Pac-12 Notes – Oregon Week

September 22nd

… Foe Pause … 

Pac-12 assistant coach: “I think Oregon this weekend is not going to be pretty … If they pull this one off, I’ll shut the f— up”

From The Athletic … Nobody has ever turned over a roster quite like Deion Sanders at Colorado this offseason, and given the air of mystery surrounding the team coming into the season, The Athletic asked coaches, analysts and personnel staffers around the Pac-12 what reasonable expectations should be for the Buffaloes.

The general consensus back then? A two- or three-win team. Well, that consensus hasn’t aged too well. Colorado is off to a shocking 3-0 start, is ranked 19th in the latest AP poll and has a high-profile showdown at No. 10 Oregon on Saturday afternoon.

Now that there’s three games of tape available and the Buffaloes are much less of a mystery, The Athletic spoke to six coaches, analysts and personnel staffers — some of whom had strong opinions about Colorado in the preseason — and asked for their revised thoughts about the Buffaloes now that they’ve actually seen them. They were again granted anonymity in exchange for their candid opinions.

“I would say they’ll get six wins. I think they’re a bowl team,” said one player personnel director who initially pegged Colorado for three wins. “They’ll have to pull off an upset to get that sixth one, but I would say they’re a bowl team with the amount of talent they have. This will be a tough little gauntlet here, but they’ll get Travis (Hunter) back for the last five games.”

… So even though the Buffaloes are 3-0, it’s been a real high-wire act that has depended heavily on Sanders. And they’ll have to navigate back-to-back games against top-10 opponents Oregon and USC without Hunter.

With all that said, though, one Pac-12 personnel staffer said Colorado is “absolutely” a bowl team. A third personnel staffer said, “(Deion) has done a good job, but we don’t need to crown him. They struggled against CSU.”

Like always, there’s a range of opinions about this Colorado team. The truth probably lies somewhere in between.

“I don’t think they will beat Oregon or SC. This is the critical point of the season,” said the offensive analyst, who acknowledged Colorado has been better than he expected. “What happens after these two games?  I think they will continue to fight and always compete. I just don’t know if they will end up being in the top half of the Pac-12 when it’s all said and done.”

The Buffaloes still have Stanford and Arizona State on the schedule. Those teams, struggling under first-year coaches, appear to be two sure wins, which would get Colorado one win from bowl eligibility. The sixth win is harder to find.

The next games are at Oregon and home against USC. There are still games at UCLA, against Oregon State, at Washington State and at Utah. All six of those teams are ranked, and although it won’t be impossible for Colorado to win any of those games it’ll likely be an underdog in each of them.

… “I think Oregon this weekend is not going to be pretty,” said the assistant coach, “but I’ve been eating my words a little early so we’ll see. If they pull this one off, I’ll shut the f— up.”

Read full story here


September 21st

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ESPN’s All-Transfer Portal Team includes four Buffs

From ESPN … To say the college football transfer portal has become an important tool for coaches to manage or overhaul their rosters would be an understatement. The portal has become as vital as high school recruiting, and coaches are relying on transfers now more than ever.

In 2022, there were 2,918 players who entered the portal, up from 2,531 in 2021. In this current season, nearly 33% of the total games started by FBS players have come from players who have transferred via the portal, according to SportSource Analytics. At quarterback, a position that has seen plenty of movement via the portal, 54.9% of the passing yards thrown this season have come via transfer players.

That means there have been some major contributions from players on new teams.

While some positions, like receiver and QB, have seen a lot of high-profile, instant-impact transfers, we identified those players from each position who transferred this past offseason and are in their first year with their new program to create the all-transfer team.

Quarterback Shedeur Sanders, Colorado Buffaloes

Transferred from: Jackson State

Sanders has taken college football by storm this season, throwing for a school-record 510 yards and four touchdowns in the season opener against TCU. He hasn’t slowed down and is currently second among all FBS quarterbacks in passing yards with 1,251 and No. 4 in completion percentage, completing 78.7% of his passes.

“He’s been consistent, the same guy, and that’s what I love about him. He’s rock steady, he doesn’t allow the attention and focus and the lights to deter him or lead him in a certain direction,” Colorado coach Deion Sanders said of Shedeur. “He analyzes everything on and off the field. That’s something that you want from a quarterback, you want to know their lifestyle, how they act on and off the field, because that stuff translates.”

Offensive line Savion Washington, Colorado Buffaloes

Transferred from: Kent State

Washington is a 6-foot-8, 320-pound tackle who has been playing very well for the Buffs so far this season. He transferred from Kent State, where he started all 11 games in 2022. He has played 153 snaps for Colorado this season and has been stout up front in the revamped offense.

Linebacker Jordan Domineck, Colorado Buffaloes

Transferred from: Arkansas

Domineck was a late addition to the transfer portal, leaving Arkansas during the spring transfer period. He had 34 total tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks last season for the Razorbacks and already has 4.5 tackles for loss this season for the Buffs and has taken on an important role in the locker room.

“Jordan has been a leader in our room, he has been extremely helpful in fall camp passing things to the new guys,” Colorado defensive line coach Nick Williams said. “He’s a guy that made it through the spring, he’s bringing the other players along. He’s been great, he’s awesome.”

Defensive back Travis Hunter, Colorado Buffaloes

Transferred from: Jackson State

Hunter wasted no time making an impact on his new team. On offense, Hunter has 213 receiving yards on offense. As a DB, he has an interception as well as two pass breakups. He was injured in the third game of the season against Colorado State, and coach Deion Sanders said Hunter will likely miss a few weeks. That will impact his future production this season, but given his performance up until now, he deserves to be on this list.

“Travis is different. Travis is a different kid, has a different thought process and different wants and desires,” Sanders said. “Travis is Him. The young folks gotta say now, ‘I’m Him,’ but he really is Him. I’ve seen him with dysfunction in his life, still ball out. I mean, Travis is truly consistent on both sides of the ball.

“There aren’t too many Travis Hunters in America.”

Read full story here

ESPN Analysts: “Shedeur is going to have to have his best damn game for them to have a chance”

From ESPN … After a dramatic few weeks, Colorado goes up against an Oregon offense that’s averaging 58 points per game. The Buffaloes are a 20.5-point underdog against Oregon, per Caesars Sportsbook. Earlier this season, the Buffaloes defeated TCU despite being 21-point underdogs. Since the FBS/FCS split in 1978, according to ESPN Stats & Information, only three teams have won multiple games as an underdog of 20-plus points in a season.

What happens when Colorado travels to Oregon this weekend?

Dinich: A dose of reality? One opposing coach told me, “Shedeur is going to have to have his best damn game for them to have a chance.” The scouting report on the Ducks is one of a complete team with a balanced offense. In order for Colorado to have a chance, the coach said, the Buffaloes have to try to move Bo Nix off his mark. “They don’t give up many sacks,” he said, “so you have to move him. You have to know where his No. 11 receiver [Troy Franklin] is on third down.” Franklin leads the Ducks with 17 catches for 292 yards and three touchdowns. On offense, Colorado has to attack Oregon’s defensive backs. “They are just OK in the secondary, but their D-line makes up for it because they can stop the run and get after the QB,” the coach said.

Rittenberg: Oregon might be better than “OK” in the secondary — the Ducks lead the Pac-12 and rank 15th nationally in passing yards allowed (158.7 YPG) and rank third nationally in average net yards per attempt (4.08) — but the coach is right about the strength up front. Tackle Popo Aumavae, a first-team All-Pac-12 selection in 2021 who missed all of last season with injury, has sacks in each of the past two games, and end Brandon Dorlus had four hurries against Texas Tech, including the one that led to Jeffrey Bassa’s clinching pick-six. Colorado’s vulnerability along the offensive line is no secret, but Oregon must actually get Sanders to the ground, which isn’t easy. “He’s been coached well, he knows where to distribute the ball based off of the looks once he’s confident pre-snap,” Ducks defensive coordinator Tosh Lupoi told me. “In last week’s game, [Colorado State] played a lot of Cover 2 and he knew where to distribute the ball. You never want to lessen the execution within your own defense when you’re trying to do too much, but it’s important that he doesn’t necessarily know when we’re blitzing or covering and dropping eight.”

Dinich: Oregon’s defense poses a different challenge for Sanders, especially without Travis Hunter. Even if Colorado loses, though, the Buffaloes will remain interesting and one of the top storylines heading into Week 5, when they host Caleb Williams and USC. Shedeur Sanders has back-to-back opportunities to showcase himself against established Heisman-caliber quarterbacks in games that will help narrow that loaded field for the sport’s most coveted award. If the Buffs are 3-2 heading into their Oct. 7 game at Arizona State, they are still vastly better than they were literally months ago, and the talent on display continues to prove it.

Rittenberg: Oregon, on the other side, wants to assert itself in the Pac-12 race. Lupoi talked to me about becoming “a feared and respected defense.” So far, Oregon is excelling against the pass and on third down, holding opponents to 31.7% of conversions. The next step is eliminating penalties, especially pass interference and personal fouls that have prolonged drives. “Last week, we were 12-of-14 getting off the field and the two losses were both penalties,” Lupoi said. “We were upping the stakes of accountability and consequences of these penalties on a daily basis. Simply, it’s simply unacceptable. We’ve got to improve on being a disciplined defense if we want to accomplish what we want.”

Read full story here


September 20th 

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Could Pac-2/MWC use promotion/relegation to attract at media contract?

From … On the Palouse this Saturday night, the Pac-2 Bowl will unfold.

The remaining two members of the imploded Pac-12 conference, Oregon State and Washington State, meet in a game of top-25 ranked teams. Amid a slew of giant matchups this weekend, the Pac-2 battle is sliding beneath the hubbub despite the stakes.

The Cougars are 3-0, ranked No. 21 and have taken down Wisconsin with FCS-turned-Power Five dual-threat quarterback Cameron Ward. The Beavers are 3-0, ranked No. 14 and have allowed 33 points in three games with former Clemson QB D.J. Uiagalelei manning the offense.

But it’s off the field where so much interest in these two programs lies. As they team up for a court fight over the Pac-12’s survival, their future conference affiliation hangs in doubt.

Will they dissolve the Pac-12 and join the Mountain West?

Will they merge with the Mountain West under the Pac-12 banner to preserve the league and its assets?

Will they rebuild the Pac-12 by plucking other Group of Five members?

Or … Will they do something unconventional, creative and, some might say, altogether eccentric. Will they leap with both feet into a pool of uncertainty, overhaul how college conferences are structured and remake the industry’s long-standing model?

“We have to think differently,” said one Mountain West athletic director who wished to remain anonymous. “We’re always trying to fit things in a box and we are always late to the party. How do we get in front of this?”

The Pac-2’s answer, some believe, should be to create a two-conference partnership with the Mountain West around a model similar to European soccer leagues, using a relegation and promotion system for football (and potentially other sports).

The goal is to create high-stakes matchups, scheduling alliances and a points system to fuel interest and excitement in college football’s lower tier. In theory, such a system would make these lower-resourced football programs more appealing to linear and streaming partners in a world where the industry is leaning on such income to survive.

“It’s time we admit what college football is: an entertainment product,” said one Mountain West administrator.

Continue reading story here


September 19th

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Michigan State gives notice of intent to fire Mel Tucker for cause 

From CBS Sports … Michigan State has initiated the process to fire suspended football coach Mel Tucker with cause, the school announced Monday. Tucker was placed on administrative leave without pay earlier this month after it was revealed he was the focal point of a university investigation into allegations of sexual harassment against rape survivor and activist Brenda Tracy. A formal hearing will begin Oct. 5 regardless of Tucker’s status as Michigan State’s coach.

“I, with the support of administration and board, have provided Mel Tucker with written notice of intent to terminate his contract for cause,” Michigan State athletic director Alan Haller said in a statement. “This notification process is required as part of his existing contract. The notice provides Tucker with seven calendar days to respond and present reasons to me and the interim president as to why he should not be terminated for cause.

“This action does not conclude the ongoing Office for Civil Rights case; that rigorous process will continue.”

Tucker, who is in his fourth season in East Lansing, was put on leave without pay on Sept. 10, one day after the allegations came to light. The investigation into Tucker’s alleged behavior stemmed from a complaint filed in December 2022 by Tracy, in which Tucker is accused of making sexually suggestive comments and masturbating while Tracy “sat frozen for several minutes” during a phone call in April 2022. Tucker has called the harassment allegations “completely false,” contending that actions involving himself and Tracy were consensual.

Continue reading story here


September 18th

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Shilo Sanders named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week

From the Pac-12 … The Pac-12 today announced its 2023 football season’s third weekly performance awards, presented by Nextiva.

OFFENSE:  Michael Penix, Jr., Sr., QB, Washington (Tampa, Fla.) … Also nominated: Shedeur Sanders, QB, Colorado;

DEFENSE:  Shilo Sanders., Gr., Safety, Colorado (Canton,Texas)

  • Played a pivotal role in the Buffaloes’ victory over CSU by returning an 80-yard interception and forcing a crucial fumble.
  • First career interception converted for a touchdown.
  • First Colorado player with an interception return for touchdown since Carson Wells in 2021.
  • Second time in three weeks that a Colorado player has won this award after Travis Hunter was honored in Week 1.

Read full story here


September 17th 

… Foe Pause … 

Not satisfied with CU’s results to date? Check out the Pac-12’s two other first-year coaches

… Arizona State and Stanford both suffered embarrassing home losses this weekend … 

Sacramento State stuns former coach Troy Taylor in 30-23 win at Stanford (the Cardinal’s second-ever loss to an FCS school)

From ESPN … Kaiden Bennett narrowly avoided a sack to throw a 49-yard touchdown pass with 1:32 to play and Sacramento State beat former coach Troy Taylor’s Stanford team 30-23 on Saturday night for the Hornets’ third win ever against a Pac-12 school.

“It’s awesome that we got this opportunity,” said first-year Hornets coach Andy Thompson, who was promoted from defensive coordinator after Taylor left to take the job at Stanford. “We got to come over here, I think we collected a little bit of money too and got a win. … They should be very proud of how they played against a really good opponent.”

It took a big play late to get the win.

Bennett flung a short pass to Marcus Fulcher just before his knee touched the ground and Fulcher did the rest from there to score for the Hornets (3-0) and spoil his former coach’s home debut at Stanford.

“He was doing what he was supposed to do on his part and he was where he needed to be on that play,” Bennett said. “I looked up and saw him. Good job by him. … I knew once he broke that first tackle he was off. He has that juice.”

Taylor took over the Cardinal (1-2) after going 30-8 in four seasons and leading the Hornets to their first berth in the FCS quarterfinals in school history last season.

Many of his former players are still at Sacramento State, including Bennett, who threw for 279 yard, ran for 100 and had a TD pass and run.

“I have a lot of love and respect for Coach T,” Bennett said. “For what he’s been able to do for my career and stuff. Just for me as a person, I give him a lot of love and respect for that.”

Sacramento State won its school-record 22nd straight regular season game at Taylor’s expense, sending Stanford to its second loss ever to an FCS-level school. The Cardinal lost to UC Davis in 2005.

“It’s very familiar faces and good coaches and really good players,” Taylor said of his former team. “Once the game starts, you’re just really competing.”

The Cardinal took a 23-20 lead early in the fourth quarter when Joshua Karty kicked his third field goal of the game on a score set up by Collin Wright’s interception.

The Hornets answered with a 44-yarder from Zach Schreiner to tie the game with 4:13 to play. They then forced a punt to set up the winning score.

Continue reading story here

Fresno State shuts out Arizona State 29-0 (eight turnovers by the Sun Devils)

From ESPN … Fresno State coach Jeff Tedford took a couple moments after the game to greet some of the fans who had made the road trip to watch the Bulldogs dominate a team from the Pac-12.

It wasn’t a hard thing to do. Those clad in Fresno State gear were basically the only people left in the stadium.

Mikey Keene threw for 281 yards and two touchdowns, Fresno State’s defense forced eight turnovers and the Bulldogs rolled to a 29-0 win over Arizona State on Saturday night.

“There’s nothing like, at the end of games, when you have more fans than they do,” Tedford said. “That’s really cool for our fans to travel, to be here for us. Just really happy they got to see a good game.”

It was Fresno State’s second win over a Power Five team in three weeks after also beating Purdue 39-35 on Sept. 2. The Bulldogs (3-0) have a 12-game winning streak, dating back to last season, which is the second-longest in the FBS behind No. 1 Georgia.

Arizona State (1-2) was shut out for the first time since 2008 and the first time at home since 1988. Both those games were against USC.

Keene played his high school football in suburban Phoenix, about 10 miles from Arizona State’s campus. He originally enrolled at UCF, playing two seasons before transferring to Fresno State.

“Super surreal moment,” Keene said. “Being able to come home and have a lot of people that I haven’t had watch me in a long time, since I was in high school. That was special for me. I knew I had to stay level-headed — cool, calm and collected.”

The quarterback went to work immediately against Arizona State’s defense, completing all six of his passes for 75 yards on the opening drive, capped by a 19-yard throw over the middle to Jalen Moss for a touchdown. Dylan Lynch’s 39-yard field goal later in the first quarter made it 10-0.

Meanwhile, Arizona State’s offense was struggling and sloppy. Trenton Bourguet — starting for the injured Jaden Rashada — threw an interception on his first drive and then got hurt on the next, limping off the field with the team’s medical staff. Drew Pyne entered for Bourguet and fumbled on his first play after being sacked. The ball was recovered by Fresno State.

Lynch added a 30-yard field goal on the ensuing drive for a 13-0 lead with 12:23 left in the second quarter.

Pyne fumbled again on Arizona State’s next drive, giving Fresno State the ball at the Sun Devils 13, and that eventually resulted in Lynch’s third field goal and a 16-0 lead.

Continue reading story here

Pac-12 Lines: Conference play 

Lines from DraftKings …

  • No. 19 Colorado at No. 10 Oregon … 1:30 p.m., MT, ABC … Oregon is a 20.5-point favorite
  • No. 22 UCLA at No. 11 Utah … 1:30 p.m., MT, Fox … Utah is a 5.0-point favorite
  • Arizona at Stanford … 5:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks … Arizona is a 10.0-point road favorite
  • No. 14 Oregon State at No. 21 Washington State … 5:00 p.m., MT, Fox … Oregon State is a 2.0-point road favorite
  • Cal at No. 8 Washington … 8:30 p.m., MT, ESPN … Washington is a 21.0-point favorite
  • No. 5 USC at Arizona State … 8:30 p.m., MT, Fox … USC is a 34.0-point road favorite


16 Replies to “Pac-12 Notes – Oregon Week”

  1. For every Buff victory the media chumps get another egg broken in their face. I sense more fear of that out of them.
    Even the unnamed coach who said Shedeur has to have “his best damn game” doesnt know what he is talking about. Shedeur has always had his best damn game this season. The D needs to have their best damn game to beat Oregon. A little help from the phantom running game would also go a long way.

    1. Yep!

      His best damn game? What does he call 510 yards passing, 80% completion and 4 TDs with no interceptions?

      AND it wasn’t against Portland State, it was a ranked team that was the previous runner up who played for a national championship… In 110 degree heat!

    2. Some big SEC schools are playing their 4th easy non-conf games this weekend. WTF! Strength of schedule = nothing to the pundit-holes because they would need to actually think.

  2. So I am now surprised by the complete lack of respect CU is getting in the Oregon game. Pre season, I totally get it. But Oregon has played Portland State, Hawaii and Texas Tech. Texas tech who played with Oregon, loosing by 8 and was beat by Wyoming. Listen Oregon may win this game, but CU sure isn’t going to love by 21. Take CU and the points.

  3. “The goal is to create high-stakes matchups, scheduling alliances and a points system to fuel interest and excitement in college football’s lower tier… to linear and streaming partners in a world where the industry is leaning on such income to survive.”


    With the Mountain West? They are going to create high stakes match ups? REALLY?

    Scheduling alliances? points system… Survivor?

    Someone Please Explain.

    1. Within the European soccer leagues the promotion relegation process becomes very important for the teams as they try and ascend or keep from descending. Even at the lower levels in the leagues. Watch the Wrexham show. It’s crazy for those fans. Doesn’t mean much to the rest of the world but for those teams and fans and the teams in those leagues it means a lot. I love the idea.

      1. Agreed. I haven’t watched that Wrexham show, but it explains the massive level of interest despite not being in the upper tier of the league. However, my concern is that a relegation model that only exists in one conference can’t really work. Why would ANY team agree to possible relegation when they could just avoid that by leaving the conference?

        For a relegation model to work, it has to be league-wide, in my opinion. Otherwise, we’re just asking schools to volunteer to give up any chance of a CFP berth. Sure, the chance is a snowball’s in hell, but even that is better than the zero chance a relegated team would have. So, until every team in FBS exists within that structure, I don’t think it will be very workable. I’d be glad to be wrong.

    2. BEING DONE TO CREATE WHAT IN THE LOWER TIER ??????????????????????????????????


  4. Of course, there is *already* pie in the sky speculation about how much better Deion could do at MSU because its in the Big 10. Of course, those same writers seemingly failed to notice Deion’s current buyout for this season is, what, $10 or $15 million?

    Already talking about OC Lewis too

  5. Social media on fire with criticism of the CSU cheap shot on Hunter. The times we live in. This should all be on coach Norvell. But anyway, time to move on and wish Travis a healthy recovery.

  6. The oddsmakers not showing much toward us going to #10 OR…Cal practically given the same odds at #8 WA. Meanwhile has anybody heard anything on Hunter T. other than he’ll miss a few weeks after taking that cheap shot? In looking at the hit a number of times I wonder about sternum or ribs…OUCH

    1. I worry about his left hand and arm and his internal organs. Contact appeared aimed at the hand but seemed to land just below the rib cage. And given his return and then going right to the hospital, I suspect he may have lacerated an internal organ. A hand injury usually doesn’t hide like internal bleeding can.

        1. I wish I was wrong. Saw a lacrosse professional suffer a lacerated spleen from taking a shot below the pads/ribs. Same kind of delayed reaction, like how Hunter came back briefly. That sudden decision to rush to the hospital is always scary, even without an ambulance.

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