Pac-12 Notes – UCLA Week

November 2nd – Game Day !

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No. 7 Oregon puts Clay Helton back on the hot seat with 56-24 rout

From ESPN … Justin Herbert passed for 225 yards and threw three touchdown passes to Juwan Johnson in the second half, and No. 7 Oregon recovered from a slow start to cruise to its eighth consecutive victory, 56-24 over Southern California on Saturday night.

Freshman Mykael Wright returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown shortly after Brady Breeze returned an interception 32 yards for a score late in the second quarter for the Ducks (8-1, 6-0 Pac-12). Oregon erased an early 10-0 deficit by scoring a touchdown after each of four turnovers by USC freshman quarterback Kedon Slovis during a 19-minute stretch spanning halftime.

Herbert and receiver Jaylon Redd rushed for touchdowns in the first half for Oregon, which remained on track for the Pac-12 North title and a good shot at the College Football Playoff despite a rough start at the Coliseum. Johnson, the Ducks’ senior Penn State transfer, had seven catches for 106 yards after making just six previous receptions all season.

Herbert threw his second interception of the season and didn’t look sharp early, but the senior NFL prospect went 21 for 26. Oregon committed 12 penalties for 157 yards and had two defensive players ejected, yet remained perfect since its season opener after its defense thoroughly rattled Slovis.

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No. 9 Utah takes control of the Pac-12 South with road win over Washington

From ESPN … Tyler Huntley threw for one touchdown and ran for another, Jaylon Johnson returned an interception 39 yards for a score, and No. 9 Utah overcame an 11-point first-half deficit to beat Washington 33-28 Saturday.

The Utes (8-1, 5-1 Pac-12) kept alive their College Football Playoff hopes thanks to a defense that forced Washington quarterback Jacob Eason into three turnovers and got just enough offense from Huntley to rally from an early 14-3 hole.

“It says a lot. We’ve had a lot of games, the last three games or whatever it’s been by putting up 40 points and our defense looking impeccable,” Utah running back Zack Moss said. “When we can do this and come on the road and win a game like this and doing it the way we did, that’s what championship teams do and that’s what we’ve been missing the last couple of years.”

Huntley hit Moss on a 9-yard TD late in the first half and added a 1-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter to give Utah its first lead, 26-21. Huntley’s TD run capped a drive that featured a key third-and-12 conversion where Huntley was able to hit Jaylen Dixon for a 41-yard completion.

Huntley finished 19 of 24 for 284 yards. He was sacked four times — Utah had allowed just seven all season — but all came in the first half and the Utes were able to protect Huntley much better as the game progressed. Huntley also had a pair of key third-down conversions on Utah’s final scoring drive, hitting Solomon Enis for 14 yards and Samson Nacua for 28 yards. Moss capped the 84-yard drive with a 2-yard TD run with 4:52 left.

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Arizona drops fourth in a row in 56-38 home loss to Oregon State

From ESPN … Oregon State went into its bye week looking for ways to exploit the many holes in Arizona’s defense.

When the Wildcats switched coordinators this week, the Beavers didn’t change anything — and still blew right through them.

Jake Luton threw for 328 yards and three touchdowns, Jermar Jefferson ran for three more scores and Oregon State sliced through Arizona’s listless defense for a 56-38 victory on Saturday.

“New D coordinator, what’s that going to look like and we just looked at the tape, focused on what we do well,” Beavers head coach Jonathan Smith said.

Arizona (4-5, 2/3 Pac-12) fired defensive coordinator Marcel Yates this week, replacing him with former NFL assistant coach Chuck Cecil.

The coordinator change changed little on the field.

Oregon State (4-4, 3-2) manhandled the Wildcats up front while churning out big plays, scoring 35 points by halftime and racking up 572 total yards.

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Jon Wilner: Bohn hire by USC grades out as an A (grading on a curve)

From the San Jose Mercury News …It’s not yet official, but USC is expected to hire Mike Bohn as its new athletic director, according to published reports and confirmed by the Hotline.

(And if the process detonates at the last second, so will this column.)

Here’s what we think of Bohn to USC:

We think it’s a good hire.

For any other Power Five program, Bohn would be at least a B-level hire and perhaps a B+.

He isn’t without flaws but is generally well regarded within the industry and has a solid list of accomplishments on his resume.

But for USC, Bohn grades out as an A.

Damn right, we’re grading the Trojans on a curve:

They have spent so many decades hiring from within the family and bullheadedly placing unqualified former football players in charge of the athletic department that grading this process on a curve is the only sensible evaluation.

They have lived by a standard no one else would apply, so why not treat them differently in our assessment?

Finally, after the dumpster fire that was the Lynn Swann era, the Trojans went outside the family.

They chose someone who won’t be beholden to the USC way.

Someone who has actually run a major college athletic department!

It’s a Festivus Miracle!

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November 1st

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USC targeting former CU athletic director Mike Bohn for its AD position

From USA Today … Southern California has targeted Cincinnati’s Mike Bohn to be its next athletic director, a person with direct knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports.

The person requested anonymity because the hiring had not been announced.

Bohn, who was previously the Colorado athletic director, will replace Lynn Swann and become the first athletic director at USC without school ties in the modern era. Swann resigned in September after three years on the job.

Bohn will have the task of assessing the Trojans football program and the future of coach Clay Helton, who is in his fourth full season. USC is currently 5-3 and tied for the lead in the Pac-12 South.

Hired as Cincinnati’s athletic director in 2014, Bohn brought in football coach Luke Fickell from Ohio State. In his three seasons, Fickell has posted a 21-11 record. The Bearcats are 6-1 this season and ranked No. 18 in the Amway Coaches Poll.

He was AD at Colorado from 2005-13 where his three football hires – Dan Hawkins, Jon Embree and Mike MacIntryre – were subsequently fired.


October 31st

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Wilner: Low Pac-12 coaches’ salaries will turn the conference a “Group of Six” conference

From the San Jose Mercury News … Atop the Pac-12 org chart, they’re saying the right things about football.

Washington State’s Kirk Schulz noted recently of his fellow presidents and chancellors:

When “new people come into the league that have been elsewhere, they say this (football) is something we need to be talking about.”

Commissioner Larry Scott echoed those sentiments:

“There has been a real awareness of the impact success in football and basketball can have on the overall reputation and feeling in the communities we serve.”

Now the Pac-12 honchos need to put their money where their movement is.

They need to invest in football coaches: Head coaches and coordinators, position coaches and strength coaches, analysts and trainers.

We’re not advocating for schools to immediately rip up current contracts and hand over fat raises to the head coaches and coordinators.

But with each new deal that kicks in this winter — whether it’s an extension or a new hire — let’s see significant investment.

It can’t get much worse, as the latest figures from USA Today’s fabulous database indicate:

* The top-paid coach in the conference, Washington’s Chris Petersen, is No. 20 in major college football in compensation for the 2019 season.

* Three Group of Five coaches will make more than five Pac-12 coaches this fall.

* The head coach at USC makes less than the head coach at North Carolina State.

There are other examples.

Loads of them, in fact.

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October 30th

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Rick George, Phil DiStefano are national players in addressing the “likeness” issue

Note … The Pac-12’s representative on the NCAA Board of Governors is CU Chancellor Phil DiStefano (term runs until August 2020), while Athletic Director Rick George has served on the 18-member name, image and likeness working group dubbed the “NCAA Working Group on State and Federal Legislation” that was formed in May … 

From the Daily Camera … Change, at long last, is on the way in the NCAA regarding the ability of student-athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness.

Yet what that change ultimately might look like remains a mystery.

On Tuesday, the NCAA Board of Governors unanimously approved a measure to allow student-athletes the opportunity to reap income off name, image and likeness opportunities. The NCAA issued a release long on touting its newfound flexibility — “We must embrace change to provide the best possible experience for college athletes,” said board chair Michael Drake, the president at Ohio State — but short on actual proposals on how student-athletes might be allowed to profit in the future.

The decision arrived with a University of Colorado influence, as chancellor Phil DiStefano serves on the Board of Governors while athletic director Rick George has served on the 18-member name, image and likeness working group dubbed the “NCAA Working Group on State and Federal Legislation” that was formed in May.

“I think there’s a lot to determine on the ‘what.’ As a working group, we’ll take feedback from conference and a variety of people now that the NCAA made a big step in moving forward,” George said. “They voted on our initial recommendations. Now we’ll really work on the principles and framework around that. And that will take some time. But it will allow us to get more feedback from all three divisions and conferences out there and take what we think will be the best position for our student-athletes.

“I think we’re going to continue to focus on the framework and the principles around the name, image and likeness. It’s got to be consistent with the collegiate model. We’re going to ensure that it does. And that’s part of our charge that we got from the Board of Governors.”

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October 29th

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NCAA votes to allow athletes to profit from “likeness”

From ESPN … The NCAA’s top decision-makers voted unanimously Tuesday to allow college athletes to profit from their name, image and likeness “in a manner consistent with the collegiate model.”

The board directed the three separate divisions of college sports to immediately begin figuring out how to update their rules in a way that maintains a distinction between college and professional sports. The board members said in a release Tuesday that all changes should make sure student-athletes have the same opportunities to make money as all other students, maintain a priority of the education and the collegiate experience, and that rules are “transparent, focused and enforceable” and do not create a competitive imbalance. The board wants each division to implement new rules by January 2021.

“We must embrace change to provide the best possible experience for college athletes,” board chair Michel Drake said. “Additional flexibility in this area can and must continue to support college sports as a part of higher education. This modernization for the future is a natural extension of the numerous steps NCAA members have taken in recent years to improve support for student-athletes, including full cost of attendance and guaranteed scholarships.”

The association’s board of governors gathered on the campus of Emory University for their final regularly scheduled meeting of 2019 on Tuesday morning. Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith and Big East Commissioner Val Ackerman presented recommendations to the board members on how to modify the NCAA’s current name, image and likeness rules. Smith and Ackerman have spent the past several months spearheading a working group that was appointed to evaluate the issue.

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College players’ rights group enters partnership with NFLPA on likeness rights

From CBS Sports … A college players’ rights group has entered into a partnership with the NFL Players Association to explore how to maximize name, image and likeness rights.

The NFLPA and National College Players Association (NCPA) announced jointly on Monday that the partnership that will “explore opportunities for” college athletes in merchandise, gaming, licensed products and “how recent developments impact television broadcast revenues in pursuit of fairness.”

The collaboration will offer “group licensing representation that is available to every college athlete whose state passes a law to allow it,” according to a press release.

California’s Fair Pay to Play Act granting college athletes in that state the ability to profit off their name, image and likeness goes into effect in 2023. A similar bill has been proposed in Florida, but it would go into effect far sooner — July 1, 2020. A Pennsylvania bill is expected to be introduced soon.

The NCAA currently prohibits athletes from profiting off their name, image and likeness. An NCAA working group is expected to release a “set of principles” Tuesday for the association’s board of governors to review.

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October 28th

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UCLA cancels classes due to fires

UpdateClasses to resume Tuesday

… Note … The Rose Bowl is in Pasadena, 18 miles from the UCLA campus in Westwood. No word on how the fires will affect UCLA practices … 

From UCLA … UCLA is cancelling classes today. While the fire remains west of the 405 Freeway and poses no immediate threat to campus, we know some members of our campus community live in evacuation areas or may be impacted by road closures. Employees should report to work if they can get to work safely and stay in touch with their supervisors, but we ask everyone to put safety first in determining whether or not to make today’s commute to the university.

UCLA continues to closely monitor the fire and we are actively coordinating with the Los Angeles Fire Department. Based on currently available data, air quality is considered good but we recognize those levels could fluctuate throughout the day and we will update you on any changes.

All UCLA Health facilities currently remain fully operational, except those in the evacuation zone.

Consistent with other K-12 schools in the area, the UCLA Lab School, the Geffen Academy, and Early Care and Education Centers (Krieger, Fernald and University Village), including Bright Horizons, have also been closed.

Arizona fires defensive coordinator after giving up 133 in three-game skid

From CBS Sports … Arizona’s defense has struggled even by Pac-12 standards and coach Kevin Sumlin has decided to make significant changes. Sumlin has fired defensive coordinator Marcel Yates and linebackers coach John Rushing, according to, among other reports. Defensive analyst Chuck Cecil has been promoted and will take over as the defensive coordinator for the remainder of the season.

Yates had been the defensive coordinator of the Wildcats since 2016, and he was retained by Sumlin when he took over before the 2018 season. He was also on Sumlin’s initial staff at Texas A&M where he served as defensive coordinator from 2012-13.

The Wildcats defense has been a disappointment this season. It currently ranks 11th in the Pac-12 in total defense after giving up 469.9 yards per game, and it is eighth in defensive yards per play (6.2) and 125th in red zone defense with opponents having scored on 34 of 36 opportunities (94.44 percent).

Arizona’s defensive ineptitude came to a head on Saturday when it lost on the road to Stanford 41-31. Those 41 points were 10 more than the Cardinal had scored in any other game this season. The loss to Stanford dropped Arizona to 4-4 (2-3 Pac-12) and puts it two games back in the Pac-12 South.

Cecil played safety for the Wildcats from 1984-87; he was a consensus All-American in 1987 and was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2009. Cecil got his start in coaching as an analyst with the Tennessee Titans in 2001 and worked his way up to become the team’s defensive coordinator from 2009-10. He served as an analyst on Rodriguez’ staff in 2017 and was retained by Sumlin when he was hired as coach before the 2018 season.


October 27th

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Bruin Report: Time for Optimism for UCLA fans

From the Bruin Report … When a new coach comes into a program, there are plenty of doubters during the process of turning it around.

It’s natural. Sometimes, during the process, it looks pretty bleak.

But it seems like no one does bleak like Chip Kelly and UCLA. No one does the degree and extent of a fall and then, perhaps, the degree of an ascent.

If UCLA’s win over Arizona State, 42-32, Saturday night could, in fact, be a stepping stone in that turnaround process for Kelly, it would be a step back from a brink of despair on a level of epic-ness having never before been seen. It’s the kind that many fans don’t experience when a program is re-built. If UCLA does show improvement this season, say, and gets to even 5-7, and then something solid to very good in 2020, say, 8-4 to 10-2, there aren’t too many programs that dug itself out in this fashion — after being 4-14 through the first 18 games of a coach’s tenure.

When Mike Leach was digging out the Washington State program from the rubble, for instance, it went 3-9 in its first season in 2012, but then won four of its first six games in 2013. It did hit a semi-skid there in the second half of Leach’s second season through his third (3-9), but there is also a difference between UCLA and Washington. Not to be a snob, but WSU fans are used to being dug out of the rubble. UCLA hadn’t experienced such a bad stretch in its football program since the early 1920s.

When you’re used to be somewhat among the top 25 programs in the country, it’s quite a bit longer of a fall to rock bottom.

No, upper-crust UCLA fans would be better accustomed to a more tasteful, Chris Petersen-esque program-turnaround at Washington. A modest 8-6 in his first season, 7-6 in his next and then the double-digit record in his third season, while sipping on some Earl Grey. That’s the type of turnaround us slightly snooty Bruins would be up for.

Definitely not 3-9 and 1-5, with a loss against San Diego State, a team the UCLA program had never lost to, and then capped off with a loss against Oregon State at home.

But clearly, this is Kelly’s UCLA program. The one that does it with drama and flair. Washington’s comeback under Petersen? For wimps.

The word on Kelly is that he’s not about drama, that he’s straight-forward and no-nonsense. But Kelly has perhaps a little flair for the dramatic, because he didn’t have to rip down the program like it was a condemned building to start over. (Perhaps Kelly should consider writing a script while he’s in Los Angeles. Perhaps that’s all this is – Kelly did it this way to get a movie deal. Aha! Kelly’s program is not a football workshop but a scriptwriting workshop!).

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Pac-12 betting lines – Colorado a 5.5-point underdog to UCLA


— Washington … is a 2.5-point underdog at home against No. 9 Utah … 2:00 p.m., MT, Fox

— Arizona … is a 6.0-point favorite at home against Oregon State … Saturday, 2:30 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks

— USC … is a 6.5-point underdog at home against No. 7 Oregon … Saturday, 6:00 p.m., MT, Fox

— UCLA … is a 5.5-point favorite at home against Colorado … Saturday, 7:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks

Idle … Washington State … Cal … Stanford … Arizona State …

Oregon and Utah move into AP Top Ten; LSU new No. 1

From CBS Sports … The Nov. 9 game between Alabama and LSU will, barring any change in the next week, indeed be a battle between No. 1 and No. 2 — just not in the order anyone initially expected. Following a 23-20 win over Auburn on Saturday, LSU is the new No. 1 team according to the latest AP Top 25 poll. The Tigers barely edged the Crimson Tide by two points (1,476 to 1,474) to claim the top spot. Furthermore, No. 3 Ohio State is only eight points away from LSU as voters clearly see those three teams as the best in college football. Alabama and LSU have an open week ahead of their Nov. 9 showdown in Tuscaloosa. Barring an extreme change of direction, they’ll stay in the top two spots for the next week.

Clemson and Penn State round out the top five while Oregon jumps up to No. 7 after barely beating Washington State on Saturday night. Oklahoma falls from No. 5 to No. 10 after its loss to Kansas State. Speaking of the Wildcats, they’re No. 22 and one of three new teams to be ranked this week along with No. 24 Memphis and No. 25 San Diego State. The biggest faller was Texas, which fell out of the standings entirely after losing to TCU.

The Associated Press poll: 

1. LSU
2. Alabama
3. Ohio State
4. Clemson
5. Penn State
6. Florida
7. Oregon … up four spots from last week
8. Georgia
9. Utah … up three spots from last week
10. Oklahoma
11. Auburn
12. Baylor
13. Minnesota
14. Michigan
15. SMU
16. Notre Dame
17. Cincinnati
18. Wisconsin
19. Iowa
20. Appalachian State
21. Boise State
22. Kansas State
23. Wake Forest
24. Memphis
25. San Diego State

Others receiving votes: Texas 49, Navy 43, UCF 33, Washington 19, Texas A&M 14, USC 11, Louisiana Tech 6, Indiana 4, Oklahoma State 1, Pittsburgh 1, Iowa State 1

October 26th

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UCLA enters CU week on a two-game winning streak after defeating ASU, 42-32 

From ESPN … UCLA coach Chip Kelly has often said that when running back Joshua Kelley plays well, the Bruins have a shot of winning.

The senior running back had a career night Saturday, which is why the Bruins were able to beat a Top 25 team for the second time this season. Kelley scored a career-high four touchdowns and rushed for 164 yards in UCLA’s 42-32 victory over 24th-ranked Arizona State.

Kelley has rushed for over 100 yards in three of the past four games. He is the first Pac-12 player and fourth nationally this season to have four rushing touchdowns in a game.

“We needed a win here for sure. That was extra incentive for us,” said Kelley of the Bruins first home victory. “Us getting back-to-back wins is big for our young core.”

Kelly is also the first Bruin with four ground TDs since Myles Jack against Washington in 2013. He helped fuel a UCLA ground game that had 217 yards, marking the first time since 2014 it has had four straight 200-yard games.

“I think when everyone in the stadium knows you are going to run it and you are still able to do it, that’s a credit to the whole group,” Kelly said.

The Bruins (3-5, 3-2) scored on five of their first six drives, including four consecutive possessions from late in the first quarter to midway in the third to roar out to a 35-7 lead after it was tied at 7.

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Stanford (which has a bye before playing CU) takes down Arizona, 41-31

From ESPN … The final test for K.J. Costello came in the pregame warmups. If he could show he could hold and throw the football, he was a go.

Being forced to stand on the sidelines for the past three weeks took its toll on the senior quarterback, who returned to Stanford’s starting lineup and led the Cardinal to a 41-31 victory over visiting Arizona on Saturday.

“It doesn’t feel good. It’s awful,” Costello said of being sidelined. “Not playing a few weeks I have to challenge myself in terms of energy.”

An energized Costello threw for 312 yards and three touchdowns after missing three games with a thumb injury. He was 30 of 43 passing with no interceptions. Back-up Davis Mills, out with a calf injury, was unavailable.

“I feel a whole lot different playing than not playing. It’s everything,” Costello said. “When our offense plays the way we know we can, when we’re able to run the ball, you can see the full complexion of the offense and what we want to do.”

Showing no signs of discomfort, Costello rifled passes to 12 different receivers, including a pair of touchdown passes to Simi Fehoko and one to Brycen Tremayne, whose only two career receptions have both gone for touchdowns.

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7 Replies to “Pac-12 Notes”

  1. “….Southern California has targeted Cincinnati’s Mike Bohn to be its next athletic director,…..”

    Whoa……………… HWSRN is close by.

    1. USC??? the Wilner appointed king of the pile???
      you would think HWSRN would leave a permanent stain on a resume. After all it did in Boulder. It appears, however, that AD’s are just like coaches…….dont die….dont even fade away…always a job opening for them some where no matter what. The guy who came up with the peter principle must have studies athletic administration.

  2. Was just perusing the USA Today web site and came across a story reporting that USC is targeting Cincy AD (and former CU AD) Mike Bohn to be its new AD, replacing Lynn Swann. Here’s a snippet from the piece:

    Bohn will have the task of assessing the Trojans football program and the future of coach Clay Helton, who is in his fourth full season. USC is currently 5-3 and tied for the lead in the Pac-12 South.

    Hired as Cincinnati’s athletic director in 2014, Bohn brought in football coach Luke Fickell from Ohio State. In his three seasons, Fickell has posted a 21-11 record. The Bearcats are 6-1 this season and ranked No. 18 in the Amway Coaches Poll.

    He was AD at Colorado from 2005-13 where his three football hires – Dan Hawkins, Jon Embree and Mike MacIntryre – were subsequently fired.

  3. Tucker got a little outcoached. Punting twice inside USC’s 40 when our defense is outmanned, inexcusable. Where is imposing our will?????
    It is as lame as the Broncos running into the middle on 3rd and 5 when a 1st down would have won the game.

    1. Agree. There has been a lot of playing not to lose over the last few years. It did not work well. Part of the culture change should be having a play to win approach. I also don’t like HCMT’s comments which smacked of defensiveness and seemed to imply that play calling can’t be questioned. Everything should be open to evaluation and improvement. I feel the players trusted in the coaches and played hard. Then when Q4 came, the coaches blinked. Hope that the positives from great player effort give them confidence going forward and outweigh some of the coaching issues in the last quarter. Go Buffs!!

    2. Hmmm. sometimes the want (run on our terms) and the ability (talent skew) combined with being out-manned just about everywhere limits the options available.


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