Pac-12 Notes – California Week

October 23rd – GameDay!

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Washington needs two fourth quarter touchdowns to defeat Arizona, 21-16

From ESPN … Washington’s coaches teach the defensive lineman to fall back when they don’t feel much resistance. A screen pass is likely coming.

Taking those lessons to heart, Tuli Letuligasenoa felt the offensive lineman brush by, so he dropped into coverage.

Washington’s 300-pound wrecking ball didn’t know if he had the ball in his hands until he was being hit, but it turned out to be the play that shifted momentum in the Huskies’ favor.

Dylan Morris threw two second-half touchdown passes after Letuligasenoa’s interception, and Washington extended the nation’s longest losing streak to 19 with a 21-16 win over Arizona on Friday night.

“They were going on that drive, three, four yards at a time,” Washington coach Jimmy Lake said. “That interception by Tuli was a huge charge to the sideline, the offense, the defense, the whole team.”

Washington (3-4, 2-2 Pac-12) stumbled through the first half and was down nine headed into the fourth quarter. Letuligasenoa stopped Arizona’s bid to pad its lead and Morris took it from there, hitting Terrell Bynum on two long passes to set up two scores.

Washington’s defense also shifted into a new gear, shutting down Arizona after being hit with big plays earlier.

“We were down, but we rolled on for a little bit,” said Bynum, who had five catches for 143 yards and a touchdown.

Arizona (0-7, 0-4) seemed to be on its way to ending its school-record losing streak, taking a 16-7 lead into the fourth quarter before imploding.

The Wildcats were hit with key penalties, Will Plummer threw the big interception and the defense buckled after dominating the first half, leaving them winless since December 2019.

“We continue to get in fist fights with our hands tied behind our backs,” Arizona coach Jedd Fisch said.

Morris alternated the first two series with Sam Huard, but didn’t matter who was taking snaps in the first half. Washington had 65 yards and punted six times.

The Huskies snapped out of it in the second half.

Bynum capped an 81-yard opening drive by going over Arizona defensive back Jaydin Young’s back for a 16-yard touchdown catch. Morris connected with Bynum on a 51-yard pass after Letuligasenoa’s pick, setting up Cameron Davis 9-yard TD run the next play that pulled the Huskies within 16-14.

Morris, who had his nose bloodied early in the game, hit Bynum on another 51-yard pass and, with the help of a defensive holding penalty on third down, found Rome Odunze for an 8-yard touchdown to give the Huskies the lead.

“He was bulls-eye on those,” Bynum said.

Getting the start after Gunner Cruz suffered a season-ending thumb injury last week, Plummer couldn’t get much going in the first quarter — 17 yards — before orchestrating a 10-play, 64-yard drive. Receiver Jamarye Joiner scored on a 1-yard keeper and Lucas Havrisik’s 50-yard field goal put the Wildcats up 13-0 at halftime.

Arizona struggled to move the ball in the second half, but was driving for a chance to extend its lead before Plummer threw an interception right to Letuligasenoa.

The Wildcats had one more chance, stopping Washington on third down with 2:26 left, but were called for an illegal substitution, giving the Huskies a first down and a chance to all but run out the clock.

“Obviously, that’s inexcusable,” Fisch said. “That’s not something that was even remotely in my mind that could have happened.”


October 22nd

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Anonymous recruiting insights: “I hate getting beat by the bag”

From The Athletic … In the past year, The Athletic has conducted anonymous surveys with recruiting staffers and parents of prospects to gain more insight into the process. This time, the focus is on the assistant coaches — those who are in constant communication with top prospects and their families, work closely with head coaches and recruiting staffers and compete against other assistants.

With recruiting intensifying over these next few weeks, The Athletic spoke to nearly three dozen FBS assistant coaches spanning every FBS conference and the independents about a wide range of topics from realignment and the latest recruiting trends to who they believe are the best players in the ’22 cycle.

The panel consisted of assistants from the ACC (8), Pac-12 (6), Big Ten (5), SEC (5), AAC (2), C-USA (2), MAC (2), Mountain West (2), Big 12 (1), Sun Belt (1) and independents (1).

How do you think realignment will impact the recruiting landscape?

Pac-12 coach: Unfortunately, it just turned the fucking SEC into the Premier League, I think. You can make this Alliance, you can do whatever you want, but if you’re an SEC school — and it doesn’t matter because I was at (a mid-tier SEC program), and I never said (that program’s name), all I said was “SEC, SEC, SEC.” Missouri could be Kansas or Kansas State or Texas Tech right now had they not gotten into the SEC. But they’re in the SEC now, so they’ve got the edge on that. I do think that’s going to make a difference. … It’s going to continue to further the gap.

Are there any programs whose recruiting has impressed you lately?

Pac-12 coach: I think (Jedd Fisch) at Arizona is doing a good job of getting some flash guys. He’s doing a pretty good job for what he’s got to work with and deal with. Oregon’s always going to do a good job, and have done a good job. Mario (Cristobal) does a good job. Usually, if you work for Nick Saban because Saban puts so much energy into it, there are very few Saban assistants who became head coaches and aren’t pretty good recruiters.

Pac-12 coach: I think Oregon’s doing a good job. They do a really good job with O-linemen obviously with Mario and that O-line coach (Alex Mirabel) being the point guys there. I think they’ve got a really good sell there. I’d say those guys are recruiting at a really high level right now.

Is there any recruiting pitch that you hate to give?

Pac-12 assistant: Yeah, and I don’t do, it but I can’t fucking stand it: “You’re the guy. You’re going to play. You’re going to do this.” Kids have to learn at this level, you’re going to compete. I lost a kid to (a Big 12 school) basically based on, “We suck, you’re going to play right away, we’re awful.” You’ve got to bring your ass in here and compete like everybody else. … That’s one I don’t like. And obviously, getting beat by the bag.

What’s the most recent annoying recruiting trend?

Pac-12 coach: Pushing the conference more than the school. That bothers the shit out of me, too. “We’re beating our chest, yeah, we’re Mississippi State.” Yeah, you’re average as fuck. You’re gonna beat the SEC chest.

Pac-12 coach: Social media is out of control. … It gets too glorified. Is he a good player? Is he a good fit? Why offer a kid if you don’t want him to commit? It gets lost.

What’s the right balance when determining how often to contact a recruit? How do you show you’re interested while not trying to be needy or pushy?

Pac-12 assistant: The guy who picks up the phone every time you hit him up, you may think you have a great relationship with him, this guy always picks up the phone. His ass needs to be sleeping. His ass needs to be watching film. His ass needs to be working out. His ass needs to be studying. The guy who loves the constant contact, I think loves the recruiting process too much or they’re not set into the deal.

Pac-12 coach: When they dropped the phone call rule and said you could call whenever, obviously, every college coach took advantage of that. Every kid was just on speed dial and you were calling them every day. If you weren’t, then that’s a problem. If you weren’t calling a kid, someone else was. Do you want to give these people some space but if you give them some space you know Oregon’s calling them every day.

What’s the biggest difference between a recruitment where a head coach is actively involved and one where it’s mostly handled by an assistant and a staffer?

Pac-12 coach: That was my life at (my previous job). Our head coach was awful at recruiting. Thought it was beneath him … and (thought) that he walked in and was the closer. When the head coach is involved and you’re recruiting against that and you don’t have your head coach involved, it’s a bitch.

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Wilner: Eight Pac-12 coaches (including Karl Dorrell) are “overpaid”

From the San Jose Mercury News … Collectively, Pac-12 football coaches will earn approximately $50 million this season.

That figure includes the coaches who have already been fired, the coaches who lost to Brigham Young, the coaches who couldn’t beat Montana or NAU, the coach who’s winless against FBS opponents, and the coach whose team went eight quarters without scoring a point. Plus all the coaches who picked the wrong starting quarterback for their season openers.

Are any of them worth the money? Judge for yourself based on the compensations figures below, which are taken from USA Today’s invaluable salary database.

The Hotline opined on whether each coach is overpaid or underpaid at his current salary, but take that commentary the way it’s intended: We don’t begrudge any of them a dime. You get what you can get and make no apologies for it.

We never once blamed former commissioner Larry Scott for his $5+ million annual compensation. He took what the schools were willing to pay. Responsibility for fiscal mismanagement fell to his bosses, the university presidents.

Such is the case here: If a coach is overpaid, that’s not his problem; it’s the school’s problem.

Of course, there is no way to anticipate wins and losses and relative value when the contracts are negotiated. The deals are based on the marketplace, which is driven by agents and remains undefeated.

1. Stanford’s David Shaw
2021 salary: $8.9 million
Contract length: unknown
Comment: The figure is actually for the 2019 calendar year, according to USA Today, and represents a significant one-time bump from Shaw’s usual compensation. (Typically, he approaches $5 million annually.) Still, it’s a whopper of a number that places Shaw on the same level as coaches who regularly reach the College Football Playoff. It also renders laughable the university’s justification (budget woes) for attempting to cut 11 Olympic sports.
Verdict: Overpaid. Nobody is worth $8.9 million, except Nick Saban.

2. UCLA’s Chip Kelly
2021 salary: $5.6 million
Contract length: signed through the 2022 season
Comment: Kelly’s current compensation represents a 30% uptick from his 2020 salary. Yes, it’s a hefty amount given his win-loss record the previous three seasons, but he had all the leverage during the November 2017 contract negotiations. And if the Bruins somehow crash and burn down the stretch, know this: Kelly’s buyout reportedly drops to zero in the middle of January.
Verdict: Overpaid. The Bruins expected more, much more. But a division title this fall would substantially improve the optics.

7. Cal’s Justin Wilcox
2021 salary: $3.6 million
Contract length: signed through the 2023 season
Comment: Despite the mounting losses, there is zero chance of termination. Wilcox is well aligned with the administration and a good fit for one of the most difficult jobs in the conference.
Verdict: Overpaid. Wilcox’s original contract was for approximately $2 million annually. At that rate, and with his early-tenure turnaround, he was a supreme bargain. But now, with two wins this decade, the return doesn’t tip in the university’s favor.

8. Colorado’s Karl Dorrell
2021 salary: $3.2 million
Contract length: signed through the 2023 season
Comment: Dorrell looked like a solid value last year and through the first two games this season. But on Sept. 18 — the day of the 30-0 loss to Minnesota and the realization that this might be a long season for CU — the scales tipped in the wrong direction.
Verdict: Overpaid. In fairness to Dorrell, it’s probably too early for judgment. Hired just before the pandemic, he has coached 12 games and won six of them. Still, the current trajectory is concerning.

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October 21st

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Justin Wilcox on Cal’s 1-5 record: “The win-loss column, that’s all there is”

From Sports Illustrated … Cal coach Justin Wilcox faced more questions about losing during his Tuesday media session, and he isn’t making excuses for the Bears’ 1-5 record through the first half of the season.

“The win-loss column, that’s all there is,” Wilcox said. “We are all frustrated and disappointed in the way we’ve started the season.

“There’s been opportunities in every game to win the game. Ultimately, the stat that matters is winning and losing. . . . We’ve been close. They don’t count close in wins and losses.”

The Bears (1-5, 0-3) resume their season against Colorado (2-4, 1-2) on Saturday at Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is 12:30 p.m. The Buffaloes ended their own four-game losing streak last weekend with a a 34-0 rout of winless Arizona.

Wilcox said he sees no evidence Cal’s players are giving up on this season. Both in practice and during games, he said, they continue to compete and play hard.

“Nobody expected us to be here in terms of what our win-loss record is,” Wilcox said. “We have a chance to play a lot more football and finish the season right. But it starts with what we do in practice. We have a very, very strong group of leaders on the team who care about their football experience, their teammates and their team.”

Wilcox said he understands not every player digests losing in the same way.

“There’s 115 guys and some guys, it’s a lot more difficult for them to go through some adversity. I think that’s life in general,” he said. “But the overwhelming majority of guys are choosing optimism and going to continue to work hard and drive on.”

Four of the Bears’ five defeats have been by seven points or fewer, including last Saturday’s 24-17 defeat at then-No. 9 Oregon. Cal had the ball at the 2-yard line for the game’s final play.

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Six schools (none named CSU) to join American Athletic Conference 

From ESPN … Six schools — Florida Atlantic, Charlotte, North Texas, UTSA, Rice and UAB — have accepted invitations to join the American Athletic Conference, the league announced Thursday.

No date has been set for the schools to join the conference, but a source told ESPN that the earliest they could join would be the 2023-24 season.

Once all the announced realignment shuffles out, the additions would give the American 14 teams in football and basketball. The six schools are all leaving Conference USA, leaving it with eight members.

“I am extremely pleased to welcome these six outstanding universities to the American Athletic Conference,” American commissioner Mike Aresco said in a statement. “This is a strategic expansion that accomplishes a number of goals as we take the conference into its second decade. We are adding excellent institutions that are established in major cities and have invested in competing at the highest level. We have enhanced geographical concentration which will especially help the conference’s men’s and women’s basketball and Olympic sports teams.”

The American is replacing Cincinnati, UCF and Houston, which were accepted to join the Big 12 last month. According to AAC bylaws, those schools’ exit date would be July 1, 2024, though Aresco told ESPN in mid-September that the league would be willing to negotiate an earlier exit fee to accommodate their departures.


October 20th

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Nick Rolovich suing WSU over firing

From ESPN … Former Washington State coach Nick Rolovich will be suing the university for illegal termination, in part because of “discriminatory and vindictive behavior” by athletic director Pat Chun, an attorney representing Rolovich said Wednesday.

Washington State fired Rolovich and four other assistant coaches Monday night after they refused to comply with a mandate that required all state employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Gov. Jay Inslee had set a deadline of Monday for employees to be vaccinated or to receive an exemption and accommodations from their direct supervisors. WSU athletic director Chun on Monday said Rolovich’s firing is a for-cause separation, noting that he could not meet the requirements in his contract, which paid him $3 million annually. Therefore, Rolovich will not continue to be paid by the school.

Brian Fahling, an attorney in Kenmore, Washington, who is representing Rolovich, confirmed in a statement to ESPN that Rolovich’s request for a religious exemption based on his “devout” Catholic faith was denied by the university. Chun and WSU president Kirk Schulz on Monday would not confirm whether the exemption requests from Rolovich and the other coaches had been denied, saying only that Rolovich’s request for accommodations could not be met. The university used a blind evaluation process for all exemption requests, where a two-person panel does not know each applicant’s name or job title before making decisions.

Fahling accuses Chun of determining Rolovich would be fired as far back as April, four months before Inslee’s vaccine mandate went into effect.

“Chun’s animus towards Coach Rolovich’s sincerely held religious beliefs, and Chun’s dishonesty at the expense of Coach Rolovich during the past year, is damning and will be thoroughly detailed in litigation,” Fahling’s statement reads. “Chun’s discriminatory and vindictive behavior has caused immeasurable harm to Coach Rolovich and his family.”

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Rich get (incredibly) richer: Oregon to be a second, 170,000-square foot athletic facility

From 247 Sports … The University of Oregon is going to build a massive new indoor practice facility that will be available for all sports, the school announced via a release on the University Website.

According to the release, the school has submitted paperwork to the city to build a 170,000 square foot indoor facility to be built west of Autzen Stadium and between Leo Harris Parkway and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. The location is part of the current outdoor football practice fields the team uses. Oregon’s current indoor practice facility, the Moshofsky Center, is 135,000 square feet and will continue to be used for all sports. This new facility will give the Oregon Athletic Department two indoor facilities for its sports teams to use.

“Our world-class labs, classrooms, residence halls, and athletic facilities fuel an undeniable passion and inspire excellence in students, faculty, staff and alumni,” said Michael H. Schill, UO president and professor of law in the school’s release. “This new facility will ensure that our student-athletes can continue to push themselves without limits and compete on a global scale.”

The school says the new facility will be completed in 2024 and will be funded entirely by money donated to the school. It will also be among the region’s most energy-efficient buildings, with a goal of powering the building with renewable energy generated onsite.

“The core of our mission here at Oregon is to provide an exceptional student-athlete experience and the best possible opportunity to maximize their potential,” Mullens said. “This new facility enhances support for UO student-athletes by combining innovation and functionality in the best possible way while also increasing access to indoor training opportunities for all of our Duck student-athletes.”

As currently conceived, the project features a 130,000 square-foot practice field and a 40,000 square-foot connector between the field and the Hatfield Dowlin Complex, home to football operations.

The school says the new connector will include an expanded weight room and a players’ lounge to provide a dedicated space for student-athletes to prepare for games. The facility will also have doors that would open from the lounge to an exterior terrace, creating a “flexible multipurpose space where the team could study and gather or host special events.”


October 19th

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Candidates to replace Rolovich include several Pac-12 coordinators 

From ESPN … Nick Rolovich’s tenure at Washington State ended much sooner than anyone had hoped.

Rolovich, a quirky coach with outstanding offensive credentials, seemed like the perfect successor to Mike Leach on the Palouse. He’s now out after only 11 games.

WSU president Kirk Schulz and athletic director Pat Chun, while expressing disappointment Monday that the 42-year-old coach didn’t comply with the state’s vaccination mandate for employees, also noted that they brought in Rolovich in January 2020 to be a long-term leader for the program.

“We have been very active, out working with alumni and friends to invest in facilities and invest in our football program,” Schulz said. “When we hired Coach Rolovich, we weren’t interested in somebody being around for a couple years. We thought this could be where he retires from.”

Despite the unusual circumstances surrounding Rolovich’s exit, Washington State will begin a standard search to find his replacement. Chun and his staff have been prepared for the likelihood of a search. Chun, while accepting responsibility for hiring Rolovich, has support from Schulz to lead the process.

“This person needs to exemplify what it means to be a Coug and embrace every aspect of leadership that is required with a job of this magnitude,” Chun said Monday.

Washington State is among the more challenging Power 5 jobs because of its remote location, which stresses the recruiting process. The school has increased its investment in facilities and other areas, and coaches such as Leach (55-47) and Mike Price (82-78) have proved that winning at WSU is quite possible. Rolovich’s second team had shown improvement, winning three straight games before his departure. Still, WSU’s budget is lower than those of most Power 5 programs.

WSU likely will target coaches with offensive backgrounds and those who have ties to the region and the Pac-12. Obviously, the school will not consider any unvaccinated candidates or those who would not comply with state health mandates. Chun’s coaching hires include Lane Kiffin at Florida Atlantic as well as Rolovich, but he might take a more conservative approach this time.

Here are 10 names Washington State could consider to replace Rolovich:

Oregon offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead. He should soon get another chance to lead an FBS program. The questions are when and where. Moorhead, 47, is a proven playcaller, as he showed in Oregon’s Week 2 upset of Ohio State in Columbus. He transformed Penn State’s offense as the coordinator there before taking a Mississippi State job that never suited him. A Pittsburgh native, Moorhead might be better off waiting for a job closer to home. But he has some familiarity with the Northwest after two years at Oregon, and he makes sense for a program that loves innovative offense. Moorhead had a health scare earlier this month but has returned to his duties with the Ducks.

USC offensive coordinator Graham Harrell. Despite USC’s struggles this season, Harrell would bring some familiarity and a potentially dynamic, passing-based offense to the Palouse. A record-setting Texas Tech quarterback who played for Leach, Harrell began his coaching career under Leach at Washington State, working with wide receivers in 2014 and 2015. As a coordinator, Harrell bolstered offenses at North Texas and initially at USC, where quarterback Kedon Slovis had a record-setting 2019 season. But the Trojans’ drop-off in production since 2019 might give WSU some pause about Harrell, who is only 36.

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October 18th

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Unvaccinated Nick Rolovich fired as Washington State coach

From ESPN … Nick Rolovich is out as the Washington State football coach after refusing to become vaccinated for COVID-19, a requirement for all state employees, a source confirmed to ESPN on Monday.

Multiple unvaccinated assistant coaches are also out, the source said. Defensive coordinator Jake Dickert is expected to be named as the interim coach.

Monday was the deadline for state employees to become fully vaccinated or receive an approved medical or religious exemption as part of a state mandate that was announced in August. Rolovich was seeking a religious exemption, but it is not yet clear how the university committee assigned to evaluate religious exemptions ruled.

Washington State has not provided any examples of what qualifies as a religious exemption. As part of the application process, Rolovich would have needed to attest to how his “sincerely held religious belief” is in conflict with the vaccine requirement. It is a blind process, meaning the committee would not have access to any identifying information while making its determination, a process designed to treat every employee equally. At least two people trained in the legality of the religious exemption have to review every application.

No major religious denomination opposes COVID-19 vaccines, but that has no bearing on what can be considered a sincerely held belief.

Rolovich has been asked repeatedly for weeks to expand upon the reasoning for his position but has declined to provide clarity.

“[It’s been] about three months, four months,” Rolovich said Saturday after the Cougars (4-3) beat Stanford 34-31 to run their winning streak to three games. “So I’ve gotten used to it. These kids are incredible. Love being around them. They’re playing their hearts out for this university. I think they’ve got a real good bond that they’ll remember for the rest of their life. And it’s just pretty special.”

Rolovich was hired in January 2020 after a four-year stint as the head coach at Hawaii, where he compiled a 28-27 record.

His departure was first reported by the Oregonian.

CU second in the Pac-12 in percentage attendance (Cal dead last)

From West Coast College Football …

Reported Average Attendance by % of Capacity …

  • 100%—Utah, 51,573
  • 94%—Colorado, 47,410
  • 87%—Washington, 61,299
  • 86%—Oregon, 46,523
  • 83%—Arizona State, 44,592
  • 78%—Stanford, 39,423
  • 76%—Arizona, 38,612
  • 74%—Washington State, 24,527
  • 70%—USC, 54,249
  • 69%—UCLA, 48,081
  • 68%—Oregon State, 29,410
  • 57%—Cal, 35,795

ESPN GameDay to be on hand as UCLA’s Chip Kelly tries to defeat his former team

From YahooSports. com … Almost a decade after he left that giddy success behind, the narrative about what makes him brilliant remains unchanged. It’s all about past innovation, about all those points scored in a hurry, about what he once did with shiny helmets and speedy offense.

That could change Saturday at the Rose Bowl. This is Chip Kelly’s chance to blur his way to a new path against his old team.

Want to be known for more than what you did at Oregon? Beat Oregon.

Want to erase the rancid taste of those NFL failures? Beat Oregon.

Want to make fans stop pointing to that historically horrid start at UCLA? Beat Oregon.

It’s not an exaggeration to say the college football world will be watching. ESPN’s College GameDay will be on the UCLA campus for the first time in school history, having also appeared at the Rose Bowl before the Bruins played Oregon in 1998.

That was the day UCLA quarterback Cade McNown was so sick he vomited on the field while guiding his team to a fully therapeutic 41-38 victory in overtime.

This matchup could be equally intriguing. The Bruins (5-2 overall, 3-1 Pac-12) are 1½-point underdogs against the No. 10 Ducks (5-1, 2-1), who haven’t been flying particularly high since that September road victory over Ohio State.

… Saturday could be about creating something special at UCLA, a victory keeping the Bruins in the running for a Pac-12 title and a major bowl.

“It’ll be like another game,” Kelly said. “It’s not my former team, I was there a long time ago, so I don’t know any of those coaches, I don’t know any of those players. So it’s not like I’m going back to coach against a bunch of guys that I coached.”

Like it or not, Kelly will be coaching against the memories of what he once was, trying again for the breakthrough that could make him famous for something else.

Read full story here


October 17th

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Pac-12 down to one ranked team (one fewer than the American Athletic Conference)

From ESPN … Cincinnati moved up to No. 2 behind Georgia in The Associated Press college football poll Sunday, the first time a team from outside the traditional power conferences has been ranked that high since 2010.

The Bulldogs remained a unanimous No. 1 with 63 first-place votes in the AP Top 25, and the Bearcats inched up a spot, taking advantage of Iowa’s loss to Purdue on Saturday.

The Hawkeyes dropped nine places to No. 11, and the Boilermakers moved into the rankings at No. 25, snapping the longest current AP poll drought for a Power 5 school. The Boilermakers were last ranked in 2007.

Oklahoma is No. 3, followed by Alabama and Ohio State.

Unbeaten Cincinnati from the American Athletic Conference reached a new best ranking in program history and is the first team to reach No. 2 from outside a Power 5 or BCS conference since TCU finished second in 2010, when it went undefeated as a member of the Mountain West.

Boise State, then a member of the Western Athletic Conference, spent three weeks at No. 2 in 2010.

1. Georgia (63)7-0
2. Cincinnati6-0
3. Oklahoma7-0
4. Alabama6-1
5. Ohio State5-1
6. Michigan6-0
7. Penn State5-1
8. Oklahoma State6-0
9. Michigan State7-0
10. Oregon5-1
11. Iowa6-1
12. Mississippi5-1
13. Notre Dame5-1
14. Coastal Carolina6-0
15. Kentucky6-1
16. Wake Forest6-0
17. Texas A&M5-2
18. NC State5-1
19. Auburn5-2
20. Baylor6-1
21. SMU6-0
22. San Diego State6-0
23. Pittsburgh5-1
24. UTSA7-0
25. Purdue4-2

Others receiving votes: Clemson 64, Utah 43, Arkansas 29, BYU 21, Air Force 19, Iowa State 14, Louisiana 13, Florida 7, Arizona State 7, Texas 5, UCLA 4, Houston 2, LSU 2, Virginia 1

Dropped from rankings: Arkansas 17, Arizona State 18, BYU 19, Florida 20, Texas 25


Big Ten – 6 (Nos. 5, 6, 7, 9, 11, 25)
SEC – 6 (Nos. 1, 4, 12, 15, 17, 19)
ACC – 3 (Nos. 16, 18, 23)
Big 12 – 3 (Nos. 3, 8, 20)
American – 2 (Nos. 2, 21)
Pac-12 – 1 (No. 10)
Conference USA – 1 (No. 24)
Mountain West – 1 (No. 22)
Sun Belt – 1 (No. 14)
Independent – 1 (No. 13)

Replacement candidates for LSU include Oregon’s Cristobal; Michigan State’s Mel Tucker

From ESPN … Less than two years after winning a national title with one of college football’s greatest teams, Ed Orgeron is out as LSU’s coach.

A messy 2020 season and a poor start to 2021 sealed Orgeron’s fate. LSU’s non-competitive loss to Kentucky on Oct. 9 signaled that Orgeron’s time would soon be ending. Despite Saturday’s win over Florida, LSU decided to move on with Orgeron still set to coach out the season.

The Louisiana native considered LSU a dream job, but many linked the 2019 title more to Heisman trophy-winning quarterback Joe Burrow and elite young play-caller Joe Brady. LSU is only 9-8 since that duo left following their championship season.

One of college football’s premier coaching jobs is now open. Although drama seems to follow LSU at every turn, the last three coaches there — Nick Saban, Les Miles and Orgeron — all have won national titles. Louisiana is an elite recruiting ground, and facilities and fan support remain strong. Athletic director Scott Woodward is expected to lead a bold search. Woodward hired Chris Petersen at Washington and brought Jimbo Fisher from Florida State to Texas A&M.

Here’s a look at potential candidates for the LSU job:

Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher: Woodward already landed Fisher once and could go back into the deep waters for another seismic SEC hire. Fisher’s affinity for LSU – where he won a national title as a Nick Saban assistant – and Baton Rouge is no secret. Fisher won a championship at Florida State and is the elite offensive mind and quarterbacks coach that LSU has long desired. But would he leave a great situation at Texas A&M, which has given him everything that he wants? The Aggies recorded a top-five finish last year and should be back in the CFP mix soon. His massive contract at A&M does not include a penalty to leave. It’s certainly worth a try for Woodward.

Oregon coach Mario Cristobal: Cristobal could provide LSU some of Orgeron’s best qualities while adding a steadier demeanor as the program CEO. Promoted to succeed Willie Taggart at Oregon, he had restored the program to the top of the Pac-12, winning consecutive titles. Cristobal is one of the nation’s most tireless recruiters, and could compete with Alabama and others in the SEC. He worked under Saban at Alabama and might crave a return to that competitive environment. Cristobal also has a $9 million buyout if he leaves Oregon before mid-January, and is expected to return his best team in 2022.

Michigan State coach Mel Tucker: Several industry sources mentioned Tucker as an LSU candidate after the Orgeron news broke Sunday. Tucker is in only his third year as an FBS head coach, and left Colorado after only one season for the MSU job. After going 2-5 in 2020, Tucker flipped the Spartans’ roster through the transfer portal this summer and has the team at 7-0 and ranked No. 9. Tucker also is a top-level recruiter who, in addition to extensive coordinator experience in the NFL, has worked at LSU and other big-time college programs such as Ohio State, Alabama and Georgia. He would fit right into the SEC.

Read full story here

Utah takes control of the Pac-12 South with 35-21 win over Arizona State

From ESPN … Utah is once again emerging as a serious Pac-12 title contender.

The Utes are gaining momentum in pursuit of a third division title in four years after taking down a third straight league opponent.

Cameron Rising threw for 247 yards and two touchdowns as Utah rallied to beat No. 18 Arizona State 35-21 on Saturday night.

Rising added 59 yards and a touchdown on six carries. Tavion Thomas ran for 84 yards and a score. The Utes (4-2, 3-0 Pac-12) took over sole possession of first place in the Pac-12 South, and are the last unbeaten team in Pac-12 play.

“We got everything we want right there in front of us,” Rising said. “We just got to go take it.”

Jayden Daniels threw for 237 yards and two TDs to lead Arizona State. Daniels rushed for 46 yards and a touchdown. The Sun Devils (5-2, 3-1 Pac-12) surrendered 28 unanswered points after halftime.

Utah scored on four straight drives in the second half to erase a 14-point halftime deficit. Rising completed 13-of-15 pass attempts after halftime while leading the comeback.

“Got a lot of faith in Cam Rising,” Utes coach Kyle Whittingham said. “He’s a great leader for us and the players believe in him.”

The Utes pulled within a touchdown on a 7-yard run by Thomas. Then Rising tossed touchdown passes to Brant Kuithe on back-to-back drives to give Utah its first lead in the fourth quarter. A 20-yard strike to Kuithe tied the game midway through the third quarter. Then, a wide-open Kuithe walked a 7-yard pass into the end zone untouched, putting the Utes up 28-21.

T.J. Pledger’s 7-yard run gave Utah a two-touchdown cushion with 2:39 left.

“They continued to make first downs, they went on substantial drives, and we couldn’t get off the field and it kills you,” Sun Devils coach Herm Edwards said. “Defensively, it puts you in a bad way.”

Continue reading story here

Washington drops to 2-4 after 24-17 home loss to UCLA

From ESPN … Dorian Thompson-Robinson carried UCLA long enough for freshman Devin Kirkwood to make the first big play of his college career.

Thompson-Robinson threw for two touchdowns and ran for another, Kirkwood came up with a critical interception inside the final 5 minutes, and UCLA beat Washington 24-17 on Saturday night.

Zach Charbonnet added 131 yards rushing and the Bruins (5-2, 3-1 Pac-12) won their second straight on the road, remaining right in the middle of the Pac-12 South Division race.

“Just making sure I do my job and I do my job really well,” Thompson-Robinson said. “I think that’s what I did tonight as well as everybody else.”

Thompson-Robinson threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Greg Dulcich for what turned out to be the winning score with 8:19 remaining, capping a 90-yard scoring drive. He also threw a 17-yard TD to Kam Brown in the first quarter and had a 1-yard TD run late in the first half.

Thompson-Robinson was 21-of-26 passing for 183 yards and added another 87 yards rushing. His last run came with 2:01 left when he sprinted 8 yards for a first down after Washington used its final timeout.

“I thought Dorian played great today. I think he got the ball to eight different receivers, he did a really good job of spreading the ball around,” UCLA coach Chip Kelly said. “What our game plan was going in he executed it to a tee. He was really good protecting the football.”

And when UCLA needed a big defensive play in the closing minutes, Kirkwood came through. Kirkwood intercepted Washington quarterback Dylan Morris at the UCLA 4 with 4:50 remaining. Morris had Jalen McMillian open for a potential touchdown, but didn’t lead him enough and Kirkwood made an excellent recovery, juggling and then securing the ball.

“I thought it was a really good play call by them and then when he threw it I thought we may be beat here,” Kelly said. “But he closed the gap and he’s just got such long arms, I thought he made a heck of a play on the ball.”

Continue reading story here

Washington State wins, but Rolovich might not be head coach after Monday

From the San Jose Mercury News … For all the good cheer on the sideline, (Washington State defeated Stanford, 34-31, the Cougars fifth-straight win over the Cardinal) the state’s vaccine mandate looms.

Rolovich said after the game that he hadn’t been informed of a judgment on his request for an exemption on religious grounds.

The deadline to comply is Monday. Any state employee who is not vaccinated, or doesn’t receive an exemption, will be terminated.

“I’m gonna come to work tomorrow … I don’t think this is in my hands,” Rolovich said after the game.

(Of course it’s in his hands. If he gets vaccinated, he won’t be fired.)

This could play out in any number of ways in the next 48-72 hours:

— Rolovich could have his exemption request denied in the blind review process, then refuse a last chance to get vaccinated. In that case, WSU will begin the separation process and appoint an interim head coach.

— Rolovich’s request could be approved in the blind review process only to have WSU president Kirk Schulz and athletic director Pat Chun determine that, if unvaccinated, he cannot perform his job effectively and/or keep the public safe.

In other words, Rolovich would not qualify for the exemption under the accommodations language in the mandate. Dismissal would follow.

— The review process could extend beyond Monday, in which case Rolovich would be placed on unpaid leave until the school resolves his case.

We’re skeptical that Rolovich will be coaching the Cougars for next weekend’s game against Brigham Young. He has every right to not get vaccinated, and the university has every right to fire him for not getting vaccinated.

Continue reading story here


32 Replies to “Pac-12 Notes – Cal Week”

  1. “The religious tool”? The pope himself came out for the vaccine AND the Vatican is making it mandatory to vaccine too, so how can he say he needs a religious exemption?

    It sounds more like he’s listening to the crazies and locked in.

    But has he really thought this through? You sue for wrongful termination and in the end get a settlement of any sorts, what AD wants to hire you after all of that? How many millions will he lose the rest of his life over this?

    He’s already been in trouble with his employer and was told to chill out on his political posts and add a lawsuit from a former player and now this. If your an AD why would you want to hire this guy? If it’s because he’s a winner? At best he may find himself in a lower division job making millions less because of a silly belief. But I seriously doubt that any major power 5 program will want him… except a disaster like UofA maybe, they haven’t done too well in their hires and will be looking for another coach soon.

    We all got vaccines and shots for Polio, Small Pox, Mumps and etc… and except for that 3rd arm growing out of my back it’s all good… no seriously why is this one so different from those? Is it because of bad information and conspiracies? Or that the millions of us who gotten the shots are just too stupid to see what “they know”?

    Because like they say, “if it’s on the interweb it’s true”.

      1. Yes: “Brian Fahling, an attorney in Kenmore, Washington, who is representing Rolovich, confirmed in a statement to ESPN that Rolovich’s request for a religious exemption based on his “devout” Catholic faith”

    1. We all got vaccines and shots for Polio, Small Pox, Mumps and etc

      Yup all went through the entire process of being approved.

      So there is that.

      People are dying from the shot. Guess you were the lucky one.
      You can look that up and see that is true.

      Get it if you want it but……………

    2. There are many sites you can go to and discuss:
      The Jab
      Are mandates legal
      Why whole groups of people around the world are fighting the jab and the jab passports
      Why the governments around the world are mandating this
      Why the success of Hydroxychloroquine was hidden and banned
      Where one can talk about conspiracies’ and whether the news networks are reporting the news or manipulating the news

      Not gonna discuss it here so

      As the PS says “I’ll circle back on that one”

      Go Buffs ………………………….Beat Cal

    3. Just one more thing:

      What does congress know about this vaccine that they exempted themselves from it?
      don’t you think they should tell us?

      1. Dude. I was about to complement you for trying to shift this covid/vaccine/politics/religion thread to some other place. That you tacitly started. Then you… circled back. Oh well.

        Let’s keep it to football, or sports at least. And yeah, I know they’re somewhat intertwined these days, but we don’t need to go there. We can bicker enough on more trivial matters ’round here.

        Thank you. For the friends of management.

        Go Buffs

        1. Dudette
          Your chime in

          Wait what The fact you thought your congratulations to me was even relevant to anybody, other than to hear yourself think

          You don’t tell me what to post about what, nor when. So stick to your stuff.

          I will stick to mine

          no comment me
          no comment on you


          Go Buffs beat Cal

          No response by you to this is necessary……….have a nice day

  2. Looks like Oregon is all set to be in the national championship picture with the 10-12 other universities that will be competing for it every year. I’m starting to think that USC might not be in that club.

  3. Wow. Rolovich gives up 3 million bucks a year just because he’s listening to idiots on faceybook or fowl news or whatever hate-for-profit machine convinced him not to get vaxxed. Could have just got a jab in the arm and not only been done with it, but would still be head coach in the sport he supposedly loves. FreeDumb at its most obvious.

    I guess all that “team” talk is only for the unpaid labor, uh, I mean players. Good riddance, chump.

    1. I read somewhere he applied for a religious exemption and the WSU Admin saw it as hooey. Thank God (seriously, no irony, satire or kinda sorta pun intended)

      1. I don’t think this is over as he is suing now. Personally, I’m all for the vaccine, not a big fan of forced vaccinations via threatening people with their livlihood.

        1. I guess you dont remember all the cancelled games last season. If you are running a hundred million dollar biz you dont want a loose cannon shutting it down with a highly contagious disease. You might be threatening a lot of livelihoods in that respect let alone a life itself.
          I support a mandate where people, especially people who have your health and safety as part of their regular jobs. These folks who work in a hospital have to be completely insane to think they should be allowed to work with compromised patients without being vaccinated. If a hospital had to shut down a lot of lives might be lost aside from covid.
          Take the cops in Chicago. Half of them dont want the shot in spite of the fact more cops have died from covid than any other reason this year. on the flip side? get a speeding ticket-catch covid
          Lets face it most of the objections to the vaccine originate with some “hold my breath until I turn blue” political hogwash.

          1. I certainly understand your postion. From my perspective I caught COVID last year, was sick for a few days and got over it, vaccinated after that. I guess I don’t fear it anymore so I’d rather not see people lose there livelihoods. Seems like the state of Washington just fired ~1800 state employees over it. I applaud Polis for not following suit. JMHO.

    2. Religion is a powerful tool to have in your bag.

      If you don’t believe then fine.

      But don’t be criticizing what you don’t understand.

      1. Interesting you would call your religion “a tool.”
        What I believe is most people who call themselves Christians hardly ever remind themselves of the teachings of Christ.
        And finally, what I was criticizing was just that….hooey…not the religion.
        You and earache share a strawman problem

        1. That wasn’t a response to you.
          Paranoia or what.
          Ya gots to read down and see where the responses line up

          Sheesh ep are you meds running low.

          Do I need to send you some organic help

          Go Buffs

    1. If Oregon state actually manages to win some is their final games and not fall flat on their face like they did vs WSU… Then maybe Lindgren can be talked about as a candidate.

  4. Moan and groan and then we hear “dont blame it on the coach.”
    LoCobuff beat me to the punch on HWSRN
    Mickey Mac’s only bright spot was due to the 3 L’s….Leavitt, Lindsay and Liufau…in spite of McIntired….who also had a kid who started on the team.
    Right now I’m going to tell you I blame one coach, the OC, and the head coach is somewhat complicit for putting up with him. I hope to hell the OC isn’t here next year and if we lose the next few games with the same moribund offense I hope he is gone sooner in order to maximize time to search for his replacement.
    So you tell us who not to blame, maybe you should tell us who to blame.

  5. On the topic of Rolovich….”F&$cked around, found out” as the kids say these days.

    There were rumors the players wanted to “hold out” and refuse to play presumptive PAC12 champion (based on record vs conference opponents BYU)… Let’s hope that sort of foolishness doesn’t come to pass

  6. I have always been a diehard CU fan, but the past decade has just made me tired. I loved the early 2000’s when, even though not great; at lest got my nerves and emotions up and down. Now I watch with a sort of glazed over expression and I am exhausted at having to shrug my shoulders every time someone asks me how my Buffs are doing. Is there any hope at the end of this dreary tunnel? C’mon fans, give me some hope, or at least your take on a formula that will get CU to relevance once again. Oh…and don’t blame it on the coach, even McIntyre and Hawkins had some bright spots.

    1. Well, some bright spots. The coach shoving a press photographer didn’t turn into a huge scandal in this year 2021, so doing better than Barnett on that account. His son is not the starting QB so doing better than Hawkins on players. He promoted a good coach to defensive coordinator, but need to see what happens next season and if he does better than McIntyre on staff. Is this helping?

    2. Here’s some hope. Maybe. CU can get back to a point where they’re a top 30-ish football team, with occasional bursts into Pac 12 championships, the top 10, and playoff contention, etc. I think expecting the glory days of CU football to return is a false expectation.

      They’ve got to target kids whose families and themselves value football, but also life outside and beyond football.

      They’re going to have to rely on the team driving their bus to success (like 2016) because it’s unlikely they’ll every have the talent to just walk out and singlehandedly manhandle and beat down their opposition, like the glory days.

      They’re going to have to find – as they’ve been trying to build from – under rated guys who project out well. Karl seems to like kids w/ NFL family backgrounds. Seems like a good formula, to me.

      They’ve got to find kids who aren’t enamored with getting all the “special treatment” that the football factories provide (hey, you got into trouble? We’ll take care of that. Your grades aren’t great? We’ll take care of that. You need a car to get around? We’ll take care of that, etc.)

      The good news about that profile, is it generally means you’ve got good kids who’re working hard on and off the field and aren’t creating rifts within and outside the team that the program and school as a whole have to then address, and clean up.

      Is Karl the guy who can do that? Maybe. We’ll learn a bit more over the second half of this season. And either way, he’s not going anywhere for a while, I’m sure. Unless he’s just an abject failure, which hopefully will not happen. That buy out is steeeeeeeep, as we just learned. And CU – unlike some places – is not made of money. Which also puzzles me a bit, b/c it’s not like we don’t have very, very wealthy alums.

      I still wonder what happened to the PED stuff at Clemson. Three guys – not even starters, if I recall – got popped. Three out of 105? ok. Got it.

      Go Buffs

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