Pac-12: Lisa Love
- B.J. Denker will be the seventh quarterback on Arizona's 2012 roster.
- Lisa Love talks about being fired from ASU. Brock Osweiler showed enthusiasm and charisma during Jon Gruden's QB camp.
- Notes, thoughts and a video of Cal's spring session.
- Gus Handler showing consistency at center for Colorado.
- Kenjon Barner is adjusting to life as Oregon's starting running back. A breakdown of Oregon's trap play.
- Oregon State running back Storm Woods is more than just a name.
- Kevin Anderson impressing at linebacker for Stanford.
- Video of running back Buck Allen talking to reporters for the first time since arriving at USC.
- Utah's offense is making significant progress.
- Video of Washington guard James Atoe talking about making the most of his opportunities with the first team.
- A really great read by Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times onthe downfall of former WSU quarterback Ryan Leaf. Will the computers like the Cougars next year?
Love will be replaced as the Sun Devils athletic director by Steve Patterson, the school announced Wednesday. Patterson was hired in July as the athletic department's chief operating officer and managing director of the Sun Devil Sports Group.
The school's official release says Love "is leaving ASU to pursue other career opportunities." The Arizona Republic, however, reported that she was fired after meeting with school president Michael Crow on Tuesday.
Love was hired in April of 2005. While many of the the Sun Devils' nonrevenue sports have thrived, Love's big-name hires haven't, including Dennis Erickson for football and Herb Sendek for men's basketball. Love also had a contentious relationship with successful baseball coach Pat Murphy, who was fired in November of 2009 during an NCAA investigation. Further, the search for a replacement for Erickson, which eventually ended with Todd Graham's hiring away from Pittsburgh, was far from smooth.
Patterson's background is mostly in pro sports. He spent nearly a quarter of a century as an executive in the NFL with the Houston Texans, in the NBA with the Houston Rockets and Portland Trail Blazers, and in professional hockey with the Houston Aeros. Prior to joining ASU in July 2011, he was the president of Pro Sports Consulting.
Quotes from the press release:
"In his time at ASU Steve Patterson has shown a level of sports management expertise rarely seen at the college and university level," said President Michael M. Crow. "He is the ideal person to build on the foundation Lisa built and to take Sun Devil sports to the next level - to the highest level.
"I wish to thank Lisa for seven years of excellent service. During her tenure here ASU won seven national championships and the academic performance and graduation rates of our student-athletes improved dramatically."
"I'm excited that Dr. Crow gave me the opportunity to oversee Sun Devil Athletics," said Patterson. "We expect to have a program that consistently competes for Pac-12 championships, with athletes that graduate, connect and serve our community, and operate with integrity, discipline and respect. It's time for our men's basketball and football programs to compete for championships and perform at the same level as our successful spring sports."
More Patterson background from the release:
Steve Patterson has built championship professional teams and designed, financed, built and run stadiums and arenas. As General Manager of the Houston Rockets he built the 1994 NBA Championship team. Later, he successfully led the effort to bring the Houston Texans NFL team and Super Bowl XXXVIII to Houston, Texas. As President of the Portland Trail Blazers, The Rose Garden and Rose City Radio, Patterson refined his skills as a turnaround specialist, while garnering national recognition for his player acquisition skills player acquisition skills when he took over as the team's General Manager.
Patterson also served as the President, General Manager and Governor of the Houston Aeros hockey team. For his efforts he was named the 1995 winner of the Andy Mulligan Trophy as the IHL's Executive of the Year.
In addition to his roles with the Aeros, Patterson also acquired and served as President and Partner in Arena Operating Company, which managed and operated Compaq Center, Houston's home of the Rockets, Aeros and Comets.
Born and raised in Beaver Dam, WI. Patterson attended the University of Texas, graduating with honors earning a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration in 1980. He graduated from UT's Law School in 1984.
Oregon and Oregon State fans may not provide glowing recommendations for Patterson, whose tenure with the Portland Trail Blazers was stormy on multiple levels.
- Former Arizona players Nick Foles and Juron Criner look solid heading into the draft.
- ASU VP for athletics Lisa Love reflects on ASU's athletic tradition. And what's up with Rudy Burgess?
- Here's a partial list of some of the players expected to attend Cal's Junior Day.
- An early look at the 2013 Colorado defense.
- Addicted to Quack is oh so in love with De'Anthony Thomas. Who are some Oregon's intriguing redshirt freshmen?
- New Oregon State DB coach Rod Perry came across well in his first meeting with the press.
- Former Stanford offensive linemen David DeCastro and Jonathan Martin are more than just smarts.
- UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley, ASU quarterback Michael Eubank and USC defensive tackle Antwaun Woods are all redshirt freshmen to watch.
- Kevin Graf is the probable starter at left tackle for USC.
- Is the Utah-BYU rivalry about to come to an end? BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe says they are locked in for 2012 and working toward scheduling beyond that.
- Part 2 of Bob Condotta's Q&A with Washington AD Scott Woodward.
- Has Mike Leach gone Hollywood? A profile of WSU offensive line coach Clay McGuire.
The real world: Todd Graham left Pittsburgh for Arizona State and didn't even get a notable raise on his $2 million salary because he'd rather be the head coach at Arizona State than Pittsburgh. His reasons? Really, it doesn't matter in Tempe. That's a question Pittsburgh should ask of itself, not Graham. It could be revealing.
The world of spin: Todd Graham was Arizona State's first choice and everyone is thrilled. Graham feels horrible about the way he left Pittsburgh because he loves and respects everyone there. It just couldn't be helped.
You want absolutes of honor, character and integrity in college football? Two names: Joe Paterno and Jim Tressel. How are your absolutes doing now?
You believe in absolute honesty? When you last broke up with a girlfriend/boyfriend did you say: 1. It's not you, it's me; or, 2. You've gained 10 pounds since we started dating and your laugh drives me crazy. And I hate your friends. Except for the one I might ask out.
What did Todd Graham have to say about how he left Pittsburgh during his introductory news conference at Arizona State?
I want to first start and talk about my players from Pitt. The last few hours have been extremely gut wrenching for me, obviously for my family. I love those guys. I'm very proud of the growth that they had this year, both on the field, off the field, in the classroom and in the community. I'm very proud of them. You never want to leave a program, and I never dreamed that I would have to leave a program under these circumstances.
The timing of these processes are extremely rapid, and it did not allow for me to address the team, and that is very hurtful. I've never had to endure that, and I really regret that. I really regret that I didn't have the opportunity to do that. I reached out to them in the only way that I knew how, the only means that I had at my disposal because I absolutely did not want them to hear about this on the news. I wanted them to know first. The only other alternative I had was not to communicate at all, and that was just unacceptable to me.
I plan on my return to Pittsburgh to reach out to them and to communicate to them. Obviously my staff that's there has communicated, as well, and those young men, I just want them to know that I love them. Coaching and teaching is a passion to me, and that's something that's very, very important before I talk about anything else, that I want my players from Pitt to know that I love them and I'm proud of them.
You can believe it or not.
If Graham loved his Panthers and was proud of them, why did he not insist on delivering the news of his exit personally?
Well, obviously this transpired this morning in a rapid pace, and it was last night and this morning, and there wasn't an opportunity to have a team meeting and be able to meet with them.
Now, these processes move very quickly and very rapidly, and that's the tough thing about this business and about coaching. I've had experience with that before, and if there was anyway possible, again, that's — I never want to do that, and that's the greatest regret you can have, and it's the most horrible feeling that you have. But again, I reached out in the only way that I knew how because I absolutely was not going to just have them see this on the news.
In other words, Graham put what he termed "a gut-wrenching experience" in his left hand and the opportunity with Arizona State in his right and decided to endure the one because of the appeal of the other. He made a tough decision that many people make in the job market, only the news media wasn't Tweeting about it all day Wednesday. And there are, whether folks back East are willing to admit it or not, real world reasons why Arizona State held such great appeal to Graham.
ASU athletic director Lisa Love admitted she was aware of Graham's now even more justifiable reputation as a mercenary climber who constantly eyeballs better jobs.
Said Love: "I love the fact that [Graham's wife] Penny's parents are sitting right here and they drove up the road. I love the fact that Todd has family here. I love the fact that Desert Mountain was a place where they were investing and prepared to invest in property and believed him. I believed him. I can tell you that I saw that on job movement, but I believed him."
Trust. It's dangerous. But Love needed a coach after a muddled 17-day search that Wednesday's spin couldn't smooth over, and there was Graham -- eager, affordable and with a fairly solid resume. Ergo, leap of faith.
Of course, track records don't disappear. What if Georgia or Ohio State comes calling with $4 million a year? Why should Arizona State fans believe this is a better dream job than his last dream job, a phrase that the effervescent Graham throws around a lot.
Question: Because of your track record, how do you convince Sun Devil Nation, future recruits, the football team, everyone affiliated with ASU that you're here for the long haul?
COACH GRAHAM: I think the only way to respond to that is just being here. Obviously it was, like I said earlier in the remarks, that this is a dream opportunity for our family. It's obviously the first decision I've ever made that has actually benefited my wife and benefited our family. You know, I think that the only way you can do it is, like I said, I'm going to work hard to earn their trust, and I think trust is earned, so that's all I can do.
Right. Actions, ultimately, are real world tangible. Words are for worlds of theory and spin.
But words are all there are at present, and many of the words are going to be negative about Graham, and not completely without justification. Graham's perfect grasp of massaging talking points Wednesday evening often strained credulity. For example, he celebrated former Sun Devils greats Pat Tillman and Terrell Suggs. Suggs took a shot at him on Twitter, and Tillman, an absolutist on integrity in both word and deed, would not likely have been at the presser clapping for Graham had he not given his life for his country.
Graham also seemed to be unaware of the term "irony."
Question: When you get settled in, what's the first thing you do to get this program going in the Todd Graham way?
COACH GRAHAM: One word: Relationships. Start building relationships. That's a key component.
He's — officially — referring to the theoretical world. But he's — in reality — speaking of relationships of convenience. You do your best to get along with folks at your office whom you might not like. You talk as pleasantly as possible to annoying neighbors because, well, it seems smarter than telling them they are annoying gasbags. You nurture your world and love your family and friends.
A football coach enters relationships of convenience with a football program. He's got his AD. He's got his school president. He's got boosters who want to play golf with him. He's got to shake hands with lawyers who will offer unsolicited advice on using the tight end more and being more "attacking" on defense. He's got 85 scholarship players who need to be pushed, prodded and coddled in ways unique to their individuality. There is lots of talk of family but it ultimately is a business based on what the scoreboard says.
The real world will be more difficult for Graham because of his present standing in the theoretical world, and no spin can change that. He doesn't have a clean slate. Some will resist giving him the benefit of the doubt.
Relationships? What about those guys at Pitt?
But if Graham is who Love and school president Michael Crow say he is, "just being here" is a reasonable point A for hope. Point B be will be maintaining a recruiting class that seemed headed for a top-25 national ranking before Dennis Erickson was fired.
And the endgame? That's where the real world intrudes over all else: Winning, winning, winning.
Huard ranked North Carolina No. 1 (and didn't include Penn State because, well, things are complicated over there).
His methodology? He "asked a handful of current and former collegiate coaches and ESPN analysts to get their opinions, accounting for eight factors: facilities, tradition, committed administration and boosters, coaching staff budget, captive local population, livability, centralized recruiting base and current talent level."
Here's some of what he said about Arizona State:
While North Carolina was the clear-cut winner among the coaches and analysts I asked, the ASU job is desirable for many of the other factors I listed in the introduction. The stadium and facilities help with recruiting, athletic director Lisa Love and the boosters have proved they are willing to spend the necessary money, the Tempe area ranks very high in the livability equation for the staff and the campus environment has the capability to lure in recruits.
This last factor, however, also can make it difficult to succeed as coach of the Sun Devils. As one former college coach put it, "The weather, the campus, the party environment can be a distraction, and difficult to focus the student-athlete." Another challenge for the next Arizona State coach is that Phoenix is a pro sports town, one with many residents who come from other parts of the country, and the Suns, Diamondbacks and Cardinals tend to dominate the conversation, especially when they are winning.
And here are some of his thoughts on UCLA:
Much like North Carolina, UCLA historically has been viewed as a basketball school. Unlike Chapel Hill, however, facilities are not in place on campus, and as a very urban school, UCLA lacks the small college town environment. As a result, Rick Neuheisel wasn't able to capitalize on playing in the nation's second-biggest media market and in fertile recruiting territory, and the job he hoped would be a Monopoly turned into a sunken Battleship.
The Bruins' talent level isn't bad, as while Neuheisel didn't capture Park Place or Boardwalk on the Monopoly board, he did put together the No. 17 and No. 10 recruiting classes in 2009 and 2010 and left behind a talented young QB in Brett Hundley.
The sanctions and loss of scholarships that follow the USC Trojans for the next few years should open the door a little for UCLA, but the recruiting turf war is fierce in California with the Utah Utes, Colorado Buffaloes and now Rich Rodriguez entering the fray.
He also added a quick thought on Washington State: "The school needs to hire a coach with a proven track record of success, and one with charisma and name recognition would be a bonus. Sounds like Mike Leach could be the perfect fit."
Erickson went 10-3 in his first season, but even that was a mirage of sorts, a product of a forgiving schedule. Some forget that the Sun Devils lost three of their final five games by an average of 16.7 points.
The Sun Devils started this season 6-2, posting quality wins over Missouri and USC. They were nationally ranked and 10 wins seemed likely with a forgiving schedule ahead. They seemed certain to win the Pac-12 South Division title.
But then the wheels came off. They lost their last four games, and now Erickson is out of a job.
Erickson's final record at Arizona State, which is 31-30 at present, will be determined after the Sun Devils' bowl game. Erickson, 64, opted to bow out gracefully, coaching the team he put together one last time.
"I will always cherish my memories here," he said in statement.
There was some conjecture that this would become a retirement instead of a termination for Erickson. Reached by phone Monday, Erickson said he has no plans to retire.
"Yeah, I'd like to coach again," he said. "I'm not done coaching. You know that. I'd certainly like to. It's just a matter of opportunity, of course."
Erickson also said there were no hard feelings between him and Arizona State administrators. He said he had "great respect" for athletic director Lisa Love and school president Michael Crow.
"We talked about it and they made the decision," Erickson said. "That's kind of how it is. The last part of the season didn't help us."
Of course, he doesn't walk away empty-handed. Under contract for another year, he will receive half of his $1.5 million annual salary.
What went wrong this year? The easy answer is defense. During the four-game losing streak, the Sun Devils yielded 37 points per game. During the 6-2 start, they gave up 21.5 ppg.
But it has to be more than that. Arizona State started the season riddled with injuries, but it won despite them. The team that started losing was healthier than the team that started fast. Of the final four losses, only California comes close to having the athletic talent the Sun Devils have. Something went wrong in the team's collective head. Something yielded. The chemistry and unity that were cited as hallmarks of the Sun Devils' senior-heavy locker room during the successful early going somehow cracked.
Defensive tackle Bo Moos told the Arizona Republic's Doug Haller this after the Arizona loss. "We have a group of 30 seniors. You should expect it to be there, but something within the chemistry hasn't been right for the past month and I really cannot put my finger on what it is."
While Arizona State will play in its first bowl game since 2007, the Sun Devils need to win to eclipse .500 for the first time since that season. That's not what folks expected when Erickson was hired. Say what you want about his nomadic ways, he was a guy with a proven track record of winning at the college level. While Erickson's NFL coaching career was a wash, he was successful at every college stop. This is the first time he's been fired from a college job.
Erickson won a national title with Miami in 1989, a Fiesta Bowl at Oregon State in 2000 and was 148-65-1 (.695) in 18 seasons before arriving in Tempe. He posted nine-win seasons at five different schools. He is one of only three people (USC's Pete Carroll and Washington's Don James) to win Pac-10 coach of the year three times.
Erickson's legacy is on solid ground no matter what he does next. While he has a roguish reputation with some folks, he's been an open, accessible guy who almost always went for optimism and rarely dumped on his players, even when they probably deserved it.
As for what's next for Arizona State, it's definitely going to be a competitive market to find a new coach, with firings across the country dotting the blotter. It's unlikely the Sun Devils will secure a sexy prospect for what Erickson was making, and the school is notorious for paying assistant coaches poorly. Further, Sun Devils fans will at least want to match the positive buzz generated by hated rival Arizona, which hired Rich Rodriguez to replace Mike Stoops.
The first name everyone is saying: Houston's Kevin Sumlin. Two problems with that: 1. get in line; 2. the Cougars are likely going to a BCS bowl game, which means Sumlin won't be available until after Jan. 1. That could put a strong recruiting haul assembled by Erickson at risk.
The Pac-12 blog will throw out a name that's also been buzzing a lot of places: former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach. His pass-happy, spread offense is nearly identical to what the Sun Devils have been running the past two years under offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone.
Leach comes with baggage, but Arizona State is a big-city program that must compete with pro sports for attention. So Leach's attention-grabbing ways probably would be more of a positive than a headache.
Whoever gets the job will inherit a solid core of talent, including a promising quarterback in Brock Osweiler. The next coach also might give serious consideration to retaining Mazzone, who's done a fantastic job transforming an anemic offense in two years.
It's been a schizophrenic season in Tempe. Erickson started the year on the hot seat, but with a team that looked like the South Division favorites. Through eight games, they played like it.
Then things went splat.
Talk to 10 people and you'll get 10 different explanations on why things never worked out under Erickson, this season or the three after the promising debut in 2007.
But as far as divorces go, this certainly isn't the worst. Erickson doesn't walk away significantly diminished. And the next Sun Devils coach has a chance to win immediately.
Of course, Arizona State has been called a sleeping giant for years. Will the next guy finally wake Sparky up?
From the Arizona Republic:
Vice President of Athletics Lisa Love did not return messages left by The Republic on Saturday, but multiple sources confirmed that the end is near for coach Dennis Erickson, and his dismissal could come soon.
From the Los Angeles Times:
Dan Guerrero, the Bruins' athletic director, will sit down with UCLA's football coach after the season is over to discuss the future. That could be as soon as next weekend, after the Bruins play Oregon in the Pac-12 championship game.
Neuheisel's chances of retaining his job are bleak, according to influential people close to the program who did not want to be identified publicly because the decision was not final.
The general gist is Neuheisel will coach the Pac-12 title game on Friday at Oregon. The Orange County Register named candidates to replace Neuheisel:
UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel is expected to be fired following Pac-12 championship game against Oregon with Boise State coach Chris Peterson [sic.], Houston's Kevin Sumlin and Cincinnati's Butch Jones the leading candidates to replace him.
From the Seattle Times, which names former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach as a top candidate to replace Wulff:
Sources close to the situation say Wulff, whose Cougars lost 38-21 to Washington on Saturday at CenturyLink Field, will be dismissed after a meeting with athletic director Bill Moos, barring a last-minute change of direction by Moos. It could happen as early as Sunday, possibly Monday.
A reversal of thinking is unlikely, and sources familiar with the process say the Cougars will have former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach at the top of their list of possible replacements. Leach has been out of coaching since 2009 after a controversial exit from Tech that resulted in him suing the school.
Sumlin and Leach also likely will be connected to the Arizona State job.
These three guys started the season on the hot seat. All three showed signs of getting off it at various times. But, alas, they couldn't make a turnaround stick.
Tough business. College coaches are paid well, but their job security is always precarious.
End result is it appears the Pac-12 will feature four new coaches -- Arizona has already hired Rich Rodriguez -- next fall.
From the article:
ADs average about $450,000 at the NCAA's top-tier schools, according to a USA TODAY analysis, rivaling the pay of many university presidents. But at least five ADs make more than $1 million, and since August 2010, at least 10 public schools have given their AD's pay raises of $75,000 or more.
Here are the Pac-12 ADs and their salaries.
Dan Guerrero, UCLA, $688,296
Scott Woodward, Washington, $553,000
Bob De Carolis, Oregon State, $540,356
Rob Mullens, Oregon, $500,000
*Greg Byrne, Arizona, $500,000
Sandy Barbour, California, $460,997
Bill Moos, Washington State, $455,000
Lisa Love, Arizona State, $448,000
Chris Hill, Utah, $400,000
Mike Bohn, Colorado, $253,500
*Byrne recently signed a new contract that included a raise from the $392,000 listed in the USA Today database.
USC's Pat Haden and Stanford's Bob Bowlsby both work at private schools that don't release salary information.
Understand: These are not predictions. They are extreme scenarios and pieces of fiction. You can read last season's versions here.
We're going in reverse order of my post-spring power rankings (which might not be identical to my preseason power rankings).
Up next: Arizona State
Linebacker Vontaze Burfict collects 11 tackles, including two sacks and an interception, and quarterback Brock Osweiler throws two touchdown passes as Arizona State announces itself as a national contender with a 33-17 drubbing of No. 21 Missouri.
And Burfict shows up for post-game interviews.
"I want to read a statement," Burfict begins. But then he tosses the piece of paper aside. "No. I'm not going to be managed. That's part of my problem. The effort to manage me, which includes using my so-called shyness to justify my refusal to talk to reporters, has hurt me and this program. I am not a great talker. Probably never will be. But being a man is sometimes doing things you don't like to do. Being a man is also admitting mistakes and not looking for excuses. If an Internet report about me gets details wrong about something that still is mostly true, I shouldn't get mad about those incorrect details if I won't show up to correct the record and say what happened. And when I get in a locker room fight with a teammate, well, while I appreciate the rationalization and blind support from so many Sun Devils fans, the absolute bottom line is this: No excuses. It's on me. 100 percent. I need to grow up. Talk is cheap, but it's even cheaper that I haven't taken responsibility. Today, I am. I owe that to my coaches, teammates and our great fans."
Arizona State rolls over Illinois 42-10, then nips USC 24-21 after Burfict stuffs Matt Barkley on a fourth-and-inches quarterback sneak on the Trojans final drive. After beating Oregon State 30-17, the 5-0 Sun Devils move up to ninth in the national rankings.
"Utah and Arizona State are the two South Division front-runners after both beat USC," says ESPN's Chris Fowler. "But is this a bigger game for the Sun Devils because the Utes don't play Oregon or Stanford?"
Osweiler connects with Gerell Robinson for the game-winning tally in overtime. Up next: The No. 6 Sun Devils visit No. 1 Oregon.
"Did I fake an injury against the Ducks last year?" says Burfict. "You guys! I could answer that, but then you'd have to promise to let me smack you."
The reporters laugh nervously and then get quiet as Burfict glowers at them.
"You guys need to lighten up!" says Burfict. "Just messing with y'all!"
The Ducks prevail 30-27 on a late field goal.
"Look, the Ducks look like they are going to steamroll into their showdown with Stanford on Nov. 12," Fowler says. "But, wow, Vontaze Burfict. Should he at least get invited to New York for the Heisman ceremony?"
"An absolute beast on the field," Kirk Herbstreit replies. "But, really, we've gotten to know him off the field this year. Just a big Teddy bear. If your Teddy bear is 6-foot-3, 250 pounds and really, really fast and aggressive."
The Sun Devils roll over Colorado, UCLA and Washington State. Two weeks after beating Utah, Arizona arrives in Tempe. The Wildcats' only two defeats came against Oregon and Stanford, so beating the Sun Devils would win them the South title.
"I respect the hell out of them," Burfict says. "But respect isn't what I'm going to spend a lot of time thinking about when they stand across the field from me."
Coach Dennis Erickson announces that cornerback Omar Bolden is "100 percent and ready to go."
Osweiler throws four touchdown passes in a 40-24 victory. Burfict terrorizes the Wildcats with 12 tackles, four coming for a loss, and Bolden picks off Nick Foles twice. A week later, the Sun Devils survive a flat performance against California, winning 20-17, thereby earning the South Division title and another shot at the Ducks.
"Hey guys," says Erickson in the pregame locker room at Autzen Stadium. "Vontaze wants to say something."
"I'm not much of a talker. Unless it's trash talking." The Sun Devils laugh. "But here's what I can say, and I hope you know it's from the heart. This is about us, not them. I love you guys and I'm going to give this team -- all of you -- everything I've got tonight. Everything. My plan is to to look them in the eye and let them know I am here to take this game from them and I will send that message every play. If we all do that, together, we are going to win this game. And, brothers, what we do in life... echoes in eternity."
A diving Burfict tips away a Darron Thomas pass intended for tight end David Paulson. The Ducks' 2-point conversion fails in the third overtime. The Sun Devils earn a berth in the Rose Bowl.
The Sun Devils beat Wisconsin 28-17 and finish 13-1 and ranked third.
Burfict announces he's returning for his senior season, "to complete the growing up process and get my degree. And to terrorize the Wildcats another season."
Andrus Peat, Davonte Neal, D.J. Foster and Reggie Daniels commit to Arizona State. That convinces quarterback Connor Brewer to decommit from Texas and sign with the Sun Devils, whose recruiting class ranks ninth in the country.
"I've got great news," says athletic director Lisa Love. "Now that the economy is rallying and local housing prices are soaring, we are pleased to announced a $100 million anonymous donation that will help finance a $200 million renovation of Sun Devil Stadium."
Missouri tight end Michael Egnew couldn't haul in the fourth-and-8 pass late at Arizona State, but he gets a second chance, and he's not the sort to waste one of those.
When a unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against Burfict gives the Tigers new life -- a first down on the ASU 14 with 25 seconds left -- James Franklin finds his All-American tight end in the corner of the end zone for the winning score in 31-28 victory.
The Sun Devils bounce back and win at Illinois, but a rejuvenated USC secondary picks off Osweiler three times in a 24-21 Trojans win in Tempe. The Sun Devils nip Oregon State, but fall at Utah in overtime. Things go haywire at Oregon in a 44-20 defeat, with Burfict getting benched after a late hit on Ducks quarterback Thomas.
"We were down 10 in the third quarter and we get a third-down stop," Erickson says. "That penalty killed us."
Headline in the Arizona Republic: "Are Erickson's days numbered?"
The Sun Devils even their record with a 27-24 win at Colorado, but fall at resurgent UCLA. A win at Washington State, however, leaves the Sun Devils just one win short of bowl eligibility.
Arizona comes to town needing a win to sew up the South Division title.
"Our first priority is beating Arizona," Erickson says. "Bowl eligibility, my future, that will take care of itself."
Late in the fourth quarter, with the score 21-21 and the Wildcats on their 33, Keola Antolin takes a handoff and sees no room on the right side. He reverses course, yields five yards in the Wildcats backfield and tries to sprint to the left sideline, hoping that he can out-run the over-pursuit. Burfict recovers quickly and takes a beeline for him.
That is until Arizona quarterback Nick Foles comes from nowhere to flatten Burfict.
Antolin goes the distance. The Wildcats win the Territorial Cup back. And they win the South. In the Pac-12 title game, Arizona shocks No. 1 Stanford and earns the program's first-ever trip to the Rose Bowl, where it beats No. 8 Nebraska, 33-28.
The Wildcats finish 11-3 and ranked sixth.
While most frustrated Sun Devils fans are done with their team, Sun Devil Jose demands a game with California. Cal wins 10-3.
The Sun Devils finish 5-7, their fourth consecutive losing season under Erickson.
Erickson resigns. "Hey, we gave it a run and it didn't work out," he says. "I'm headed up to Coeur d'Alene to play golf, go fishing and drink a few cold ones."
"I'm pleased to announce the coach who I feel strongly will take us to the next level," athletic director Lisa Love tells a gathered media throng.
"Ladies and gentlemen... John Mackovic!"
Andrus Peat, Davonte Neal, D.J. Foster and Reggie Daniels commit to Arizona. That convinces quarterback Connor Brewer to decommit from Texas and sign with the Wildcats, whose recruiting class ranks 12th in the country.
"I don't care about recruiting rankings!" Mackovic says of a class that ranked 10th in the Pac-12. "I know what I know and that is a lot."
- Arizona quarterback Nick Foles says he's coming back in 2011 and won't enter NFL draft. It didn't take long for coach Mike Stoops to find a new defensive line coach.
- Arizona State AD Lisa Love is standing by Dennis Erickson. An interesting walk-on for the Sun Devils.
- California receiver Alex Lagemann won't play next fall. The Bears special teams weren't very good.
- This Colorado player is back on track and interested in playing quarterback -- that story also updates the Buffaloes coaching staff, which has a Pac-10 flavor. Fans have questions for new coach Jon Embree.
- To stay on top, Oregon coach Chip Kelly will need to upgrade recruiting reach. Oregon-Auburn families are split.
- Some Oregon State notes.
- UCLA signs a JC linebacker.
- USC has issues at linebacker heading into 2011.
- To have any hope against Boise State, Utah needs to rediscover its running game.
- Washington has plenty of motivation for the Holiday Bowl; Nebraska's motivation might be a work in progress. Some Huskies practice notes.
- Some Apple Cup highlights from a Washington State perspective. Some thoughts on the Cougars JC signings.
The games will be played on Sept. 9, 2017 at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe and Sept. 8, 2018 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego.
"It is a pleasure to announce the renewal of a series that was so positive for both ASU and San Diego State University in the past," ASU athletic director Lisa Love said in a statement. "It is important for us to schedule home/home series with schools that are located in our geographical region. The city of San Diego is a destination that is very popular with our fans. San Diego State is a very nice addition to our future schedules, which already include Notre Dame, LSU, Wisconsin, Colorado, Missouri and Illinois among others."
The Sun Devils hold a 10-0-1 advantage in the series with San Diego State. ASU has won seven straight in the series, which dates back to 1934. The two schools tied, 27-27, in 1951 in San Diego.
This season, San Diego State went 8-4 and will play Navy in the Poinsettia Bowl at San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium on December 23.
- Arizona State athletic director Lisa Love is now on Twitter.
- The 10th best non-Big Game California game of the decade is...
- Lots of new Ducks on Oregon's campus.
- Listen to Paul Finebaum, entertaining gadfly of the SEC, interview Oregon State coach Mike Riley. More recruiting news for Oregon State. Here as well.
- UCLA is eyeballing a few QB recruits, including one who's committed to its neighbor. Talking Bruins recruiting in general.
- Good story here: Checking in with the players in the Reggie Bush scandal. Former Florida star Percy Harvin had a role in the scandal, too. Part II of a Q&A with USC QB coach Clay Helton.
- Washington's game with Syracuse will be televised.
- The WSU Football Blog takes a look at the Cougars opponent Stanford.
- The Sun Bowl has a new sponsor.
- Pete Carroll -- remember him? -- can't sit still.
- Two Pac-10 players make this list of college football's fastest.
- More on the circumstances that led to Arizona receiver Delashaun Dean's suspension.
- Arizona State athletic director Lisa Love wants to rally local support.
- California's 10 best games of the 2000s, non-Big Game edition.
- Colorado's exit from the Big 12 could get contentious -- and litigious.
- Oregon State picks up its second recruiting commitment.
- Stanford gets a commitment from a tall receiver.
- Collect your UCLA recruiting cards here.
- Does Seantrel Henderson -- a no-show for freshman orientation -- not want to be a USC Trojan? Tennessee fans continue to obsess about Lane Kiffin.
- Utah's joining the Pac-10 means more revenue but also more expenses.
- Washington's Jake Locker is a big man on campus. This Huskies' recruit from Oregon wasn't offered a scholarship by the in-state schools.
- Washington State is hitting Florida hard in recruiting. Yes, Florida.
- Pac-10 blogs reach out to its newest members.
- Stewart Mandel looks at potential Pac-10 and Big Ten divisions.
- A final decision on Pac-10 divisions might not come until October.
At San Antonio.
The games will be played on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016, at the Alamodome in San Antonio and on Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018, at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe.
In the Sun Devils' defense, they've scheduled a patsy in addition to nonconference games with LSU (2016) and Colorado (2018). And San Antonio is a cool town to visit.
UTSA and new head coach Larry Coker signed the program's first ever recruiting class in February. It will play two years as an FCS Independent, beginning in 2011. It then will notify the NCAA in June 2013 of its intent to advance to the Football Bowl Subdivision in 2015. The Roadrunners will comply with FBS standards during the 2013 and 2014 seasons, then will seek full FBS membership and bowl eligibility in 2015.
So the Sun Devils will get full credit toward their bowl eligibility for stomping the Roadrunners.
“This is a series that fits several criteria that we have in football scheduling,” athletic director Lisa Love said in a statement. “It is important for us to schedule home-home series with schools that are located in the Western portion of the country. And what a fantastic travel destination the city of San Antonio is for our fan base with the River Walk and the Alamodome. The series fits well with the other nonconference games that we have in those years. The University of Texas at San Antonio is a very nice addition to our future schedules, which already include Notre Dame, LSU, Wisconsin, Colorado, Missouri and Illinois.”