Pac-12 Notes – UCLA Week

November 13th – Game Day!

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Utah struggles to get past Arizona, 38-29

From ESPN … Cameron Rising threw for 294 yards and two touchdowns, T.J. Pledger ran for 119 yards and two touchdowns, and Utah maintained its lead in the Pac-12 South by beating Arizona 38-29 on Saturday.

It was a hard-earned win for the Utes (7-3, 6-1 Pac-12, No. 24 CFP), who had a tougher time than expected with the last-place Wildcats. Arizona led for part of the first half and kept the game tight all afternoon.

Rising’s perfectly placed 17-yard touchdown pass to Dalton Kincaid in the back corner of the end zone late in the third quarter gave the Utes a 31-20 lead and some semblance of control in the back-and-forth game.

It didn’t last long.

Arizona (1-9, 1-6) responded with a field goal to cut the advantage to 31-23 and then the Wildcats scored again when Nazar Bombata blocked a Utah punt and Rhedi Short recovered before scoring a 3-yard touchdown to pull within 31-29 with about 10:30 left. The Wildcats’ two-point conversion to tie was unsuccessful.

Utah finally closed the game with a bruising 15-play, 75-yard drive that lasted more than eight minutes. It was capped by Pledger’s 2-yard touchdown run with 2:10 left.

Utah’s offense was the difference-maker once again. The Utes have scored at least 34 points in five straight games. They took a 21-17 halftime lead after Rising hit Brant Kuithe for a 2-yard touchdown with two seconds remaining.

Arizona had pushed ahead 17-14 a few minutes earlier after Lucas Havrisik crushed a 57-yard field goal that cleared the crossbar with plenty of room to spare.

Arizona’s multiyear struggles have been well-documented, but for a fourth straight week, the Wildcats proved to be a competitive opponent. They played Washington and USC tight before snapping their 20-game losing streak with a 10-3 win over California last week.

Arizona’s Will Plummer finished with 219 yards passing and one touchdown.

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Los Angeles Times: Kelly’s record makes Dorrell’s term at UCLA “seem like the good old days”

From the Los Angeles Times … If you enlisted a writer from Comedy Central at the time of Chip Kelly’s hiring to create a sidesplitting scenario for late in his fourth season at UCLA, it might resemble what’s about to unfold. Kelly’s team needs to beat one coached by Karl Dorrell, a symbol of Bruin futility, to avoid further cratering, Kelly’s 15-25 record making Dorrell’s 35-27 record with UCLA from 2003 to 2007 seem like the good old days.

If UCLA (5-4 overall, 3-3 Pac-12) can’t beat Colorado (3-6, 2-4) at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Rose Bowl in a game it’s favored to win by 17 points, many Bruins fans won’t want Kelly to make it to Monday. There doesn’t figure to be many in the stands or watching on Pac-12 Network with so little at stake besides the Bruins possibly qualifying for a lower-tier bowl for the first time since 2017.

Let’s look at the game’s matchups and storylines:

Welcome back

This will be Dorrell’s first game back at the Rose Bowl since Nov. 24, 2007, when his Bruins upset No. 9 Oregon 16-0, thanks in part to the Ducks playing without injured quarterback Dennis Dixon.

UCLA lost to USC the following week and Dorrell was fired two days later. The onetime UCLA receiver defeated his alma mater in his first game as Colorado’s coach last season, and his Buffaloes appear rejuvenated after beating Oregon State in double overtime last weekend.

Freshman quarterback Brendon Lewis has sparked an offensive resurgence by throwing for six touchdowns with no interceptions over Colorado’s last two games. The Buffaloes are also running the ball much better, Jarek Broussard notching a season-high 151 yards against Oregon State.

Colorado’s recent offensive success — the team averaged 33 points over its last two games after having averaged 14.7 points in its seven previous games this season — also comes largely as a function of committing no turnovers in its last two games.

Continue reading story here

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November 12th

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Three “Alliance” commissioners propose an alternative 12-team playoff format

From Sports Illustrated … The debate over eight appears over. Now, there’s a new model, as college football leaders are not done haggling over playoff expansion formats just yet.

At their meeting last week, a group of conference commissioners introduced a new alternate 12-team postseason model that guarantees a berth to each Power 5 champion, sources tell Sports Illustrated.

The model is almost identical to the one a subcommittee introduced over the summer—aside from one change. The alternate model grants automatic bids to the Power 5 champions plus the highest-ranked Group of 5 champion. The subcommittee’s proposal gives automatic access to the six highest-ranked conference champions. Each format completes the field with six at-large selections based on rankings.

The CFP Management Committee, the 10 FBS commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick, discussed the alternate proposal—what’s being termed a “5+1” model—last week in Dallas. In the same meeting, commissioners agreed to continue reviewing several other eight-team models, though they are considered a long shot to gain unanimous support.

The alternate proposal is yet the latest wrinkle in a somewhat contentious and frustrating saga that began in June, when a subcommittee of commissioners announced a 12-team proposal that has faced pushback from the Alliance—the Pac-12, Big Ten and ACC.  At least two members of the Alliance introduced the alternate 12-team format, multiple athletic administrators tell SI. The Pac-12 is open to any of the three formats, sources say, including either 12-team proposal and an eight-team model.

Read full story here

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November 11th

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Chip Kelly talks about facing CU’s offense: “They’ll play multiple personnel groups”

From Sports Illustrated … UCLA football coach Chip Kelly talked to the media Wednesday morning about Dorian Thompson-Robinson and Alec Anderson’s injury statuses, how the coaching staff is trying to improve and what Colorado is going to look like on both sides of the ball.

How’s Dorian looked in practice?

Dorian’s done a nice job. Been good, been through everything, so we’ll continue to monitor all situations with everybody. He’s been good all week, so.

What’s been the emphasis to improve on defense this week?

Yeah, our emphasis is just on our opponent and then what’s the scheme and the game plan that Colorado has done. They’ve varied a little bit, they threw the ball a little bit better the last couple of weeks so they’re varied in what they’re doing in their attack. And really everything you do, specifically, in the game week is based upon what your opponent, what looks are they gonna present. Obviously, they got a really talented running back in Broussard and then they got a really – a quarterback who’s actually really athletic, so the zone read game and him being able to keep the ball is part of what they do also. But it’s really been team-specific in terms of preparing for Colorado and what they’re gonna present to you. They’ll play multiple personnel groups, there are some two tight ends, there are some four wide receivers. They kind of vary what they do, they don’t just line up in one set grouping and just stay with that the entire game, so it’s the ability for us to be in base, ability for us to be nickel, ability for us to be in dime and then trying to match up their personnel groups.

What specifically does the coaching staff want to do better?

We want to beat Colorado, so it’s implementing the game plan that we have to do to give our players the opportunity. That’s our job as a coaching staff: to give our players an opportunity, put them in a situation to be successful and that’s what our game plan is all about.

Watching Brendon Lewis, what similarities does he have to the other QBs you’ve faced recently?

I think some of the athletic kids that we’ve faced, that have the ability, that can hurt you in the run game. That’s when you have to talk a lot about your rush lanes and your discipline in your rush lanes because it’s the unscripted players with athletic quarterbacks like that. I think it’s the same challenge that people have when they face Dorian. A lot of the things that Dorian does that really hurts defenses, they’ve done a great job in coverage and all of the sudden, Dorian takes off and runs, but if you’re playing some man coverages and you’re running with your receiver and your back is to the quarterback so to speak, it makes it very difficult. So are you implementing a defense that has a spy that’s just responsible for the quarterback? If you are, you’ve got one less guy in coverage, but when you’re playing athletic quarterbacks, those are things you have to do but you can’t play one defense the entire game. You have to vary what you do. I think whenever you face that athletic quarterback, I think that ability for that guy to extend plays and scramble and throw the ball on unscripted plays or to just tuck it and run are things that you gotta prepare for and try to simulate in a practice situation.

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Pac-12 picks: “Five-Star Special” – Take the Buffs and the points

From the San Jose Mercury News … Here’s the question of the week in the Pac-12 that doesn’t involve suspended coaches, dismissed coordinators or rescheduled games: Is Washington State’s success real, or are the Cougars about to get unmasked?

They have won four consecutive conference games, stand one back of Oregon in the loss column and control their division destiny.

If they beat the Ducks this weekend and follow with victories over Arizona and Washington, the Cougars would win the North for the first time.

An acting head coach would be elevated to the permanent position.

A team ignored after its stumbling start would play for a berth in the Rose Bowl.

A university slammed by tumult it didn’t seek would have the last laugh, the final high five and so many blank checks from delighted donors.

Thus far, the Cougars (5-4/4-2) have been immune to the controversy created by their former coach and his merry band of anti-vaxxers.

Now it gets real: Oregon, in Autzen Stadium, on ESPN, with the stakes as high as any the program has experienced since Minshew Mania in the 2018 season.

Last week: 4-1
Season: 30-30-1
Five-star special: 5-6

Colorado (+16) at UCLA
Kickoff: 6 p.m. on Pac-12 Networks
Comment: The Buffaloes have shown life on offense after two months of hibernation and face a UCLA defense that has been overrun repeatedly on its home turf. The Bruins are coming off a bye and have their rival next week, making this a vulnerable spot. (They didn’t respond well with two weeks to prepare for Fresno State.) We envision CU hanging around into the fourth quarter. Pick: Colorado

Washington State (+14) at Oregon
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. on ESPN
Comment: The Pac-12 game of the week features a home team coming off a rivalry win and a visitor coming off a bye. That’s one of several reasons the Cougars are a trendy pick. (Here’s one more: The Ducks are 0-4 at home against the spread.) WSU’s status as a trendy pick makes the Hotline wary. The oddsmakers are pleading for money on the Cougars, so we’ll avoid their trap. Pick: Oregon

Five-star special: Colorado. The 16-point spread is four or five points too high given UCLA’s defense, which has allowed 30.6 points per game in the Rose Bowl.

Straight-up winners: Utah, Oregon State, Arizona State, UCLA and Oregon

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November 10th

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Wilner: Better than 50% chance CU’s next two opponents will fire their coaches

From the San Jose Mercury News … Four years ago, the Pac-12’s coaching carousel spun at a rate rarely seen in conference history.

Five teams changed head coaches, a vertiginous stretch that began with Gary Andersen quitting on Oregon State in October and ended with Kevin Sumlin taking the Arizona job in January.

This year could make the 2017 cycle look like amateur hour.

It’s not difficult to envision five coaching vacancies, and we can get to six or seven without much stretching of the imagination.

Here’s our view of the landscape, from the perspective of maximum tumult:

Vacancy No. 3
Team: Washington
Coach: Jimmy Lake (second year)
Seat heat: Scalding
What happened: Lake has suffered a series of self-inflicted hits, disparaging a peer institution (Oregon) and then striking a player on the sideline Saturday. (In response, the university suspended him for Saturday’s date with Arizona State.) Add the Huskies’ substandard performance on the field, questionable staff hires and a mystifying decision to punt late in the Oregon game, and Lake’s future looks bleak.
What’s next: The administration must decide whether to bring Lake back for 2022. Although it’s rare for a coach to be terminated after one bad year, Lake’s massive missteps last week have resulted in a steep erosion of internal support. The Hotline spent much of the season defending Lake and was against a dismissal barring an unforeseen transgression (NCAA violation, breaking the law, etc). We never envisioned it would take the form of Lake striking a player, but that certainly qualifies — and could lay the legal groundwork for a dismissal. He has embarrassed Washington with actions that call into question his ability to recruit, lead the program and properly represent the university.
Chance of a vacancy: 99%

Vacancy No. 5
Team: UCLA
Coach: Chip Kelly (fourth year)
Seat heat: Toasty
What happened: Chip Kelly’s tenure has reached the tipping point after three-and-a-half disappointing seasons. The Bruins are 13-18 in conference play, have yet to reach the postseason and are facing the distinct possibility of a fully tuned-out fan base in 2022, when they have eight home games (including USC, Utah and Washington) and a chance for significant revenue generation.
What’s next: The last three games could be decisive. UCLA is 5-4 overall and 3-3 in conference play. All three are winnable: Colorado and Cal at home and USC on the road. With a sweep, the administration could point to an 8-4 record (and high-end Pac-12 bowl berth) as real progress and justification for Kelly’s return in ’22. If the Bruins falter, a change might follow. The problem is Kelly’s $9 million buyout. It drops to zero, but not until the middle of January.
Chance of a vacancy: 50%

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CBS Bottom 25: CU falls out; Four Power Five teams left

From CBS Sports … The Bottom 25 Playoff race got a lot more interesting over the weekend. Both Arizona and UNLV picked up their first wins of the season, meaning no more winless teams remain at the FBS level. The Rebels went on the road and beat New Mexico by two touchdowns, while Arizona faced a California team stripped bare by COVID protocols. Of course, how the win comes doesn’t matter.

What matters is the win. Good teams or bad teams, every player on every team in the country dedicates a lot of time and energy to playing 12 games per season, as do the coaches on the sideline. Every one of them deserves at least one win per season, one chance to feel the rush of victory and the sense that all the work they put in was worth it.

Because of the tongue-in-cheek nature of this column, some people don’t think I’m sincere when I say that I root for all of these teams, but I am. For me, seeing UNLV and Arizona pick up wins on Saturday was more exciting than anything else that happened on the field. Their wins also impact our playoff race. UNLV was ranked at No. 4 last week, while Arizona was ranked No. 5. Both fall this week, but how far? And who moved up to replace them? Let’s find out.

No. 21 … Indiana … The Hoosiers fell to Michigan 29-7 last week, giving them their sixth loss against a team ranked in one of those other inferior polls. That’s part of the reason the Hoosiers are only at No. 21 despite being 2-7 — their strength of schedule is a lot stronger than most of the other teams here. Things get a little easier this week when the Hoosiers host Rutgers. (25)

No. 12 … Arizona … While Cal fans will be quick to point out how depleted their team was on Saturday, it should also be pointed out that Arizona is down to roughly its ninth-string QB as well. The Wildcats are far from 100%, and as I said up top, I don’t care how the win comes, so long as it comes. It probably came just in time, too, because Arizona’s final three games of the season won’t be easy. The first of the three is against Utah Saturday. (5)

No. 10 … Vanderbilt … The Commodores had the weekend off but return to action this week against a Kentucky team licking its wounds following a loss to Tennessee. (12)

No. 2 … Kansas … The Sunflower Showdown did not go well. Kansas lost its 13th consecutive game to rival Kansas State, falling 35-10. This week the Jayhawks turn to an old reliable when it comes to looking for a conference win: Texas. (2)

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November 9th

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Cal/USC game postponed due to COVID issues 

From ESPN … The USC-California football game scheduled for Saturday has been postponed, Cal announced Tuesday.

“It was a difficult decision to postpone this Saturday’s game against USC,” Cal athletic director Jim Knowlton said in a statement. “We know how important every one of our games is to our student-athletes, especially our seniors who have been incredible representatives of the program, but it was the right thing to do.

“Due to additional impact on specific position groups, we have decided to postpone Saturday’s game. We have had multiple COVID-19 positives within our program, and we are taking every step we can to mitigate the spread and protect the greater community.”

The schools later agreed, and received Pac-12 approval, to reschedule the game for Dec. 4 — a day after the conference title game. That follows the precedent set when the Big Game between Cal and Stanford was postponed in 2018, due to poor air quality.

Cal was undermanned for its game at Arizona on Saturday, with approximately 42 scholarship players in uniform after roughly two dozen tested positive during the week. The team, which has a 99% vaccination rate among players, experienced additional positive cases after the Arizona game, the school said.

“Our heart goes out to all of the people who enjoy our games in so many ways and especially the players who only get so many chances to go out and play them,” Cal coach Justin Wilcox said in a statement. “Postponing this game was a last resort and not an action any of us wanted to take, however it was not possible for us to field a team on Saturday.”

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UCLA fans wonder how DC Jerry Azzinaro has kept his job 

From Sports Illustrated … Back on Dec. 5, 2017, the Bruins announced the hiring of Jerry Azzinaro as their new defensive coordinator.

The replies and comments on social media leaned generally positive, with fans excited that newly-hired head coach Chip Kelly was getting the band back together from his days of winning Rose Bowls and Pac-12 titles at Oregon.

Oh, how the tables have turned.

UCLA football is 15-25 under Kelly, with Azzinaro serving as defensive coordinator in all 40 of those contests. It took just a handful of games for the Bruin faithful to turn their backs on Azzinaro, and fans were calling for him to be fired before the end of his second season in town and they haven’t stopped since.

Azzinaro is more than just an easy target for hate in a relative down period for the program, though. He is one of the least accomplished, statistically-poor defensive coordinators in the country, and his attitude has only dug his grave deeper in the eyes of fans and media members everywhere.

UCLA has employed 12 different defensive coordinators since Terry Donahue retired in 1995. Only one of them has lasted more than three seasons – Azzinaro.

Only one of them has allowed more than 260 passing yards per game during their time with the Bruins – Azzinaro, whose defenses have given up 277.5 yards per game through the air. No defense in program history had ever allowed more than 270 passing yards per game in a single season, but Azzinaro is about to do it for the third year in a row.

The run defense hasn’t been as much of a saving grace as Kelly may have you think either. Azzinaro’s 154.4 rushing yards allowed per game throughout his tenure ranks No. 5 among the 12 modern era coordinators, so while it is miles better than Tom Bradley’s units at the end of the Jim Mora era, it’s really just middle-of-the-road in the grand scheme of things.

Yards can be deceiving, though. Maybe UCLA has played great bend-don’t-break defense over the past few years.

Not exactly.

The Bruins’ scoring defenses have ranked No. 104, No. 116, No. 73 and No. 79 in the country over the past four seasons.

Continue reading story here

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November 8th

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Nebraska keeps Frost; fires assistants

… Love it … Basically making Frost a lame duck, with his firing put off a year … Tough to recruit to that, and CU plays Nebraska in 2023 and 2024 … 

From ESPN … Scott Frost will return as Nebraska’s coach in 2022 with a restructured contract, athletic director Trev Alberts announced Monday.

Frost is 15-27 at Nebraska and will miss a bowl game for the fourth consecutive season, as the Cornhuskers dropped to 3-7 following Saturday’s 26-17 loss to Ohio State. But Alberts, hired in July, has seen enough progress to retain Frost, a former Nebraska quarterback, for a fifth year. All seven of Nebraska’s losses have come by nine points or fewer this season.

“We all recognize our record has not been what anyone wants it to be,” Alberts said in a prepared statement. “I have been clear that I am looking for incremental progress, and I have seen that in several key areas this season. Our team has continued to compete at a high level, and the young men in our program have remained unified and shown great resiliency, which is an important reflection of the leadership of Coach Frost and his staff.”

The university concurs with Alberts.

“I’ve had great confidence in Scott Frost from the beginning and still do. No one in Nebraska wants to win more than he does,” Nebraska chancellor Ronnie Green posted on social media Monday. “Scott will continue to take the steps necessary to bring the football program to where it needs to be and I very much look forward to watching him do that.”

Nebraska did not immediately announce terms of Frost’s revised contract. In November 2019, he received a contract extension through the 2026 season, and would have been owed $20 million if fired before Jan. 1, 2022.

Alberts said Frost has “a clear plan and vision for the future” of Nebraska and that both he and Frost “share a love of Nebraska and this football program.” Like Frost, Alberts starred as a player at Nebraska, earning consensus All-America honors at linebacker.

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Washington coach Jimmy Lake suspended for a game for shoving his own player

… Which means Lake will miss the home game this weekend against Arizona State … but be back in charge for Washington’s game in Boulder on Nov. 20th … 

From CBS Sports … Washington has suspended second-year coach Jimmy Lake for one week following a home loss to rival Oregon that capped an embarrassing week for the program and the embattled coach. Lake, just 7-6 as the coach of the Huskies, shoved and smacked a player in the helmet with a play sheet during the game.

He will miss Washington’s game this Saturday against Arizona State.

“Our staff has spent the last 24-plus hours reviewing video of the incident, as well as speaking with Coach Lake, the involved student-athlete and several other student-athletes and members of the staff, and I have made the decision to suspend Coach Lake for next Saturday’s game against Arizona State. [We] are in agreement that while we do not believe that his actions were intentional or deliberate, we can have no tolerance for a coach interacting with a student in the manner Coach Lake did. We have high expectations of conduct for our coaches, and we will not shy away from those expectations,” said Washington athletic director Jen Cohen in a statement.

Losing to Oregon was expected, but the way in which Washington fell was infuriating to its fans. Lake decided to punt down eight points with under 2 minutes to go in the game. Compounding the situation was an errant snap that launched through the end zone for a safety, essentially eliminating any possibility of a comeback. Lake was also caught on camera striking redshirt freshman linebacker Ruperake Fuavai in the face in an attempt to break up an altercation with Oregon players.

Despite being named the successor to Chris Petersen ahead of the team’s Las Vegas Bowl appearance less than two years ago, Lake has quickly fallen out of the good graces of the fans. An assistant under Petersen dating back to their time at Boise State, Lake’s Huskies opened this season with a stunning 13-7 home loss to Montana out of the FCS.

The offensive slog on display against the Grizzlies was only a taste of what was to come this season. Washington’s offense ranks 10th in the Pac-12 in touchdowns scored and points per game, ahead of only Colorado and Arizona. The frustration surrounding the inability to put points on the board was then coupled by Lake’s bizarre comments ahead of the game against the Ducks, in which the coach downplayed the program’s recruiting battles against its Pac-12 rival.

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NCAA releases draft of changes to its Constitution (authority moving to divisions and conferences)

Press release from NCAA.com … The NCAA Constitution Committee today shared its draft constitution with NCAA member schools and conferences. The draft provides significant authority to the divisions, giving each the ability to reorganize and restructure itself.

“Thanks to the feedback from member schools and conferences, advocacy groups, coaches and students, this process has been an example of how we can work together to modernize college sports and meet the needs of students engaged in intercollegiate athletics—today and for the future,” Jack DeGioia, NCAA Board of Governors chair and Georgetown president, wrote in a memo to NCAA members. “We have reached an important milestone in our efforts. Over the next two months, we will engage in the next phase of our work.”

NCAA members will meet virtually at a Special Convention on Nov. 15 to discuss their feedback on the draft constitution. The Constitution Committee will provide its final recommendations to the Board of Governors by Dec. 15. A new constitution will be voted on at the 2022 NCAA Convention in January. In the months after the 2022 Convention, each division will adopt additional changes to be effective Aug. 1 for the following school year, with more expected after that date.

Draft constitution

The current draft of the constitution reduces the number of members of the NCAA Board of Governors from 21 to nine to streamline decision-making for Association-wide issues. Six members would be from the three divisions (four from Division I and one each from Divisions II and III), plus there would be two independent members and one former student-athlete. Student-athletes would also serve on the Division I Board of Directors and Division II and Division III Presidents Councils, and they would have voting representation within each of these groups.

The draft includes new concepts while also codifying some existing priorities and principles into the constitution for the first time. It prohibits pay-for-play but embraces name, image and likeness benefits. It maintains existing revenue allocations and championship opportunities for each division, and each division would have oversight of its own budget, expenditures and distribution to its members. The current draft constitution also underscores the importance of both physical and mental health and emphasizes diversity, inclusion and gender equity.

Special Convention

As announced by the Board of Governors, the Special Convention on Nov. 15 will focus on proposed changes to the constitution to enable the Association to better meet the needs of current and future student-athletes. The Constitution Committee will share concepts and representatives from member schools and conferences will provide feedback and questions.

The event is scheduled for noon-5 p.m. Eastern time. NCAA members who would like to participate must be registered by 5 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday. To register and learn more about additional event details, visit ncaa.org/special-convention.

 

 

Oregon State fires its defensive coordinator

… Give up 37 points to Colorado, lose your job? … 

From ESPN … Oregon State defensive coordinator Tim Tibesar has been fired, Beavers coach Jonathan Smith announced Sunday.

“I felt it was the right time to make a change in our football program and have relieved Coach Tim Tibesar of his duties at Oregon State,” Smith said in a statement. “All of us thank Coach Tibesar for his hard work and professionalism the past four years and wish him nothing but the best moving forward.”

Linebackers coach Trent Bray will take on defensive coordinator duties on an interim basis, while Kendrick Van Ackeren will shift from an analyst role to an on-field role coaching linebackers, Smith added.

The Beavers rank No. 9 in the Pac-12 in yards per play allowed (5.77) and No. 10 in total defense (405.7 yards per game). Oregon State started the season 4-1, but has since dropped three of four including a 37-34 loss at Colorado on Saturday in overtime. Tibesar’s defense allowed at least 30 points in the past four games.

Tibesar had been with Oregon State since Smith was named head coach prior to the 2018 season.

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November 7th

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Washington fires its offensive coordinator

From ESPN … Washington has fired offensive coordinator John Donovan, the school announced Sunday.

The decision comes a day after Washington lost 26-16 to Oregon, dropping the Huskies to 4-5 overall and 3-3 in the Pac-12. Wide receivers coach Junior Adams will take over playcalling duties, and Payton McCollum has been promoted from analyst to quarterbacks coach.

Washington has regressed significantly since Donovan became the offensive coordinator after Jimmy Lake succeeded Chris Petersen as head coach following the 2019 season. The Huskies have averaged 5.4 yards per play and 23.9 offensive points per game under Donovan, after averaging 6.3 yards per play and 32 points over the previous four seasons.

The season began with a 13-7 loss to FCS Montana, and the Huskies need to win two of their final three games to reach bowl eligibility. Washington hasn’t failed to become bowl eligible since 2009.

The school did not provide an update on its inquiry into a sideline incident on Saturday involving Lake and redshirt freshman linebacker Ruperake Fuavai. Athletic director Jen Cohen released a statement late Saturday night that the school was “working to gather more information on this matter.”

Lake appeared to strike Fuavai, with minimal contact, following a tussle between Fuavai and an Oregon player near the UW sideline in the first half.

Buffs open as a 17.0-point underdog to UCLA

From VegasInsider.com

Pac-12 lines …

  • Utah at Arizona … Utah a 24.0-point road favorite … Saturday, noon, MT, Pac-12 Networks
  • USC at California … USC a 3.0-point road favorite … Saturday, 1:30 p.m., MT
  • Stanford at Oregon State … Oregon State a 10.0-point favorite … Saturday, 3:30 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks
  • Arizona State at Washington … Arizona State is a 4.0-point road favorite … Saturday, 5:00 p.m., MT
  • Colorado at UCLA … UCLA is a 17.0-point favorite … Saturday, 7:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks
  • Washington State at No. 4 Oregon State … Oregon is a 16.0-point favorite … Saturday, 8:30 p.m., MT, ESPN

Arizona breaks 20-game losing streak with 10-3 over COVID-depleted Cal

… Bears down seven starters; 24 players in all … 

From ESPN … Jubilant Arizona players danced, cheered and sang “Bear Down” at ear-splitting level.

The longest losing streak in the nation was finally over.

Michael Wiley scored on a 10-yard run with 2:17 remaining to lift Wildcats to a 10-3 Pac-12 victory over COVID-19-depleted California on Saturday, ending the Wildcats’ 20-game skid, the longest in Pac-12 history.

“Obviously, this has been hard,” Arizona first-year coach Jedd Fisch said. “Its’s a monkey on the back. You can’t avoid it, even if you want to.”

Arizona quarterback Will Plummer had 197 yards total offense and the Wildcats (1-8) held California (3-6) to 122 yards total offense while winning for the first time since a 35-30 victory over Colorado on Oct. 5, 2019.

Cal played without starting senior quarterback Chase Garbers, who was one of seven starters and 24 players and coaches who were unavailable. Cal announced Thursday that “multiple” players were in Covid protocols and would not play, but federal and state laws prohibit Cal from commenting on individual players.

“It’s a one-off, we hope,” said Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff, who attended the game.

“It’s a Berkeley local issue primarily that we are dealing with, and I think it is amazing that Cal was able to field a team given how many players are in protocol.”

Arizona hold an opponent without a touchdown for the first time since a 35-0 victory over Northern Arizona in the 2013 season opener.

Garbers was the Pac-12’s total offense leader entering the weekend, at 293 yards per game. He was replaced by Ryan Glover, who had not taken a snap this season.

“We really don’t care who they bring out there, we still have to play defense,” Arizona linebacker Christian Young said.

Continue reading story here

Oregon defeats Washington to take stranglehold on Pac-12 North division race

From ESPN … By the time the final seconds ticked away, most of the purple had vacated, leaving Oregon to once again dance around the field and celebrate in the stands of arguably its most-heated rival.

On a windy, rainy night the seventh-ranked Ducks showed a bit more “prowess” — the word of the week in this rivalry — than Washington.

“Proud of the way our guys came out and showed our prowess in handling inclement weather,” Oregon coach Mario Cristobal said. “We continued to play hard throughout the entire game making sure every critical situation our team responded really well.”

Travis Dye rushed for a career-high 211 yards and a touchdown, Anthony Brown ran for a score and passed for another and Oregon overcame a sluggish start to beat Washington 26-16 on Saturday night.

A year after the border rivals didn’t play due to a COVID-19 outbreak within the Huskies program, the Ducks (8-1, 5-1 Pac-12) fell behind early before running off 21 consecutive points and beat Washington for the seventh time in the past eight games played in Seattle.

“The ‘W’ means everything to me. The performance is just a plus,” Dye said.

Brown threw a 31-yard TD pass to Devon Williams late in the first half to take a 10-9 lead at the break and scored on a 2-yard run early in the third quarter. Dye capped the scoring streak when he rumbled 19 yards for a score on the first play of the fourth quarter to give the Ducks a 24-9 lead.

Dye’s rushing performance was the most yards rushing by an Oregon running back against Washington since Jonathan Stewart went for 251 yards in 2007.

Oregon had 215 yards rushing and averaged 6.9 yards per carry in the second half.

“When you can run the ball down somebody’s throat, that’s the best feeling in the world,” Dye said. “When you have the confidence in your offensive linemen and running backs where you’re just running it, it is the best feeling.”

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Jimmy Lake being “investigated” for shoving player

From The Seattle Times … Until Saturday night, most of the Washington Huskies football fans’ unrest and dissatisfaction with coach Jimmy Lake centered on his coaching acumen and UW’s dismal season.

But following a 26-16 defeat to No. 4-ranked Oregon, the second-year coach finds himself in the middle of another tempest.

In the first half, Lake rushed to break up a skirmish between UW and Oregon players and in doing so hit freshman linebacker Ruperake Fuavai in the facemask.

And when Fuavai turned to walk away, Lake forcefully shoved him in the back with two hands.

When asked about the incident during a postgame interview, Lake said: “I separated them. I didn’t strike him. I separated them.”

However, UW officials are looking into the incident.

“We are aware of an interaction between Head Coach Jimmy Lake and a student-athlete during the first half of Saturday’s game,” said UW athletic director Jen Cohen in a statement after the game. “We have high expectations of the conduct of our coaches and we are working to gather more information on this matter.”

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—–

November 6th – Game Day!

… Foe Pause … 

Utah mauls Stanford, 52-7 – David Shaw: “Just a terrible showing top to bottom”

From ESPN … Utah got off to fast start and didn’t let up.

Tavion Thomas ran for four TDs in the first half, TJ Pledger scored on a school-record 96-yard run and Utah ran past Stanford 52-7 on Friday night.

The game was a mismatch from the start as the Utes (6-3, 5-1 Pac-12) scored TDs on their first two drives after coach Kyle Whittingham opted to take the ball first and didn’t allow the Cardinal (3-6, 2-5) to get a first down until it was 21-0 in the second quarter.

“Coach Whitt has a tremendous amount of confidence in this offense and knows that we like to start fast and like to get going early,” quarterback Cameron Rising said. “The O-line did a great job that first drive and really dominated up front.”

Utah just added on from there, scoring five TDs and one field goal on seven drives in the first half with the only stop coming on a botched snap.

Thomas raced for a 58-yard score on a one-play drive for the of his four TDs, tying the school record he had also matched last week against UCLA.

Pledger then outran the Cardinal defense on the first play of another drive for the longest run ever by the Utes.

Utah outgained Stanford 440-28 in taking a 38-0 halftime lead for the second highest yardage discrepancy in the first half of an FBS game in the past seven seasons, 24 yards shy of Boise State’s edge against Connecticut in 2018.

The Cardinal, who were playing without injured starting quarterback Tanner McKee, suffered their most lopsided loss since a 57-7 defeat to Notre Dame in 2003. Stanford has lost four straight games.

“Just a terrible showing top to bottom,” coach David Shaw said. “Obviously we missed some guys who aren’t out there. … That being said, we have 11 out there at a time, strap it up and get out there and play. Defensively we have to have a lot of discussions on how to stop the run. All year it’s been close, it’s been close. Today wasn’t close.”

Thomas led the way for Utah with 177 yards on 20 carries a week after running for 160 yards and four scores against the Bruins.

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21 Replies to “Pac-12 Notes – UCLA Week”

  1. Wonder if the hat and sweatshirt I threw at the Rose Bowl in disgust are still there…have been ‘fortunate’ enough to attend games at CAL and UCLA in the past years and it’s been near a lifetime since we won, let alone looked competent. Don’t know why that is….but at least I was also at the Rose Bowl last time we won (glorious day, but it was like 20 years ago….)
    Safe to say, staying away from traveling for this team, to save sanity. Hope to see something change, but already laid our egg in Berkeley.

  2. Stuart,

    Could you set up a separate forum just for VKB and whomever who wants to engage with him so the rest of us could have reasonable discussions using for the most part, real English, without inane commentary? Asking for a friend.

  3. So KD was 35-27 when he was at UCLA, got em to bowl games before he was fired. Do ya think last years win against the ruined bruins got that out of his system?…or is there still a little payback oomph left inside him. I know he is probably intently focused on prepping for the game any way but having that little bit of that oomph as motivation cant hurt.
    One thing for sure is I would turn down an invitation to play poker with him.

    Now we have Wilner picking the Buffs to cover. Broussard saying “just gimme the damn ball” makes me really want to throw down a few Benjamins on it but Wilner has been wrong over 75% of the time.
    oh the indecision……..which is embarrassing cause now I’m talking like earache.

  4. Now that it appears the offense have found some rhythm and improvement, good to see Shenault back. Will be good to get Dimitri Stanley healthy as well.
    The defense have been suffering physical effects of having to carry the team for the first half of the season. Would be great to get a healthy Nate Landman back on the field, along with Guy Thomas,
    along with anybody else down the stretch. Anything can happen…Go Buffs!

  5. Morning.
    It is Monday and as promised earache and Stuart………..I have permission eh? Right Stuart? Once a week on Monday.,,,,,,,,,,,Hey that 3 column was pretty neat……

    Earache wrote…Yes. I am a realist and a pragmatist. Not an extremist. If taking a reasoned, thoughtful position….

    If all that is really true earache, then write your realistic, pragmatic, non-extremist, reasoned, thoughtful expose on The Real Mac which you have promised over and over for months after your viscous and biased attack on the Buffs coaches of the past.

    Eh?
    So?
    Beat the washedups.

    Note: One could speculate that honesty, integrity, trustworthy etc would not be some guidelines you may be familiar with based on your promise breaking over and over that it was coming….be patient….you said.

    Note 2: If you were just mouthing off and are not gonna produce what you promised then just say so. Its not a matter of………………….oh wait yes it is…………

      1. I think it’s funny you spit out tales you won’t/can’t back up. Your promises seem worthless

        Fence sitter. You commit then you renege

        Why don’t you give up your fake name? The person you say you are would follow through like all good loan guys do!

        Okay good Monday

        Go Buffs

          1. Yur dancing like a drunk huskie.

            Either produce it or say you just screwed up and were just blabbering a lie.

            Simple.

            Get yourself off the hook.

  6. Huskynuts fired their OC? What.
    Oh lack of performance
    Washington has regressed significantly since Donovan became the offensive coordinator after Jimmy Lake succeeded Chris Petersen as head coach following the 2019 season. The Huskies have averaged 5.4 yards per play and 23.9 offensive points per game under Donovan, after averaging 6.3 yards per play and 32 points over the previous four seasons.

    Shocking.
    Could this be a comment on how important coaching is? Yup it is.

    Oh well

    beat thoses huskyettes.

    The Buffs have a HC.

    Looking for a staff now.

    Next year is always next year and damn lucky to keep getting those next years.

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