Pac-12 Notes – Fall Camp

August 25th

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ESPN President: Network Interested in the Pac-12 “in the short term”

From the San Jose Mercury News … Burke Magnus, the president of content and original programming for ESPN, is arguably the most powerful person in college sports, even though he’s not of college sports.

Magnus is responsible for ESPN’s billion-dollar media rights partnerships with various conferences — those his network agrees to or, in the recent case of the Big Ten, walks away from.

If you hadn’t heard, the Pac-12 is currently pursuing a new media contract for the cycle that begins in the summer of 2024.

It’s only the most important negotiation in the history of the conference, with survival or extinction potentially in the balance.

ESPN is expected to bid on the rights.

Other networks may, as well.

Anytime Magnus speaks, fans should listen — but especially now.

He joined the ‘Marchand and Ourand Sports Media Podcast’ this week, so we jotted down a few highlights …

— On his reaction to the news that USC and UCLA were leaving for the Big Ten:

“This was the first (realignment) move … where I felt like geography as a consideration was not there. Even as significant and as stunning as Texas and Oklahoma moving to SEC was … the SEC already had a school in Texas — it was geography spreading, but it wasn’t geography disassociated with the rest of the league.

“And that was the part I had a real hard time coming to grips with.”

— On the Big 12 and Pac-12:

“(The contracts for both) expire relatively soon. When we looked at the Big Ten, we had two paths we could have chosen. One was to use essentially all of our financial resources to stay in the Big Ten business, or take the same amount of available money and lean into a variety of different things, including those two conferences …

“So first up from a Power Five conference perspective is the Pac-12, with the Big 12 in a similar timeframe. The Big 12 has been through their membership changes … they obviously brought in four schools, and the Pac-12, with 10 members, is trying to stabilize themselves and also look at what the future might look like from a membership perspective.

“And by the way, both of those are current partners of ours. And I think we’re very interested in both of them going forward, in the short term.”

— On the Pac-12’s expansion plans:

“I don’t think anybody believes the Pac-12 will stay at 10 necessarily. But we don’t need to know anything beyond, ‘These are the 10; these are the rights; here’s a value.’ And then there will be a mechanism to account for any new members if that is to happen.”

The full episode is here.


August 24th 

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The Athletic Coaching Tiers: Karl Dorrell in Tier 4

From The Athletic … How do you determine who’s actually a good college football head coach? Is it the program that the coach is at? Is it the coach’s scheme? His recruiting?

Yes, yes and yes. And so much more.

“All politics are local. You’re gonna say in every hire that you make that you did a nationwide search, and all the happy jargon that you put together,” one coaching agent told The Athletic. “But at the end of the day, you need to find a head coach who knows how to manage people and how to manage expectations because those are the first two things you want to make sure your head coach knows how to do. You don’t even discuss these guys unless you know they understand the sport well.”

The Athletic spoke to administrators, agents, coaches and industry insiders to get a sense of the kind of job that each head coach is doing. As we introduce our College Football Coaching Tiers, we take a look at a coach’s measurables (championships, draft picks, etc.), while also weighing internal support and resources. We look at those who may be flashes in the pan and those who have been able to sustain success over a period of time. We lean heavily on a coach’s complete body of work as a head coach, so as to avoid recency bias. The longer the sustained success, the more credit is given.

“I tell guys all the time when preparing for interviews: If you wanna go in there and tell these guys, ‘This is when you’re gonna run cloud or Cover-2 or double-bracket,’ you’re wasting your time,” the agent said. “The person in those interviews who know football best are always the head coach candidates; the people who have the most success are the ones who know how to deal with people.”

Those entering their first season as a permanent head coach were ineligible for these tiers because there’s not enough to evaluate, which leaves us with 115 head coaches to place. To do that, we broke them down into five tiers, with one special exception.

Just five active FBS coaches have won national titles. Just three of those coaches have won titles at their current schools. And just two of those coaches have won multiple national titles. One, of course, trumps all. Let the fun begin.

Tier 1A – Nick Saban, Alabama

Tier 1B – Every coach in this tier other than Kyle Whittingham has made the College Football Playoff. Every coach in this tier other than Whittingham and Luke Fickell coaches at a blue blood. To put what Whittingham has done in perspective, remember that he took over Utah in 2005, when the program was still in the Mountain West. He not only has taken the Utes to 14 bowl games, but he also has posted seven AP Top 25 finishes — the Utes totaled three ranked finishes before he took over — including a No. 2 mark after beating Alabama in the Sugar Bowl in 2008.

  • Lincoln Riley, USC
  • Kyle Whittingham, Utah

Tier 2 – Call this the “proven goods” tier. Of the 23 coaches listed in Tier 2, 19 are entering at least their 10th season as head coaches at the FBS level. If you include Mack Brown and Greg Schiano — both of whom are in their second acts at their current schools — then nine of those 19 coaches are entering at least their 10th season at one school.

  • David Shaw, Stanford

Tier 3 – Tier 3 is easily the largest group, with 50 coaches featured. They haven’t done enough to get to the elite tiers yet, but most have done a solid job and the vast majority are not in danger of losing their jobs.

“This is a really important year for Chip because this is the first time anyone’s talking about UCLA football in a positive sense in a long time,” the second agent said. “If they go 5-7 or 6-6, does the athletic director pull the plug? Especially when you’ve got Lincoln Riley at USC. Similar to Ole Miss and Mississippi State, where a school could feel compelled to make a move because of another place. Now going to the Big Ten, you look at that and compare the two.”

  • Kalen DeBoer – Washington
  • Chip Kelly – UCLA
  • Jonathan Smith – Oregon State

Tier 4 – The biggest name in this tier is Nebraska’s Scott Frost. He’s 15-29 in four seasons and hasn’t reached a bowl game, the Huskers’ worst stretch of football since the early 1960s. Frost looked like a surefire home run hire in late 2017, coming off an undefeated season at UCF after taking over an 0-12 program. It’s been a disaster. Last year’s 3-9 season while cumulatively outscoring opponents was one of the strangest in recent college football history. His buyout was adjusted in the offseason, giving him another season while also making it cheaper to fire him if it doesn’t turn around.

Also on the hot seat (maybe?) is Arizona State’s Herm Edwards, in what has been a strange tenure. He’s a serviceable 25-18 in four years with two eight-win seasons. But an NCAA investigation into Arizona State’s possible recruiting violations during the 2020 COVID-19 dead period could dramatically set back the program if or when the NCAA hammer comes down. Most of Edwards’ staff has already turned over because of it, scores of players went into the transfer portal and recruiting has fallen back.

“If you take away the NCAA transgressions, and I know that’s a big if, the guy’s been a successful hire thus far,” an agent said. “Now, the runway is almost no longer in existence because there’s probably a heavy hand coming down for recruiting during the pandemic. But what the guy does on Saturdays has offered a lot of encouragement. It just feels like it’s fait accompli over there and you’re seeing it in recruiting.”

  • Karl Dorrell – Colorado
  • Herm Edwards – Arizona State
  • Justin Wilcox – California

Tier 5 – This is largely a group of coaches on the hot seat, though not all. Some are simply a year or two into the job. That includes coaches like Arizona’s Jedd Fisch, who went 1-11 in his debut season with the Wildcats but just signed a top-25 recruiting class.

  • Judd Fisch – Arizona

… Not listed … new coaches at Oregon (Dan Lanning) and Washington State (Jake Dickert) …

Read full story here


August 23rd 

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ESPN: CU a “Tier 19” Program (“At Least They’re Not as Bad as Kansas”)

From ESPN … Preseason projections are a difficult task. We can review last season’s results, but that only gets us so far. In an era in which the transfer portal allows for massive roster overhauls in a single offseason (hello, USC), there aren’t many constants from year to year. And yet, the job of ranking teams remains.

So, how do we find a meaningful strategy for solving this dilemma?

First, we’re avoiding old-fashioned rankings. Putting teams in order, 1 through 131, is so passé. Instead, we’re focusing on tiers — grouping together teams with similar profiles and separating the contenders from the rest.

Second, we’re turning to the one group of prognosticators with a truly astonishing ability to accurately predict the future: The writers of “The Simpsons.” They foresaw Donald Trump’s presidency, the discovery of the Higgs boson particle and theorized we may all be living in a doughnut-shaped universe (Note: This has yet to be proved, but we want to believe).

So, with Homer, Bart and the rest of Springfield as our muse, let’s try to create some order in this doughnut-shaped world.

Tier 3: Rising stars

“I’d trade it all for just a little more.”

Four teams: NC State, Texas A&M, Utah, Wisconsin

Tier 4: They’re (maybe) back!

“Everything looks bad if you remember it.”

Three teams: Miami, Texas, USC

Tier 7: Wilder things have happened

“Your ideas are intriguing to me, and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.”

Five teams: Oregon, Minnesota, Mississippi State, Purdue, Tennessee

Tier 8: Big names, bad records

“I’m not easily impressed. Wow! A blue car!”

Five teams: Auburn, Florida, LSU, Penn State, Washington

Tier 9: Plucky upstarts

“I can’t promise I’ll try, but I’ll try to try.”

Five teams: Kansas State, Louisville, Maryland, North Carolina, UCLA

Tier 11: Hot seats

“I’m fired, aren’t I?”

Four teams: Arizona State, Florida State, Nebraska, West Virginia

Tier 12: The overachievers

“It’s not easy to juggle a pregnant wife and a troubled child, but somehow I managed to fit in eight hours of TV a day.”

Six teams: Boston College, Iowa State, Oregon State, South Carolina, Stanford, Virginia

Tier 13: All gas, no brakes

“There’s three ways to do things: The right way, the wrong way, and the Max Power way. … Isn’t that the wrong way? … Yes, but faster!”

Four teams: Syracuse, Texas Tech, TCU, Washington State

Tier 14: The rebuilding projects

“Oh, why must life be so hard? Why must I fail at every attempt at masonry?”

Five teams: Cal, Illinois, Missouri, Virginia Tech, Rutgers

Tier 19: At least they’re not as bad as Kansas

“You don’t win friends with salad.”

Five teams: Arizona, Colorado, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Northwestern

This group was a combined 7-42 vs. Power 5 opponents last season. That’s bad. And yet, they’re not without their strengths. Geoff Collins rebuilt his coaching staff this offseason and has put immense resources behind developing QB Jeff Sims. Pat Fitzgerald has worked miracles at Northwestern in the past. Arizona is slowly putting together a roster that won’t completely embarrass itself. Colorado and Indiana are just a year removed from solid seasons. So, is there hope for this group or will they keep showing up for parties with a bowl full of gazpacho? We’d bet at least one of these teams scrapes together a surprisingly solid season.

Read full story here


August 22nd

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The Athletic: Why Utah Can Make the CFB Playoff (and Why Not)

From The Athletic … Clemson received the most No. 4 votes in the preseason AP poll, but plenty of voters threw their support behind Notre Dame, Texas A&M, Utah and Michigan as their fourth College Football Playoff favorite. The vote on how to sort those five contenders ended up being incredibly close, with the difference between Texas A&M, Utah or Michigan taking the No. 6 spot coming down to just a couple of ballots.

That could lend itself to plenty of excitement this season. So The Athletic’s experts made a case for why or why not their respective programs could make this year’s Playoff field.


Why the Utes (preseason No. 7) will make the Playoff

Since 2000, only five teams have achieved more than one perfect season in college football: Alabama (Duh), Ohio State (Duh), Auburn, Boise State and … Utah. Those two unbeaten runs in 2004 and 2008 were under wholly different circumstances and in markedly different eras of the sport. Utah was a Mountain West Conference power/underdog then, trying to bust through the glass ceiling of the now-defunct BCS generation as a mid-major.

But the Utes, first under Urban Meyer and more specifically under the steadfastness of Kyle Whittingham, are nearing the point of establishing themselves as part of the elite. But in order to officially join the club, a CFP berth is necessary. And many pundits believe Utah has the foundation to make a run, a savior of sorts for a diluted Pac-12. Utah is no stranger to special seasons, but it’s one thing to do it when nobody is expecting it.

It’s an entirely more pressure-packed task to do it when you’re, say, the preseason No. 7 team. The Utes have their trusted quarterback in Cam Rising, a dark horse Heisman Trophy candidate in touchdown-machine Tavion Thomas, and the typically always-stout defense. And Whittingham has been around extraordinary teams in his many years in Salt Lake City.

Why they won’t

It is not hyperbolic to say that Utah will have to go 13-0 and win its second consecutive Pac-12 crown in order to be that No. 4 team, at bare minimum. The 2022 schedule isn’t daunting. There is something to be said, though, about knowing you have to get to the holiday season unblemished. Opening at Florida — although the Gators are retooling — will be the most difficult season-opener the Utes have had maybe ever, considering the opponent and stakes.

A home game against USC and an away game at Oregon, the penultimate regular-season game, are the big question mark outings.

Another major thing to consider: Every national title winner in the CFP era has had at least one star playmaker on the outside. Think of the receivers Alabama has had on display in playoff games the last eight years. Or Ohio State. Or LSU. Or Clemson. Utah has not been able to recruit and develop receivers who can serve the same kind of purpose for the Utes offense. Utah will, however, need one or more to establish themselves as must-see TV to have a hope of being in the conversation for No. 4.


August 20th

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Laughter is the Best Medicine: Fun Football Jokes

Nebraska fans heading for Ireland … 


Thanks to CU at the Gamer Ben O. for these memorable “quotes”:

Gentlemen, it is better to have died a small boy than to fumble the football “… 

– John Heisman, first football coach at Rice 

“I make my practices real hard because if a player is a quitter, I want him to quit in practice, not in a game.” 
– Bear Bryant / Alabama 

“It isn’t necessary to see a good tackle, you can hear it!” 
– Knute Rockne / Notre Dame 

“At Georgia Southern, we don’t cheat. 
That costs money, and we don’t have any.” 
– Erik Russell / Georgia Southern 

“The man who complains about the way the ball bounces is likely to be the one who dropped it.” 
– Lou Holtz / Arkansas – Notre Dame 

“When you win, nothing hurts.” 
– Joe Namath / Alabama 

“A school without football is in danger of deteriorating into a medieval study hall.” 
– Frank Leahy / Notre Dame 

“There’s nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you.” 
– Woody Hayes / Ohio State 

“I don’t expect to win enough games to be put on NCAA probation I just want to win enough to warrant an investigation.” 
– Bob Devaney / Nebraska 

“In Alabama, an atheist is someone who doesn’t believe in Bear Bryant.” 
– Wally Butts / Georgia

“I never graduated from Iowa. But I was only there for two terms – Truman’s and Eisenhower’s” 
– Alex Karras / Iowa 

“My advice to defensive players is to take the shortest route to the ball, and arrive in a bad humor.” 
– Bowden Wyatt / Tennessee 

“I could have been a Rhodes Scholar except for my grades.” 
– Duffy Daugherty / Michigan State 

” Always remember Goliath was a 40-point favorite over David.” 
– Shug Jordan / Auburn 

“I asked Darrell Royal, the coach of the Texas Longhorns, why he didn’t recruit me “ 
He said, “Well, Walt, we took a look at you, and you weren’t any good” 
– Walt Garrison / Oklahoma State/Dallas Cowboys 

“Son, you’ve got a good engine, but your hands aren’t on the steering wheel.” 
– Bobby Bowden / Florida State 

“Football is NOT a contact sport, it is a collision sport. Dancing IS a contact sport.” 
– Duffy Daugherty / Michigan State 

After USC lost 51-0 to Notre Dame, his post-game message to his team was; 
“All those who need showers, take them.” 
– John McKay / USC 

 If lessons are learned in defeat, our team is getting a great education.” 
– Murray Warmath / Minnesota 

“The only qualifications for a lineman are to be big and dumb. To be a back, you only have to be dumb.” 
– Knute Rockne / Notre Dame

“We live one day at a time and scratch where it itches.” 
– Darrell Royal / Texas 

“We didn’t tackle well today, but we made up for it by not blocking.” 
– John McKay / USC 

“I’ve found that prayers work best when you have big players.” 
– Knute Rockne / Notre Dame

Ohio State’s Urban Meyer on one of his players: 
“He doesn’t know the meaning of the word fear. In fact, I just saw his grades and he doesn’t know the meaning of a lot of words.”

Why do Auburn fans wear orange? 
So they can dress that way for the game on Saturday, go hunting on Sunday, and pick up trash on Monday. 

What does the average Alabama player get on his SATs? 

How many Michigan State freshmen football players does it take to change a light bulb? 
None. That’s a sophomore course. 

How did the Auburn football player die from drinking milk? 
The cow fell on him. 

Two Texas A&M football players were walking in the woods. 
One of them said, ” Look, a dead bird.” 
The other looked up in the sky and said, “Where?” 

What do you say to a Florida State University football player dressed in a three-piece suit? 
“Will the defendant please rise.”

How can you tell if a Clemson football player has a girlfriend? 
There’s tobacco juice on both sides of the pickup truck. 

What do you get when you put 32 Kentucky cheerleaders in one room? 
A full set of teeth. 

University of Michigan Coach Jim Harbaugh is only going to dress half of his players for the game this week. The other half will have to dress themselves. 

How is the Kansas football team like an opossum? 
They play dead at home and get killed on the road 

How do you get a former University of Miami football player off your porch? 

Pay him for the pizza.


August 19th

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ESPN Pac-12 Preview: CU “might be happy just to be here”

From ESPN … The demise of the Pac-12 has been greatly exaggerated. Well … at least for now.

Even though the conference can barely be discussed without delving into the shocking departures of USC and UCLA to the Big Ten in a few years, there’s still football to be played this season and plenty of intrigue. The Pac-12 is still trying to make only its third College Football Playoff appearance, and there’s an argument to be made it has three teams this season with the talent to do so. Unlike teams at top conferences like the Big Ten and SEC, though, the Pac-12’s elite will find getting there a much tougher challenge.

USC is the splashy headliner after poaching coach Lincoln Riley and quarterback Caleb Williams from Oklahoma, but Utah’s steady continuity makes the Utes the favorite. Oregon decided on Georgia’s Dan Lanning to lead the Ducks after coach Mario Cristobal waved goodbye and still has arguably the most talent in the conference. UCLA held on to coach Chip Kelly, but unless a big leap is coming this season, there might be more questions about his job status. Both Washington and Washington State have new coaches too (Kalen DeBoer and Jake Dickert), which has brought positive energy after tumultuous seasons. Oregon State is a quiet sleeper as Jonathan Smith continues to build the program, and Cal is hoping to do the same with Justin Wilcox, while Stanford’s claim to fame this season is its potential first-round quarterback in Tanner McKee. The Arizona schools seem to be heading in opposite directions (up for the Wildcats, down for the Sun Devils) and Colorado, well, unlike the L.A. schools, it might be happy just to be here.

Can Utah’s continuity trump USC’s (and Oregon’s) talent?

Even if the chatter might not revolve around them, the Utes are in the conference’s driver’s seat heading into kickoff. Their returning talent — led by Cameron Rising at quarterback — gives them a foundation to rely on during tricky matchups against the likes of USC and Oregon, which boast more talent on paper. And the tough defensive mindset Kyle Whittingham has been able to instill in the program over the past few years has become a reliable trait of Utah, no matter the personnel. This is a team that went toe-to-toe against Ohio State in the Rose Bowl and trounced Oregon twice during the season. What will it do for an encore?

Which long shot team could surprise?

Given the state of the middle to bottom of the conference, the term “surprise” here is relative. Yet perhaps the most intriguing team in the middle of the pack is Washington State. The addition of quarterback Cameron Ward and now-offensive coordinator Eric Morris, both from Incarnate Word, is alone an intriguing development to watch as the season progresses. How much of the success they had there will translate to a Power 5 schedule? If everything clicks, there’s a world where they play spoiler and keep one of the top three teams out of the championship game.

Power rankings

1. Utah
2. Oregon
3. USC
5. Oregon State
6. Cal
7. Washington State
8. Washington
9. Stanford
10. Arizona State
11. Colorado
12. Arizona

Read full story here


August 18th 

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Big Ten announces media rights deals: $7 billion for seven years

From The Athletic … The Big Ten announced new media rights agreements on Thursday morning that stand to make it the top-earning conference in college sports.

The league unveiled seven-year agreements with Fox/FS1, CBS, NBC and the Big Ten Network, which will take the Big Ten through the 2029-30 academic year. The conference also announced a deal with Peacock, the direct-to-consumer streaming platform from NBCUniversal. Peacock will exclusively stream four conference football games per year in addition to four nonconference games involving Big Ten teams.

The Athletic has confirmed that CBS and NBC are each paying around $350 million per year for their Big Ten packages, and sources said that the Big Ten’s new rights agreements are worth more than $7 billion over the seven-year term. That would make it the largest rights deal ever for a college athletic conference. Each contract is for seven years, which means the Big Ten will go to market again before the SEC’s new contract with ESPN expires in 2034.

For the first time in 40 years, ESPN will not broadcast home Big Ten football and basketball games. The network officially pulled out of negotiations last week.

Fox landed the Big Ten’s premier package of games, which it will carry in the noon ET window. Starting in 2024, CBS will broadcast a Big Ten game at 3:30 p.m. ET, followed by a Big Ten game on NBC in primetime. Fox has increased its number of top selections in the football games draft in addition to maintaining the first overall selection for the next seven years; Fox will also broadcast four Big Ten championship games during the term.

“It was really important for us to build something unique in college athletics — to have specified windows,” Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren told The Athletic. “Our fans around the world will know that, from a Big Ten standpoint, we’ll kick off the day on Fox with their Big Noon show, and then we’ll roll right into all nationally televised games. We’ll roll (from Fox at noon) to a game on national TV with CBS at 3:30, which is a critical time period. And then, we’ll go right into primetime with NBC.”

The deal is backloaded: CBS will not carry as many games in 2023 as it will for the duration of the contract, so the network will pay more in later years, and USC and UCLA will not join the Big Ten until 2024, so the added payments from then on reflect the increase in inventory.

Continue reading story here


August 17th

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UC Counsel: Possible for Regents to rescind UCLA’s authority to move on its own

From the San Jose Mercury News … For all the half-answers and complete unknowns presented Wednesday at the University of California Board of Regents meeting about UCLA’s planned departure for the Big Ten, one thing was perfectly clear: This isn’t over.

From UC system president Michael Drake describing the impact report as an “interim” document to regent John A. Perez noting that the meeting was “a really good start to the conversation,” the governing body of the UC indicated it plans a deep dive into all aspects of UCLA’s move, including its impact on Cal.

“I’m very concerned about the financial impact to Cal-Berkeley and to make sure whatever new revenue might be achieved” — by UCLA’s membership in the Big Ten — “envisions a scenario to help offset (Cal’s) need,” regent Tony Thurmond said.

The “financial impact” on Cal was one of many topics covered in a 17-page impact report discussed Wednesday by the regents. It laid out both the benefits and drawbacks of UCLA’s move to the Big Ten, along with USC, in the summer of 2024.

But it wasn’t until the conversation plunged into the procedural weeds of UC bureaucracy that the most significant development came to light.

The Bruins’ exit from the Pac-12, announced June 30, was surprising in many regards, including the manner by which UCLA was able to leave behind its sister campus in Berkeley.

In response to an inquiry from the Hotline, a spokesperson from the UC Office of the President explained at the time that there was “no requirement for a decision from the University of California Board of Regents or the Office of the President.”

In other words, UCLA chancellor Gene Block had the authority to act on his own.

That might not be the case, after all.

Charlie Robinson, the general counsel for the UC Office of the President, seemed to indicate the regents could withdraw the authority delegated to a chancellor.

“For this particular matter, the regents could say ‘We want to act and therefore we do not want the (UC) president or the (campus) chancellors to act in this area,’ and simply assert that,” Robinson said.

Another key exchange came moments later, when Perez, the former speaker of the California State Assembly — and a Cal graduate — asked Robinson about the mechanism required for withdrawing authority from a campus chancellor on matters of conference affiliation.

Couching the issue in hypothetical terms, Perez asked:

“Without noticing a meeting, without going to a meeting, between meetings, the board chair and the vice chair could act under interim action to retain an authority that had otherwise been delegated?”

“Correct,” Robinson said.

“These are two different questions,” Perez added moments later. “One question is what should happen to the delegation broadly going forward, which is a policy consideration.

“The second question is, mechanically, how does the board express its retention of a previously delegated authority. And so one way is through the interim action of the chair and the vice chair.

“What other ways could the board express that? … Because I don’t think we were clear on this until today. I’m trying to get clarity on what needs to happen for the board to express the retention of its authority in an item that has, by policy, been delegated.”

Robinson responded:

“The (UC) president is a direct report to the board chair, so one mechanism would be for the board chair to say, ‘I’m directing you, in this instance, to stand down, and the board will be exercising authority in this area.’”

The regents are scheduled to meet again Sept. 20-22 at UC San Diego.

How Many Football Fans? (75% cheer for top 35 teams; CU at No. 50 nationally)

From Altimore Collins

College football has an incredibly concentrated fanbase at the top of the sport: Half of overall fans cheer for the top 16 teams, and 75% of fans cheer for the top 35. (Colorado is 50th on the list, at 0.98 million). CFB has a very long tail of small fanbases in the bottom 10%.

The USC+UCLA move changed some of the data, but not nearly as much as a lot of folks thought. For everybody messaging that still has this version, here are the updated relevant pages: (Changes badly hurt the Pac-10, but didn’t change the relative standings)


Average per conference …

  • SEC … 3.38 million
  • Big Ten … 3.18 million
  • ACC … 2.11 million
  • Pac-12 … 1.96 million (see breakdown per school below)
  • Big 12 … 0.96 million
  • Mountain West … 0.40 million (CSU … 0.26 million)

With CFB’s highly concentrated fan base, these 16 teams drive much of the media attention, and thus represent the most attractive content for broadcasters to put in their most preferable time slots. High-demand team that are engaged in successful turnarounds may be even more attractive, given the lagging nature of data.

Oregon’s Nike-led branding has helped them to build a large, strong, national fanbase, which is currently the largest in the Pac-12, followed by USC (who spent the decade under sanctions and losing). The Pac then has a strong mid-tier tranche (UW, UCLA, ASU), followed by a similar (but steadily declining) bottom tranche

The Pac-12 … 

  • Oregon … 5.54 million
  • USC … 4.46 million
  • Washington … 2.46 million
  • UCLA … 2.35 million
  • Arizona State … 1.95 million
  • California … 1.14 million
  • Utah … 1.09 million
  • Arizona … 1.04 million
  • Colorado … 0.95 million
  • Stanford … 0.89 million
  • Washington State … 0.85 million
  • Oregon State … 0.79 million

Evolution of the Big 12 fanbase … (Pac-12 at 23.5 million … 16.69 with “Pac-10” without USC and UCLA)

  • 2010 – Before CU and Nebraska left … 27.32 million
  • 2020 … Loss of CU, Nebraska, Texas A&M and Missouri … adding West Virginia and TCU … 19.94 million
  • 2025 … Loss of Texas and Oklahoma … adding UCF, BYU, Houston and Cincinnati … 11.57 million

UC Regents meeting Wednesday to discuss UCLA move to the Big Ten

From the San Jose Mercury News … UCLA will learn Wednesday just how messy its divorce from the Pac-12 could become when a report on the Bruins’ planned 2024 departure for the Big Ten is presented to the University of California Board of Regents.

Or maybe the Bruins won’t learn anything.

The situation is shrouded in secrecy — a notable twist given that the furtive nature of UCLA’s decision drew intense backlash from California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

As of Tuesday at 2 p.m., the impact report prepared by the University of California Office of the President (UCOP) had not been made public.

UCOP itself has offered no details on the proceedings, which are scheduled for Wednesday afternoon at UCLA in both open and closed sessions (approximate start time: 12:30 p.m.).

UCLA’s athletic department deferred questions to central campus, which passed the buck to UCOP, which directed the Hotline to the UC regents’ website for the posting of the report that has yet to be posted.

Will the regents vote on some aspect of the Bruins’ great leap eastward?

Will they attempt to block the move?

Will they instead opt to make UCLA’s departure as politically or financially painful as possible?

Or will they stand down?

This much we know: The remaining universities in the Pac-12 will be watching closely, hoping — praying — that UCLA is somehow compelled to reverse course. (USC is joining the Bruins in the Big Ten but, as a private university, is not subject to regental oversight.)

Without a direct connection to the massive Southern California media market, the Pac-12 stands to lose at least 30 percent of its annual regular-season broadcast revenue — the equivalent of perhaps $10 million annually.

And the exodus might continue, with remaining members looking to the Big Ten (Washington, Oregon and Stanford) or perhaps the Big 12 (Arizona, ASU, Utah and Colorado) for lifeboats.

This much we also know: UCLA’s divorce proceedings have the potential to turn ugly.

Continue reading story here


August 16th

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The Athletic: Hope for CFB’s (hopefully) not Hopeless

… Teams covered in the article: Kansas; Vanderbilt; Arizona; Duke; Indiana; Northwestern; Nebraska; Arizona State; South Florida; and Akron … but not CU … 

From The Athletic … The changes in college football have produced one byproduct in abundance: Hope. With teams capable of rapidly reshaping their roster through the transfer portal, almost every fan base can start the 2022 season with a dream of many happy Saturdays.


Some programs — either because of years of ineptitude or because they had too many turns on the business end of the transfer portal — can’t embrace the same kind of blind hope that the teams that finished 2021 slightly higher in the standings have enjoyed this offseason. But everyone deserves a little hope. So we’re here to provide that hope.

But before we get to the list, let’s start with some hope by omission. Though you probably would have seen Rutgers and Oregon State in a similar column for most of the last decade, you won’t see them here. The Scarlet Knights and Beavers have shown so much improvement under Greg Schiano and Jonathan Smith that we didn’t feel the need to include them on this list. That’s two doses of hope right there.

Now we’ll cook up some more…


Here’s a challenge for you: Take a flight to Tucson on a Friday morning this fall during a weekend Arizona has a home football game. Start on the edge of campus two hours before kickoff on University Avenue and walk to the stadium when it’s 63 degrees outside and the sky is purple and orange. Take a look around at the palm trees, the beautiful academic buildings, pass through the student union and get yourself a Chick-fil-A deluxe spicy chicken.

(Note: When Ari was a student, there was a McDonald’s in the Student Union, which is where his love affair with Filet-O-Fish really took off.)

You will come away after that 20-minute walk to the stadium feeling different about Arizona. It’s the essence of beauty during a time in which the majority of the country is zeroing in on the worst weather of the year.

That’s the challenge second-year head coach Jedd Fisch has for prospective athletes. He’s selling Tucson as a place people go to retire, but he’s also selling it as a pretty freaking fun place to go to college. Ask Rob Gronkowski, the king of the keg stand, if he had a fun time in Tucson. And when prospects take visits to Tucson, they feel differently about it after, too.

Arizona has a coach that gets it now. Fisch knows that Arizona isn’t a football factory, but he knows exactly what it could be: A heck of a place to play football in college while also having the best four years of your young life. He doesn’t take it too seriously, and that’s really the way we should look at most things in life.

Arizona’s 2021 recruiting class had one top-1,000 player in the 247Sports Composite. That is so embarrassing it’s hard to articulate. In Fisch’s first cycle in 2022, Arizona signed the best recruiting class in school history, finishing No. 25 overall.

A top-25 class for Arizona? When things get rolling there and everyone is having fun — coaches, players and students — it can be a destination. Who can’t hope for that? And if it doesn’t work out, eat a hot dog wrapped in sizzling bacon. Life’s not so bad.


Nebraska lost nine games last year. Yikes. But in those nine losses, the Cornhuskers managed to only lose by an average of 6.2 points per game. Only one of those losses came by more than a single possession, and that was a nine-point loss to Ohio State. Who could be mad about that?

You can take all of those close losses and say, “Hey, we’re close to turning the corner.” But in Nebraska’s case, you have to take a magnifying glass to all the hilariously dumb (or downright agonizing, if you’re a Cornhusker) ways the team lost games last year. Boneheaded turnovers, terrible play calls, mental mistakes, it’s all there.

You have to ask yourself whether that is a reflection of head coach Scott Frost or just terrible luck.

Nebraska’s administration kept Frost — the prodigal son who returned home to save Nebraska and bring it back to the good old days — so it clearly thought it was dumb luck. If the people cutting the checks think it was dumb luck, why shouldn’t you?

They say bad karma only comes around if you’re a bad person. Those who have been to Nebraska know that Cornhuskers fans are the nicest fans on the planet. They are eternally pleasant. They aren’t bad people. They just want to win football games.

Nebraska has clearly already paid its undeserved bad karma, so this is the year when the ball bounces in its direction. And when that happens and this team capitalizes on the bad breaks the other team suffers, it’s going to result in wins, not one-possession losses.

If people in Nebraska can convince themselves that chili and cinnamon rolls are a good combo*, how can they not convince themselves that 2022 is the year it all starts turning around?

*Ari wrote that last paragraph, obviously. Because we all know that chili and cinnamon rolls aren’t merely a good combo. They’re an amazing combo. — Andy

Arizona State

The most important element of changing a program is the “want-to.” Here’s the best news about Arizona State: It is one of only a few programs — that we know of — that successfully hosted prospects on campus during the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s dedication to the cause. Who cares if it was against NCAA rules? (Other than the NCAA and the coaches — many of whom aren’t huge fans of the rules normally — who didn’t host recruits because of the pandemic.)

This has caused some coaching turnover for the Sun Devils, and it also contributed to an exodus of some of Arizona State’s most productive players via the transfer portal. But the portal didn’t only taketh away.

Quarterback Emory Jones transferred from Florida to save the Sun Devils. You think that’s crazy? Consider this: He had virtually identical numbers to Kentucky quarterback Will Levis last year. Levis is a projected first-round NFL Draft pick. Jones? He’s not. But in terms of skill set and throwing mechanics, he’s similar to former Sun Devils starter Jayden Daniels. Jones’ 2021 numbers also are shockingly similar to Daniels’ last season — but Jones’ production came against much better defenses.

The Sun Devils also have some big-picture aspects that offer even more hope. Arizona State’s stadium is built into the side of a mountain. The Sun Devils have cool uniforms, though they’d be a lot cooler if they brought back the Sparky helmet logo. Tempe is one of the best party cities in the country. It also has the Chuckbox, which offers students a chance to load up on grease before those parties. And metro Phoenix provides a tremendous recruiting base.

Arizona State also has shown that it is willing to try something different. The Sun Devils took a shot on Herm Edwards, and even if his unorthodox style doesn’t seem to be working, ASU is always one coaching hire away from turning things around.

ASU has been one of the most underperforming football programs in the country. If you’re underperforming that means you have the potential to be awesome. That’s the definition of hope.

Read full story here


August 11th

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NCAA investigation of Arizona State “moving in deliberate fashion”

From The Athletic … The NCAA has not yet completed interviews with Arizona State coaches and staffers in its ongoing investigation into Sun Devils football, Arizona State president Michael Crow told The Athletic on Tuesday.

The football program has been under NCAA investigation for at least 14 months, but an end still doesn’t appear to be in sight. Asked Tuesday about the probe’s potential conclusion, Crow said, “One can only hope.”

The Sun Devils are accused of breaking NCAA rules during the recruiting dead period put in place because of the pandemic, a ban on in-person recruiting contact that lasted 15 months and ended on June 1, 2021. The investigation already has led to the departures of five assistants under head coach Herm Edwards, including associate head coach and defensive coordinator Antonio Pierce and offensive coordinator Zak Hill. It also has hurt Arizona State’s recruiting.

“I know that we haven’t, out of my office, been very vocal about anything because we’re asked not to say anything by the NCAA,” Crow said. “And the NCAA is moving in deliberate fashion. I don’t believe they’ve even interviewed our remaining coaches yet.”

Edwards, who is entering his fifth full season, recently told reporters that he didn’t think the investigation was a distraction in 2021, but some players have disagreed. Although Arizona State finished 8-5 last fall, there was a feeling around the program that the Sun Devils underachieved. Ranking among the nation’s worst teams in penalty yardage didn’t help.

Continue reading story here


August 10th

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Former Washington State coach Nick Rolovich files $25 million claim for wrongful termination

From ESPN … Former Washington State football coach Nick Rolovich has filed a claim against the university seeking $25 million for wrongful termination after he was fired last year for refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The claim was filed on Rolovich’s behalf with the state’s Office of Risk Management on April 27, the Seattle Times reported.

Such a claim is a prerequisite for filing a lawsuit against a state agency, said Brionna Aho, spokesperson for state Attorney General Bob Ferguson. A person must wait 60 days to sue after a tort claim is filed.

Aho said no suit had been filed as of Wednesday.

Rolovich’s attorney, Brian Fahling of Kenmore, did not return a telephone message left at his office Wednesday. He has previously indicated Rolovich would take legal action, claiming religious discrimination.

Rolovich, who is Catholic, was denied a religious exemption from Gov. Jay Inslee’s mandate requiring state employees to get the vaccine.

He was fired in October after he had coached just 11 games with the Cougars over two seasons, going 5-6. Assistant coach Jake Dickert was temporarily elevated to interim head coach and then was named Rolovich’s replacement after leading the Cougars to the Sun Bowl.

Fahling filed a 34-page letter with the university appealing Rolovich’s firing in November. That appeal was denied.

At the time of his firing, Rolovich was working under a five-year contract, on which three seasons remained. He was paid $3.2 million per year, the highest public salary in the state.


August 9th

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Canzano on ESPN backing out of Big Ten negotiations: “If the Pac-12 could have performed a cartwheel, it would have”

From … The Big Ten Conference won’t partner with ESPN in the next cycle of media rights contracts, per reports. For the first time in 40 years, the Big Ten football and men’s basketball games won’t be included among the worldwide leader’s programming.

The Pac-12 is smiling today.

The Big Ten issued a statement saying nothing has been “finalized.” Still, if this holds up, it appears the “Conference of Champions” finally got a much-needed win.

ESPN reportedly pulled the plug on negotiations, walking from a seven-year, $380-million-a-year deal that would have left the network behind Fox and NBC in weekly pecking order. John Ourand, of Sports Business Journal, had the news first.

Word ripped across the Pac-12 footprint on Tuesday morning. It was greeted with enthusiasm and optimism. Conference athletic directors were already tuned in, aware that ESPN is the most likely Tier 1 bidder for the Pac-12’s rights. But the fear was that the network might overspend to continue its relationship with the Big Ten.

“This is where the real work begins,” said one Pac-12 Conference AD.

“Our strategy is sound,” added another.

“This contributes to further stability for the 10,” said a third.

Fox locked up the Tier 1 rights for the Big Ten weeks ago for an estimated $500 million a year. NBC and CBS are likely coming at $380 million and $350 million each for the second and third positions. Total estimated take: $1.23 billion. Because Fox owns 60 percent of the Big Ten Network, it sat in on negotiations for the Big Ten’s No. 2 and No. 3 partners.

Bob Thompson, the former Fox Sports Networks president, told me Fox’s presence in the room wasn’t customary.

“It probably made the other networks very uncomfortable.”

ESPN reportedly balked at a deal with the Big Ten. If the Pac-12 could have performed a cartwheel, it would have. It’s been a gut-wrenching five weeks since USC and UCLA announced they were defecting to the Big Ten. One Pac-12 athletic director who has been part of the turmoil associated with several different conference expansions and realignments offered some context.

Continue reading story here


August 8th

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Report: Fox, CBS, NBC look likely to win Big Ten deals (very good news for the Pac-12)

From the SportsBusinessJournal … Barring a last-minute change of direction in the Big Ten’s media rights negotiations, ESPN will be without the conference’s football and basketball games for the first time in 40 years. With Big Ten negotiations nearing an end — I’m told agreements could be reached by the end of this week or push into next — CBS and NBC have emerged as the clear front runners to pick up Big Ten rights alongside Fox Sports.

ESPN still is negotiating with the conference, and as long as they’re talking there remains the possibility ESPN could wind up with a package. Remember, Chicago-born Bob Chapek graduated from Indiana and earned an MBA from Michigan State, creating deep Big Ten roots between the conference and Disney leadership that can’t be overlooked. Conversations with several sources describe ESPN on the outside looking in with a bid that is not big enough to secure a deal. All it takes is a Chapek phone call to increase that bid.

Fox agreed to the “A” package months ago. As part of its deal, it will carry a football game on the broadcast network at noon ET, plus football games on its cable channels FS1 and BTN, in which it holds a 60% stake.

The conference’s deals with CBS and NBC are not finalized. But it looks like the two networks are in the lead to split a “B” package. CBS would pick up games for the 3:30pm ET window, and NBC would carry games in primetime. NBC’s streaming service, Peacock, also would wind up carrying some games. Amazon has bid on these packages, but sources described CBS and NBC as the clear front-runners.

The Big Ten is expected to be the first college conference to eclipse $1 billion per year in rights fees once all is said and done.

If ESPN does not get a package, it would end one of the longest-standing sports media relationships in the business. ABC started carrying Big Ten games in 1966, and ESPN cut its first deal with the conference in 1982.

If ESPN moves on from the Big Ten, look for the company to be especially aggressive in trying to secure Big 12 and Pac-12 rights, as well as renewing its deals with the NCAA Championships and College Football Playoffs.

Preseason Coaches’ Poll is out (Three Pac-12 teams make the Top 25; Two others receive votes)

From CBS Sports … The 2022 college football season is right around the corner, which means it’s preseason poll time. The annual preseason Coaches Poll was released on Monday, and Alabama earned the right to enter the season with the No. 1 ranking in one of the two signature college football polls with 1634 overall points and 54 of the 65 first-place votes.

The Crimson Tide enter the season with the reigning Heisman Trophy winner at quarterback in junior Bryce Young, junior edge threat Will Anderson Jr. and a pedigree of success under legendary coach Nick Saban. Ohio State chimes in at the No. 2 spot. Coach Ryan Day’s team, led by Heisman Trophy contender C.J. Stroud at quarterback, earned five first-place votes and 1564 overall points.

Defending national champion Georgia earned the No. 3 spot and eclipsed Ohio State with six first-place votes, while Clemson and Notre Dame rounded out the top five despite major coaching turnover.

Here’s a look at the entire top 25 according to the 65 coaches who vote in the poll (first-place votes in parenthesis).

1 Alabama 1634 (54)
2 Ohio State 1564 (5)
3 Georgia 1542 (6)
4 Clemson 1356
5 Notre Dame 1284
6 Michigan 1232
7 Texas A&M 1219
8 Utah 1134
9 Oklahoma 1027
10 Baylor 891
11 Oklahoma State 859
12 Oregon 734
13 NC State 726
14 Michigan State 711
15 Southern California 602
16 Pittsburgh 450
17 Miami 433
18 Texas 383 (1)
19 Wake Forest 381
20 Wisconsin 369
21 Kentucky 353
22 Cincinnati 339
23 Arkansas 334
24 Mississippi 327
25 Houston 257

Others receiving votes … Iowa 248; Penn State 246; Tennessee 163; Brigham Young 152; Louisiana State 143; Auburn 98; Central Florida 55; North Carolina 34; San Diego State 25; Fresno State 21; Mississippi State 19; Florida 17; Utah State 12; Air Force 12; UCLA 10; Boise State 10; Appalachian State 10; Minnesota 6; South Carolina 5; Kansas State 4; Iowa State 3; Army 3; UL Lafayette 2; Southern Methodist 2; Purdue 2; Oregon State 2; Coastal Carolina 2; Texas-San Antonio 1; Louisville 1; Florida State 1.


August 7th

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Pac-12 opening week lines (CU one of three underdogs)


From the Pac-12 … 

Thursday, September 1st

  • Northern Arizona at Arizona State … 8:00 p.m., MT … Pac-12 Networks … no line

Friday, September 2nd

  • TCU at Colorado … 8:00 p.m., MT … ESPN … CU an 8.5-point underdog

Saturday, September 3rd

  • Bowling Green at UCLA … 12:30 p.m., MT … Pac-12 Networks … UCLA a 26-point favorite
  • Arizona at San Diego State … 1:30 p.m., MT … CBS … Arizona a 6.5-point underdog 
  • Oregon at Georgia … 1:30 p.m., MT … ABC … Oregon an 18-point underdog
  • UC-Davis at California … 2:00 p.m., MT … no television … no line
  • Rice at USC … 4:00 p.m., MT … Pac-12 Networks … USC a 34.5-point favorite
  • Utah at Florida … 5:00 p.m., MT … ESPN … Utah a 2.0-point favorite
  • Colgate at Stanford … 6:00 p.m., MT … no television … no line
  • Idaho at Washington State … 7:30 p.m., MT … Pac-12 Networks … no line
  • Boise State at Oregon State … 8:30 p.m., MT … ESPN … Oregon State a 4.0-point favorite
  • Kent State at Washington … 8:30 p.m., MT … FS1 … Washington a 21.5-point favorite


August 6th

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NCAA tables lifting of transfer rules (for now)

Note … The idea of unlimited transfers, while a pleasing concept to the ear, would be detrimental for schools like Colorado. CU is already facing a depleted roster with the one-time transfer rule already in place, with this past off-season a painful lesson in current college football economics. If football players were able to play for four teams in four years, it would next to impossible for CU to build a program over time – the only methodology to build a winner currently available to an athletic department devoid of a collective and competitive NIL incentives … 

From The Athletic … Change to college sports’ current transfer environment will take a bit longer to arrive after the Division I Board of Directors opted against approving a transfer reform package recommended by the D-I Transformation Committee and sent it back for “additional work” on Wednesday, delaying the implementation of transfer windows and other reforms.

The current one-time transfer rule will remain in place for the time being, as the board also opted against voting to eliminate the one-time transfer rule. Removing the rule would have allowed for what is being colloquially referred to as “unlimited transfers,” meaning athletes could move freely between schools with immediate eligibility assuming they are academically eligible and announce their intention to transfer during a certain time of the year. Right now, athletes are allowed to transfer one time and play right away; if they do it a second time, they need a waiver to do so.

The transfer package originated with the Transformation Committee, a group assembled to help modernize college athletics, and it was endorsed by the D-I Council last month. But there has been a great deal of public pushback to the idea of unlimited transfers from college football and basketball coaches.

There also remain concerns among university presidents about the impact of transferring on academic success and athletes’ ability to graduate, a topic about which the board is now seeking additional feedback. The board also asked for more information regarding the impact of NIL on the transfer environment.

Continue reading story here


August 1st

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Pac-12 won’t move on expansion “until UCLA’s issues are decided”

From John Canzano … I want to stop right here and point out that in no way do I expect UCLA to reverse course and announce it will rejoin the Pac-12. That would require a series of wild events to occur. Also, it would potentially come with a damaging public relations hit to the Bruins. But it’s something I left Media Day thinking about.

Add San Diego State? Poach Baylor or Houston? How about UNLV? There are a variety of options that need exploring. One of them involves the possibility that the Pac-12 might give UCLA second thoughts.

Said one person familiar with the situation: “The not-so-hidden question is UCLA. The Pac-12 won’t move on expansion until that’s decided.”

The Regents of the University of California system may have a say. That mostly feels like political posturing, though. One UCLA official, in fact, told me, “All that is just a bunch of noise.” In the meantime, I wonder whether the Pac-12 is asking bidders on the conference’s media rights to run valuation models that includes UCLA and/or USC staying.

The Bruins are leaving. They announced it. The Big Ten talked about it. They’re gone, right?

“Maybe,” said Kliavkoff on Friday.

Former Fox Sports Networks President Bob Thompson told me that prior to the defections of USC and UCLA, he expected the Pac-12 would sign a media rights deal worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $500 million a year. That would result in annual distributions of roughly $42 million to each Pac-12 university. In the Big Ten, the Bruins and Trojans are expected to collect a minimum of $72 million a year.

That’s a $30 million-a-year gap, minimally.

Could the Pac-12 go all-in, get creative, sell off the Pac-12 Networks, and cobble together a media rights package that would push above $60 million a year in distributions and give UCLA and/or USC something to think about?

“I’m not going to get into the specifics,” Kliavkoff told me. “What I will say is the UCLA community, I feel bad for. The vast majority of people in that community immediately did not like that decision and I think the longer that decision sticks, the worse they’re going to like it.”

I doubt it happens. The dollars probably won’t be there. UCLA and USC are telling everyone they’ve moved on and I believe them. But the win that Kliavkoff needs most is one that unwinds the defections. If Kliavkoff could pull it off, it would define his legacy.

“I am not predicting that they come back,” Kliavkoff said. “But if they came back, we’d welcome them back.”

Expanding with San Diego State and maybe one or three others is a decent fallback plan. It would aggregate some additional dollars and get the conference back in Southern California. Mining the landscape for new partners, such as Amazon, Apple and Turner is sound strategy, too. There are some new media players at the table and they may have a pile of money to spend with Fox and ESPN gobbling up so much of the Big Ten and SEC. But if the Pac-12 is smart, it’s asking bidders to give them a valuation model that includes USC and UCLA remaining.

Would UCLA stay in the Pac-12 if the potential $30 million distribution gap were whittled down to $10 million-a-year? How heavy would the pressure from alumni, the UC system and non-revenue generating sports feel in that scenario?

Continue reading story here

Survey of coaches and administrators: 75% see a professional model coming for college football

From ESPN … The college football world has endured a wave of change in the past two years, but this could be just the beginning, according to an ESPN survey of more than 200 coaches, players and administrators.

Answering a wide-ranging questionnaire distributed this offseason, respondents told ESPN that big issues such as realignment, name, image and likeness and the transfer portal are likely just precursors to more seismic shifts in the sport’s landscape.

Among the significant changes expected in the coming years are a diminished role for the NCAA, an expansion of the College Football Playoff, continued realignment and, ultimately, a pay-for-play model that would treat players as employees.

Nearly 80% of respondents believe schools will pay athletes directly within the next decade. Nearly 75% think the sport will eventually follow some sort of professional model, perhaps with schools forming conferences based on their willingness to pay players. And virtually everyone (98%) thinks more realignment is in store — sooner than later.

“It is important for all of us in business to recognize that we’re in a time of change,” Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren said. “I think there’s two types of people in the world, that they look at change as a problem or they look at change as an opportunity. I’m one of those individuals that, when change occurs, I get excited about it. It’s really an opportunity for us to do a lot of things that people have thought about but maybe [were] a little bit reticent to do.”

The Big Ten, however, is on course to reap huge rewards from all that change. Other leagues, such as the ACC, seem more wary, with commissioner Jim Phillips using his time at the league’s kickoff event in July to warn about the dangers of moving too quickly and potentially limiting engagement opportunities and access for fans and athletes.

But for all the massive shifts in the sport’s landscape, nearly 60% of respondents said they believe college football is as good or better than it was a decade ago.

“There’s a lot of negativity around [college football] right now, and for me, it’s still the most amazing profession on the face of the planet and it’s the greatest game on the planet,” Charlotte coach Will Healy said. “I get tired of people acting like this thing is on fire. It’s not. There’s some things that need to be cleaned up. There’s some direction that needs to happen. I’m sure in time it’ll happen.”

Continue reading story here


July 29th

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**Pac-12 Media Day**

George Kliavkoff: “I appreciate the Big 12 being open for business. We haven’t decided if we’re going shopping there yet”

Quotes from Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff’s remarks at Pac-12 media day (the full transcript can be found here):

— “We are confident in the long term value of our (media) rights. Will likely take months to complete. We will be very well positioned among the Power 5 from a revenue standpoint.”

— “We are actively exploring expansion opportunities.”

— “I remain confident in the Pac-12.”

— “I appreciate the Big 12 being open for business. We haven’t decided if we’re going shopping there yet.”

— “I’ve been spending four weeks watching grenades being lobbed in from every corner of the Big 12… I get why they’re scared, I get why they’re trying to destabilize us.”

— “I’d say UCLA is in a very difficult situation. A lot of constituents are very, very unhappy with the decision.”

— “We might end up playing a lot of football games in L.A.”

— “It’s highly likely that we will end up with a big digital partner” for media rights

—  “When I look at what is taking place in college sports, I believe that we have collectively lost sight of the student-athlete. We need to recalibrate our approach to ensure our filter for any decision is what is in their best interest.”

Q. George, you say that you haven’t determined whether you’re going to go shopping in the Big 12 or not. You don’t hear something like that often from a commissioner saying they might target another conference’s schools. Usually it’s the other way around. One, has anybody, any members of the Big 12, reached out to you about potentially joining the Pac-12? Secondly, you talk about being collegial. Do you think the days of trying to be collegial when it comes to expansion are over?

GEORGE KLIAVKOFF: I hope they’re not over. But they’re certainly harmed. That remark was a reflection of the fact I’ve been spending four weeks trying to defend against grenades that have been lobbed in from every corner of the Big 12 trying to destabilize our remaining conference.

I understand why they’re doing it, when you look the relative media value between the two conferences. I get it, I get why they’re scared, why they’re trying to destabilize it. I was just tired of that. That’s probably not the most collegial thing I’ve ever said.

Q. When you’re considering schools to replace UCLA or USC, what are some of the criteria you’re looking for?

GEORGE KLIAVKOFF: I specifically enumerated those. Start with market, the media value. Go to the athletic value, whether or not they would contribute to the Conference of Champions. Academic and culture fit is part of it. Then we’re very focused, I think uniquely, in thinking about the effect of student-athletes when we add schools.

We think about travel and about what we’re going to put our student-athletes through if we expand geographically too far away. I’m proud of the fact that’s part of our criteria.

Q. George, I know you’ve talked the past four weeks about lobs coming from the Big 12. How do you prevent further lobs or raids from the Big Ten, especially when three or four of your members have been mentioned, including Bernard and Stanford?

GEORGE KLIAVKOFF: I’m focused on what we can control. What we can control is to do everything we can to make the Pac-12 healthy and strong and to do it together, the 10 of us. That’s what I’m focused on. I’m not focused on what other conferences are doing.

Pac-12 Preseason Media Poll: CU picked to finish last

From the Pac-12 … UTAH has been chosen as the favorite to win the 2022 Pac-12 Conference Championship, presented by 76®, in a vote of 33 media members who cover the league. The defending Pac-12 champion Utes received 26 of the 33 first-place votes to earn the preseason nod.

OREGON, who faced Utah in the 2021 championship game, received two first-place votes and the second most overall points to edge out USC, despite the Trojans having more first-place votes (five).

This will be the first season that the Pac-12 Football Championship Game will be played between the two teams with the highest conference winning percentage.  This change came about following the NCAA Division I Council decision in May to deregulate the rule that had limited an individual conference’s autonomy to determine their football championship game participants.  It was based on a motion brought by the Pac-12 and unanimously supported by all FBS conferences

The media has correctly selected the Conference Champion in 32 of 61 previous preseason polls, including five times in the 11-year FCG era.

2022 Pac-12 Football Media Day will be held in Los Angeles on Friday, July 29.  For all materials needed during media day please go here.

Following are the results of the preseason media poll (points 12-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 with first-place votes in parentheses):

Total Points
1.  Utah (26)384
2.  Oregon (2)345
3.  USC (5)341
4.  UCLA289
5.  Oregon State246
6.  Washington212
7.  Washington State177
8.  Stanford159
9.  California154
10.  Arizona State123
11.  Arizona86
12.  Colorado58

The 2022 Pac-12 Football Championship Game, presented by 76, featuring the two teams with the highest conference winning percentage, will take place on Friday, Dec. 2 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, NV. The game will be telecast to a national audience on FOX.

The 2022 Pac-12 football season kicks off on Thursday, Sept. 1 with an in-state matchup between Northern Arizona and Arizona State at 7:00 p.m. PT on Pac-12 Network. The first Conference showdown features USC at Stanford on Saturday, Sept. 10 at 4:30 p.m. PT on ABC. Click here for the complete Pac-12 Football schedule.


18 Replies to “Pac-12 Notes”

  1. Listening to ESPNU for a few minutes on Friday. Childers and 3 other guys were making their picks (dont think Rick was one of them) Childers was the only one who picked Northwestern. One guy who actually said he was a NW grad said the Nebraska fans didn’t deserve a loss and he hated to see Frost fired. I started laughing until I realized it was just horrible pandering to the viewership.
    Childers called Frost a robot. At least he wasnt pulling any punches
    Boil the corn

  2. The “tier” system seems to be the new in thing for national sports pundits. From rating coaches and teams anywhere from an illustrious 1A to a beyond lackluster tier 19+ (at least it’s not KS) is sure to foster contemplative and deep diving into each and every program plying their wares out on the gridiron. It’s almost enough to bring tears to my eyes.

  3. Some number crunching and I’m sure I will notified if this is an unreal stat.
    with 16 teams the Big 10 can give each team 62.5 million.
    If OR and WA join that will dilute that figure to around 55.5 million.
    If the PAC remains at 10 teams they would need a contract of about half what they paid the Big 10 to match the per team distribution. So if it is a wash when it comes to dollars will that help OR and WA stay home?
    If the PAC adds 2 teams they will need a contract a for 670 million a year million a year which may be dreaming. In order to make that even possible they would have to find another team with the tv sets other than a Fresno or Boise. Might have to poach Houston to join with SD.

    1. Okay then.

      One of the things i noticed is that the networks will pay more per year when the LA teams join the big ten. So one would assume, since the big said they would both get full shares that so assume 62.5
      Sheesh 50 mil for the pac per year would be great.


  4. Well it is hard to believe ESPN will go only with the acc and the 12.

    The west is wide open.
    Yup a streamer is gonna jump in here.,
    And it appears there is one network missing in all this guffaw.
    Oh wait that is ABC………………………………..
    Which is ESPN

    There is no way they are gong to be left out of the west
    Got the east
    Got the middle (kinda)
    No West.

    to own the day..

    Games will start in cali…………..8 am

    11 am

    2 pm

    5 pm

    8 pm

    If i owned espn/abc I would own saturday


  5. Interesting (as in total fabrication BS) article about fan bases. Remember Mark Twain’s dismissive quote about “Lies, damned lies, and statistics” when reading this garbage.

    Fallacious and non-applicable numbers are hidden behind pretty and fancy looking charts that are not based on anything other than this guy trying to drum up business for his company. It’s an advertisement, nothing more.

    It seems pretty clear he’s pushing current clients as well as prospective clients. Apparently Nike is high on his wish list.

    Real statistical analysis like that done by Nate Silver’s company puts these guys to shame.

    As a long-time fan of college athletics who knows and has met lots of fellow minded fans, I find the numbers laughable. I suspect Phil Knight finds them laughable as well.

    It sure will be nice when the season starts. Hope rings eternal, but you still have to avoid stepping in this kind of dung.

    1. I too am skeptical of those numbers. Especially the Oregon and Corncobs. Seem inflated to me. And the CSU number seems low as does the Buffs number.

    2. Tony Altimore is a strategy consultant with extensive experience in financial services, digital, public sector, aerospace & defense and industrial sectors.

      Presently, he serves clients as Managing Director of Altimore Collins & Co., a boutique firm he founded

      Tony received his MBA from the Wharton School at the Univ. of Pennsylvania, and graduated from the honors program at USC.

      case you missed it

      one man shop

      Gotta like it

      Go Bu ffs

    1. Yes it will. Also streaming. Isn’t Amazon’s NFL deal like a billion a year? Streaming sucks for me due to where we live, but it’s certainly a big part of the future. And Kliavkoff’s wheelhouse, of sorts. Peacock went pretty small on their streaming w/ Big Fox, so we’ll see where the others line up.

      Go Buffs

  6. moving in a “deliberate” fashion?
    With global warming it isnt even moving in a glacial fashion.
    More accurate would be describe it moving in a comatose fashion
    and it doesnt do anything to deter anyone else from doing the same
    ASU is laughing at the NCAA

  7. Wow, never thought I’d be rooting for woke ass ESPN… but here I am. The network that destroyed the Pac-12 Networks and subsequently the PAC-12 can now being out saving grace. ESPN time to F with Fox. Pony up, lure UCLA back to the PAC, have PAC pick up San Diego State, and encroach on FOX’s dominance with the West Coast. This is the best scenario for ESPN, they want the coast. Trojan Horse. Suck it USC. Please oh please let this pan out.

  8. “Nearly 75% think the sport will eventually follow some sort of professional model, perhaps with schools forming conferences based on their willingness to pay players. And virtually everyone (98%) thinks more realignment is in store — sooner than later.”

    NIL is the hardest part of the whole picture to regulate and enforce, and just to agree on, when one school’s boosters will pay so much more than another’s. Even if it’s just agreeing on some type of sane rules that everyone will “try” to follow, there needs to be a unity of “all of the rest”.

    The only power that the other 120 schools have over the big dogs that seem to want to end up in one of two super conferences… Or, at least that’s what the networks have sold them on, is for those 120 schools to stick together and basically strike against the two up coming semi-pro super conferences that are forming.

    Cut them out completely and don’t give them any games, “literally take your ball home” (let the big dogs play with themselves and only play against the “real college” teams, not the semi-pros. I’d love to see how that plays out, wouldn’t you? If everyone (the 120) stuck together that is.

    Agree to re-write college football’s business model and keep it more college than semi-pro. Come up with some kind of sensible rules for NIL, but form the conference(s) as a new national league that can televise games on multiple channels and streaming platforms so all games can be watched and all time zones/geographically TV markets, giving the new league multiple noon kick offs around the nation and so on with the later games.

    How cool could it be if the 120 other schools could get together and say goodbye to the 40 big dogs? How cool would it be to see local universities playing schools in and around your state (CU v. AF, CSU, Utah) with only a few longer distance games i.e. CU to play UW or Stanford and? With good group 5 and PAC10 opponets. Screw the B1G & SEC!

  9. Aww, feel so sorry for UCLA and their potential embarrassment if the Bruins have to tuck their tail and come back to the Pac12. Maybe Kliavkoff and the CA regents can give them cover to make it seem like they have to come back as a legal matter (which might actually happen anyway, for real).

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