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Pac-12 Notes

August 28th

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Scott Frost on Nebraska’s 30-22 loss to Illinois: “It looked like the same movie”

From ESPN … The most frustrating thing about Nebraska’s 30-22 season-opening loss at Illinois is that the mistakes that have hamstrung the Huskers in recent years all seemed to show up.

The scariest thing is that coach Scott Frost and his players don’t know why the same things keep happening to them.

“If I had that answer, it wouldn’t have happened today,” quarterback Adrian Martinez said. “It’s just a matter of continuing to get better, understanding what those mistakes are and understanding that they’re hurting this football team. We have to get better.”

Players and coaches spent the offseason focusing on the errors that have contributed to Nebraska going 12-20 with three fifth-place finishes in the Big Ten West Division since Frost returned to the program he quarterbacked to a national title in 1997. Frost felt he had his best team entering the season, one with the experience and maturity to play cleaner games in a conference that punishes the error prone.

But Huskers blunders contributed to almost every Illinois score on Saturday, starting with Cam Taylor-Britt catching a punt inside of his 2-yard line and being dropped for a safety while attempting to fling the ball out of the end zone. Nebraska appeared to be in control up 9-2 when Taylor-Britt intercepted a pass from Illinois backup quarterback Art Sitkowski. But linebacker Caleb Tannor was flagged for roughing Sitkowski, and also received an unsportsmanlike conduct foul on the play. The Illini drove for a game-tying touchdown.

Disaster struck in the final minute of the first half as Martinez fumbled and Illinois’ Calvin Hart Jr. recovered and raced 41 yards to the end zone. Nebraska’s lone turnover along with five penalties and two missed extra-point attempts from Connor Culp, the 2020 Big Ten Kicker of the Year, all contributed to the program’s first-ever loss in August.

“It looked like the same movie,” Frost said. “I just got done telling the guys, ‘We can’t have this season look like the same movie,’ because this game looked like the same movie today. I don’t know what we’re doing trying to field the punt inside the 1 [yard line] and then trying to throw it out of the end zone, missing a couple extra points certainly didn’t help.

“I felt like every time we got something started on offense, we got a holding or offensive pass interference or bad snap. Haven’t seen any of those all camp. So it looked like the same movie today. We can’t let it be that way.”

Continue reading story here

“It’s All or Nothing” For Chip Kelly in 2021

From Sports Illustrated … This is it.

2021 is all or nothing for Chip Kelly. The stars have aligned and this is best shot he’s had or will have for quite some time.

UCLA football opens up its fourth season under Kelly on Saturday against Hawaii at the Rose Bowl. The matchup gives the Bruins a chance to buck a few trends they’ve had the misfortune of falling into the past couple years, considering Kelly has not won a season opener or nonconference game since arriving in Westwood.

There’s a lot more at stake than one game on an August afternoon, however.

More notably, Kelly is 10-21 across his UCLA career. It took him one season to get double digit wins when he was at Oregon, and he finished the next three years with 12. Three wins a season is a sharp decline from over 11, so to call his stint with the Bruins so far a disappointment would be an understatement.

That’s all in the past, though. Kelly is still in town, and he is still in charge. It’s on him to turn things around, and he has the weapons to do so this fall.

UCLA returns 93% of its production from last season, per ESPN’s Bill Connelly. And that isn’t just any 93%, like the 93% of production Florida Atlantic returns from its 4-3 Conference USA squad. These Bruins did finish below .500 at 3-4, but those four losses came by a combined 15 points and they never lost by more than one possession. A few different bounces of the ball, and UCLA finishes 6-1 and wins the Pac-12 South.

Read full story here

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August 27th

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Texas A&M senior defensive end arrested; suspended 

From Sports Illustrated … Texas A&M senior defensive end Micheal Clemons was arrested on Thursday evening by university police on a multitude of charges.

The charges include unlawful carrying of a weapon, failure to identify/giving false information, less than two ounces of marijuana possession and driving with an invalid license. He was released Friday morning on a combined $11,400 bond, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Clemons has been suspended “indefinitely” by the team, according to the Chronicle, possibly keeping him out of the Sept. 4 season opener against Kent State.

Clemons is expected to be a vital part of Mikel Elko’s defense this season. He started fast last year, recording four sacks in five games before suffering a season-ending leg injury.

Due to the ruling of extra eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Clemons, 24, elected to return for a sixth season in College Station rather than declare for the NFL draft.

Kliavkoff: Pac-12 could move to eight-game conference schedule as early as next year

From azcentral.com … In order to kickstart the new scheduling alliance with the Big Ten and ACC, the Pac-12 is hoping to downsize from a nine-game conference football schedule to an eight-game conference schedule, new commissioner George Kliavkoff told reporters in Pullman on Friday.

Doing so would create opportunities to schedule an ACC or Big Ten opponent sooner rather than later. Currently, many Pac-12 schools have already filled their non-conference schedules years in advance, meaning it could take several years for the scheduling alliance to take its desired effect. Arizona, for instance, only has two open spots on its non-conference schedule through 2027—one in 2024 and another in 2026.

“It depends on whether or not we’re able to renegotiate our nine-conference-game schedule with ESPN and FOX,” Kliavkoff said. “If we’re able to re-negotiate that down to eight, and the Big Ten is able to do that as well, we can start playing these games next year. But there’s a lot of work to be done to get there.”

The Pac-12 and Big Ten are the only major conferences that play a nine-game conference schedule. The ACC, SEC and Big 12 play eight.

If the Pac-12 cannot reach a deal with ESPN and FOX, it may have to wait until 2024 when its media rights deal expires to change its conference schedule.

Kliavkoff said the end goal is for all three conferences in the alliance to play eight league games, plus one home game and one road game against teams from the other two conferences in the alliance.

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Former CU President Gordon Gee: Playoff Expansion DOA

From ESPN … West Virginia president Gordon Gee said that he believes College Football Playoff expansion is “on life support” and that he will not vote in favor of the proposed 12-team model when the CFP board of managers meets next month.

In comments to West Virginia student newspaper The Daily Athenaeum earlier this week, Gee said he had changed his mind about supporting the plan given the increasing uncertainty across the collegiate landscape after Texas and Oklahoma announced they would leave the Big 12 for the SEC.

His own school is now in a conference with an uncertain future.

Gee serves on the CFP board of managers, which is set to meet Sept. 28 to discuss the proposal further. The 11 presidents and chancellors who serve on the board have ultimate authority over the format.

“I think [expansion] is on life support now,” Gee said. “I have one of the votes and I think it nearly needs to be unanimous and I’m not voting for it. I think the Big Ten will not vote for it and the Pac 12 will probably not vote for it either.

“It’s one of those ideas that I think was very good when there was stability. When there’s instability, the idea becomes less appropriate.”

ESPN learned the board vote must be unanimous to proceed forward with the expansion plan.

Continue reading story here

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August 26th

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Deschutes Brewery named Official Craft Beer of the Pac-12

Press Release from the Pac-12 … As the Pac-12 Conference welcomes back college football, fans have something else to celebrate to kick off the new season. Deschutes and the Pac-12 announced today an exclusive partnership, naming Deschutes as the Official Craft Beer of the Pac-12 Conference. Beginning with the 2021 football season, set to begin Saturday, August 28, Bend’s original craft brewery, known for their leadership in hops through juicy, citrus India Pale Ales like Fresh Squeezed and Fresh Haze, and iconic beers like Black Butte Porter, will engage college sports fans throughout the country through activations at games, on and off-premise programming and digital media.

“All of us at Deschutes Brewery are huge Pac-12 fans and we’re beyond excited to partner with the conference in celebration of these incredible student-athletes,” said Neal Stewart, VP of Sales and Marketing for Deschutes. “Deschutes Brewery is one of the best-selling Craft beer brands in the Western U.S. and it’s an honor to team up with the preeminent athletic conference in the West. We have some exciting plans in the works that will give Craft Beer drinkers unprecedented access to the Pac 12 Football Championship Game and the Pac 12 Men’s Basketball Tournament.”

Rooted in the Pacific Northwest, Deschutes takes pride in partnering with the Conference of Champions® and supporting these local NCAA teams and their mission to develop the next generation of leaders. The brewery expects this partnership to amplify consumer excitement, as Stewart added: “strategic partnerships with iconic and like-minded organizations helps Deschutes increase brand awareness and strengthens our relevance with consumers.”

“Aligning ourselves with Deschutes Brewery, a family-owned, regional craft brewery is a perfect match,” said Steve Tseng, Executive Vice President of Sales. “With Deschutes based in our Pac-12 footprint in Bend, we look forward to increasing the awareness of this quintessential craft brewery beyond the Pacific Northwest.”

Pac-12 Statement: “No expansion at this time”

Statement from the Pac-12 … Following consultation with our Presidents, Chancellors and Athletic Directors, the Pac-12 Conference has made the decision to not pursue expansion of our membership at this time. This decision was made following extensive internal discussion and analysis, and is based on the current competitive strength and cohesiveness of our 12 universities. It is also grounded in our confidence in our ability as a conference to best support our student-athletes and to grow and thrive both academically and athletically.

Herm Edwards’ Hot Seat: “Phoenix, July, 3:00 p.m.” 

From the San Jose Mercury News … This should be a fairly normal season for Pac-12 football, with fans in the stands, cash in the coffers and a handful of coaches operating under significant pressure.

In the case of two, it’s pressure to win.

For another, it’s pressure to avoid NCAA sanctions.

For a fourth, it’s pressure to get vaccinated.

Arizona State
Coach: Herm Edwards/4th year
Contract status: Signed through 2024
Seat Heat: Phoenix, July, 3 p.m.
Comment: This would have been a critical season under normal circumstances. But the recruiting scandal has claimed three assistants and increased the pressure on Edwards by an order of magnitude. What did he know about the alleged improper visits? To what degree did he actively participate? What other transgressions within his program might the NCAA uncover? We’re fairly confident the 67-year-old will coach ASU through this season. Beyond that, who knows. He could decide enough’s enough … or have someone make that decision for him.

Colorado
Coach: Karl Dorrell/2nd year
Contract status: Signed through 2024
Seat Heat: Frigid
Comment: One mountainous reason the Buffaloes are all-in with Dorrell: He’s all-in with them. Before CU even considered Dorrell for the vacancy, Boulder was his permanent residence. The school smartly views Dorrell as a long-game play, much like Kyle Whittingham at Utah or David Shaw at Stanford. The goal is sustained success, not a one-season uptick (e.g., 2016), and that can only be achieved with continuity at the top. If we’re being fully candid, it’s worth noting that even if the situation deteriorated quickly, CU might not have the wherewithal or willpower to make a change.

USC
Coach: Clay Helton/6th season
Contract status: Signed through 2023
Seat Heat: Do you even need to ask?
Comment: Any reasonable assessment of USC’s post-pandemic situation leads to the inevitable conclusion that we have absolutely … no earthly idea what bar Helton must clear to avoid termination. What if the Trojans are 8-4 but win the South? What if they’re 10-2 and get blitzed in the conference championship? The administration remains shrewdly coy about the level of success required. But clearly, there’s much more to the equation than mere wins and losses. Until, perhaps, there isn’t.

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August 25th

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Kliavkoff: “Unless you come up with a solution that’s more attractive for TV for that ninth game, you’re playing nine conference games”

From the San Jose Mercury News … While Kliavkoff and his expansion advisors focus on the size of the conference, another group is diving deep into the structure of the football product.

Merton Hanks, the Pac-12’s chief of football operations, is working with all the athletic directors and head coaches to plot a strategy on several key issues:

— Whether to drop to eight conference games.

— If the division format should be continued or eliminated.

— How to tweak the conference schedule to give teams the best chance for success.

“Merton’s charge is to look at everything we decide at the conference level to optimize for College Football Playoff invitations,” Kliavkoff said. “The timeline is to have a first set of working recommendations by the end of the football season.

“Once we have recommendations, then some of them, I’m sure, we could do immediately — when we put bye weeks in for next year, as an example.

“But some of them, like whether we go to eight conference games instead of nine, may take a little longer because of obligations in our current media rights deal for how many conference games we play.”

The Pac-12 plays 54 conference games; remove one per team and the total drops to 48. ESPN and Fox assuredly would balk at a scenario in which those six openings were filled by non-conference matchups against creampuffs.

“Unless you come up with a solution that’s more attractive for TV for that ninth game,” Kliavkoff said, “you’re playing nine conference games.”

That model could change once the Pac-12’s new media rights contract begins in the fall or 2024, and there’s an obvious option that could intrigue potential media partners:

A scheduling partnership with the Big Ten and ACC that creates a series of high-profile matchups each season.

Continue reading story here

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August 24th

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Pac-12 to announce in next few days if conference is interested in adding any (Big 12) teams

From ESPN … The Pac-12 is expected to announce in the next few days if it’s interested in adding new members to the 12-team conference, commissioner George Kliavkoff told ESPN on Tuesday.

“We’ll announce a decision on whether or not we’re going to be looking at expansion before the end of this week,” Kliavkoff said. “That decision has been run on a parallel path to the conversations with [Big Ten commissioner] Kevin [Warren] and [ACC commissioner] Jim [Phillips] and the Big Ten and the ACC.”

While the recent agreement between the Pac-12, Big Ten and ACC was done in large part to stabilize a volatile collegiate landscape still reeling from the decision of Big 12 co-founders Texas and Oklahoma to join the SEC, it doesn’t contractually prevent those conferences from trying to add schools — namely, any of the eight schools who would be left in the Big 12.

The alliance essentially eliminates any notion of the Pac-12 trying to lure any schools from the Big Ten or ACC.

One question is whether the Pac-12 presidents and chancellors would want to expand the league’s footprint into the state of Texas and/or the Central time zone for more exposure. If they did, Texas Tech, Baylor and TCU would more than likely entertain an offer.

Kliavkoff told the Las Vegas Review-Journal last week that his conference is “really, really happy with the 12 that we have in the league.”

Continue reading story here

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August 23rd

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Cal signs stadium sponsorship deal with a cryptocurrency exchange

From the San Jose Mercury News … In its relentless search for new sources of revenue, the Cal athletic department has gone to a place where cash is neither cold nor hard.

The Bears announced on Monday a sponsorship agreement with FTX, a cryptocurrency exchange regulated in the United States that will receive naming rights to the field at Memorial Stadium.

The deal marks the first sponsorship agreement between a college athletic department and a cryptocurrency exchange, according to the university.

The name FTX Field at California Memorial Stadium will be worth $17.5 million over 10 years to the Bears.

The agreement was brokered by Learfield, Cal’s multimedia rights partner. FTX will use cryptocurrency to pay Learfield, which will then make annual payments to Cal in cash.

Cal has no plans to accept crypto payments at this point but, according to the university, “will consider how it can introduce it when the time is right.”

“We believe we have found a great partner in FTX,” Cal athletic director Jim Knowlton said in a release. “FTX is a growing company at the forefront of innovation in an emerging technology, one that fits well at both Cal and in the Bay Area.

“This agreement extends well beyond field naming rights, which is part of our strategic plan to diversify revenue streams in support of our student-athlete experience.”

FTX had a connection to Cal through its chief operating officer, Sina Nader, who played defensive end for the Bears 20 years ago.

Continue reading story here

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August 21st 

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UCLA looking for bodies to fill Rose Bowl for game v. LSU: Free tickets for students

From The Bruin Report … The Den, UCLA’s student section, has announced that every UCLA student will will have a free ticket for the Bruins’ second game of the season against LSU.

The Week 1 game is scheduled for Saturday, Sept 4 at the Rose Bowl with a prime-time kickoff at 5:30 p.m. PT.

With the UCLA on the quarter system, students will not be back on campus until the week of September 20 when the fall quarter and instruction begin. This often results in a low turnout for non-conference/September games, especially among students.

With every student receiving a free ticket, this could help boost attnendance for the early season marquee matchup with an SEC powerhouse.

Oregon schools to require vaccination ID or proof of negative test to attend games

From ESPN … Oregon and Oregon State became the first Power 5 schools to announce it will require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for people over the age of 12 to attend its football games.

In its announcement Friday, Oregon said the decision was made with public health authorities and “peer institutions in the state.” The negative test result must be from within three days of the event.

The mandate goes into effect Monday and comes at the end of a week when state officials warned of rapidly filling hospitals as daily reported cases reached record numbers.

Oregon is one of several Pac-12 schools that is requiring students and employees to be vaccinated or apply for an exemption.

The Oregon football team opens its season at 54,000-seat Autzen Stadium in Eugene on Sept. 4 against Fresno State. Oregon State begins its home schedule at Reser Stadium on Sept. 11 against Hawaii.

Earlier in the day, Hawaii became the first major college football school to say it would have no fans in attendance for its opening sports events of the season because of a recent COVID-19 surge. Hawaii’s first home football game is Sept. 5 against Portland State.

The moves come about a week after Tulane in New Orleans became the first school that plays football at the NCAA’s highest subdivision to require proof of vaccine or a negative test to attend sporting events.

Tulane’s decision followed a mandate set by city officials that also impacts the NFL’s Saints, but school officials said they were moving toward instituting the policy on their own.

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August 20th

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Report: NCAA to expand signing Classes to allow schools to offset for transfers

From Sports Illustrated … College football signing classes are expected to soon grow in size.

NCAA officials are moving closer to an immediate expansion of the annual 25-person signing limit as a way for coaches to replace players they’ve lost to the burgeoning transfer portal. The NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee is finalizing a proposal that would change the signing limit this cycle in what’s being described as a one-year waiver of relief until a permanent policy is created.

Multiple officials spoke to Sports Illustrated under the condition of anonymity given the sensitive nature of ongoing deliberations on the proposals.

A compromise is finally emerging among a group of proposals. Under the plan, schools can sign 25 new players while gaining additional signee spots for every player who transfers out of their program—up to a certain limit. The extra spots would be based on the number of players who enter the transfer portal under their own volition and would be capped at a figure, such as seven.

For instance, a school that loses five players to the portal can sign 30 new players. A school that loses 10 players to the portal can sign 32 new signees, if the cap were seven. The replacement cap has not been finalized.

In fact, other proposals are being discussed as well, including one that simply increases the total signees to 30, 32 or 35. Another proposal, still being vetted, would require a school to use its 25 spots on high school players and would give a school an additional five to seven spots for transfers.

The impetus for immediate action on the topic is a result of policy changes that are leaving—and will leave—many schools well short of the overall 85 scholarship limit. While schools are limited to having 85 scholarship players a year, they are restricted to signing 25 players in a single class. The 100 signees over four years leaves a 15-player wiggle room for natural attrition.

However, there is more movement in the sport than ever before because of a rule change that grants athletes the right to transfer once without penalty. The transfer surge combined with name, image and likeness is resulting in another disturbing trend: coaches steering their recruiting away from the high school level and toward the portal.

Meanwhile, rosters are in for a critical makeover next year, when two classes—as many as 40 players—exit because of a COVID-19-inspired rule granting each athlete an extra year of eligibility.

Officials believe the solution is offering coaches more signee spots, hoping they will use them to both recruit the high school circuit more and to consistently remain near the 85 mark.

Continue reading story here

Neuheisel: “Nebraska can’t stand that their behind Iowa State right now”

From 247 Sports … Nebraska football fans woke up to some alarming news on Wednesday morning, as it was reported that the school and head coach Scott Frost were under investigation for improper use of analysts and consultants during practices and games. The allegations might seem small to some but many believe these are Nebraska’s first steps towards getting out of Frost’s contract. Former Colorado head coach Rick Neuheisel firmly planted himself in that camp on ESPNU Radio on Wednesday.

“They have decided they would rather go in another direction,” Neuheisel said. “And they have basically outed themselves. And that’s why Scott Frost has to lawyer up. Listen, in this story they also say it was Scott Frost trying to get rid of the Oklahoma game, right? And Bill Moos had to kind of, you know, walk it back and take responsibility — which is probably why Bill steps away — because he’s the one who upped the ante for Scott. Remember, when Scott was going through trouble, they re-up the deal. Added years to the contract at five million, per (year).”

The initial news of the violations came from Stadium college football reporter Brett McMurphy. The report says that the school has, “significant video footage,” of violations that took place in front of Frost and other coaches. Two Nebraska staff members, Jonathan Rutledge, an analyst, and chief of staff Gerrod Lambrecht, departed the program within the last eight months, but it is unknown if their departure is related to the ongoing NCAA investigation.

In his three seasons at Nebraska, Frost has posted a record of 12-20 and has been under .500 every year. Those struggles could lead to the Huskers wanting to fire Frost before the end of his contract, which runs through December 31, 2026. However, Nebraska will have to pay Frost $20 million if he is fired without cause if done January 1, 2022.

“Nebraska cannot stand the fact that they are behind Iowa State right now,” Neuheisel said. “It’s one of the most amazing things I’ve seen in college football in my time, that Nebraska — I cut my teeth as a head coach with Colorado/Nebraska, saw them win three national titles. I mean, I’m sitting there going, ‘Holy smokes. They are now behind Iowa State as a program?’ …What the hell? And now they have decided, as you read the tea leaves, they need to move on and they are basically blowing up their own guy.”

Washington State coach says he will follow state vaccine mandate

From ESPN … Washington State football coach Nick Rolovich said Thursday that he intends to follow a new state mandate requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for all those working at the state’s colleges and universities, including coaches.

Rolovich had said previously that he was not going to get the vaccine for personal reasons and did not explicitly say Thursday that he would receive a shot. “I’m just going to follow his mandate,” he said.

The mandate announced this week by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee also covers public, charter and private school teachers and staff. It allows for religious or medical exemptions but does not allow for a weekly testing alternative, and those who are not fully vaccinated by Oct. 18 risk losing their jobs.

Rolovich is beginning his second season in charge of the Cougars. He participated remotely in Pac-12 media day last month after announcing his decision not to get vaccinated.

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August 19th

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Arizona posts a $26 million budget deficit (CU $18M; Oregon $55M)

Note … CU athletic director Rick George previously announced a budget deficit of around $18 million for CU for the 2020-21 fiscal year which ended June 30th. CU is the only Pac-12 school to take advantage of a loan from the conference, which will be paid off over the next 7-8 years (at 3.5 percent interest) … 

From azdesertswarm.com … Arizona Wildcats athletic director Dave Heeke told reporters at a luncheon Wednesday that his department finished the 2020-21 fiscal year with a $26 million budget deficit.

Heeke noted that revenue was down about $45 million, mostly due to the loss of ticket sales and television revenue as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Some of those losses were “mitigated in a number of ways.”

“Obviously reducing our expenses, reducing sport budgets, reducing administrative budgets, really trying to be very, very aware of our expenses across the board,” he said. “We certainly had to make some personnel moves that were incredibly difficult. We continue to hold the line and have a number of frozen positions and positions that we haven’t filled.”

The deficit would have been even greater if not for the athletic department raising $26 million in donations, about $8 million more than the previous year, Heeke said.

Arizona’s deficit is in line with other Power 5 programs such as South Carolina and Tennessee, which reported deficits of $27 million and $28 million, respectively, for the 2020-21 fiscal year.

Oregon projects $55 million in losses.

“All things considered, I’m very proud of where we landed,” Heeke said. “I’m proud of what our staff did, how our coaches did, what they did to not impact the student-athletes’ experience. We have an obligation to the young people so that they can meet their educational and athletic goals, have the experience while they’re here, provide them the resources necessary to do that and we were able to do that very well. We didn’t have to impact them virtually in any way.”

Heeke said the UA athletic department also incurred about $10.5 million in coaching transition expenses in 2020-21, and will accumulate roughly $4.3 million more in the next fiscal year. That stems from the buyouts associated with firing former head football coach Kevin Sumlin and former head basketball coach Sean Miller.

Heeke said the UA will use bridge loan funding to navigate the deficit.

“The loans will be over a 15-year period for the payback (plus interest) and we fully intended and will strive to pay those off earlier, as we again begin to roll into opportunities to generate significantly more revenues with fans in the stands, naturally our growth of our television package from our conference,” he said. “All of those pieces will help us grow our revenues and likely address this deficit position through those years much sooner than the 15 years.”

Washington State coach job at risk over state mandate for public workers to be vaccinated?

From msn.com … Washington State Cougars head football coach Nick Rolovich announced earlier this summer that he would not be getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

Rolovich was not allowed to participate in Pac-12 Media Days as a result.

“As the Pac-12 Conference has required that all in-person participants at next week’s Pac-12 Football Media Day be fully vaccinated, I will participate remotely and look forward to talking about our football team and the incredible young men in our program,” Rolovich wrote. “I have elected not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine for reasons will will remain private. While I have made my own decision, I respect that every individual–including our coaches, staff and student-athletes–can make his or her own decision regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. I will not comment further on my decision.”

Now, a new Washington state mandate could force Rolovich to either get vaccinated or lose his job.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announces COVID-19 vaccination requirements for workers at schools, colleges and universities. Inslee’s office says mandate will apply to WSU football coach Nick Rolovich, who has declined vaccine so far.

Krem2 News in Washington had more:

The requirement does not include a personal exemption, which many believe was what Nick Rolovich was citing privately to get out of taking the vaccine that was already required by WSU for students, faculty, and staff.

There is a possibility still to get medical or religious exemptions from the state, but it is widely believed that Rolovich does not qualify for either exemption.

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August 18th

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Scott Frost and Nebraska under investigation: “There were some egregious actions taken by the football program”

From ActionNetwork.com … Nebraska’s football program and coach Scott Frost are under NCAA investigation for improper use of analysts and consultants during practices and games, sources told The Action Network.

The school, sources said, has “significant video footage” confirming the practice violations took place in the presence of Frost and other assistants.

Frost has obtained legal counsel, and the NCAA has interviewed Frost, multiple current and former staff members, administration and football players regarding the allegations, sources said. The allegations date back 12 months.

Also, last year — when the NCAA prohibited organized athletic activities because of the pandemic — Nebraska relocated its strength workouts to an undisclosed off-campus location to avoid detection by non-football school officials, sources said.

The unauthorized organized workouts were held at the direction of NU’s strength and conditioning staff, which was in direct violation of NCAA rules. It is unknown if the NCAA is investigating these specific allegations, a source said.

Among the possible NCAA penalties Nebraska could receive include Frost’s suspension for an unknown number of games, an NCAA source said. Nebraska opens the season at Illinois on Saturday, Aug. 28.

Coincidently, two of Nebraska’s staff members — analyst Jonathan Rutledge and chief of staff Gerrod Lambrecht — have left the program in the past eight months. It is unknown if these departures are related to the ongoing investigation.

“There were some egregious actions taken by the football program,” a source said.

Continue reading story here

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August 17th

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Oregon star defensive end signs NIL deal with United Airlines

From ESPN … Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux, a potential No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft, has entered into a marketing deal with United Airlines, which will provide special direct flights from Eugene, Oregon, to select Ducks away games this season.

“Partnering with United Airlines was a no-brainer for me, as they are a premium brand with the same core values as I have,” Thibodeaux said in a statement provided to ESPN through a representative. “I look forward to a long-standing relationship with United.”

The program will begin with multiple direct flights from Eugene to Columbus, Ohio, starting on Sept. 9, for Oregon’s game at Ohio State on Sept. 11. Return flights from Columbus to Eugene will be available after the game and on the following two days.

Thibodeaux has quickly become one of the most visible beneficiaries to the changes in name, image and likeness rules in college football. Since NCAA rules changed at the start of July to allow athletes to profit off marketing deals, Thibodeaux has committed to deals with roughly $400,000, a source told ESPN.

Last month, he announced a non-fungible token (NFT) deal with Nike founder Phil Knight and designer Tinker Hatfield involving a piece of artwork.

“Phil Knight just reached out to me. They already had the plan, and they just chose me to be the exemplar guy,” Thibodeaux told ESPN. “They created the art, and I’m blessed with that opportunity. I feel like they want to work with me in the future, which is why they gave me the opportunity.”

A canvas version of the that artwork will be put up for auction, in a partnership with eBay, beginning on Sept. 1.

Additionally, he will work with PlantFuel and Starface, which are plant-based protein and skincare companies, and signed a six-figure private memorabilia deal, the source said.

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August 16th

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Opening Week Lines: Three Pac-12 teams listed as underdogs

From VegasInsider.com

  • UCLA – a 17.0-point favorite at home v. Hawai’i … (Week Zero – Saturday, August 28th, 1:30 p.m., MT, ESPN)
  • Stanford – a one-point favorite v. Kansas State … (Arlington, Texas, 10:00 a.m., MT, FS1)
  • No. 11 Oregon – a 22.0-point favorite at home v. Fresno State … (12:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks)
  • No. 15 USC – a 16.5-point favorite at home v. San Jose State … (3:00 p.m.,, MT, Pac-12 Networks)
  • Oregon State – a 7.0-point underdog on the road at Purdue … (5:00 p.m., MT, FS1)
  • No. 6 Texas A&M – a 30.0-point favorite at home v. Kent State … (6:00 p.m., ESPNU)
  • UCLA – a 4.5-point underdog at home v. LSU … (6:30 p.m., MT, FOX)
  • Arizona – an 11.5-point underdog at home v. BYU … (8:30 p.m., ESPN)
  • California – a 3.0-point favorite at home v. Nevada … (8:30 p.m., FS1)
  • Washington State – a 16.5-point favorite at home v. Utah State … (9:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks)

No lines – four Pac-12 teams taking on four teams from the Big Sky Conference … 

  • Weber State at No. 24 Utah … (Thursday, September 2nd, 5:30 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks)
  • Southern Utah at No. 25 Arizona State … (Thursday, September 2nd, 8:30 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks)
  • Northern Colorado at Colorado … (Friday, September 3rd, 7:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks)
  • Montana at No. 20 Washington … (Saturday, 6:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks)

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August 15th

… Foe Pause … 

ESPN ranks the top 100 coaches of the past 50 years – Bill McCartney in at No. 40

From ESPN … Nick Saban won his sixth national title in 12 years at Alabama, and his seventh overall, this past January. He had already put together maybe the greatest run of sustained dominance the sport has seen — only Bobby Bowden’s 14 straight top-five finishes could compete — and it’s jarring to realize that last year’s team was quite possibly his best ever.

Saban brought high-level success to Michigan State in the late 1990s (and pulled one of the sport’s most memorable upsets with the Spartans’ 1998 defeat of No. 1 Ohio State), then immediately awakened a sleeping giant at LSU and won his first national title in 2003. After a short dalliance in the pros, he was lured back to the college ranks, where he built the contemporary recruiting machine that so many others have attempted to emulate. He fielded some of the best defenses of the 21st century, and after realizing he needed to update his offensive attack, he fielded maybe the best offense of the century in 2020.

As a new season approaches, let’s take a moment to compare Saban’s accomplishments — and those of other active coaches — to the best of college football’s modern times. Let’s rank the top 100 coaches of the past 50 years.

Why 50 years? It’s primarily because the sport approached full integration 50 years ago, just as offensive innovation was taking place in a couple of different ways — the Wishbone took hold in a major way among powerful schools, while the forward pass was making innovative and exciting headway behind the scenes. It felt like a natural dividing line for defining modern college football.

(That, and I just didn’t want to figure out how to compare Walter Camp’s accomplishments to, say, Urban Meyer’s.)

One final note before we get started: This list is completely and totally about on-field accomplishments. You’ll see plenty of coaches on this list who ran into trouble with the NCAA or potentially had roles in far more devastating off-the-field scandals. It felt pithy to casually mention said scandals in short blurbs about achievements, so I decided to forego that and focus on only on-field exploits.

From the Pac-12 …

100. Bruce Snyder (Utah State 1976-82, Cal 1987-91, Arizona State 1992-2000)

98. Rich Rodriguez (Salem 1988, Glenville State 1990-96, West Virginia 2001-07, Michigan 2008-10, Arizona 2012-17)

92. David Shaw (Stanford 2011-present)

87. Mike Bellotti (Chico State 1984-88, Oregon 1995-2008)

83. Kyle Whittingham (Utah 2005-present)

82. Darryl Rogers (Cal State Hayward 1965, Fresno State 1966-72, SJSU 1973-75, Michigan State 1976-79, Arizona State 1980-84)

81. Rich Brooks (Oregon 1977-94, Kentucky 2003-09)

70. Jeff Tedford (Cal 2002-12, Fresno State 2017-19)

58. Chip Kelly (Oregon 2009-12, UCLA 2018-present)

55. Terry Donahue (UCLA 1976-95)

54. John Robinson (USC 1976-82 and 1993-97, UNLV 1999-2004)

52. John Cooper (Tulsa 1977-84, Arizona State 1985-87, Ohio State 1988-2000)

41. Mike Leach … Texas Tech (2000-09), Washington State (2012-19), Mississippi State (2020-present)

40. Bill McCartney

Team: Colorado (1982-94)
Record: 93-55-5
National title: 1990
Conference titles: 1989-91 Big 8

CU had finished in the AP top 10 just twice ever before the former Michigan assistant transformed the Buffaloes into an option-heavy powerhouse. He enjoyed three 11-win seasons, first emanating rival Nebraska and then briefly surpassing the Huskers.

38. Dennis Erickson … Idaho (1982-85), Wyoming (1986), Washington State (1987-88), Miami (1989-94), Oregon State (1999-02), Idaho again (2006), Arizona State (2007-11)

37. Frank Kush … Arizona State (1958-79)

24. Dan Devine … Arizona State (1955-57), Missouri (1958-70), Notre Dame (1975-80)

22. Don James … Kent State (1971-74), Washington (1975-92)

20. Chris Petersen … Boise State (2006-13), Washington (2014-19)

18. Darrell K Royal … Mississippi State (1954-55), Washington (1956), Texas (1957-76)

14. Pete Carroll … USC (2001-09)

6. John McKay … USC (1960-75)

5. Urban Meyer … Bowling Green (2001-02), Utah (2003-04), Florida (2005-10), Ohio State (2012-18)

Read full story here

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August 14th

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Sam Noyer a contender to start at Oregon State?

From NBC Sports.com … After spring football, the quarterback competition in Corvallis felt like a three-player race between Tristan Gebbia, Chance Nolan, and Sam Vidlak.

However, the Beavers clearly didn’t feel one of them was the clearcut favorite and accepted a transfer in the shape of Sam Noyer, a Beaverton native who enrolled at Colorado for five seasons, during the summer.

As the Buffalo starting quarterback last year, Noyer led a team anticipated to dwell in the cellar of the Pac-12 to a 4-0 start and second-place finish in the Pac-12 South. He finished with 1,101 yards and six touchdowns in six games while throwing seven interceptions. He also added 208 yards on 52 carries (4.0 avg) and five touchdowns running the ball.

Oregon State offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren recruited Noyer to Colorado and did the same for the Beaverton native to finish his NCAA career as a Beaver.

Additionally, Talkin’ Beavers contributor Mike Parker thinks Noyer will eventually win the job, as he explained in this week’s episode.

“Whether he wins the job even on opening day, there’s a spirited battle going on,” he said. “I think Gebbia and Noyer are battling it out but in the end with that room needing as much depth as possible, I just have a feeling that a guy coming back to his home state, coming back to a guy in Coach Lindgren who originally recruited him, a guy who won four games last year in this conference.

“I think Sam Noyer, his ability to grab hold of this offense… I think it will be Noyer trying to guide the Beavers to wins and big drives down the stretch.”

Buzz out of Oregon State fall camp says it’s a head-to-head battle between Gebbia and Noyer to start the season opener at Purdue.

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August 13th

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Rose Bowl committee compares bowl to the Masters and Wimbledon – shouldn’t have to conform for CFP

From Out of Bounds with Andy Wittry … In early April, Laura Farber, the immediate past president of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association and the chair of the Rose Bowl Management Committee, sent Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren and then-Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott a memo, which was obtained by Out of Bounds and which had the stated purpose “to share … the following objectives and suggestions for possible pathways to achieve these objectives in the event the commissioners and university presidents decide to ‘test the market’ for either an 8 or 12 team post season model.”

The College Football Playoff management committee met later that month.

A brief outline of the Rose Bowl Management Committee’s objectives are as follows, according to the memo:

1) Development of an independent media contract with the Rose Bowl Game, its partner conferences, and a telecast entity for an annual quarterfinal game;

2) Preferred access for the Rose Bowl Game on an equal rotating basis to a Pac 12 or Big Ten team available for that round of competition;

3) A Most Favored Nation position among bowls and other venues for hosting CFP Semi-Final and Championship games; and

4) The proposed quarter final Rose Bowl game shall occur on January 1 annually in its historic telecast window (approximately 5 p.m. Eastern time) following the Rose Parade.

… The Rose Bowl – and its stated objectives of an independent media contract, “a Most Favored Nation position among bowls” and its requested time slot at 5 p.m. ET on Jan. 1 – could be another hurdle on the way to reaching a consensus on playoff expansion.

Given how the organizers of the Rose Bowl Game view the game – “From its inception, the Rose Parade and the Rose Bowl Game developed a global reach and an iconic status similar to the Masters, Wimbledon, the Super Bowl and the Final Four,” Farber wrote in the memo – it remains to be seen what concessions the Rose Bowl Management Committee and Tournament of Roses Association would be willing to make, if any.

Continue reading story here

Pac-12: Programs which cannot field a team will face a forfeit instead of a “no contest”

From ESPN … The Pac-12 has reverted to its standard policy regarding game forfeitures in all sports for the 2021 season and will count any games a team is unable to play as forfeit losses.

In 2020, the conference temporality amended the rule and counted games that were canceled due to player availability related to COVID-19 as no contests, which did not impact the standings.

“Any forfeited contest shall be regarded as a conference loss for the team making the forfeit and a conference win for its opponent,” the conference said in a statement. “The Pac-12 rule provides the Commissioner with discretion to determine whether an institution is at fault or primarily at fault for an instability to play a contest based on the facts of the situation.”

Earlier this month, the conference also updated its return-to-play protocols related to COVID-19, which, for vaccinated individuals, will no longer mandate regular testing or quarantine after exposure to those who have tested positive.

Unvaccinated individuals, which includes players, coaches and other staff, are required to be tested and quarantine after returning to campus following non-team-related travel, go through regular testing (one PCR test per week or three antigen tests per week) and wear a mask while indoors. These individuals are also subject to quarantine guidelines as set by the CDC, which can include 10-day quarantine periods, when exposed to those who have tested positive.

Teams that reach 85% vaccination rates are subject to modified protocols.

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August 12th

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Dear NCAA: Why bother with scholarship limits? BYU fan pays for scholarships for 38 walk-ons

… 2021: The beginning of the end … Anyone who wants players to be paid want to argue that Built Brands will get a return on their investment from an Name, Image and Likeness “endorsement” from the third string walk-on center? … 

… Related … (unfortunately) … Ohio State celebrity fan Mark Wahlberg gives a Chevy Silverado to freshman defensive end Jack Sawyer … from The Spun

From CBS Sports … The age of college athletes earning money off of their name, image and likeness was ushered in on July 1, when multiple states legalized the practice. The NCAA followed by passing a temporary policy that was similar to those laws. The game’s biggest stars have aligned with numerous brands since then, but there hasn’t been much of a market for unknown players.

BYU’s players are now the exception.

Utah-based Built Brands surprised every walk-on athlete on the football roster with an endorsement deal covering their scholarships on Thursday during a team meeting in the Cougars football complex.

“From the beginning of the NIL discussion, my hope was that changes to NCAA rules and regulations would provide a pathway forward for all players to benefit more fully from their name, image, and likeness, especially walk-ons who sacrifice so much to make our program great,” said BYU coach Kalani Sitake. “When [Built Brands co-founder] Nick Greer called to tell me that Built was committed to entering into NIL deals which would pay our walk-ons enough money to cover their tuition for the full academic year, I could not hold back my emotions. I love these boys, and I am overwhelmed with gratitude to be partnering with a company that is equally committed to assisting BYU football in building a culture of love and learning while enhancing the experience for all players.”

Built Brands is a company based in American Fork, Utah, that specializes in health foods — particularly protein bars. In addition to the endorsement deals with walk-ons, the company will also sign the rest of the roster innovative multi-year NIL agreements that include branding on practice helmets, experiential events with the company and social media promotions.

“We are excited to partner with BYU and all 123 players on the football team. We are making history together,” Greer said. “Cougar players know success happens when every player invests in each other to do what’s best for the team. That’s what we believe at Built too, and we’re excited to support every player of the BYU football team. Games are won when every single player lifts and supports each other with everything they’ve got. That is how we will all win. That is how we unite as one!”

The NIL agreement with BYU’s players is part of a larger sponsorship package between the athletic department and Built Brands.

Having eight Pac-12 teams receiving votes in USA Today/Coaches poll creates opportunities for the conference

From the San Jose Mercury News … The Coaches preseason poll, released Tuesday, was predictably light on Pac-12 representation. Only three teams made the cut, and none ranked in the top 10.

Oregon occupied the No. 12 position, followed by No. 14 USC and No. 21 Washington.

In quantity and quality, it’s the worst showing for the conference in the Coaches preseason poll since 2010, when Oregon (No. 11) and Oregon State (No. 22) were the only teams ranked. (USC was ineligible.)

We expect the AP preseason poll, scheduled for release early next week, to track closely with the Coaches poll in its treatment of the Pac-12.

Combine the two, and expectations for the conference entering the 2021 season will be lower than in any non-pandemic year since expansion a decade ago.

That creates a prime opportunity for the Pac-12 to produce an upside surprise, fueled by quality depth, roughly comparable to what we saw in the NCAA tournament.

At this point, it’s difficult to pinpoint a roster capable of reaching the College Football Playoff — a roster good enough to go 13-0 or 12-1. (No two-loss team has ever made the CFP, and the first one surely won’t come from the Pac-12.)

But with so many returning starters across so many rosters, the Pac-12 could very well produce five or six ranked teams by the end of the season.

The Hotline’s preseason ballot, submitted to the AP yesterday, reflects the expectation of impressive quality depth.

We ranked Pac-12 teams in the following positions:

No. 11 Oregon
No. 13 Arizona State
No. 16 Utah
No. 20 USC
No. 22 Washington

If you’re looking for potential precedent for the coming fall, the Hotline would suggest the oft-overlooked 2013 season:

The Pac-12’s top team at the end of that year, Oregon, was merely No. 9 in the final AP poll, but there were six ranked teams.

Read full story here

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August 11th

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ESPN: Everything you need to know about the Pac-12 (CU “taking the fight to opponents”)

From ESPN … The start of the college football season is just a little more than two weeks away. All offseason, Bill Connelly has been providing ESPN+ previews of every division in every FBS conference, from the Sun Belt to the SEC.

If you haven’t been following along, here’s your chance to catch up. In total, there are comprehensive breakdowns of all 130 teams — 2021 projected win totals and game-by-game win probabilities; a look back at what we did and didn’t learn about each team in 2020; plus, the history of each team in one handy chart.

So whatever team you’re a fan of, there’s something here to get you ready for when the games kick off on August 28.

Pac-12 North

The Pac-12 gets a bad rap sometimes. The conference is generally regarded as the worst of the power conferences thanks to the fact that it hasn’t produced a College Football Playoff participant since 2016, but evaluating a conference solely by how many losses its best team has is a pretty flawed approach.

On average, the Pac-12 can be trusted to at least exceed the average production of the ACC.

Average SP+ rating, 2018-20:

• 2018: Pac-12 +6.1, ACC +5.3
• 2019: Pac-12 +5.3, ACC +3.0
• 2020: Pac-12 +5.9, ACC +5.2

The only reason the ACC is generally held in higher regard is that it has Clemson. Can a Pac-12 team break through and threaten a CFP bid?

The two most likely candidates are in the North. Mario Cristobal’s Oregon has recruited like a playoff contender for a few years now, and Washington has top-10 potential and loads of experience. But they both have questions to answer on offense and tricky schedules to navigate.

Pac-12 South

How much is returning production worth when you only played a few games last year? The answer will determine how good the Pac-12 is in 2021. In February’s returning production rankings, the conference boasted eight of the top 15 teams, which would generally hint at massive forthcoming improvement. But Arizona State’s 11th-ranked production came from a four-game slate, and Utah’s eighth-ranked production came from five.

We’ll find out how good the Pac-12 South in particular is soon enough, but one thing appears likely: the Pac-12 South race should be fantastic. Defending champion USC has a dynamite new skill corps, an improving defense and a workable schedule. Arizona State and Utah also have no guaranteed losses and plenty of reasons for optimism (at least if the NCAA doesn’t soon vanquish ASU’s optimism). UCLA looked genuinely exciting on offense and could be a major wild card. Colorado went 4-2 last year taking the fight to opponents. Five of six teams head into 2021 thinking they’ve got a shot at the division, and while only three to four of them are right, this battle could be a lot of fun.

Read full story here

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August 10th

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Arizona Republic: Little chance suspended ASU assistants went rogue; “The question now is when, not if, others will follow”

From the Arizona Republic (azcentral.com) … NCAA investigations have something in common with a doctor placing a mark on an appendage to track the growth of an infection.

In both cases, the central question is “how high will it go?”

A reminder of that came Monday morning when Yahoo Sports broke the news that two more Arizona State assistant football coaches had been placed on administrative leave.

Receivers coach Prentice Gill and defensive backs coach Chris Hawkins joined former tight ends coach Adam Breneman as Sun Devil assistants collecting checks but not working.

There should be little confidence from the Sun Devil faithful that the investigation will stop here. Or take a hiatus until the most promising ASU football season in years is over.

As I wrote in June, if those allegations prove true, then Edwards, his staff and some further up the organization chart at ASU should be fired.

The reaction from some Sun Devil followers back then was, “Oh, everyone was doing it. We just got caught.”

That’s doubtful. But if true, it means that everyone else was a lot smarter about cheating than the Sun Devils, who reportedly left a trail of receipts, pictures and other evidence that an anonymous source sent to ASU’s compliance department.

And I don’t know about you, but the “everyone else is doing it” line never worked one time for me.

To think this ends with the departures of the Sun Devils’ three youngest coaches is naïve.

All three had severely limited experience at coaching, but were known as dynamic recruiters. They worked closely with associate head coach/defensive coordinator/recruiting coordinator Antonio Pierce, who was given all those titles by Edwards.

It’s hard to imagine three young coaches went rogue and arranged to have recruits visit during a dead period without the approval of one or more supervisors.

Pierce might have more titles than anyone else in college football, and it’s fair to wonder if he will have any of them for much longer.

ASU President Michael Crow is intently following the investigation and made the decision to place the three coaches on administrative leave, in consultation with senior vice president and general counsel Jose Cardenas.

Those three coaches won’t return, but my guess that doesn’t eliminate the infection inside the football program. The question now is when, not if, others will follow.

Read full story here

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August 9th

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Arizona State places two more assistant coaches (WR’s and DB’s) on administrative leave

From 247 Sports … Arizona State is under NCAA investigation for recruiting violations that took place during the COVID-19 pandemic, when there was a dead period in recruiting. Sun Devils tight ends coach Adam Breneman was placed on administrative leave in July, and another two reportedly joined him. Defensive backs coach Chris Hawkins and wide receivers coach Prentice Gill are on administrative leave, Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel reported and SunDevilSource’s Chris Karpman confirmed Monday. As a result, head coach Herm Edwards will have to shuffle the staff.

“Members of ASU’s staff have been told that WR coach Prentice Gill and secondary coach Chris Hawkins have been placed on paid administrative leave in a matter related to the NCAA review into the program’s recruiting, per a source,” a tweet Monday from Sun Devil source read. “TE coach Adam Breneman was already on paid leave.”

Program sources tell SunDevilSource that they expect graduate assistant Bobby Wade to coach wide receivers, analyst Trey Anderson to work with quarterbacks so that offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Zak Hill can also work with wide receivers, and consultant Donnie Henderson will coach the secondary. Henderson coached defensive backs for ASU’s 1996 Rose Bowl team.

“Gill and Hawkins participated in ASU’s practice on Saturday but will not be coaching in practices or meetings starting this week,” another tweet Monday by Sun Devil Source read. “The staff is working to determine who will coach the positions moving forward on a day-to-day basis.”

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71 Replies to “Pac-12 Notes”

  1. You know the new cobb AD (dont know who he is dont care) is sniffing around behind he scenes as we speak. Who will the next “lucky” slob be to feel the pressure if unrealistic expectations?

  2. I thought the Nebraska movie yesterday, directed by Mr Frost himself, should get two thumbs up all around. A true feel-good flick to kick off the season!

    1. I watched it.

      It was an excellent production

      Exactly what I was looking for

      5 star movie that should be put on repeat forever.

      Buffalo up

      Note: I am hoping many follow ups to this movie

  3. Question: If the conference moves to an eight game schedule, and the California schools continue to have the contractual agreement to play each other every season, would the conference break into three “pods,” – Northwest, California, and Ricky Mountain/Southwest? Would each pod would have three games within the pod, two with each of the other two and one “at large?” It would all depend on the California schools insisting on maintaining that arrangement, which they would likely want to keep. Any thoughts?

    1. It could be like the old Big 12, with five games in your division, and three against the other division. USC/UCLA and Cal/Stanford could still alternate in the rotation, which would give the California teams two games against other California teams every year (though it wouldn’t guarantee Cal and Stanford games in LA every season). Cal and Stanford might not mind as much if they got home-and-homes lined up with the likes of Northwestern and Duke for their extra non-conference game every year.

    2. It’ll be interesting to watch that unfold. I’m hoping that the only reason they’d go that route, 8 conference games vs. 9, at this point is because of all the scheduling contracts in place now. They can adjust the conference games as they like, and adding the Big 10 and ACC matchups would be good, rather than waiting ten years or whatever, to do so.

      In the long run, however, I hope they stick w/ 9 conference games – and now that I type it, saying the long run w/ this evolving landscape is kind of funny anyway, but… – stick w/ 9 conference games, add one or two of the Big 10 and ACC games, and then one for either patsy’s, or CSU/AF etc. for the case of our Buffs.

      But, all that is also going to depend on what the SEC does, I would guess. If they stay at 8 conference games, even in their new expanded conference, I’m sure we would too. Rumor has it though that the SEC may now go w/ 9 or 10 conference games, which I think they should.

      Go Buffs

  4. I know its sarcasm but I’m responding anyway.
    This is wishful thinking on wilner’s part. He hates Colorado. wilner is the perfect combination of arrogance and ignorance. He knows nothing about Colorado, doesnt care to learn anything about Colorado yet his arrogance compels him to write condescendingly about Colorado. When he does he turns out so wrong his hate intensifies.
    Along with his pisspoor record of on the field predictions, I see 2 other things driving wilner”s negativity.
    He works for a newspaper (media outlet today?) that is based in a computer nerd world and is hardly the center of a football universe. I’m betting he has desperately tries to squeeze in the door of the LA times now for years. so he can bask in the glory of the Hollywood hypocrisy at USC.
    Finally, like so many other people who write about sports, The closest wilner has ever been on the field or court of a varsity sport it was washing the jockstraps.

    1. Could not have said it better myself. But I would add he seems to have a healthy dose of bitterness to go along with his generally dyspeptic demeanor. He his truly a hate read. Reminds me of Pizzzla here in Denver except I never read that overrated blowhard.

  5. When I read that Kliavkoff said that “they are not going to give up the 9th conference game for a lesser game” (paraphrasing) I read that as “But, for a game between the B1G, ACC & PAC12 we would.” the idea that they want to play 2 alliance games with 8 conference games ROCKS! and can only be good for ratings and TV; national time zones and the like too.

    Some of the games are already set up for non-con, and some may be a little harder to schedule, but the farther out ones can happen with “the end goal is for all three conferences in the alliance to play eight league games, plus one home game and one road game against teams from the other two conferences in the alliance.”

    That makes things pretty fair schedule wise, regarding the national championship run, while giving teams a chance to still schedule two other games for rivalries outside of their conferences and the alliance. CU could rotate between CSU, AF and other schools in G5 & the irate8… sorry I just had to. ;0

  6. Wilner and his ignorance strikes again. Here’s his comment about HCKD: If we’re being fully candid, it’s worth noting that even if the situation deteriorated quickly, CU might not have the wherewithal or willpower to make a change.

    As if CU is some poor little old school that can barely make ends meet. The more I read his misinformed articles the less I read his articles.

    1. Careful what you say 83 as ep might respond to your criticism regarding Wilner. You do know he is his primo favorite sports writer…….(sarcasm intended). Sometimes I wonder what these hacks are thinking when they write this crap. I’ve heard about writer’s block and I guess when it hits them they just sit down crank out some garbage, call it a well researched and thoughtful column and collect their tainted paycheck. Totally agree with you. Oh before I forget we just maybe have the champion sports writer of this ilk………The One & Only Great Mark Kiz……..

  7. Yeaa, the PAC12 is staying 12. When it looked to be a race to 16 team conferences, I was looking at a couple of the irate8, and that was more about who I didn’t want to see added. But, as more came out about the who (i.e. wanting the legislature to stop UT) and the three conferences looking like they are going to work together instead of a race for membership, I’m happy they are staying put.

    Really OSU got screwed the most, being linked to OU for their entirely and now to be set free in the land of the unknown. And, ISU is rated their highest ever and now they may be left out too.

    But I really am happy about not getting half of the irate8 or some mac/wac school.

  8. This is starting to sound like the “alliance” is going to have some kind of irate eight team draft.
    This doesnt sound good for the PAC. WV would probably head back east to the ACC. The Big 10, being the big dog in this alliance would hog Iowa State and TCU leaving the ACC and the PAC the dregs of Texas and OSU to fight over. Oh wait…there are the Kansas teams…right? sigh.
    I wish the irate eight would just say no thanks we will stay together and add a dakota state or 2 and maybe even the ram a lam a ding dongs.

    1. Kinda like today’s announcement to keep pat with the current 12 teams. Sounds to me like any of the irate eight are certainly out right now. Some of the radio sports pundits are giving more credence to the possibility of the “little eight” trying to keep it together. I know Fort Fun has to be burning up their phone lines.
      I would hate to see the PAC brand diluted financially or image wise. I mentioned before the population of the states covered by PAC schools is around 70 million. The Big 10 or the ACC may have that beat somewhat but inviting in a school like Okie State who may draw in a few more viewers because they do get ranked often wouldn’t make up for the State of Oklahoma’s viewership, most of who have recently become SEC fans anyway.

  9. And there is the crux of the pac 12 dilemma: Labor Day weekend. Rose bowl. Matchup against a marquee sec team. Nobody cares.

    Ok. Nobody is an overstatement, but you get the point. There is a whole lot of other stuff to do down there.

    Even though there is a lot to do in Baton Rouge, if this game were there? Packed house. But, regardless of attendance, go bruins! That would be a good win.

    Go Buffs

    1. Yeah, and it doesn’t help that the Rose Bowl isn’t even close to campus and classes don’t start until Sept. 20.

      1. Totally. Why? Because classes are classes. For education. Probably been on the same schedule for 100yrs. Sec? They would move the academic calendar to fit football calendar. Or, don’t need to bc always set up that way.

        But, therein lies a key differentiating factor that the pac 12 and big 10 and acc can leverage.

        Go Buffs

  10. With the turmoil building in Lincoln like a tornado sky creating the possibility of a Frost free season I was wondering if KD might poach a few of their commits. But wait!! They have no four or five star players on the hook. …and that kid from Boulder who has shown his true colors?….pffft

  11. This Frost thing is funny. I occasionally pop over to other teams’ fan sites to see how their sky is falling or whatever, and found this over at cornnation from a comment. It’s an interesting piece: https://www.freep.com/story/sports/college/university-michigan/wolverines/2021/08/19/michigan-football-ryan-osborn-wolverines-analyst-jim-harbaugh/8158847002/

    Makes me wonder, with teams like Alabama, who have something like a thousand analysts, are any of them perhaps actually directly coaching players? Saban has written into the leases for the apartments overlooking their practice fields that the tenants cannot be outside on their deck etc. when practices are held.

    It’s probably not too unlike ASU’s recruiting tactics last year. There’s probably a lot of teams doing it.

    Maybe just another death knell in the ever increasing hypocrisy and irrelevancy of the NCAA.

    Go Buffs

  12. I dont know what a hippa is. Maybe Steve meant hoppa. But I got vaccinated as soon as possible and still wear a mask when I’m indoors for an extended period of time with more than a handful of people nearby. Doing my part to keep from spreading sickness and death means I suck I guess.
    Tell ya what Steve, I had a lucrative consulting business before the industry I was in crashed and completely died in the middle 80’s. That sucked too but I joined a framing crew, learned the construction biz and in less than 2 years I was on my own again making decent money.
    I dont know, Steve, if your one liner insult means your a lazy self pitying whiner but it sure sounds like it.

      1. Haha, yea right, I get it, but…

        It’s more likely someone like him would end up at Alabama as an ANALyst for 1 to 2 seasons and then to a position coach, and then to a coordinator… to a HC again; even if at a smaller school at “ONLY” a small seven figure payday. There’s still another ten years on that gravy train for a “legend” like that!

        Or maybe, the locals would like to hear his commentary.

          1. That too is an interesting question. Particularly in light of the Supreme Court ruling in the favor of I think it was Indiana University’s vaccine mandate.

            For Rolo and Wazzu, I doubt it’ll be resolved in the next two weeks, so my guess is that it will at least in some way hinge upon his team’s performance. If they’re losing, and losing badly, I bet he’s gone. Even if they have to buy him out (which would likely be another court case). If they’re winning? That’s a whole other ball of money to unwind.

            Go Buffs

          2. hippa laws have nothing to do with the vaccine or the pandemic and anyone who tries to hide behind it are at best grasping at straws. Funny how those that claim they are pro-life when it comes to telling someone else what they can do with their body are the same ones that claim “my body, my right” and are NOT pro-life when it comes to the vaccine.

            If we had this kind of attitude when we were kids, small pox, mumps and polo would still be around.

    1. agreed but I heard Chris talk on ESPNU today and I can see why he was one of the good ones. I always pictured him as dud personality when I saw him during game time on TV but on the radio today he was extremely passionate and intelligent about the future of college football. On the flip side it kinda pick the scab once again of spending 5 lousy years with his methane mouthed previous boss.

      1. Yep ep, but who would have known back when the Hawk was hired. He was one of the hottest coaches in the Western US when we hired him and how would anyone that was hiring a HC for a Div. I program have taken a chance on an asst. coach from a small conference school from Idaho? I sure wouldn’t have been happy with an unknown hire like that, would you really have?

        I thought the Hawk hire was a good one and then when he came in and hearing him sell himself and his kid that had never lost a game my heart started beating a little faster………..until that first game against Montana St. Sorta like a gut punch from Rocky Balboa.

  13. AP put out it’s pre-season top 25 and the PAC12 has just as many “ranked” teams as the SEC and Big10 with 5 teams ranked. ACC and Big12 only have 3 each.

    At the very least, it doesn’t seem like a pre-season bias against the PAC12. You’d think from the way different articles have been referring to the PAC12 as needing to expand that we’d maybe have 2 ranked teams (Oregon and USC).

    1. And by the way the two “premier” teams OU and USC have their opening games on the pac12 network. That’s not going to help much.

      1. I am picking nits, but it is uo, not ou. This is the Pac 12, not big 12.

        Now, to your broader point, visibility is an issue, but if the pac 12 shows up in non conference play? Much will be forgiven. There are a lot of great matchups in weeks two and three.

        Go Buffs. Go pac 12.

  14. Administrative leave?
    paid leave?
    That doesn’t sound like fired
    What is ASU trying to say?
    “hey guys give us a break. At least we put them on leave”
    sheeesh

    1. I still think what happened at ASU this Spring is a BIG BIG DEAL. More heads are going to roll. The fans can see what effect this is having on recruiting. They currently have 6 commits and one just decommitted on 7/28. When it’s all said and done, Herm and staff will be gone, scholarships will be limited for a number of years, no bowl or conference championship participation for several years. They may even cancel their football participation for a year. Shades of SMU in Tempe!!

      1. I agree its a big deal too but how long will the process take? Will anyone be fired and will the program be punished otherwise until next season?
        Sounds like they already have all the evidence they need to drop the hammer right now but Miller got 2 seasons more before the cows came home at AU

      2. The thing I’m wondering is whether there’s a correlation between the programs that had sizeable covid outbreaks last year and their recruiting methods during the shut down. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there was.

        Go Buffs

  15. Ok, so they’ve gotten what, four assistants on paid leave now, down there at ASU?

    I wonder if Herm’s agent, I mean athletic director, is dusting off their old ESPN contract (or whatever network Herm was on, they kinda blur together)?

    Go Buffs

  16. Thinking about trying to get the A&M lineman to transfer here where pot is legal…….but…..how does the NCAA , RG and HCKD feel about it?

    1. “The controlled substance charge under Texas law carries a possible penalty of two to 20 years in prison and a possible fine of up to $10,000.”

      Wow, you can walk around armed to the teeth in Texas, in some places you can still drive with an open container if driver is under the legal limit or a passenger, (unless they cleaned that up recently) but have an 1/8th and it’s 2 years Or more and a possible fine too. Damn. Don’t roll it up and have more than one or they would probably get you for intent… especially if you “weren’t from around there”. And, what would that be?

      Even when cannabis wasn’t legal, in both CO and CA it wasn’t anywhere that harsh. CA was under an once was a fine in the $100 range or $200 range or something like that. It was higher than that before I was old enough to know, (back when the moral majority had more to say) but most of my life, without intent, it was pretty minor.

  17. are there any underdogs out there that dont “have a chip on their shoulder?”
    Hopefully there will be a number of Buffalo chips on their shoulder as well as a number of other places.

  18. I’m actually a little worried about the UNC game. They have been basically practicing for almost 2 years for this game (they didn’t play at all last year). They have several former P5 players and are basically an unknown to the staff. I hope the team is taking them seriously. From a depth and talent perspective, it shouldn’t even be close, but too many unknowns (plus the team likely will be looking ahead to TAM).

    1. Not saying you shouldn’t be worried but I see it differently. When you are playing the first game of the season I dont see everyone lookin g ahead.
      Practicing for 2 years? Sounds like getting in a rut. Trying to climb out may be worse than looking ahead. Dont forget the rust factor too.

    2. ….I’m actually a little worried about the UNC game. ……………..

      I can tell yur a true true long time Buff Fan…………..not sarcasm

      Bowl Bound Buffs

    1. Anyone want to bet that they will be suspended for the Fresno State game (or Stony Brook), but be on the field for Ohio State?

      1. I bet your right Stuart. I don’t care about it being an “airsoft” there is nothing soft about being shot in the face, even if the caliber is the smallest; the Class C felony charge should be enforced!

        I can’t tell you how many times I was on my property and wanted to shoot my “airsoft” at some flatlanders that were pissing off us locals, but it’s still a .177 caliber; so I didn’t.

    2. Sounds like quality SEC style recruiting to me. Fortunately, the headline made it sound worse than it was. Knuckleheads. I wonder how their sponsors would react, if they had any?

      And I agree with Stu. I would expect a slap on the wrist, whether justified or not.

      Go Buffs

  19. Not too worries about (NIL) for incoming freshman. Remember when the NBA went to one year of college before the draft (one and done). That was all due to HS prospects getting big multi year contracts and not panning out. The same will happen in CFB. Of course the transfers that will now happen is a different story. A rising (mayve originally a 3 star QB) junior who elevates his game is going to get $1M offers to go play somewhere else. That will be like free agency with no restrictions. Now that will be interesting to watch players get cherry picked and see what schools do about it.

  20. This just in
    and something for the eternal optimists like earache to think about
    Quinn Ewers a high school QB and the number one rated recruit on Rivals just got a million dollar offer to skip his senior year and enroll at….yup….Ohio State.
    Alabama and Ohio State now have million dollar QBs even before they start. So how long before Clemson, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Texas, USC, Georgia and maybe a couple others…..maybe including Nebraska (lotta wealthy farmers) start handing out the millions as well?
    Today there were 26 five stars on rivals list. Between the schools I just mentioned and others like Michigan, with the huge fam bases don’t expect any of them to sign with the Buffs. That leaves 224 four stars for these teams to divvy up on their 100+ man Rosters. No schollies left after 85? No problem….. just keep doing those endorsements.
    Takes money to make money, right? And precious few of those without it might make it with galactic luck.
    Oregon St. is just going to be happy beating Washington St….Buffs are just going to have to be happy beating Arizona and so on.

    1. VK you bring up a possibility I never thought of. If these players get enough money they can pay for their own tuition etc. and not use up a scholarship. It will be interesting to see how this all ends up but likely not to end up well for the Buffs.

    2. Yea, and add that if they are “paying their own way” with deals gotten through the school’s alum, then wouldn’t they be able to take underwater basket weaving, instead of being a real student?

      No schollie, and the ncaa losing power may mean that they really are paid free agents. Using scholarships on the support players, until they can generate their own endorsements, then pass that scholarship on to the next guy, hello 150 man rosters with top players being “walk-ons”. .. PAID walk-ons. ep, said it first, and it’s great point.

      If it gets too ridiculous will we see an NFL minor league grow out of this, do schools forget about “traditional” college football as long as their team is in the money and spotlight?

      Remember, some of the the biggest programs are the only game in town in states with no NFL teams or and some with no NBA team too, i.e. Neb & AL, so becoming the next best thing would make a lot of their fans happy/crazy.

  21. Shaw whining about NIL is laughable. Market value is what you can get. Of course an Alabama QB is gonna have more opportunities in this regard than a Stanford QB or probably any other QB. And QBs will have more opportunities than any other position. Why would it be different than the NFL. The highest paid players are the QBs. No one said anything about it being FAIR.

  22. So, the media has been right 50% of the time in picking the conference winner… hmm. So, they’re wrong half the time, reminds me of weathermen before all of the tech, came into play.

    The only job where you could be wrong half (or more) of the time and still keep your job, and make a good living too.

  23. Regardless of how any expansions play out, the PAC 12 needs to put a top priority on scheduling home and away games against teams in the top 10 media markets not part of the PAC 12 footprint. The league needs exposure. Plus, when the time for media rights deal negotiations, having games set in those markets is only going to increase the value of the rights. If there isn’t a geographic fit for inclusion in the PAC 12, go for the scheduling route.

    Want to get on TV in the no.1 market (New York)? Schedule games against Rutgers or Army.
    Want to get on TV in Chicago? Schedule games with Northwestern or Notre Dame (already got ND covered, but you get the idea).
    Want to get on TV in Philly? Schedule with Penn St. or Pitt
    Want to get on TV in Dallas? Schedule with TCU or SMU.
    The league needs a scheduling strategy that is beyond just each individual school’s schedule. You sell the leagues TV value, the league as a whole needs to be proactive like this. One game a year per team in a good non-PAC12 footprint.

  24. wow
    desperate times for the little 8 call for desperate measures no matter how pitiful.
    Offering TX and OU chump change hoping to change their minds.
    Like Lance Carl just said…Texas doesn’t really need any more money yet what they will get in the SEC is he major attraction even at the probable expense of their won loss record which isnt all that hot right now to begin with. Another thing that the extra money has trumped is something that arrogant Texas may regret…and that is giving up their alpha dog seat in the Big 12.
    Has the Big (how many lately?) degraded to the point its definitely gone? Will teams like Houston and Cincinnati feel like they are better off where they are? On their way to being a super conference will they begin kicking out the Rutgers and the Vandys to make room for teams to bring in even more money??

    1. What’s even crazier, is that those in the state of Texas & Oklahoma that are mad at being left behind, OSU & baylor, are now looking for their reps to legislate a stop to all of this! I don’t get the idea that if you lose you just try and sue your way out or even better just write a law against a school doing what’s in their best interest.

      So much for a free county… unless you lose, then it’s write a new law.

      Ironic note: it seems that those who cry the most about civil rights and liberties are the first to step on others’ liberties. I see it where I live where our retirement community have “building captains” that are suppose to be ambassadors to new residents and help with info, but our building captain acts more like an over zealous RA on a power trip than an ambassador; and she’s very much a hypocrite to her own beliefs.

      With the ncaa losing more and more power every day, and NIL, this is going to probably result in a couple of super conferences and the rest; who lands where and wins and lose is to be seen.

      Good thing CU left the big12 when they did, even with the way their win/loss record has been, CU is in a better position than had they stayed. Unless the BIG10 would have grabbed them (from the big12) this time due to their past and their AAU membership.

      Another writer on CBS was commenting on the BIG10 grabbing USC, UW ASU and surprisingly he included CU due to their TV market and academics; getting LA, Seattle, Phoenix and the Denver tv markets. Not that anyone knows whats going to happen next, it would be exciting if CU was part of an expansion that combined some parts or all of the PAC12 to the BIG10.

  25. PAC 12 should add: OK ST, (SMU or TCU,) TT, and Houston. This would open up another recruiting area and add viewing markets. Southern California is declining as a recruiting area, having Texas in the footprint would help, especially since the SEC is now richer than Crassus and has access to Georgia, Florida and now more of TX.

    1. Ether or both Iowa State and Kansas would be automatic as explained previously. Course big 10 might jump on Kansas.
      One texas should be enough. gonna be hard to get one of those left past the Pac Deans

      Oki state.

      Buffalo Bound Buffs.

      Note. Smoke screen cities

      Note: takes 14 of the SEC teams to vote yes. A&M will be no as will probably be Missouri. So who is the other one?? Gotta be one more eh????

      Bowl Bound Buffs

      1. ISU & KU, are OK, But NO TCU or SMU (“jonny B good”) and really those two were just G5 before the big12, and being the big fish in a little pound TCU had some great years, but doing that weekly in the big12 didn’t seem to work out so well.

        Besides, ISU and KU have a history with CU, so geographically AND AAU wise (DAMN you VK, for making me see that side… haha) I’d still would like that and the time zone (I know I harp on this) would give CU and the PAC12 some games in better time slots…. Assuming that in a 16 team conference CU plays more games east of the Rockies than say the CA schools would, plus the CA schools have their long standing rivalries too.

        So, OSU, TT, ISU & KU could be in one pod, but maybe TT & OSU gets with the Arizona schools then it could be CU, Utah and ISU and KU “mountain pod” then I’m betting CU would play at least a couple of their games in the central time zone, those two, even a home game since the other team is out east of CU and games against 2 of the 4 “desert pod”.

        OR

        Just merge with the BIG10, (with a few tweeks here & there) with all of the AAU schools, it would be one big mega academic conference (22 of 26 I think if I followed VK close enough), with half (maybe 60/40) of the games old rivalries and the rest new games against the new conference foes.

  26. Program Note: For those wondering what became of all of their previous posts under this heading … Fear not, they still exist. As of July 25th, however, they have been relegated to the “Spring/Summer” banner for 2021, as the “Fall Camp” banners are now open. If you want to see your old comments, just scroll down on the main page to “Pac-12 Notes – Spring/Summer”.

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