POSTED: September 11, 2021

Pac-12 Notes – Texas A&M

Pac-12 Notes – Texas A&M Week

September 11th – GameDay!

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Minnesota hangs on against Miami (Ohio), posting a 31-26 win

From ESPN … Treyson Potts listened intently to Mo Ibrahim between drives, the injured Minnesota star now serving as an unofficial coach and unwavering supporter of his successor in the backfield.

Potts picked up where Ibrahim left off, rushing for 178 yards and two touchdowns in his first career start to help the Gophers fend off Miami of Ohio 31-26 on Saturday.

“That’s my partner in crime. He was right there the whole game with me, helping me manage the game and just giving me pointers. I’ve always been on his hip. I love that dude,” said Potts, the third-year player from Williamsport, Pennsylvania, who put the game away with 83 yards in the fourth quarter on 12 of his 34 carries.

Ibrahim’s season ended on an ill-fated plant of his foot on the turf in the opener last week against Ohio State. The 2020 Big Ten Running Back of the Year was an honorary captain for the pregame coin flip, rolling out to midfield on a scooter to support his surgically repaired lower left leg.

“Mo was a great teammate on the sideline. You’ve got to imagine how hard that is,” coach P.J. Fleck said. “He’s the ultimate competitor. It was an emotional week.”

Tanner Morgan connected with Dylan Wright and Daniel Jackson on scoring passes in the second quarter as the Gophers (1-1) took a 21-3 lead into halftime, before Redhawks (0-2) outgained them 128-15 in total yards in the third quarter to make them sweat it down the stretch. Brett Gabbert threw to Jack Sorenson for a 23-yard touchdown that cut Minnesota’s lead to one with 12:32 to go.

“You have all the energy and all the belief at that point in time,” said Miami coach Chuck Martin, whose Redhawks were beaten in 2014 and 2015 by Fleck’s teams at Western Michigan.

“Get it to the fourth quarter, and you’ve got a chance. That was our whole philosophy when I was in the Mid-American Conference,” Fleck said.

Then freshman Bucky Irving, who could find his way into the mix behind Potts in the backfield, made the game-changing play when he bobbled the kickoff before returning it 43 yards. Potts took five straight handoffs to gain the remaining 53 yards and give the Gophers a badly needed cushion.

“They’re going to come at you,” Martin said. “They always do.”

Continue reading story here

No. 12 Oregon upsets No. 3 Ohio State, 35-28

From ESPN … C.J. Verdell watched on TV last week as Minnesota’s Mohamed Ibrahim shredded Ohio State’s disheveled defense early. The Oregon running back thought he could take advantage in the same fashion.

Verdell, who has struggled with injuries the past two seasons, made it happen. He ran for 161 yards and scored three touchdowns as shorthanded No. 12 Oregon stunned No. 3 Ohio State 35-28 on Saturday.

“We saw the Minnesota running back was having a good game, and we wanted to do the same thing,” the 5-foot-8, 211-pound Verdell said.

Verdell and quarterback Anthony Brown exploited holes in Ohio State’s defense and handed the Buckeyes their first regular-season loss in nearly three years and the first of third-year coach Ryan Day’s tenure.

The Buckeyes’ last loss in the regular season came at Purdue in October 2018 under Urban Meyer.

Ohio State (1-1, 1-0 Big Ten) never led the game it was favored to win by 14 1/2 points despite gaudy numbers from freshman quarterback C.J. Stroud. Its front seven struggled to contain Verdell, control the edge and get after Brown in front.

“They quickly adapted and just played with grit and toughness, knowing this was going to be a slugfest,” Oregon coach Mario Cristobal said.

The Ducks (2-0, 0-0 Pac-12) were without star defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux and linebacker Justin Flowe.

“It’s hard to express in words the magnitude of coming out here down a couple of guys due to injury, and just playing really, really gutsy football, executing at a high level,” Cristobal said. “A tremendous job of preparation and turning it into a reality by our players and coaching staff.”

The Buckeyes had a chance to tie it late after pulling within a touchdown with 7:55 to go. But when they got the ball again, Stroud took his first sack of the day and then was intercepted by Verone McKinley III on a desperation sideline pass on third-and-18 at the Oregon 35 with 2:50 left as a crowd of more than 100,000 sat stunned.

Continue reading story here


September 10th

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It’s Official! Big 12 invites BYU, Cincinnati, UCF and Houston to join the conference

From CBS Sports … The Big 12 announced Friday morning that it voted to expand its league membership for the first time since 2012. As expected, the Big 12 rubber stamped four membership invitations, extending them to BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF. The four schools are expected to begin competition in 2023.

Extending an invitation required a supermajority of the remaining eight Big 12 athletic directors. However, the Big 12 notes that the vote to add these new members was unanimous.

BYU and Houston quickly accepted their invitations and all four universities are expected to officially announce by Friday afternoon that they will join the Big 12. Press conferences with the schools and the Big 12 are scheduled throughout the afternoon (all times ET): Houston at noon, BYU at 12:30 p.m., UCF at 3:45 p.m. and Cincinnati at 4:30 p.m.

BYU became the first school to accept its invitation to the Big 12, announcing just 12 minutes after the Big 12 publicly announced the invitations.

“College athletics is changing,” BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe said. “We’ve seen a rapid increase in the rate in which change is happening. We see it with conference realignment, we’ve seen it with the transfer portal, governance, and we’ve certainly seen it with NIL. We’re ready at BYU. Today’s news about joining the Big 12 is huge, but it’s not a resting point for us. This is just a new beginning with opportunities for bigger and better things to keep coming for BYU Athletics.”

Houston became the second school to officially announce its entrance to the Big 12. The Cougars have been fighting for an invitation almost since the moment they were left out of the Big 12 when it formed in 1996.

“Joining the Big 12 Conference is a historic step in our institutional journey and signifies the tremendous growth and success attained academically and athletically over the last decade,” Houston president Renu Khator said. “Our expectations for our University remain high, our aspirations continue to be bold, and we embrace this new opportunity to compete at the highest levels in all we do.”

Both UCF and Cincinnati have publicly acknowledged the invitations but not yet announced. UCF noted that the Board of Trustees will meet at 3:15 p.m. to discuss the invitation.


September 9th

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College Football News previews A&M game 

From College Football News

Why Texas A&M Will Win

Slow and steady wins the race with the Aggies.

It’s a deliberate team that can strike quickly, but prefers to grind things down, own the clock, and balance things out with the offensive weapons to do a little of everything right.

The Aggies ran for 303 yards and threw for 292 in the 41-10 win over Kent State. The defense did its part by holding the high-octane Golden Flash attack – one of the best in the nation – to just three points before allowing a fourth quarter TD.

It took a while to get there – it was just 10-3 at halftime – but this team doesn’t panic. Drip, drip, drip, and then everything starts to break. It would’ve been far easier last week, but …

Why Colorado Will Win

Five turnovers.

On a positive side, A&M won by 31 despite giving up the ball five times with four interceptions. It got away with that against Kent State, but that can’t happen against the Buffaloes.

Colorado beat Northern Colorado 35-7 with the running game rolling at will, and QB Brandon Lewis getting his feet wet with an efficient game to go along with a few nice runs.

There’s enough of a pass rush to bother A&M QB Haynes King and try pressuring him into mistakes, and the offense should be able to control the clock a wee bit and do a good job of playing to the Aggie style.

What’s Going To Happen

Will the elevation matter for A&M? The Aggies will be playing about 5,000 feet more off the sea level than they do at College Station, but …

It’s not like they go 150 miles per hour. Their style should hold up fine.

No, there won’t be the five turnovers like there were last week, the explosion of the high-end skill players will take over in the second quarter, and the defensive front will be all over Lewis and Broussard from the start.

This will be when people really start talking about Texas A&M as a contender for big things.

Texas A&M vs Colorado Prediction, Line

Texas A&M 38, Colorado 20
Line: Texas A&M -17, o/u: 50
ATS Confidence out of 5: 3

Must See Rating: 3

5: Curb Your Enthusiasm, Season 11
1: Vacation Friends

Dialing it back: Wilner has Pac-12 teams going 6-5 (after picking 12-0 last week)

From the San Jose Mercury News … The Pac-12 has been hoping, clamoring and desperate for coast-to-coast media exposure since the twin grim realities of night games and Pac-12 Network distribution materialized four or five years ago.

With that lust for eyeballs in mind, may we present Week Two of the 2021 season …

One-two-three-FOUR games on broadcast television, from 9 a.m. (Pacific) until 10:30 p.m. and with limited overlap involved.

There are three showdowns with high-profile non-conference opponents and one unprecedented broadcast of a conference game.

The morning-to-late-night nature of the programming was made possible by Fox Sports, which selected Oregon-Ohio State for its ‘Big Noon Kickoff’ on FOX and agreed to air Stanford-USC at 7:30 p.m. on the broadcast network, as well.

It’s the first time FOX will show a Pac-12 night game, which are typically on FS1.

Of the 10 games scheduled for Saturday, only two will be shown on the Pac-12 Networks: Portland State at Washington State and San Diego State at Arizona.

Fewer games on the Pac-12 Networks means more potential eyeballs on the product.

To the picks …

Colorado +17 vs. Texas A&M (in Denver)
Kickoff: 1:30 p.m. on FOX
Comment: Another double-digit point spread with the Pac-12 team as the underdog. This number is a whopper, but understandably so: The Aggies are a top-10 team that possesses a load of NFL talent. The Buffaloes aren’t and don’t. What’s more, they have a freshman quarterback (Brendon Lewis) making his second start. We believe CU’s defense is undervalued, especially at linebacker. And with a point spread of that size, a few third-down stops could make all the difference. Pick: Colorado

Five-star special: Cal. Far too many points (10.5) for a program that has risen to the occasion more often than not under coach Justin Wilcox. The Under (48) is also enticing.

Straight-up winners: Ohio State (over Oregon), TCU (over Cal), Texas A&M (over Colorado), Michigan (over Washington), Arizona (over San Diego State), Utah (over BYU), Arizona State (over UNLV), USC (over Stanford) and Oregon State (over Hawai’i).

Read full story here


September 8th

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Report: Big 12 Four-Team Expansion Imminent (Spoiler Alert … No CSU)

From CBS Sports … Big 12 presidents at a meeting Friday will “rubber stamp” invitations to join the conference to BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF, sources told CBS Sports on Wednesday. While the the meeting has been planned for some time, the exact actions to be taken at it had not previously been clear.

It has become widely known that the Big 12 settled on those four schools as a means of replenishing the conference following the losses of Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC. Three of those programs made notable advancements this week as they plan to migrate to the Big 12.

On Monday, Houston president Renu Khator received approval from the university’s board of regents to pursue membership in the Big 12. Cincinnati and UCF on Wednesday officially applied for Big 12 membership, according to multiple reports. There is no indication that BYU has made a formal application to the conference yet, though there are talks that it could join the Big 12 earlier than other programs, perhaps as soon as 2022 due to its independent status.

The additions of BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF should allow the Big 12 to remain a Power Five conference as college football continues to recover from the sudden departures of Texas and Oklahoma. However, by raiding the American of three prominent members, the Big 12 additions may set off an even more drastic set of realignment among the Group of Five leagues.

Bottom 25: Washington makes the list; CSU finally No. 1 at something

From CBS Sports … A new college football season has begun, which means it’s time for another year of The Bottom 25 rankings. Not familiar with the Bottom 25? Well, it’s a simple premise.

College football is a sport based on ranking things. The sport boils down to one giant listicle, but for years, all anybody wanted to do was rank the best teams. However, I am a visionary with the courage to ask, “What about the worst teams?!”

The Bottom 25 is a weekly ranking of the worst 25 teams at the FBS level, but unlike the AP Top 25, Coaches Poll or our own CBS Sports 130, these rankings are not based on opinion. I have a mathematical formula to rank teams that I’ve used for years. There is no bias in the rankings; every season, every team begins at the same point. Alabama is just as good as UConn and the ratings only change based on how teams are performing in the current season.

It’s not a ranking meant to be predictive; instead, it’s deliberately reactive. I use these rankings to fill out my CBS Sports 130 ballot and to bring you The Bottom 25.

And here is where we stand after the first full week of the 2021 season.

No. 15 – Washington … We barely saw Washington last season, but based on what we did see, my biggest fear about the Huskies coming into 2021 was how conservative they looked on offense. Those fears were quickly realized during a 13-7 loss to Montana. Washington’s a better team than what we saw last week — they won’t be in The Bottom 25 for long — but I have serious questions about this team’s ability to win the Pac-12 North. Maybe they’ll change my mind in Ann Arbor on Saturday night.

No. 1 – Colorado State … The Rams ran into a South Dakota State team coming off of a strong season in the FCS and got beat up pretty good, losing 42-23. Now, they get a chance to face another team coming off of a three-score loss to an FCS program as they host No. 4 Vanderbilt in The Bottom 25 Game of the Century of the Week. How lucky are we to get a Bottom Four battle this early in the season?

Read full story here

Redbox Bowl cancelled: Pac-12 down to six bowl tie-ins

From … This year’s Redbox Bowl, which was set to feature teams from the Big Ten and Pac-12, has been canceled, sources told The Action Network.

The Pac-12’s sixth selection and Big Ten’s seventh selection were scheduled to play in the Redbox Bowl. The cancellation reduces the number of bowl games this year to 41, not including the College Football Playoff championship.

More importantly, though, it likely will create a domino effect impacting the smaller Group of Five conference bowls, sources said. The reason is the Big Ten and Pac-12 are “expected to figure how to keep their leagues ‘whole,’ and not lose those bowl bids,” an industry source said.

Without the Redbox Bowl and excluding any playoff teams or teams in a New Year’s Six bowl, the Big Ten will have only seven bowl tie-ins and the Pac-12 six.

By trying to replace the Redbox Bowl bids, the Big Ten and Pac-12 likely would approach ESPN — which owns 16 bowl games — and work a deal to guarantee a Big Ten vs. Pac-12 matchup in an ESPN bowl, a source said.

By doing so, though, it would displace current conference bowl tie-ins — meaning two Group of Five conferences would receive one fewer bowl bid than contractually guaranteed if there are 82 bowl-eligible teams to fill all 41 bowls.

The Redbox Bowl hopes to return next season, a source said.

The bowl’s demise was not surprising after it was unable to secure a national television partner to broadcast this year’s game. Also, last season the San Francisco 49ers ended their partnership with the bowl. This year’s game was tentatively scheduled to be played at the San Francisco Giants’ Oracle Park after playing the previous six years at the 49ers’ Levi’s Stadium.

Last year, the Redbox Bowl was the first bowl canceled because of the pandemic, and in part, because it didn’t have a stadium to play in.


September 7th

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Pac-12 Rankings: CU up to No. 6 (up three spots from last week)

From SportsPac-12 … Expectations met reality in Week One, as the Pac-12 went 6-6 with defeats to an FCS school and two Mountain West opponents.

Apart from UCLA’s victory over LSU, the Conference’s image took hit after hit as its top teams struggled in games they were predicted to win handily.

Washington’s loss to Montana might be the worst defeat in the history of the Husky program, while Washington State’s stumble to lowly Utah State was disconcerting.

And earlier in the day, Oregon squeaked by Fresno State in Eugene after Stanford was shut down by Kansas State in Arlington, TX.

Without many positives to take away, each team must regroup and move forward as Week Two quickly approaches.

After the shocking losses, our Senior Writers got together and ranked the teams as they’re viewed after Saturday’s struggles. Once again, our opinions varied significantly, especially at the bottom, with three different teams voted last.

The individual rankings of our writers appear at the bottom, while the list below is a composite of their rankings.

6. Colorado – 1-0 … The Brendon Lewis Era got off to a bit of a rocky start in the first half against Northern Colorado. The Buffs entered the locker room at halftime up just 14-0, and Lewis finished the game with only 102 yards passing.

But after a scoreless first quarter, CU punched in 21 straight points and its defense held UNCO without a touchdown until late in the third quarter.

The 20 yards allowed on the ground and the 3-for-13 mark on third down bode well for Karl Dorrell’s defense, even considering the quality of the opponent.

Yet, facing Texas A&M this week, the pressure is on Lewis to operate with more efficiency. Dimitri Stanley had just a single catch and Dorrell likely ensures that doesn’t happen again against the Aggies on Saturday.

Read full story here

AP poll released: UCLA goes from obscurity to No. 16; A&M up to No. 5

… Don’t know yet if it’s a typo or a joke, but Arizona is listed amongst the others receiving votes … despite losing its 13th-straight game last weekend … 

Update … Not a joke, just an idiot. Madison Blevins, a TV reporter for WBIR-TV in Knoxville, actually put down winless (since 2019) Arizona as her No. 20 team in the nation (ASU wasn’t listed in her rankings, which was probably her intent) … 

From CBS Sports … After beating Clemson in a physical season opener, Georgia jumped three spots to No. 2 in the AP Top 25, taking that spot in the college football rankings for the first time since 2018. Clemson fell four spots to No. 6 after joining fellow ACC foe North Carolina as the only top 10 teams to lose in Week 1.

Alabama kept its stranglehold on the No. 1 spot with 59 first-place votes after dismantling Miami 44-13 in the season opener. Georgia captured the other four first-place votes. Ohio State jumped Oklahoma to reach No. 3, while the Sooners dropped two spots to No. 4 following a tight 40-35 win over Tulane. Texas A&M rounds out the top five, putting three SEC teams at the top of the rankings.

Further down, UCLA entered the AP Top 25 at No. 16 after topping LSU 38-27 and knocking the Tigers out of the rankings entirely following an impressive opener at the Rose Bowl. Virginia Tech also jumped from unranked to No. 19 after beating the Tar Heels 17-10 behind a pair of fourth-quarter interceptions of Sam Howell. Miami fell from No. 13 to 22 after the loss to Alabama, while North Carolina fell to No. 24. Ole Miss moved into the AP Top 25 for the first time since 2016 after crushing Louisville on Monday night. Auburn captured the No. 25 spot to give the SEC six ranked teams.

Here is a look at the full poll that was released on Tuesday. First-place votes are in parentheses.

AP Top 25, Week 2

  1. Alabama (59)
  2. Georgia (4)
  3. Ohio State
  4. Oklahoma
  5. Texas A&M … up one spot from last week
  6. Clemson
  7. Cincinnati
  8. Notre Dame
  9. Iowa State
  10. Iowa
  11. Penn State
  12. Oregon
  13. Florida
  14. USC … up one spot from last week
  15. Texas
  16. UCLA … unranked last week (tied for 41st with two votes)
  17. Coastal Carolina
  18. Wisconsin
  19. Virginia Tech
  20. Ole Miss
  21. Utah … up three spots from last week
  22. Miami
  23. Arizona State … up two spots from last week
  24. North Carolina
  25. Auburn
Others receiving votes: TCU 80, NC State 69, UCF 61, Liberty 57, LSU 57, Michigan 52, Oklahoma State 39, Indiana 37, Michigan State 28, Nevada 23, Kansas State 13, Louisiana 12, BYU 10, Boston College 8, Ball State 7, Maryland 6, Arizona 5, UAB 5, Florida State 4, Kentucky 3, Texas Tech 2, Army 2, Appalachian State 1


September 6th

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Bay Area schools looking for answers on offense after losses to Kansas State and Nevada

Cal … From Sports Illustrated … The lingering question following Cal’s 22-17 loss to Nevada on Saturday night was this: What happened in the intermission between the first and second quarter?

Did someone steal Cal’s playbook? Did Nevada bring in 11 new defensive players?

The transformation in Cal’s offense from being completely dominant in the first quarter to being ineffective from that point on was striking. And the reason remains a mystery.

Cal pushed Nevada’s defenders around like ragdolls on the Bears’ first two drives. The Bears marched down the field virtually unopposed, going 63 yards on 15 plays on their opening possession, then traveling 72 yards on nine plays on their second possession.

When the first quarter ended, Cal led 14-0, had outgained Nevada 135-6, and had the ball for 13:21 while the Wolf Pack had it for just 1:39.

On the Bears’ four possessions after the first quarter, they produced 24 yards of offense. They got a first down on their next possession, but it ended in a punt after gaining just 19 yards.

… No matter how you look at it, the turnaround was remarkable – from being totally unstoppable to being unable to move the ball at all. After scoring 14 points on two long drives in the first quarter, the Bears managed just three points the rest of the way.

“Looking at it now, it’s upsetting because we showed we were able to move the ball efficiently,” Cal wide receiver Nikko Remigio said. “The fact that we didn’t continue on that trend is upsetting to me right now.”

Continue reading story here

Stanford … From CardinalSportsReport … On Saturday, Stanford football lost to Kansas State by a final score of 24-7 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Kansas State improves to 1-0 overall while Stanford falls to 0-1.

Stanford quarterback Tanner McKee went 15-18 for 118 yards, 1 touchdown, and 0 interceptions for a 156.7 passer rating. Stanford quarterback Jack West, who started the game, didn’t play as well, going 8-12 for 76 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions for an 86.5 passer rating.

“Pretty straight forward. I have an idea what the film’s going to say,” Stanford head coach David Shaw said after the game. “Played well in spurts. Our opponent played better in more spurts. Our opponent, Kansas State, give them a lot of credit. They were very opportunistic. We gave them a lane. The lane—runs turn into big plays…Played pretty well on the defensive side of it, but that’s what it takes. Giving up way too many big plays, too many explosive plays.

“On the offensive side, we couldn’t establish anything running-wise. We had a couple of nice creases. But once we got down, we tried to mix in the run but we were inefficient. Very inefficient. And then we had to throw the ball…I’ll say this, we had opportunities. Opportunities were there. You know, we had a hit a couple of them. At least three times off the top of my head, we had guys that were open and we didn’t give them a ball. So chalked it up to some inexperienced quarterback play and a couple times we got rushed. We had to get the ball out of our hands.

“But this game was not indicative of how hard we played, how hard we practiced, and how well we practiced. Disappointing to me because I put that on my shoulders that we didn’t go out there and execute better. Our guys are going to be sick when they watch this film because the opportunities are going to be there. They’re going to be there. We did not take advantage.”

Continue reading story here

Minnesota loses star running back (2020 Big Ten running back of the year) Mohamed Ibrahim for the season

From ESPN … Minnesota star running back Mohamed Ibrahim will miss the rest of the season with a lower-leg injury sustained in Thursday’s loss to Ohio State.

Coach P.J. Fleck said Ibrahim, the Big Ten’s running back of the year and a third-team AP All-America selection in 2020, will undergo surgery Tuesday. He had 163 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries before being injured late in the third quarter of Minnesota’s 45-31 loss. Ibrahim limped off the field and went into Minnesota’s injury tent, eventually walking to the locker room with a boot on his left foot.

“He’s disappointed,” Fleck said. “He’s worked incredibly hard. But it’s football. You can’t control the injuries when you get onto the field, and you’re playing in games. He’s got a great sense about him right now and a great presence. He’s obviously not happy with what happened, but he’s been able to deal with it.”

Fleck didn’t specify the injury but said it’s “pretty clean” and that Ibrahim will be able to make a full recovery in four to six months. Ibrahim is a fifth-year senior who endured several injuries earlier in his career but still ranks eighth in team history with 3,003 rushing yards and fourth in rushing touchdowns with 33. He had 547 career carries.

“Whether he comes back or goes to the NFL, that’s a choice he’ll make, not now, but later,” Fleck said. “He doesn’t need to make it now. He needs to worry about getting healthy and making a full recovery.” Fleck called Ibrahim “the best back in the country” and “the heartbeat of this team,” and said Ibrahim spent practice Sunday coaching the other running backs. Sophomore Trey Potts replaced Ibrahim against Ohio State and logged 10 carries for the game. Sophomore Cam Wiley and others also likely will be in the rotation for carries.

“We have a lot of numbers,” Fleck said. “You just haven’t seen a lot of them because Mohamed’s been so good.”

Which Washington school got the worst of it Saturday night? 

From the San Jose Mercury News … There were plenty of bad performances.

Stanford’s offense should have just stayed home: The Cardinal went scoreless for 56 minutes.

The same could be said for Cal, which produced touchdowns on its first two drives, then succeeding in matching  Stanford’s ineptitude.

Arizona had plenty of chances to beat BYU but misfired more times than we could count.

ASU, Utah and Colorado weren’t quite as dominant over FCS competition as the final scores indicated.

But our focus here is on the geographic top of the conference: The Washington schools.

We haven’t checked the record books, but this was surely one of the worst Saturdays the Huskies and Cougars have produced, in tandem, in decades.

The Huskies were unimaginably bad on offense against Montana. They scored on their first drive — the one they had eight months to prepare for — and then didn’t manage another point.

In the fourth quarter, the Grizzlies did as they pleased on both sides of the ball.

UW quarterback Dylan Morris threw three interceptions, completed one downfield pass and is surely in jeopardy of losing his starting job.

And if the Huskies are equally inept next week in Ann Arbor, then we might wonder about employment prospects for  offensive coordinator John Donovan.

The Huskies were that bad.

At least Washington’s problems are entirely on the field.

What had been a nightmarish seven weeks for the Cougars — almost entirely because of Nick Rolovich’s refusal to get vaccinated — got considerably worse Saturday night.

The Cougars had an 11-point lead midway though the fourth quarter but were helpless to stop Utah State, which scored on drives of 70 and 78 yards in the final minutes the secure the upset.

(One could say WSU didn’t have an antidote for the Aggies’ passing game.)

We have said all along that Nick Rolovich’s refusal to get vaccinated only increased the pressure on him to win immediately.

Now add this season-opening loss to the embarrassment his anti-vax stance has caused the university — not to mention the lawsuit filed against him by a former player — and it could be a tense, tumultuous few months in Pullman.


September 5th

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Pac-12 odds for Week Two: Texas A&M favored over Colorado by 17 points

From 247 Sports … No. 6 Texas A&M struggled to get going on offense against Kent State Saturday night. But, in the end, the Aggies finished with just shy of 600 yards as they rolled to a 41-10 victory.

Next up for the Maroon and White is a road trip to Colorado. The line has now been published for the contest and, per VegasInsider, the Aggies are favored by 17 points. The over/under is set at 51.5 points.

Kent State missed a pair of short field goals late in the fourth quarter on Saturday as the Aggies ended up covering the 29-point spread between the two teams. The over/under of 68 points was definitely an under, though.

The game this coming Saturday between A&M and Colorado will be played in Denver at Empower Field instead of in Boulder. Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m. Mountain time and it will air nationally on Fox.

Pac-12 lines … Saturday, September 11th

  • Oregon at Ohio State … Ducks are a 14.0-point underdog … 10:00 a.m., MT, Fox
  • Colorado v. Texas A&M (Denver) … Buffs are a 17.0-point underdog … 1:30 p.m., MT, Fox
  • California at TCU … Bears are at 9.0-point underdog … 1:30 p.m., MT, ESPNU
  • Washington at Michigan … Huskies are a 5.0-point underdog … 6:00 p.m., MT, ABC
  • San Diego State at Arizona … Wildcats are a 1.0-point favorite … 8:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks
  • Utah at BYU … Utes are a 7.0-point favorite … 8:15 p.m., MT, ESPN
  • Stanford at USC … Trojans are a 17.0-point favorite … 8:30 p.m., MT, Fox
  • UNLV at Arizona State … Sun Devils are a 32.5-point favorite … 8:30 p.m., ESPN2
  • Hawai’i at Oregon State … Beavers are an 11.0-point favorite … 9:00 p.m., MT, FS1
  • no line … Portland State at Washington State … 4:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks

No. 6 Texas A&M overcomes “uninspired” first half (10-3) to rout Kent State, 41-10

From ESPN … After slogging through an uninspired first half, Texas A&M needed a spark to get going.

The Aggies found it in Leon O’Neal Jr., whose 85-yard interception return for a touchdown helped sixth-ranked Texas A&M pull away in 41-10 win over Kent State on Saturday night.

“He’s an Energizer Bunny,” coach Jimbo Fisher said. “You’ve got to have that guy. He’s a big part of what we do.”

O’Neal had two interceptions, with the first coming just before halftime when he picked off Dustin Crum’s pass in the end zone. With about eight minutes left in the third, O’Neal jumped in front of a receiver for his second pick. He weaved around a couple of Kent State players and dashed untouched for the score, capping the play by diving into the end zone to make it 20-3.

“When he got that pick, it lit up the whole sideline. It lit up the whole stadium,” receiver Ainias Smith said. “I was like: ‘Thanks Leon, we needed that.'”

O’Neal choked up when recounting his score and thanking the teammates who blocked for him.

“We always talk about Pick-6’s, touchdowns, stuff like that,” he said. “Now that it’s come to fruition, it’s a big milestone for us as a DB group.”

Devon Achane added two scores as Texas A&M got its ninth consecutive victory after ending last season with an eight-game winning streak.

O’Neal and Achane’s big performances helped make up for a mistake-riddled night by Haynes King, who threw three interceptions in his first career start.

“We did what we had to do to win the game,” Fisher said. “We played a very sloppy game in my opinion. We’ll learn from the first game and hopefully we’ll get a lot better.”

Fisher wasn’t happy with King’s turnovers, but liked the way he responded after those miscues.

“He played really well,” Fisher said. “I thought he overcame adversity … the ball turned over and his mentality didn’t change. He kept going right at them.”

King took over this year for Kellen Mond, the team’s starter for the past three seasons who’s now with the Minnesota Vikings. King looked good at times, but often overthrew receivers. His first two interceptions came throwing into tight coverage in the second quarter. He was 21 of 33 for 292 yards an

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September 4th 

… Foe Pause … 

No. 20 Washington falls to Montana, 13-7

… In 20 attempts, Montana had only one other victory against Washington, an 18-14 win … in 1920 … 

From the Seattle Times … In the second quarter of Saturday’s game inside Husky Stadium, former UW quarterback Jake Browning was shown on the video board. Browning — who holds Husky records for passing yards, passing touchdowns, completions and wins by a quarterback, among many others — smiled, tipped his head back and polished off a beer.

Considering No. 20 Washington’s performance, he may have needed one.

Entering Saturday’s game, Montana held a 1-17-1 all-time record against Washington. Its lone win was an 18-14 victory in Seattle on Oct. 16, 1920 — nearly 101 years ago. In their last meeting, UW scored 63 points and produced 506 total yards in a breezy 63-7 win.

On Saturday, in its first game in front of fans in 645 days, UW lost 13-7 in one of the most embarrassing performances in program history.

The fans should have stayed home, where the beer is a whole lot cheaper.

Against a Montana team that lost its last two games against FBS opponents by a combined score of 98-10, Washington managed seven measly points. They came on the opening drive of the game — a nine-play, 78-yard march that included 34 rushing yards by Richard Newton and a 1-yard quarterback sneak score by second-year starter Dylan Morris.

In the six drives that followed before half, UW collected six total rushing yards.

… Not to be outdone by its offense, UW placekicker Peyton Henry missed a 49-yard field goal attempt that would have extended the Huskies’ lead as well.

UW’s defense got off to an equally unimpressive start — allowing a 37-yard scamper by Montana running back Xavier Harris that led to a field goal on the Griz’s opening drive of the game. And after rebounding for much of the next two quarters, Bob Gregory’s defense cracked again — surrendering a 10-play, 69-yard drive that ended with a Cam Humphrey dive into the end zone from four yards out that gave Montana a 10-7 lead with 10:35 left to play.

Instead of answering, UW’s offense went three-and-out thanks to a 12-yard sack. When Montana got the ball back, it promptly unleashed a grinding 11-play, 42-yard drive that ended in another field goal.

Then, trailing 13-7 on fourth-and 2 with 1:33 left, Morris’ pass rattled off the hands of Giles Jackson to give the ball back. And after Montana missed a field goal just 21 seconds later, Morris threw his third interception of the game from the Griz 43-yard line to seal defeat.

Late in the third quarter on Saturday, a “Montana Grizzlies” chant grew inside Husky Stadium. Before the fourth, the Griz bounced in a team-wide huddle at midfield.

Meanwhile, in the first game where beer was sold throughout Husky Stadium, Browning must not have been the only one who needed one.

Stanford falls to Kansas State, 24-7

… David Shaw: “This game was not indicative of how hard we’ve played, how hard we’ve practiced and how well we practiced” … 

From ESPN … Skylar Thompson set the tone for Kansas State when the quarterback put his left shoulder down and bulled into the end zone for the first of his two touchdown runs as the Wildcats opened the season with a 24-7 win over Stanford on Saturday.

Thompson, who later had a 13-yard TD run, opened the scoring when he knocked cornerback Kyu Blu Kelly to the ground on a 6-yard TD run in the first quarter.

“There’s a lot that went into that touchdown, a lot that people didn’t see, and a lot of time spent on my own,” Thompson said. “In the midst of a situation that once seemed very dark and stormy, to see the fruit fall from the tree, to see the sun shine a little bit and to take a deep breath … It all worked out and everything happened for a reason.”

Thompson missed most of last season after he injured his throwing (right) shoulder in the third game. But he returned for his sixth year in the K-State program because of his love of the game and the desire for a better finish, taking advantage of the extra season of eligibility received amid the pandemic.

Deuce Vaughn sprinted 59 yards for a touchdown on and a third-and-13 play. He finished with 124 yards rushing on 13 carries for the Wildcats, who finished last season with a five-game losing streak, and is glad to have back Thompson, who he described as fantastic and smart player.

“He’s unbelievable as a football player and unbelievable as a person,” Vaughn said.

Stanford was down 24-0 before Tanner McKee’s 14-yard touchdown pass to Brycen Tremayne with 3:16 left on its last offensive snap. The Cardinal, who last year won the last four games of their pandemic-shortened 4-2 season, have played 177 games since last being shut out, a 42-0 loss to Southern Cal on Nov. 4, 2006.

“This game was not indicative of how hard we’ve played, how hard we’ve practiced and how well we practiced,” David Shaw said after his 11th opener at Stanford’s coach. “Disappointing to me that we didn’t go out there and execute better.”

Sam Noyer starts, but is pulled in the third quarter in 30-21 Oregon State loss to Purdue

From the Oregonian … Purdue’s defense kept Oregon State in check for most of four quarters as the Boilermakers beat the Beavers 30-21 on Saturday night at Ross-Ade Stadium.

The Beavers dropped their sixth consecutive season opener as the offense, usually a program highlight, struggled to sustain drives. OSU’s defense had one of its best performances of the four-year Jonathan Smith era. But the offense put the Beavers defense in too many tough positions to overcome.

Sam Noyer’s first start as Oregon State’s starting quarterback ended with a seat on the bench. The sixth-year Colorado transfer completed 10 of 21 passes for 94 yards and an interception before he was pulled late in the third quarter for Chance Nolan.

Nolan finished 10 of 16 for 157 yards and led the Beavers on two touchdown drives in the fourth quarter.

Purdue, which has one of the Big Ten’s top offenses, was held to 401 yards by the Beavers. Oregon State’s defense saved the Beavers during the first half, as Purdue took a 13-7 halftime lead.

The Beavers kept Purdue’s offense in check, as two of the three Boilermakers’ first-half scores came on short fields. Most of Purdue’s offense was runs and a short passing game, as OSU’s pass rush didn’t give quarterback Jack Plummer time to throw.

The Beavers offense couldn’t get out of its way most of the first half. OSU scored on its second possession, as 34-yard pass reception by Teagan Quitoriano set up B.J. Baylor’s 9-yard touchdown run five minutes into the game.

The next five possessions resulted in 40 yards, four punts and an interception. Noyer completed only 7 of 14 passes for 65 yards during the first half.

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Arizona losing streak hits 13 after 24-16 loss to BYU

From ESPN … Zach Wilson watched his alma mater begin a new chapter without him.

His successor got off to a good start.

Quarterback Jaren Hall accumulated 243 yards and two touchdowns as BYU defeated Arizona 24-16 at Allegiant Stadium on Saturday night in the season opener for both teams.

Hall, the redshirt sophomore from Spanish Fork, Utah, made his third career start and first in the post-Wilson era. Wilson, drafted No. 2 overall by the New York Jets in this year’s NFL Draft, was in Las Vegas to see the Cougars play in an NFL stadium.

“Zach being here, supporting the guys he played with for three years, means a lot to us to have him and brings confidence to everybody for what he’s done in the past,” Hall said. “It was good to have him.”

Hall started the game 1-of-5 passing for 10 yards, but finished 18 of 28 for 198 yards and two touchdown passes for the Cougars, who have won 12 of their last 13 games.

After a scoreless first quarter, BYU’s signal caller lit a spark. Hall caught a 9-yard pass from receiver Neil Pau’u to put the Cougars into the red zone. Tyler Allgeier ran into the end zone from 15 yards out on the next play to give BYU a 6-0 lead with 9:17 left in the second quarter.

“I think it was just a clean football game overall for the offense,” Hall said. “I thought we executed well. Just kind of took the plays in front of us when they came, the opportunities the defense gave us.”

That drive sparked BYU’s offense in the second quarter. On the Cougars’ next drive following a missed 31-yard field goal from Arizona, Hall found Pau’u in single coverage down the middle for a 67-yard touchdown. A two-point conversion made it 14-0 with 2:06 left in the first half.

Pau’u caught eight passes for 126 yards and both of Hall’s touchdown passes. The second came three plays after Hall spun in the pocket, found a lane and ran 39 yards down the left sideline to the Arizona 17-yard line.

“I thought he made some plays,” BYU coach Kalani Sitake said. “He broke a long one for that scramble, created some space for himself. I liked the composure, the poise he had. He’s a great leader for us.”

Arizona trailed 21-3 at that point with 7:28 left in the third quarter.

Playing in their first nonconference game in 721 days, the Wildcats lost their 13th consecutive game dating back to 2019. It was also the debut for Wildcats coach Jedd Fisch, the former quarterbacks coach for the New England Patriots. Fisch replaced Kevin Sumlin, who went 0-5 in 2020.

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No. 11 Oregon posts “underwhelming” 31-24 win over Fresno State 

From ESPN … Anthony Brown Jr. was blunt about No. 11 Oregon’s offensive struggles against Fresno State.

“It wasn’t clean enough,” he said.

Brown scored on a 30-yard quarterback keeper with 2:57 left and the Ducks overcame a wobbly season opener with a 31-24 victory over the Bulldogs on Saturday.

Oregon jumped to a 21-6 lead, but Fresno State scored two unanswered touchdowns to tie the game midway through the third quarter, then took the lead early in the fourth on Abraham Montano’s field goal.

Camden Lewis kicks a 25-yard game-tying field goal before Brown’s go-ahead touchdown.

The performance was somewhat concerning given the Ducks face No. 4 Ohio State next weekend.

“In order for us to go where we need to go, we have to be firing on all cylinders, which we weren’t today. And that was obvious,” Brown said. “We’re going to see it on the tape, fix what we need to we need to fix and move on and progress from it.”

Brown threw for 172 yards and a touchdown while running for 62 yards and the winner. It was Oregon’s 17th straight home-opening victory.

Brown, a sixth-year senior, transferred to Oregon last year from Boston College but was backup to Tyler Shough until getting playing time in the Pac-12 title game and the Fiesta Bowl. Shough transferred to Texas Tech in the offseason.

The Ducks were hurt by the loss of defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux, who left the game at halftime with a left ankle injury.

Oregon had not played a game at Autzen Stadium for 644 days and the game came amid a surge in coronavirus cases in the state.

Utah State posts last minute score to defeat Washington State

From ESPN … Logan Bonner threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Deven Thompkins with 11 seconds left to lift Utah State to a 26-23 victory over Washington State on Saturday night.

Utah State (1-0) got the ball back on its own 22 with 3:02 left and Bonner drove them to the winning score in Blake Anderson’s first game as the Aggies’ coach. Bonner completed a pass to Derek Wright for a two-point conversion and the final score.

Max Borghi ran for 86 yards and a touchdown for Washington State (0-1) of the Pac-12, which finished 1-3 last year.

“Food is going to taste better. Beds are gonna be softer,” Anderson said after becoming the first Utah State coach in more than 40 years to win his opening game. “This is a memory I’ll never forget.”

“I’m not surprised at all,” Anderson said of the upset win.

“We did not play our best football,” he said. “All in all we made the plays we absolutely had to make.”

Washington State coach Nick Rolovich said his team settled for too many field goals and failed to convert on third downs.

“I think we could’ve put that thing away and that’s on me,” Rolovich said. “We are going to get going and be ready for next week”

“We lost, but everyone is keeping their heads up,” Washington State quarterback Jayden de Laura said.

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15 Replies to “Pac-12 Notes – Texas A&M”

    1. It’s a start MJB, It’s a start.

      Respect does not come easy. On the other hand the lack of respect can be a killer against the disrespectful.

      As that cali banker use do say

      “supplies supplies”

      Go Buffs

    1. Yea, apparently she meant to vote for ASU, but voted for UofA, I wonder how much grief she is getting from her local audience regarding voting for a team that hasn’t won a game in their last 13 games?

  1. Only a 17 point spread?! I will take that as a sign of respect. And an outright upset. Brendon goes off. Running game is solid and the d stifling for the ags new qb.

    Go Buffs. Beat the ags

  2. Of note: PAC-12 North 1-5, PAC-12 South 5-1. Granted, there were two North teams playing power 5 teams versus only one for the South teams, buuuuut

    Average margin of victory for the south in the 5 wins, 22+ points. Included in the wins, one top 20 team and last year’s Mountain West champion.

    Margin of victory in the one win in the North, 7 points.

    Can the south finally dominate the North?

  3. I was saddened to see all the Pac-12 losses, would have preferred 12-0. First week is always full of surprises, and many teams don’t play up to their potential. Some always seem to, like Alabama, but most don’t.
    Lewis was 10 of 15 with 3 throwaways, so really 10 or 12. We all saw the Arias miss, but many were on target and no INT’s. Should have missed the throw that the Cherry Creek freshman made that great catch on to save it, but not bad overall. Just too slow in reading and throwing the ball. Gonna need a big jump by next week. I hope he makes it, as he looked better passing in the Alamo Bowl so we know he can do it.
    Go Buffs

    1. Agree, while we all probably take pleasure watching USC And Oregon struggle, and other P12 rivals lose, the conference needs to put out a better product to stay competitive. Buffs actually came out of it looking good on paper.

      A lot of good games across the country though! I liked the Big10 in-conference games on opening week, and other biggies like Georgia vs Clemson.

  4. For all you debbie downers crying your eyes out predicting a 3 win season cause of a 35-7 win, look at all the Pac 12 bodies left out on the field this weekend.
    Was the jinx due to the Wilner punk’s 12 win prediction for the PAC?
    UCLA looks like the big dog now but how tough, really is LSU?. Everyone else is potentially Buffalo feed.
    Lake must be feeling the heat.
    Even A&M had trouble early on with who? yup…Kent State. Kinda of a mirror image of the Buff game. Maybe Minnesota, who played Ohio State tough is now the toughest game for the Buffs.
    In fact the entire pundidiot list of ranked teams has holes shot through it after the first week. I love it. As usual these overfed oracles will have to wait almost halfway through the season to get it halfway right.
    Even the ones like OU who won but barely against marginal teams are gong to have to scramble to stay in contention for the CFP.

    1. Ya fun weekend.

      Watched parts of all of em.

      Typical Lindgren offense. Noyer is his boy. Pulled. Noyer was better under the chev (gulp) offense than he is under the Lingerling one.

      Washdogs. 46 passes 3 interceptions. Montana whipped them on both sides of the ball. Jimmy Lake ain’t Chris Peterson. The dawg pound and the earache brothers are crying wolf tears.

      Stanford………………..39 yards rushing. Holy moly, what the hell is going on out there.

      And oregon won Barely………..gave up a lot of passing yards. Did not look like the old Oregon team.

      I just cant’ deal with it..Wilner you jerk you cost me a fortune…………not really

      Buffs win Buffs win…………..lil raphie is a frigging winer

      DOES IT

      I SEE MORE

      1. Dawg pounders definitely calling for lake’s head. Their qb appears to be a turnover machine. At least two games out of five with three picks.

        Love seeing all the week one drama.

        Go Buffs

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