Have a great weekend.
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To the notes.
Ryan in New York City: Did you read [Brian] Fremeau? He makes you and Miller look like clowns. Try objective analysis and not who's the most charming coach when making your selections. Really, read Fremeau. Brutal.
Matt in Ontario, Calif. writes: Your Post Spring Power Rankings are (crud). If you say UCLA and Arizona St are 3A and 3B then you should give the edge to the two time defending PAC 12 South Champ. Tell me what other school has played in every PAC 12 Championship game. Give the Bruins a little love.
Kevin Gemmell: I packaged these two questions together for a reason.
Ryan, first off, how did you get an advanced copy of the Christmas card Ted and I are sending out this year?
I'm going to go out on a limb and guess you like Fremeau's projections because he has USC winning the South and UCLA finishing fourth. Clearly, you think we don't give USC enough love (even though the stipulation is there that USC could be a 10-win team and take the South) and give too much to UCLA.
Matt, you don't like our power rankings because we didn't clearly have UCLA as the top team in the South -- rather we separated the Bruins and Sun Devils with "A/B."
One guy is mad for giving UCLA too much love. Another is mad for not giving them enough.
When I started out in this business, around the time our hearts sank for Titanic and Dirk Diggler's name was so bright it burned out light bulbs, one of my first editors said if you've got both sides mad, you're doing something right. By the way, Matt, I'd like to refer you to my daily UCLA ritual. Ryan, I've always found Lane Kiffin to be extremely charming. Yet while the Pac-12 blog got along great with Chip Kelly, we wouldn't call him the most charming guy -- but his team sat atop the power rankings for a long time. Just sayin'.
Brent in Salt Lake City writes: Kevin,I liked your draft updates on the Pac-12, however, I think only including the last two years for the Utes is deceiving for us as a school. It makes it look worse (and we don't need help looking bad right now). Maybe consider a follow-up post where you look at including Colorado and Utah's performance in the same window (since 2000) and include all our draft picks?The Utes have put tons of players into the NFL via the draft since 2000. We've been [cruddy] enough since joining the Pac-12, I'd prefer to think fondly on our draft history. Thanks - enjoy your work.
Steve in Salt Lake City writes: While I understand your keeping to the PAC10/12 for your article I think you probably should have used Utah's and Colo's past history to 2000 since they are certainly in the conference going forward.
Kevin Gemmell: Colorado and Utah fans, I did you wrong. But know that this slight wasn't intentional. It was a Pac-12 writer writing a Pac-12-centric story. Sometimes I forget that there were other conferences before ours. Maybe I was jealous. Maybe I don't like to think about you running around with all of those other teams in all of those other locker rooms. I didn't want to recognize the life you had before the Pac-12.
But fair is fair -- and I owe you a statistical breakdown. I already included the 2013 and 2012 drafts in the original post. Here's the rest of the years.
Since 2000, Colorado has had 34 players drafted -- including four first-round draft picks. Their best draft was 2003 with six players taken and the low end was zero players drafted in 2010, 2005 and 2001. By round, it's four in the first, five in the second, three in the third, two in the fourth, five in the fifth, six in the sixth and nine in the seventh.
2011 (4): Nate Solder (No. 17), Jimmy Smith (27), Jalil Brown (118), Scotty McKnight (227).
2009 (1): Brad Jones (218).
2008 (2): Jordon Dizon (45), Terrence Wheatley (62).
2007 (2): Mason Crosby (193), Abraham Wright (238).
2006 (4): Joe Klopfenstein (46), Jeremy Bloom (147), Quinn Sypniewski (166), Lawrence Vickers (180).
2004 (2): D.J. Hackett (157), Sean Tufts (196).
2003 (6): Tyler Brayton (32), Donald Strickland (90), Chris Brown (93), Justin Bates (219), Brandon Drumm (236), Wayne Lucier (249).
2002 (5): Daniel Graham (21), Andre Gurode (37), Michael M. Lewis (58), Justin Bannan (139), Victor Rogers (259).
2000 (4): Ben Kelly (84), Damen Wheeler (203), Brad Bedell (206), Rashidi Barnes (225).
Since 2000, Utah has had 34 players drafted, including three first-round draft picks and the No. 1 overall pick in Alex Smith in 2005. The high was in 2010 with six players taken and the low was 2008 and 2004 when no players were drafted. By round, it's three in the first, six in the second, three in the fourth, two in the fourth, four in the fifth, six in the sixth and nine in the seventh.
2011 (2): Brandon Burton (139), Caleb Schlauderaff (179).
2010 (6): Koa Misi (40), Zane Beadles (45), Robert Johnson (148), David Reed (156), Stevenson Sylvester (166), R.J. Stanford (223).
2009 (4): Paul Kruger (57), Sean Smith (61), Brice McCain (188), Freddie Brown (252).
2007 (2): Eric Weddle (37), Paul Soliai (108).
2006 (2) Spencer Toone (245), Quinton Ganther (246).
2005 (5): Alex Smith (1), Sione Pouha (88), Chris Kemoeatu (204), Paris Warren (225), Jonathan Fanene (233).
2003 (3): Jordan Gross (8), Lauvale Sape (187), Antwoine Sanders (258).
2002 (2): Cliff Russell (87), Ed Ta'amu (132).
2001 (2): Andre Dyson (60), Steve Smith (74).
2000 (3): John Frank (178), Mike Anderson (189), Richard Seals (218).
BDAZzler in Phoenix writes: Considering that ASU will be facing a much tougher schedule this year than they have in the past few years, and that they have been underwhelming against the softer schedules in those years, how many early-season losses will it take for us to say that the Giant will continue to be sleeping this year?
Kevin Gemmell: Arizona State's schedule is interesting this year. We're going to give them the benefit of the doubt against Sacramento State. Then they've got back-to-back Pac-12 games sandwiched between a home game against Wisconsin and a neutral field game against Notre Dame.
Obviously, going 4-0 during that stretch would be outstanding. I don't think they will. It has nothing to do with talent or coaching. Those are just four really hard games to play without any bye weeks in between. 3-1 would also be great. 2-2 would be solid and even 1-3 would be OK -- so long as that one win was USC for South Division tiebreaking purposes. No promises there.
Losing all four would be a huge blow. ASU could still win the South Division with a 1-4 start -- but they'll have to run out seven straight (which is unlikely) and hope that USC loses. Taking at least one of those games will be critical.
If they win a couple of those games early, it will be a huge boost to their national credibility. And I think they can beat Wisconsin and Notre Dame. I'd say they are underdogs at Stanford, though not by much, and depending how USC's quarterback competition shakes out and the new defense comes together, that could be a coin flip. But it's at home, so maybe they get an edge.
But it's also not the end of the world if they have a slow start. It just means they'll have a lot of making up to do on the back end.
Derek in Portland writes: I liked the Oregon State cornerback article. But please explain to me how this is more important than the quarterback competition?
Kevin Gemmell: Just for the record, I said it might be. And here's my thinking. You know what you are getting with Sean Mannion and Cody Vaz. Both of them have won big games and both have quality experience/starts.
This isn't a situation with two or three young quarterbacks who have never taken a collegiate snap learning an entirely new offense and trying to build continuity with receivers. These guys have been in the system for multiple years and they know who they are going to be throwing to.
Of course, the quarterback is the most important position on the team. You'll never hear either half of the Pac-12 blog say otherwise.
However -- the cornerback spot -- and we're just talking about Oregon State, not making a sweeping statement about all teams -- that position battle is extremely important because whoever fills in for Jordan Poyer will be joining an experienced secondary. And if I'm an offensive coordinator scouting Oregon State and putting together my passing game plan, I'm looking at the experience of Rashaad Reynolds, Ryan Murphy and Tyrequek Zimmerman -- and also the lack of starting experience at left corner -- and that's where I'm testing the waters.
The combination of Sean Martin and Steven Nelson (and it sounds like Mike Riley wants to use them as a duo -- which makes sense) might end up being as lockdown as Poyer was. And for the record I think Martin did an outstanding job last season in spot duty -- so much so that I bestowed on him the highest honor we have on the Pac-12 blog back in Week 10: a helmet sticker.
But until we see what he/Nelson can do each week, that position is more of an unknown than what we'll be getting at quarterback. And that's why it might end up being the more important position battle.