Pac-12 Notes – Stanford Week

November 9th

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USC builds 28-7 first quarter lead, holds on for 31-26 win over Arizona State

Game Story from ESPN … Kedon Slovis threw for 432 yards and four touchdowns, defensive lineman Christian Rector tipped the ball to himself for an interception with 25 seconds left and Southern California held on to beat Arizona State 31-26 on Saturday.

The win clinched a bowl berth for the Trojans (6-4, 5-2 Pac-12), who missed post-season play last year.

USC jumped on the Sun Devils with 28 points in the first quarter behind Slovis’ 297 yards and four TDs passing.

Arizona State (5-4, 2-4) shut down the Trojans over the next three quarters and freshman quarterback Joey Yellen led a comeback.

Making his first career start with Jayden Daniels injured, Yellen threw two touchdown passes in the first half and hit Brandon Aiyuk on a 2-yard TD pass to open the third quarter.

Yellen then found Frank Darby on a 15-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter after an interception was negated by a USC roughing the passer penalty. Darby dropped the 2-point conversion attempt, putting the Trojans up 31-26.

Continue reading story here


November 8th

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Washington hold Oregon State to 119 total yards in 19-7 victory

Game Story from ESPN … When Oregon State closed in on Washington, Salvon Ahmed broke away with a 60-yard scoring run to douse any momentum the Beavers had.

Ahmed ran for a career-high 174 yards, scoring twice, and Washington rebounded from a two-game losing streak with a 19-7 victory over the Beavers on Friday night.

The Huskies (6-4, 3-4 Pac-12) became bowl eligible with the victory, their eighth straight over the Beavers. Washington has not lost three in a row during coach Chris Petersen’s tenure.

“Salvon’s always one pitch away from hitting it out of the park,” Petersen said afterward.

The Beavers (4-5, 3-3) trailed 10-0 at the half but rallied in the third quarter on Jaydon Grant’s interception return for a touchdown. Oregon State, which has already won more games than in the past two seasons combined, has three remaining games to try to earn its first bowl berth since 2013.

Hunter Bryant had five catches for 90 yards for Washington, after catching a pair of touchdowns last weekend in a 33-28 loss to Utah. Bryant went into the game ranked second nationally in yards receiving by tight ends (557). Huskies quarterback Jacob Eason threw for 175 yards but was intercepted twice.

Continue reading story here

Hot Seat Rankings: Kevin Sumlin and Mike Bobo bumped to “start improving now” 

From CBS Sports … It’s never too early for the silly season. Florida State reminded us Sunday when it fired Willie Taggart nine games into his second season. Rutgers beat everyone to the punch on Sept. 29 when it got rid of Chris Ash. We have become so conditioned to in-season firings that it doesn’t feel odd there are two Power Five openings in the first week of November.

The pressure point for any of the coaches on this list is the beginning of the Early Signing Period on Dec. 19. Any school that is considering to pull the trap door must be sensitive to recruiting. When the one and only National Signing Day was in early February, coaches on the hot seat at least had a chance to make it through the regular season. Not anymore.

Last season alone, five coaches were fired during the season. Maryland’s DJ Durkin never made it to Week 1. After Ash and Taggart, USC’s Clay Helton may be the next in 2019.

Ratings … 5: “Win or being fired” … 4: “Start improving now” … 

USC … Clay Helton … This is getting ridiculous. USC has already fired and hired an athletic director. That guy (Cincinnati’s Mike Bohn) is supposed to fire Helton … in time for Urban Meyer to make it in before early signing day? Depending who you read/follow, either Meyer is an absolute slam dunk or new USC president Carol Folt has no intention of hiring him. Someday soon this is all going to be wrapped up. I think. Caught in the middle is a decent man who deserves better.  Rating: 5

Arizona … Kevin Sumlin … Things have cratered in Year 2 under Sumlin. The Wildcats actually lost to Oregon State last week. More than that, they gave up 56 points. That’s the most allowed in a series that goes back more than half a century. Arizona doesn’t seem to do anything well right now. Sumlin fired defensive coordinator Marcel Yates. If it makes a change, the school would be paying buyouts to both Rich Rodriguez and Sumlin, the latter of whom is standing at 9-12 overall. The possibility of a 4-8 season (losing seven in a row) would weigh heavy on AD Dave Heeke. Rating: 4

Colorado State … Mike Bobo … Bobo can’t keep a quarterback healthy, which explains the current 4-5 record. Taking the Jim McElwain route (Alabama, Colorado State to Florida) from the Mountain West back to the SEC hasn’t worked for Bobo, 26-32 in his fifth season. Don’t be surprised if Bobo surfaces on Kirby Smart’s Georgia staff should he be canned. Rating: 4.

Read full story here


November 7th

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USC makes it official: Mike Bohn the new athletic director – Bohn: “It’d be premature to talk about coaches”

Related … “Report: USC president not budging from her anti-Urban Meyer stance” … from Larry Brown Sports

From CBS Sports … USC officially named Mike Bohn as its new athletic director on Thursday. Bohn comes to USC after spending the last five years as Cincinnati’s athletic director.

Bohn is USC’s fourth athletic director in the last decade. He replaces Lynn Swann, who replaced Pat Haden, who replaced Mike Garrett. You might have noticed that Bohn is the only one of those four athletic directors who did not play football at USC. He is also the only one of those four who takes the USC athletic director job having already had administration experience in an athletic department in the last 35 years

Before becoming Cincinnati’s athletic director, Bohn spent time in the same role at Colorado, San Diego State and Idaho. During his nine years at Colorado, he oversaw the schools move from the Big 12 to the Pac-12 but resigned following the 2013 season mostly because Colorado’s football program had stagnated.

“I will work tirelessly and relentlessly to make the Trojan family proud,” Bohn said. “We’re going to build a championship program that you deserve.”

Now Bohn will be tasked with saving USC’s football program. USC is one of the most successful programs in college football history but has failed to find consistent success since Pete Carroll left for the Seattle Seahawks, and the NCAA came down with sanctions. The Trojans have cycled through Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian, and now have the embattled Clay Helton at the helm. The three coaches have won the Pac-12 once since Kiffin took over in 2010, going 11-3 under Clay Helton in 2017. Since then, however, USC is 10-11 overall, and many believe the only reason Helton is still employed is that USC needed to find a new athletic director to hire his replacement before it could replace him.

“It’d be premature to talk about coaches,” Bohn said when asked about Helton’s status.

Continue reading story here

Decline in attendance at Pac-12 games double that of any other conference

From Jon Wilner at the San Jose Mercury News … The reasons for declining attendance in college football are seemingly as numerous as the empty seats themselves.

Social media, ticket prices, value propositions and difficult logistics (parking, kickoff times) are all key factors, as Hotline special contributor AJ Maestas wrote in his deep dive into attendance trends and also discussed at length in this podcast with Oregon State deputy athletic director Zack Lassiter.

No Power Five conference has experienced a more dramatic decrease than the Pac-12 in regard to football, the prime driver of ticket sales and revenue for athletic departments.

The NCAA tracks attendance based on reports submitted by the schools.

The Hotline examined the latest available five-year figures, from 2013 to 2018 and was startled by the results.

We expected to see an across-the-board decline and, perhaps, a greater percentage decrease in the Pac-12 than other Power Five conferences.

Turns out, the decline was steeper than imagined.

Average attendance in the Pac-12 dropped by 13.3 percent over the five-year period, more than twice the decline of any other major conference.

The Hotline compiled the yearly averages back to the 2011 season — the first year of the 12-school conference — in an attempt to pinpoint the source of the decline:

Pac-12 average attendance by year

2011: 52,249
2012: 53,679
2013: 53,619
2014: 52,702
2015: 51,880
2016: 50,073
2017: 49,601
2018: 46,442

The 2017-to-2018 drop alone is 6.3 percent, approximately half the overall decline.

Read full story here


November 6th

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Report: Mike Bohn may be having second thoughts about USC (told Urban Meyer was not an option)

From … USC supposedly has a deal in place with Cincinnati athletic director Mike Bohn to make him their next AD, but many expected an official announcement on Monday. While the Trojans could make the move official at some point this week, speculation is increasing that Bohn may be having second thoughts.

According to a report from Scott Wolf of , Bohn is considering backing out of his agreement with USC after university president Carol Folt informed him that he will not be able to hire Urban Meyer as the school’s next football coach. Several other athletic director candidates are said to have turned down the USC job because they were told Meyer was not an option, but Wolf reports that Bohn was not informed until after he agreed to take the position.

Meyer has been repeatedly linked to USC, but a recent report claimed Folt, who became USC’s president earlier this year, does not want to hire Meyer because of all the controversy that surrounds him. USC has enough problems to deal with, as the admissions scandal that rocked the school is still playing out. The Trojans were also one of the teams involved in the FBI’s investigation into corruption within college basketball. Folt likely played a role in former athletic director Lynn Swann recently stepping down, as Swann was heavily criticized for the way he handled a lot of the issues at USC during his three-plus years there.

There was some belief that Bohn’s impending hire at USC meant the Trojans were not going to pursue Meyer, as Meyer has a history of forging deep ties with athletic directors and does not have that type of relationship with Bohn. However, Meyer is a University of Cincinnati alumni who played football at the school, and Bohn was complimentary of him a few years back.

Continue reading story here

Pac-12, Big 12, ACC shut out of first College Football Playoff Rankings

From ESPN … The first College Football Playoff ranking of the season has Ohio State debuting at No. 1 and defending national champion Clemson on the outside looking in.

It’s Ohio State’s first No. 1 ranking in the CFP era (since 2014).

The Buckeyes are followed by No. 2 LSU and No. 3 Alabama, who have been ranked either first or second in the AP poll for the past four weeks and will face each other in a blockbuster matchup Saturday in Tuscaloosa.

Penn State rounds out the top four, leapfrogging No. 5 Clemson — which was ranked fourth in the AP poll. The Nittany Lions, in the top four for the first time in school history, will face unbeaten No. 17 Minnesota on Saturday.

First rankings … 

1. Ohio State (8-0)
2. LSU (8-0)
3. Alabama (8-0)
4. Penn State (8-0)
5. Clemson (8-0)
6. Georgia (7-1)
7. Oregon (8-1)
8. Utah (8-1)
9. Oklahoma (7-1)
10. Florida (7-2)
11. Auburn (7-2)
12. Baylor (8-0)
13. Wisconsin (6-2)
14. Michigan (7-2)
15. Notre Dame (6-2)
16. Kansas State (6-2)
17. Minnesota (8-0)
18. Iowa (6-2)
19. Wake Forest (7-1)
20. Cincinnati (7-1)
21. Memphis (8-1)
22. Boise State (7-1)
23. Oklahoma State (6-3)
24. Navy (7-1)
25. SMU (8-1)


November 5th

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ESPN poll of FBS coaches – slight majority in favor of expanded playoffs (Mel Tucker voted “no”)

From ESPN … As the first official College Football Playoff ranking is revealed on Tuesday (9 p.m. ET, ESPN and ESPN App), so begins the annual hand-wringing over which team — and conference — will be left out. With only four teams in the current system, which is entering its sixth season of a 12-year contract, at least one Power 5 conference champion will be excluded, continuing to fuel the discussions about expansion.

Thirty Power 5 coaches think the College Football Playoff should expand, with the most support coming from the Big Ten and Big 12, according to an survey this past offseason of 62 of the 65 head coaches. The survey included Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly, while three other coaches — LSU’s Ed Orgeron, Alabama’s Nick Saban and UCLA’s Chip Kelly — declined interviews through school spokespeople.

The coaches don’t have the power to change the system — that’s in the hands of the university presidents, 10 FBS commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick. The coaches, though, are the ones tasked with winning the CFP. Here’s where they stand on the current system, conference championship games, the selection committee and scheduling:

Should the field playoff field be expanded to eight or more teams?

— Yes – 32 of 60 … including five Pac-12 coaches

— No – 23 of 60 … including three Pac-12 coaches (Mel Tucker voted no)

Read full story here … (including questions about uniform scheduling and whether a team needs to be a conference champion to be considered for the playoffs)


November 4th

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Report: USC hiring of Mike Bohn an indication that Urban Meyer is not the first choice (Penn State’s James Franklin?)

From … How does USC save itself? The answer starts with leadership, as USC’s football success in the past two decades has come despite the athletic department’s top leadership, not because of it.

Breaking away from USC’s obsession with all things USC starts with Carol Folt, the new USC president. Anyone who has interacted with Folt throughout the USC AD process has come away with the clear impression this was her search. She’s trying to break USC’s unhealthy devotion to its own, with Bohn’s pending hiring the first step.

Bohn’s hire was a surprise in athletic director circles, which is a sign of Folt ignoring the conventions and opinions of the athletics world. But here’s the most important part for the future of Trojan football: While reports emerged that Urban Meyer would be the target of the Trojans soon after Bohn’s eventual hire became public, all of Folt’s actions point to the opposite.

USC failed to express serious interest in candidates with deep and direct ties to Meyer, like former Florida AD Jeremy Foley and Washington State AD Patrick Chun. If Folt really wanted Meyer, she’d have engineered the AD search to get him.

Bohn and Meyer have some surface ties, as Meyer’s son plays baseball at Cincinnati and provides the strongest link. But if USC leaders wanted someone with deep ties to Meyer, they passed on multiple candidates. Those with knowledge of the search say it’s a clear sign Folt wants a different direction.

“If they wanted to go and get Urban Meyer, they’d need to hire someone he has a strong relationship with,” said an industry source. “He needs to believe in his AD. He’s been very close with all the athletic directors he’s worked with.”

The frontrunner for USC to target likely shifts to Penn State’s James Franklin, a move that would take a substantial amount of money considering the revenue gaps between the two schools. If they can’t sell Franklin on coming — and assuming Bob Stoops is happy in the XFL — they can sift through a list that would likely include Utah’s Kyle Whittingham, Baylor’s Matt Rhule, Minnesota’s P.J. Fleck, Iowa State’s Matt Campbell, Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell and Memphis’ Mike Norvell.

Continue reading story here

Five CU games make ESPN’s list of 150 greatest games of all-time


1. No. 1 Nebraska 35, at No. 2 Oklahoma 31
Nov. 25, 1971
The Sooners and Huskers presented Americans with a Thanksgiving feast: 829 yards of total offense, four lead changes, only one penalty and a game billed as the Game of the Century that lived up to the billing. Johnny Rodgers’ 72-yard punt return wasn’t the game winner that people think: It came after Oklahoma’s first possession. Oklahoma scored on five drives of at least 69 yards against a defense that didn’t allow more than 17 points to anyone else. The last of Huskers fullback Jeff Kinney’s four short touchdown runs — this one with 1:38 to play — flipped the scoreboard to the visitors.

21. No. 7 Colorado 27, at No. 4 Michigan 26
Sept. 24, 1994
The Wolverines led 26-14 late in the game. And then all hell broke loose. Colorado scored with 2:16 to play, and Michigan committed a false start penalty that turned a third-and-2 to clinch the game into third-and-7. The Buffs got the ball back on their 15 with 15 seconds to play. Kordell Stewart threw to Michael Westbrook for 21 yards, and Stewart spiked the ball with 6 seconds left. Stewart threw the ball more than 70 yards in the air. Blake Anderson rose and tipped it to Westbrook, who jumped over safety Chuck Winters in the end zone. Westbrook is from Detroit. He and Winters were youth football teammates.

64. No. 1 Colorado 10, No. 5 Notre Dame 9
Orange Bowl, Jan. 1, 1991
Colorado claimed a share of the national championship with the win over Notre Dame, but the game is remembered for a touchdown that didn’t count. Rocket Ismail took a punt back 91 yards for a score with 43 seconds left to jolt the Fighting Irish into the apparent lead, but a clipping call wiped the play out.

87. No. 12 Colorado 33, at Missouri 31
Oct. 6, 1990
After six lead changes, the Buffaloes drove to the Tigers 1-yard-line. On fifth down, Colorado quarterback Charles Johnson ran in for the touchdown. You heard me. Fifty years earlier, Cornell beat Dartmouth, 7-3, by scoring on fifth down. Upon reviewing the films, Cornell forfeited the game. Colorado coach Bill McCartney would hear of no such thing. The Buffs went on to share the national championship with Georgia Tech.

123. No. 9 Colorado 39, No. 3 Texas 37
Big 12 championship game, Irving, Texas, Dec. 1, 2001
The Buffaloes scored 26 points off four Chris Simms turnovers in the first half, and then held off a late rally behind UT backup quarterback Major Applewhite to win the Big 12 championship game. The loss knocked the Longhorns out of the BCS national championship game at the Rose Bowl. Colorado’s Chris Brown ran for three touchdowns.

130. At No. 2 Colorado 27, No. 3 Nebraska 21
Nov. 4, 1989
In matchup of 8-0 teams, Colorado used two long Jeff Campbell punt returns to set up touchdowns to end Nebraska’s 17-game regular-season winning streak. The Buffs survived one last Cornhusker drive to win and catapult them to a Big Eight title.

By Pac-12 teams … 

USC – 16 games

Colorado – 5

Stanford – 5

UCLA – 4

Oregon – 2

Cal – 2

Wash – 1

Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon St, Washington St., Utah – 0

November 3rd

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Oregon jumped by Georgia in latest poll; Utah up to No. 8

From CBS Sports … The top three teams from the AP poll were all off this week, the first time that’s occurred in more than two decades, so the most notable changes in the new college football rankings came from the team that’s hoping to re-establish itself as a College Football Playoff contender.

Georgia jumped from No. 8 to No. 6 in the new AP Top 25 after beating Florida in Jacksonville, Florida,  on Saturday. The Bulldogs are now the top-ranked one-loss team in the country, as they look to carry momentum from the strong performance on toward not only winning the SEC East outright but claiming a second SEC Championship in three years. The Gators fell to No. 10 after the loss, ranked just behind No. 9 Oklahoma but ahead of undefeated No. 11 Baylor.

LSU remains No. 1 and Alabama is No. 2 ahead of their showdown on Saturday, the first time No. 1 will play No. 2 in the regular season since 2011.

Other movement in the new AP poll included Memphis moving up five spots to No. 19 after beating previously undefeated SMU, who fell eight spots to No. 23 after the loss. Navy, now at 7-1 and right in the thick of that AAC West race along with both Memphis and SMU, also made its first appearance of the season in the AP Top 25, checking in at No. 25.

Associated Press poll:

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

Others receiving votes: UCF 52, Texas 37, Indiana 27, Texas A&M 19, Oklahoma State 11, Louisiana Tech 7, Appalachian State 5, Washington 2, Pittsburgh 2, Iowa State 1, Virginia 1

Florida State fires Willie Taggert 21 games into his tenure at Tallahassee

From ESPN … Florida State fired coach Willie Taggart on Sunday, ending his tenure with the Seminoles after only 21 games.

Under Taggart, the Seminoles showed little to no progress, and an embarrassing 27-10 loss to rival Miami on Saturday made it clear to administrators they had to make a change. Florida State dropped to 4-5, and needs wins in two of its final three games just to get back to bowl eligibility.

In Year 1 last season, Florida State failed to make a bowl game for the first time since 1981.

“I think very highly of Coach Taggart and wish him well, but in the interest of the university we had no choice but to make a change,” Florida State University president John Thrasher said. “We will support our student-athletes in every way and do all we can to return to the winning tradition that is Seminole football.”

Florida State assistant Odell Haggins, who served as interim coach after Jimbo Fisher left in 2017, will once again serve as interim coach.

FSU raised about $20 million in private donations to buy out what was left of Taggart’s contract, sources told ESPN’s Mark Schlabach. However, an FSU official denied that the money was raised for Taggart’s buyout.

Continue reading story here

Clay Helton says he’s still the right man to lead USC

From ESPN … With yet another loss signaling more and more questions about Clay Helton’s future at Southern California, the Trojans’ head coach said Saturday night that he still feels like he’s the right person to lead USC’s football program.

Bristling when asked why he felt he should keep coaching the Trojans, Helton defended himself following a 56-24 blowout loss to No. 7 Oregon in the Coliseum.

“I’ve been here 10 years, and I believe in being a servant to this university and to the young men that are here,” Helton said. “Each and every day I wake up and I represent them and our school; and I will continue to do that, each and every day. And I’ll fight like hell with the people that I believe in and the people that I love, until they ask me not to do it anymore. And I’m gonna show up on Monday and work my butt off for the next one.”

The loss drops USC to 5-4 on the season and 4-2 in Pac-12 play, which now puts the Trojans a game behind Utah in the Pac-12 South Division.

Though the Trojans own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Utes — beating them 30-23 back in September — they’ll likely need to win out and also would need Utah to lose at least one of its three remaining games to UCLA, Arizona or Colorado, none of which have a winning record to this point.

Continue reading story here


11 Replies to “Pac-12 Notes”

  1. The radio guys are convinced Meyer will land at USC. I dont even know what kind of controversy is surrounding Meyer but he will fit right in if it is something substantial. Welcome to the land of Bush, Carroll, Enfield, desperate housewives and a prominent PAC 12 writer who in effect craps on the entire conference by worshiping these spoiled children

    1. All local coverage is pointing to Meyer not ending up at USC, the new President has been against Meyer from day one. Meyer has had too many controversies per USC’s new President, breaking the chain of scandals is why she went with Bohn because he is not a USC guy. She wants to break the mold of past USC guys becoming ADs which she believes got USC into football, basketball and the “rich and famous” scandals that ended up with kids that never even rowed being on the rowing team.

  2. OMG
    Bohn was AD at Idaho? if this was in the same time HWSRN was at Boise his hire smells even fishier. He had to have had even just a little suspicion that HWSRN was a smoke blower and Peterson was the driving force. Coulda woulda shoulda….how much better off would the Buffs be with Peterson?

    1. Let it gooooooooo.

      Yeah, he was in Moscow. The Vandals. From late 90’s to early 2000s. I believe Koetter was coaching BSU at that time, and had them rolling. There may have been one or two years overlapping w/ Hawkins at the helm.

      Still, Hawkins brought Pete to Boise. Some Huskies worry if Petey’s plateaued there (the foolish ones, in my opinion). Hawkins has brought powerhouse UC Davis back to a good FCS team.

      He had no idea the crapstorm he inherited at CU. Too bad it didn’t work out. But like every coach, he worked his ass off to try to turn it around. That friggin’ 53-yarder by Henry in like 2008 sure didn’t help.

      Here’s to hoping the current guys can put the last 20yrs or so of CU crap storms behind us.

      Go Buffs.

      1. think I understand why you never met a coach you didnt like….I get the impression you dont want to burn any business bridges

        1. Nah, I just give people the benefit of the doubt and don’t believe just because you fail at something you’re a schill. College football coaching is ruthless and tireless. Yeah, they make a lot of money (these days in particular). But it is also an itinerary lifestyle in which most of them work about 18hrs a day.

          I give em a little sumpin for da effort. Most of them are actually decent at what they do. Very few get to the pinnacle of conference and national championships. Just look at the last what, 20 or so yrs? Stoops. Meyer. Saban. Carroll. Brown. Dabo lately. Who else? Out of how many?

          Here’s to hoping tucker puts himself in that company.

          Go Buffs

          1. And actually, now that you mention it, there are very few people that I don’t like or can’t get along with. I bet you and I would even have fun at your or my local watering hole. Despite some differing opinions.

            Go Buffs

  3. #130 – is getting 1986 and 1989 mixed up. The score 27-21 over NU is 1989, but the game recap with Campbell scoring is from 1986, when the Buffs beat NU 20-10 for the first time in 17 years.

    1. Good catch – I noticed that, too.
      I do think they intended to list the 1989 game, as a No. 2 v. No. 3 is more significant in the history of college football.
      Arguably, the 1986 game is more important in the history of CU football, but really was just an upset in the realm of college football.

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