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Pac-12 Notes

December 15th

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Arizona State tabs Boise State offensive coordinator Zak Hill as its new OC

… Note … Former NFL head coach Hue Jackson and former CU OC (and current Oregon State OC) Brian Lindgren were rumored as candidates … 

From SunDevilSource.com … Arizona State has hired Zak Hill to be its offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, the same position he held at Boise State for the last four seasons, the program announced on Saturday.

Hill met with ASU coach Herm Edwards and others on Thursday in Tempe in their search to replace Rob Likens, who was fired on Dec. 1 after two seasons as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. That led to contract negotiations with Hill’s agent on Friday and an agreement to terms on Saturday morning.

… Boise State ended the regular season at 12-1 and ranked No. 18 in the AP Top 25 and 14th in the country in scoring average at 36.8 points. The Broncos showed improvement in the category in each of three seasons since Hill became their play-caller starting in 2017.

… With the Broncos, Hill oversaw a pro-style offense that has been adaptive. In recent years they’ve often played with a lot of two-wide receiver sets with the use of multiple tight ends or one tight end with a fullback. It’s a run-first scheme — Edwards likes to say “defensive and run game travel” well — that can vary its tempo and is quarterback friendly in the way Boise State protects the pocket and uses motions to help diagnose defensive coverages.

Continue reading story here

Seattle Times: Pac-12 needs eight-team playoff in order to remain relevant

From the Seattle Times … It’s a question that divides households, ends friendships and gets children cut out of wills. It is debated by the most distinguished of academics before things eventually come to blows. There are a few fanatics that even look forward to death because they know God will finally give them the answer.

Should the College Football Playoff stay at four teams, or expand to eight?

While meeting with the media last week, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott fielded this very query. For the third consecutive year, and fourth year out of five, his conference was left out of NCAA football’s final four.

Scott noted that these consistent, self-inflicted omissions were “harmful” to the conference, and he stressed that the league has “got to be better.” But does that mean he would be open to doubling the postseason field? Yes, but only if it guarantees a spot for all five of the Power 5 Conference champions.

This, of course, would end the incessant embarrassment of the Pac-12 being college football’s Rudolph. Try as they might, its teams never get to play in the most meaningful games.

But self-serving as it may seem, Scott and the rest of college football should push to extend the CFP to eight teams. Done correctly, it would enhance the regular season and the playoffs.

Continue reading story here

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December 14th

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Twelve – a full dozen! – Stanford players have entered the Transfer Portal

From Sports Illustrated … Stanford wide receiver Donald Stewart entered the NCAA transfer portal on Friday.

In one game this season, Stewart, a senior, had one reception for 40 yards and one touchdown. By entering the portal, it is not guaranteed he will go to another program, but he can weigh his options and be contacted by coaches.

Stewart is the 12th Cardinal player to enter the transfer portal since the start of December. Other players to initiate the process this week include offensive lineman Devery Hamilton, quarterback Jack Richardson, offensive guard Henry Hattis and tight end Scooter Harrington.

Stanford has gone 4–8 this season, the worst in coach David Shaw’s nine-year tenure with the program.

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December 13th

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Larry Scott: Pac-12’s omission from CFP “painful”, but playoff expansion unlikely

From ESPN … A Pac-12 team has made the College Football Playoff just twice in six seasons and none of the past three.

If anyone should be leading the charge toward expanding the four-team model, you would think it would be Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott.

“I completely get that it would really release the pressure of being the one that’s been on the outside looking in the most in the first six years to say that automatically we’ve got our champion [in],” Scott said Thursday. “But we also have agreements through 2026 [the championship game] that I think will be very challenging for us to all agree how we’re going to amend and change.”

Scott, in New York for a forum on college athletics sponsored by Sports Business Journal, said that while changes to the playoff are being discussed behind the scenes, being halfway through the current 12-year television rights contract with ESPN means there is no urgency.

“I’ve tended to see in my 10 years here these things don’t change until they have to,” Scott said.

Last year at this time, speculation about playoff expansion was the loudest it has been since this postseason format was implemented in 2014. The Big Ten having its champion left out for a second consecutive season had commissioner Jim Delany and coaches and athletic directors in that conference grumbling publicly about the selection process.

The university presidents who oversee the playoff released a statement the day of last season’s national championship game that tamped down the chatter, saying it was “way too soon” to know if expansion was even a possibility.

This year, the four teams for the playoff fell into place without controversy after Utah lost the Pac-12 title game to Oregon. That left the Pac-12 as the only Power 5 league with a champion that had lost more than one game.

“The committee’s gotten a little luck,” Scott said.

He called getting left out of the playoff “painful.”

Continue reading story here

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December 12th

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Jon Wilner reviews preseason picks (CU: “Far better than expected”)

From the San Jose Mercury News … Time for the Hotline to do what Hotline readers do all the time: Take aim at the Hotline.

How did we fare in the preseason predictions for each team?

Plenty of variables form the season’s stew, from bad breaks to bad calls, from injuries to unusual circumstances.

The barrage of quarterback injuries across the conference helped shape the 2019 season and obviously impacted the accuracy of our predictions.

No matter, injuries are part of the prognosticating game.

My general approach: Any projection that comes within one game of the actual record constitutes a reasonable success.

A two-game disparity is bubble range.

Outside two games, it’s a whiff.

Colorado … Actual record: 5-7/3-6 (fifth)
My projection: 3-9/1-8 (sixth)
Comment: The Buffs were headed for 3-9 before they recorded the late home wins over Stanford and Washington, which we had pegged as losses. Overall, far better than we expected.
My grade: C-

Read full story here

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December 11th

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NCAA President to Congress: We need your help on NIL issues

From USA Today … Throughout the 113-year history of the NCAA, the notion of federal government intervention in the management of college sports has generally been viewed with both skepticism and outright disdain. But NCAA president Mark Emmert has carried a new message into the halls of Congress lately on the nationwide push for college athletes to be able to profit off their name, image and likeness: We need help.

Emmert acknowledged Wednesday at a sports business conference in Manhattan that he has met with members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate recently to discuss how federal legislation might help the NCAA deal with an onslaught of issues presented as more states pass bills similar to California’s “Fair Pay to Play Act.”

And in a separate telephone interview, Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said he is receptive to helping craft a bill of some type that would address the complicated question of how to compensate athletes without them becoming employees of the schools.

While the NCAA’s Board of Governors voted in October to begin the process of liberalizing rules governing name, image and likeness rights, Emmert said the NCAA would rather have a federal law to fit those rules within rather than try to navigate various state laws. Currently, nine states other than California have introduced bills, with at least eight more likely to see measures introduced during 2020 legislative sessions.

Continue reading story here

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Sports Illustrated: CSU to hire former Boston College coach Steve Addazio

From Sports Illustrated … Colorado State is set to announce for Boston College coach Steve Addazio as its new football coach, sources tell Sports Illustrated.

Urban Meyer, a onetime Colorado State assistant, helped CSU with its search. Thus it is of little surprise that a former Meyer assistant will get the job. Addazio was with Meyer at Florida, and the two also were on staff together at Notre Dame. Others who were considered for the job also included former Meyer assistants Kevin Wilson and Tony Alford. Former Tennessee coach Butch Jones, currently an Alabama analyst, also was involved in the search.

Addazio was fired by Boston College after a 6-6 season, his seventh at the school. Addazio left with a 44-44 record as coach of the Eagles.

Prior to coming to BC, Addazio had success at Temple, going 13-11 there.

The Rams just parted ways with Mike Bobo after five seasons. Colorado State was 4-8 this year, and Bobo left with a 12-game losing streak to primary rivals Colorado, Air Force and Wyoming.

Oregon loses offensive coordinator to UNLV

From DuckTerritory.com … After help leading Oregon to an 11-2 record and a Pac-12 Conference title, Oregon offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo was hired by UNLV on Wednesday to be their new head football coach. The news was first reported by Yahoo’s Pete Thamel.

Reports surfaced last week that Arroyo was a leading candidate for the UNLV job after the Rebels fired head coach Tony Sanchez two weeks ago after posting a 19-40 record over five seasons. The speculation gained further credibility with multiple reports on Monday suggesting that the Rebels were close to making the hire of Arroyo.

UNLV was considered by many as one of the most attractive group of five jobs on the market this offseason.  The Rebels are looking to bring a major improvement to the program with significant investments coming in the form of facilities. UNLV recently opened a $35 million football facility to assist with recruiting and player development and will move to play in the new Raiders Stadium being constructed in Las Vegas which is set to open next season.

Marcus Arroyo joined Oregon’s coaching staff in 2017 as the co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach and was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2018 and named assistant head coach before the 2019 season. The Oregon coordinator has familiarity with the Mountain West conference, playing quarterback at San Jose State from 1998 to 2002 and then coaching quarterbacks from 2006-2008 and serving as co-offensive coordinator in 2007 and 2008. Arroyo has also coached at Wyoming (offensive coordinator 2009-2010), Cal (passing-game coordinator 2011-12), Southern Mississippi (offensive coordinator 2013), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (interim offensive coordinator 2014-15) and at Oklahoma State (running backs coach).

Continue reading story here

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December 10th

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ESPN Top 150 Coaches: Fred Folsom and Bill McCartney make the list

From ESPN … The lifespan of a game is measured in hours. A team comes and goes in a season. A player lasts no more than four years; these days, if he’s good and stays healthy, three.

But a coach? A coach is different. Coaches define eras. In a sport in which we root for laundry, a coach humanizes those colors, becomes as much a symbol as the mascot.

The first four men selected among the 150 Greatest Coaches, as selected by our blue-ribbon panel of 150 media members, administrators and former players and coaches, span more than a century of the sport. No. 3 Knute Rockne debuted in 1918. No. 2 Nick Saban just concluded the 2019 regular season. Between those two, No. 1 Paul “Bear” Bryant and No. 4 Tom Osborne together coached from the end of World War II to nearly the end of the 20th century. The only decade not covered by these four coaches is the 1930s.

It is a nice daydream to consider what Rockne might have accomplished had his TWA flight from Kansas City to Los Angeles not plummeted into a Kansas prairie.

Saban loves to tell a story that took place in the opening game of 1995, his second season as a head coach and his first game at Michigan State. Defending national champion Nebraska defeated the Spartans 50-10. Saban wondered whether he had what it took to be a head coach. Osborne met him at midfield and told him not to worry. “You’re not as bad as you think you are,” the Nebraska coach said.

Osborne always could judge talent. In fact, that 1995 Huskers team finished fourth among our 150 Greatest Teams. And Saban turned out to be pretty good. Bryant may have earned the edge from our panel because of the longevity of his success. It’s reasonable to believe that the debate over whether Bryant is a better coach than Saban will endure at Alabama for as long as hounds have teeth.

Both men are great examples of how coaches define eras. Twenty of the top 25 coaches (as defined by our panel) coached more than 20 seasons. Longevity has its place, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said. The two coaches with the shortest (13 seasons) tenures in the top 25, Rockne and No. 10, Frank Leahy, coached at Notre Dame, where pressure has extracted a cost since Rockne transformed the school into the first national college football program in the 1920s.

87. Fred Folsom, 107-28-6
Colorado (1895-1902 and 1908-15; 78-23-2), Dartmouth (1903-06; 29-5-4)

Folsom enjoyed four unbeaten seasons at Colorado, including three straight from 1909-11, part of a 21-game winning streak over five seasons. That was his second tenure with the Buffs; Folsom went 29-5-4 at Dartmouth from 1903-06. Folsom retired from coaching in 1915 at age 42, but he continued at his chief job on the Boulder campus: he taught at the law school until 1943.

144. Bill McCartney, 93-55-5
Colorado (1982-94)

McCartney won seven games in his first three years at Colorado and never had a losing season again. The all-time leader in wins at the school, he won three conference championships, won the school’s only national championship in 1990 and played for the national championship in 1989. McCartney coached 1994 Heisman Trophy winner Rashaan Salaam and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2013.

Pac-12 Bowl Betting Lines: four favorites; three underdogs

Odds from Vegas Insider …

Rose: $4,000,000 per school … Oregon +3.0 vs Wisconsin
Alamo: $3,987,500 per school … Utah -6.5 vs Texas
Holiday: $3,163,129 per school … USC +2.5 vs Iowa
Sun: $1,723,784 per school … Arizona State -4.5 vs Florida State
Redbox: $1,800,000 per school … Cal -4.5 vs Illinois
Vegas: $1,380,000 per school … Washington -3.0 vs Boise State
Cheez-it: $518,000 per school … Washington State +2.5 vs Air Force

The Pac-12 filled all of its bowl slots … but that’s only because Utah and Oregon didn’t make it to the playoffs, and Utah didn’t earn a New Year’s Six bowl … The payouts (after expenses) are equal in the Pac-12, so CU’s cut will be the payouts above added up and divided by 12 …

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December 9th

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Oregon offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo close to a deal for UNLV job

From DuckTerritory.com … A report on Monday afternoon suggests that the Ducks may be searching for a new offensive coordinator soon. Mark Anderson of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that UNLV is ‘close to a deal’ with Oregon offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo for the vacant Rebels’ head coaching position. The report states that the deal is not complete yet.

Anderson posted on twitter,

“Hearing that #UNLVfb is close to a deal with Oregon offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo. Nothing is done yet, however.”

247Sports UNLV publisher Joe Arrigo also added a similar report,

“Hearing #UNLVfb and Oregon OC Marcus Arroyo are working towards a deal. Nothing is done but both sides working hard to get a deal done”

Earlier last week the  Las Vegas Review-Journal first reported UNLV’s interest in Arroyo for their vacant head coaching job. The Review-Journal reported on Wednesday two potential UNLV candidates, both of whom are coaching in this week’s Pac-12 Title Game. The report says that Oregon offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo and Utah defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley are two names in the UNLV coaching search and per the paper, there “appears to be mutual interest between those coaches”.

UNLV fired head coach Tony Sanchez two weeks ago after posting a 19-40 record over five seasons. The Rebels are looking to bring a major improvement to the program with significant investments coming in the form of facilities. UNLV recently opened a $35 million football facility to assist with recruiting and player development.

Continue reading story here

South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley transferring to Utah

Note … In addition to Jason Shelley, the Utes have Cameron Rising, a former four-star transfer from Texas, and Peyton Powell, a former four-star transfer from Baylor, on the roster … 

From ESPN … South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley, who started three seasons for the Gamecocks, will transfer to Utah for his final year of eligibility, he announced Monday.

Bentley, who suffered a season-ending foot injury in South Carolina’s first game of the year, announced his intent to transfer last week after he graduates on Dec. 16.

He finished his South Carolina career 19-14 as the starter with 7,527 passing yards, 55 touchdowns and 32 interceptions. Freshman Ryan Hilinski took over as South Carolina’s starter after Bentley’s injury. After a 4-8 finish, South Carolina demoted offensive coordinator Bryan McClendon and fired quarterbacks coach Dan Werner.

Bentley started the final seven games of his freshman season, going 4-3 with 1,420 yards and nine touchdowns and four interceptions. He became a captain for the first time as a sophomore in 2017 and held the designation throughout the rest of his career.

Utah senior quarterback Tyler Huntley, a candidate for the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year award, threw for 2,966 yards with 18 touchdowns to just four interceptions this year. One of his backups, sophomore Jason Shelley, saw significant playing time in 2018 after Huntley went down with an injury (98 of 168, 1,162 yards, 5 TD, 6 INT), but attempted just 11 passes this year.

Report: Butch Jones emerging as strong candidate for CSU head coaching position

Related … Mike Bobo hired as offensive coordinator by South Carolina … From ESPN

Bobo’s Colorado State contract had been subject to offset and mitigation. Rather than wait until Jan. 1 to terminate, which would have hurt both the school and Bobo’s ability to get another job, they reached deal that, with South Carolina deal, guarantees $4 million+ in next 3 years.

From msn.com … Butch Jones looks like he could be on his way back into the collegiate head coaching ranks.

According to Bruce Feldman of The Athletic, Jones has emerged as a “strong candidate” for the vacant Colorado State head coaching job.

Jones currently serves as an offensive analyst with Alabama. He had two very successful head coaching stints at Central Michigan and Cincinnati, and won nine games twice with Tennessee before the bottom fell out in a 4-8 2017 season.

The Rams are seeking to replace Mike Bobo, who was fired on the heels of a second straight losing season. The Colorado State job is considered one of the better Group of 5 openings available. Jones would be a decent get for them, though there are definitely some out there who are less convinced by his abilities than others.

Jon Wilner’s Best Pac-12 Players: Shenault in at No. 7

From the San Jose Mercury News … The best offensive player in the Pac-12 won’t be named Offensive Player of the Year when the individual awards and all-conference team are unveiled Tuesday.

The last time an offensive lineman was named player of the year was never.

Not once in the 44-year history of the award.

And the coaches, who select the award winners, aren’t going to start this year.

They aren’t going to pick a sophomore left tackle over not one but two senior quarterbacks who have endured injuries, been exemplary leaders and guided their teams to division titles.

Not happening.

But we’re here to fill the void.

Welcome to the first annual Hotline Top 15:

The 15 best players in the conference, selected with zero regard for class, position, team success or any other potentially limiting criteria.

7. Colorado WR Laviska Shenault: The top all-around offensive talent in the conference was limited by injury on several occasions and thus not able to perform at his best every week for 12 weeks. But when healthy, he was a force unlike any other — a threat as a receiver and runner. The only player in the conference good enough in the Wildcat that he makes it worthwhile to disrupt a drive into the red zone.

Read full list here … (By team – Utah: 5; Oregon: 3; Oregon State: 2; Arizona State: 2; Colorado: 1; USC: 1; Cal: 1 … Washington; Washington State; Stanford; Arizona; UCLA: 0)

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December 8th

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Pac-12 Bowl games set; conference payout $10 million less than SEC; Big Ten

  • Rose: No. 6 Oregon (11-2) vs No. 8 Wisconsin (10-3) – knew this one was coming, with Oregon winning the Pac-12, and Wisconsin losing in the Big Ten championship. 
  • Alamo: No. 11 Utah (11-2) vs Texas (7-5) – when CU went to the Alamo Bowl, the Buffs played the No. 13 team in the nation (Oklahoma State). The Utes gets an unranked Texas team which lost two of its last three games and three of its last five.
  • Holiday: No. 22 USC (8-4) vs No. 16 Iowa (9-3) – No. 2 in the Pac-12 South v. No. 2 in the Big Ten West. Motivation for each team likely to be a major factor
  • RedBox: California (7-5) vs Illinois (6-6) – Basically a home game for the Bears, playing against an Illinois team which lost to 3-9 Northwestern in the regular season finale.
  • Sun: Arizona State (7-5) vs Florida State (6-6) – Herm Edwards & Co. get a break, taking on a Florida State team which is in transition to a new head coach, and was smoked, 40-17, by rival Florida in its last game.
  • Vegas: Washington (7-5) vs No. 19 Boise State (12-1) – The last year that an average Pac-12 team (No. 6 seed) goes up against the Mountain West champion (priorities shift next season). An angry Broncos team (failed to get the Cotton Bowl) will be tough for Huskies and their new coach. Call it the “Chris Petersen” Bowl, in a matchup of his two former teams.
  • Cheez-It: Washington State (6-6) vs Air Force (10-2) – A battle of contrasts on offense. Here’s betting Mike Leach – who just received a contract extension through 2024 – will finish the 2019 season with a losing record.

How the payouts for the big bowl games worked out …

Semi Final: Peach Bowl: No. 1 LSU vs. No. 4 Oklahoma
Semi Final: Fiesta Bowl: No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 3 Clemson
Rose Bowl: Oregon vs. Wisconsin
Sugar Bowl: Georgia vs. Baylor
Cotton Bowl: Penn State vs. Memphis
Orange Bowl: Florida vs. Virginia

SEC gets three teams in, makes $14,000,000
Big 10 gets three teams in, makes $14,000,000
Big 12 gets two teams in, makes $10,000,000
ACC gets two teams in, makes $10,000,000
PAC 12 gets one team in, makes $4,000,000
G5 gets one team in, makes $4,000,000

… Sigh …

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December 7th

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Larry Scott on Pac-12 being excluded again: “I don’t have a clear answer yet”

From the San Jose Mercury News … The problem is the system …

A system established before Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens took charge of the committee …

A system that has opted for one-loss non-champions over two-loss champions.

A system that placed Utah eight spots above Oregon largely because the Ducks lost a challenge the Utes didn’t accept.

It’s not Utah’s fault.

It’s not Oregon’s fault.

It’s the system’s fault.

“It’s a question that myself and my peers still have,’’ Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said Friday afternoon when I asked about the apparent downgrade the committee has given Oregon — and all two-loss teams over the six years of the CFP.

Scott cited the established selection criteria.

He then explained that the playoff management committee meets annually with the selection chair to “make sure we’re all comfortable with how the selection committee is calibrating those things.”

He went on:

“I felt the year Washington got in (2016) that strength-of-schedule helped them. But there are other examples you could point to. There’s tons of evidence — no two-loss champion has ever gotten into the playoff. That would suggest won-loss record is kind of a negating issue.

“I don’t have a clear answer yet. In the (internal) conversations we’ve had through the season looking at Oregon compared to other one-loss teams across the country that were ranked higher than they are that may have played a weak non-conference schedule.

“We’ve raised the question as to how seriously was Oregon punished for playing Auburn at a neutral site the first game of the year without some star players and dominating most of the game.

“It seems like they have been penalized pretty hard for that.”

Indeed, they have.

Continue reading story here

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December 6th

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Oregon’s mauling of Utah ends Utes’ College Football Playoff hopes

Related … “On history’s edge, with glory beckoning, Utah football suffers its worst loss at the worst time — ever” ... from the Salt Lake City Tribune

From ESPN … The one constant all season for Utah was the ability to control the trenches against any opponent.

With a possible playoff berth and first Pac-12 title in school history on the line, the Utes more than met their match against Oregon.

CJ Verdell ran for 208 yards and broke open the game with two long touchdown runs in the fourth quarter, and No. 13 Oregon spoiled No. 5 Utah’s playoff hopes with a 37-15 victory in the Pac-12 championship game Friday night.

“Unfortunately we came up short tonight,” coach Kyle Whittingham said. “Disappointing thing is we lost in the one area we’ve been undefeated this year: line of scrimmage. We didn’t win the line of scrimmage for the first time all season, which is, like I say, disappointing. Surprising really.”

The Utes (11-2, No. 5 CFP) came into the game hoping to make a case for one of the four playoff spots with a conference title but instead got overmatched by Oregon (11-2, No. 13 CFP) and lost their second straight Pac-12 championship game.

Utah held 11 of 12 opponents to less than 100 yards rushing and led the nation by allowing 56.3 yards rushing per game, prompting plenty of pregame talk about how the Utes’ physical dominance could be the determining factor.

The Ducks took that personally and responded.

“Definitely put a little chip on our shoulders,” Verdell said. “We try not to focus on the outside noise too much. Hearing they’re the most physical team in the Pac-12 made us want to come out here and work even harder.”

The Utes fell into a 20-0 hole in the first half and then gave up a 70-yard TD run to Verdell after cutting the deficit to 23-15, paving the way for the winner of the Big 12 title game between Oklahoma and Baylor to get into the playoff as long as No. 1 LSU beats No. 4 Georgia for the SEC championship.

Continue reading story here

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December 6th

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Stanford defensive end Jovan Swann enters transfer portal

From 247Sports.com … Stanford redshirt junior defensive end Jovan Swann is in the transfer portal, a source told 247Sports.

Swann finished the 2019 season with 31 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss and four sacks. The Indiana native came to Stanford as the No. 657 overall player in the 2016 class, per the 247Sports Composite. Swann will be a graduate transfer at his next stop. The 6-foot-2, 271-pounder is the second notable Cardinal defensive lineman to enter the transfer portal in two days, joining starting defensive tackle Michael Williams.

Continue reading story here

Washington star tight end declares for the NFL Draft

From uwdawgpound.com … Washington star TE Hunter Bryant announced this afternoon that he will be forgoing his final year of college eligibility and entering the 2020 NFL Draft.

Bryant led Washington pass catchers in receiving yards this season while racking up 825 yards on 52 catches with 3 TDs. He led the team in yards per catch among everyone with at least 8 receptions on the season. Especially towards the end of the season he became the go-to target for Jacob Eason and he showed tremendous growth in his blocking ability this year. Bryant is a finalist for the John Mackey Award given to the nation’s best tight end.

He was also a favorite target of Jake Browning as a true freshman before he suffered a leg injury which cost him the second half of the year. Bryant suffered a setback that required additional surgery over the offseason before his sophomore year but returned to play the back third of the schedule. He made two massive plays on the first drive of the 2nd half against Washington State to spark UW to an Apple Cup victory as well as a ridiculous one-handed grab against Ohio State in the Rose Bowl during a failed comeback bid.

Continue reading story here

(CU 2020 opponent) Fresno State coach Jeff Tedford stepping down

Note … This means that CU’s first two games of the 2020 season – at CSU (9/5) and v. Fresno State (9/12) will be against Mountain West teams featuring new head coaches … 

From CBS Sports … Jeff Tedford is expected to step down from his position as Fresno State football coach, according to The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman, who notes that “health reasons” are the leading cause of Tedford’s decision. The former Fresno State quarterback has coached his alma mater since 2017, compiling a 26-14 overall record.

Tedford, 58, had a heart procedure in 2014 shortly after landing his first NFL coaching job as offensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His health did not allow him to return to coaching that season, and he was later released from his contract. It is unknown whether Tedford’s current health issue is heart-related.

Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel reports that Fresno State’s coaching staff has been called away from recruiting and program meetings have been scheduled for Friday morning with “a head coach transition announcement” scheduled.

After graduating from Fresno State in 1982, Tedford had a six-year career as a quarterback in the Canadian Football League.

Tedford is best known for serving as head coach at California where he led the Golden Bears to an 82-57 record over 11 seasons from 2002-12. He left as one of the most successful coaches in program history.

Continue reading story here

December 5th

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Familiar names being mentioned for CSU head coaching position

From Saturday Down South … The state of Colorado has developed a reputation as a landing spot for one-time SEC assistants. Colorado State has started its search following the departure of former Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo.

The Rams previously had former Alabama OC Jim McElwain as coach, and besides Bobo, Colorado hired former Georgia DC Mel Tucker.

Football Scoop reported that Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian is interested in the job among a long list of other coaches. Among them, former UCLA and Seattle Seahawks head coach Jim L. Mora, former Oregon DC Jim Leavitt, former Arizona State, Pitt and Tulsa head coach Todd Graham, and potentially even former Cal and current Fresno State head coach Jeff Tedford.

Sarkisian is in his second stint as Alabama’s offensive coordinator. He previously held the same position in 2016, and in between was the OC with the Atlanta Falcons.

If this move goes through, it would be Sarkisian’s third stint as a head coach after earlier tenures with Southern Cal and Washington. He’s also been an assistant at Southern Cal and with the Oakland Raiders.

Bobo was let go after 5 seasons at CSU with a 28-35 overall record, including a 4-8 mark this season.

Former Buff OC Brian Lindgren a candidate for ASU OC position

From Football Scoop.com … It was reported earlier this week that Hue Jackson is a candidate for the open Arizona State offensive coordinator position. Herm Edwards confirmed as much on local radio in Arizona on Monday.

“I’ve known Hue for quite some time,” Edwards told the Doug & Wolf show. “So we have a relationship, but we haven’t decided who the coordinator’s going to be yet.”

As fun as it would be to imagine Herm, Hue and Marvin Lewis linking arms to run Arizona State football, Jackson is not the only candidate for this job.

Sources told FootballScoop that Oregon State offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren and Boise State offensive coordinator Zak Hill are candidates for the position.

Lindgren has spent the past two seasons running Oregon State’s offense, where he has improved an offense that scored 20.7 points a game upon his arrival to 31.2 a game this fall. Prior to Oregon State, Lindgren deposited coordinator stints at Northern Arizona (2006-11), San Jose State (2012) and Colorado (2013-17).

Continue reading story here

SI: USC showing a lack of interest in returning to elite status

From Sports Illustrated … Today’s college football is an arms race. Whether it’s spending millions on premier head coaches, top assistants, major stadium upgrades or decked-out locker rooms, the message is clear for programs at the top: Win at all costs.

The price USC needed to pay to begin a trek back to college football’s elite was a reported $20 million buyout for Clay Helton. The same Clay Helton who has compiled a 13-14 record against Power 5 teams with a winning record. The same Clay Helton who has 12 double-digit losses in 61 games coached.

By sticking with a perpetual underachiever for another season when he’s essentially already been given five to prove he’s the right man for the job, the message is loud and clear in Los Angeles: USC isn’t fully committed to winning in today’s era of college football.

USC went 8-4 this season, including a 30-23 home win over 11-1 Utah. If you dig deeper, though, the Trojans’ record was not too impressive. The eight wins came against teams with a combined 46-50 record (.479). Of those eight wins, five came against teams where the quarterbacks who threw the most passes were backups and/or making their first collegiate start. The four losses came against teams with a combined 34-14 (.708) record. Once again, despite being on a similar playing field in talent, a Helton-led USC frequently withered against stronger competition.

Give Helton credit, USC has been consistent in other areas as well under his guidance. The Trojans have lost multiple games by double digits in each of the last five seasons. The Trojans have ranked between 113th and 124th in penalty yards per game in each of the last five seasons. And the program has shown for the majority of those five seasons that it is not close to competing for national titles. It has a long way to go before approaching the same level as the Alabamas, Clemsons and Ohio States of the sport.

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Washington State gives Mike Leach a contract extension good through 2024

Press release from WSUCougs.com … Washington State University Athletics announced Thursday that Head Coach Mike Leach and the University have agreed in principle to a provision in Leach’s contract that extends the agreement an additional year through the 2024 season, bringing it to a five-year contract.

Mike Leach has established, and continued, a culture of success at Washington State, both academically and athletically, that few have matched,” said WSU Director of Athletics Pat Chun. “He has returned WSU to national prominence, is one of the top football coaches in the nation, and we are fortunate to have him leading our program.”

This year Leach has led the Cougars to their fifth-straight bowl appearance, the only time in program history that has been accomplished. WSU will find out which bowl it is going to Sunday afternoon. Additionally, Leach has guided Washington State to 43 victories, and counting, over the past five years, the best five-year stretch in school history.

“We are excited about going to our fifth-straight bowl game and look forward to another exciting season in 2020. Go Cougs!” said Leach.

In keeping with his agreement signed following the 2017 season, Leach’s 2020 compensation will be $4 million, while the following four years he is also scheduled to make $4 million per year. Following the 2020 season, Leach will also receive a one-time retention bonus of $750,000.

In his eight seasons leading the Cougars, Leach has amassed 55 victories, which ranks third in program history. He has guided the Cougars to six bowl games in the past seven years, also a first for a Cougar coach, while the Cougar offense has led the nation in passing four times in that span.

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December 4th

… Foe Pause …

Clay Helton to be retained as head coach at USC

… Note … With two weeks until Signing Day (Wednesday, December 18th – mark your calendar!), we’ll see what affect this announcement has upon USC’s Recruiting Class, currently ranked 70th in the nation (11th in the Pac-12)

… Note II … Tweet from Jon Wilner: “USC’s schedule in 2020: Sept. 5: Alabama Sept. 6: Helton Watch begins”

… Note III ... If you want to get a good smirk out of the USC fan base reaction, check out the replies to Mike Bohn’s tweet announcing the retention of Clay Helton ...

From YahooSports.com … Embattled USC coach Clay Helton will return for the 2020 season, a source told Yahoo Sports. Athletic director Mike Bohn met with the USC team early Wednesday afternoon to inform them of the decision.

According to a memo obtained by Yahoo Sports, Bohn explained the rationale behind his decision for Helton to “continue to be our head coach.” The letter stated: “Heading into 2020, Coach Helton and I will work together to take a hard look at all aspects of the football enterprise and will make the tough decisions necessary to compete at a championship level.”

Bohn’s letter hinted that added support for the football program will be added to the program. The letter states that Bohn’s goal is “to ensure all coaches have the support and resources they need to make USC the most attractive school in the country.”

The letter hints at potential staff changes for Helton. Yahoo Sports reported two weeks ago that any scenario involving Helton staying would likely mean significant staff changes, which include defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast and special teams coach John Baxter. There’s no timetable on potential changes, but the letter states that “tough decisions necessary to compete at a championship level” are coming.

Helton salvaged his job after going 8-4 this year. USC recovered from a 3-3 start and showed enough promise with freshman quarterback Kedon Slovis establishing himself as one of the best young players in college football.

The slow start and departure of athletic director Lynn Swann made a change appear inevitable in October. USC’s blowout loss at home, 56-24, to Oregon in early November only added to the speculation.

But Bohn, who was hired in early November, made the surprise decision to keep Helton. Bohn faced potentially spending more than $20 million in buyouts for Helton and his coaching staff. That was an uncomfortable amount of money considering he started the job in early November and hasn’t had enough time to diagnose the issues in the program.

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Mike Bobo out as head coach at Colorado State

... Report … Bobo’s $5.5 million buyout was negotiated down to $1.8 million … 

From CSURams.com … Colorado State University and head football coach Mike Bobo have mutually agreed to a separation arrangement that will allow the program to seek a new leader for the Rams’ football program, Director of Athletics Joe Parker announced on Wednesday.

Bobo, who recently concluded his fifth year as the program’s head coach, intends to pursue other professional opportunities in coaching.

“I would like to thank Mike Bobo for his professionalism, commitment and efforts in leading our football program for the past five seasons,” Parker said. “He has devoted an innumerable amount of energy to moving Colorado State football forward and fulfilled his promises to developing our student-athletes in every dimension. Mike is an incredible mentor and truly cares about the holistic growth of young people through the sport of football. I’m grateful for Mike’s contributions to our program and have a deep respect for his personal integrity. We wish Mike well in all his future endeavors. He will always be a Stalwart Ram.”

Bobo said:  “Unfortunately, the results the last couple of seasons have not been what we wanted. I can assure you this was not a reflection of the commitment and hard work that we all put into the program the last five years. Our players and coaches never quit and fought through the final whistle against Boise State. I am so proud of this entire team and staff for their incredible resolve.”

Bobo added:  “I leave Colorado State grateful for the opportunity.  It was a pleasure to work for Joe Parker, a true professional. Lainie, my entire family and I will always cherish the time we spent and relationships formed here at Colorado State and in Ft. Collins. We leave a solid foundation here and I truly believe there are great things ahead for the Rams.”

CSU went to bowl games in each of Bobo’s first three seasons as head coach, making him the lone coach in program history to accomplish that feat, but won just seven games over the previous two seasons overall with 2-6 and 3-5 marks in Mountain West play. Overall, the Rams were 28-35 during Bobo’s tenure and failed to win any of the three bowl games during his time leading the program.

Bobo’s tenure as the program’s 22nd head coach also coincided with the opening of Canvas Stadium, Colorado State’s 36,500-seat on-campus stadium, in 2017. The Rams opened the facility in a big way with a dominating 58-27 victory over Pac-12 opponent Oregon State.

Overall, Bobo’s teams left their marks on the offensive record book at Colorado State, and his squads own three of the top-six marks for Total Offense in a season as well as the school record for most yards per game in a season, that coming in 2017 at 492.5 yards per game. His Rams also posted three of the top seven scoring seasons in CSU history and four of the top six marks for passing touchdowns.

Colorado State began the 2019 campaign 1-5 but rallied for a three-game winning streak that put the Rams back into the bowl eligibility conversation at 4-5. However, a three-game slide to close the season, including two games at home, left CSU out of bowl season for a second consecutive season.

A national search for the next head coach of Colorado State’s football program is already underway.

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December 2nd

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Washington’s Chris Petersen stepping down as head coach; DC Jimmy Lake named successor

From gohuskies.com …  Chris Petersen announced Monday that he will step down from his position as University of Washington head football coach following the Huskies’ bowl game. UW Director of Athletics Jennifer Cohen has named current defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake the new head coach of the Huskies. Petersen will transition into a leadership advisory role for Husky Athletics.

“It has been a privilege and a professional dream fulfilled to be part of this world-class institution,” Petersen said. “I will forever be grateful, honored and humbled to have had the opportunity to coach our fine young men on Montlake for these past six seasons. I thank each of them, as well as our coaches and administrative staff for the incredible commitment they’ve made to Husky football during my tenure. The football program and Husky Athletics across the board will continue to prosper – and do it the right way – with Jen Cohen’s leadership and the University administration’s commitment to excellence. I’ll be a Husky for life, but now is the right time for me to step away from my head coaching duties, and recharge.”

Petersen steps down with a career record of 146-38, compiled during his eight seasons at Boise State and six years at UW. His career winning percentage of .793 ranks second among active coaches with at least five years of FBS experience. He reached 100 career wins (in 2014) faster than all but four coaches in major college history, doing so in just 117 games.

In his six seasons at Washington, Petersen led the Huskies to two Pac-12 Championships (2016 and 2018), the 2016 College Football Playoffs, and three consecutive New Years Six bowl games. The Huskies won 39 games from 2015 through 2018 – most ever by the UW in a four-year stretch. If the Huskies win their bowl game this year, it will be the program’s 40th victory over the four seasons from 2016 to 2019, setting a new record.

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USC officials “steamed” about report of Helton’s firing

From Yardbarker.com … Silly season is off to a shaky start in college football after a disputed report about the fate of USC coach Clay Helton caught the internet by storm.

SI’s Adam Maya reported earlier Sunday that the Trojans had already reached a decision to fire Helton and had started a pursuit of Urban Meyer. Shortly after the report was posted, multiple national reporters disputed the report, led by Pat Forde of SI, who suggested that no decision had been reached and Helton could still be retained.

Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports reported the same, adding that USC folks were “steamed” by the report.

Helton may be fired, or he may not be. In fact, it had been suggested that it might be more likely that he stays at this point. Either way, it certainly doesn’t appear that any decision has been reached, and the fact that this is out there is a huge source of aggravation to USC’s administration.

December 1st 

… Foe Pause … 

Arizona State, despite 7-5 record, fires three assistant coaches

From NBC Sports … You play to win the game, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be coaching in it.

Arizona State head coach Herm Edwards followed up Saturday’s Territorial Cup win over rival Arizona by announcing several big changes for the program going forward as the ‘New Leadership Model’ in Tempe gets rebooted.

Offensive coordinator/QB coach Rob Likens was one of the few coaches retained by Edwards upon taking over for Todd Graham but will depart after a 7-5 regular season in which he tutored freshman quarterback Jayden Daniels. Tight ends coach Donnie Yantis and wideouts coach Charlie Fisher also won’t return.

Running backs coach Shaun Aguano and former Wyoming head coach Dave Christensen will serve as co-OC’s for the Sun Devils upcoming bowl game. Offensive analysts Kevin Mawae and Derek Hagan are being promoted to work with the tight ends and receivers for the postseason trip as well.

Edwards told reporters that he’ll be conducting a search for a new leader on offense so it doesn’t appear that this will be a case where he’s already got somebody in mind to take over right away fro Likens and company.

Utah a 6.5-point favorite over Oregon in Pac-12 title game

From VegasInsider.com

Championship game odds:

— No. 5 Utah is a 6.5-point favorite over No. 13 Oregon (up from 4.5 points at the open … Friday, 6:00 p.m., MT, ABC

— No. 6 Oklahoma is a 9.5-point favorite over No. 8 Baylor in the Big 12 championship game … Saturday, 10:00 a.m., ABC

— No. 1 LSU is a 6.0-point favorite over No. 4 Georgia in the SEC championship game … Saturday, 2:00 p.m., MT, CBS

— No. 3 Clemson is a 29-point favorite over No. 22 Virginia in the ACC championship game … Saturday, 5:30 p.m., MT, ABC

— No. 2 Ohio State is a 16.5-point favorite over No. 10 Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game … Saturday, 6:00 p.m., MT, Fox

Arizona coach Kevin Sumlin gets a vote of confidence from athletic director

From azdesertswarm.com … The Arizona Wildcats lost their seventh straight game Saturday to ASU to complete Kevin Sumlin’s second season at 4-8, but UA athletic director Dave Heeke told reporters afterwards that he will return as head coach in 2020.

“I just want to make it real clear that as we embark into year three of this rebuild program, Coach Sumlin is our head football coach,” Heeke said. “We’re not where we want to be. This isn’t what we wanted, the spot we wanted to be at this point. But we’re committed to the process of moving this thing forward, moving into year three, and getting a defensive coordinator on board, continuing to build through player development and continuing to build the talent level and the number of players through recruiting.”

The Wildcats are 9-15 in two seasons under Sumlin after going 43-35 in six seasons under Rich Rodriguez. Arizona went 5-7 in 2018. 2019 marks the first time UA has failed to reach a bowl game in consecutive seasons since 2007.

The Wildcats’ 2020 recruiting class ranks 73rd in the country, per 247Sports, 18 spots lower than last year.

Continue reading story here

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33 Replies to “Pac-12 Notes”

  1. As to an eight team playoff, I have always thought that made the most sense. Not sure who or what drove the bus on just four.

    You have conference champs, best record from group of five and two at large. It could be done while honoring the old school marquee bowl games too.

    The other options to level that field are the pac 12 going to 8 conference and four non con, or the sec stepping up to nine.

    “Being better” isn’t necessarily going to help the pac 12 from canniabilizing itself every year.

    Hopefully the Buffs will be better though.

    Go Buffs

  2. Addazio seems like a pretty bad hire. Everyone seems to hate him. Including every former player and coach, apparently? Or so the silly posters on Allbuffs say. Hell if I know. None of my coworkers that went to CSU seem happy. Poor little brother rammies =(

    Wilner says CU was much better than expected! So I’m sure that in the next article when grading coaches he’ll give Tucker a C-. Though, honestly, with the losses to Arizona and (especially) USC feeling like coaching mistakes I’m not sure myself what grade I would give Tucker for the year.

  3. Wow Butch Jones perhaps getting the CSU gig. I’ll never forget his antics in late 2012 when he interviewed here for the CU job, only to slink out the backdoor like a thief in the night for the job in Knoxville.

  4. Sheesh. Based on these comments it’s gonna be a long off season. Now I know why the DC dropped comments. GoBuffs beat the Jaysuckers!

  5. Time to put on the armchair coaching selector hat. Did Dr. Seuss have something like this in mind when he wrote “The Cat in the Hat?”
    I’m talking about to the CSU situation speculation of course. The only outside info on candidates I have is what was given above.
    The AD says he wants someone who has had successful experience at a high level. “Has” is the key word there which means this will be someone in the carousel club that has ridden it so long they have callouses on their butt. …and that sounds like it might not include Alford.
    The lambs would probably make Sarkisian fall of the wagon again.
    Don’t know all that much about Mora but every time I heard him speak he sounded like a downer.
    Tedford may really have some health problems that stress wouldnt help.
    Don’t know Graham’s situation at all.
    Jim Leavitt maybe the one. Indications are he still really really wants an HC job. Even after Taggart was fired he was promoted to DC at Florida State albeit probably on an interim and he resigned anyway and is applying for HC jobs in other places in Florida. I cant remember if he was ever considered as garden hat’s replacement. If he was turned down would a revenge tour motivate him?
    Last but certainly not least Urban is still out there. As you know, Fort Fun has been designated by someone as one of the top 5 cities to live in. OK…that was meant as sarcasm/satire but stranger things have happened. Kareem Abdul Jabbar was an ASSISTANT basket ball coach on one of the Indian reservations in my neighborhood for a while. (apples and oranges?)

  6. Ok so gotta love the Pac12 right? CU beats ASU. OU beats CU. ASU beats OU. UU beats CU. OU beats UU. You never now what’s going to happen week to week. Even though Pac12 doesn’t get into the CFP it’s a fun conference to watch.

    I have to admit I enjoyed watching the Ducks pound on the Utes. I thought CU had their way physically vs. the Utes in the first half last week. Mostly shut down Moss. Huntley is just OK. If it wasn’t for a kick return and two runs by a TE, then a blowout turns into a game? And when the Utes TE Kuithe scored his second TD and did the little yawn gesture, that is when I decided the Utes were a little too cocky and needed to a beat down this week. Boom.

    What will the Pac12 look like next year? I think Utah has peaked. Oregon loses all their seniors. It’s going to be interesting for sure.

  7. The Thelma and Louise shot on the Helton twitter replies was priceless. Thanks Stu for letting me start the day with a guffaw.
    It also got me to thinking it might provide earache with a little perspective. If all those POed USC fans were Buff fans it might trigger him into a going on a serial killing spree.
    It also provided me with a little perspective. Maybe Corn fans aren’t the worst ones in the world.
    Frost has 2 losing seasons and losses to the Buffs in a row. Helton got the condoms playing pretty dang well by the end of the season. I havent checked yet but I believe they are ranked.

  8. VK, I agree quite often with much of what you say. But you lose credibility when you make comments like “FHCMM was a total failure at CU.” Really? I am totally in agreement with the decision to let him go and hire a new head coach. He was not taking the program where it needed to go. But a total failure? I don’t think so. He did win the Pac12 South one year. And he was named national head coach of the year. Hard for me to understand how that was a “total failure.”

    1. Okay yur opinion. Maybe “total” was a bit strong. He did make a lot of money for basically no results over 6 years and while making all that money got his son’s education paid for………….not by him. And then to prove the point snuck out of town without even saying goodbye or thanks for the cash or nothing. Sorry, he has not credibility……………..

      .”He did win the Pac12 South one year. And he was named national head coach of the year.”..
      ..Best joke I have heard all year.

      Go Buffs
      Credibility is important eh?

  9. Here’s another funny thought. I’m full of ’em today… Maybe our pal Jim will look to get the CSU gig? Not too bad a commute from his place in Boulder, right?

    I’m sure he’s lobbying for one of the FL open spots. Or would think he is, if he really wants to be the head guy again.

    Anyway, landing him at CSU would really put the coaching vs. talent debate to the test, yeah? I think it’d be hilarious.

    Go Buffs

  10. As to USC keeping Helton? Only USC would consider firing a guy who’s won a conference championship, won their division a couple times, and went 8-4 with a new OC and their 2nd and 3rd string QBs.

    Now, as always, it’s a new year next year. And, Wilner’s right. Hell, he’s probably late. Helton Watch has already started.

    Yeah, who wants to be a D1 head football coach? Nutty.

    Go Buffs.

  11. Interesting how some would give the gardner 7 years and yet only give HCMT 2 years.

    Interesting how some would expect at a minimum 5 and 7 from a team that averaged 5 wins a year over the last 6 years of the gardner

    Interesting how some would expect more than the 3 wins in conference from a team that averaged a little of 2 for the last 6 years.

    The depth of the team is as it was the last 6 years. Not much.

    Next year will be the next step in the growth year of the Mighty Buffs under HCMT.
    If it’s another 5 and 7 year? He gets a couple of more years for sure.
    The previous coach who got 6 years went 6 and 18 in his first 2 and won 1 conference game in that time frame.

    I expect a much better overall performance next year from the HCMT coaching staff and the players. The talent that is leaving (Except Viska ….thanks Chev) is mediocre to midland. No offense to the players. Just how it is. No real development from the previous staff.

    So next big thing is the signing day in December
    Then the signing day in Feb. (The 4 star rb is not going to sign to February… I don’t like that.

    Then off we go to the next season and the spring camp and the summer camp and the fall camp.
    The days and weeks will drag by but the months will fly by and then here we go again.

    Can’t wait.

    Buffs.

    1. Good morning. You’re being passive aggressive again.

      I just have one question this morning. For ten years you said the talent was there to win. For ten years you said it was a matter of coaching. Now, suddenly, despite the best roster CU has had since rick to Gary, you lament about a bare cupboard. How is that?

      Go Buffs

      1. How is it that you would still have gardner coaching but already putting the pressure on HCMT…ie next year.

        It is not the best roster since rick to Gary…..You need to prove that…………….Fake news.

        For ten years it has been a matter of coaching. And it was. The proof is the DC in 2016. Other than that there was nothing.

        Anyway

        Buffs

        1. Now that’s funny. I’m putting pressure on Mel? Nobody here puts pressure on anyone in that building. But, I do apply a little to you, particularly when your logic flips b/c you like a guy or you don’t.

          Now, I know you know these facts, you just choose to ignore them b/c they don’t serve your latest narrative, but since you want me to show you, here you go (hopefully Stu doesn’t blow me out for too long a post).

          Rick to Gary, 8-4 in 1998 to 7-5 in 1999. 1999 roster included Mike Moschetti, and Bobby Pesavento, two decent CU QBs.

          O Line: Brad Bedell and Andre Gurode, those two guys did ok, yeah? Gurode played what, a decade in the NFL? Bedell made it too, right?

          TE: Daniel Graham. Dude did ok, yeah?

          WR: Marcus Stiggers, Javon Green

          RBs were OK, but not stellar – at least I don’t remember them beyond maybe Cortlen Johnson.

          But still that’s a decent offense, yeah? I mean you got a few NFL linemen, TE and serviceable D1 QBs there.

          On D they had guys like DBs: Michael Lewis, he only played what, a decade in the NFL? Rashidi Barnes was ok; Medford Moorer, Ben Kelley, Damen Wheeler, etc.

          Linebackers: Jashon Sykes, Ty Gregorak, Drew Wahlroos, pretty stout group there.

          D line, they only had guys like Justin Bannan.

          That 1999 team put four guys into the NFL in the 2000 draft, up from three in the 1999 draft.

          Now, from Gary to Dan, 2005 to 2006, we went from 7-6 (which I would argue was a bit of a farce, thanks to a weak Big 12 north, and as exhibit #1, 70-3) to 2-10 in 2006. Ugh. The horror. Nevertheless, the roster had:

          QB: Bernard Jackson, James Cox and Cody Hawkins. Super stellar lineup there. For sure.

          O line: Tyler Polumbus was a stud of sorts, but took a while to get there. Other “big names” included Daniel Sanders, Brian Daniels, and some others. Not quite Andre Gurode caliber, right?

          WR: Patrick Williams was the marquee guy, if I recall; Dusty Sprague did ok (for a smaller guy). But, seems like Gary inherited a better bunch, yeah? Weren’t most of the rest of the WRs in 2006 walk ons?

          RB: Hugh was a stud. Not an NFL stud, but certainly a solid D1 guy.

          TE: Riar Greer. Solid, but…

          On D you had guys like George Hypolite on the DL. He was a stud. I am not sure Justin Bannan stud, but maybe close?

          LBs: Thaddeus Washington and Jordan Dizon were the guys there, I think. Still I don’t think they were the caliber of Wahlroos, Sykes and Gregorak, do you?

          DB’s: Terrence Wheatley and Ryan Walters were the guys. Solid. Not sure they were Michael Lewis or Rashidi Barnes solid though.

          On to 2010 to 2011 from Dan to Jon, 5-7 to 3-10. Jon’s roster wasn’t great, and he certainly wasn’t loaded w/ guys to fit the style they wanted to implement on offense, nor probably defense.

          Jon had as QB – Tyler Hansen. Stevie Joe Dorman. Brent Burnette. Connor Wood (I believe you anointed him the savior when he transferred?) Impressive. With no slight to Tyler. He was actually an OK D1 QB. Not Moschetti or Pesavento OK, but… OK. Kinda Hawkins OK.

          O line: Daniel Munyer and Bahktiari were probably the guys there.

          WR: Paul Richardson. Tony Clemons. Spruuuuuuuce (as a freshman). Not bad.

          TE: nobody terrific

          RB: Speedy! Stud. D1 stud. Not NFL stud.

          On D? Had some decent DB’s; Jared Bell, Ray Polk, Anthony Perkins, etc. Solid, but not great.

          LB’s, Doug Rippy and Derek Webb were probably the guys, right? Meh.

          DLine: Will Pericek, Nate Bonsu, Chidera, they were the guys?

          Wow, this is long! Good thing I have a fair amount of free time (and answer my phone, email, and get a little work in between).

          2012 to 2013, Jon to Mike. From 1-11 to 4-8. Hey, there was hope. Mike inherited:

          QB – your boy Connor Wood, that highly touted guy from TX you probably thought would be a hero, who just never quite got there. Sefo Liufau as a freshman. With Jordan Gerhke and Jordan Webb. That’s a solid QB room right there.

          WR: DD, Paul, and some up and coming freshman (Ross, Bobo) and a developing Spruce. Not bad, considering.

          RB: Christian Powell and Tony Jones and Michael Adkins were the guys, I think. Phil was there, but didn’t he redshirt to rehab his knee still?

          OL: Weren’t Jeremy Irwin, Jack Harris and Stephone Nembot the guys? Serviceable.

          So there’s nobody at QB, an OK Oline, maybe (freshmen that year ended up being better though). Stud at WR, but? That’s that.

          And lastly, friggin whew, from Mike to Mel, 2018 to 2019, 5-7 to 5-7. Mel inherited:

          QB: 3rd yr starter and “possible” NFL draft pick QB, backed up by 4-star, 3yr guy, and 3-star guy whose dad was a stud college and serviceable NFL QB. I call that an improvement for every transition since Rick to Gary.

          RB: Fontenot and Mangham. I think we’re seeing Fontenot can be the guy. He has NFL potential, if he can realize it. Mangham? Certainly has the physical tools. Does he get the mental side of it?

          Oline: Purcell, likely an NFL guy. Lynott, may get a shot at the league. He brought in Hambright, good get; maybe underperformed a bit. Sherman, likely an NFL guy. Plus some serviceable guards, and rotational guys. I’d call that an upgrade, but it is admittedly hard to tell b/c projecting some of the youth. He’s certainly got some good dudes that he’s recruiting, but most of those guys were here.

          WR: Um, do I need to list these guys relative to other transitions? I will if you aren’t familiar. Let me know.

          TE: Brady likely gets a shot at the league. He works too damn hard, and is too damn smart. The rest of the guys? We’ll see. Very glad he’ll be back next year.

          Defense, on the Line: Mustafa – will be in the league. Terrence Lang? Could get a shot at the NFL. Too bad they couldn’t keep Izzy, b/c he may be an NFL guy. Again, Mel did a nice job bolstering that group, no doubt. Here’s to hoping they will develop as expected.

          LBs: Landman – could be. They may not like his speed, but maybe he’ll get a shot as special teams guy, or situational lb? Akil Jones is coming on. By his own admission, injuries and focus hindered him previously. Change of voice in his head may have helped, but… it’s really still Els, who is a solid coach.

          DBs, we know the story there. Definitely a weak area that Mel has built up nicely, it seems. But, he did lose 4 experienced guys from that group who “might” have made a difference. None were NFL guys though.

          So yeah, all in all, I say Mel inherited a whole lot more talent and depth, across the board, than any other coaching transition since Rick to Gary.

          Were there outliers in each position group over the last 20yrs? Sure. But, overall, the talent and depth is way better from Mike to Mel than any other transition.

          Just the facts, bub. And, the fact is, the cupboard was not bare. Does it need better stocking? Absolutely. It has for 20yrs. That is my point. Here’s to hoping Mel continues the improvement.

          I’m sure you’ll either go crickets, or quibble with some minor oversights or discrepancies in this review, but… the point is the same. Mel inherited a better roster than any other coach since Rick to Gary.

          And, as to my thoughts on Mel? Basically the same as with every other first year coach. Guardedly optimistic. A bit disappointed in the record, given the talent on offense he inherited. But? I chalk that up to a learning curve all around for first year staff, players, etc. And, as I’ve said, this 5-7 season definitely “felt” better than last year’s 5-7 season.

          They’re still in the win close/lose close phase though. Mel has to break through that.

          I really hope we’re not having this same conversation again in three or five more years.

          Go Buffs.

          1. Eric, Congrats! You now have the current record for longest post in CUATTHE GAME history. I think Stuart’s server just crashed.

          2. Totally, 96. I almost patted myself on the back for that. However, I cringed as I wrote it, and posted it, but I knew since LaVar would never, ever go into detailed roster comparisons, and would continue harping on my doing so to prove my point? Well, there we go.

            Another arrow in that argument’s quiver that I opted to gloss over – if anyone wants to take it on – is looking at the NFL draft guys (and un-drafted free agents) in year 1 of every new coach. Presumably that would indicate they inherited some talent.

            My guess is Mel’s 2020 draft class will have more guys than any since, well? Gary’s 2000 class (following his first year in 1999). Now, LaVar will credit Mel for developing them in that one-year’s span, but then… what about the backup QB’s he says didn’t develop at all? Other positions? Man, his pretzel logic is Hi Larious.

            I’m out. At least for long posts.

            Go Buffs.

          3. Now that was an earache.
            So what’s yur point Your praise of the team that HCMT inherited from FHCMM and there future is total speculation and hope. Similar to your hope for FHCMM to retire here even though after 3 years the truth was evident. HIs coaching staff was abysmally down level. 2016 was an anomaly and without the DC it would have been like all the other years under FHCMM. I mean look who he replaced him with for the bowl game. And then hired. Chev could coach WR and as recruiter help turn the Mighty Buffs around. But he wasn’t an OC…………at least not yet. FHCMM was a total failure at CU.

            He couldn’t recruit a lick.

            I was hoping woods would be the guy. So where you. I was hoping Montez would be the guy. So were you. He wasn’t. NFL?? Free agent contract?
            And did the qb before him make it? Asking for a friend. Drafted? All talk no personal improvement………….Same bad habits……….But I wish him well. Don’t forget the 2nd stringer qb was so good he was moved to DB

            TE. Weak and you know it. Nice little attitude. But nfl ST. Bisharat was a tight end. There is some heavy depth. Another one went on the transfer portal. I had high hopes for him too.

            RB? Ya okay but only one. No Depth. So you think the new RB is dumb and can’t handle it mentally? Nice. Running game was so much better this year. Coaching? Nah.

            Receivers? You can thank Chev. FHCMM was useless in recruiting. He was good at accepting awards though.

            The Oline. Hmmmmm The Oline was much better this year than the last two years. Same personnel from a depth standpoint but the coaching was so much better than what FHCMM provided from an assistant coaching standpoint. Much better and the rise here is showing eh? But even with that the QB just couldn’t make it happen. Old habits for such a young guy too. But maybe the football future is bright for him
            The offense under FHCMM has been middling or worse since he showed up. HCMT got a weak offensive present from FHCMM

            The defense was ok then bad then pretty damn good.
            DLine…………..Some nfl players there? Maybe Sami one year….Some good freshman too………oh wait they don’t count in what FHCMM passed on to HCMT.

            Now landman and that crew was a nice small gift to HCMT. Actually a very nice gift with Wells etc.

            DB’s…………….a joke ……………half left when they realized this was now bigboy football……………FHCMM did go after any of em…………Decommit DB’s too. No FHMM chasing any of them. How funny.

            Receivers turned to DB’s. No depth….No experience. Anyone to the nfl in this group? What was your favorite word above? Serviceable?

            Fact is HCMT inherited a bare cupboard. Some talent with no depth. Now that talent except for Viska was as you say………………all serviceable.

            Serviceable equals mediocrity. No depth equals a losing record. Hence FHCMM legacy……………………..

            You can ache your ear all you want about how this is the best transfer blah blah blahblah………….. since…………..blah blah blah…………………..It may be……………don’t care………….cause it is not relevant……………….what is relevant is that it was a midland team with no depth………………….. that was handed to HCMT.

            And you are disappointed cause they didn’t make a bowl.

            Every game every year for the last seven you stated. I know the coaches will get it figure out. They are professionals. They will do it. Just so close now. Blah blah blah………………..You could’t see the gardner for the weeds.

            Anyway yur a good speculator but your picture is broken.

            Go Buffs.

            And a freshman shall lead them…………………….be here in the spring.

          4. Oh LaVar, good effort. The future is always speculation and hope. Always.

            My point? Mel inherited the best roster compared to any other coaching transition since Rick to Gary. That’s quite clear.

            2016 team produced four draft picks from the defense, and four others who got UDFA deals. None were brought in by your pal Jim. Yeah. His year with them was yuge, and created their success. Oh. Ok.

            Receivers? I definitely give Chev credit for bringing them in. I still wonder why they don’t seem to perform to their expectations though. Had to have been the last HC, right?

            O Line. There you go. Dudes who coached them for a year made them better, but they cannot coach the QBs and make them better? Other position groups? What? Try again?

            Freshmen Mel brought in? I give him full credit for that. No qualms there. Doesn’t take away from the existing guys he inherited though.

            You still say Mel inherited a bare cupboard. That’s just false. It fits your new narrative though, that fits the guy you like.

            Mel got a better cupboard than any other coaching transition since Rick to Gary. Fully stocked? Nope. That’s the problem. If it were fully stocked, we’d be winning.

            Hopefully Mel will get us there.

            And yes, I’m disappointed every year they don’t make a bowl. That’s a lot of disappointment over the last 20yrs, my man. I believe that’s one thing we agree upon.

            And, I’m always guardedly optimistic, and filled with hope for the future instead of sour grapes about the past.

            Good luck twisting your logic this off season.

            I’ll keep it real.

            Go Buffs.

        2. Ear of the Ache,

          Yur point is what? He got a better transfer of a team than the 3 previous coaches? So what? They were all incompetent anyway.

          That transfer team to HCMT was less than mediocre That senior class was 24 and 26 and if not for the DC it would have been much worse.

          So Go look at 2018 and 2019 roster and the depth chart.

          You might learn something.

          Buffs.

          Fact: FHCMM took the money and ran. Didn’t even say good bye.

          The cupboard was bare………………and you can change the discussion to who got the best transfer class………………makes no difference…………..

          Anyway done……………

  12. Yo az,

    Ep liked him a lot. But mostly cause he hated HWSRN so much and wants us all to know that it was Peterson not the flimflam man #1

    The Buff cupboard is going from bare to kinda full. Even with the “loss” of those 17 seniors.

    Go Buffs.

    Note: Did you here that garden hats (Alias flimflam man #2) boss was fired today?

    1. This year may have been Peterson’s worst W/L record ever. If not its close. He probably shamed himself with that letdown.
      Yup…heard Mickey was fired as well being collateral damage to the peeing dog posture…among other things I’m sure. Do Ole (Not Ol) Miss assistants get a buyout? Even if they dont Mickey has enough money to retire nicely….and being a stand up Christian guy, materialism shouldnt matter that much. He should follow Jimmy Carter into his form of retirement doing good deeds for the less fortunate instead of making football players less fortunate.

  13. AZ, head football coaches get zero time off. Zero.

    Heck, I always say to my wife – to her chagrin – I never get a day off, but I have a lot of free time. And, I am not a football coach. Talk about a friggin’ 24/7 grind. And, really, only about 20% -30% of their “job” is football related. They’ve got 105 kids, countless staff, etc. donors, speaking engagements, and all the things that go into that, battering them about. Daily. Not to mention the pressure to win, etc. It’s never ending. Petey also has a special needs kid. It’s one reason he went to Boise and stayed there so long. Their support system was solid there. Seattle and UW were also well set up to help on that front.

    Do head coaches make a crap-ton? Yeah. But, in most cases, move their families every 3-5 years. More frequently as they work to get to that point. Would I want that gig? No. Would you? Would any of us?

    You have to be a little bit masochistic to choose that as your profession. There really are many easier ways to make a lot of money. And, you have to really love the “developing kids into adults” aka teaching piece too. Crazy. I think we fans forget that.

    Ultimately, they’re just dudes doing what they do, giving it all they got. Even when some of us think they may not be (and yes, just like anything, there are dirtbags in that profession too, just like any/every walk of life, but… that’s a whole other story, and like in life the % of dirtbags is relatively low). But I digress.

    It’ll be really interesting to see how Lake does up there. He was my preferred choice to come to CU after Mac got canned. Rumor has it, he was offered the job and declined it. Maybe now we know why.

    So far, Mel’s doing OK. I’m a bit disappointed in the W/Ls of the year, but like most of us, 5-7 “feels” better this year than the last two. Hopefully that’s not just another illusion. I think that’s the best first year record of any new CU coach since Rick to Gary (and the roster was also the best since that transition) so maybe that should have been the lowest expectation, but? There were some marquee events/wins, that somehow make it feel better than just another 5-7 bowl-less season just like every other year of the last 15 (2016 excepted).

    2020 is when the rubber meets the road. We need a friggin’ QB, that’s for sure. Not much margin for error there. Hopefully someone can step up whether the dudes that are there now, the freshman or a grad transfer. Without a QB, it could get really ugly before it gets better.

    Go Buffs.

  14. ep’s favorite coach suffers burnout. I assume he will maybe surface again as Urban Meyer did but who knows. With the new early signing date I understand that college football coaches get very little time off and once the fall practice begins in Aug. it is a 16/hrs/day for those that are consumed by the job.

    Hope this doesn’t happen to HCMT before he gets this CU thing turned around. Of course Peterson has been at it once he took over for that Coach of all Coaches, the “Great Hawk.”

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