.

Enter, Mel Tucker, the former Georgia defensive coordinator, with experience at both the collegiate and pro levels. Although Tucker has never been a head coach, he has worked under some of the best names in the game, including Nick Saban, Jim Tressel and Barry Alvarez.

The 47-year-old brings instant credibility to the Buffaloes along with a boost of momentum that the players needed to put last season in the rear view mirror. His predecessor MacIntyre didn’t leave the cupboard bare and Tucker is potentially walking into a great situation.

There’s plenty of talent remaining on the roster. Colorado has a senior quarterback who threw for nearly 3,000 yards last season. One of the best wide receivers in college football and two of the best defenders in the Pac-12.

Reaching bowl eligibility for the first time since 2016 is definitely attainable for the team. The players are hungry so there’s no telling how high their ceiling could potentially get.

Read full story here

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August 9th

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NCAA rejects a requirement of national injury reports

From CBS Sports … Just when it seemed like the NCAA had become millennial hipsters, amateur sports’ Big Brother went old school. It drew the line at gambling. Actually, the line was already drawn.

The NCAA Board of Governors on Wednesday reaffirmed its stance on sports wagering.

  • No legal or illegal gambling on professional or college events (including fantasy leagues, office pools, brackets, etc.).
  • No national injury reports.

This after sources had been telling CBS Sports for months that the NCAA’s walls surrounding gambling were about to come tumbling down.

It seemed logical. The NCAA had reflected society’s mood recently joining the party when it came to alcoholmarijuana and gambling.

The NCAA had assembled an ad hoc committee on sports wagering, sticking a finger in the air to see which way the wind was blowing. The football season will kick off with at least nine states sponsoring sports gambling. Alcohol can now be served at championship events after a successful pilot program started at the College World Series.

The charge for that ad hoc committee was determine whether the membership had the stomach for more liberalized gambling rules for athletes. In essence, did the NCAA really want to suspend a senior of legal age making a $5 bet on the Packers?

The answer came back Wednesday. It was a resounding, “Yes.”

That status quo continues at the NCAA’s peril.

The association’s stance may change someday. We can even cite the reason. All it will take is some sort of point-shaving scandal for everyone to see the light.

“[The NCAA has] got to do something. They leave themselves open to corruption,” said Tom McMillen, president of Lead1 Association, last year. Lead1 represents and supports FBS athletic directors.

Continue reading story here

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August 8th

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Early Lines: Colorado a double-digit underdog in several games

From PhilSteele.com … “Games of the Year” involving CU …

  • September 7th – Nebraska at Colorado … Buffs a 9.0-point underdog at home
  • October 11th – Colorado at Oregon … Buffs a 17.0-point underdog on the road
  • October 25th – USC at Colorado … Buffs a 7.0-point underdog at home
  • November 30th – Colorado at Utah … Buffs a 16.0-point underdog on the road

Other Pac-12 games of note … 

  • September 7th – USC a 5.0-point favorite at home v. Stanford
  • September 14th – Arizona State a 10.0-point underdog on the road v. Michigan State; UCLA a 10.0-point underdog at home v. Oklahoma; Stanford a 3.0-point underdog on the road v. UCF
  • September 21st – Stanford a 2.0-point underdog at home v. Oregon
  • September 28th – USC a 7.5-point underdog on the road v. Washington
  • October 12th – USC a 9.5-point underdog on the road v. Notre Dame
  • October 19th – Oregon a 3.0-point underdog on the road v. Washington
  • November 2nd – Oregon a 1.0-point underdog on the road v. USC; Utah a 4.5-point underdog on the road v. Washington
  • November 30th – Stanford a 6.0-point underdog at home v. Notre Dame

CBS 1-130 rankings released (CU gets no respect … while Nebraska jumps 50 spots)

From CBS Sports … With the 2019 season fast approaching, we unveiled the top 10 of the Preseason CBS Sports 130 last week. And to no one’s surprise, defending national champion Clemson sat at the top with Alabama close on its heels. Now it’s finally time to roll out the full 1-130 rankings as first introduced by CBS Sports.

Our comprehensive ranking of the entire FBS landscape sets the stage for what should be an exhilarating 150th year of college football. While Clemson, Alabama, Oklahoma, Georgia and Ohio State are familiar occupants at the top of the rankings, our preseason balloting shows some changes in perception and expectation from where things stood at the end of the 2018 season.

No. 18 Wisconsin, No. 21 Virginia, No. 23 Miami and No. 25 Oklahoma State all finished outside of the top 40 in the final balloting of the CBS Sports 130, but no team has seen a bigger offseason adjustment than No. 24 Nebraska. Hype for year two with Scott Frost hit an all-time high thanks to a 4-2 finish to the season, but the 4-8 Cornhuskers finished the 2018 campaign ranked in the bottom half of the entire FBS rankings at No. 74. That 50-spot jump is just one data point that makes Nebraska one of the most intriguing teams to start the year, as we see if results can match Big Ten dark horse expectations.

From the Pac-12 … 

  • No. 11 Washington
  • No. 12 Oregon
  • No. 13 Utah
  • No. 24 Nebraska
  • No. 27 Washington State
  • No. 33 Stanford
  • No. 36 USC
  • No. 50 Arizona
  • No. 53 Arizona State
  • No. 67 UCLA
  • No. 68 California
  • No. 82 Colorado (between No. 81 Toledo and No. 83 Arkansas State)
  • No. 98 Air Force
  • No. 106 Colorado State
  • No. 108 Oregon State

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August 7th

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ESPN: Clearing the 6-6 bar “will be difficult” for Colorado

From ESPN … A head coaching hire is terrifying. You can do all the research in the world, talk to tons of people, pay search firms hundreds of thousands of dollars, and you could still end up replacing a Steve Spurrier with a Ron Zook.

Of course, it’s also an opportunity to replace a John Blake with a Bob Stoops. It all depends on circumstance and expectation.

For each of FBS’s 27 new head coaches, there waits a different combination of factors and goals. Roughly speaking, each of the following fall into one of four categories:

* Those who need to make a strong run at the national title
* Those who need to make a strong run at a division title or more
* Those who either need to make a bowl to earn goodwill, or, in some cases, at least still be threatening to do so into November
* Those for whom 2019 is a Year Zero situation. In these situations, the rebuild is significant, and the short-term record doesn’t matter. The goal is simply to put the pieces in the right places for 2020 and beyond and, hopefully, play better in November than September.

Let’s dive into who fits where.

Make a run at 6-6 … 

Colorado (Mel Tucker) 
2018 record: 5-7
Projected 2019 wins: 3.9 (FPI) to 4.5 (S&P+)
Odds of bowl eligibility: 25%

In each of the two years since their 2016 Pac-12 South title run, the Buffaloes finished just 5-7. They started 3-0 in 2017 and 5-0 in 2018, then fell apart from there. That sets a pretty natural bar at .500 for Tucker, a former NFL (and Georgia) defensive coordinator and first-time head coach. So does the urge to not waste what is likely receiver Laviska Shenault Jr.’s last season in Boulder.

Clearing that bar will be difficult, though. Quarterback Steven Montez and a solid secondary return, but a dreadful run game might not improve, and the defensive front seven will be incredibly green. And while the schedule doesn’t feature many sure losses, it has even fewer sure wins. Expectations and reality haven’t played nicely in Boulder for a while now, and 2019 might not be any different, even if Tucker eventually turns out to be a strong hire.

Read full story here

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August 6th

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Steven Montez: “The most underrated quarterback in the Pac-12”

From FanSided.com … It goes without say that the quarterback position can get too much credit for his team’s success as well as too much blame for his team’s failures. However, every successful team relies on successful quarterback play.

… We are going to look at each Power Five conferences most underrated quarterback going into the 2019 season. We will briefly break them down and look at what they bring to the table and why they should be getting mentioned more.

Pac-12: Steven Montez, Colorado

In 2016, Steven Montez got his first action as a starter when current starter at the time, Sefo Liufau, got injured. He started several games that year before becoming the established starter in 2017, which led to him starting in 2018 as well. Montez will be heading into his senior season with the Buffs and has plenty of experience under his belt.

While Colorado has gone 5-7 the past two seasons, Montez will be looking to have his best season of his career in 2019 while leading Colorado back to a bowl game.

Montez has produced solid numbers over the past few seasons, but with the Pac-12 having good quarterback play on winning teams, he tends to get overlooked. In his two seasons, and change, change as a starter he has thrown for just over 6,900 yards, 46 touchdowns and 23 interceptions. He also has an overall completion percentage of 62 percent, which has improved each year.

The Buffs’ quarterback has also tacked on eight touchdowns on the ground and over 800 yards rushing, showing his ability to use his legs when needed. He is a big quarterback, standing 6-foot-5 and weighing around 230 pounds. He has a big time arm and can make any throw on the field.

When Colorado’s offense is clicking, it is largely due to his ability to spread the field, which helps open up the offense. I expect Montez to have a big senior year and help Colorado make a run at a bowl appearance, surprising some teams along the way.

SportsPac12: Reasons for optimism concerning CU’s offensive line

From SportsPac-12.comThe Buffaloes return several talented skill players this season, led by star receiver Laviska Shenault and veteran quarterback Steven Montez. But without better pass protection and run-blocking from their beleaguered offensive line, Colorado isn’t likely to score enough points to turn the program around.

Holes in the Right Places

Colorado’s offensive line had a rough time of it last season, finishing 11th in the Conference in sacks allowed per game, while contributing insufficiently to an offense that ranked 10th in yards per game. Despite their struggles, there is good reason for optimism in 2019: The Buffs return a mostly veteran line under new offensive line coach Chris Kapilovic, with some talented young players who seem ready to step up.

Bottom Line

Colorado returns plenty of talent and experience on the offensive line this season with the addition of Hambright, who should help transform the unit from a liability into an asset. If this group lives up to its promise and controls the line of scrimmage, the Buffalo offense could prove surprisingly effective.

Read full story here

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August 4th

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Bang for the Buck: CU’s Recruiting Budget 9th in the Pac-12

From WatchStadium.com … It’s not an exact science, but if you want to know how strong of a recruiting class your favorite college football team is likely to enroll, look at the school’s financial investment towards recruiting.

Stadium obtained the NCAA Financial Reports for the 2018 fiscal year for more than 50 FBS schools, most of which play in a Power Five conference. These reports are submitted to the NCAA annually, and they list detailed financial data regarding the operating revenue and expenses for each school’s athletic department.

That includes how much schools spent on recruiting.

Among the schools examined, Georgia’s $2.6 million spent on football recruiting in 2017-18 ranked first, and that spending yielded the No. 1 recruiting class in 2018, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Houston ranked last among the programs examined at just over $250,000 spent on recruiting, which led to the Cougars enrolling the No. 73 recruiting class.

While there’s a parallel conversation to be had regarding the relationship between recruiting rankings and wins in college football, and which schools over- or under-achieved based upon the star-rankings of the players they enroll, there’s no denying that there’s a correlation between the amount schools spend on recruiting and their recruiting class rankings.

From the Pac-12 (Stanford and USC not included, as they are private schools, and don’t disclose budgets):

  • 15. Utah – $1,052,271
  • 16. Oregon – $997,019
  • 23. UCLA – $764,620
  • 27. Washington – $714,872
  • 31. Oregon State – $674,239
  • 32. California – $647,842
  • 33. Colorado – $635,077
  • 39. Arizona – $545,968
  • 42. Arizona State – $531,807
  • 43. Washington State – $523,791

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August 3rd

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Two Pac-12 teams consider the most overrated in the top 25

From CBS Sports … The preseason Coaches Poll top 25 was released on Thursday, which is an important milestone in the college football calendar. Not because the poll really means anything but because it means we’re close enough to the start of the season that we need a preseason poll.

It also means it’s time to bust out one of the most popular Friday Fives I do every year. It’s time to rank the most overrated teams in the preseason Coaches Poll!

3. No. 21 Washington State: Mike Leach is an outstanding coach who is fully capable of making me look foolish for including the Cougars on this list. Particularly in yet another season when the Pac-12 looks to be wide open. I mean, the reason there are five Pac-12 teams in this poll isn’t because everybody thinks the Pac-12 is good as much as a result of the coaches all thinking “well I have to put a Pac-12 team somewhere, but which one?” When it comes to Wazzu, though, I can’t help but feel like the Cougars are going to take a step back in 2019.

This team has to replace so much production on both sides of the ball. Leach’s offenses have always tended to be plug-and-play, but I worry about the defense. Wazzu’s defense has played a major role in winning 20 games the last two seasons, and it loses a few key parts from that unit heading into 2019, including most of its secondary. While most of that was expected, Jalen Thompson’s departure at the end of June wasn’t. I don’t think the Cougars fall off a cliff or anything, but this could be an 8-5 team, and I’m not sure an 8-5 Wazzu finishes the season ranked.

2. No. 23 Stanford: When I mentioned the voters realizing they had to pick a Pac-12 school at some point, I would bet Stanford was a “well they’re usually good” choice on a lot of ballots. And Stanford usually is! I just don’t know how good it will be this season. While the Cardinal get K.J. Costello back at quarterback, they lose a lot of production elsewhere and are especially hit hard at receiver and on the offensive line. What further complicates matters is that Stanford’s last couple of recruiting classes haven’t quite been up to its recent standards, so I’m not sure there are ready-made replacements around to step right in and pick up the slack.

Then there’s the schedule, which sees the Cardinal starting the season with Northwestern, USC, UCF and Oregon. That’s not an easy start, particularly with both USC and UCF on the road. Then, after a brief respite against Oregon State (also on the road), the Cardinal play Washington. Things get easier from there, but not as easy as you might think, as there’s still a road trip to Wazzu and the regular-season finale against Notre Dame. This is a Stanford team that finished 9-4 last season and was unranked in 2018. I think it’ll have a much more difficult time getting to nine wins again this season, so it’s hard to envision this team finishing where the Coaches Poll has it starting.

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August 2nd

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UCLA star running back Joshua Kelly AWOL from practice

From The Los Angeles Daily News … Joshua Kelly swore to anyone who would listen at Pac-12 media day that the running backs waiting in UCLA’s stable behind the star were even better than him. It may be time to find out if that statement is true.

Kelley, UCLA’s starting running back, was not seen on the field at practice Friday during the media’s open viewing period. No coaches or players were made available to reporters for comment on the redshirt senior’s status.

Kelley is coming off a breakout season with 1,243 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. Despite not solidifying the starting role until conference play, Kelley finished with the 10th-most yards in single-season UCLA history. He had six 100-yard rushing games, including a 289-yard performance against USC that set a record for the most rushing yards by any player in the storied rivalry game.

On Friday, oddsmakers at MyTopSportsbooks.com gave the UCLA star the 12th-best odds to win the Doak Walker Award, which honors the top running back in the country.

The former UC Davis transfer won the team’s MVP award last year, but repeatedly sang praises this summer for his young teammates Kazmeir Allen and Martell Irby. If Kelley is out for an extended period of time, the pair of sophomores will likely have to carry the running game. Allen, a high-school track star who won the CIF State 100 meters as a senior, rushed for 188 yards last year and one touchdown. Irby had 187 yards and one touchdown.

Continue reading story here

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August 1st

USA Today Coaches poll released – Five teams from Pac-12 included

… Nine of CU’s 12 opponents received votes (all except for CSU, Air Force, and Arizona) … 

… By conference: Big Ten: 7; SEC: 6; Pac-12: 5; Big 12: 3; ACC: 2; plus Notre Dame (at No. 9) and Central Florida (at No.17) …

From USA Today … The Amway’s Coaches Poll powered by USA TODAY Sports is conducted weekly throughout the regular season using a panel of head coaches at FBS schools. The panel is chosen by random draw, conference by conference plus independents, from a pool of coaches who have indicated to the American Football Coaches Association their willingness to participate. Each coach submits a Top 25 with a first-place vote worth 25 points, second place 24, and so on down to one point for 25th.

Here’s the poll in its entirety (first-place votes in parenthesis):

1. Clemson (59)
2. Alabama (6)
3. Georgia
4. Oklahoma
5. Ohio State
6. LSU
7. Michigan
8. Florida
9. Notre Dame
10. Texas
11. Texas A&M
12. Washington
13. Oregon
14. Penn State
15. Utah
16. Auburn
T17. Wisconsin
T17. UCF
19. Iowa
20. Michigan State
21. Washington State
22. Syracuse
23. Stanford
24. Iowa State
25. Northwestern

Others Receiving Votes … Nebraska 152; Boise State 118; Mississippi State 111; Miami 94; Army 91; Kentucky 79; Virginia Tech 64; Texas Christian 63; Southern California 47; Utah State 32; Fresno State 32; Virginia 30; Cincinnati 25; West Virginia 24; Memphis 24; Oklahoma State 20; South Carolina 15; NC State 12; Duke 10; Boston College 5; Florida State 4; Baylor 4; Appalachian State 4; North Texas 3; Houston 3; UCLA 2; Temple 2; Arizona State 2; Troy 1; Tennessee 1; Mississippi 1; Minnesota 1.

List of Coaches who vote in the USA Today poll (I won’t post this every week, but it is interesting to see who votes)

The Amway Board of Coaches is made up of 65 head coaches at Bowl Subdivision schools. All are members of the American Football Coaches Association. The board for the 2019 season: Chris Ash, Rutgers; Dino Babers, Syracuse; Craig Bohl, Wyoming; Jeff Brohm, Purdue; Neal Brown, West Virginia; Troy Calhoun, Air Force; Steve Campbell, South Alabama; Rod Carey, Temple; Jamey Chadwell, Coastal Carolina; Geoff Collins, Georgia Tech; David Cutcliffe, Duke; Mark Dantonio, Michigan State; Butch Davis, Florida International; Ryan Day, Ohio State; Manny Diaz, Miami (Fla.); Dana Dimel, Texas-El Paso; Dave Doeren, North Carolina State; Sonny Dykes, Southern Methodist; Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M; Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern; James Franklin, Penn State; Hugh Freeze, Liberty; Willie Fritz, Tulane; Scott Frost, Nebraska; Justin Fuente, Virginia Tech; Thomas Hammock, Northern Illinois; Bryan Harsin, Boise State; Clay Helton, Southern California; Tyson Helton, Western Kentucky; Tom Herman, Texas; Doc Holliday, Marshall; Jay Hopson, Southern Mississippi; Mike Houston, East Carolina; Mike Leach, Washington State; Lance Leipold, Buffalo; Tim Lester, Western Michigan; Chip Lindsey, Troy; Seth Littrell, North Texas; Scot Loeffler, Bowling Green; Rocky Long, San Diego State; Chad Lunsford, Georgia Southern; Gus Malzahn, Auburn; Chuck Martin, Miami (Ohio); Doug Martin, New Mexico State; Jeff Monken, Army; Phillip Montgomery, Tulsa; Dan Mullen, Florida; Ken Niumatalolo, Navy; Ed Orgeron, LSU; Gary Patterson, TCU; Chris Petersen, Washington; Jeremy Pruitt, Tennessee; Matt Rhule, Baylor; Nick Saban, Alabama; Tony Sanchez, UNLV; Kirby Smart, Georgia; Jonathan Smith, Oregon State; Frank Solich, Ohio; Jake Spavital, Texas State; Rick Stockstill, Middle Tennessee; Kevin Sumlin, Arizona; Dabo Swinney, Clemson; Jeff Tedford, Fresno State; Matt Wells, Texas Tech; Kyle Whittingham, Utah.

Jon Wilner posts Colorado Fall Camp preview

From the San Jose Mercury News … For the South preview below, note that we avoided diving into QB matters except in the case of the one team without a returning starter (Arizona State); nor did we assess the impact of coordinator/staff changes.

Both matters will be addressed in upcoming Hotline columns.

*** Colorado
Camp starts: Aug. 1
Season opener: Aug. 30 vs. Colorado State
We’re watching: Laviska Shenault’s reps and health: He broke down last season (understandably) and is recovering from multiple injuries/surgeries. Keeping him fresh through August should be CU’s top priority, followed closely by identifying a secondary option in the passing game (best bet: KD Nixon) … Defensive tackle Mustafa Johnson is one of the best in the conference, but will help emerge from a group of transfers and underclassmen? Name to watch up front: Terrance Lang … Just a few years ago, Colorado was billed as DBU. Without Evan Worthington, the secondary lacks a marquee name entering 2019. Is there a game changer on the roster?
Mel Tucker on … his philosophy: “At the end of the day, I have to be myself, and the team is going to be a reflection of me and how I believe the game of football should be played. But the experiences I’ve had have been a tremendous asset for me moving forward. There are going to be some things from Bama, from Georgia, from Ohio State that I’ve learned and that I’m going to install in Boulder.”

Read full list of previews here

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July 31st 

Stewart Mandel on Pac-12 morning games: “You have to play when the networks have room for you”

From The Athletic

Stewart: What can the Pac-12 do to get back in the conversation as one of CFB’s best conferences? Is the nine-game conference schedule hurting the league’s chances? What would you do to help fix the “games are too late for most fans to watch” issue while not alienating fans with 9 a.m. starts?

Justin C.

The first part is pretty simple: Win big out-of-conference games. Oregon needs to beat Auburn. Stanford and/or USC needs to beat Notre Dame. UCLA needs to not lose to Cincinnati. And then, show out in the postseason. The Pac-12 champ has not won its bowl game since 2015 Stanford whipped Iowa in the Rose Bowl. Even USC’s epic Rose Bowl win against Penn State a year later already feels like a million years ago.

Remember, last year the Pac-12 basically eliminated itself from the Playoff conversation by mid-October, long before anyone got to their ninth conference game. The formula at this point is pretty clear: You’ve got to have at least one team get into November with one loss or less, or you might as well be playing a different sport.

The conversation this past week around 9 a.m. kickoffs has been interesting. My colleague Andy Staples made a compelling case why the conference should do it, but I’d want no part if it if I were a ticket-buying, tailgating fan. But here’s the thing: Many of those same fans complain about 7:30 p.m. ET kickoffs, too. And Thursday and Friday night games. Or pretty much anything that doesn’t kick off between 1-5 on a Saturday.

Here’s the thing: If you want your games to be televised, you have to play when the networks have room for you. It’s not realistic that they’re going to squeeze six (or more) Pac-12 games into just two Saturday windows. Every other Power 5 conference has three windows of games (Noon ET, 3:30 ET and 7:30 or 8 ET), so Pac-12 fans need to pick either early or late. Also, most Pac-12 games simply don’t get the same eyeballs as a Big Ten or SEC game in the same window, so there’s no incentive for the networks to prioritize Pac-12 in the pecking order.

But that might change if they can get back to the days of two Top 10 teams squaring off in November, like Stanford and Oregon did for several seasons earlier this decade.

Colorado State: “One of the Worst 25 teams in the country”

From YardBarker.com …Excitement is high across America as the 2019 college football is nearly upon us. Schools will be set to jockey for the College Football Playoff, rivalries will be on tap and fans will start wondering what bowl their favorite program will play in.

Then there is the other end of the spectrum.

Every year there are teams that are trying to build something special but are starting at the bottom. Heck, some of these programs are adapting to having an FBS program, while some are just wallowing in the basement of power conferences.

So while there are lots of lists of the best teams in the nation, here is our list of the worst teams in college football for 2019.

Colorado State … After three straight 7-6 seasons and four straight trips to a bowl, the Rams cratered last year win a 3-9 mark. What happened? Well, they struggled with a youth movement and couldn’t put it together for a successful season. This year quarterback Collin Hill returns, but his top two receivers (Preston Williams, Bisi Johnson) are gone as well as much of his offensive line. The running game was appalling, and there really isn’t any reason to believe it will get better in 2019. Like most teams on this list, the defense let them down and there isn’t a cavalry coming to save the day. Colorado State could fly in either direction: be a trendy sleeper pick or more likely stuck in this quicksand for another year. I think it is the latter.

Read full list here

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18 Replies to “Pac-12 Notes”

  1. In regard to the ongoing struggles surrounding the broadcast distribution of the PAC-12 Network I couldn’t help but take notice of Larry Scott’s hockey puck analogy…almost as if it takes one to know one. ~yeesh~

  2. According to Larry Scott he is trying to maximize exposure and revenue for the P12 schools while waiting for their current deals to expire in 2024. Until then, what would be wrong with offering direct PPV for games through their website, say $10 a game livecast only. Not gouging, but making it easy and affordable for people the country (and world) over to tune in, without requiring that they sign up with any provider. Maybe even let us download/rewatch it for an additional fee
    Personally, I’m trying to figure out the cheapest/best way to watch CU games this fall. I’m in LA.
    I don’t watch TV otherwise. I have (and don’t watch) Amazon Fire. I don’t have or want a landline. All I want is to watch the buffs, no new equipment, no new bills or agreements, no researching providers, just the ability to pay to stream the games I want to see. simple. @larryscott can you please make watching pac12 sports simple and easy? You own all your rights and your website USE THEM. No one likes a gatekeeper.

  3. Is Wilner a Buff hater? Haven’t read enough to know. He’s right on about how much of an outlier 2016 looks now. His comment on receiving corps outside Viska makes it appear he doesn’t do much studying. But wow. 3 wins? Vegas smart money that I hear is betting over 4.5 on wins. I think I’ll go with he fact we essentially return the same team, but I think with improved talent, that went 5-0 last year, and chalk 0-7 to close it on the old coaching staff. It all falls on Montez. Will he be the guy that can look so amazing (5-0 Montez), or the guy that gets happy feet, runs too quick, makes poor decisions and crumbles as soon as his O-line has given up a couple big hits on him. I know we haven’t seen a Mel Tucker team play yet, but I like everything I’ve seen so far, intense, organized and fast practices, inherited talent and expressed willingness to play whoever most deserves to play, embrace of everything CU has to offer (facilities, history, setting, etc.), no excuses, great handle on the media, quality coaches, and scheme. I see 6-6 and a bowl game, which with our brutal schedule would be a home run in Year 1 of the Tuck Era. Can’t wait.

    1. I probably should have modified that to read “Wilner hates the thought of any other PAC team replacing USC as the standard bearer.”
      I spent a year in the bay area 4 decades ago (pre internet) and couldnt find any coverage of sports east of the Nevada border. For all its reputation as a cosmopolitan city their sports coverage was as provincial as it gets. With Wilner it appears that attitude still lingers.
      2016 was mostly because of Sefo (and Phil’s) leadership along with Leavitt’s D. In my opinion this was also the year MM broke down afterwards.
      1. Leavitt left for more money but the personality problem with MM contributed.
      2. Sefo graduated.
      3. MM had to deal with the Tumpkin problem
      The factors other than himself that helped the Buffs succeed n 2016 may have made MM complacent (or lazy). He certainly didnt handle adversity well emphasized by his sideline behavior when things went south. That was also a pun in a way because when things did start to unravel it just made MM want to go back to the land of grits and humidity even more which took his mindset way out of bounds of a focused coach. As a player MM may not have survived on a what appears to be a team coached by Mel

  4. “a second option emerges in the passing game to take advantage of the attention paid Shenault”
    This from Wilner’s best case scenario who hates CU almost as much as CSU and the cobs combined. Last I called BS on Wilner when he said there would be “modest expectations” for Buff receivers. This of course before Viska became nationally famous and Nixon was already established as a second option. Well its BS on Wilner again. The Buffs have at least 3 options for Montez withiut mentioning the promise by Mel the TEs will once again be options. This nebish wont be happy until the condoms are on top again. If anyone out there wants to take Wilner’s prediction to Vegas I pity you almost as much as I pity him

  5. Every time I here someone say the PAC can afford to have a dormant USC I call BS.
    Any poll before the games are played is also BS

    1. No ep, after all these years, instead work at being the Master of your Household and convince your wife to switch to Dish. Not only will you be able to watch the PAC 12 and the Buffs, you will also have a feeling of satisfaction that might even equal the feeling that you had when you graduated from CU and escaped the Liberal Confines of Boulder for God’s Country in SW CO.

      1. Dang AZ. I am the master of my household….with the exception of the TV. No biggie though. I can drive 35 miles to a sports bar, watch the Buffs and have as many bass ales and wings as I want without snide comments. All this is moot of course because Direct TV is giving CBS a ration of poop which has convinced the wife to switch to dish. She likes, as I do, the CBS Sunday morning news.
        Meanwhile I am watching the donkeys. They may have to cut their entire 2nd and 3rd strings. Bright side is if they stink it up bad enough maybe a few of those fans will show up at Folsom or tune into the Buffs. Meanwhile Winfree still looks good

  6. MarcusJB, in the past decade, I can just about count the numbers of years (10) there has been Kool-Aid spilled all over just because of preseason comments by players about conditioning, hard workouts, etc., etc. Well…….. what the hell are they going to say if they are vying for a position ?

    I truly hope you are right and that MT is a no BS coach who just lays out the facts without embellishment.

    GO BUFFS. !

    1. Very true about the players, but Brian has commented on the visual difference he has seen in the increase size of many of the players. He’s always saying the same about coaches and players as you write, but this year he is also writing about the physical difference he seeing, and that’s all I can go by since I can’t see them myself.

      Until they show me otherwise I’m believing they are going to compete.

      I also feel that the pundits that keep saying CU is going to suck, but then they keep naming key players to watch lists… which is it, do the Buffs have talent for the new staff to work with? or, are they doomed to be in the cellar just because of poor coaching for the last 7 games last year?

      In 2016, I was one of the few during the preseason chats that was predicting a record closer to WSU’s 9-10 wins per season, and Brian was way more pessimistic. Those seniors were the difference and this year the seniors, along with a couple of other leaders like Shenault and Nixon will lead this team to a better record than last season; maybe not 10 wins, but better.

      1. Your reassuring words are nice to hear Marcus…. apparently you are reading thoroughly while I’m skimming. My folks also said the same as yours may have said, “The proof is in the pudding.”

        For now, I’ll sip my Kool-aid and hope to gulp the pudding.

        GO BUFFS

  7. Whoa game time getting closer.
    So according to CBS the mighty Buffs play 10 teams ranked higher than them and 2 teams ranked lower. Buffs get no respect cause they don’t deserve any. Facts are on the field. The mighty Buffs have been poorly coached and poorly executed for a decade plus. Surprised any recruit would even consider the Buffs. Probably cause the better football schools didn’t want em so………………Buffs it is.

    Welp as the young bird cries, and the devil dies and the dog howls and the bear moans, and the rubbers melt, and the kitties wail, and the Indians fail, and the nocats crash and the geese freeze and the kornholers krap, those teams be falling into a Buffalo Trap. Now ya see em now ya don’t

    HCMT is the Diff.

    82nd your CBS ARSE.

    That is all……………………….for now.

  8. It sounds to me like EP’s nostrils are flaring and he is ready to put the pads on again and apply for a year of eligibility as a grad student. Put the Bass Ale on the training table along with the milk.

    Actually listening to all of MT’s pressers he certainly sounds like a coach that one would like to play for or have their son play for. (notice the misogamist in me said son, no female kickers puuuleeease)

    MT does not seem like a BS’er and seems to be quite optimistic as to how these kids can play and will perform at a higher level then the realization of those Godless Pundits that EP accurately calls out.
    Put it their other eye Mel!!!!

    1. I appreciate the enthusiasm recognition AZ but just a glare from Mustafa or Nate would be enough to knock me down these days. My first step is now 4.6 seconds. Buy me a few rounds of Bass and I will be happy to tell you how good I was:-)

  9. I will be so happy when the games actually start and we dont have to be subject to all these “expert” pundit opinions. These are basically the same Buff players who won their first 5 games last year and are now experiencing some vastly improved coaching. The DB doesnt have much proven depth(we havent seen the new kids play yet) but the defectors in the secondary did nothing but improve the roster and were probably complacent under MM’s stale coaching.
    On the flip side, these “football gurus” dont hesitate to put lipstick on a pig in Stu’s aptly described “beauty contest” when its a team that went 3-9 , 4-8 etc last year but has more historical name recognition. and I emphasize the word historical. Even the Linkin Starbucks wont take a 15 year old cob won/loss record for an ice tea let alone a latte.
    Put it in their eye Mel

    1. I’ve been thinking the same thing “These are basically the same Buff players who won their first 5 games last year and are now experiencing some vastly improved coaching. ”

      If they hadn’t had the meltdown against OSU and the rest of the season, they would have made a bowl and who knows, possibly won another game or two, but we’d still have Mac.

      Now (we believe) they have a coach that would not have let that meltdown happen, and we’re reading about improved conditioning and a new start and attitude under Tucker and staff. I too, can’t wait for the season to start. Three weeks and one day to kickoff… and counting.

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