Pac-12 Notes – Air Force Week

September 14th

… Foe Pause … 

UCLA 0-3 for the second straight year after 48-14 rout by No. 5 Oklahoma

From ESPN … Lincoln Riley and Jalen Hurts sent the Big 12 a message in fifth-ranked Oklahoma’s 48-14 victory over UCLA on Saturday night at the Rose Bowl.

Despite 611 yards of offense — including 439 coming courtesy of Hurts — the Oklahoma coach and quarterback are far from satisfied going into an off week before opening conference play.

“I think we’re headed in the right direction,” said Hurts, who became the first Oklahoma quarterback to pass for 200 yards and rush for 100 in the first half. “The intent for us is coming out and playing a complete game. I don’t think we did it tonight. We can improve.”

The graduate transfer from Alabama led the Sooners to six touchdowns and a pair of field goals in 10 drives. He completed 15 of 20 passes for 289 yards and three touchdowns and ran 14 times for 150 yards and a score.

“He played pretty good. He made the majority of plays that he was supposed to make and then a few where he made a couple off script that were important plays,” Riley said of Hurts. “He took some steps from the last couple of weeks. It’s a laundry list of things to get better at, and that is how I will approach it with him.”

CeeDee Lamb and Charleston Rambo each had two touchdowns to help the Sooners (3-0) win their 21st straight true road game. That is tied with Alabama (1970-75) the second-longest away streak after World War II.

UCLA drops to 0-3 for the second straight year. Dorian Thompson-Robinson passed for 201 yards and two touchdowns.

Continue reading story here

USC falls to BYU in overtime, with Utah, Washington and Notre Dame up next

From ESPN … BYU should be getting accustomed to coming from behind to beat traditional powers.

Dayan Ghanwoloku intercepted a tipped pass in overtime after Jake Oldroyd kicked a 43-yard field to give the Cougars the lead, and BYU held on to beat No. 24 Southern California 30-27 on Saturday — one week after a similar fourth-quarter rally to knock off Tennessee.

Zach Wilson threw for 280 yards and a touchdown while running for another score, Ty’Son Williams had 99 yards rushing, and the Cougars (2-1) capitalized on three crucial turnovers.

“No matter the score, no matter the time that’s left on the clock, this team keeps fighting and keeps fighting,” Williams said.

It took the Cougars a few minutes to digest that they had beaten a ranked opponent at home for the first time since defeating then-No. 20 Boise State in 2015. Fans stormed the field immediately after the interception Saturday, then stormed a second time when a review confirmed the call on the field.

Continue reading story here

Arizona State goes to 3-0 win 10-7 upset win over No. 18 Michigan State

Related … “Michigan State blows game with 12 men on the field penalty” … from Larry Brown Sports

From ESPN … Eno Benjamin reached the ball to the goal line for a 1-yard touchdown run with 50 seconds remaining, and Arizona State beat No. 18 Michigan State 10-7 on Saturday after the Spartans had a tying field goal negated for having too many men on the field.

Matt Coghlin’s 42-yard kick appeared to have tied it with 6 seconds remaining, but a replay showed too many men on the field for Michigan State, which had rushed the field goal team on in a disorganized fashion.

Coghlin had to try again from farther back after the penalty, and he hooked the kick left for his third miss of the day.

Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio missed a chance to take over sole possession of first place on the school’s career victories list. He remains tied with Duffy Daugherty at 109.

Arizona State (3-0) drove 75 yards in 11 plays at the end, against a Michigan State defense that had been stifling all day. Quarterback Jayden Daniels ran 15 yards for a first down on fourth-and-13 from the Michigan State 28, and Benjamin’s touchdown put the Sun Devils ahead. That play also was reviewed, and Benjamin had just barely extended the ball far enough to score.

The Spartans drove back to the Arizona State 24, and after spiking the ball to stop the clock with 11 seconds left, they appeared to have enough time for one more throw. But with no timeouts remaining, Michigan State (2-1) seemed indecisive, and eventually the field goal team rushed on. The Spartans barely snapped the ball in time to beat the play clock, and although Coghlin’s kick went through, there were too many players on the field.

Continue reading story here


September 13th

… Foe Pause … 

No. 20 Washington State outlasts Houston, 31-24

From ESPN … After No. 20 Washington State struggled to get going early on Friday night against Houston before pulling away in the second half for a win, coach Mike Leach lamented that his team didn’t have more time to play.

“I almost wish we had a fifth quarter because I thought we had more work to do and we could have grown a little bit more,” he said. “I thought we were playing our best football at the end.”

Anthony Gordon threw for 440 yards and three touchdowns for his third straight 400-yard game as Washington State got the 31-24 victory.

Gordon threw a 7-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter and had two 39-yard scoring throws, including one in the third quarter that gave Washington State (3-0) the lead for good.

“I thought we were frantic the first half both offensively and defensively,” Leach said. “Then when we settled in I thought we played well the second half.”

It was the first meeting as head coaches for Leach and Houston’s Dana Holgorsen, who first met almost 30 years ago when Holgorsen played at Iowa Wesleyan, where Leach was an assistant.

Continue reading story here


September 12th

… Foe Pause … 

Report: CU has played the fewest night games in the Pac-12

From the San Jose Mercury News … The speculation and anecdotal evidence from the conference’s southern border isn’t merely dead on. It’s dead-of-night on:

Arizona has, officially and indisputably, played more night games than any program in the Pac-12 since the current television agreement began in 2012.

The Hotline obtained (courtesy of the conference office) a breakdown of night games for each team for the past eight years.

Yes, they track such matters at Pac-12 HQ — they track them very closely, in fact, and strive for equity.

According to Duane Lindberg (Pac-12 associate commissioner for television), the Wildcats have played 36 night games over the course of the current TV deal; the Sun Devils have played 32; nobody else has played more than 28.

And there’s a reason: Conference policy forbids ESPN and Fox from scheduling day games on the Arizona campuses in August and September.

There are exceptions, but only if the networks request an exemption and the host school approves, Lindberg said.

“It’s strictly a campus decision,’’ he added

The night game totals for all schools from 2011-18 (provided by Lindberg):

— Saturday games only

— Night kickoffs are 7 p.m. or later (local time)

— Conference and non-conference games included

36: Arizona – 21 home, 15 road
32: Arizona State – 24 home, 8 road
28: Cal – 10 home, 18 road
25: Washington State – 19 home, 6 road
24: Oregon State – 13 home, 11 away
23: Washington – 13 home, 10 road
23: Utah – 14 home, 9 road
21: UCLA – 15 home, 6 away
21: Oregon – 10 home, 11 away
17: Stanford – 11 home, 6 away
16: USC – 7 home, 9 road
14: Colorado – 5 home, 9 road

(Average: 23.)

Read full report here

Jim Leavitt joins staff at Florida State 

… Doesn’t mean Leavitt, who kept a house in Boulder, might not be up for the CSU job if it comes open later this fall … 

From ESPN … Florida State is hiring former Oregon defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt as an analyst to help fix its flailing defense, Seminoles coach Willie Taggart confirmed Thursday.

Leavitt is expected to assist Seminoles defensive coordinator Harlon Barnett by bringing another experienced voice to help with devising game plans.

“It’s a great addition to our football staff, our football team, to get somebody of that quality and that experience in the defensive room, and someone Barnett and the other defensive coaches can lean on,” Taggart told reporters Thursday. “It’s a plus for our football team, and it’s something that will help our football team.”

Leavitt was the defensive coordinator in Taggart’s only season as Ducks head coach in 2017.

Leavitt stayed behind when Taggart took the FSU job, hoping to become head coach of the Ducks, which instead went to Mario Cristobal.

Leavitt remained the Ducks’ defensive coordinator last season, but he had a rocky relationship with Cristobal and left after the season with a $2.5 million buyout. Leavitt has been out of college coaching since.

Continue reading story here

UCLA literally giving away tickets to Oklahoma game

From NBC Sports … You know how I know you’re a flailing football program?  This story right here.

UCLA’s hiring of Chip Kelly in November of 2017 was met with much fanfare, but his first season in Westwood ended with an underwhelming 3-9 record, the program’s worst since 1971.  With a Week 2 loss to San Diego State in Year 2, UCLA, which lost the first five games in 2018, has started 0-2 in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1942-43, right in the midst of World War II.

Officially, attendance at the Bruins’ loss to the Aztecs at the Rose Bowl (official capacity: 92,542) was announced at 36,951.  Unofficially, the stadium was much less than half full just a few minutes before kickoff.

Next up on the scheduling docket is No. 4 Oklahoma, with the Sooners making their first regular-season trip to the Rose Bowl since 2005 and just their second such trek ever to the historic stadium.  Given that caliber of competition coming to town, even with students not back in for classes until later this month, you’d expect tickets to the game to be a hot commodity, right?

Yeah, not exactly.  In fact, it’s the exact opposite as the university is giving away four free tickets (total value: $280) to each current season ticket holder for this Saturday’s game against the Sooners.

Read email sent out to season ticket holders (and the comments section) here


September 11th

… Foe Pause … 

Pac-12 lines: Four Pac-12 teams underdogs in Week Three (three by a touchdown or more)

From … Week Three betting lines from Las Vegas:

From the Pac-12 … 

Friday … 

— No. 20 Washington State … a 9.0-favorite on the road over Houston … 7:15 p.m., MT, ESPN

Saturday …

— Colorado … a 4.5-point (was 3.5-points) favorite at home against Air Force …. 11:00 a.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks

— Stanford … an 8.0-point underdog on the road against No. 17 Central Florida … 1:30 p.m., MT, ESPN

— No. 24 USC … a 4.0-point favorite on the road against BYU … 1:30 p.m., MT, ABC

— Arizona State … a 14.0-point underdog on the road against No. 18 Michigan State … 2:00 p.m., MT, Fox

— California … a 14.0-point favorite at home against North Texas … 2:15 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks

— Oregon State … a 16.5-point favorite at home against Cal Poly … 2:15 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Oregon

— No. 11 Utah … a 36.5-point favorite at home against Idaho State … 2:15 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Mountain

— No. 23 Washington … a 22.0-point favorite at home against Hawai’i … 5:30 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks

— UCLA … a 23.0-point underdog at home against No. 5 Oklahoma … 6:00 p.m., MT, Fox

— Arizona … a 2.0-point underdog at home against Texas Tech … 8:30 p.m., MT, ESPN

— No. 15 Oregon … a 37.0-point favorite at home against Montana … 8:45 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks

Air Force players confident: “They’re beatable”

From the Colorado Springs Gazette … Donald Hammond III took advantage of a rare weekend off to watch college football, including this week’s opponent, Colorado, taking down Nebraska.

His impression of the Buffaloes from that viewing?

“They’re beatable,” said the Air Force quarterback, who described himself as “refreshed” after an off week. “Everybody’s beatable.”

That seems to be the consensus among Falcons players as they approach with optimism a rare opportunity against a Power Five opponent when the series against Colorado resumes at 11 a.m. Saturday in Boulder after a 45-year hiatus.

This opinion comes despite little success for the program against teams from major conferences — going 1-7 in the regular season in those games in 12 seasons under coach Troy Calhoun. And while acknowledging that Colorado has experience and elite talent at multiple positions.

Air Force is not alone in this thinking, as sports gambling sites list the Falcons as just 3.5-point road underdogs.

“I think it’s really important that we’re confident, and we are confident,” Air Force linebacker Kyle Johnson said. “But I wouldn’t say we’re cocky or anything. We recognize the situation and how close of a game we know it’s going to be. That kind of drives our preparation.”

Other results support Air Force’s sense of hope. Mountain West teams have won seven of their last 10 games against Pac-12 teams. The conference is 6-5 against Power Five programs this season, with three of the losses coming by one possession or in overtime.

Continue reading story here


September 10th

… Foe Pause … 

USA Today “Misery Index” includes UCLA, Washington and …. Nebraska

From USA Today … Part of the reason the Misery Index exists, in a sense, is to satirize the “fire the coach” culture that has become prevalent in college football. When you zoom out to 30,000 feet in this sport, what you see is schools paying huge amounts of money to coaches who are relatively unproven, a comprehensive campaign to build a cult of personality around the coach and then a fan base that brings out pitchforks at the first sign of trouble.

It’s a little absurd.

At the same time, though, there are certain things that can’t be excused and clear warning signs that become reliable indicators of failure. Sometimes, the panic isn’t ridiculous.

Washington: It’s completely legitimate to look at Chris Petersen’s tenure as a big success, having reached three consecutive New Year’s Six bowl games (including one Playoff berth) along with top-15 finishes. At the same time, the Huskies seem to carry around a whiff of fraudulence. They rarely beat anyone good and pretty consistently drop one or two games a year against pretty mediocre opponents while everyone acts as if it’s a shock. But at this point, it’s not a shock that Washington lost to California, 20-19, in a game that was delayed 2 1/2 hours due to severe weather. While the circumstances of the game were odd, the problem was predictable — the Huskies’ offense turned the ball over twice and settled for four field goals after long drives. For Washington, a team many people had pegged into this year’s Playoff, this one goes right alongside losses last season to Oregon and Cal (again) in which its offense just wasn’t good enough and 2017 when the Huskies removed themselves from Playoff contention with losses to unranked Arizona State and Stanford. Any top program can get caught on a given day, but the really elite programs don’t make it a trend. At Washington, it’s happened with regularity, so perhaps it’s time to stop expecting the Huskies to get back into the Playoff.

UCLA: Bleh. Everything about this experiment with Chip Kelly so far is just … bleh. Saturday’s 23-14 loss to San Diego State in front of a ton of empty seats at the Rose Bowl really wasn’t even worth a second glance. We know UCLA’s personnel isn’t great, but when you hire a supposed offensive genius to be your coach is it too much to ask for more than 261 yards (just 62 rushing) against a Group of Five team at home in Year 2?

Nebraska: Huskers fans are going to have to hit the reset button on expectations for Scott Frost’s second year. That much is clear after a pretty lackluster opener against South Alabama and Saturday’s come-from-ahead, 34-31 overtime loss at Colorado. Much of the credit has to go to the Buffaloes here, who played a bold game and made key adjustments in the second half to erase a 17-0 deficit. But this kind of game did echo last season when Nebraska stumbled into a handful of losses in games they were positioned to win. The long-term outlook still seems good, but the big breakthrough might take a little longer than it seemed this summer.

Read full story here

1990 National Championship team makes the list of ESPN’s Top 150 teams of all time

From ESPN … As part of ESPN’s year-long initiative marking the 150-year anniversary of college football, we set out to rank the 150 greatest college football single-season teams of all time.

The panel of 150 media members, athletic administrators and former players and coaches selected these teams from 210 finalists initially identified by ESPN’s Sports & Information group.

The voters went for national champions galore — undefeated champions, one-loss champions and, at the very top, rarely tested champions. But not every team here finished No. 1. The highest-ranked one-loss team, at No. 31, is remembered for the game it didn’t win.

The final list represents an array of styles but a commonality of substance, and the teams range from one that played 131 years ago to two squads that suited up as recently as 2018.

You’ll likely find a team you once loved. You’ll definitely find a ranking you don’t love at all …

From the Pac-12 … 

  • No. 2 – USC (2004)
  • No. 3 – USC (1972)
  • No. 23 – Washington (1991)
  • No. 30 – USC (1979)
  • No. 49 – USC (1978)
  • No. 52 – USC (2005)
  • No. 54 – USC (2003)
  • No. 56 – USC (1962)
  • No. 62 – UCLA (1954)
  • No. 69 – USC (1967)
  • No. 70 – USC (1974)
  • No. 82 – USC (1932)
  • No. 101 – Stanford (1940)
  • No. 110 – Arizona State (1975)

122. 1990 Colorado (11-1-1)
Titles: AP, FWAA (Georgia Tech won UPI)
Coach: Bill McCartney
Led by: RB Eric Bienemy, LB Alfred Williams, G Joe Garten
What to know: The Buffaloes tied Tennessee 31-31 in their opener and lost at Illinois 23-22 in their third game. But then they won 10 straight games, including victories over No. 22 Texas, No. 12 Washington, No. 22 Oklahoma and No. 3 Nebraska (and escaped Missouri with the help of an infamous fifth down). They defeated No. 5 Notre Dame 10-9 in the Orange Bowl to earn a share of the national championship.

  • No. 139 – Cal (1920)


September 9th

… Foe Pause … 

Lynn Swann resigns as USC athletic director 

From ESPN … Lynn Swann has resigned as USC athletic director, effective immediately, the school announced Monday.

USC president Carol Folt announced the news in an email and named Dave Roberts, special adviser to the president, as the interim AD. A national search for a permanent replacement will begin.

In her email, Folt thanked Swann and did not give his reason for resigning.

… Swann was hired by USC in 2016, with the school naming the Pro Football Hall of Famer and Trojans great to replace Pat Haden.

Swann, 67, graduated from USC in 1974 with a degree in public relations. He played in two Rose Bowls and won a national championship in 1972 before a nine-year Hall of Fame career in the NFL. He had a long career as a broadcaster for ABC and has served on several corporate boards.

His short tenure as USC’s AD was bumpy. The football team has struggled, going 5-7 last year. And the athletic program was hit by a college admissions bribery case; a senior associate athletic director, a water polo coach and a former soccer coach were indicted and later fired by the school.

The Athletic: “Contending Colorado” 

Related: “Quite possibly the greatest flea flicker ever” … from

From The Athletic … As Steven Montez’s pass from the end zone sailed through the air Saturday, Colorado receivers coach Darrin Chiaverini grabbed head coach Mel Tucker’s arm on the sideline, yelling, “It’s there! We’ve got it!” As receiver K.D. Nixon caught it 40 yards downfield and raced past the only Nebraska defender within a mile, Tucker recalled Sunday, “I’m just sitting there looking at it, like, this guy is going to score a touchdown on this play — are you kidding me?”

Colorado’s 96-yard flea-flicker — quite possibly the longest in college football history — highlighted the Buffs’ frenetic comeback Saturday from a 17-0 halftime deficit to stun former Big 8 rival Nebraska 34-31 in overtime. The wild scene in Boulder culminated with thousands of CU fans storming the field while roughly 30,000 red-clad Huskers fans looked on with resignation.

“It was mayhem,” said Colorado’s first-year head coach. “I don’t think there’s been a day leading up to this game since December 5 when I got here that someone hasn’t mentioned something to me about the Nebraska game. The place was going berserk.”

… So far, Utah has done nothing to alter its status as the league’s preseason favorite, and a last-second loss to Auburn by no means disqualifies Oregon. But if Saturday was any indication, there could be some new blood, including those resilient Buffaloes and their bag of tricks.

“People will be talking about that play for years,” marveled Tucker.

Continue reading the story here (subscription required) …

Jon Wilner: “That, folks, was a momentous victory for the Buffaloes”

From the San Jose Mercury News … Week One is usually the time for overreaction, but we’ll risk looking a bit silly in the future with our assessment of Colorado’s performance.

That, folks, was a momentous victory for the Buffaloes.

Momentous because it required them to rally from a 17-0 deficit late in the third quarter and a 24-14 hole early in the fourth.

(It was the antithesis of the meltdown against Oregon State.)

Momentous because the play that spurred the comeback was a 96-yard flea-flicker.

And because it came against their rival, with their rival’s fans packing Folsom Field.

And because it gives coach Mel Tucker a signature win — to energize constituents and impress recruits and further the buy-in from the current roster — in just his second game.

Also: Because it gave the Pac-12 a victory over the Big Ten … its second victory over the Big Ten, in fact. (Stanford over Northwestern.)

We don’t expect Colorado to contend for the South title or Nebraska to compete for a playoff berth.

But if the Cornhuskers have a quality season, if they win eight or nine games and are a factor in the Big ten West race, then CU’s win will resonate.

Every step counts in the road to reputation recovery.

Read full article here


September 8th 

… Foe Pause … 

CU back among “others receiving votes” in both polls … while Nebraska all but disappears from the polls

From CBS Sports … The new AP Top 25 poll is out following Week 2 action, and the big news is that LSU has moved into the top five after beating Texas 45-38 in a thrilling affair in Austin on Saturday night. With LSU jumping Oklahoma to take the No. 4 spot, the SEC now has three of the top four teams in the country, as the Tigers join No. 2 Alabama and No. 3 Georgia.

Clemson remains at No. 1 after a 24-10 win over Texas A&M, which fell from No. 12 to No. 16 following the loss to the reigning champions.

There are three new teams in the rankings this week with Maryland checking in at No. 21, USC at No. 24 and Virginia at No. 25. They replace Syracuse, Stanford, Iowa State and Nebraska (Iowa State and Nebraska tied at No. 25 last week).

Associated Press poll: 

  1. Clemson
  2. Alabama
  3. Georgia
  4. LSU
  5. Oklahoma
  6. Ohio State
  7. Notre Dame
  8. Auburn
  9. Florida
  10. Michigan
  11. Utah … up two spots from last week
  12. Texas
  13. Penn State
  14. Wisconsin
  15. Oregon … up one spot
  16. Texas A&M
  17. UCF
  18. Michigan State
  19. Iowa
  20. Washington State … up two spots
  21. Maryland
  22. Boise State
  23. Washington … down nine spots
  24. USC … up 13 spots
  25. Virginia

Others receiving votesIowa State 96, California 95, Mississippi State 73, TCU 66, North Carolina 48, Army 42, Colorado 21, Oklahoma State 20, Memphis 12, Arizona State 4, Appalachian State 2, Syracuse 2, Kentucky 2, Boston College 2, Minnesota 1

Who voted for the Buffs … Tom D’Angelo of the Palm Beach Post had CU ranked highest (No. 22). Two writers, including Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News, had CU at No. 23. Four writers put the Buffs at No. 24, while three others listed CU as their No. 25 team. A total of 52 writers, however, left the Buffs off of their Week Three ballot …

USA Today Coaches’ poll

  1. Clemson
  2. Alabama
  3. Georgia
  4. Oklahoma
  5. LSU
  6. Ohio State
  7. Notre Dame
  8. Florida
  9. Auburn
  10. Michigan
  11. Penn State
  12. Utah … up three spots from last week
  13. Texas
  14. Wisconsin
  15. Texas A&M
  16. UCF
  17. Oregon … up one spot
  18. Iowa
  19. Michigan State
  20. Washington State … up one spot 
  21. Washington … down nine spots 
  22. Boise State
  23. Mississippi State
  24. USC … up 13 spots 
  25. Maryland

Others receiving votes: Virginia 64, Kentucky 62, California 51, Iowa State 48, Memphis 46, Oklahoma State 45, North Carolina 42, Army 31, Boston College 31, NC State 28, TCU 28, Colorado 16, Stanford 8, Hawai’i 7, Appalachian State 6, Minnesota 5, Wyoming 3, Troy 2, Arizona State 2, Wake Forest 2, Nebraska 1, Navy 1, Tulane 1


2 Replies to “Pac-12 Notes”

  1. “And there’s a reason: Conference policy forbids ESPN and Fox from scheduling day games on the Arizona campuses in August and September.”

    Let’s be clear, the Arizona teams aren’t allowed to schedule day games in August and September because the players would literally DIE of heat exhaustion.

    Before CU joined the Pac-12, the Buffs played AZ State in Tempe and the game kicked off at like 9pm local time and it was STILL 95 degrees out!!! I remember being shocked by that, especially living in Colorado where the temperature drops significantly once the sun goes down. But not in AZ. Yikes!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *