Pac-12: Montana State Bobcats

Pac-12 Top 25 for 2011: No. 21

February, 13, 2012
2/13/12
11:00
AM ET
Our countdown of the Pac-12's top-25 players continues.

You can see Ted Miller's preseason top 25 here.

21. John White IV, RB, Utah

2011 numbers: White rushed for 1,519 yards, 15 touchdowns and averaged 116.8 yards per game. He also caught 13 balls for a pair of touchdowns.

Preseason ranking: Unranked.

Making the case for White: In a conference loaded with talented running backs -- seven 1,000-yard rushers to be exact -- White was a workhorse with a conference-high 316 attempts. More attempts led to a lower yards-per-carry average (4.8), but he earned every yard. Six times this season he went for at least 150 yards in a game -- including a season-high 205-yard performance against Oregon State -- and he added four multi-touchdown games. It's no surprise that new offensive coordinator Brian Johnson has said that White needs to be the centerpiece of the offense. He had two scores in his major college debut against Montana State, then endeared himself to Utah fans with a three-touchdown performance in a blowout win over rival BYU.

22. Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford

23. Nickell Robey, CB, USC

24. Stepfan Taylor, RB, Stanford

25. David Paulson, TE, Oregon

Pac-10 predictions: Week 2

September, 9, 2010
9/09/10
9:00
AM ET
Went an extremely unsatisfying 7-3 last week. The seven games I picked correctly were basically sure-things, and my read on how the Washington State-Oklahoma State game would go was completely wrong, even if the pick was correct.

As a great man once said: "D'oh."

Must have forgotten to take my vitamins. Or maybe my screwy gloating about my 2009 record infused my karma with stupid.

Well, here goes nothing.

Arizona 45, The Citadel 10: The key for the Wildcats: Assert yourself, get the starters to the bench. Start thinking about Iowa.

Arizona State 38, Northern Arizona 9: The key for the Sun Devils: Assert yourself, get the starters to the bench. Start thinking about Wisconsin.

California 30, Colorado 21: Colorado looks like a much improved team from 2009, but the Bears should be able to prevail at home. Wonder how Act II of Cal wide receiver Keenan Allen's freshman year will go?

Oregon 35, Tennessee 20: The Volunteers won't make things easy. The crowd at Neyland Stadium will be juiced. But the Ducks myriad offensive weapons will break through with difference-making big plays. Interested to see how quarterback Darron Thomas looks in the early going.

Stanford 33, UCLA 24: Andrew Luck will make a couple of plays downfield, and then the Cardinal offensive line will take over. The big questions are Bruins quarterback Kevin Prince and Stanford's new 3-4 defense. Which looks good?

USC 45, Virginia 17: Here's a guess that Matt Barkley and the offense again rolls, but the defense also will join the fun in front of a home Coliseum crowd hungry to talk about football and, if for just three hours, forget about a horrible offseason.

Washington 31, Syracuse 22: Jake Locker and the Huskies offense will be much better at home after a poor-to-middling outing at BYU. The Orange won't be a pushover, though.

Washington State 35, Montana State 21: An absolute must-win for coach Paul Wulff and the Cougars. If they lose to an FCS foe and start 0-2, it's not hard to imagine a winless season. On the other hand, if they play well, a bit of confidence might seep into the locker room.

Pac-10 week one: Quick previews

August, 30, 2010
8/30/10
1:29
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Here's a quick look at the season-openers for every Pac-10 team.

All times are PDT.

Thursday
USC at Hawaii (8 p.m., ESPN)
: The first game of the Lane Kiffin Era will kick off at 11 p.m. (EST) in Knoxville (just saying). Here's a guess that the Trojans will come out fast, hard and motivated after all the offseason turmoil. Hawaii returns 12 starters from a 6-7 team. Up next: Virginia.

Friday [This has been corrected... my bad]
Arizona at Toledo (5 p.m., ESPN): A Pac-10 team playing in the Glass Bowl is not something you see very often. Toledo welcomes back 12 starters from a 5-7 team, but the Rockets rolled up 54 points in a home win vs. Colorado in 2009. The Wildcats shouldn't take this one lightly, though it's hard to imagine the Rockets defense will be able to keep up with Nick Foles and company. Up next: The Citadel.

Saturday

UCLA at Kansas State(12:30 p.m., ABC): The Bruins beat Kansas State 23-9 last season. The Wildcats welcome back 12 starters from a 6-6 team. There are two big questions here: 1. Will quarterback Kevin Prince (back) be healthy enough to start? 2. Will the patchwork offensive line be able to hold up? Up next: Stanford.

Washington at BYU (4 p.m., CBS College Sports): The Jake Locker show begins: Will it end in New York at the Heisman Trophy ceremony? In 2008, BYU won 28-27 at Washington after Locker was flagged for tossing the ball into the air after scoring what appeared to a tying touchdown, pending the PAT. With 15 yards tacked on, though, UW missed the extra-point attempt. Funny thing: That still might have been the high point of a 0-12 season. BYU welcomes back 12 starters from an 11-2 team. Up next: Syracuse.

Washington State at Oklahoma State(4 p.m., FSN): The Cowboys, who welcome back just eight starters from a 9-4 team, beat the Cougars 39-13 in Seattle in 2008. While it might be premature to flag this one as an upset alert, don't be shocked if the Cougars play a tough, competitive game against a rebuilding Big 12 team. Up next: Montana State.

Oregon State vs. TCU (Cowboys Stadium, 4:45, ESPN): Sixth-ranked TCU welcomes back 16 starters from a 12-1 team, so, yeah, this is a heck of a test. The Horned Frogs are 9-2 vs. BCS teams, beating Clemson and Virginia in 2009. The game is a homecoming for the Rodgers brothers, Texas natives James and Jacquizz. It also will be the first start for sophomore quarterback Ryan Katz. Up next: Bye.

Portland State at Arizona State(7 p.m): The Sun Devils will look to make a statement with their new-look offense against the first of two FCS opponents to start the season. Think of it as a preseason before the visit to Wisconsin on Sept. 18. Up next: Northern Arizona.

UC Davis at California (1 p.m., CSN California): The Bears should roll this FCS foe. What's worth watching? Will quarterback Kevin Riley complete more than 60 percent of his passes. The higher his completion percentage, the better Bears fans should feel with Colorado and a visit to Nevada ahead. Up next: Colorado.

New Mexico at Oregon (12:30 p.m): New Mexico welcomes back 11 starters from a squad that went 1-11 in 2009. The Lobos figure to give new Ducks quarterback Darron Thomas plenty of opportunities to gain confidence. Running back LaMichael James is suspended for this one, so expect to see some flashy highlights from backup Kenjon Barner. Up next: At Tennessee.

Sacramento State at Stanford (3:30 p.m., Comcast SportsNet Bay Area): Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck should sit out the fourth quarter (third also?) against this FCS foe. Good chance for the new look 3-4 defense and rebuilt running game, post-Toby Gerhart, to get some quality preseason work before a visit to UCLA the following weekend. Up next: At UCLA

Best case-worst case: Washington State

July, 12, 2010
7/12/10
9:00
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First in a series looking at potential dream and nightmare scenarios for all Pac-10 teams, starting at the bottom and working up from my vote in the Pac-10 media poll.

Understand: These are not predictions. They are extreme scenarios and pieces of fiction.

Up first: Washington State

Best case

Paul Wulff
Steve Dykes/US PresswirePaul Wulff's Cougars will finish the season with a losing record.
People have long wondered if anything could silence Oklahoma State's mouthy billionaire booster T. Boone Pickens. Well, Washington State waltzing into Stillwater, Okla., and whipping his beloved Cowboys 24-20 seems to do the trick.

The Cougars use five turnovers from a young Cowboys team to notch the upset.

"We're young but this team is growing up," coach Paul Wulff tells reporters.

The Cougars actually get a vote in the AP poll after whipping Montana State, but it becomes clear they aren't a finished product when they lose at 35-24 at SMU and get clobbered 44-10 by USC.

But instead of crumbling after being brought back down to earth, the Cougars shock UCLA when Nico Grasu boots a 51-yard field goal as the clock expires.

"No way did that just happen," stunned UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel says after losing to the Cougars for the first time.

Still, Washington State is young and the Pac-10 is deep. It loses five of its next six games, managing only a last-second win at Arizona State.

The Cougars have two weeks off before the Apple Cup, and they used the time well. First, they get healthy. Second, let's just say there are lots of wrinkles in the game plan.

Washington arrives in Pullman needing a victory to secure its first bowl berth since 2002. Oh, and it's zero degrees and there's three feet of snow on the ground when the Huskies walk out for the opening kickoff.

Neither team can score a TD, and Washington leads 9-3 late. But an errant shotgun snap in the fourth quarter gets by Huskies quarterback Jake Locker and is recovered at the 1-yard line by Cougars defensive end Travis Long. On fourth down, quarterback Jeff Tuel runs a naked boot and runs smack into linebacker Mason Foster. The ball gets away. It rolls into the endzone. James Montgomery recovers for the touchdown, and the PAT gives the Cougars a 10-9 lead with two minutes left.

Locker isn't done, though. He drives the Huskies to the Cougars 10-yard line. But the snap for the potential game-winning field goal goes over the holder's head.

Cougars win. They finish 5-7. Same record as the Huskies.

"We've come a long way," Tuel says. "But as my favorite band, 'The Carpenters,' sing so sweetly, 'We've only just begun.'"

Worst case

Thank God for Montana State. The FCS foe provides the Cougars their only victory in 2010.

Oh, there are some close calls. Solid showings at Oklahoma State and SMU. Near misses versus UCLA and Arizona State. A surprisingly competitive game with Oregon State.

But the Cougars are too young and too thin to compete in the rugged Pac-10, particularly when the injury bug returns. Oregon crushes them with speed. Stanford with power. USC with a little of both.

Most galling is the tour de force performance produced in Pullman by Washington quarterback Jake Locker in the Apple Cup. Locker's 310 yards passing, 135 yards rushing and seven total touchdowns earns the Huskies an invitation to the Holiday Bowl and Locker an invitation to the Heisman Trophy ceremony.

Further, the 1-11 campaign forces athletic director Bill Moos' hand. Coach Paul Wulff has won only one conference game in three seasons. While the Cougars are far better in 2010 than they were in 2008 and 2009, the results haven't shown up in the record book.

Wulff agrees to resign. "I'll always be a Cougar," he says. "My only regret is we didn't win more games."

While you were on vacation... Oregon

July, 8, 2008
7/08/08
2:31
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

The fourth of 10 quick updates of offseason Pac-10 goings on.

In a sentence:

  • While most schools would fret losing a star quarterback and tailback to the NFL draft, the Ducks appear quietly confident that there will be little drop-off on offense with duel-threat QB Nate Costa and a defense that features one of the nation's best secondaries.
The big question:
  • Will inexperience at the skill positions and a questionable defensive interior keep the Ducks from remaining among the elite in the top-third of the conference?
Quick hit news:
  • Word is three Ducks starters recovering from knee surgery should be good to go by the start of preseason practices -- quarterback Nate Costa, tailback Jeremiah Johnson and linebacker John Bacon. Linebacker Jerome Boyd (foot surgery) told the Register-Guard that he's "90 percent."
  • Three transfers are already on campus: Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli and receiver Ellis Krout, both JC transfers, and tight end Na'Derris Ward, who's redirected from Georgia.
  • Oregon took an embarrassing national hit when it yanked a scholarship offer from defensive back Xavier Ramos of St. Bonaventure High in Ventura, Calif. -- after Ramos had accepted the offer. The St. Bonaventure coach subsequently told reporters that Oregon was no longer welcome on campus.
  • The Ducks also lost three players over the summer for various reasons: Receiver Derrick Jones (off-field issues) and quarterbacks Cody Kempt and Cade Cooper (who transferred to Montana State and Southern Utah, respectively). The QB depth chart now includes Costa, Justin Roper, Chris Harper, Darron Thomas and Masoli.

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