Pac-12 Notes – Utah Week

November 24th

… Foe Pause … 

NCAA to allow coach-to-player electronic communication in Bayou Classic

From the NCAA … The NCAA Football Rules Committee approved a waiver for in-game coach-to-player electronic communication in the Grambling-Southern University game to be played Saturday in New Orleans.

The rivalry game, known as the Bayou Classic, will be the first NCAA football game to allow the use of this technology, which allows a coach to speak directly to one player on the field who has a helmet receiver. The NFL has used this type of technology for more than two decades, but costs and other operating logistics have stalled its use in NCAA competition.

“There are many technology initiatives that have been discussed in the NCAA Football Rules Committee, and coach-to-player communications continues to be the top technology request from our coaches to study,” said Steve Shaw, the NCAA football secretary-rules editor and national coordinator of officials. “With the approval of the rules waiver for this specific game to allow a test for this initiative, I look forward to getting feedback from both schools on the value and feasibility of coach-to-player communications.”

This technology waiver will carry the following requirements:

  • The coach-to-player communications must be switched off by a neutral party designated by game management when the play clock goes below 15 seconds and must stay off through the end of all live ball action.
  • If there is a total failure of either team’s system, the shutoff switch will be used to stop all communications for both teams until the problem is resolved.
  • Each team will be allowed eight player units, four each for offense and defense. Each team can have only one player with a helmet receiver on the field at one time. During special team plays (free kicks and scrimmage kicks), only one player from each team may have a receiver on the field, and it can be designated from the offense or defense.
  • To denote that a player has a receiver, each team will be required to place an identifying sticker on the back of each helmet that contains a receiver. The sticker should be large enough to be clearly visible to officials. It will be the team’s responsibility to manage players and helmets to ensure that only one of their players on the field at a time is wearing a receiver.

“This can be a game changer for college football,” said Jason Rollins, interim head coach at Southern University. “When we found out that we were going to have this opportunity, we called around and spoke to a few (NFL) people on how this can help. They all had positive things to say. It keeps the players focused on the game plan and how a play should be executed.”

Has Iowa State’s Matt Campbell emerged as the favorite to coach USC?

From … Surprised? That’s an honest reaction. Yet, it seems that right now, Matt Campbell’s odds of becoming USC head coach are rising. Is he the guy most likely to be hired? Not quite … but close.

Here’s the thing about Campbell: His Iowa State season ends Friday evening against TCU. It could be the case that Mike Bohn saw this detail on the schedule and — if Fickell is resolute in staying at Cincinnati — decided to go for Campbell because he could land him earlier, bringing him to Los Angeles to minimize recruiting damage, get in the transfer portal, and get to work repairing the broken culture left behind by Clay Helton.

I still don’t know if Campbell would accept the job, though it helps that Nebraska seems to be intent on retaining Scott Frost, and that James Franklin seems likely to stay at Penn State. Those are two Midwestern jobs Campbell might have wanted. If those doors remain closed — and it appears they will — Campbell could bolt for USC.

Will he? We haven’t gotten a firm read on Campbell’s intentions, but if he wants the job, he might get it.

Key point: Precisely because Campbell’s season ends on Friday, and precisely because Baylor might make the Big 12 Championship Game — on Dec. 4 — Campbell could have an easier path to Los Angeles than Dave Aranda. Bohn could value hiring Campbell quickly, rather than waiting a week to see if he can win a bidding war with LSU for Aranda. That’s part of the calculus here.

I would say this: If Campbell is the next USC head coach, he will more likely be hired sooner rather than later, especially if Baylor and Aranda are in the Big 12 title game. If the coaching search is still going on in the middle of next week, Campbell’s chance might have come and gone. He might have told Mike Bohn he doesn’t want the job.

If Campbell is the guy, it probably gets done sooner rather than later.

Read full list of candidates here

ESPN Bottom Ten: Mel Tucker’s MSU Gets Coveted No. 5 Spot


No. 5 … “Wish-Again, State” … We’ve already addressed the swamp-like situation at Florida, and we also already had the Gators in the Coveted Fifth Spot one week ago, as they shared it with Texas. This week, Michigan State shares it with no one. They earned every square inch of this space all on their own, unlike what happened in Columbus, where they earned zero inches of any space anywhere except for their seats on the plane home. I’m surprised College Football Playoff selection committee chairman Gary Barta didn’t start this week’s news conference wearing a Michigan Wolverines hoodie and screaming, “See?! We told y’all!!!”

No. 7 … Indiana? Who Sirs … Indiana entered the 2021 season with a big-armed veteran quarterback, a ton of returning starters and was picked to finish third in its division with a likely eight wins and a nice holiday bowl bid. Now the Hoosiers are 2-9, 0-8 in the Big Ten, on a seven-game losing streak and 15-point underdogs at Purdue, a team with a big-armed veteran quarterback, a bunch of returning starters and in position to finish third in their division with eight wins and a nice holiday bowl bid. It’ll be like that movie “Freaky Friday,” only this will be titled “Supernatural Saturday.”

No. 9 … By the Time I Get to Arizona … The Mildcats are one of the nation’s five 10-loss teams, but they have stayed away from the top of the bottom of these rankings because over their previous four games they’d earned that lone win and their three losses were all by eight points or less. Then they lost to Washington State 44-18, and then they lost defensive coordinator Don Brown, who has taken the head-coaching gig at UMass for the second time. Props to Coach Brown. It was certainly no small challenge to find a way to downgrade from his current team. But he did it!

No. 10 … Vanderbilt Commode Doors … Fun fact: My family spends its Thanksgivings in the mountains of North Carolina, and most years we visit the Biltmore Estate, America’s largest private residence, built in 1895 by the Vanderbilt family. There’s a portrait of Commodore Vanderbilt that hangs over the doorway of one of the dining rooms and whenever I am there, it flashes like lightning and lets out a scary laugh and an evil warning that I had better start running or it will still my soul. For years I thought it was a trick painting like in the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. Turns out I was the only one who ever heard or saw all the scary stuff, and looking back I realize that it only happens when I have Vandy in the Bottom 10 headed into the final weekend of the season. So this year I’m going to the Biltmore with a Ouija board, a garlic necklace and a helmet I stole from one of the suits of medieval armor in the foyer.

CBS Bottom 25: Five Power Five Teams Left 

From CBS Sports … This is it. This is when it’s time to put up or shut up. Are you going to reach The Bottom 25 Playoff, or are you going to get one last win to knock you out of contention? It’s the final week of the regular season, and since bowl games are too cowardly to pledge their allegiance to hosting a real Bottom 25 Playoff, it’s everybody’s last chance to make a statement.

This week, there isn’t much change in the Bottom 25. We only have one new team ranked this week, and The Bottom Four all remain in place, with a bit of movement around The Bottom 10. The biggest shakeup is Southern Miss, which dropped out of the No. 5 spot following its 35-19 win over Louisiana Tech. A win that will make it nearly impossible for the Eagles to leap into the playoff.

Here are the rankings heading into the final week of virtual non-competition.

From Power Five Conferences … 

19. Duke … The Blue Devils lost their seventh straight, getting blown out by Louisville 62-22. This season, their three wins have come against North Carolina A&T, No. 6 Kansas, and a Northwestern team currently at No. 26 in The Bottom 25 rankings. It’s been a rough year, and I’m fairly confident it will be the final year of David Cutcliffe’s tenure at Duke. What could be Cut’s final game in charge is Saturday against Miami. (21)

14. Indiana … The Hoosiers dropped their seventh straight game, losing to Minnesota 35-14. Their only two wins have been a 56-14 win over Idaho and a narrow 33-31 win over Western Kentucky. It’s been awful from start to finish, but a win over rival Purdue would send everybody into the offseason feeling a lot happier about themselves. (16)

11. Vanderbilt …  SEC has not been kind to the Commodores, as they fell to 0-7 in the conference following their 31-17 loss to Ole Miss. Still, while Georgia, Florida and Mississippi State blew out the Commodores, the Ole Miss game was another example of the team showing progress. Enough progress to pull off the upset over rival Tennessee this week? I don’t know. Maybe! (10)

8. Arizona … The Wildcats impressive run ended Saturday as they lost to Washington State 44-18 in a sea of rain and fog. Now they’ve lost defensive coordinator Don Brown, who is leaving to take over at UMass. I guess Don loves The Bottom 25. Anyway, I won’t be shocked if the Wildcats pull off an upset against Arizona State on Saturday. Of course, I won’t be surprised if they lose by 30, either. (11)

6. Kansas … This team is looking feisty! After pulling off the epic upset over Texas, the Jayhawks nearly picked up another win against TCU, losing 38-21. Now we’ve reached a point where if the Jayhawks beat West Virginia, I won’t even consider it a big deal. I’m telling you, Kansas is morphing into a competent football team right in front of our eyes. (6)

Read full story here


November 23rd

… Foe Pause … 

Three Pac-12 coaching vacancies (with three more possible in the next few weeks)

From the San Jose Mercury News … When we first assessed the Pac-12 coaching landscape, in early November, there were two openings.

Now, there are three.

Soon, there could be four … or five … or maybe more.

The level of tumult does not depend solely on victory and defeat on each particular campus.

*** Arizona State
Coach: Herm Edwards
State of play: Sloppy. The four-loss Sun Devils have struggled to execute consistently on the field as they await the outcome of the NCAA investigation into alleged recruiting transgressions. They have one victory over a ranked opponent and thus far haven’t come close to making the competitive leap they sought when Edwards took over. In fact, his winning percentage in conference games is worse than that of his predecessor, Todd Graham, over an equivalent span.
What’s next: We continue to believe a change is more likely than not, either because Edwards decides to retire or is forced out. Recruiting is in the gutter because of the threat of sanctions, and a barrage of players could transfer out as soon as the season ends. Essentially, the program is frozen in place waiting for Edwards or the NCAA or both. What a mess.
Chance of vacancy: 75%

*** Utah
Coach: Kyle Whittingham
State of play: Pretty damn good. The Utes are fresh off a wipeout of No. 3 Oregon, perhaps the most impressive victory of their decade in the conference. They have won the South for the third consecutive non-COVID season and will face the North winner in Las Vegas for that long-sought championship.
What’s next: Our projections for a vacancy have increased dramatically in recent days, all thanks to the result Saturday night. Whittingham is now one game from leading the university to its first-ever Rose Bowl. Also, he has endured the deaths of two players; he turned 62 yesterday; he has loads of grandkids in the Salt Lake City area; and he just became the winningest coach in school history. Our opinion: If the Utes win the conference championship, the Rose Bowl will be his final game.
Chance of vacancy: 65%

*** Cal
Coach: Justin Wilcox
State of play: Good, and getting better rapidly. The Bears have won three consecutive games not impacted by COVID, including the right cross administered to Stanford. Beat UCLA (difficult) and USC (not difficult), and they will qualify for a bowl berth after starting 1-5. Aside from Utah, no team has improved more than Cal since early October.
What’s next: Maybe nothing, maybe everything. Wilcox is deeply frustrated with the COVID situation, and we don’t blame him. There have been approximately 800 major college games played this fall. Only two were impacted by COVID: Cal at Arizona, and Cal vs. USC. Yet the Bears are 99% vaccinated. Is the frustration enough to prompt a move if a better job comes calling (hello, Washington)? We suspect it is.
Chance of vacancy: 45%

Read full story here


November 22nd 

… Foe Pause … 

Oregon out of the Top Ten; Utah up to No. 16 in latest AP Poll

From CBS Sports … The voting habits of the AP Top 25 poll voters and the College Football Playoff selection committee have often differed, but the way Week 12 played out with two top-10 teams losing and Ohio State putting on a show in one of the most-typed top-10 matchups of the season bring some interesting debates to the top of the rankings. After Sunday’s balloting, the AP voters have Georgia still the unanimous No. 1, but the Buckeyes have jumped from No. 5 all the way to No.  2 in the new poll.

Ohio State is followed by Alabama at No. 3 and Cincinnati at No. 4, with each team giving up one spot in the poll because of the Buckeyes notable leap. Notre Dame moved up to No. 5, followed by Michigan, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Baylor and Oklahoma to round out the top 10.

Oregon predictably had one of the most notable drops in the rankings, down seven spots to No. 11 after its loss at Utah. Michigan State also joined the Ducks on the slide down following its defeat to the Buckeyes, dropping five spots to No. 12. The Spartans opponent might not have warranted a major adjustment, but the 56-7 final score made it tough for voters who favor recent results or recent form for tiebreakers.

Clemson’s win against Wake Forest sent the Demon Deacons spiraling down eight spots to No. 21, while the Tigers got more votes than they did last week but did not crack the top 25, checking in as the first team in Others Receiving Votes.

Check out the full AP Top 25 poll below: 

  1. Georgia (62 first-place votes)
  2. Ohio State
  3. Alabama
  4. Cincinnati
  5. Notre Dame
  6. Michigan
  7. Oklahoma State
  8. Ole Miss
  9. Baylor
  10. Oklahoma
  11. Oregon
  12. Michigan State
  13. BYU
  14. Texas A&M
  15. UTSA
  16. Utah 
  17. Iowa
  18. Wisconsin
  19. Houston
  20. Pittsburgh
  21. Wake Forest
  22. San Diego State
  23. Louisiana
  24. NC State
  25. Arkansas

Others receiving votes: Clemson 101, Mississippi State 44, Penn State 26, Appalachian State 24, Kentucky 10, Purdue 3


November 21st

… Foe Pause …

Buffs open as a 24.0-point underdog to Washington 


Pac-12 lines …

  • Colorado at No. 23 Utah … Utah is a 24.0-point favorite … Friday, 2:00 p.m., MT, Fox
  • Washington State at Washington … Washington is a 3.0-point favorite … Friday, 6:00 p.m., MT, FS1
  • Oregon State at Oregon … Oregon is a 7.0-point favorite … Saturday, 1:30 p.m., MT, ESPN
  • Arizona at Arizona State … Arizona State is a 21.0-point favorite … Saturday, 2:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks
  • Notre Dame at Stanford … Notre Dame is a 16.0-point road favorite … Saturday, 6:00 p.m., MT,
  • BYU at USC … BYU is a 6.0-point road favorite … Saturday, 8:30 p.m., MT, ESPN
  • California at UCLA … UCLA is a 7.0-point favorite … Saturday, 8:30 p.m., MT, FS1

Don’t look now: Scenarios for Oregon, Oregon State; and Washington State to win the Pac-12 North

From The Oregonian … The Pac-12 North division title remains up for grabs heading into the final week of the Pac-12 football regular season. The Oregon DucksOregon State Beavers and Washington State Cougars each still have a chance to win the division and play Pac-12 South champion Utah in the Pac-12 championship game.

Here are the scenarios:

Oregon will win the Pac-12 North with: a victory against Oregon State in their rivalry game at 12:30 p.m. next Saturday.

Oregon State will win the Pac-12 North with: a victory against Oregon in their rivalry game at 12:30 p.m. next Saturday, combined with a Washington State loss to Washington in the Apple Cup on Friday.

Washington State will win the Pac-12 North with: a victory against Washington in the Apple Cup, combined with an Oregon State win against Oregon. If this scenario happens, the Ducks, Beavers and Cougars would have identical conference records of 5-3. But the Cougars would win the three-way tiebreaker by virtue of having a better record against Pac-12 North teams (at 4-1) than the Ducks and Beavers (both at 3-2).

Utah ends Oregon’s playoff chances – Mario Cristobal: “It should burn. It should hurt a ton”

From ESPN … No. 3 Oregon’s mission to reach the College Football Playoff for the first time since 2014 took a massive blow Saturday after the Ducks were overwhelmed by host Utah in a 38-7 rout.

“Everybody’s upset and disappointed like we should be,” Oregon coach Mario Cristobal said. “It should burn. It should hurt a ton. Guys are competitors, and it’s hard too because we’ve taken a lot of pride in being resilient and being able to bounce back from adversity. And tonight, we didn’t do a good enough job.”

Oregon had fallen behind and played in close games throughout the season but had always found ways to respond — including in its overtime loss to Stanford, in which the Ducks trailed by 10 at halftime. Against Utah, there was none of that.

They settled for two missed first-half field goals before falling behind 21-0 then gave up a 78-yard punt return touchdown by Britain Covey as time expired in the first half. At that point, it was clear the Ducks weren’t coming back.

“The best way to put it is the responsibility is completely mine. Every head coach should always do that,” Cristobal said. “On the other side, there is a lot to play for — a lot. Most of our goals are still ahead of us. And we got to get ready for them quickly by going back to work and they ain’t going to fix themselves, but surely not the standard tonight.”

Continue reading story here

Mel Tucker roasted on social media after 56-7 loss to Ohio State

From Saturday Tradition … Michigan State is in a world of hurt right now as it is getting blown out at by Ohio State at halftime.

The fans took to Twitter to mock the contract extension Mel Tucker is reportedly getting from Michigan State a new 10-year, $95 million deal to remain in East Lansing.

But with a 49-0 deficit in the first half to Ohio State, fans and media couldn’t let it slide. Here are the plethora of tweets mocking the contract:

View tweets about Mel Tucker here

More tweets here


Utah wins Pac-12 South with a 38-7 rout of No. 3 Oregon

From ESPN … Britain Covey returned a punt 78 yards for a touchdown on the final play of the first half, giving Utah 14 points in 27 seconds and a 28-0 lead, and the No. 24 Utes ended No. 4 Oregon’s College Football Playoff hopes with a 38-7 victory Saturday night.

Tavion Thomas ran for 94 yards and three touchdowns to help the Utes (8-3, 7-1 Pac-12) wrap up a share of the Pac-12 South title and a spot in the conference championship game. Utah has won four in a row.

Thomas has run for a Utah-record 17 touchdowns this season. The previous mark was 15, shared by Zack Moss and John White IV.

Cameron Rising threw for 178 yards. His top target, Brant Kuithe, piled up 118 yards on five catches for just the second 100-yard game of his career. Covey had 191 all-purpose yards.

Anthony Brown threw for 231 yards and a touchdown for Oregon (9-2, 6-2 Pac-12, No. 3 CFP). Oregon rushed for 63 yards and had 294 yards of offense.

Continue reading story here


5 Replies to “Pac-12 Notes – Utah Week”

  1. JC Garret, Giants OC fired today for minimal wins and the offense being ranked in the bottom 10% of all NFL offensive categories.

    Note: Take a memo HCKD

  2. Has Whittingham uttered any hints he is thinking about retiring or heading off to the pros? 62 aint that old (maybe a biased viewpoint but Kyle certainly looks good for his age) and it has to be immensely satisfying to be at the helm of a machine he created. Then again, 62 may be too old to try it build it again in the alien environment of the pros.
    There has to be immense pressure as well from fans, boosters etc. to keep the momentum going….also fully realizing that the odds of finding someone else to do the same at his level are exceedingly rare.
    One avenue out may be politics ala Tuberville and Osborne.. I dont have a clue what Whittingham’s views are in that arena but I know the Trump contingent would love to get rid of Romney.

    Edwards? I dont see him leaving until he is forced. Even if the NCAA’s snail paced investigation turns out to be really really bad it may be like pulling a tooth for ASU to pull the trigger. It certainly looks like the cheating doesnt bother them much.

    Wilcox? Even though Wilner has trouble picking a winner with a 30 point spread I will guess he may have some inside information seeing as how Wilcox is basically a neighbor. So this is one rare occasion where I will defer to him.

    1. Okay Utah is neat
      In the Pac (But was coach at Utah 7 years before that in some conference)
      11 years
      4 division championships
      No Pac 12 championships

      But it is Utah and the Pac
      Urban went to Florida
      Florida is open
      So???????????????? The ultimate test…………SEC??
      Win the Pac?
      Win the Rose bowl?

      Eh Whatever……

      Go Buffs beat him

      Note: Wish the Buffs had that 11 year record Sheesh

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