Baker’s recruitment heats up
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Lyerla is facing a felony cocaine possession charge stemming from an arrest Oct. 23. Lane County Circuit Court judge Jay McAlpin on Tuesday denied Lyerla's request to live and train under Dwight Ross of Performance Athletics in Nevada.
Lyerla announced he was leaving Oregon on Oct. 6 after a one-game suspension for violating unspecified team rules.
He declined to enter the drug court program, which gives offenders a chance to have their charges dismissed if they complete treatment for addiction, and efforts since to settle the case have been unsuccessful. The two sides meet again Dec. 27.
Running back: Ka'Deem Carey, Arizona
Offensive guard: David Yankey, Stanford
Wide receiver: Brandin Cooks, Oregon State
Defensive tackle: Will Sutton, Arizona State
Linebacker: Anthony Barr, UCLA
Safety: Deone Bucannon, Washington State
Running back: Bishop Sankey, Washington
Offensive guard: Xavier Su'a-Filo, UCLA
All-purpose: Ty Montgomery, Stanford
Linebacker: Trent Murphy, Stanford
Tight end: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington
Defensive tackle: Leonard Williams, USC
Linebacker: Shayne Skov, Stanford
Cornerback: Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon
- Who voted Ka'Deem Carey No. 1 on his Heisman ballot?
- ASU making the most of its bowl practices.
- Former quarterback Zach Kline is headed to Oregon State.
- Athlon named Addison Gillam a first-team freshman All-American.
- Some more on Troy Hill's arrest.
- The Beavers are hoping to have Kevin Cummings back for the bowl game.
- David Shaw is flattered, but uninterested in leaving Stanford.
- Shaq Evans talks about the Senior Bowl and draft.
- USC picked up a DE commit.
- A former Utah running back had three touchdowns in his first NFL start.
- Washington lands a QB flip thanks to its new coach.
- A look back at WSU's 1988 bowl game.
- Athlon ranks the best Pac-12 games of the year.
Details about the arrest, first reported by Comcast SportsNet Northwest, were not immediately released by the Eugene Police Department. Hill entered a not guilty plea to misdemeanor charges of menacing and criminal mischief. His next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 21.
Oregon coach Mark Helfrich released a statement Monday that said the team would wait until the legal process has finished before making a further determination of Hill's status.
"We expect every member of our program to hold themselves to a high standard of conduct and to represent this University with class, pride and integrity. We will wait until the legal process has concluded before making any final determination of Troy Hill's status."
Hill played as a backup in 11 games, with 29 tackles overall, including 21 solo. He also broke up four passes and forced a fumble.
The Ducks went 10-2 this season and play Texas (8-4) in the Valero Alamo Bowl Dec. 30 in San Antonio.
Hill and fellow defensive back Erick Dargan were suspended for the Ducks' game against Oregon State for an unspecified violation of team rules. Oregon finished the regular season with a 36-35 victory over the in-state rival Beavers on Nov. 29.
Oregon sophomore tight end Pharaoh Brown was suspended for the Alamo Bowl because of his role in an on-campus snowball fight that got out of hand when passing motorists were pelted.
The Class of 2013 is in the stretch run. With just 50 days until national signing day, there are plenty of developments and questions in the lead-up to Feb. 5. From top uncommitted players to class rankings predictions, this is everything you'll need to know.
Questions to ponder
50. Who is next at Texas, and when? The choice as new Longhorns coach will be key for future classes, but the timing of the hire is also important as there are quite a few commitments targeted by other teams that are now hanging by a thread with each passing day -- dead period or not.
49. Will Maryland close with a bang? This one is simple: keep No. 15 Jalen Tabor (Washington, D.C./Friendship Collegiate Academy) and No. 26 Damian Prince (Forestville, Md./Bishop McNamara) home and it's a big bang.
Valero Alamo Bowl
San Antonio, Dec. 30, 3:45 p.m. (PT), ESPN
Oregon (10-2) vs. Texas (8-4)
Coach: Mack Brown (16th season)
Record: 8-4, 7-2 Big 12
Combined opponents' record: 76-68 (.527)
Common opponents: None.
Leading passer: Case McCoy, 179-312-1,885 (57.4 percent) with 11 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
Leading rusher: Johnathan Gray (injured), 159-780 with four touchdowns.
Leading receiver: Mike Davis, 49-715 with eight touchdowns.
Leading tackler: Jackson Jeffcoat, 80 tackles, 21 tackles for a loss, 12 sacks.
What to know: Texas has been in the news lately. Perhaps you’ve heard? After compiling a 158-47 record at Texas, Brown is stepping down after the Alamo Bowl. That heaps a healthy dose of emotion on to this game as his players will no doubt be looking to win one last one for Mack.
Even before Gray went down for the rest of the year with an Achilles injury in the OT win over West Virginia in early November, Malcolm Brown was already starting to get a good chunk of the running workload. He has rushed for 774 yards and nine touchdowns on 188 carries (4.1 average).
After starting the year 1-2, which included losses to BYU and Ole Miss, the Longhorns rallied to run off six straight -- including a seemingly-unlikely win (at least at the time) over No. 12 Oklahoma.
But they lost two of their last three to ranked Oklahoma State and Baylor, giving them a mark of 1-3 against ranked teams this season.
This is a question of motivation for the Ducks, who have to be lamenting missing out on a fifth-straight BCS bowl game after Oklahoma was selected ahead of them for the Allstate Sugar Bowl. On paper, the Ducks are the superior team. It’s just a question of whether they can suppress that disappointment and not let Texas get too caught up in the emotion of Brown’s departure.
Key matchup: As is always the case when you play Oregon, how are you going to stop the run? That’s something Texas hasn’t been very good at this season. The Longhorns rank 80th in the country, yielding 180.3 yards per game on the ground. They’ve also given up 21 rushing touchdowns and allow 4.2 yards per carry. The Ducks average 278.3 yards per game on the ground, which ranks ninth nationally. And all eyes should be on Jeffcoat. Depth-wise, the Longhorns are hurting defensively and are down to about three linebackers and a couple of defensive tackles. Brown said at one point he feels like they lost eight to 10 of his best players to injury. But Oregon shouldn't get too cocky. Jeffcoat is legit. Lest we forget another defensive end from Texas who spoiled the bowl hopes of a team from Oregon last year.
Further, a number of Pac-12 players are on their way to consensus and unanimous All-American honors.
While we still await the AP, FWAA and the American Football Coaches Association teams, here's how things stand so far with 12 different Pac-12 players receiving note on at least one first team.
PAC-12 FIRST-TEAM ALL-AMERICANS
Offense: RB Ka'Deem Carey, Jr., Arizona, WR Brandin Cooks, Jr., Oregon State, OL David Yankey, Sr, Stanford
Defense: DT Leonard Williams, So., USC, LB Trent Murphy, Sr., Stanford, CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Jr., Oregon
Offense: Carey, Cooks, Yankey
Defense: Murphy, LB Anthony Barr, Sr., UCLA
The Sporting News
Offense: Cooks, Yankey
Defense: Barr, Murphy
Specialists: KR Ty Montgomery, Jr., Stanford
Offense: Carey, Cooks, Yankey, OL Hroniss Grasu, Jr., Oregon, All-purpose Myles Jack, Fr., UCLA
Defense: Barr, S Deone Bucannon, Sr., Washington State, S Ed Reynolds, Sr., Stanford
Offense: Carey, Cooks, Yankey
Defense: Barr, Murphy
- Arizona WR Austin Hill, who missed the season with a knee injury, is about "75 or 80 percent."
- Arizona State RB Marion Grice is hoping to come back from injury in the Holiday Bowl.
- California gets another commitment from a juco defensive tackle.
- Colorado is building some recruiting momentum with three commitments.
- Oregon's offensive tackle Tyler Johnstone has a weight problem -- he can't keep it on.
- Oregon State LB D.J. Alexander has neck surgery and will miss the bowl game.
- Whether it's the NFL or Texas, folks think highly of Stanford coach David Shaw.
- UCLA hands out its team awards.
- USC WR Marqise Lee said he'll announce his NFL plans after the bowl game.
- This former Utah QB had a good weekend. See, Utes, all you need is another one of him and all will be well!
- Washington interim coach Marques Tuiasosopo is focused on the present, not where he'll coach next year.
- The New Mexico Bowl is about fun and business for Washington State.
Who will be the Florida State quarterback’s chief competition in 2014 as Winston tries to join Archie Griffin as the only two-time winner of the award? And could a third consecutive freshman quarterback claim it?
Here are the top 10 favorites to win the Heisman in '14.
1. Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State Seminoles2013 stats: 237-of-349 (68 percent), 3,820 yards, 38 touchdowns, 10 interceptions; 193 rushing yards, 4 rushing TDs
Remember when it was a rarity for a Heisman winner to return? Then Tim Tebow won as a sophomore, and underclassmen claiming the trophy became a relative norm. Johnny Manziel set the bar by being invited back to NYC for the award show. Does Winston have what it takes to go one step further and win it for a second time?
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But this year, perhaps more than any other, the Pac-12 showed why it is one of the toughest, if not the deepest, conference in all of college football. It passed the nonconference test, going 31-6 against non-league competition -- with wins over teams from the SEC, Big Ten and ACC. It crushed the Mountain West, going 10-0 against the West Coast’s little brother conference. And three more meetings in the postseason could extend it to 13-0.
There were thrilling upsets. (Utah, Washington State and USC all get thumbs up.) There was the Week 1 Oregon State debacle. There were All-Americans, national award winners and a style of football that is uniquely Pac-12.
The influx of big-name coaches has raised the ante over the past few seasons, and that trend continued this year, with Steve Sarkisian’s move to USC and Chris Petersen’s ingress to Washington.
The South was nasty, and will be again next year. Arizona State has staked its claim. But UCLA is right on the Sun Devils’ heels, as are USC and an Arizona squad that has the potential to be very, very scary in 2014.
The North belongs to Stanford until proven otherwise. The Cardinal's recipe for beating Oregon has yielded fruit for two years. But with Marcus Mariota back for another season, you certainly have to expect the Ducks to be a top-10 team. And Petersen’s arrival makes Washington an instant player for the division.
The best thing the Pac-12 can go is finish strong in the postseason, win its BCS bowl game and head into the playoff era with plenty of momentum.
Offensive MVP: Arizona running back Ka’Deem Carey
was arguably the most consistent skill player in college football this season, posting at least 100 yards in every game he played and finishing with 1,716 yards and 17 touchdowns on 322 carries (5.3 average). He also caught 26 passes and a touchdown.
Defensive MVP: With 14 sacks, Stanford linebacker Trent Murphy was the Pac-12 and the national leader in getting at the quarterback. He also ranked third nationally with 21.5 tackles for loss. Murphy posted 58 total tackles, blocked a kick, forced a fumble and returned an interception for a touchdown.
Newcomer of the year: Plenty of fantastic options, including ASU receiver Jaelen Strong and Colorado linebacker Addison Gillam. But it was UCLA linebacker/running back Myles Jack who made the biggest splash. The Bruins' true freshman posted 70 tackles with five for a loss, an interception and two forced fumbles. He also blocked a kick. As a running back he carried 37 times for 269 yards with seven touchdowns.
Biggest surprise: Washington State athletic director Bill Moos said he thought the Cougars would start being a consistent winner by 2014. Coach Mike Leach had his own timetable. In just his second season in Pullman, Leach has the Cougars in a bowl game for the first time since 2003 -- and they recorded a marquee win on the road at USC in Week 2 that ultimately helped them become bowl-eligible.
Biggest disappointment: There was no great redemption story for Lane Kiffin. In fact, the Trojans looked like a significantly improved team after he was removed from his coaching duties. Hopes were high that Kiffin would be able to turn the Trojans around after an abysmal 2012. But a 62-41 loss at ASU in Week 5 was the straw that broke the back of his fairly underwhelming tenure with the Trojans.
Best game: At the quarter pole, we went with Oregon State at Utah. At the midway post, we went with Oregon State at Utah. And now in the season wrap, we’re sticking with that. That game, now more than ever, spells out the importance of every single week. Oregon State would be home for the holidays without that dramatic 51-48 overtime victory. And because of said dramatic overtime defeat, the five-win Utes are out of the postseason again. From a pure tension and excitement level, that game was tough to beat.
The most difficult position to narrow down was the secondary. The Pac-12 blog also went with Oregon State defensive end Scott Crichton over Stanford's Ben Gardner, who was first team with the coaches, despite missing the final four games of the season.
The only team that didn't place a player here is California. Stanford led the way with four position players and five overall.
QB Marcus Mariota, So., Oregon
RB Ka'Deem Carey, Jr., Arizona
RB Bishop Sankey, Jr., Washington
WR Brandin Cooks, Jr., Oregon State
WR Paul Richardson, Jr., Colorado
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jr., Washington
OL Evan Finkenberg, Sr., Arizona State
OL Hroniss Grasu, Jr., Oregon
OL Marcus Martin, Jr., USC
OL Xavier Su'a-Filo, Jr., UCLA
OL David Yankey, Sr, Stanford
DE Scott Crichton, Jr., Oregon State
DE Trevor Reilly, Sr., Utah
DT Will Sutton, Sr., Arizona State
DT Leonard Williams, So., USC
LB Anthony Barr, Sr., UCLA
LB Trent Murphy, Sr., Stanford
LB Shayne Skov, Sr., Stanford
S Deone Bucannon, Sr., Washington State
S Ed Reynolds, Sr., Stanford
CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Jr., Oregon
CB Robert Nelson, Sr., Arizona State
PK Travis Coons, Sr., Washington
P Tom Hackett, So. Utah
KR Ty Montgomery, Jr., Stanford
PR Nelson Agholor, So, USC
AUSTIN, Texas -- Mack Brown united and revived a divided and dormant Texas football program and coached the Longhorns to their first undisputed national title in 36 years.
Now, after four seasons with at least four losses, Brown is stepping down to make way for the next coach to try to push the Longhorns back into the nation's elite.
Texas announced Saturday night that Brown, who won the 2005 national championship, is retiring after 16 seasons, with his final game to be the Dec. 30 Valero Alamo Bowl against Oregon.
In a statement released by the school Saturday night, Brown acknowledged it was time for a change after a 30-20 record and 18-17 mark in the Big 12 over the last four seasons. Texas is 8-4 this season and lost the Big 12 title to Baylor in the final game of the regular season.
Brown made the decision to resign Saturday at about 4 p.m. ET, a university source told ESPN's Shelley Smith, and told everyone closely associated with the program personally.
New athletic director Steve Patterson was seen about that time walking around Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, gazing at walls and statues.
Brown then went to the team's first practice for the Alamo Bowl. After it ended, he gathered players and recruits and told them he was stepping down, a moment that was met with stunned silence, the source said. On Saturday night, Brown and his wife, Sally, attended a dinner for recruits and their families as usual and worked the room for more than two hours.
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To the notes!
William from Santa Barbara writes: Lets pretend that Oregon got an invite to the BCS, so all of the PAC-12 schools, except Stanford, moved up in the bowl pecking order. Would the PAC still be favored in all of their games? What does this say about the strength of our bowl lineup?
Ted Miller: Oregon would not be favored against Alabama in the All-State Sugar Bowl. More on that in a bit.
But your point is solid. The lineup, after the Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio between Stanford and Michigan State, probably would look like this:
- Arizona State vs. Oklahoma State, Valero Alamo Bowl.
- UCLA vs. Kansas State, National University Holiday Bowl
- USC vs. Virginia Tech, Hyundai Sun Bowl
- Washington vs. Fresno State, Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl
- Arizona vs. BYU, Fight Hunger Bowl
- Washington State vs. Colorado State, Gildan New Mexico Bowl
- Oregon State vs. Boston College, AdvoCare V100 Bowl
[Edit note: As some readers pointed out -- do'h! on my part -- if Oregon played in the Sugar Bowl, then Oklahoma would play in the Cotton Bowl, knocking the other Big 12 teams down a notch. Ergo, this has been changed.]
That is a favorable slate for the Pac-12, though the Sun Devils would be an underdog to the Cowboys. Other than that, you could make an argument that the Pac-12 still might be favored in every game, as it presently is with its "real" bowl lineup, though BYU might get the edge over Arizona.
That only would be more confirmation of the depth of the Pac-12 in 2013, at least pending the results of the games.
However, it's also fair to point out that two things happened to water down the Pac-12 bowl game opponents: No. 1, the Big 12 and ACC both got two BCS bowl teams. No. 2, the Big 12 and ACC got two BCS bowl teams during a season in which neither conference was terribly deep.
Marc from Albuquerque writes: Am I the only ducks fan out there who is thankful we did not get invited to play Bama in the Sugar Bowl? The way the ducks have played in the past month we would have zero chance to beat Bama. Texas is a much more winnable game and duck fans should be more excited to finish the season with a win than a beat down from the SEC.
But, as previously noted, I don't think Oregon would beat Alabama, and I base that in large part on the final four games.
That said: At midseason, I would have rated the Ducks' chances against the Crimson Tide at close to 50-50. That was when Oregon was trucking along in dominant fashion. And QB Marcus Mariota was 100 percent healthy.
In fact, that is one of the big questions for the bowl season, and would be a huge issue for a hypothetical matchup with Alabama. With just more than a month to rest, would Mariota be back to his midseason form as the nation's best dual threat quarterback?
Mariota at 100 percent probably means Oregon rolls Texas in the Valero Alamo Bowl. And it likely would make a matchup with Alabama, at the very least, interesting well into the fourth quarter.
Benvolio from Ashland, Ore., writes: I have a nagging thought on which I'd like your input. My main concern with hiring Sark at 'SC is the development of Keith Price over the past 3 seasons. While he threw less INTs this season than he had in previous ones, I haven't seen much clear improvement in his playing ability. Cody Kessler, on the other hand, got better in nearly every game all season long. Clearly there are too many factors at play to boil everything down to coaching, but regardless it's leaving me a little nervous about the future of our quarterback.
I think Steve Sarkisian's recovery job with Price this year was outstanding. Price looked shellshocked in 2012 after a brilliant debut campaign the year before. While he fells short of his 2011 numbers, he definitely bounced back and redeemed himself. I think Price's development is far more a positive than a negative on Sark's resume.
That said, I think Huskies QB coach Marques Tuiasosopo deserves a lot of credit for Price getting his footing again, and he is expected to follow Sarkisian to USC.
There are plenty of things to worry about with USC. But a Sark-Tuiasosopo combination working with Kessler and the Trojans QBs is not high on the list.
Elk from Los Angeles writes: Does UCLA QB Brett Hundleystay another year? This year, biggest dual threat QB is Manziel, next year would have to deal with Winston and Mariota.
Ted Miller: I think Hundley, who has tremendous upside, should return for his redshirt junior season, but that has to be a decision he's fully invested in. The worst thing to do is come back and then spend the next year fretting over whether you made the right call.
Hundley likely would be an early-round draft pick this spring just based on his natural ability. He'd be a project but one with a substantial potential payoff.
I do think he would take a step forward in terms of pocket awareness, mechanics and game management if he came back to UCLA, a team that would be favored to win the South Division with him on board.
He'd also land on more than a few preseason Heisman Trophy watch lists.
Chris from Salt Lake City writes: There are a bunch of Utah fans out of their minds right now, calling for [coach Kyle] Whittingham's head. Do me a favor and explain what happens to Utah football if Dr. Hill gives Whittingham the boot. Utah would have to be the toughest job to hire for in the PAC 12 right?
Ted Miller: Chris, many of your fellow Utah fans don't like Kevin and my oft-repeated calls for patience among Utes fans, though we both understand the impatience.
As I've noted before, I don't think we'd be having this debate if the Utes had somehow had better luck at quarterback. What if Jordan Wynn had stayed healthy in 2011 and 2012? What if Travis Wilson had this fall?
I know many would retort that there should have been a quality back-up plan. And maybe there should have been. But how many teams in the country wouldn't have slipped substantially if for three consecutive seasons their expected starting QB wasn't able to finish the season?
Further, Utah moved into a Pac-12 that is much better than the Pac-10 the Utes used to be competitive with as a MWC team.
Let me make a point that many Utah fans won't like. Those special Utah teams under Urban Meyer and Kyle Whittingham? They weren't as great as you think.
Before you get angry as your 2008 self, ask yourself what you thought of Fresno State this year. Your Pac-12 brain dismissed the Bulldogs, didn't it?
Go back to the stunning 31-28 comeback win over Oregon State in 2008 in Rice-Eccles Stadium. That Beavers team, which went 7-2 in Pac-12 play, including a victory over then-No. 1 USC, was good but far from great.
Imagine if the Utes had to play a nine-game schedule of Oregon State-like teams in 2008. Those Beavers lost to Stanford and got pounded by Oregon. They beat Arizona and Arizona State both by two points. No way the 2008 Utes would go unbeaten with a nine-game Pac-10 schedule.
You hated hearing that in 2008, I know. But can you see, from your new Pac-12 perspective, that 2008 tweak's logic now?
I'd wager that the 2013 Utah team with the Travis Wilson who beat BYU and Stanford behind center would be highly competitive with the 2008 Utes.
Utah is not regressing. The competition has progressed. Substantially. TCU is going through the same thing in the Big 12. Do you think Gary Patterson is a bad coach?
Of course, if things don't get better in 2014, Whittingham's seat will heat up. That's the nature of the business.
But catching up in the Pac-12 is not something that happens in one, three or probably even five seasons. It's a process, and obviously not one that is enjoyable to go through.
Flip Week: Willamette Walk
2:00 PM ET Washington State Colorado State 3:30 PM ET 20 Fresno State 25 USC 5:30 PM ET Buffalo San Diego State 9:00 PM ET Tulane Louisiana-Lafayette
6:00 PM ET Pittsburgh Bowling Green 9:30 PM ET Utah State 23 Northern Illinois
2:30 PM ET Marshall Maryland 6:00 PM ET Syracuse Minnesota 9:30 PM ET Brigham Young Washington
12:00 PM ET Rutgers Notre Dame 3:20 PM ET Cincinnati North Carolina 6:45 PM ET Miami (FL) 18 Louisville 10:15 PM ET Michigan Kansas State
11:45 AM ET Middle Tennessee Navy 3:15 PM ET Ole Miss Georgia Tech 6:45 PM ET 10 Oregon Texas 10:15 PM ET 14 Arizona State Texas Tech
12:30 PM ET Arizona Boston College 2:00 PM ET Virginia Tech 17 UCLA 4:00 PM ET Rice Mississippi State 8:00 PM ET 24 Duke 21 Texas A&M
12:00 PM ET Nebraska 22 Georgia 12:00 PM ET UNLV North Texas 1:00 PM ET Iowa 16 LSU 1:00 PM ET 19 Wisconsin 9 South Carolina 5:00 PM ET 5 Stanford 4 Michigan State 8:30 PM ET 15 UCF 6 Baylor
7:30 PM ET 13 Oklahoma State 8 Missouri 8:30 PM ET 12 Clemson 7 Ohio State