Baker’s recruitment heats up
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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.
NEW YORK -- A tackle-machine linebacker, a tackle-busting running back and one of the most disruptive defensive tackles in the country made return appearances on The Associated Press All-America team.
The All-America teams were released Tuesday and selected by a panel of AP college football poll voters.
Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston from Florida State added All-American to his resume after a spectacular redshirt freshman season. Heisman finalists Andre Williams from Boston College and Northern Illinois' Jordan Lynch also made the first team. Williams joins Carey in the backfield and Lynch, the dual-threat quarterback, was chosen as an all-purpose player.
Carey, a junior, is second in the nation in rushing after leading last year, but said he thinks he's a better player now.
"I worked hard to improve my speed and strength in the offseason while keeping my speed," Carey said. "I put on 10 pounds of weight and I think that's helped my durability. I also wanted to be a better blocker away from the ball. Blocking for our quarterback and our receivers is key to our system and it's important that I do my part even when I'm not carrying the ball."
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
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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.
- Arizona RB Ka'Deem Carey didn't win the Doak Walker Award, as he should have, but he's a two-time All-American.
- More on Arizona State landing a recruit on its D-line.
- The good news is California's football team is getting better in the classroom.
- Colorado lands a tight end, its 18th commitment.
- Checking in with former Oregon QB Darron Thomas.
- Oregon State's Brandin Cooks won the Biletnikoff Award.
- A Stanford troika earns first-team All-American honors.
- A UCLA OLB is a first-team All-American.
- At least one USC coach has strong ties to Fresno State, the Trojans' Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl opponent.
- Utah coach Kyle Whittingham says goodbye to an assistant coach.
- This is a couple days old, but it's a good Q&A with new Washington coach Chris Petersen.
- Washington State's first bowl practices since 2003 mean young players get more attention.
- Yours truly talked all things ACC on Thursday.
- Boston College's Andre Williams talks to ESPN The Magazine's Adam K. Moussa.
- As Ohio State readies to face Clemson, the Big Ten school's tradition suffers in the state of South Carolina, Gene Sapakoff writes in the (Charleston) Post & Courier.
- Duke's physicality was on display in the ACC title game, Daniel Carp writes in the Duke Chronicle.
- AL.com's Jon Solomon takes a closer look at Jameis Winston in the first of a five-part series.
- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Ken Sugiura gives five possible explanations for why Georgia Tech safety Jemea Thomas did not receive all-conference honors.
- Maryland will not receive bowl distribution revenue from the ACC, Alex Prewitt writes in the Washington Post.
- Miami coach Al Golden is this year's winner of the Lombardi Award for Excellence in Coaching, Christy Cabrera Chirinos writes in the (South Florida) Sun-Sentinel.
- Be careful in the Belk Bowl, North Carolina.
- The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Sam Werner has reaction from Aaron Donald on his big night in Florida.
- The (Syracuse) Post-Standard's Nate Mink looks at whether the bowl game can be a momentum-builder for Terrel Hunt going into next season.
- SBNation's Dan Rubenstein gives three reasons to look forward to Virginia Tech's matchup with UCLA in the Hyundai Sun Bowl.
- The gang at Blogger So Dear looks at Wake Forest's hire of Dave Clawson.
But remember, if you kill him, then you'll be unemployed;
Oh, my Yoda, yo-yo-yo-yo Yoda.
- Ka'Deem Carey picks up an All-America honor.
- The Sun Devils picked up a four-star recruit.
- Cal is targeting some help from the juco ranks.
- Derrick Webb's final season as a Buff told in pictures.
- Tight end is an issue for both Oregon and Texas.
- Remembering the last time Oregon State played Boise State.
- David Shaw to the Texans? Nah.
- Some Hyundai Sun Bowl storylines.
- USC defensive stars are weighing their options.
- A Utah assistant is leaving to coach Weber State.
- Kellen Moore gives his blessing for Chris Petersen's move to Washington.
- A return to bowling is a step in the right direction for WSU.
- Athlon has announced its Pac-12 all-conference team and postseason awards as well as its All-America team.
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We can talk regular season, bowl season or we can share holiday cheer. Or jeers.
We also have good news. The last few chats have suffered through technical difficulties. Those have been solved!
And there was much rejoicing.