Pac-12 Notes – CSU Week

August 30th – GameDay!!

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CSU coach Mike Bobo expecting to run out onto the field with his team

From the Coloradoan … Mike Bobo is still recovering from an autoimmune condition that limited his mobility last season, but the Colorado State football coach says he’ll meet his goal of running onto the field in front of his team Friday night when the Rams open the season in the Rocky Mountain Showdown.

“I’m not going to run really fast,” Bobo said. “… I’m sure I’m going to be energized and excited, too, and there’ll be a little bit of adrenaline that will help me run out there. I just don’t want to fall.”

CSU faces Colorado at Broncos Stadium at Mile High in the season-opening game for both schools.

Bobo, 45, still walks awkwardly, keeping more of his weight on his heels than on the balls of his feet. But he’s moving around far better than he did at any point last season, when he was obviously having difficulty walking the sideline during games.

Monday, he jogged over to talk to a group of reporters after practice in the school’s Indoor Practice Facility and said the nerve damage that hospitalized him for 10 days last August and affected him throughout the season won’t limit his ability to coach his team in practices or games this fall.

Continue reading story here


August 29th

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UCLA falls to Cincinnati for the second consecutive year

Related … “Where’s the progress? Chip Kelly’s second season at UCLA begins with a whimper” … from the Los Angeles Times

From ESPN … Junior running back Michael Warren II scored one touchdown on the ground and caught one of sophomore quarterback Desmond Ridder’s two scoring passes as the University of Cincinnati Bearcats beat the UCLA Bruins 24-14 on Thursday in the teams’ season-opener.

Ridder also connected with graduate-transfer tight end Josiah Deguara for a touchdown, senior kicker Sam Crosa added a 44-yard field goal and sophomore safety Ja’von Hicks came up with a fumble recovery and an interception for the Bearcats.

Warren finished with 92 yards on 26 carries while Ridder was going 18-for-26 for 242 yards.

UCLA sophomore quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson was 8-for-26 for 156 yards and touchdowns of 75 yards to junior wide receiver Demetric Felton and seven yards to sophomore wide receiver Chase Cota. Thompson-Robinson also lost his grip on the football twice and threw two interceptions, personally accounting for all four UCLA turnovers.

Cincinnati knocked off UCLA in the opener for the second straight season. The Bearcats beat the Bruins 26-17 at the Rose Bowl last season.

THE TAKEAWAY … UCLA: Coach Chip Kelly will have to wait another week to log the 50th win of his college career. He is 3-10 in his second season with Bruins, more losses than the seven he incurred in four seasons with Oregon

Utah takes care of BYU with second half push

From ESPN … Utah’s defense picked up where it left off last season. BYU paid a steep price for it.

The No. 14 Utes scored three touchdowns off three BYU turnovers to pull away for a 30-12 victory on Thursday night in the opener for both teams. Utah left no doubt about how strong its defense could be this season.

Over the final 30 minutes, the Cougars gained just 104 yards on 18 total plays.

“We heard all the time about how they had a great offense,” safety Julian Blackmon said. “They have a great team for sure, but we know that man-for-man we’re the better team. So at the end of the day, we just wanted to come out and prove that.”

Utah’s defense did its part, and Zack Moss highlighted the offensive effort.

Moss ran for 187 yards and a touchdown to help the Utes (1-0) earn their ninth straight victory in the Holy War rivalry, which was being played for the 100th time.

Continue reading story here

CU has sold over 10,000 more tickets than CSU to final RMS in Denver

From the Coloradoan … Colorado State trails Colorado by more than 10,000 in tickets sold for Friday’s final Rocky Mountain Showdown football game in Denver.

CSU had sold 23,758 tickets for the game as of 11 a.m. Wednesday, a school spokesman said, including 7,391 student tickets. Those figures were expected to grow significantly later Wednesday and Thursday, school officials said, noting that they sold more than 1,000 total tickets and almost 600 student tickets between late Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning.

CU had sold 34,056 tickets as of Wednesday afternoon, including 9,985 to students a school spokesman said.

Continue reading story here


August 28th

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Rams to take a “we” approach to stopping Laviska Shenault 

From …  Mike Bobo isn’t sure there is any one thing Colorado State can do to slow down Colorado receiver Laviska Shenault, at least that’s inside the boundaries of fair play.

“The best way is to send over some wings that have something in them, and maybe he gets food poisoning the night before the game and hope that he’s too sick to play,” the Colorado State coach said – jokingly. “You know, he’s a great player. The thing that makes him special is they get him the ball in so many different ways. He’s not just your typical just true receiver. He’s able to do things out of the backfield, he’s played wildcat quarterback … I mean, he does everything. They do a great job in the past of getting him the ball.”

For the cornerbacks Friday night at Bronco Stadium at Mile High, Shenault is not a “me” problem. He is a “we” problem for the defense.

He broke out against the Rams’ defense with 11 catches for 211 yards. They didn’t know much about him, but after his 89-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter – where he found a soft spot and took off – the Rams are very much aware of what he can do if they lose track of him.

“We need all 11 hats to the ball to be able to stop a guy like that,” said defensive end Jalen Bates, who faced Shenault at Arizona State last year. “He’s a pretty good athlete, and he bounces off tackles. We have to have 11 hats to the ball every play. I mean, it’s really that simple.”

Continue reading story here


Backup quarterbacks at Washington and USC leave their programs

USC’s Jack Sears to enter transfer portal

From ESPN … After finishing USC’s quarterback competition No. 4 on the depth chart, redshirt sophomore Jack Sears has entered the transfer portal.

Sears announced his decision earlier Tuesday via Twitter.

“The past week has been a difficult time, a bump in the road, and it makes me realize that life is not linear,” he wrote. “I love my teammates, football, USC, and the USC degree. Nobody can ever take that degree away from me.”

Sears’ decision came less than one week after coach Clay Helton announced sophomore JT Daniels would start for the second straight season. The Trojans held an open audition among all four scholarship quarterbacks during spring practice and preseason camp as part of their transition to the Air Raid spread offense. Freshman Kedon Slovis was named the backup, with redshirt junior Matt Fink third on the depth chart and Sears fourth, leading to the expectation that Sears would seek other options.

Sears plans to remain at USC for the fall semester to complete his undergraduate degree in December, which would allow him to talk to other schools and coaching staffs and be immediately eligible to play next season without having to sit out.

Jake Haener leaves UW after losing starting quarterback job

From the Tacoma News Tribune … On Thursday, reports began circulating that Jacob Eason had been named Washington’s starting quarterback.

On Friday, head coach Chris Petersen confirmed the news.

By Saturday, backup quarterback Jake Haener was leaving the program.

Haener, a redshirt sophomore, was competing to take over as UW’s starter this season. But just more than 24 hours after Petersen announced that Eason had won the battle, the university released a statement saying Haener had left the program. Petersen said on Friday that Haener, who served as Jake Brownings backup last season, would see playing time in the home opener against Eastern Washington.

“Obviously two really good quarterbacks, tight competition,” Petersen said then. “You take it as long as you can. You got to make a decision and roll with it. Jake Haener will play in our first game. He should, he deserves it and he will.”

That won’t be the case anymore.

Haener played in four games last season, completing 9-of-13 passes for 107 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He completed all seven passes for 110 yards and a touchdown in his debut against North Dakota. Haener also played two series in the 12-10 loss to Cal, completing 1-of-4 passes and throwing a pick six. A three-star prospect coming out of high school, Haener was considered the No. 27 pro-style quarterback in the country by 247Sports.

… Haener is the second quarterback UW lost this offseason. Redshirt freshman Colson Yankoff entered the transfer portal in May and landed at UCLA. Simon also briefly put his name in the transfer portal but removed it after reportedly sitting down for a conversation with Petersen and offensive coordinator Bush Hamdan.


August 27th

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Report: Approximately half of the Pac-12 is interested in 10:00 (MT) kickoffs

From CBS Sports … Approximately half of the 12 teams in the Pac-12 are interested in playing games in the 9 a.m. PT window next season, sources tell CBS Sports.

The Pac-12 announced at last month’s media day that it had held preliminary discussions about playing games as early as 9 a.m. (noon ET) to carve out better exposure for the conference.

The idea has been tabled for this season. However, the SportsBusiness Journalreported Tuesday that multiple games could be coming in 2020, and they could be marketed as special events if it is not widely adopted throughout the league.

Ten of the 12 Pac-12 schools reside at least part of the year in the Pacific Time Zone. The other two are Utah and Colorado, which would be playing games in that window at 10 a.m. MT.

The Pac-12 has gone 15 years without a national championship in football. It has placed a team in the College Football Playoff in only two of the event’s first five years. The early start was first suggested this offseason by the San Jose Mercury News’ Jon Wilner as a way for the conference to gain more attention.

Continue reading story here

Pac-12 media strategy: Larry Scott envisions a jackpot, but obstacles loom

From the San Jose Mercury News … Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott has never lacked for confidence in his strategic thinking or hesitated to work outside the box.

Where those attributes intersect with greater force than anywhere else in his leadership of the conference, is the Pac-12’s media strategy.

Those traits helped Scott forge a $3 billion contract with ESPN and Fox that is praised to this day by industry analysts as the best deal the Pac-12 could have received.

Those traits led him to create the Pac-12 Networks as a seven-channel, wholly-owned media company — a move that is criticized to this day by analysts and fans alike.

Those traits also spurred Scott to arrange for the Pac-12’s media rights to expire at the same time: All the football and men’s basketball content currently seen on ESPN, Fox and the Pac-12 Networks will be available for purchase at the end of the 2024 fiscal year.

That last move, while not nearly as well publicized as the others, is the source of Scott’s unrelenting optimism about the Pac-12’s negotiating position during the next round of media rights deals.

“You talk about the future and 2024,’’ he said recently, “and we’ve looked at when everyone’s rights expire. And there’s not a lot of college football content that’s going to be available in next 10 years.

Continue reading story here

(Surprise!) Washington State doesn’t go with graduate transfer for starting quarterback

Note … Gordon went 3-5 last year in mop up duty, including going 2-for-2 v. CU for 11 yards … 

From ESPN … Longtime backup quarterback Anthony Gordon has been named the starter for No. 23 Washington State heading into Saturday’s season opener against New Mexico State.

Coach Mike Leach says Gordon beat out graduate transfer Gage Gubrud to start for the Cougars in the Air Raid offense.

Gordon saw little playing time the past three years as a backup. He has completed 3 of 5 passes for 17 yards and one interception.

But he has played better in practice than Gubrud, a star at FCS Eastern Washington who was granted a rare sixth year of eligibility this year and transferred to Washington State. Gubrud has been slowed by injuries in recent years.

Gordon emerged as the likely starter when he took about two-thirds of the reps during practice last week.


August 26th

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Pac-12 Week One lines: Three conference teams are underdogs

From 5Dimes


  • UCLA … a 2.5-point underdog on the road to Cincinnati … 5:00 p.m., MT, ESPN
  • Arizona State … a 24.5-point favorite at home v. Kent State … 8:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks
  • Utah … a 5.5-point favorite on the road against BYU … 8:15 p.m., MT, ESPN


  • Colorado … a 13.0-point favorite over Colorado State (Denver) … 8:10 p.m., MT, ESPN
  • Oregon State … a 15.0-point underdog at home against Oklahoma State … 8:30 p.m., FS1


  • Washington … a 21.0-point favorite at home against Eastern Washington … 1:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks
  • Stanford … a 6.5-favorite at home against Northwester … 2:00 p.m., MT, Fox
  • California … a 13.0-point favorite at home against UC-Davis … 4:30 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks
  • Oregon … a 3.5-point underdog v. Auburn (Arlington) … 5:30 p.m., MT, ABC
  • Washington State … a 31.5-point favorite at home against New Mexico State … 8:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks
  • USC … a 13.5-point favorite at home against Fresno State … 8:30 p.m., MT, ESPN

CBS Sports: Arizona’s Kevin Sumlin already on the hot seat

From Ken Kercheval of CBS SportsKevin Sumlin deserves to be on the hot seat … I say this as someone who picked Arizona as the Pac-12’s most underrated team coming into the season (gulp). Some of Sumlin’s coaching decisions or general oversight are troublesome coming off of last season’s 5-7 effort. Tate still isn’t used as well as he could be. While Tate still put up big numbers, there were situational failures when he was not. The second of his two interceptions came on a 2nd-and-5 at the Hawaii 13-yard line and it was returned 49 yards to midfield. Hawaii scored a decisive touchdown to go up 45-35 four plays later. In red zone situations, why is Sumlin not using his best rushing tool to put stress on Hawaii’s defense? That might be a call that looks bad in hindsight because it didn’t work, but there are plenty of examples like those. Stud running back J.J. Taylor had six carries in the first half.

It wasn’t just the offense that left something to be desired. Arizona’s defense gave up nearly 600 yards of total offense at more than nine yards per clip. For having thrown nearly 50 passes, Hawaii wasn’t sacked once.

And then there’s special teams. The miscues on the Wildcats’ fourth quarter field goal to pull to within a touchdown were mind-boggling. A 38-yard field goal attempt quickly became a 53-yard attempt after Arizona was flagged for a delay of game and back-to-back false starts. Lucas Havrisik still made the kick, but those pre-snap penalties are completely unacceptable. Week 0 can produce a lot of sloppy play, but that was an instant that could have been more devastating for Arizona.

UCLA down three linebackers after NCAA suspension

From ESPN … UCLA linebacker Bo Calvert is out indefinitely due to a violation of NCAA rules. The school announced the sophomore’s status on Sunday but did not specify the infraction.

Calvert played in five games last year with nine tackles. His absence is another blow to the Bruins’ depth at inside linebacker after projected starter Tyree Thompson suffered a foot injury and had to undergo surgery. Seniors Krys Barnes and Lokeni Toailoa are listed as the starters going into Thursday’s season opener at Cincinnati.

The Bruins (3-9 last season) are also without senior outside linebacker Keisean Lucier-South for at least the first five games because of academic issues.


August 25th

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ESPN rates top programs of 150 years of college football – CU third in the Pac-12

From ESPN … Several months ago, our Stats & Information Group was presented with a huge challenge: to rank the top programs in college football history.

Our goal: Honor the accomplishments of teams across 150 seasons and all divisions, while rewarding successful programs at the highest level in the sport’s most competitive era.

Teams should be judged by winning games and winning championships, since those records exist all the way back to the early years. While some early game outcomes are even disputed between teams, national titles are subject to far greater debate. Fortunately, the NCAA decided that issue for us with its official list of major-college champions.

In our judgment, integration and scholarship limitations have made the past 50 years the most competitive the game has seen. The previous 50 years (the middle 50) were less so due to segregation and some regionalized scheduling that still allowed for occasional games against non-college teams. And the first 50 years, for all they gave us, were just a shadow of today’s sport due to large-scale scheduling inequities and rules and a scoring system that were still in flux.

With all of these considerations, we created a formula (noted at the bottom of the page) to rank college football’s greatest programs across all divisions using one metric. Let the debate begin.

1. Alabama … 2. Notre Dame … 3. Ohio State … 4. Oklahoma

5. USC

67.25 | 9 national titles

College football royalty on the West Coast arrives on a white horse named Traveler. The Trojans rank in the top 10 of three of our five categories. Since Howard Jones established USC as a dominant program before World War II, USC’s power has flowed way more than it has ebbed. John McKay and Pete Carroll both won a lot and escaped to the NFL, and the NCAA cleaned up after. History tells us that the Trojans’ current sabbatical from the top of the game won’t last long.

6. Michigan … 7. Yale … 8. Nebraska … 9. Texas … 10. North Dakota State

30. Washington

54.8 | 1 national title

The Huskies first attracted attention under legendary coach Gloomy Gil Dobie, who coached at Washington for nine seasons and never lost a game (58-0-3) from 1908 to 1916. No wonder Husky fans are demanding. Washington didn’t have another period of sustained success until Don James arrived in 1975. James won six conference titles and a share of the 1991 national title. The Huskies won 22 consecutive games under James over three seasons. He retired after the 1992 season. Washington has yet to reach those heights again, but under Chris Petersen, they’ve come closer.

42. Colorado

51.74 | 1 national title

The Buffaloes have had their moments, just not enough of them. Fred Folsom won so much a century ago (21 straight from 1908 to 1912) that they named the field after him. From the end of World War II into the 21st century, Colorado mostly had the misfortune to play in the same conference as Oklahoma and Nebraska. Take 1971, when they finished third in the nation — behind the Huskers and the Sooners. Bill McCartney led the Buffs to a share of the 1990 national championship, a feat few have matched anywhere; and Rick Neuheisel and Gary Barnett continued to win at a high level through 2005. Since then, it has been a struggle, one that joining the Pac-12 failed to alleviate.

43. Stanford … 46. Arizona State … 49. Utah …

Read full list here

Arizona falls in opener to Hawai’i, 45-38, despite Kahlil Tate’s 469 yards of total offense

…. Related: “Trouble in paradise after Wildcats fall to Hawaii 45-38 in season opener” … from

From ESPN … Cedric Byrd is developing quite the knack for fast starts.

The Hawaii senior wide receiver hauled in four touchdown passes to help Hawaii escape with a 45-38 win over Arizona Saturday.

The Rainbow Warriors (1-0) never trailed, saw three separate 14-point leads erased and overcame six turnovers to record their first win over the Wildcats (0-1) in six tries.

Byrd caught scoring passes of 7 and 25 yards in the first half and added TD grabs of 35 and 30 yards after halftime. He finished with career-highs of 14 receptions for 224 yards to eclipse his previous career-high of 11 catches for 181 yards and a touchdown in a season-opening win at Colorado State last year, which doubled as his Hawaii debut.

… The Wildcats had a chance to tie on the final play, but Tate scrambled all the way to the Hawaii 1-yard line before he was tackled by Kalen Hicks and Manly Williams to end the game.

“We did some really, really good things at times on offense, defense and special teams and we did some awful things and when you get out on the road, you can’t get down 14 points and come running back and then have some other plays that just were inconsistent, so for us to be a better team, our consistency and level of consistency across the board needs to be better,” Sumlin said.

Tate passed for 361 yards and three touchdowns on 22-of-39 passing with two interceptions. He also rushed for a team-high 108 yards on 13 carries.

Continue reading story here


August 24th

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Pac-12 After Dark: Arizona at Hawai’i tonight (CBS Sports Network, 8:30 MT)

From SportsPac-12.comOverview: This is not going to be your run-of-the-mill opener. Not with both teams honoring former coach Dick Tomey, and desperately needing to start fast. The Wildcats travel to Honolulu for the first time since 1998, after hosting Hawaii in 2016, but history won’t matter much in this one. The Rainbow Warriors will be looking to build on their 8-6 record of a year ago; they’re confident they can do better than last season’s fifth-place finish in the Mountain West (5-3), and a disappointing loss to Louisiana Tech in the Hawaii Bowl. The Wildcats, meanwhile, just want to do what they didn’t do last year: Take care of business in the opener.

Hawaii Mini-Preview: Hawaii returns 18 starters from last season, and is piloted by dual-threat quarterback Cole McDonald. The junior signal caller threw for 3,875 yards and 36 touchdowns with 10 interceptions last season, adding 359 yards and four more scores on the ground. The Warriors deploy a “Run and Shoot” offense, throwing the ball all over the field to a group of speedy receivers. It’s a difficult offense to stop, as evidenced by Hawaii’s 310 yards per game passing last season. By contrast, the Rainbows managed only 109.6 yards per contest rushing. An experienced offensive line may help improve on that number in 2019.

Predicted Outcome: This matchup has all the makings of a high scoring affair, with both teams exchanging scores early. Eventually, however, Arizona figures to overpower the Warrior defense with its one-two punch of Tate and running back J.J. Taylor. The travel time, island distractions, and home crowd could make this a closer game than expected, with upset potential if the Wildcats turn the ball over in the second half. But Sumlin likely won’t let that happen. Look for the Wildcats to pull away late, cementing their first road victory of the new season.

From CBS SportsGame prediction, pick … I believe Arizona will win this game and improve to 6-0 against Hawaii lifetime, but 11 points just seems like too large a spread here. The Arizona defense allowed 32.6 points per game last season, and I’m not ready to trust that it will have improved enough to stop a potent Hawaii offense in the first game of the season. Factor in that Arizona has to fly roughly 3,000 miles to get there, and I have a hard time passing up the home dog here. Pick: Hawaii (+11)


6 Replies to “Pac-12 Notes – CSU Week”

  1. Watch out for Kelly’s second year at UCLA
    Dorian-Thompson is going to blossom
    uummmm…..ok…..still waiting

    Utah won but they had to grind it out in the 2nd half. Maybe BYU is a better team than I think. Just seems like a tough road to recruit kids who are willing to succumb o something akin to sharia law just to stay in school let alone play football.

    Any way the south is still wide open….

  2. Interesting article on CSU. Seems their focus and effort this offseason has been on healing team chemistry, with a high emphasis on doing community service. Nothing wrong with that, but it seems this is energy and focus that could be spent improving at football in a more direct manner, as they have lots of lost experience from last year.

    PS, our left guard worries involve upper classmen. CSU has a freshman atop their depth chart there.

  3. The CBS guy needs to find a team to coach (sarcasm). His proclamation putting Sumlin on the hot
    seat is a complete over reaction. Focusing on Tate and the O is stupid. They scored enough points to win almost any game. I am skeered of their O when they meet the Buffs.
    McDonald didnt get sacked because he has wheels, awesome peripheral vision and a very quick release. In addition the receivers were coached extremely well on how to get open vs AZ’s secondary.
    We shall see how AZ’s secondary reacts in the next couple of games….if they meet anther accomplished passing game.

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