1. Florida State doesn’t look like the team that won a BCS national championship last season. It looks more like the Auburn team that lost to the Seminoles in the last BCS National Championship game.
To win a national title in the past, or now reach the four-team College Football Playoff, a team is going to need more than a few good breaks along the way. FSU seems to be getting them every week, just like Auburn did last season.
The Seminoles beat Clemson 23-17 in overtime on Sept. 20 because the Tigers fumbled the ball -- and a golden opportunity for an upset -- at FSU’s 14-yard line in the final two minutes of regulation.
Then on Thursday night, the No. 2 Seminoles trailed No. 25 Louisville 21-0 in the final minutes of the first half on the road. FSU tailback Karlos Williams fumbled near the goal line, but tight end Nick O'Leary recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchdown, giving the Seminoles a manageable 21-7 deficit heading into the locker room.
On the first play from scrimmage in the second half, Louisville safety Gerod Holliman intercepted Jameis Winston's pass. But Winston chased down Holliman, knocked the ball loose and FSU’s Travis Rudolph recovered the fumble.
The Seminoles scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter to pull away for a 42-31 win, their 24th victory in a row.
"We’ve been there before," Winston said. "Being down is nothing when you’ve got heart and you persevere. Personally, we play better when we’re down, honestly."
2. Georgia fans have every right to be upset that the NCAA didn’t reduce star tailback Todd Gurley's four-game suspension, which will keep him sidelined for Saturday’s game against Florida in Jacksonville, Florida, and next week’s road trip to Kentucky.
But Georgia fans shouldn’t be upset at the NCAA or the UGA administration. Gurley knew he was breaking NCAA rules when he accepted $3,000 to autograph helmets, footballs and other memorabilia. And it wasn’t a momentary lapse of judgment. According to the NCAA, Gurley was paid to autograph memorabilia for multiple dealers over the past two years.
Sure, the NCAA rules that prohibit players from receiving money for their autographs and likeness are out of date and need to be repealed. But Gurley knew the rules, and Georgia officials constantly educate their players about what they can and can’t do.
I have sympathy for Gurley, who grew up in a mobile home park in Tarboro, North Carolina. His mother struggled to make ends meet while raising Gurley and his siblings, and his family still doesn’t have much when it comes to material possessions. It doesn’t make much sense that Georgia and the NCAA can profit from his name, image and likeness, while he will have to sit four games for profiting from his own name.
At the end of the day, Gurley’s biggest flaw might have been his honesty about breaking the NCAA rules.
3. Don’t think the timing of Oklahoma freshman tailback Joe Mixon's guilty plea to avoid going to trial on charges that he punched a woman in the face in a bar on July 25 was coincidental.
By entering an Alford plea, which allows Mixon to continue asserting his innocence, his attorneys avoided making the videotape that showed Mixon punching a woman available to the media and public through state open records laws.
On Saturday, a new Oklahoma law, Senate Bill 2676, takes effect that would have required police to release the surveillance video from the bar where the incident took place. But since Mixon reached a deal with prosecutors before the law goes into effect, police in Norman, Oklahoma, are refusing to release the video to media.
Police allowed members of the media to view the tape but wouldn’t let them make copies. The original tape was returned to the bar owners on Thursday night and was destroyed, according to media reports.
Attorneys for the city of Norman say they still have a copy, after they were threatened with a lawsuit, but contend that that copy is not subject to release under transparency laws.
Oklahoma senator David Holt, who wrote the new law, told KOKH-TV in Oklahoma City that his intent was to increase transparency.
"I don’t even know that we need to say that, I thought that the intention of that was clear. That if you can look at it, you can copy it, especially in the day and age where we all have iPhones, we’re just one click away from copying a document," Holt said.
4. Winston threw a career-high three interceptions in Florida State’s win at Louisville, and his chances of repeating as the Heisman Trophy winner seem all but dead.
According to a Heismanology poll conducted by ESPN’s Joe Tessitore, Winston received only 4.5 percent of the available points in this week’s balloting -- and that was before he tossed three interceptions against the Cardinals.
After nine weeks of the season, it seems to be a two-man race between Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott and Oregon’s Marcus Mariota. According to Tessitore, they received 95 percent of the first- and second-place votes.
But there is still a lot of football to be played, and Tessitore notes that the last time two players received such a high percentage of the first- and second-place votes was 2012, when Kansas State quarterback Colin Klein and Oregon tailback Kenjon Barner were leading the voting. Of course, Texas A&M freshman Johnny Manziel ended up becoming the first freshman to win.
5. And, finally, the stat of the week from ESPN Stats & Info: Mississippi State is averaging a Power 5-high 188.6 rush yards per game inside the tackles. Prescott and Josh Robinson are two of four Power 5 players who have run for at least 500 yards and seven touchdowns inside the tackles.
Washington at Colorado, Pac-12 Network
The Buffaloes are desperate for a conference win, and given Washington’s horrendous offensive struggles, this looks to be their best remaining chance. The Huskies can still wreak havoc defensively, though, so they’re the favorites entering this game. Cyler Miles will be back under center for Washington, which will try to escape Boulder with greater ease than UCLA, who beat the Buffs in double overtime, did last week.
USC at Washington State, Pac-12 Network
Connor Halliday's passing yardage totals continue to light up box scores on a weekly basis, but Cougars losses are piling up just as quickly. Washington State must win out just to finish .500 this season, and that outcome appears highly unlikely. USC might be hurting after a close loss at Utah that also cost them left tackle Chad Wheeler (torn ACL), but there’s a lot here for Wazzu to handle between Cody Kessler, his explosive targets, and Javorius Allen.
Stanford at Oregon, FOX
Don’t let the Cardinal’s three losses fool you: This is still a titanic match-up between the nation’s most efficient defense (Stanford is allowing only 3.7 yards per play, best in FBS) and its best quarterback (Marcus Mariota’s 192.2 rating is No. 1). However, it’s the other side of the ball that might ultimately decide the winner in the Ducks’ revenge effort. Stanford’s offense, though recently revamped, is averaging a league-worst 14.7 points per game on the road, while Oregon’s defense has not been airtight this season.
California at Oregon State, Pac-12 Network
Sean Mannion will likely break the Pac-12’s career record for passing yards in this game, as the current mark, held by USC’s Matt Barkley, is just over 200 yards away. Fittingly, the quarterback on the other side -- Cal sophomore Jared Goff -- has a legitimate shot to re-break that record if he’s still around in two years. This one will be fun because it features two talented quarterbacks and an air of desperation, as both teams need a win to stay on reasonable track for bowl eligibility.
Arizona at UCLA, ESPN
It’s put up-or-shut up time in Westwood. The Bruins have squeaked by two lower-tier Pac-12 teams in Cal and Colorado. The road becomes more difficult with resurgent Arizona visiting. The Wildcats fired on all cylinders at Washington State last week, and Anu Solomon is certainly excited to test the shaky Bruins defense with the likes of Nick Wilson and Austin Hill. Meanwhile, Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright III has forced five fumbles this season, while UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley has turned the ball over eight times. Keep an eye on the Bruins’ ability to protect the football.
Utah at Arizona State, Fox Sports 1
So, how much has Arizona State’s defense — particularly its stoutness against the run — improved? We’ll find out when Utah’s Devontae Booker (leading the Pac-12 at 166 rushing yards per conference game) tests Tempe to wrap up Saturday. The Sun Devils had given up over 200 rushing yards in four straight games before stifling Stanford. Washington also had some success against them on the ground last week (but none through the air), so this duel in the desert represents a true litmus test for both teams. The winner will be in excellent position when it comes to the race for the Pac-12 South crown.
Stanford at Oregon
1. This team, unlike its predecessor, is at times more lucky than good.
2. The Seminoles are still pretty darn good, even with all their injuries.
3. Jameis Winston is an excellent crunch-time quarterback.
4. FSU likely has too many warts to repeat as national champion.
5. Jimbo Fisher is an unquestionably brilliant coach.
Let's focus on the last item. Fisher's coaching acumen often gets overlooked, often because of what Fisher says and does away from the sideline.
He out-coached Louisville's Bobby Petrino in the second half Thursday, pushing the right buttons, especially on a third-and-6 from Louisville's 35-yard line late in the fourth quarter. Winston found a wide-open Freddie Stevenson, who scooted in for an easy, euthanizing touchdown. It's another reminder that Fisher is at the top of his game.
Fisher's clout as a recruiter also showed up as three freshmen, led by running back Dalvin Cook, reached the end zone. And his Seminoles team, despite myriad mistakes and continuing controversy, won its 24th straight game.
So why is it so hard to celebrate Fisher? Because of the other stuff.
To continue reading this article you must be an Insider
Friday means picks! Big picks, small picks, upset picks and more. The Pac-12 blog released its picks Thursday morning with a little debate among the higher-profile games. And as we do each Friday, here are some picks from national writers and those who cover the conference.
The FOX pair of Stewart Mandel and Bruce Feldman are in sync with their Pac-12 picks. Both like Oregon, Arizona State and Arizona to beat Stanford, Utah and UCLA, respectively. Here is Feldman's take on the ASU-Utah matchup:
As good as the Utes D is playing, I think ASU QB Taylor Kelly can handle the heat. The Sun Devils have had fits dealing with the run, and Utah's Devontae Booker has been outstanding, but look for ASU to be able to give more focus to containing him since the Utes’ passing game is hampered further without leading receiver Dres Anderson (out for the season with a knee injury).
- Most of the USA Today staff likes ASU and Arizona.
- The Athlon Folks like an Oregon sweep.
- Jacob Thorpe of the Spokesman-Review sees a tight game between California and Oregon State, but is picking the Golden Bears.
- If you're making friendly wagers, Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News says take the Buffaloes and the points against Washington.
ESPN's Mel Kiper has released his latest Big Board projections, and as of right now, the top two picks in the 2015 NFL Draft will be from the Pac-12. Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota is No. 1 overall, followed by USC's Leonard Williams. Here's Kiper's take on the Oregon quarterback:
He combines above-average accuracy and anticipation with an ability to get through his progressions and elite athleticism. How well he can take apart a defense with tools other than his legs matters in terms of how he is viewed as a prospect, but his ability to throw on the run or simply take off and pick up chunk yardage is a major plus.
It's an insider piece, so I can't give away the farm. (Hint: my password is 1, 2, 3, 4, 5). Safe to say these two aren't the only Pac-12 players who appear in his top 25. There are five more (Washington fans, you'll be pleased).
Mel Kiper's Big Board. pic.twitter.com/YryhXlFapA— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) October 30, 2014
- Taking stock of Rich Rodriguez's tenure at Arizona.
- Taylor Kelly looks to kick off some of the rust.
- Cal's defense prepping for a struggling OSU offense.
- Colorado liking its running back-by-committee approach.
- Some video of Mark Helfrich talking Stanford.
- Some Oregon State notes and injury updates.
- Plenty riding on the Oregon game for the Cardinal.
- Jim Mora offers some thoughts on social media.
- Despite the close losses, USC's spirit is intact.
- Some chalk-talk on Devontae Booker's touchdown against USC.
- Some video of Chris Petersen's gaggle with the media.
- Connor Halliday wishes he had wins, not records.
Lisa Horne, proprietor of PigSkinGrind.com, offers up some awards and highlights thus far this season. She's a Heisman voter, so for what it's worth, she taps Mariota for having the top Heisman moment so far.
Speaking of Mariota ...
Today is Marcus Mariota's 21st bday. Helfrich isn't worried he'd go wild tonight. "I think he and Hroniss might share a Saltine cracker."— Andrew Greif (@AndrewGreif) October 30, 2014
Does UCLA’s season come down to Saturday against Arizona?
Miller: Yes, in terms of living up to preseason expectations, though we are not as quick to write off the Bruins as many seem ready to do. UCLA should be 7-1 right now, losing only to Oregon, so they are only an upset home loss to Utah behind schedule. A 10-2 regular-season finish, even if that doesn’t include a South Division title, wouldn’t rate a major disappointment, as it likely would include a top-10 ranking. But a third loss crosses the over-under threshold in a negative way. So, absolutely, the Bruins need to beat Arizona at home and stay alive in the South Division race.
Jennings: I don’t know. I agree with Ted that this team should be 7-1 right now, but the difference between a two-loss and a three-loss season isn’t that huge. If they lose to Arizona and then run the table with huge wins over Washington, USC and Stanford (going 3-0 against California teams this season), that could still be considered a small success in a disappointing year.
Might Arizona State QB Taylor Kelly have a quick hook if he struggles early against Utah? And is the same true for Utah QB Travis Wilson?
Jennings: Best-case scenario, neither struggles. But if we’re playing the negative-Nancy card here, I would say that if both struggle, I’d have my money on Kyle Whittingham standing by Wilson longer than Graham would stand by Kelly. Graham has stood by the fact that Bercovici is the backup, no matter what. Whittingham, on the other hand, has this open battle in which neither has really taken the reins. Wilson took a step forward last weekend and I think he’s going to try to keep that process moving forward this weekend, even if that means letting him have a bit longer of a leash.
Does Marcus Mariota need to beat Stanford to win the Heisman Trophy and establish his longterm Oregon legacy?
Miller: Probably, but not necessarily. Probably in that if he goes 0-3 against Stanford in his career, that will diminish his national standing significantly. But what if Oregon loses 42-40 and Mariota throws four TD passes and runs for another? If the Ducks lose this game because their inconsistent defense gets trenched, that shouldn’t be on Mariota. But if Mariota puts up the middling-to-poor numbers he did in the previous two games against Stanford, he will have a lot of ground to make up to get invited to New York.
Jennings: I don’t see how Mariota doesn’t make it to New York this year. Statistically, he’s the best quarterback in the nation. He has 24 touchdown passes and one interception. His touchdowns-to-interceptions ratio is twice as good as the No. 2 guy on the list. But there are always going to be reasons why he’s not going to get some people's votes, whether it’s because they didn’t see his late games or the national perception of the Pac-12 vs. SEC. I don’t know if beating or losing to Stanford will change any of that (though the people who wouldn’t vote for him certainly will use that in some of their reasoning). And as far as his career stuff, on Tuesday, Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said Mariota needs to do nothing else to cement his spot in Oregon history. I’d agree with that. He could’ve left after last season and I think he’d still be a player everyone would be talking about for the next decade. Win or lose against Stanford, that doesn’t change.
Which struggling team finishes strongest: Cal, Colorado, Oregon State or Washington State?
Miller: I think Washington State is the best 2-6 team in the nation, so you get that, Cougs. And if Oregon State were healthy, the Beavers would be a seven-win or eight-win team. Colorado is much better than last year, even if it isn’t translating to wins. But I think Cal’s got a good shot to win two of its final four games and earn bowl eligibility after going 1-11 last year. That is huge. And even of the Bears only go 5-7, that would rate them as one of the nation’s most improved teams in Year 2 under Sonny Dykes.
Jennings: Darn it, Ted. We’re too agreeable today. WE NEED SOME DRAMA. But, I’m going with Cal, too. I think the Bears are the most improved team in the league and Jared Goff is the most improved player. The more this team plays together and jells, the more it will win. I see them winning two more games this season and bowling by year’s end.
Who is going to be this weekend’s biggest impact player?
Miller: Mariota vs. the Stanford defense is the obvious lead item, but I’m going with UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley. Touted as a Heisman candidate in the preseason, the campaign hasn’t gone the way he imagined it. Yet if he produces a tour de force performance in a win over Arizona, Hundley and the Bruins can quickly right their season. And UCLA won't win without him playing well.
Jennings: Whatever Utah receiver steps up in Dres Anderson’s absence. The Utah defense and special teams will show up -- that I’m almost sure of -- however, if the Utes want the win, they have to have someone because a deep field threat for Wilson to target. Running back Devontae Booker is going to do his thing, but if the Utes can only rely on a run game, their offense is going to be one-dimensional and Arizona State is going to get them every time. Whether it’s Kenneth Scott, Tim Patrick or Kenric Young, one of those guys needs to be the impact player of the weekend if the Utes want the W.
How many Pac-12 teams end up bowl-eligible?
Ted Miller: Nine. Eight is pretty much a certainty. The ninth will either be Cal or Oregon State.
Jennings: Ditto, Miller.
I don’t know if anyone has ever agreed with Ted so much in 1,000 words.
While Stanford's trip to Oregon this weekend has lost some of its preseason luster, it's still a matchup of two Pac-12 North and recruiting powers.
To continue reading this article you must be an Insider
It was the date they'd have a chance to hit the field again against the team that derailed their 2012 season. But the 2013 date would have the same result -- that circle would make no difference in the end -- it'd be another loss to Stanford, another New Year's Day spent not playing in the Rose Bowl.
"We can't make it a bigger game than it is," Oregon center Hroniss Grasu said. "That's what I feel like we did last year. We were just focusing on that game way too much."
So perhaps in this game, one of the biggest benefits for Oregon will be one of its biggest questions marks -- its youth.
Though Allen and Carrington saw the effects of this game last year during their redshirt seasons, they weren't in that game seeing exactly how everything went down.
Now, their ignorance could be Oregon's bliss.
In any other game that type of inexperience might be considered a deterrent. But here, in a game in which the history has messed with the present players more and more, perhaps inexperience will be one of the Ducks' greatest strength.
"I feel like it's a little bit easier for those guys to be able to play this game," Grasu said. "Because all we can tell those young guys is treat it like you perform in practice. They do an unbelievable job at practice and it has been showing on the field every Saturday. They just have to keep doing that -- don't get too hyped up just for this game."
"Maybe that is a good thing," Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said about his young playmakers. "Those guys are a little bit fresher in their perspective."
The youth certainly has been fresh for Helfrich this season, especially of late as the learning curves have really picked up.
But to him, he really doesn't think of his players in terms of grades. He looks at each of them as a player going into Week 9 of the season, and so far, all of these 18- and 19-year olds have looked like very talented Week 9 players.
"We have so many [young] guys playing prominent roles on both sides of the ball and on special teams," Helfrich said. "If they're in the game, they're our best guy doesn't matter what grade they're in."
It might not matter to Helfrich, but it could, in fact, be a help to the coach come Saturday.
Terry Beckner Jr., the No. 1 ranked prospect in the country, likes to play his recruitment close to the vest. He doesn’t share too much when it comes to what he’s thinking, but Beckner is ready to release the schools where he will make official visits.
To continue reading this article you must be an Insider
Mariota is again a Heisman frontrunner and one of the most accomplished quarterbacks ever to grace the green. Yeah, but those Stanford games …
Hogan has led the Cardinal to a couple of Rose Bowls, but has had his struggles with consistency. Yeah, but those Oregon games …
Hogan’s legend was born on Nov. 17, 2012, at Autzen Stadium. Still in a post Andrew Luck haze and unsatisfied with the results of Josh Nunes, Stanford turned to Hogan to make his first career start at home against Oregon State. A week later, he made his first road start in Eugene and helped engineer an unlikely 17-14 overtime win over the No. 1 Ducks. It was not a game the Cardinal were expected to win.
A year later at Stanford Stadium, the Cardinal knocked off the No. 2 Ducks 26-20. Again, Oregon was the favorite.
“Kevin has played probably two of the best games of his career against us,” Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said.
Against Oregon, Hogan is completing 65 percent of his throws with one touchdown, one interception and a pair of rushing touchdowns.
Conversely, Mariota has completed 57 percent of his throws against the Cardinal with three touchdowns, one interception and zero rushing touchdowns. Stanford -- the only Pac-12 team Mariota hasn’t beaten in his decorated career -- has been his Great White Buffalo (said in a whisper).
“Last year Marcus certainly didn’t play his best game, nor did everybody around him contribute to his best game,” Helfrich said.
Fair to assume, too, that his knee injury had something to do with it.
The quarterbacks once against take center stage this weekend as the No. 5 Ducks look to move up in the College Football Rankings. Stanford, the two-time defending league champs, is looking just to stay in the North Division race.
“It goes without saying our game plans are completely geared around Marcus,” Stanford coach David Shaw said. “We have that much respect/fear of him. It is respect. He is the focal point of what we do and the focal point of what they do. At times we’ve been able to contain him. We’ve been able to harass him.
“But in every game, there’s a streak where you can’t do anything about it. He gets out of the pocket and takes off. He makes a couple of great throws. He moves the team down the field in three plays and scores a touchdown. It’s understanding that that’s going to happen at some point during the game. And when it does happen, we give respect to a great player and we come back and try to get after him again.”
Stanford’s best weapon against Mariota the last couple of years has been its offense’s ability to sustain drives and the defense’s ability to get off the field. In the two previous meetings, Stanford converted 52 percent on third down, while the Ducks converted just 25 percent.
It’s that same consistency Hogan has shown the previous two years that Shaw is hoping for out of him on Saturday.
“I think the biggest thing is being opportunistic,” Shaw said. “If something was there he was getting the ball out of his hands and throwing it. If nothing is there pulling it down and running it. Being very decisive. Converting on third-downs. Controlling the ball and controlling the clock. It’s hard to separate Kevin from the entire offense. But that’s pretty much what’s been good about what we’ve done.”
Meanwhile, Mariota has gracefully answered all Heisman questions before and during the season, though he has made it quite clear that the stiff-arm is the furthest thing from his mind. Still, many voters -- both of the Heisman and Selection Committee variety -- will look to this game to see if he and the Ducks can cure their recent Stanford woes.
And when we look back on this era of Pac-12 football in a couple of decades, Mariota’s accomplishments won’t be whisked away. Nor will Hogan’s Rose Bowl appearances be redacted. Question is, will we still be saying, “Yeah, but ..."
Why Oregon will win: The Ducks' offense has looked confident, explosive and efficient since it started to get healthy across the offensive line. The new-look Stanford offense, while maybe better suited for the current personnel, might not be able to sustain those long drives that have worn down Oregon in the past. Stanford's defensive injuries are a concern as well. -- Kevin Gemmell
Why Arizona will win: Scooby Wright III and his gang of Wildcats are going to be too much for the UCLA offensive line. Anu Solomon, Nick Wilson and Austin Hill will all have big games for Arizona. Time to start making some sense out of the South. -- Chantel Jennings
Why UCLA will win: This feels a lot like 2012 -- a surging Arizona team coming to the Rose Bowl vs. a UCLA team that had had a couple of bad games. And we all remember what happened there (UCLA won 66-10). Different year, different players. I get all that. But last week was a wake-up call for the Bruins. This game is put-up or shut-up for them. -- Kevin Gemmell
Why Utah will win: With matching three-game win streaks, there's plenty to like about both teams, but Utah's Devontae Booker could be the difference. In his first year in the Pac-12, the juco transfer has averaged a conference-best 166.3 rushing yards per conference game. -- Kyle Bonagura
Why Arizona State will win: The Sun Devils have a chance to solve what's been a major weakness at home, and I think their upward trajectory indicates that they'll do just that. ASU's defense had given up over 200 rushing yards in four straight entering the Stanford game Oct. 18, and even Washington ran the ball with success against the Sun Devils last week. So on paper, it's a bad matchup since Devontae Booker has made Utah a successful rushing team, but I have a feeling ASU will capitalize on this big (late) stage to make a statement. Plus, Taylor Kelly will have shaken off last week's rust. -- David Lombardi
Why USC will win: Washington State's defense just doesn't have it. That's particularly bad news this week, since Cody Kessler delivered a notable performance in the face of Utah's ferocious pass rush during USC's loss last week. Kessler has a bevy of weapons in the passing game, and the Trojans also own balance thanks to running back Buck Allen. They will score plenty of points in Pullman, Washington, and there'll again be too much pressure on Connor Halliday's shoulders. -- David Lombardi
Why Cal will win: Both teams are limping into this game, but I think the Bears' limp is more figurative -- they've lost their past three games after a 4-1 start -- while the Beavers are limping because of injuries physical and mental. Cal also just strikes me as hungrier, though the Bears must contend with a strong Oregon State pass defense. The loser here seems unlikely to become bowl eligible, while the winner will need just one more victory over the homestretch. -- Ted Miller
Why Washington will win: The Huskies snap their two-game losing streak with a 17-point win over Colorado on the road. Hau'oli Kikaha, Danny Shelton and Shaq Thompson are going to have a huge game for the UW front seven defensively and the offense will take a step forward with more consistent play through four quarters (plus, it'll help that there won't be 95 mph winds, as there were in Seattle last week). -- Chantel Jennings
You know the queen of hearts is always your best bet.
At this point in the season, any injury to a starter can be crippling. And in the ridiculously competitive Pac-12 South, it can be downright devastating. Earlier in the week we learned that USC would be without left tackle Chad Wheeler for the rest of the season. Wednesday, another impact player was lost for the year when Utah announced that wide receiver Dres Anderson would miss the rest of the season with a knee injury.
“We feel bad for Dres. It’s heartbreaking for that kid. He’s a fifth-year senior. He’s poured everything he had into this program for five years,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham told reporters after practice on Wednesday. “Nobody’s outworked him. Nobody’s done more for us than Dres during that period of time. He’s taken care of business on and off the field. He’s got his degree already in hand.”
Here are some reactions:
- From The Associated Press.
- Matthew Piper of the Salt Lake Tribune has some player reactions.
- And for some pod reaction, our own Ted Miller was on ESPN Radio 700 in Salt Lake City.
The Utes, very much in the thick of things in the Pac-12 South -- and even the playoff conversation -- enter one of the toughest stretches in the country. After this week's trip to ASU, they are home to Oregon, at Stanford, home to Arizona and at Colorado to close out the season. According to FPI, the Utes have the second-toughest remaining schedule of the 25 ranked teams and the eighth toughest in the nation.
Catching you up on the Heisman race, which could take a turn this weekend with Stanford heading to Oregon, Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota is nearly neck-and-neck with Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott. In the latest ESPN.com poll, Prescott leads Mariota by a single point.
Here’s how it shakes out (followed by total points):
- Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State (45)
- Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon (44)
- Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin (18)
- Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama (13)
- Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska (11)
No other Pac-12 players are receiving votes. Here’s guessing that if Mariota can finally get over his Stanford hump, he’ll enjoy a nice bump.
- The Wildcats don't mind some of the negativity they hear on the road.
- Todd Graham is confident heading into the Utah game.
- Cal's football team is getting all brainy.
- Mike MacIntyre still has confidence in Sefo Liufau.
- An Oregon practice report.
- Some Oregon State news and notes.
- Stanford will have to face Oregon with a defense that isn't full strength.
- Eddie Vanderdoes says it's do or die for the Bruins.
- Despite the wear and tear, Leonard Williams is living up to the hype.
- Lots of potential bowl landings for Utah.
- A couple of Washington post-practice videos.
- The Cougs got a little inspiration from a former coach.
I guess yesterday was National Cat Day? To which my beagle says, meh. The tweet is still funny, though.
ASU running back DJ Foster gets in a question for teammate Taylor Kelly. pic.twitter.com/gnIygvvhVC— Doug Haller (@DougHaller) October 29, 2014
Stanford At Oregon Preview
1:00 PM ET Washington Colorado 4:30 PM ET USC Washington State 7:30 PM ET Stanford 5 Oregon 10:30 PM ET California Oregon State 10:30 PM ET 12 Arizona 22 UCLA 11:00 PM ET 17 Utah 14 Arizona State