Pac-12 Notes – USC Week

October 2nd – Game Day

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No. 3 Oregon falls to Stanford in overtime, 31-24

From ESPN … Tanner McKee threw a TD pass on an untimed down at the end of regulation to tie the game and another on the opening possession of overtime to lead Stanford to a 31-24 victory over No. 3 Oregon on Saturday.

McKee came back after leaving for a play on the final drive of regulation with an injury to tie it on a 2-yard pass to Elijah Higgins after a holding penalty by Oregon (4-1, 1-1 Pac-12) in the end zone extended the game one play.

McKee then gave the Cardinal (3-2, 2-1) the lead with a 14-yarder to John Humphreys in overtime. Stanford then forced Anthony Brown to throw an incomplete pass on fourth-and-8 to seal its fourth win against an Oregon team ranked in the top 10 since 2009.

The Ducks were appeared poised for their first 5-0 start in eight years when they rallied from 10 points down at halftime to take a 24-17 lead early in the fourth quarter on Brown’s second TD run of the game.

But then McKee delivered the big plays late and the Cardinal capitalized on three Oregon penalties on the game-tying 87-yard drive in the final 1:59 of regulation.

McKee left the game for one play on the drive after being hit by Kayvon Thibodeaux on a play ruled targeting. Oregon was then called for another roughing the passer penalty and the holding penalty in the end zone on what appeared to be the final play.

The Cardinal got the untimed down and McKee delivered with the pass to Higgins. Coach David Shaw opted for the extra point and the game went to OT.

Continue reading story here

For CU, Cal and Washington State – It’s Now or Never

From the San Jose Mercury News … Hello, goodbye.

If recent conference history is our guide, then it’s elimination Saturday for three teams sitting on 1-3 records.

Cal, Colorado and Washington State are one loss away from getting booted from the bowl picture.

Yes, there are two months remaining, but 1-4 is a hole from which there is seemingly no escape. That’s not mere Hotline theory, either. It’s established conference precedent.

In the decade since Pac-12 expansion, 11 teams have gotten off to 1-4 starts (or worse). None of them qualified for the postseason.

In fact, the most dramatic turnaround only resulted in a final record of 4-8 , which is two wins short of the total required for bowl bids.

(Please note: We excluded the 2020 season from our calculations.)

At least one team will end this weekend in the 1-4 hole, because Cal and Washington State collide in Berkeley for three presumably desperate hours.

And it will take an unprecedented step for Colorado to avoid the 1-4 fate. The Buffaloes have never beaten their opponent this week, USC.

… A stat you might not have expected to read:

USC has won seven consecutive road games in conference play, the second-longest streak in the country behind Ohio State (10 in a row).

The Trojans save their worst performances for the home crowd.

Since the road winning streak began Oct. 25, 2019 at Colorado, USC has lost three home games by multiple touchdowns.

Opponent and score:

Oregon/56-24
Stanford/42-28
Oregon State/45-27

Perhaps the Trojans, who visit Boulder this weekend, should play all their games on the road. Their fans probably wouldn’t complain.

Continue reading story here

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October 1st

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Athlon and College Football News predict CU v. USC: “CU will fight the good fight, but …”

From Athlon Sports … The USC Trojans and Colorado Buffaloes, both desperate for a win, are set to meet this week in Boulder for a pivotal Pac-12 South matchup on Saturday.

USC got off to a strong start in the post-Clay Helton era with a 45-14 victory over Washington State two weeks ago but came back to earth with a 45-27 upset loss at home to Oregon State last weekend. The Trojans are now 2-2 overall and 1-2 in conference play, 1-1 under interim head coach Donte Williams.

The Buffs opened the season with a 35-7 victory over FCS member Northern Colorado but have scored a combined 20 points in three losses since. Last week, Colorado fell 35-13 to Arizona State in its Pac-12 opener.

Colorado is still looking for its first win against USC. They first met in 1927, but the Buffs are winless in 14 games, including nine since Colorado joined the Pac-12 in 2011.

Final Analysis

Helton was fired in large part because USC’s win-loss record rarely met its talent profile. Last week’s loss to Oregon State in the Coliseum is a perfect example of the type of game the Trojans shouldn’t lose, so obviously the problems won’t be fixed right away. But can Colorado pull off a similar upset?

The Buffs have a solid defense led by linebacker Nate Landman and edge Carson Wells and even picked up an unexpected bonus with the recently renewed eligibility of former All-Pac-12 defensive lineman Mustafa Johnson after he was not selected in the 2021 NFL Draft. It’s unclear how much Johnson will play in his first game back, but the Buffs can use all the help they can get right now. Given Slovis’ recent ineffectiveness, Colorado could give USC’s offense trouble —especially if the unit can limit London’s production.

Unfortunately, Johnson doesn’t play offense and won’t be able to help Colorado’s banged-up offensive line. Unless the Buffs do a better job opening holes for running backs and keeping Lewis clean (Colorado has allowed 10.0 sacks, an average of 2.5 per contest — some of which can be attributed to the quarterback as well), the unit simply won’t score enough.

This is a game the Trojans should win. Emphasis on the word “should.”

Prediction: USC 31, Colorado 21

From College Football News

Why USC Will Win

The USC passing game still works, and the Colorado offense doesn’t.

The Trojans can’t get the ground attack going over the last few weeks, and no matter who’s throwing the ball, the production is there with 754 yards over the last two weeks to make up for the other issues.

Colorado could run in the loss to Minnesota, couldn’t throw in the loss to Arizona State, and hasn’t thrown for over 100 yards in any of the last three games and only 102 against Northern Colorado. The Buffs are among the worst in the country in total offense, passing efficiency, and scoring.

USC has this if it just puts a few points on the board.

Why Colorado Will Win

The defense has been able to make things interesting.

It got rolled over by Minnesota, but the pass defense was fine. It almost did enough to pull off what would’ve been a shocking win over Texas A&M, and it’s been able to grind things down just enough to keep things close – at least for a while.

For all of the good things USC is doing, it’s not pushing the ball down the field on offense, and the defense isn’t doing anything to get into the backfield. At the very least, the Colorado O will have time to work.

What’s Going To Happen

Colorado will fight the good fight, but the offense just isn’t working.

USC will sputter along, it’ll start slow, and then it’ll all kick in just enough to pull away early in the second half. The Buffs won’t be able to keep up any sort of a pace.

USC 27, Colorado 16
Line: USC -7.5, o/u: 51
ATS Confidence out of 5: 3.5

Pac-12 Networks to air live pregame shows from Boulder

From the Pac-12 Networks … Pac-12 football league play continues this weekend and Pac-12 Networks is serving up wall-to-wall coverage all day long, starting at 10 a.m. PT / 11 a.m. MT and culminating with ‘Pac-12 After Dark’ at 11 p.m. PT / 12 a.m. MT.

Host Danny Lee takes fans to Folsom Field in Boulder, Colo., to break down the Buffaloes’ pregame and men’s basketball’s Evan Battey gives an all-access look into a day in his life during ‘Pac-12 Tailgate,’ presented by Buffalo Wild Wings, which kick starts the day at 10 a.m. PT / 11 a.m. MT on Pac-12 Network.
Live coverage from Boulder continues at 10:30 a.m. PT / 11:30 a.m. MT during ‘The Pregame,’ presented by Deere, as hosts Ashley Adamson, Nick Allioti and Michael Bumpus bring fans up close and personal to the action with analysis and insights from around the Conference of Champions, leading up to kickoff.
Ted Robinson and Yogi Roth are on the call as Colorado returns home to host USC at 11 a.m. PT / 12 p.m. MT on Pac-12 Network. The Buffaloes welcome back two-time All-Pac-12 honoree Mustafa Johnson this weekend, while former Buff K.D. Nixon, who transferred to USC last spring, returns to Folsom Field to battle his former team.

Mountain West to stay in tact (for now)

From ESPN … The Mountain West on Friday said it will proceed with its membership intact, while the American Athletic Conference said it has not made any invitations to other institutions.

Multiple schools have fielded interest from the AAC about joining the conference, sources confirmed to ESPN.

Both the AAC and MWC released their statements Friday amid reports that no Mountain West schools will be making the move.

“The trailblazing Western institutions of higher education in the Mountain West Conference are proud of our academic excellence, the strength of our athletics programs and the splendor of our campuses, and today we are announcing our collective commitment to membership in the Mountain West,” the Mountain West said in its statement.

“The success and positive trajectories of our respective members have created opportunities for many of our universities, yet we collectively believe in the strength and shared spirit of the Mountain West and in the future possibilities for our conference.”

The Air Force Academy was viewed by those around the conference as the school most likely to leave for the AAC, sources told ESPN. Academy leadership, including longtime football coach Troy Calhoun, have questioned in the past whether the MWC remained the right spot for the Falcons. However, multiple sources said it would have been tough for the Academy to justify a move without another school, which could serve as a travel partner.

Colorado State emerged as a possible option, but reports linking CSU with a move to the AAC confounded several people in administrative positions around the conference. With the looming departures of Houston, Cincinnati and UCF from the AAC to the Big 12, the MWC is well-positioned to become the top Group of Five conference and multiple sources questioned why CSU would be interested in leaving its geographic footprint for a depleted AAC.

“The American Athletic Conference has not offered membership to any institution,” the conference said in a statement. “Our process for considering potential members remains deliberate, strategic and focused on the continued proven success of our conference.”

The Mountain West has 11 full-time members and Hawaii, which is a member for football.

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September 30th

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Phil Knight and Nike establish NIL company for Oregon athletes (game over)

… Heavy sigh … We knew that an unregulated NIL (thanks, NCAA and Congress, for doing nothing! … 

From Forbes.com … Today, several alumni and prominent University of Oregon donors, including NIKE co-founder Phil Knight, Pat Kilkenny, Ed Maletis, Jim Morse, and the Papé Family are announcing the formation of Division Street, Inc., a sport venture that will assist Oregon student athletes in monetizing their NIL.

Former VP and GM of NIKE Women Rosemary St. Clair, will serve as the CEO of the new entity, with former NIKE VP of Sports Marketing Rudy Chapa will serve as Chairman of the Board.

“Student-athletes have a full plate, and figuring out how to monetize their brands is an incredible challenge,” said St. Clair. “Our team has spent decades building the brands of the world’s best athletes, and we will use that experience to elevate NIL opportunities by bringing in leading expertise across brand, marketing, sponsorship, digital and creative to support all Oregon student-athletes, inclusive of every sport and across gender.”

Former Oregon women’s basketball star Sabrina Ionescu, and the No. 1 pick of the 2020 WNBA Draft, will serve as Chief Athlete Officer. In this role, she will serve as a senior advisor to the Division Street team to ensure the voice of the athlete is at the center of all the company’s work. Additionally, she will share her knowledge as a high-profile athlete with a growing portfolio of top-tier partnerships with Oregon student athletes through quarterly seminars.

“As an athlete navigating the world of brand and partnerships myself, I see a real opportunity to provide today’s college players more professional counsel as they grapple with the new NIL landscape,” Ionescu said. “I’m excited that Division Street also sees that need and is bringing together an all-star team to address this for Oregon. I’m also very passionate about ensuring diversity in gender and sport, and that will be part of my focus in this new role.”

… Division Street is also partnering with the University of Oregon’s Warsaw Sports Marketing Center and School of Journalism and Communication, as part of the Sport and Wellness Initiative, and their newly formed Oregon Accelerator. The accelerator is a first-of-its-kind, full-service, student-led marketing and branding collective that will focus on maximizing the name, image and likeness earning potential for the University of Oregon’s 500+ student-athletes.

Continue reading story here

Boise State and San Diego State spurn AAC, hope for Pac-12 or Big 12 invite (door opening for CSU to AAC?)

From the CBS Sports … Boise State and San Diego State informed the Mountain West on Thursday that they intend to stay in the conference, sources confirmed to CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd and Matt Norlander. The two schools had been targeted by the AAC as possible expansion options after three AAC teams — Cincinnati, Houston and UCF — announced their move to the Big 12 earlier in September.

Boise State intends to stay in the Mountain West with the hopes of a bigger invitation — specifically from the Big 12 or Pac-12 — coming in the not-too-distant future, sources tell CBS Sports. San Diego State remains in lockstep with its desire to wait for a better offer rather than potentially moving conferences twice in a short period of time.

The AAC still has interest in Colorado State and Air Force, and that interest is mutual with Air Force leading the charge in exploring a move, sources tell Dodd. Air Force would like to link up with Navy in the AAC, and Colorado State has local interests that align with the Falcons. The universities are less than 150 miles from one another in Colorado.

Part of the AAC’s goal in targeting Mountain West teams is to destabilize the Group of Five landscape and solidify itself as an even bigger power. The AAC has often been considered the top Group of Five conference, but the loss of three top-tier programs in major media markets could change that in a big way.

With Boise State and San Diego State staying put, the Mountain West has a core membership that could rival whatever the AAC puts together following expansion, making it a contender for the proposed 12-team playoff. The proposed new postseason format calls for the top six conference champions to receive automatic bids, regardless of their status as a Power Five or Group of Five league.

Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel first reported Boise State and San Diego State’s stated intentions on Thursday.

** Video: KD Nixon talks about playing his former team**

From YouTube, courtesy of WeAreSC …

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September 29th

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Oregon State (and former CU) offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren explains how Beavers ran all over USC

From the San Jose Mercury News … It was a dream scenario in an alternate universe. Oregon State was bludgeoning USC at the line of scrimmage to a degree rarely seen in the Coliseum.

“You’re always hoping it would be like that,” Lindgren said Sunday. “But I had envisioned the game going down to the wire and us having to be a lot more patient: This run for four yards; that run for three yards; then maybe pop one. But it was was 45-17, and I was thinking, ‘This is pretty cool.’”

The Beavers’ first victory over USC in the Coliseum since 1960 featured plenty of pops, but was built mostly on booms. They rushed for 322 yards, averaged 6.3 yards per carry and allowed no sacks

Only two running plays went for negative yards — the kneel-downs at the end of the game.

So overpowering was their offensive line that the Beavers jettisoned any attempt at achieving run-pass balance and stuck with what worked, over and over and over: Their 51 runs and 19 pass attempts produced a 45-27 victory.

“Their (offensive coordinator) was great schematically,’’ USC interim head coach Donte Williams told reporters after the game. “Up front, their line was double-teaming and chipped away … They ran their offense to the T.”

It was the second-highest rushing total against USC by a Pac-12 opponent in the past decade, exceeded only by Oregon’s 426 yards in the 2012 season.

“We liked the matchup up front,” Lindgren said. “Our offensive line has some veteran guys, and they have been real physical coming off the ball.

“Our mindset was to win the line of scrimmage and then change things up in the running game so they couldn’t key on anything. It’s nice when you can run the ball and don’t have to drop back. We didn’t want to get into a throw-fest because of their edge rushers. We wanted to run the ball and use play action.”

Oregon State’s offensive line is a mix of second-tier recruits and transfers — center Nathan Eldridge’s career began at Arizona, in 2016. But all five starters have experience in the system, and their position coach, Jim Michalczik, has been one of the best in the conference for decades.

“We maybe don’t have a lot of guys who are difference-makers in their first year,” Lindgren said. “But we develop them over two or three years. And (Michalczik) had them really dialed in.”

Add punishing tailback B.J. Baylor to the veteran line, and the Beavers have the foundation for a first-class rushing attack.

Continue reading story here

CU and Washington State join the CBS Sports’ “Bottom 25”

From CBS Sports … There’s been a lot of time spent discussing how vulnerable all the top teams in college football look this season. Ohio State has already lost a game, Clemson is 2-2 and looking lost, Oklahoma can’t pull away from anybody and even Alabama had a scare put into it. What isn’t being discussed nearly as much, however, is how the bottom of the rankings have experienced something similar.

For the most part, The Bottom 25 is still filled with the usual suspects, but a few of the schools who annually compete for Bottom 25 titles aren’t ranked at the moment (your UTEPs and ULMs). That’s interesting, but it’s something else that encourages me. Over the years, I’ve spent a lot of time in this space explaining how much more difficult it is to go winless than undefeated at the FBS level. I also root for every team to win at least one game each season because everybody who puts the amount of work in that’s required to play, or coach, at an FBS program deserves that feeling at least once.

So far, the 2021 season suggests this is likely. As things stand, only seven winless teams remain (there are 26 undefeated teams). While I haven’t kept official records, anecdotally, that seems like a low number of winless teams this early in the season. If things continue moving like this, not only will everybody get a win, but it’ll make for a more exciting Bottom 25 race.

No. 20 Washington State … It’s been a rough start to the season for the Cougars. Their lone win came against Portland State, and they’ve lost to Utah State, USC and Utah. Considering how poor USC and Utah have looked in other games, losing to those two by 31 and 11 points is concerning. This week Wazzu’s on the road to face Cal. (NR)

No. 13 Arizona … The teams at the bottom of the Pac-12 should be grateful to the teams struggling at the top for taking the attention away. Still, to the Wildcats’ credit, they looked feisty for a while against Oregon before the Ducks pulled away to win 41-19. The Wildcats will take this weekend off to prepare for their next game against UCLA. (12)

Read full story here

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September 28th

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Colin Cowherd: “USC staff is getting their resumes ready”

From Sports Illustrated … Fox Sports personality Colin Cowherd is known for his bold opinions, and unleashed his thoughts on USC’s brutal loss to the Oregon State Beavers 45-27. The loss was the first time the Beavs have defeated the Trojans on their home turf since 1960.

If there was any chance of interim head coach Donte Williams landing the gig after the 2021 season, Cowherd believes that ship has sailed. The radio host even tweeted that USC’s staff should be ‘getting their resumes ready’ for next season.

“Another reminder — USC needs to go hire a big time head coach since, you know, it’s a big time job. Not experiment. Not be someone’s first great coaching break or opportunity. Again, all together now, a PROVEN, winning head coach,” Cowherd said.

“I mean the SC staff is getting their resumes ready. This happens w interim coaches. Staff pivots into career survival mode. You especially see it in bowl games. Last night was a mess. Team was unprepared.”

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September 27th

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Pac-12 Rankings: “If there was ever a time and a place for CU to beat USC, this might be it”

From the San Jose Mercury News … Power ratings based entirely on the scoreboard, except when they aren’t …

(All times Pacific)

1. Oregon (4-0/1-0)
Last week: 1
Result: Beat Arizona 41-19
Next up: at Stanford (12:30 p.m., ABC)
Line: Oregon -8
Comment: Sure sign of boredom: When you’re plus-five in turnovers and struggle to put away a bad team. Yes, it happens, but the Ducks need to flip the switch from snooze to engaged this week.

2. UCLA (3-1/1-0)
Last week: 2
Result: Won at Stanford 35-24
Next up: vs. Arizona State (7:30 p.m., FS1)
Line: UCLA -3.5
Comment: October is the make-or-break month for UCLA with the Sun Devils up first, then Washington (road), Oregon (home) and Utah (road) in the second half. Meanwhile, November looks anticlimactic with Colorado, Cal and USC. (Serious not serious.)

8. USC (2-2/1-2)
Last week: 5
Result: Lost to Oregon State 45-27
Next up: at Colorado (11 a.m., Pac-12 Networks)
Line: USC -6
Comment: Sure, Todd Orlando’s defense has yielded 87 points in the two blowout losses. But shouldn’t there be more scrutiny on the Graham Harrell offense, which has only scored 30 in non-garbage time? Whatever version of the Air Raid they’re running, it doesn’t work very well.

11. Colorado (1-3/0-1)
Last week: 11
Result: Lost at Arizona State 35-13
Next up: vs. USC (11 a.m., Pac-12 Networks)
Line: Colorado +6
Comment: Could this be the year CU finally beats the Trojans? It will require a mix of the reasonable (an inspired performance by the defense) and the unlikely (big plays by the offense). But if there was ever a time and a place, this might be it.

12. Arizona (0-4/0-1)
Last week: 12
Result: Lost at Oregon 41-19
Next up: Idle
Line: N/A
Comment: His interception total in Eugene is meaningless.  Jordan McCloud is the only quarterback on the roster capable of ending the losing streak.

Read full story here

Oregon State provides the template for defeating USC

From the San Jose Mercury News … It took less than four hours for Oregon State to end 61 years of futility.

Actually, it took about 45 minutes of game time.

Because by the end of the third quarter, the Beavers were in complete command and headed to their first win over USC in the L.A. Coliseum since 1960.

Not only was the losing streak older than Jonathan Smith by 18 years, it was darn near older than Mike Riley.

What struck us most about the 45-27 victory was the way OSU pulverized the Trojans with the formula USC once used so successfully:

— The Beavers owned the trenches and controlled the game with a rushing attack that churned for 322 yards.

They gained exactly the yardage it needed even when everybody in the Coliseum knew a run was coming.

It was, essentially, Student Body Wherever We Choose.

— Their tailback, B.J. Baylor, played the role of the great USC tailbacks of decades gone by — except that he was a three-star recruit with limited Power Five offers.

— Their playmaking and playcalling were so thoroughly dominant that the Beavers committed two turnovers and 14 penalties (for 154 yards) and still won handily.

— They were more physical; they made every play when a play needed to be made; they were … inevitable.

Continue reading story here

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September 26th 

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Pac-12 Lines for Week Five: CU a 7.0-point underdog

From vegasinsider.com

  • USC at Colorado … USC a 7.0-point favorite … Saturday, noon, MT, Pac-12 Networks
  • Washington at Oregon State … Washington a 4.0-point favorite … Saturday, 7:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks
  • No. 3 Oregon at Stanford … Oregon an 8.0-point favorite … Saturday, 1:30 p.m., MT, ABC
  • Washington State at Cal … Cal a 7.0-point favorite … Saturday, 3:30 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks
  • Arizona State at No. 20 UCLA … UCLA is a 3.5-point favorite … Saturday … 8:30 p.m., MT, FS1
  • Idle … Utah and Arizona …

Clay Helton’s fingerprints all over historic loss to Oregon State

From TrojansWire.com … You read the stories this past week about the lasting damage Clay Helton did to the USC program. Trojan fans knew these things a few years ago. They were well ahead of the curve in seeing that Helton was a dead-end coach who would never create the standard of performance a proud football school deserves.

Many national media figures — either on purpose (to protect sources) or due to a desire to withhold a long-term assessment — didn’t bring the hammer to Helton. Maybe it was the fact that Sam Darnold led USC to two strong seasons in 2016 and 2017, and that few national voices were willing to say that Darnold hid Helton’s weaknesses. Maybe it was the fact that USC improved by three games from 2018 to 2019 and beat Utah, suggesting that a resurgence was just around the corner.

Whatever the case may be, national commentators and pundits weren’t willing to call a spade a spade with Clay Helton until he got fired. Local media figures were up front about this topic and expressed a lot more urgency about USC football’s crisis years ago, when this situation first needed to be addressed.

Saturday against Oregon State, anyone who hadn’t followed USC football all that closely in recent years, and who was curious to see if the physical absence of Clay Helton from the sidelines would transform this program — its players, its assistant coaches, its locker room — got a clear answer:

Nope. Not, at least, within the 2021 season and a situation managed by an interim coach.

This is not a problem an interim coach can fix. It’s not a matter of making this one X-and-O tweak or inserting one particular player.

Yes, Jaxson Dart — had he been healthy — might have been able to make this game closer and more competitive. However, he doesn’t play defense, and USC’s defense was pillow-soft in yet another home game in which the Trojans gave up more than 40 points to a team which has already endured a bad loss this season.

Stanford almost got shut out by Kansas State. It then came to the Los Angeles Coliseum and posted 42 points on USC.

Oregon State lost to a Purdue squad which very nearly lost to a dreadful Illinois team this past Saturday. The Beavers came to the Coliseum and went wild, scoring their 42nd point in the first minute of the fourth quarter.

USC: soft, weak, slow, undisciplined, unprepared, unfocused. It’s nothing we hadn’t seen before.

Continue reading story here

USC falls flat against Oregon State: “This is not a turnaround overnight”

From the Orange County Register … Remember that one weekend where it felt like USC had turned the corner and was starting to look like a cohesive team? All the way back one week ago in Pullman?

Well, those warm feelings didn’t find their way back to Los Angeles.

In another stunningly-lifeless performance in front of the home fans, USC fell 45-27 to Oregon State, as Donte Williams’ first home game as interim head coach ended with the Trojans’ first loss to the Beavers in the Coliseum since 1960, John McKay’s first year as head coach.

“They out-coached us, they out-played us,” Williams said.

The defeat came in fitting fashion for a program that’s been defined by inconsistency for several years.

Remember how USC (2-2, 1-2 in Pac-12) dominated the third quarter against Washington State? Well, against the Beavers (3-1, 1-0), the Trojans were outscored 14-0 and out-gained 166-60 in the 15 minutes after halftime. Then it saw Oregon State score another touchdown on the second play of the fourth quarter to complete a 35-3 run.

How about the USC defense that locked Washington State down for the final two-and-a-half quarters last weekend? This week, the Trojans allowed the Beavers to gain 532 yards of offense, averaging 7.7 per play.

“We tried to make a couple adjustments,” Williams said. “They was finding the open gaps.”

And the discipline that USC showed against Washington State? Gone this Saturday, with the Trojans committing four turnovers and a dozen penalties. When USC was trying to stop the bleeding down 11 in the third quarter, left tackle Courtland Ford committed consecutive false starts to turn a third-and-one into third-and-11, which USC failed to convert.

Williams has tried to make accountability a new mantra in his attempt to revamp the USC culture two weeks after head coach Clay Helton was fired. But the results were not on the field on Saturday.

“This is not a turnaround overnight; we’re trying to build something here,” said quarterback Kedon Slovis, who finished with three interceptions and a lost fumble. “Coach Donte has done a great job of starting to hold guys accountable and changing the culture and building the culture. You’re not going to see a change in one week.”

Continue reading story here

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Utah issues a statement on shooting death of wide receiver Aaron Lowe

From KSL Sports … Utah head football coach Kyle Whittingham and Athletics Director Mark Harlan have issued statements following the passing of Aaron Lowe.

Aaron Lowe was shot and killed early Sunday morning at a Sugarhouse party. According to police, another gunshot victim was taken to the hospital in critical condition.

Lowe was the first recipient of the Ty Jordan Memorial Scholarship and switched his number from 2 to 22 during the offseason to honor the life of his childhood friend.

Before the BYU game, the Cougars ran out of their tunnel with a “LLTJ” flag. When Utah was running out of their tunnel, former Ute Samson Nacua gave the flag to quarterback and captain Cam Rising, who gave the flag to Aaron Lowe.

Lowe signed with Utah in 2019 as a three-star recruit out of West Mesquite High School. He played in 11 games on special teams as a freshman. During the COVID-19 shortened season, Lowe played in all five games on special teams in 2020.

Kyle Whittingham released the following statement on Sunday morning:

“We are devastated to hear about the passing of Aaron Lowe,” Whittingham said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Aaron’s family and friends, along with the other individual who was harmed in this tragic incident. Aaron was a great teammate, friend, brother and son and was loved by anyone who crossed paths with him. He will be deeply missed.”

Continue reading story here

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14 Replies to “Pac-12 Notes – USC Week”

  1. Oregon lost a game that ESPN stats said they had a 98.7% chance to win. Stanford had a 2nd and 19 from their own 10, with one minute left and one timeout, down 7.

    The pac cannibalism continues

  2. OK. I guess I’m the Pollyanna, again, on NIL. Did I misread something or is the Nike thing just about creating basically a college faculty that will help teach kids how to monetize, and manage their likeness? Seems most places can do that. CU already claims they have with Buffs Brand, or whatever they call it.

    As to paying kids? I think there’s going to be a decent recoil of money once we see this first round of million dollar flashes in the pan, flush out. Then, the top kids who go to the top schools, and can actually add value to the places that pay them? They’ll cash in. So what else is new? Just watched Burrow and Lawrence light it up. Two first rounders who were also pretty good in college, whose abilities seem like they’ll translate to the next level. That’s actually pretty rare.

    But, maybe I’m just naive?

    Go Buffs

  3. It really does look like this will come down to about 10 teams (National Championship contenders) that have boosters to pay the most talented kids to come and play at there school. Even if another school gets a “diamond in the rough” that shines, one of the those schools will come knocking with a boatload of NIL cash. The NFL might collapse or start to look like the MLB (which IMO is slowly sinking with the draft the only thing holding it together) if there was no salary cap/no draft/and unlimited free agency.

  4. Biggest note to me from that article about Oregon State:

    “we put a lot on [qb chance Nolan] to make checks at the line to get is into the right run scheme”

    Lewis doesn’t even understand what way his offensive line is slanted. He sure as hell can’t check at the line by himself to change run plays.

    In general I’m not sure Chev has ever empowered QBs to check at the line much. I don’t remember Montez ever doing much of that?

  5. I love me some Brian Lindgren offenses. For as much shit as VK gave Lingering, even he has to admit that when the Lingering offense works its BEAUTIFUL. BRB watching Oregon State vs USC highlights.

    Only problem was that his offense seems to fall off towards the end of the year as opponents adjust and he doesn’t. That was the dominant theme of the MacIntyre years. Wonder if this Beaver team will have the same issue.

  6. can anyone tell me the last time. “cleaning up a few details” and “working out the kinks” etc actually worked for an offense this far down?
    The Buffs beating a 7 point spread? I guess stranger things have happened but the only way I see that happening if whoever wants to take the blame for the offense changes a lot more things than a few details and the D has a big takeaway day

    1. I do think the offense showed some improvement in the ASU game. The offense has been taken off life support and now resides in the Rehab Unit where they are trying to get B Lew to trust his reads and pull the trigger on some of these passing plays. They also need to throw the damn ball 30/ 40 yards down field on every offensive series to wear down the defenders from sea level. If we don’t catch the ball there is a good chance there will be a pass interference call. Whatever, the entirety of our offensive woes resides in that passing game. I feel if B Lew goes out on our first offensive series and continues to struggle with his progressions then he should be pulled and let Drew Carter play. At least in the Minnesota game, it didn’t seem like he was having trouble finding open receivers.

  7. Read the “Oregon state provides the template for defeating USC” article Stuart has linked above. Yeah the OSU win was interesting, and the Buffs will try to do the same. But then scroll down to #5, on how backup QBs have taken over offenses around the Pac12: UA, USC, OSU, Stanford, and Utah. These are mostly all really good coaching staffs (not you Arizona) yet they didn’t identify the QB that would perform best in a game until week 2 or 3.

  8. As bad as USC is, I have zero confidence, that CU will win this game. 20 points in last 3 games indicates to me that USC will win 10-8. Maybe we cover. Such a disappointing turn of events this season has become.

  9. I feel bad for the Beavers. They dominate USC and get zero credit. It’s just all about how USC lost and Helton sucks and blah blah. Jonathan Smith has been an amazing hire and Brian Lindgren is consistently putting out good offenses with a revolving door of QBs.

    And yet… Washington has a much worse resume and is a four point road favorite vs Oregon State?

    1. Totally agree. USC is hardly devoid of talent (as the Buffs are about to see) even as they aren’t playing to their full abilities. But Oregon State put together a great game plan and executed it perfectly… on the road! They got rolling and never seemed to look back in that game. Would be nice if we could have such a staff with that kind of confidence and no excuse play (note that Noyer won the starting QB role at the start of the season… but didn’t keep it).

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