Pac-12: Oregon

Pac-12: Did you know?

September, 9, 2011
Some notes to get you through the hours until Saturday. Many thanks to ESPN Stats & Information.
  • Missouri is coming off a lackluster performance against Miami (OH) last week. The Tigers managed just 129 yards passing.
  • Missouri has won 23 straight games played in the months of August/September. Its last such loss was in 2005 against New Mexico. That loss was also the last time Missouri lost a regular season nonconference game. Since then, the Tigers have won 22 straight.
  • While Missouri has been stellar in the months of August/September, Arizona State been less impressive recently. Since 2008, ASU is 7-5 in those months.
  • It’s the second time in the last three games that Missouri has played in Tempe. The Tigers lost to Iowa in the Insight Bowl there on Dec. 28.
  • Arizona State has won four straight regular-season home games against Big 12 teams. That streak includes a 19-0 win over top-ranked Nebraska in 1996.
  • These teams haven’t met since 1990, a 30-9 Missouri win.
  • California beat Colorado 52-7 last year in Berkeley.
  • The Bears lead the Buffaloes in their all-time series 3-2.
  • Colorado QB Tyler Hansen became the 11th player in school history eclipse 3,000 yards passing after throwing for 223 yards at Hawaii.
  • Cal WR Keenan Allen and Marvin Jones both eclipsed 100 yards receiving in the Bears victory over Fresno State.
  • Oregon has won 16 straight home games (last home loss Sept. 20, 2008 to Boise State).
  • Nevada lost 12 straight games when opening season on the road (1987 last time Wolf Pack won on the ROAD to start the season, when they were in Big Sky Conference).
  • Nevada won seven straight games to end 2010, only Auburn (16) and Stanford (9) have longer active FBS win streaks.
  • Only series meeting between Oregon State and Wisconsin was 1961, 23-20 Wisconsin win.
  • Wisconsin has won 10 straight home games (last loss at Camp Randall was to Iowa, 20-10, on Oct. 17, 2009).
  • Wisconsin has won 29 straight regular-season games against nonconference opponents (last loss came to UNLV on Sept. 13, 2003). That is the second longest active streak in nation behind LSU (34 straight).
  • Stanford moved up to No. 6 in the AP Poll this week, its best ranking this early in the season since 1970, when it reached No. 4 in the Sept. 14 poll.
  • Stanford QB Andrew Luck is 21-5 all-time as a starter, currently the highest win percentage by a QB in school history.
  • Stanford is on a nine-game winning streak, the second longest streak in FBS behind Auburn’s 16. The Cardinal have won their past four games
    by at least 28 points each.
  • Duke has lost 42 straight games against ranked opponents, last beating No. 13 Virginia in 1994. The Blue Devils last beat a top-10 team in 1989, when Steve Spurrier’s Duke squad knocked off No. 7 Clemson.
  • UCLA and San Jose State are in the same state but they have never played before.
  • UCLA running back Johnathan Franklin had his eight career 100-yard rushing game at Houston. His 1,821 career yards rushing ranks him 18th on the Bruis all-time list.
  • QB Richard Brehaut's 351 yards of total offense against Houston is tied for 20th on the school's all-time list (87 yards rushing, 264 passing).
  • Utah's visit to USC is the first official conference game of the newly formed Pac-12. Utah joined the conference in 2011 after spending the previous 12 years in the Mountain West Conference. This will be the 6th different conference that the Utes have played in. Utah is 3-1-1 in its first ever games in a new conference.
  • This is the first meeting between these teams since 2001 when Utah defeated USC 10-6 in the Las Vegas Bowl. This is the first regular season meeting between these teams since 1948.
  • Robert Woods caught 17 passes in USC's season opening win over Minnesota to break Johnnie Morton’s single game school mark of 15 (set in 1993). It was the second-most receptions in a game by a Pac-12 receiver (2 shy of the record). Woods’ 3 touchdowns (all in the first half) also tied a school-record and tied a career-high for Woods.
  • Matt Barkley completed 34 passes against Minnesota breaking Todd Marinovich's single game school record back in 1989. Barkley has 5,830 career pass yards, 296 yards shy of passing John David Booty for 5th on the school’s all-time passing yardage list.
  • Hawaii leads its series with Washington 2-1. The Warriors won the last game 35-28 in 2007.
  • Huskies running back Chris Polk produced his 12th career 100-yard rushing game against Eastern Washington, tied for third most in school history.
  • Washington's five-game winning streak is tied for sixth longest in the nation. Only Auburn (16), Stanford (9), Nevada and Ohio State (7) and Oklahoma (6) have longer current winning streaks.
  • Washington State is 4-0 all-time against UNLV. The teams last played in 1991, a 40-13 Cougars win.
  • 11 different Cougs caught passes in the win over Idaho State
  • Washington State rolled up 590 yards of offense against Idaho State. The Cougars 60 points was their most since scoring 77 against Southwestern Louisiana in 1997.

Quick thoughts from Cowboys Stadium

September, 3, 2011
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Couple of quick thoughts as I get set up in Cowboys Stadium.
  • This stadium is pretty amazing. Ducks fans who are here will be mesmerized by the scoreboard.
  • It's really, really hot here. And I live in Scottsdale, Ariz.
  • UCLA has started slowly at Houston, which is not good for Rick Neuheisel and the Bruins, down 10-0 in the first.
  • USC started better, though a failed 2-point conversion left the Trojans up only 6-0 after one quarter.
  • The Ducks probably wished they could have had Utah State's offense in January against Auburn, which gave up 448 yards in a 42-38 comeback win.

Will have plenty more throughout the day. So don't stop staring at your computer.

Pac-12 links: Tough QBs to test Buffs, UCLA

August, 30, 2011
Gentlemen, the hopes and dreams of an entire town are riding on your shoulders. You may never matter again in your life as much as you do right now.

Best case-worst case: Washington State

August, 15, 2011
First in a series looking at potential dream and nightmare scenarios for all Pac-12 teams.

Understand: These are not predictions. They are extreme scenarios and pieces of fiction. You can read last year'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 first: Washington State

Best case

Idaho State isn't good; no one would say the Bengals should have been competitive with Washington State. But there was something about the way the Cougars marched over the Bengals like an army of steamrollers in a 62-3 victory that raised a few eyebrows in Pac-12 towns.

A 42-10 manhandling the following weekend over UNLV raised a few more. But it was a 38-17 victory at San Diego State that confirmed it: The Cougs will not be patsies in 2011.

"Making a statement? I don't know about that," said Cougars quarterback Jeff Tuel after throwing three touchdown passes and outplaying touted Aztecs quarterback Ryan Lindley. "We're 3-0. That's good. We've got a bye coming up. That's good. Then we start the Pac-12 season at Colorado. That's probably where we try to make a meaningful statement."

For three quarters, the only statement from the Cougs is "almost." Colorado leads 24-10 with eight minutes left in the final frame and is driving. But on a third and 4 from the Cougs 18, Travis Long catches Buffaloes quarterback Tyler Hansen from behind and slaps the ball loose. Washington State recovers. Three completions from Tuel gets the Cougars to the Buffs 25. A draw play for Rickey Galvin gets the rest of it.

The defense stops the Buffs again, but the ensuing punt is downed on the Cougs 8-yard line with 2:15 left.

Tuel to Marquess Wilson converts a third and 8. Tuel to Kristoff Williams for 33 yards gets the Cougs into Colorado territory. A screen to Logwone Mitz reaches the 14. Tuel scrambles to the four, but takes a sack on second and goal. On fourth down, Tuel loops a throw to Wilson in the corner of the endzone with seven seconds left.

"I started thinking about our 2-point play when we got the ball on the eight," Washington State coach Paul Wulff said after his Cougars improved to 4-0 with a 25-24 win. "I thought, 'What kind of name is Gino Simone anyway?' Sounds like some sort of pretentious fashionista doesn't it? Like, 'The spring collection from Gino Simone features silk and ruffles and bright colors that will make you feel fabulous!' Thought the kid needed a football moment. And I thought he would be open. I was right, eh?"

The Cougs get votes in both the AP and Coaches polls.

But then the rebirth hits a wall. An overtime loss at UCLA, is followed by a blowout home defeat to Stanford. Oregon State gets revenge for a 2010 loss to the Cougs, and Oregon rolls at home. A four-game losing streak has fans once again questioning Wulff. Athletic director Bill Moos says he won't comment until after the season, which is read as a refusal to give a vote of confidence.

Washington State picks up win No. 5 at California, but falls back to .500 on a late field goal by No. 19 Arizona State. Utah comes to town with hopes of a South Division championships, but the Utes trudge out 27-24 losers. Tuel scrambles for the winning score with no time left, which rocks Martin Stadium like it's 2002, as though Drew Dunning is again sliding on his knees after USC is vanquished in overtime.

Washington State, after winning just five games the previous three years under Wulff, is bowl eligible.

"Bowl eligible? That's great," Wulff said. "But I hate purple and that's all I can see right now."

The Cougars rolls 35-24 over the faltering Huskies -- last place in the Pac-12 North -- at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. Headline in the Sunday Seattle Times, "Sarkisian on the hot seat?"

Washington State whips Army in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl to finish 8-5, winning four of its final five games.

Wulff signs a contract extension exactly one month before signing a recruiting class's Tom Luginbill calls, "Shockingly good."

Worst case

It was a 2-0 start, but the 24-21 victory against Mountain West bottom-feeder UNLV didn't inspire many folks in Pullman.

The 35-30 loss at San Diego State felt revealing. Sure, quarterback Jeff Tuel can throw the football -- see three TD passes -- but giving up four sacks and rushing for just 96 yards isn't going to get it done. Nor is the defense yielding 487 yards.

The Cougars lose at Colorado but come back to surprise UCLA. That inspires hope: They are just three wins from bowl eligibility.

But no more wins come. Stanford, Oregon and Arizona State deliver beatdowns. Competitive games with Oregon State, California and Utah still include unhappy endings.

Wulff announces his resignation before the Apple Cup.

"While the program is better off today than when I took it over in 2008, my chief regret is that we just didn't get it done," he says. "I am and will forever be a Cougar. I only wish great things for this program in the future."

No. 15 Washington trounces Washington State 41-17. The Huskies head to the Alamo Bowl, where they bludgeon Texas A&M 35-10. shortly dubs them "darkhorse national title contenders in 2012."

The Cougars hire Tyrone Willingham to replace Wulff.

Catching up on some 'watch list' news

July, 11, 2011
Last week, there was plenty of "watch list" news. Here's a handy-dandy guide to help you catch up.

Eight Pac-12 players were on the 87-man watch list for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, which goes to the nation's best defensive player.

Vontaze Burfict, Arizona State, LB
Tony Dye, UCLA, S
Cliff Harris, Oregon, CB
Delano Howell, Stanford, S
Mychal Kendricks, California, LB
T.J. McDonald, USC, S
Shayne Skov, Stanford, LB
Alameda Ta'amu, Washington, DT

Eleven Pac-12 players were on the 66-man watch list for the Maxwell Award, which goes to the most outstanding player in college football.

Matt Barkley, QB, USC
Juron Criner, WR, Arizona
Nick Foles, QB, Arizona
Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA
LaMichael James, RB, Oregon
Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
Chris Polk, RB, Washington
Rodney Stewart, RB, Colorado
Stepfan Taylor, RB, Stanford
Darron Thomas, QB, Oregon
Robert Woods, WR, USC

Nine Pac-12 players were on the 65-man watch list for the Outland Trophy, which goes to the best interior lineman -- tackles, guards and centers -- in college football.

Tony Bergstrom, Utah, OT
David DeCastro, Stanford, G
Garth Gerhart, Arizona State, C
Khaled Holmes, USC, C
Matt Kalil, USC, OT
Jonathan Martin, Stanford, OT
Ryan Miller, Colorado, G
Mitchell Schwartz, California, OT
Alameda Ta'amu, Washington, DT

Five Pac-12 players were on the 34-man watch list for the John Mackey Award, which goes to the nation's top tight end.

Rhett Ellison, USC
Coby Fleener, Stanford
Joe Halahuni, Oregon State
Anthony Miller, California
David Paulson, Oregon

California's Bryan Anger is one of five members on the watch list for the 2011 Ray Guy Award, which goes to the nation's top punter.

Seven Pac-12 receivers made the Biletnikoff Award preseason watch list.

Devonte Christopher, Utah
Juron Criner, Arizona
Marvin Jones, California
Jermaine Kearse, Washington
Markus Wheaton, Oregon State
Marquess Wilson, Washington State
Robert Woods, USC

Three Pac-12 kickers are on the Lou Groza watch list.

Rob Beard, Oregon
Erik Folk, Washington
Alex Zendejas, Arizona
No team in the Pac-12 wows you at defensive tackle. No team is a sure thing. There is a lot of "maybe" at the position. And probably some maybe not.

The uncertainty of quality -- both in terms of returning stars and depth -- made this a difficult position to rank. For example, Washington has a nice foursome at tackle, led by Alameda Ta'amu, who might be the best tackle in the conference.

That's great. Good for the Huskies. But they ranked 97th in the country in run defense last year. You sort of pause over that, you know?

So a lot of this ranking is feel thing, a projection of potential. And "great shape" here is relative to the conference. Nebraska, for example, wouldn't exchange its tackles -- Jared Crick and Baker Steinkuhler -- for any Pac-12 tandem.

Some of this figures to inspire a bit of debate.

Great shape

USC: This may be in some part based on fumes from the Trojans reputation at the position. It definitely includes a vote of faith that they will get a 100 percent Christian Tupou back from the knee injury that killed his 2010 season. If so, the threesome of Tupou, George Uko and DaJohn Harris is strong. And if you toss in Armond Armstead -- who missed spring with an undisclosed medical condition that threatens his career -- you'd have a clear No. 1.

Washington: Ta'amu seemed to find himself during the second half of last year, and the 330-pounder could end up getting some All-American consideration if he consistently plays like he did against Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl. Sione Potoa'e and Semisi Tokolahi are both experienced, and Lawrence Lagafuaina a space-grabbing, 344-pound redshirt freshman.

Colorado: The Buffaloes are sneaky good here, even though they only ranked 48th in the nation in run defense in 2010. Both starters, Will Pericak and Curtis Cunningham, are back, but Conrad Obi was a revelation this spring. He looked like a future NFL draft choice, not a player who'd mostly been a bust. Nate Bonsu, who missed spring with a knee injury, also should help.

Good shape

Utah: The Utes, who ranked 11th in the nation in run defense in 2010, lost Sealver Siliga, but they believe they have a budding star in, er, Star Lotulelei, while James Aiono, LT Tuipulotu and Joape Peta are solid. Also, Dave Kruger, who played end this spring, is 280 pounds and can play inside.

Arizona: The loss of backup Willie Mobley to a knee injury hurts depth, but Justin Washington figures to take a step forward after an impressive true freshman season, Sione Tuihalamaka started four games in 2010. Depth is a question. The Wildcats ranked 33rd in the nation in run defense last fall.

Oregon: On the one hand, Oregon lost both starting defensive tackles in Brandon Bair and Zac Clark from a unit that ranked 27th in the nation in run defense. On the other, they played so many guys last fall, the new starters are experienced players. Further, Ricky Heimuli, Taylor Hart, Wade Keliikipi, Isaac Remington and Jared Ebert played well enough this spring to suggest the position will be a strength in the fall.

Arizona State: If Lawrence Guy didn't make his ill-fated decision to enter the NFL draft, the Sun Devils, who were 16th in the nation against the run last fall, would be in great shape here. As it was, Will Sutton had a great spring and looks like a potential All-Conference guy. Grinder Bo Moos is listed as the starter at the other tackle, though he could be eclipsed by Corey Adams. Toa Tuitea saw limited action last year.

UCLA: The Bruins defensive line was terrible last year, ranking 108th in the nation against the run, but the talent is there for a significant turnaround. Cassius Marsh, Nate Chandler, Justin Edison, Donovan Carter and Seali'i Epenesa should do a much better job plugging the middle.

California: Cal is actually fine here, despite the loss of NG Derrick Hill. For one, when you run a 3-4 defense, it's hard to rate your DTs, even if your DEs often operate like them. The Bears have two solid options at NG in Aaron Tipoti and Kendrick Payne, and it's also possible that touted 350-pound incoming freshman Viliami Moala will eclipse both of them.

We'll see

Oregon State: Dominic Glover moves inside from end and Kevin Frahm has experience, but this unit didn't play well last year -- 89th in run defense -- even with one of the best DTs in the nation in Stephen Paea. 340-pound Castro Masaniai could help but he missed spring after shoulder surgery and has off-field issues. There's also Mana Tuivailala and Ben Motter.

Stanford: Like Cal, Stanford runs a 3-4, so it naturally it is going to suffer a bit in DT rankings. More important: The loss of Sione Fua is significant. Terrence Stephens and Henry Anderson had solid springs but neither has much experience.

Washington State: Brandon Rankin, a returning starter, was listed No. 2 on the depth chart behind Anthony Laurenzi after spring practices, with redshirt freshman Toni Pole No. 1 at the other tackle. Justin Clayton, Steven Hoffart and Xavier Cooper provide depth. It's not unreasonable for Cougars fans to expect improvement, perhaps significant improvement. But a team that ranked 115th in the nation in run defense the previous season is automatically a "We'll see" here.

Happy 4th of July!

July, 4, 2011
Happy 4th everybody!

Have a great -- and safe -- day with your family and friends. No shooting fireworks into your mouth, OK? Maybe take a moment to reflect on what the day is about.

While the Pac-12 blog will be on its final week of vacation this offseason for the rest of the week, there will still be plenty of action on the blog. So stay tuned.

Pac-12 adds New Mexico Bowl for 2011

June, 9, 2011
The Pac-12 and New Mexico Bowl are hooking up a year earlier than originally planned.

The conference's No. 7 team will play a Mountain West team on Dec. 17, in the first bowl game of the 2012 season. Kickoff will be at 2 p.m. ET at University Stadium in Albuquerque. The game will be broadcast by ESPN.

The Pac-12 was supposed to pick up the New Mexico Bowl in 2012, but the bowl dropped its WAC affiliation, opening the door for an earlier marriage.

In the first four New Mexico Bowls, the Mountain West and WAC squared off, with the MWC winning three of four. In the fifth annual game, the bowl welcomed UTEP, a Conference USA member, which fell to departing MWC-member BYU.

What this means for the Pac-12 is that it's almost certain any team that is at least 6-6 will be able to play in a bowl game (keep in mind that USC isn't eligible for the postseason).

Here's the Pac-12 bowl lineup for 2011-12.

No. 1 : Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO, Jan. 2 (Jan. 1, the bowl's traditional date, falls on a Sunday, when no bowl game will be played this year) OR Allstate BCS National Championship, Jan. 9

No. 2: Valero Alamo Bowl vs. Big 12 No. 3, Dec. 29.

No. 3: Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl vs. Big 12 No. 5, Dec. 28.

No. 4: Hyundai Sun Bowl vs. ACC No. 4, Dec. 31.

No. 5: MAACO Las Vegas vs. Mountain West No. 1, Dec. 22

No. 6: Kraft Fight Hunger vs. Army (if eligible), Dec. 31.

No. 7: New Mexico Bowl vs. Mountain West, Dec. 17

How the Pac-10 fared against BCS teams

February, 24, 2011
How did the Pac-10 do against other conferences in 2010? Glad you asked.

The Pac-10 was 23-12 (.657) in all nonconference games last season and 12-7 versus other AQ conferences, which was the highest winning percentage among the AQ conferences.

Here's how things stack up.

Pac-10: 12-7 (.631)
SEC: 15-10 (.600)
Big 12: 11-9 (.550)
Big Ten: 10-9 (.526)
ACC: 9-14 (.391)
Big East: 6-13 (.315)

As far as head-to-head with other AQ conferences (and Notre Dame), the Pac-10 only had a losing record against one:

ACC... 3-0
Big East... 2-0
Big Ten... 2-1
Big 12... 3-4
SEC... 1-1
Notre Dame... 1-1

Ah, but you non-AQ folks are raising a finger. Correct. The Pac-10 went 1-2 versus the WAC (losing to Boise State and Nevada) and 1-2 against the Mountain West (losing to BYU and TCU).

So the Pac-10's final record against all FBS foes was 17-12 (.586).

What about Colorado and Utah? Well, both would have been solid presences in terms of their nonconference marks. Colorado went 3-1 in nonconference games, beating Colorado State, Hawaii and Georgia. It's loss? To California. As for Utah, it went 3-2, including a Las Vegas Bowl defeat to Boise State. It beat Pittsburgh, San Jose State and Iowa State, and lost to Notre Dame.

Was your team explosive in 2010?

February, 22, 2011
Coaches love talking about explosion plays. You want to get a lot of them and give up very few.

SEC blogger Chris Low queried ESPN Stats & Information about explosion plays -- defined as plays of 20 or more yards -- and ended up with a really cool spread sheet. Because Chris is a generous sort, he emailed the list over (He did force me to say "I love grits.")

First, we're going to look at explosion plays on offense. You know, the kind you want. Wednesday, we'll look at defense.

Not surprisingly, Oregon led the conference and ranked fifth in the nation with 82 plays of 20 or more yards. UCLA fans may want to cover their eyes. California fans, too.

The number to the left in national rank. The number to the right is the total number of explosion plays in 2010.

5. Oregon, 82
14. Stanford, 69
38. Arizona, 60
48. Utah, 58
57. Arizona State, 56
71. USC, 52
75. Washington, 50
75. Oregon State, 50
85. Washington State, 47
96. Colorado, 43
103. California, 39
116. UCLA, 31

Wow, the Pac-12 doesn't look very explosive. More teams rank in the bottom-half of the nation than in the top-half. By comparison, nine SEC teams ranked in the top-40.

But hold your horses. For one, the Pac-12 plays tougher nonconference foes, which means fewer patsies to pound for long gains with superior speed and size. Also, the conference plays nine nonconference games, so that means one more A-list defense.

Still, the numbers are a bit surprising. Perhaps they reflect some of the malaise in the conference last fall. In 2009, six teams (not including No. 40 Utah) ranked in the top 54, including four in the top 25.

Some other thoughts.
  • Oregon was tied for seventh in 2009 with 75 and was seventh in 2008 with 77. It was the only team to rank in the top 10 the past three seasons.
  • UCLA had just 29 explosion plays in 2008, which ranked 113th. It had 44 in 2009, which was much better but still ranked 93rd. Suffice it to say, Norm Chow and Rick Neuheisel didn't make beautiful music together.
  • Want to know a place where California regressed in 2010? Explosion plays. In 2009, it ranked 13th with 72, darn near double the 2010 total, and 23rd in 2008 with 65.
  • Non-AQ conferences produce plenty of explosion plays: Six of the top-10 teams were from non-automatic qualifying conferences the past two seasons.

But do explosion plays equate to winning? Short answer: yes. Here's the top-10 in 2010 with the team's record in parenthesis to the right.

1. Hawaii, 103 (10-4)
2. Auburn, 86 (14-0)
3. Tulsa, 85 (10-3)
4. Boise State, 83 (12-1)
5. Oregon, 82 (12-1)
6. Nevada, 81 (13-1)
7. San Diego State, 78 (9-4)
7. Arkansas, 78 (10-3)
9. Northern Illinois, 77 (11-3)
10. Tennessee, 75 (6-7)

That's only one losing team (Tennessee, which played in a bowl game), nine with nine or more wins and four that lost one or fewer times.

That said, explosion plays are not the be-all, end-all. Consider the 2011 Rose Bowl between TCU and Wisconsin. The Horned Frogs tied for 35th in the nation with 60 explosion plays, while the Badgers were 62nd with 54. Yet they finished ranked fourth (TCU) and fifth in the nation in scoring offense and combined for just two defeats (both by the Badgers).

Tune in Wednesday and we'll take a look at defense.

We're chatting!

February, 17, 2011
We're chatting at 3 p.m. ET -- noon PT -- so join the fun by clicking here.

We can talk about the spring preview -- North Division here and South Division here -- or anything else that floats your boat.

If you don't have a boat, please understand that I was speaking figuratively.

Some recruiting links

February, 2, 2011
Quick hits from the a.m.

Oregon running game not on track

January, 10, 2011
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Auburn and Oregon entered this game as dominant rushing teams. Neither has dominated on the ground. But Auburn has been a whole lot better.

Oregon has just 74 yards rushing with 10 minutes left in the game. Auburn has 164 yards on the ground.

Auburn leads the overall yardage count 398 yards to 380.
Two major news items to cover quickly while distracted by this little football game.
As for Rodgers, that means he will leave behind his brother, receiver James Rodgers, who will come back for a fifth year after receiving a medical hardship waiver from the NCAA.

The decision makes sense. There's little else Rodgers can do to improve his NFL stock, and running backs don't have a long shelf life. He's a classy young man who has done a lot for the Beavers. He feels he's ready to go pro, so good luck to him.

Petersen's decision is not unexpected. He's spurned many suitors in the past. While Stanford seemed like a good fit, Petersen has done a fairly good job fitting at Boise State, wouldn't you say?

That decision suggests that Stanford might look now at its internal candidates to replace Jim Harbaugh: David Shaw and Greg Roman.

Or perhaps athletic director Bob Bowlsby has someone off the grid that he's going to go after?

You'd think with national signing day just a few weeks away, Bowlsby wants to make a move quickly.

Pac-10 lunch links: Who might replace Harbaugh?

January, 6, 2011
I am not what you would call a handsome man. The good Lord chose not to bless me with... with charm, athletic ability... or a fully functional brain. You see, you're an inspiration, to all of us who... who weren't born handsome, and charming and cool.