Pac-12 Notes – Arizona Week

October 5th – Game Day!

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Washington falls to 4-2 after 23-13 loss to Stanford

From ESPN …  Cameron Scarlett had the best day of his career, yet all Stanford coach David Shaw wanted to talk about was the fifth-year senior’s blocking on a pass play early in the second quarter that led to a Cardinal touchdown.

“That was the biggest challenge we gave Cam this year, was that he needs to be a great pass protector,” Shaw said. “We’re faking on the left side and the safety blitz came on the right and Cam came all the way down and made a great block and allowed us to get that ball off. I can’t say enough about where Cam Scarlett is right now. Just playing such great football.”

Scarlett rushed for a career-high 157 yards and a touchdown, quarterback Davis Mills had another impressive game in place of injured starter K.J. Costello before apparently getting hurt himself, and Stanford pulled off its biggest win of the season, stunning No. 15 Washington 23-13 on Saturday night.

The Cardinal (3-3, 2-2 Pac-12) extended their home winning streak to six games, dating to 2007, against the Huskies with a plodding, methodical offense that kept Washington quarterback Jacob Eason on the sidelines for long chunks of the game.

“It’s very satisfying but by no means are we satisfied,” Scarlett said. “It felt good to get the win. We had so many guys go down and get hurt. But it feels good. We needed that and we’re going to build on it.”

Stanford dominated Washington (4-2, 1-2 Pac-12) in nearly every offensive category and held an 18-minute edge in time of possession.

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Washington State defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys resigns

From USA Today … Washington State defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys has resigned two weeks after the Cougars gave up 50 points in the second half of an epic 67-63 loss to UCLA.

Coach Mike Leach announced the resignation Friday. The school said Roc Bellantoni and Darcel McBath will run the defense on an interim basis.

The meltdown against UCLA was one of the biggest blown leads in college football history. Washington State led 49-17 early in the third quarter but UCLA stormed back, scoring seven touchdowns in eight possessions, many fueled by Cougars turnovers. The Cougars followed up by losing 38-13 at Utah last week.

Claeys was formerly the head coach at Minnesota and was hired by Washington State in January 2018.

Washington State (3-2) has a bye this week and plays at Arizona State on Oct. 12.


October 4th

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USA Today: The Pac-12 is better than you think

From the USA Today … It hasn’t been that bad, even if no Pac-12 team leaves September unbeaten. The conference is 7-4 against the rest of the Power Five, including Notre Dame and Brigham Young. No. 16 Washington suffered a potential catastrophic misstep in a loss to California but seems capable of playing with any team in the country. No. 13 Oregon and No. 17 Utah have time to overcome early-season setbacks. In all, seven Pac-12 teams have just one loss, including pleasant surprises in Arizona, Colorado and Arizona State.

Pac-12 not out of the Playoff race – yet

From the Daily Camera … At this point in the season, bowl projections are a lot like mock drafts.

They spark conversation, they are fun to peruse while thinking about the possibilities, and most of them are wrong.

This week, national publications have Colorado going to the Sun Bowl (Sports Illustrated), Las Vegas Bowl (ESPN), Quick Lane Bowl ( or the most popular, for some reason, the Birmingham Bowl (CBS Sports, Bleacher Report and a second ESPN writer).

CU fans, of course, would take any of those choices over nothing, but most of the projections at this point will prove to be wrong.

While those publications all have CU going different places, they do agree on this: the Pac-12 won’t be among the four teams in the College Football Playoff.

In fact, after California’s 24-17 loss to Arizona State last week left the Pac-12 without any undefeated teams, most of the country seems to have written off the conference as a CFP contender.

Certainly there is no margin for error, but it’s too early to count the Pac-12 out.

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October 3rd

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Wilner Pac-12 Bowl projections: Buffs get at-large bid

From the San Jose Mercury News

  • Rose – Oregon
  • Alamo – Washington
  • Holiday – USC
  • Redbox – Utah
  • Sun – Arizona State
  • Las Vegas – Cal
  • Cheez-It – Washington State
  • At-large – Colorado … Comment: Trips to Pullman and L.A. appearing far less daunting than they did before the season, while Stanford’s visit now moves into the ‘should win’ category. Add Arizona, and that’s four favorable matchups, from which the Buffs must find three wins.
  • At-large – Stanford
  • Not eligible … Arizona; Oregon State; UCLA

Read full story here

Pundits pick the game: CU gets the nod over Arizona

Note … Many of these same prognosticators had Arizona State beating Colorado two weeks ago … Just sayin’ … 

— From Spokane Spokesman-ReviewColorado by 3 1/2 – Grant Grunnell played admirably in his first start, but surviving without Khalil Tate and J.J. Taylor for one week – at home, against UCLA – is one thing. Doing it for a second week – on the road, against a tougher outfit in Colorado – is another. The pick: Colorado 28, Arizona 24.

— From Athlon Sports … Mitch Light writes: “Colorado has allowed exactly 31 points in all three of its wins and 30 points in its only loss. Not sure what that means, but it’s an interesting note one-quarter of the way into the Buffaloes’ season. Arizona has won three straight (all at home) after losing at Hawaii in Week 0. The Wildcats got it done last week with true freshman Grant Gunnell filling in for the injured Khalil Tate at quarterback. Both Tate and running back J.J. Taylor are questionable for this trip to Colorado. Arizona’s defense, which gave up a total of 86 points to Hawaii and Northern Arizona, has allowed a total of 27 in wins over Texas Tech and UCLA.” … Colorado 35, Arizona 30

— From SB Nation … “This line essentially treats the two teams as equal, but gives Colorado the bump for home field advantage. Colorado most recently beat Arizona State on the road, which remains the Sun Devils’ only loss on the year. Khalil Tate remains questionable for the Wildcats, although it sounds like he was close to ready last week and has a good chance to play this time. There has been a big difference in Arizona’s offensive performance against P5 teams and non-P5 teams: 103 points in 2 games against non-P5 teams vs. 48 in 2 games against P5 teams. Colorado is also confounding with a good road win against ASU and a relatively bad home loss to Air Force. The Buffs have given up at least 30 points in each of their four games. What to make of all that? The two teams are close enough that Tate’s status could be crucial to Arizona’s chances to win the game (and the same could be said of JJ Taylor). Steven Montez, Alex Fontenot, and Laviska Shenault are far better triplets than the skill position players at UCLA and Texas Tech that Arizona held in check the last two weeks. Still, the consistently poor performances by the Buffs’ defense worry me enough that I’ll take the points.” … Colorado 35, Arizona 33

— From Bleacher Report … David Kenyon writes: “Khalil Tate and J.J. Taylor are both questionable for Arizona. If they play, the Wildcats have a better chance to win. But their uncertain status for a conference road game against a productive offense has us leaning toward the Buffs. ” … Colorado 31, Arizona 24

— And … ESPN FPI Forecast … CU has a 58.6% chance of winning over Arizona … (previous forecasts … CSU game: CU 74.5% … Nebraska game: CU 52.8% … Air Force game: CU 62.3% … Arizona State game: CU 39.8%) …


October 2nd

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CBS Sports: Hot seat rankings up for Clay Helton, Mike Bobo, and Chip Kelly

From CBS Sports … Rutgers has gotten a head start on the silly season. Before we even had the opportunity to reconsider where coaches sit on the hot seat now five weeks into the 2019 season, a seat has already been made vacant.

Chris Ash’s firing reinforces that athletic directors are more likely than ever to pull the trap door during the season. Still, job security should dominate this offseason after 27 schools changed coaches (20 percent of FBS) last offseason. There is still a honeymoon period, after all.

But as we reconsider the hot seat from July, there is reason to believe there will be coaching upheaval in at least one program in four of the Power Five conferences.

Nine coaches, including Ash, were listed among our top two categories before the season began. Where do they and some of their peers stand now? Below is our ratings key along with how the 130 FBS coaches sorted out before the season began with nine on the hot seat (4-5 rating) and 12 others feeling the heat (3 rating).

Clay Helton, USCRating: 5 … There is an unfairness angle to what the Trojans’ embattled coach is enduring. Part of Helton’s hot seat status is Urban Meyer’s apparent availability. It’s a bad look for USC fans to have at least some of them hoping Helton fails. Part of the reality: Helton is down to his third-string quarterback (Matt Fink) who has already beaten Utah. After the Washington loss, the detractors once again came out of the woodwork. President Carol Folt made a huge statement regarding the future of football when she targeted AD Lynn Swann as the first to go. (Yes, I know Swann resigned, but c’mon) I’ll spell it out: You can’t make a move on the coach until you have a new AD. The only result approaching anything close to a bad defeat was an overtime loss at BYU — on the road with a backup QB (Kedon Slovis). Unless the Trojans win the Pac-12, Helton’s days are probably numbered. That doesn’t make it fair. Previous rating: 4

Mike Bobo, Colorado State … Rating: 4 … For the former Georgia offensive coordinator, the Colorado State job started as a trampoline to the next SEC opening (see: Jim McElwain). The ascension stalled. Since the beginning of 2018, Colorado State is 4-13. Bobo is 25-31 overall in five seasons. The Rams have one of the best Group of Five venues in the nation to keep full. Attendance has hovered around 24,500 in 41,000-seat Canvas Stadium. The pressure is on Bobo from multiple angles. Previous rating: 3

Chip Kelly, UCLARating: 3 … Not that Chip is really in trouble … yet. There is one man at UCLA who Kelly has to please: media mogul Casey Wasserman. It is his name on the football facility, and he was largely responsible for bringing Kelly in. Still, the miraculous comeback at Washington State suggests Kelly is beginning to turn things around. Let’s see if it continues. For now, a minor tick up. Previous rating: 2

Read full story here


October 1st

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California Fair Pay to Play law: What you need to know

Your Move, NCAA … From Jon Wilner at the San Jose Mercury News … The law stands in stark, come-and-get-us-if-you-dare contrast to the NCAA’s longstanding model that treats athletes as indentured servants … sorry, as unpaid amateurs.

“It’s going to change college sports for the better by having now the interest, finally, of the athletes on par with the interests of the institutions,” Newsom said. “Now we’re rebalancing that power arrangement.”

Four vital reminders:

1. The law doesn’t allow athletes to be paid directly by the schools; it simply permits them to accept payments from outside businesses for marketing and promotional purposes.

2. The law does not go into effect until Jan. 2023.

3. Similar legislation is surfacing in other state legislatures, including New York and South Carolina.

4. The NCAA has created a committee to address the vexing issue of name, image and likeness (NIL).

The group, which includes Colorado athletic director Rick George, is set to make its recommendations by the end of October.

Continue reading story here

Related … The Athletic roundtable: The ‘Fair Pay to Play’ Act has passed in California. What now for college athletics?

From Andy Staples at The Athletic … Ideally, the schools and NCAA will learn to stop worrying and love the free market. Because the correct plan will do them the favor of limiting future calls for the schools to pay more and eliminate any Title IX concerns related to greater player compensation. How should it work?

The schools continue to compensate players the way they compensate them now. Anybody else who wants to pay athletes more can pay them. This is essentially how salary cap sports work in the pros. The Lakers don’t pay LeBron James full market value because the players’ union and the league have collectively bargained a salary scale, but Nike and HBO and the rest make sure that LeBron gets additional revenue more commensurate with his market value.

In college, everyone would have the same opportunity to get paid extra — hence no Title IX concerns — but the market decides who gets paid extra. And you might be surprised who would. The market for volleyball and soccer players to find work as youth coaches would be pretty brisk in some towns. And of course, the football and basketball players would get paid because they’re the ones the market values most.

Would this keep schools with smaller and/or less wealthy fan bases from getting the best recruits? Sure. But the best recruits don’t go to those schools now. So nothing would actually change on that front. And some schools might be able to crack the power structure under the new rules. I guarantee there will be some SMU boosters sitting at Campisi’s in Dallas sucking down spaghetti and saying, Boys, we’re back in business!

Continue reading story here

Related … NCAA issues a statement 

From the NCAA … As a membership organization, the NCAA agrees changes are needed to continue to support student-athletes, but improvement needs to happen on a national level through the NCAA’s rules-making process. Unfortunately, this new law already is creating confusion for current and future student-athletes, coaches, administrators and campuses, and not just in California.

We will consider next steps in California while our members move forward with ongoing efforts to make adjustments to NCAA name, image and likeness rules that are both realistic in modern society and tied to higher education.

As more states consider their own specific legislation related to this topic, it is clear that a patchwork of different laws from different states will make unattainable the goal of providing a fair and level playing field for 1,100 campuses and nearly half a million student-athletes nationwide.

Related … Pac-12 issues a statement

From the Pac-12 … The Pac-12 is disappointed in the passage of SB 206 and believes it will have very significant negative consequences for our student-athletes and broader universities in California. This legislation will lead to the professionalization of college sports and many unintended consequences related to this professionalism, imposes a state law that conflicts with national rules, will blur the lines for how California universities recruit student-athletes and compete nationally, and will likely reduce resources and opportunities for student-athletes in Olympic sports and have a negative disparate impact on female student-athletes.

Our universities have led important student-athlete reform over the past years, but firmly believe all reforms must treat our student-athletes as students pursuing an education, and not as professional athletes. We will work with our universities to determine next steps and ensure continuing support for our student-athletes.

Pac-12 lines – Colorado a 3.5-point favorite over Arizona


Pac-12 games … 

Colorado … a 3.5-point favorite at home against Arizona … 2:30 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks

Oregon … a 17.5-point favorite at home against Cal … 6:00 p.m., MT, Fox

UCLA … a 5.5-point favorite at home against Oregon State … 7:00 p.m., MT Pac-12 Networks

Stanford … a 14.5-point underdog at home against Washington … 8:30 p.m., MT, ESPN

Idle … Washington State; Utah; USC; Arizona State …

Cal quarterback Chase Garbers out “long term”

From Sports Illustrated … Cal quarterback Chase Garbers will be out “long term” with an upper-body injury, but could possibly return prior to the end of the season, coach Justin Wilcox announced after practice Monday.

Wilcox provided no details on the exact nature of Garbers’ injury but it is believed to be a shoulder or collarbone issue.

UCLA transfer Devon Modster now becomes the starter, with freshman Spencer Brasch moved into the No. 2 spot.

Asked how important Garbers is to the offense, Wilcox said, “There’s a reason he’s the starting quarterback. But this is part of college football and football in general. If you’re paying attention across the country, this happens.”

The redshirt sophomore left Friday night’s game against Arizona State in the final 2 minutes of the second quarter when he was tripped and landed hard on his right arm or shoulder.

He returned to the sidelines from the locker room midway through the third quarter with his right arm in a sling.

“I feel awful for Chase,” Wilcox said. “Like I said, I thought he was really coming into his own. We mentioned in that game, he finished 9 for 12 and two of those were dropped. So he was 11 for 12 in that game before he got injured.

“It’ll be next man up and we have confidence in Devon and the rest of the players to step up to the challenge.”

Modster is that next man. A junior who came to Cal a year ago from UCLA, Modster struggled after replacing Garbers against the Sun Devils.

He was 5-for-14 passing for 23 yards and threw an interception in the end zone just before halftime. Cal managed a total of 11 yards on four possessions in the fourth quarter before losing 24-17.

“We expect him to be better,” Wilcox said of Modster.

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September 30th

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Will Kahlil Tate and J.J. Taylor play against CU? Sumlin: “Don’t know yet”

From the Tucson Daily Star … Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate and tailback J.J. Taylor did not play against UCLA on Saturday night because of injuries. Will the pair return for the Wildcats’ game this upcoming Saturday at Colorado?

“Don’t know yet. We’ll see what happens on Monday,” UA coach Kevin Sumlin said after the Cats’ 20-17 victory over the Bruins.

“We’re not going to put those guys in harm’s way with the type of injuries that they have. Those guys can be explosive players. When you have ankles or leg injuries like that, what you don’t want is for something that just nags on (them) for the whole year. We’ll assess that throughout the week.”

Sumlin said Tate was dealing with hamstring and ankle issues. Taylor has a sprained right ankle. Both injuries were suffered during Arizona’s previous game against Texas Tech on Sept. 14.

Sumlin said both Tate and Taylor “sat out” for most of the Wildcats’ bye week. Tate did some work this past week but Friday “was not a good day” for him physically, Sumlin said.

“He had a hamstring that was healing up,” Sumlin said. “We’ve run him in the pool. He’s got an ankle too.”

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California governor signs law to allow athletes to hire agents; receive money from endorsements

Note … The law doesn’t go into effect until 2023, and will be subject to a myriad of legal challenges … stay tuned … 

From the San Jose Mercury News … Defying the NCAA, California’s governor signed a first-in-the-nation law Monday that will let college athletes hire agents and make money from endorsements — a move that could upend amateur sports in the U.S. and trigger a legal challenge.

Under the law, which takes effect in 2023, students at public and private universities in the state will be allowed to sign deals with sneaker manufacturers, soft drink makers or other businesses and profit from their images, names or likenesses, just like the pros.

“It’s going to change college sports for the better by having now the interest, finally, of the athletes on par with the interests of the institutions,” Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a tweeted video. “Now we’re rebalancing that power arrangement.”

He predicted other states will introduce similar legislation.

The new law bans schools from kicking athletes off the team if they get paid. It does not apply to community colleges and bars athletes from accepting endorsement deals that conflict with their schools’ existing contracts

The NCAA had asked Newsom to veto the bill, saying it “would erase the critical distinction between college and professional athletes.” The board also warned that the law would give California universities an unfair recruiting advantage, which could prompt the NCAA to bar them from competition.

Powerhouse programs like the University of Southern California, the University of California, Los Angeles, Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley, could find themselves barred.

But while the NCAA is the top governing body for college sports, membership is voluntary. If the California schools are forced out, they could form a new league.

… The Pac-12 Conference, home to Cal, Stanford, UCLA and USC, released a statement that read in part:

The Pac-12 is disappointed in the passage of SB 206 and believes it will have very significant negative consequences for our student-athletes and broader universities in California. This legislation will lead to the professionalization of college sports and many unintended consequences related to this professionalism, imposes a state law that conflicts with national rules, will blur the lines for how California universities recruit student-athletes and compete nationally, and will likely reduce resources and opportunities for student-athletes in Olympic sports and have a negative disparate impact on female student-athletes.

Continue reading story here


September 29th

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Bowl Projections – CU moving up projection boards

From CBS Sports … No. 1 Clemson got a scare at North Carolina but was able to hang on for a 21-20.  The Tigers remain projected to be the No. 2 seed in the final College Football Playoff Rankings, but that performance begs the question of whether Clemson could make the CFP with a loss.

I would not like its chances. Clemson’s ACC schedule is not good enough for the Tigers to sustain a loss in the regular season and make much of a claim to be selected for the playoff.  The ACC is way down this year with Virginia as the only other team besides Clemson in the current AP Top 25.  The Tigers do not play the Cavaliers in the regular season.  Clemson could finish 12-1 with a loss to an unranked team and only two wins over ranked opponents.  That might not compare favorably to even a 12-1 Pac-12 champion, especially if it is Oregon.

Clemson is assumed to be a playoff team because it is expected to run roughshod through a schedule in which it will be a multiple-touchdown favorite every week.  Everybody has an off week.  Clemson needs to make sure it does not have another.

… The Pac-12 … 

Rose Bowl … Oregon v. Ohio State

Alamo Bowl … Utah v. Oklahoma State

Holiday Bowl … Washington v. Michigan

Redbox Bowl … Arizona State v. Northwestern

Sun Bowl … Washington State v. Wake Forest

Las Vegas Bowl … Cal v. Fresno State

Cheez-It Bowl … USC v. Baylor

Birmingham Bowl … Colorado (for an SEC team) v. No. 18 UCF

From ESPN … (two writers picking)

… The Pac-12 … 

Rose Bowl … Oregon v. Wisconsin or Penn State

Alamo Bowl … Washington v. Oklahoma State

Holiday Bowl … Utah v. Iowa … or … California v. Michigan

Redbox Bowl … Arizona State v. Michigan … or … Utah v. Maryland

Sun Bowl … USC v. Duke … or … Arizona State v. Wake Forest

Las Vegas Bowl … Cal v. Fresno State … or … Colorado v. Utah State

Cheez-It Bowl … Washington Sate v. TCU … or … USC v. Iowa State

Birmingham Bowl … Colorado (for an SEC team) v. Memphis


September 28th 

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Arizona – without Kahlil Tate – holds off UCLA, 20-17

From ESPN … Arizona played without its starting quarterback and its most productive running back, a combination that would have likely led to disaster last season.

This year’s Wildcats have a different kind of swagger to them.

Back-up quarterback, multiple running backs having to carry the load, young players in key positions — doesn’t matter to them.

Grant Gunnell threw for 352 yards and a touchdown in his first career start and Arizona held on to beat UCLA 20-17 Saturday night after JJ Molson missed a 39-yard field goal in the closing seconds.

“These guys are learning on the run, they’re growing up,” Arizona coach Kevin Sumlin said. “To play in the last two games the way they’ve played down the stretch, for a young football team (it’s big)”

Arizona (3-1, 1-0 Pac-12) played without its two best offensive players with quarterback Khalil Tate and running back J.J. Taylor out due to leg injuries.

Gunnell had seen spot action earlier this season, but was making his first collegiate start. The freshman played like he had been the starter all along, keeping his poise while completing 29 of 44 passes.

“I have full confidence in Grant,” Arizona linebacker Tony Fields said. “He deals with us in practice every day and somehow, some finds a way to make plays like he did tonight.”

UCLA (1-4, 1-1) pulled off an epic comeback last week, rallying from 35 points down to beat Washington State. The Bruins needed another, not-so-monumental comeback after Gary Brightwell scored on a 10-yard run to put Arizona up 20-17.

Dorian Thompson-Robinson led the comeback against the Cougars, but left late in the third quarter after Arizona defensive end Jalen Harris fell on his left leg from behind.

His replacement, sophomore Austin Burton, had a chance when UCLA forced a punt and got the ball at its 9-yard line with 2:52 left.

Burton worked the Bruins down the field quickly to Arizona’s 21-yard line, but Molson pushed his field goal attempt wide right with 34 seconds left.

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Last-second field goal lifts Stanford past Oregon State, 31-28

From ESPN … Jet Toner kicked a game-winning 39-yard field goal with six seconds left and Stanford overcame Oregon State’s late rally for a 31-28 victory Saturday night that snapped a three-game losing streak.

The Beavers tied the game at 28 on Artavis Pierce’s 1-yard touchdown run with 1:55 left in the game. But Connor Wedington returned the kickoff 43 yards and Davis Mills passed for a first down and ran for another on a final drive that ended with Toner’s field goal.

Mills, starting in place of injured quarterback K.J. Costello, threw for 245 yards and three touchdowns for the Cardinal (2-3, 1-2 Pac-12), who extended their winning streak over the Beavers to 10 games. Costello sat out of the game after injuring his thumb in Stanford’s loss to No. 13 Oregon last Saturday.

The game, which was delayed for 15 minutes because of lightning in the area, was the Pac-12 opener for the Beavers (1-3, 0-1). Oregon State had a bye last weekend after a 45-7 victory over lower-tier Cal Poly two weeks ago.

Jake Luton threw for 337 yards and a touchdown for the Beavers. Isaiah Hodgins had 10 catches for 162 yards and a TD. Hodgins went into the game ranked eighth nationally with an average of 115.7 receiving yards a game.

The Cardinal led 28-14 in the fourth quarter, but B.J. Baylor’s 1-yard touchdown run closed the gap with 7:01 left and gave the Beavers momentum.

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No. 17 Washington takes out No. 21 USC, 28-14

From ESPN … Salvon Ahmed rushed for a career-high 153 yards, including an 89-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, and No. 17 Washington beat No. 21 Southern California 28-14 on Saturday.

Ahmed missed last week’s win at BYU with a leg injury. But he was back in a big way against the Trojans, breaking off the longest run play for Washington (4-1, 1-1 Pac-12) in 25 years and moments after USC quarterback Matt Fink made his biggest mistake of the day.

With USC (3-2, 2-1) trailing 20-7 and driving, Fink failed to see Elijah Molden dropping into a zone and had a pass intercepted at the Washington 1 as he tried to hit Michael Pittman Jr. Two plays later, Ahmed waited for the hole to open then burst into the open field and ran away from the defense.

It was Washington’s longest run play since a 91-yard TD run by Napoleon Kaufman in 1994 against San Jose State.

Fink, the No. 3 QB when the season started, carved up Utah a week ago throwing for 351 yards after being called into duty when Kedon Slovis went down with a concussion. Fink found passing quite a bit tougher against Washington and its standout secondary.

Fink was intercepted three times, the first two leading to Washington touchdowns. More importantly, the Trojans found nothing open downfield. Pittman caught a 44-yard touchdown on a blown coverage late in the third quarter. It was the Trojans’ first pass play of more than 8 yards. USC’s last hope ended when Myles Bryant broke up a fourth-and-goal pass in the end zone with 4:47 left.

Fink finished 19 of 31 for 163 yards and had a 3-yard TD run. Stephen Carr rushed for 94 yards, but for this day USC’s version of the `Air Raid’ offense was grounded.

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September 27th

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Cal loses quarterback; ASU upsets Bears, 24-17

From ESPN … For a team filled with young players at key spots, Arizona State has a knack at performing at its best in the toughest situations.

Eno Benjamin scored his third touchdown of the game on a 3-yard run with 4:41 remaining, and Arizona State beat No. 15 California 24-17 on Friday night for its second road win of the season against a ranked team.

“We’re just growing,” freshman quarterback Jayden Daniels said. “We like playing on the road, we like playing the tough teams. We like being the underdog team. People doubt us. … If you don’t believe in us, we believe in ourselves.”

The Sun Devils (4-1, 1-1 Pac-12) bounced back from a 34-31 loss to Colorado in the conference opener last week thanks to a strong performance by Benjamin and the defense.

Benjamin had 29 carries for 100 yards, also scoring on an 11-yard run in the first quarter and a 4-yarder in the third quarter.

“We knew it was going to be tough sledding but we kept trying to run it,” coach Herm Edwards said. “We didn’t give up on it and eventually we punched it in.

Daniels added 174 yards passing and 84 more on the ground on an injured ankle as Arizona State picked up another road win against a ranked team after topping Michigan State 10-7 two weeks ago.

The Golden Bears (4-1, 1-1) lost their perfect record and quarterback Chase Garbers to a right shoulder injury, spoiling their highest ranking in a decade. The loss also left the Pac-12 with no undefeated teams before the end of September.

“They outplayed us in every facet of the game,” linebacker Evan Weaver said. “Can’t play very well and can’t win games when you’re not even making the simple plays, and we didn’t today. That was it.”

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Stanford QB K.J. Costello ruled out with a hand injury

From ESPN … Stanford quarterback K.J. Costello has been ruled out of Saturday’s game at Oregon State with a hand injury, the school announced Friday.

Costello has been hampered by injuries throughout 2019. He missed a loss to USC on Sept. 7 after being hurt in the season opener against Northwestern but returned to play in losses to UCF and Oregon amid the Cardinal’s 1-3 start.

Davis Mills is expected to make his second start of the season, according to the school. Mills was 22-for-36 for 237 yards and a touchdown with one interception while filling in for Costello against the Trojans.

Costello has thrown for 471 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions this season. He has completed 56.4% of his passes after completing 65.1% last season.

Slovis out; Matt Fink will start at QB for USC at Washington

From ESPN … USC Trojans quarterback Kedon Slovis was ruled out of Saturday’s game at No. 17 Washington and junior Matt Fink will make his first career start, coach Clay Helton said Thursday.

Slovis, a true freshman who began the year as the backup to returning starter JT Daniels, left early in Friday’s win against Utah and did not practice this week while in the concussion protocol.

Fink, who entered the transfer portal in the spring before opting to remain at USC, completed 21 of 30 passes for 351 yards with three touchdowns and an interception in relief of Slovis. Prior to that he had attempted just 18 career passes over the past two seasons.

Walk-on Brandon Perdue, who was converted to safety in the spring, will serve as the backup. Over two seasons in junior college — first at Pierce College in California; then New Mexico Military Institute — Perdue completed 37 of 89 passes for 376 yards with four touchdown passes. He was also a backup quarterback at Oaks Christian High in Southern California.

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Pac-12 decides against selling ownership in media rights (but may still take on a strategic partner)

From the San Jose Mercury News … The Pac-12 has decided against selling ownership in its media rights to a private equity firm, commissioner Larry Scott told the Hotline, but it still could take on a strategic partner.

Scott said the presidents and chancellors have ruled out an arrangement with a “pure financial institution” that would receive minority ownership in a media rights holding company and, in return, provide each campus with tens of millions in up-front cash.

However, the Pac-12 continues to examine partnerships with media or tech companies that could involve selling ownership for cash but would better position the conference for media rights negotiations in 2023-24.

“We’ve narrowed the field,’’ Scott said. “(The CEOs) were not interested in doing something with a pure financial institution, even though we had a lot of interesting offers at the kind of valuations we were hoping for and really great terms.

Continue reading story here

Friday nights not pleasant for Pac-12 road teams

Note … Which doesn’t bode well for the Buffs on Oct. 11 (at Oregon), but is good news for Oct. 25th (home v. USC) … 

From the San Jose Mercury News … The odds and the gods are against Arizona State tomorrow night in Berkeley.

The Sun Devils are a 4.5-point underdog and face a challenge that sometimes seems otherworldly — that of the Pac-12 road team attempting to win outright on a Friday night.

Yep, the Friday results continue to tilt heavily to the home team.

And by heavily, we mean 87 percent.

Friday hosts are 13-2 in conference games since the start of the 2016 season.

(We’re excluding rivalry games because the majority of those instances of the three years have involved a bus ride for the visitor.)

Of course, the straight-up result doesn’t present the full picture, because in many instances the home team was favored — it was the better team, often by a significant amount.

Road teams are 5-10 against the spread and have lost outright as the betting favorite in four of six instances.

The Hotline hasn’t taken a math class since high school and came damn close to failing, but even we know that’s statistically significant data — to the extent that it’s clear there’s a competitive advantage for the home team.

The conference took a beating (from the Hotline) in 2017 for sending teams on the road on Friday after playing on the road on Saturday.

It basically scheduled itself out of playoff contention, so devastating were the Friday results for road teams (USC at WSU, WSU at Cal and Washington at Stanford).

Continue reading story here


September 26th

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Dish drops Fox networks – College football and NFL broadcasts affected

Note … CU is scheduled to play Oregon on Friday, October 11th – on FS1 … 

From YahooSports … Football fans with Dish Network are in danger of missing out on a lot of Week 5 of the college football season and Week 4 of the NFL season.

Dish dropped Fox, Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2 and the Big Ten Network from its lineup on Thursday afternoon as part of a carriage dispute with Fox. If the dispute isn’t resolved Thursday afternoon, Some Dish customers will need to get an antenna to watch Thursday night’s game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay PackersThat game is on Fox and here’s a list of the local Fox affiliates who are affected by the bickering.

Dish owns Sling, so the dispute affects Sling customers as well. It’s never fun when consumers are the ones who get penalized in these situations.

“Dish/Sling is at it again, choosing to drop leading programming as a negotiating tactic regardless of the impact on its own customers,” Fox said in a statement that was provided to Ourand. “Dish/Sling elected to drop Fox networks in an effort to coerce us to agree to outrageous demands. While we regret this is DISH/Sling’s preferred approach to negotiating, we remind our loyal viewers that the Fox services are widely available through every other major television provider.”

Dish, of course, disputed Fox’s statement.

“Fox’s actions are profoundly anti-consumer,” Dish said in a statement to Ourand. “Fox is raising prices and turning its back on its public obligation to provide channels to consumers for free. It’s clear that Fox cares more about padding its bottom line than serving its viewers. To add insult to injury, Fox pulled its channels right as viewers head into the heart of the NFL and college football season. We ask Fox to stop punishing its own viewers so we can focus on reaching a fair deal.

Dish dropped the Fox Sports regional channels over the summer in a midst of a dispute with Disney, which owned the networks at the time. Fox had spun off its regional channels to Disney at the beginning of the year and Disney has since moved to sell them to Sinclair. That dispute still lingers.

If the dispute carries into the weekend, Big Ten and Pac-12 games airing on Fox networks or the Big Ten Network (like No. 21 USC vs. No. 17 Washington) won’t be available to Dish customers on Saturday. On Sunday, Fox has singleheader regional NFL action headlined by the Kansas City Chiefs at the Detroit Lions.

Grading second-year coaches – Chip Kelly still at a D-Plus

From Pat Forde at … Nobody knew how things would transpire at the time, but between Nov. 25 and Dec. 7, 2017, the college football world made a series of coaching hires that have not panned out very well. Yet. (Maybe several of the guys listed below are one 50-point second half on the Palouse away from turning it all around. Dare to dream.)

With 15-17 games of hay in the barn, The Dash takes a look at where things stand for 10 Power Five hires:

Chip Kelly, UCLA. Hire date: Nov. 25, 2017. Grade thus far: D-plus. This was an F grade until the Bruins perpetrated their miraculous comeback at Washington State on Saturday night, a game that was off the charts even by #Pac12AfterDark standards. In the history of FBS football, a winless FBS team playing on the road against an undefeated FBS team has never stormed back from 32 down to win. But prior to that epic moment, Kelly’s UCLA record stood at 3-12, with an 0-4 record against non-Power Five opponents. We’ll see whether there’s any carryover from PalousePalooza this week at Arizona, which is led by its own currently undistinguished second-year head coach, Kevin Sumlin (hired in January 2018).

Scott Frost, Nebraska. Hire date: Dec. 2, 2017. Grade thus far: C. The Second Season Kool-Aid was chugged not just in the state of Nebraska but by preseason Top 25 voters, who mystifyingly ranked the Cornhuskers coming off last year’s 4-8 muddle. The transformation he worked in Year 2 at UCF is not yet translated to Lincoln. Nebraska blew a big lead at Colorado and needed a big rally to beat Illinois on Saturday. Frost is 0-2 against the Buffaloes, has a loss to Troy on the résumé and is 4-6 in Big Ten play. Upsetting Ohio State this week would certainly change the grade and put the Kool-Aid cups back on the table.

Herm Edwards, Arizona State. Hire date: Dec. 3, 2017. Grade thus far: B-plus. Not many people thought this would work, but so far it’s working pretty well. A two-game sweep of Michigan State added credibility to the Herm Era, though both seasons it was followed by an upset loss (San Diego State last year, Colorado on Saturday). The 2018 Sun Devils were the school’s best scoring defense since 2012, and this year’s unit is on pace to improve again. Edwards gets an opportunity to increase his stock — and further diminish the Pac-12’s stock — at unbeaten California on Friday.

Tua Tagovailoa almost transferred to USC

From … Alabama has been fortunate this season to have stability at the quarterback position with future first-round pick Tua Tagovailoa running the show. USC, on the other hand, is currently a revolving door under center, but things could have played out much differently for both programs based off a decision Tagovailoa was close to making.

During an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show Wednesday, Tagovailoa revealed that he almost transferred to USC because he wasn’t getting playing time at Alabama.

Before he rose to fame in the 2017 National Championship game, Tagovailoa was stuck behind Jalen Hurts on the QB depth chart. Transferring to USC not only made sense for his playing career, but Tagovailoa also would have been closer to home playing for the team he grew up rooting for.

As it turns out, Hurts ended up transferring to Oklahoma when it became clear he had lost the starting job, so it all worked out for Tagovailoa in the end. As for USC, the Trojans are probably wishing Tagovailoa transferred considering the injuries they’ve had at QB this season, but apparently it wasn’t meant to be.


September 25th

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Oregon State picks up No. 1 athlete from Class of 2018 (USC transfer)

… I’ll do the math for you. CU will have to face Williams as a junior and a senior, when the Buffs resume play against OSU … 

From The Oregonian … The Oregon State Beavers effectively mined the NCAA transfer portal last year to bolster the football roster.

And if Wednesday’s news is any indication, it’s going to become a trend of the Jonathan Smith era.

USC Trojans wide receiver transfer Devon Williams, the nation’s No. 1 athlete in the class of 2018, is set to enroll at Oregon State University and is on campus Wednesday to finalize that decision, according to a source close to his recruitment.

The 6-foot-4, 210-pound pass-catcher, originally out of Antelope Valley High School (Lancaster, California), was rated the nation’s No. 1 athlete by Rivals and the nation’s No. 6 wide receiver by 247Sports in the 2018 recruiting class.

During his initial recruitment, Williams was widely rumored to be an Oregon Ducks lean, joining the commitment group chat and having artwork made to announce his commitment late in the recruiting process.

But he had a change of heart on national signing day in February 2018 and announced his commitment to the Trojans in a nationally-televised broadcast on ESPN.

When Williams entered the transfer portal earlier this month, he scheduled September 14 visits to both Oregon State and Oregon, but after his afternoon stop in Corvallis he elected to remain at Oregon State to better acquaint himself with the program.

The Beavers have an open scholarship available, so his addition to the football roster will not require any changes to the current roster.

Williams must sit out this season, but should be available as a redshirt sophomore next fall.

Continue reading story here

Utah and BYU extend series through 2028 (except 2022/23)

From FBSchedules … The BYU Cougars and the Utah Utes have extended their home-and-home football series through the 2028 season, but will take a break from playing in 2022 and 2023.

The two-year break in 2022-23 will allow for Utah to “schedule a home-and-home series with an opponent from the Southeastern Conference,” per their release. According to a report from earlier on Monday, that opponent will be the Florida Gators.

BYU and Utah are scheduled to meet next season in Salt Lake City on September 5, which will be the season-opener for both schools. The two schools will meet in Provo in Week 2 of the 2021 season on September 5.

The now canceled games were scheduled for September 3, 2022 in Salt Lake City and September 16, 2023 in Provo.

The four additional games added to the series today will be played in 2025, 2026, 2027 and 2028. Exact dates and locations of the four games will be announced at a later date.

Stanford; Nebraska among biggest “disappointments” 

From … The new college football season is already a month old, if you can believe it. The early action has led to some big surprises, along with major disappointments.

Which players and programs have failed to live up to expectations? Which coaches have us thinking they’re not long for their current positions?

That’s what we’re diving into here today.

Nebraska on shaky ground

There are some positive things happening for Scott Frost’s program. The 3-1 record is nice. Adrian Martinez appears to be taking a nice step in his development. Yet underneath the team’s positive start in the standings lurk some troublesome issues that could come home to roost in a big way later this season, starting with the program’s home game against Ohio State on Saturday.

Discipline has been a problem. As a prime example, during the team’s narrow win over Illinois in Week 4, Nebraska incurred 10 penalties and lost four fumbles. On the season, the Cornhuskers have lost 11 turnovers, which ranks second-worst in all of college football. So, while the 3-1 record looks fantastic, it appears to be a mirage.

Stanford doesn’t look like Stanford

The last time Stanford had a losing season was way back in 2008 before Jim Harbaugh turned the Cardinal into a national powerhouse. Since David Shaw took over in 2011, the program finished with double-digit wins five times and never won less than eight games in a season. The Cardinal pummeled opponents with a potent blend of brute force on offense and a stifling defense.

That formula has been stunningly replaced by a rushing offense that ranks 109th in the nation, and a defense that can’t stop anyone. Since eking out a 17-7 win over Northwestern in Week 1, Stanford has been outscored 111-53. Now at 1-3 on the season, it seems inevitable that the Cardinal will finish the season with a losing record for the first time in Shaw’s tenure.

Read full story here


September 24th

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Utah may be without Huntley and Moss (again) for WSU

From the Salt Lake City Tribune … Utah’s football team is in much the same place as last September, having lost its Pac-12 opener and preparing for the high-powered offense of Washington State.

The state of the Utes also may resemble November, when quarterback Tyler Huntley and running back Zack Moss were sidelined by injuries.

No. 19 Utah’s 30-23 loss at USC last Friday took a toll, in multiple ways. Moss left the field in the second quarter with a shoulder injury. Huntley, who played the entire game, was noticeably limping late in the contest with an apparent foot injury.

Ute coach Kyle Whittingham wouldn’t discuss any player’s health status in his weekly news conference Monday, in advance of Saturday night’s game vs. Washington State at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

“We just hope everyone’s there,” Whittingham said. “Why would you ever tip your hand to the opponent? That would make no sense at all. And until college football has an injury-report rule or whatever, we just won’t do it.”

Whittingham acknowledged, “It was a physical game on Friday night. We took our bumps and bruises, got some guys banged up, but that’s for us to know and deal with and try to get the best guys out there on Saturday night.”

Continue reading story here

… and USC will likely be without QB Kedon Slovis for Washington

From ESPN … USC quarterback Kedon Slovis is not medically cleared to practice after leaving Friday’s game against Utah in the first quarter.

Slovis, who started No. 21 USC’s last three games after a season-ending knee injury to J.T. Daniels, absorbed a big hit by Utah’s Leki Fotu on the second play from scrimmage Friday. He initially tried to get up before falling back to the ground.

Slovis briefly went to the sideline before leaving the field for further evaluation. He appeared later in the game wearing earplugs. An update on Slovis’ status for Saturday’s game at No. 17 Washington is expected later in the week.

If Slovis isn’t cleared, junior Matt Fink will make his first career start. Fink, who entered the transfer portal this spring before returning to USC, relieved Slovis against Utah and had 351 passing yards, three touchdowns and an interception in the Trojans’ 30-23 home victory.

Starting safety Talanoa Hufanga, who leads USC with 42 tackles, is in the concussion protocol and recovering from a sprained shoulder, Helton said Tuesday. Hufanga has led USC in tackles the past three games, recording a career-high 14 stops against Utah. Starting cornerback Olaijah Griffin, who left the Utah game with a back injury, is improving, Helton said.

Pac-12 Miracles (with videos for each team)

From the San Jose Mercury News …Today marks the 25th anniversary of the Miracle at Michigan, a Hail Mary from Colorado quarterback Kordell Stewart to receiver Michael Westbrook that gave the Buffaloes an unfathomable victory in the Big House.

In honor of that play, the Hotline presents the most unforgettable, seen-and-still-not-believed play for every team in the Pac-12.

These aren’t necessarily the most meaningful or impactful plays — not all of them changed the outcome of a game or the pursuit of a championship.

But they all have a miraculous component that, years and decades later, causes astonishment that’s as fresh as it was at the time.

And we have video for each of them.

Here we go …

Check out the “miracle” video for each team in the Pac-12 here

CBS Sports: Stanford makes the Bottom 25

From CBS Sports … There was once a time when Stanford would have been a semi-regular in The Bottom 25. It’s easy to forget now, but the 1990s and 2000s weren’t what anyone would call great decades for the Cardinal. Between 1990 and 2009, Stanford won five games or fewer in 13 of 20 seasons. Eight of those seasons featured no more than four wins. So while the only season Stanford would have competed for a Bottom 25 title would have been 2006 (it went 1-11), it still would have been here often enough.

But then Jim Harbaugh was hired, and the program’s direction changed. The Cardinal had had good seasons in their history but hadn’t had a sustained run since the days of Pop Warner and Tiny Thornhill in the 1920s and 30s when football coaches were required to have cartoon names. Harbaugh changed that. After going 9-15 his first two seasons, Stanford would go 20-6 in his final two years, finishing with an Orange Bowl win. That 12-1 season in 2010 would be the first of four consecutive seasons with at least 11 wins and begin a stretch of six 10 wins or more in seven years.

That run coincided with the birth of The Bottom 25. So, naturally, Stanford has been a program that has managed to remain unranked during the history of The Bottom 25. Until this week, that is. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, the average IQ of this feature is a little higher than usual this week. Now, while I do feel some pressure to use bigger — or should I say more substantial — words, I promise this will be the same feature you’re used to.

No. 25 Stanford ... The 17-7 win over Northwestern to open the season looked unseemly at the time, but it turns out that’s essentially the full extent of Stanford’s capabilities. The Cardinal have been outscored 111-53 (I did the math in my head to seem smarter) in three games since. This weekend’s trip to Oregon State is suddenly a measuring stick game. (Last Week: Not Ranked)

No. 13 Colorado State … The Rams are 1-3, but none of their losses have been anything to be ashamed of. They hung with Colorado for a bit before fading. They hung with Arkansas on the road before fading, and this week they lost to a good Toledo team at home by six. The problem is things don’t get a whole lot easier with Utah State and San Diego State up next. (17)

Read full story here


September 23rd

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Utah adds Florida to 2022/23 schedules – drops BYU

… CU has games scheduled against Florida for 2028 and 2029 … 

From FBSchedules … The Florida Gators and the Utah Utes have scheduled a home-and-home football series, according to Florida beat reporter Pat Dooley of

According to the report, the series will begin at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Fla., in 2022 before concluding at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 2023.

The matchup is already being dubbed “The Urban Meyer Bowl” by several FBSchedules followers on Twitter. Meyer was the head coach at Utah from 2003 through 2004 before leading the Gators from 2005 through 2010.

In their first and only meeting on the gridiron back in 1977, Florida rallied with 28 points in the fourth quarter to defeat Utah 38-29 in Gainesville.

Utah will need to postpone or cancel one contest in both 2022 and 2023 in order to make the Florida series work. The only common opponent in both seasons are the BYU Cougars, which would make the adjustment a little easier for the Utes.

Other opponents currently scheduled for Utah include Southern Utah and San Diego State in 2022 and Weber State and Baylor in 2023.

Update … According to a report from 247Sports, Utah will drop BYU from their schedules in 2022 and 2023.

Pac-12 Power Rankings: Jon Wilner and 247 Sports

Related … “Sunday Afternoon Quarterback”my Pac-12 Power Rankings

From the San Jose Mercury News … Utah, Washington and Washington State had designs on division and conference titles when the season began.

Even though it’s September, all three teams are facing critical games this weekend.

It’s not quite do-or-die, but recent history indicates it’s do-or-life support.

The Utes, Huskies and Cougars are 0-1 in conference play, which prompted the Hotline to research the last time a team started 0-2 and recovered to win its division.

We didn’t have to look far: Utah did it last year.

But the Utes are the exception.

None of the other 15 division winners in the eight years of the Pac-12 have started 0-2.

Rankings …

1. Oregon (3-1/1-0)
Result: Won at Stanford 21-6
Next up: Open
Comment: We weren’t overly impressed with the Ducks as the game unfolded — felt like they should have run Stanford off the field. Then again, 15-point conference road wins are, in the larger scheme, impressive regardless of how they come to be.

6. Colorado (3-1/1-0)
Result: Won at Arizona State 34-31
Next up: Open
Comment: Terrible spot for an Open date as momentum is concerned but an ideal time for health reasons, with both Laviska Shenault and Mustafa Johnson injured in Tempe.

10. Arizona (2-1/0-0)
Result: Open
Next up: vs. UCLA
Comment: Can’t ask for more: An extra week to prepare against a visitor that will be playing its second consecutive road game — and the first was taxing as hell. No excuses, Arizona. No excuses.

Read full list here

From 247 Sports … After another week of unexpected and thrilling results, the Pac-12 Power Rankings have shifted once again. The Oregon Ducks have climbed to the top of the rankings for the first time all year, but the bigger story is the California Golden Bears. In our preseason power rankings, the Bears were ranked 9th in the Pac-12 by our Pac-12 Publishers. After four weeks of the regular season, the Bears have moved all the way to second in the Pac-12.

Washington has continued its steady climb back to the top of the rankings as well, and the USC Trojans continue to be in flux. One week they are falling and the next week they are climbing. Stanford has taken a hard fall from grace, starting out the year in the top third of the league and now resting in the bottom third of the league.

Check out our entire Pac-12 Power rankings below.

1. Oregon … Oregon’s defense once again was the dominating factor in a victory. This time Oregon’s defense allowed just six points, extending a streak without a touchdown in a game to three. The last time the Ducks did that was in 1935 in a single season. Oregon’s offense wasn’t at its best Stanford but Oregon did snap a three-game losing streak to the Cardinal and won 21-6. Even bigger, the Ducks have now a two-game leading and the tie breaker against the Cardinal in the Pac-12 north race and have a one-game lead against rival Washington. After having this weekend off, a huge home game against California looms. – Matt Prehm, DuckTerritory

6. Colorado ... Despite the fact the Buffaloes had several players sidelined due to injury, including star receiver Laviska Shenault and top defensive player Mustafa Johnson, Colorado beat Arizona State on Saturday night. Senior wide receiver Tony Brown stepped up with 150 receiving yards and three touchdowns, and the Buffs’ defense kept the Sun Devils from scoring during the final 13-and-a-half minutes. Mel Tucker becomes just the second head coach in Colorado history to win his first two games against ranked opponents. The Buffs will enjoy a much-needed bye week before hosting Arizona on Oct. 5. – Adam Munsterteiger, BuffStampede

9. Arizona … Arizona had another bye this week and will open up Pac-12 play with UCLA. The Bruins look like a more difficult matchup than they did a week ago after their impressive comeback win over Washington State. The Wildcats are going for their second consecutive win after defeating Texas Tech and needed the bye week to get healthy as both Khalil Tate and JJ Taylor were nicked up in a win over Texas Tech.  – Jason Scheer,

Read full list here


September 22nd  

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Pac-12 quarterbacks throw for almost two miles in one weekend

From the San Jose Mercury News … The 12 quarterbacks combined to throw 33 touchdowns and just eight interceptions.

They threw for 3,379 yards and completed 69.2 percent of their passes.

I’m not sure it’s possible to pick the best performance, because there were so many good ones and the circumstances were all so different.

How do you compare Matt Fink, who came off the bench and faced one of the conference’s top defensive backfields, to Anthony Gordon, who threw 61 passes against a highly-flawed UCLA secondary?

You have freshmen and seniors, home and road, variances in opportunities and defenses.

We’re not going to try to rank them by performance. Instead, we’ll list them by yards.

Washington State’s Anthony Gordon: 41-61 for 570 yards, with 9 TDs and 2 INTs
UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson: 25-38 for 507 yards, with 5 TDs and 1 INT
Cal’s Chase Garbers: 23-35 for 357 yards, with 4 TDs and 1 INT
USC’s Matt Fink: 21-30 for 351 yards, with 3 TDs and 1 INT
Arizona State’s Jayden Daniels: 24-39 for 345 yards, with 2 TDs and 1 INT
Colorado’s Steven Montez: 23-30 for 337 yards, with 3 TDs and 0 INTs
Washington’s Jacob Eason: 24-28 for 290 yards, with 3 TDs and 1 INT
Oregon’s Justin Herbert: 19-24 for 259 yards, with 3 TDs and 0 INTs
Utah’s Tyler Huntley: 22-30 for 210 yards, with 1 TD and 0 INTs
Stanford’s K.J. Costello: 16-30 for 120 yards, with 0 TDs and 1 INT

Totals (including Slovis and Modster)

241-348 (69.2%) for 3,379 yards, with 33 TDs and 8 INTs

That’s damn near two miles.

Continue reading story here

Bowl Projections – CU in the conversation

From CBS Sports … Finally this season, college football gave us a slate with some pretty good games on it and a set of results that caused some changes to the New Year’s Six bowl projections. The College Football Playoff projection held firm with Alabama and Clemson winning handily and Oklahoma having the week off.

Georgia got a real test from Notre Dame between the hedges but held on for a 23-17 victory.  From a playoff perspective, it was a game the Bulldogs could afford to lose.  The Bulldogs as a 12-1 SEC champion, even with a loss to the Fighting Irish, would have made the playoff.

It is much harder to see a path for Notre Dame now.  Even if the Irish win out, who would they beat that will ultimately impress the CFP Selection Committee?  A potential win at Michigan looks a lot less impressive after the Wolverines got pounded at Wisconsin.  USC?  Nice win for the Trojans over Utah on Friday night, but they are not likely to be better than 8-4.

… The Pac-12 … 

Rose Bowl … Oregon v. Ohio State

Alamo Bowl … Utah v. Oklahoma State

Holiday Bowl … Washington v. Michigan

Redbox Bowl … USC v. Northwestern

Sun Bowl … Washington State v. Miami

Las Vegas Bowl … Cal v. Fresno State

Cheez-It Bowl … Arizona State v. Baylor

First Responder Bowl … Colorado (for a Big 12 team) v. Marshall


18 Replies to “Pac-12 Notes”

  1. RE: The CA law that allows athletes to make some loose change:)
    There is one PAC-12 team that has a big sugar daddy interested in them, and that guy (Phil Knight) has had an ad or two on TV. It will be tough to recruit against the Ducks when wide eyed 17 year olds can picture themselves in Nike ads.

    1. listening to the radio tonight and it sounds like that would be not allowed….at Oregon anyway just because of Nike’s relationship with the team or any team with Nike as a sponsor.. The way they were talking any player income could be not team related. Probably a lot of grey areas that will definitely be tested.

      1. Won’t be a problem for schools like Oregon. If star wide receiver can’t do an ad for Nike, he’ll appear on TV as a paid spokesman for “Knight Industries” or “Knight Charitable Foundation”.
        Any chance CU will get a lineman out of Texas if the top prospects can get $25K per year for being one of the “Golden Corral Boys” or paid spokesman for the “Texas Beef Council”?
        I’m glad Rick George is on the NCAA committee trying to figure this out, because 2023 will be here all too soon …

  2. The Buffs can only determine their own destiny. Quit worrying about CA changing their laws to allow athletes to cash in.

    I, personally, hate to see it come down to that. Getting a free education worth up to 70K, or more, is enough compensation. (I’m not up to speed on the cost of education at various colleges, including housing, groceries and all the other amenities associated with being a student without a full-ride).

    Becoming a multimillionaire with 4 years education because you can run faster and jump higher than the average Joe isn’t my idea of equivalence without discrimination. Just sayin.


    What’s that damned governor in CA thinking ? He must be from an entitled environment at home and thinks society owes everyone a free-ride. B.S. (VK would you place that in bold type for me please ?).

    Damn, I was born in the wrong era….. that is, if I coulda been one step faster and about 40 lbs more muscle. Shoulda, coulda, woulda. It woulda been a pipe dream one way or the other.

  3. looks like there wont be any 4 or 5 star recruits leaving Cal very soon. Even the lower ranked ones could get good spending money from home town advertisers. Every other state including ours is going to have to look elsewhere.

  4. The California Fair Pay to Play Act allowing student athletes to be paid when their LIKENESS is used could have been completely avoided had the schools and the NCAA done the right thing and forbid video gaming companies and sports jersey companies from using individual players likenesses. But unfortunately here we are.

    For a very good read about the Act, check out Sports Illustrated’s piece titled:
    What’s Next After California Signs Game Changer Fair Pay to Play Act Into Law?

    The part I agree with most…
    “(lawmakers are) questioning why college sports so often mimic professional sports—including through lucrative salaries paid to coaches, negotiations of billion dollar TV contracts and use of pro-quality stadiums and athletic facilities—except with respect to the athletes themselves.”

    Sure, this Act is going to create some headaches going forward, but only because – again- the schools and the NCAA didn’t do the right thing to begin with, so it takes a few headaches to get it back on track. After all, these are student athletes and supposedly what the Universities and NCAA are supposed to be looking out for… not for the million dollar video game contracts!

  5. Good God almighty. The wife is finally switching to Dish from direct and now they are jettisoning programming. I am paying over a hundred dollars a month for 5 or 6 channels that I actually watch, let alone having to watch more commercials than programming,
    ( most of the rest are crap including at least 60 shopping channels)
    and these guys are all whining about their bottom line? I will trade income with any of their CEOs in a heartbeat let alone the billions these jackasses are pulling in as profits. They are as bad as the pharmaceutical industry.

    1. ep, it is even worse when you get used to some of these channels and then they pull them. This is because we consumers are just non entities at that moment when those over paid big money management teams flex their egos at some conference table.

      Since switching from Direct TV to Dish I have experienced some of these episodes but it will get settled, and you will still enjoy PAC 12 action on Channel 406 . As long as your wife gets to watch her favorite shows during the black out, just keep your lips zipped or she may call your bluff and go back to Direct. One would think that FOX and dish will get this settled as I have even read that there is talk of Dish buying Direct from AT&T.

      Will be reporting the news from Tucson starting next week, re: upcoming CU UofA contest. I’m anxious to see UofA against UCLA this week. That game might give us an overall indication what the CU game could be.

        1. Stuart
          Can you come up with all VK’s old posts where he was using popular music to his own lyrics? I’m thinking a few of those tunes will make it possible for us to date him

  6. Utah drops BYU off its schedule and replaces it with Florida. They are thinking strength of schedule, forget the instate rival. Will we have the courage to do the same with CSU?

    1. Done and done.
      2021 – No CSU – Texas A&M & Minnesota
      2022 – No CSU – TCU, Air Force, Minnesota
      2025 – No CSU – Georgia Tech, Houston, Missouri
      2026 – No CSU – Georgia Tech, Houston, Northwestern
      2027 – No CSU – Northwestern, Kansas State
      2028 – No CSU – Florida, Kansas State

        1. Definitely not 2021 – CU already has contracts with Texas A&M, Minnesota, and Northern Colorado (and CSU has a full slate including Vanderbilt, at Toledo and at Iowa – probably won’t want to add an “at CU”) to their schedule.

          After that? … from the Daily Camera this past June … The Rams and Buffs have set tentative dates to play a new four-game, home-and-home series in 2029-2030 and 2033-34. Where each game will be played has not been set; however, it’s likely the ’29 and ’33 games will be at Folsom Field in Boulder while the ’30 and ’34 games would be at Canvas Stadium in Fort Collins.

          The current contract between CSU and CU will expire after the 2020 season. They’ve played annually since 1995 with 18 of those games in Denver, including the past nine. When the nonconference rivals play at Mile High on Aug. 30, it will be their final meeting in Denver before the contract wraps up in Fort Collins next season — the first time the Rams will have hosted since 1996.

          In Feb. 2018, the two sides signed an agreement to resume the series for two games in 2023 (Boulder) and 2024 (Fort Collins). It’s unlikely they’d play between 2024 and 2029 as CU’s nonconference games in those years have already been scheduled, and CSU will play six Power 5 opponents in that same window.

          Having CSU for a home-and-home every four-to-six years doesn’t bother me. It will enhance interest in those games … and give the Buffs a chance to increase their win streak!

  7. Yo Bowl
    First Responders bowl
    Gerald J. Ford Stadium
    University Park Texas (by Dallas or in Dallas however the hell they do it down there)
    It’s the SMU stadium. Right on campus.

    Bowl game.


    Note: Now with a lil luck and some good execution with the attitude of HCMT…………..The Mighty Buffs may move up a spot or two or three or four or more.

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