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Random Thoughts – Volume XV – March 10, 2019

Buff Trivia Questions of the Week … This week, Tad Boyle passed Ricardo Patton for second place on CU’s all-time victories list, with win No. 185 (Boyle: 185-121; Patton: 184-160 … Sox Walseth: 261-245). Where does Boyle stand on the CU all-time coaching list in:

  • All-time winning percentage?
  • Post-season victories?

Vegas, Baby!! … 

It was reported this week that the Pac-12 is upgrading its bowl alliances … and it’s a good thing, not only for the conference, but for the Buffs and their fans.

As noted in watchstadium.com … the Las Vegas Bowl, will, in 2020, move from UNLV’s Sam Boyd Stadium to the new Las Vegas NFL stadium. In the course of the six-year deal, the SEC and Big Ten will each make three appearances against the Pac-12 in the Las Vegas Bowl. It’s expected to be either the third or fourth Pac-12 team after the Rose and Alamo Bowls are filled.

This will mark the first Pac-12 and SEC non-playoff bowl match-up since the 1989 Freedom Bowl. The Pac-12 currently plays bowl games against each of the Power 5 conferences except for the SEC. The two conferences have played in only nine non-College Football Playoff/New Year’s Six bowls.

This is a strong move for the Pac-12.

As it was, the No. 6 team from the Pac-12 has been slotted to play the Mountain West champion in the Las Vegas Bowl. Not only was the game played in the 50-year old Boyd Stadium, but it also presented a mismatch for the conference, as only the 6th-best team (or the 7th-best, if Pac-12 teams earned a Playoff bid and a second New Year’s Six bid) was sent off to play the champion from the Mountain West.

The last two seasons, that hasn’t made for good optics for the Pac-12. In 2017 Boise State routed Oregon (the final was 38-28, but the Broncos sprinted out to a 24-0 lead, with Oregon needing an 86-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown and a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown to keep the game interesting). Then last December, Fresno State dispatched Arizona State, 31-20.

Now, instead of having a mediocre Pac-12 team face off against a (well-motivated) Mountain West champion, the conference’s No. 3 or No. 4 team (the Alamo Bowl will retain the rights to the next choice after the playoffs and the Rose Bowl) will be taking on a Big Ten or SEC team.

And, starting in 2020, the odds may actually be stacked in favor of the Pac-12 in Vegas.

As Jon Wilner points out, the SEC and Big Ten have strong ties to the Florida bowls, and the Florida bowls pay well for those ties.

The SEC, for example, sends its top team that’s not involved in the New Year’s Six games to the Citrus Bowl. From there, the conference uses a pool system to match teams and bowls.

If we assume at least three SEC teams will participate in the playoff or other New Year’s Six games and a fourth goes to the Citrus, then Las Vegas would have, at best, the No. 5 team.

(Last season, that probably would have meant Mississippi State or Texas A&M).

A higher profile game in Las Vegas, with the Pac-12 team on equal footing (or, perhaps, even an advantage) with the Power-Five opponent?

Gimme!

But, wait, there’s more … 

The Pac-12/Mountain West match-up isn’t going away in 2020 … it’s just moving.

The Pac-12 and Mountain West reportedly will duel in the L.A. Rams’ new stadium at Hollywood Park. This game will reportedly match the conference’s No. 7 team against a Mountain West opponent (to be determined if the Mountain West will send its champion to this game, or another bowl match-up.

This addition means that at least eight Pac-12 bowl-eligible teams will have a guaranteed slot (and nine, if the conference has two New Year’s Six bids).

While Buff fans aren’t going to be satisfied with 6-6 teams long term, for a program which has one bowl appearance in the past ten years, having another bowl option for the conference (and at a nice destination for Buff fans), is not to be overlooked.

Oh … and the Holiday Bowl will have a new look as well.

With the Big Ten playing in Las Vegas and Belk, the Big Ten will not be affiliated with the Holiday Bowl after 2019 and will be replaced by the ACC. The San Diego-based bowl will feature the Pac-12 against the ACC from 2020-25.

Again, this could be a positive for the Pac-12 in terms of match-ups.

While folks from Big Ten country looked at a trip to San Diego in December as an excellent getaway, fans from ACC country may not be as willing to make the trip. Sunny days and 70-degree temperatures by the ocean are a novelty for Northwestern and Purdue fans, but that won’t be the case for fans from the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida.

Advantage, Pac-12.

So, starting in 2020, the Pac-12 bowl lineup, with seven match-ups against Power-Five opponents, may look like this:

1. Rose Bowl vs. Big Ten (or CFP/New Year’s Six)
2. Alamo Bowl vs. Big 12
3/4. Holiday Bowl vs. ACC
4/3. Las Vegas Bowl vs. Big Ten/SEC
5. Redbox Bowl vs. Big Ten
6. Sun Bowl vs. ACC
7. Los Angeles Bowl vs MWC
8. Cactus Bowl vs. Big 12

Now all the Buffs have to do is get into the mix for these games …

Spring practice primer … 

Colorado, under Mike MacIntyre, was often done with spring practices before spring break rolled around.

This year, the Buffs are one of the last teams in the nation to get spring ball underway. The stated reason was so that strength and conditioning coach Drew Lewis was to put the team through a nine-week conditioning regime – instead of five weeks as in previous years.

But the other clear reason was to give extra time for the coaching staff to not only get acquainted, but to put in place a game plan for the offense and defense going forward. Colorado has a rookie head coach, and seven new assistant coaches, and while they are all professionals who have been through transitions before, it certainly makes sense that the staff give itself as much time as possible to prepare for spring practices, in order to make the spring as productive as possible.

The spring schedule … Tucker’s first CU spring session is set to start the week before spring break on Monday, March 18, with the spring game set for Saturday, April 27 (Noon, to be televised live by the Pac-12 Networks). The dates are as follows: March 18-20-22—(spring break)—April 1-3-5-8-10-12-15-17-19-22-24-27. The team is allowed 15 practices; how the practice sessions will break down, per NCAA rules: three in shorts (no contact), four in pads (no tackling), four in pads (tackling allowed 50 percent or less of the time), four in pads (tackling allowed throughout). Spring break (March 25-29) does not count against the 29 days should the schedule be dramatically revised for some reason.

There have been reports that a few of the practices will be open to the public … let’s hope so.

Colorado offers No. 2 recruit in the nation

On Thursday Colorado, according to Rivals.com, became the 43rd school to offer Houston North Shore running back Zachary Evans 

Evans is ranked as a five-star prospect in the class of 2020. He’s the No. 2 recruit in the country and the No. 1 running back in the land.

Will the Buffs land Evans? Highly unlikely. Colorado has to play a catch up game as he’s already high on the likes of Texas, Texas A&M, Georgia, Tennessee, and LSU. Still, it’s nice to see that Mel Tucker & Co. see Colorado as a program which not only has the right, but an obligation, to offer the best players in the land.

As Mel Tucker has aksed: “Why not CU?”.

Always remember: If you don’t ask … the answer is always “no” …

Buff Trivia Questions of the Week … This week, Tad Boyle passed Richardo Patton for second on the all-time victories list, with win No. 185 (Boyle: 185-121; Patton: 184-160 … Sox Walseth: 261-245). Where does Boyle stand on the CU all-time coaching list on:

  • All-time winning percentage?
  • Post-season victories?

Answers:

  • Boyle is third on the all-time winning percentage (Forrest B. Cox: .623; James N. Ashmore: .615; Boyle: .604)
  • Boyle is first -by far- in all-time post-season (NCAA; NIT, CBI; conference) wins, with 18 (Boyle: 18-14; Ricardo Patton: 8-18)

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3 Replies to “Random Thoughts – Volume XV”

  1. Randomness is a wonderful thing……………

    2020 football offers……………….. according to 247
    202 …………….for 25 or so spots. Sheesh….That is about average though.
    By State

    Texas (70)
    California (44)
    Louisiana (16)
    Arizona (10)
    Georgia (10)
    Colorado (8)
    Washington (8)
    Florida (5)
    Hawaii (3)
    North Carolina (3)
    Oklahoma (3)
    Utah (3)
    Alabama (2)
    Maryland (2)
    Massachusetts (2)
    Ohio (2)
    Tennessee (2)
    Arkansas (1)
    Connecticut (1)
    District Of Columbia (1)
    Kentucky (1)
    Michigan (1)
    Mississippi (1)
    Nevada (1)
    New Jersey (1)
    Pennsylvania (1)

    Lotta offers. 31 have already committed elswhere

    Buffs have one commit. Lots to do.

    Key event? Make a bowl game.

    Go Buffs

  2. Since the PAC 12 Basketball Tournament is such a success is there a possibility that eventually they could also move the PAC 12 Championship Football game to LV? Although Levi Stadium is an NFL venue and all that stuff, yada yada yada, It just seems like it has never really caught on that well as the place for the ultimate conference championship.

    Vegas would be the perfect place as it is at least a little ways from the West Coast influence and bias that does seem somewhat prevalent in the Conference. Wherever it is it beats the old Big 12 bias of Basketball Tourney in KC, and Football in TX.

    1. I think that it’s not only a possibility that the Pac-12 title game moves, but a likelihood.
      Other than being close to the Pac-12 corporate offices, Levi Stadium makes no sense.
      The new LA NFL stadium could also be a choice, but I would think that the Pac-12 North teams would veto the idea of potentially giving USC or UCLA a de facto home game.
      Once the Las Vegas stadium is up and running, and the Levi Stadium contract runs its course (it was supposed to go through 2020, but the 49ers opted out of the final year of the contract … so 2019 will be the last title game held there).

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