Pac-12: WAC

Pac-12 adds New Mexico Bowl for 2011

June, 9, 2011
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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

Staff changes: Utah

March, 10, 2011
3/10/11
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Only Oregon and Washington didn't experience any staff turnover this offseason, so we're running through the staff changes for the other 10 Pac-12 teams.

Next up is Utah, which brought in a big name to run its offense

Team in parenthesis is where the departing coach ended up.

Out
Dave Schramm, co-offensive coordinator/tight ends (now running backs coach)
Aaron Roderick, co-offensive coordinator (now receivers coach)

In
Norm Chow, offensive coordinator/tight ends

Out
Blake Miller, Offensive line (Memphis)

In
Tim Davis, offensive line

Out
Aaron Alford, running backs (now Director of High School Relations)

In
Schramm, running backs

Out
John Pease, defensive line (retired)

In
Chad Kauha’aha’a, defensive line

Reaction: Obviously, the big news is Chow. He's one of the all-time greats, but he's coming off an unsuccessful tenure at UCLA. It's interesting that he's not coaching quarterbacks, which continues to be Brian Johnson's post. That will allow Chow to play a more supervisory role, which might be a good thing as he gets a feel for his personnel and transitions the Utes from a spread to a more West Coast attack. Johnson, who turned 24 in February and is the Pac-12's youngest full-time assistant, has a great opportunity to learn from Chow and put his career in the fast lane. An obvious question is how Schramm and Roderick handle what functions as a demotion. You'd suspect that head coach Kyle Whittingham is pretty confident both will be good soldiers, because it falls on him if they are disgruntled. Davis, a former line coach at USC, was a Ute offensive tackle from 1978-80 and a Utah offensive line coach from 1990-96. Kauha’aha’a was Utah State's defensive line coach for the past two seasons. He's a former second-team All-WAC player for the Utes in 1996. Whittingham was the defensive coordinator during Kauha’aha’a’s last three years at Utah.
One thing we're learning about Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott: When he says he's going to do something, he does.

Scott talked about expansion and he did it. And he talked about improving football officiating, and it appears he's well on his way to doing that.

Mike Pereira, the Pac-12's interim coordinator of football officiating, has dismissed 11 officials who worked games last year and will hire 16 new officials heading into the 2011 season, according to the Seattle Times. Those new officials will be lured away from the Big 12, Mountain West and WAC, per the report.

Pereira doesn't mince words with his evaluation of the conference's officiating.
"I certainly did not think that for a geographic area like the West Coast that can draw from a lot of officials, I certainly didn't think it was at the level that it could be," he told the Times. "I'm not saying it was horrible, but it was not at the level that it deserved to be and that this conference deserves to have."

My guess is some of you might agree.

Couple of other notes of interest from the Times story by Bob Condotta.
  • Pereira said the conference's entire officiating program is being reorganized, starting with the hiring of seven supervisors to oversee each of the seven officiating positions (referee, umpire, linesman, line judge, back judge, field judge, side judge), as well as one for the replay booth.
  • There will be a new "officiating command center" at the conference office in Walnut Creek, Calif., which matches other BCS conferences.
  • Sixteen new officials will give the conference seven seven-man crews, a personnel increase due to the addition of two new teams to the conference.

How the Pac-10 fared against BCS teams

February, 24, 2011
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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.

UCLA hires Mastro, fires Howard

February, 10, 2011
2/10/11
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UCLA has hired Jim Mastro away from Nevada as a tight ends and F-backs coach and he "will also play a key role in the continued development of the running component of UCLA’s offense that incorporates elements of the Pistol schemes," according to a release from the school.

The school also announced that defensive line coach Todd Howard has been fired, as coach Rick Neuheisel continues a deliberately paced reconfiguring of his staff that has included dismissing both coordinators from 2010, though it appears the candidacy of Steve Brown, presently at Kentucky, for the defensive coordinator vacancy is gaining some traction.

You can read more about Brown's uneasy situation at Kentucky here.

Nevada, under head coach Chris Ault, is where the pistol offense was born, and Mastro has been in Reno 11 years coaching running backs. In five of the last 10 seasons, a Wolf Pack running back has led the WAC in rushing. In the last four years, he has helped Nevada running backs produce five 1,000-yard seasons. This past season, senior Vai Taua recorded his third consecutive 1,000-yard season, finishing seventh nationally with an average of 123.9 yards per contest. As a team, Nevada ranked No. 3 nationally in rushing with an average of 292.2 yards per game. The Wolf Pack led the nation in 2009 and ranked third in 2008.

“Jim has a wealth of knowledge and experience with the Pistol and will be a great asset as we incorporate many of its run-game principles into our offense,” Neuheisel said in a statement. “He has enjoyed great success in the running game and I feel he will work well alongside Mike Johnson (offensive coordinator, wide receivers), Wayne Moses (running backs) and Bob Palcic (offensive line) to give us a very cohesive offensive staff.”

Mastro, 45, also served as Nevada’s recruiting coordinator, where his regions of focus were the Bay Area and Orange County.

Prior to coaching at Nevada, Mastro was on the staff at Idaho for two years (1998-99).

As for Howard, he has coached the Bruin defensive linemen for the past five seasons. He was retained from former coach Karl Dorrell's staff when Neuheisel was hired before the 2008 season.

Neuheisel's statement on letting Howard go, “Todd knew that this was a possibility. We discussed the situation back in December and decided to wait until after recruiting to make a final decision. I feel that it is in the best interest of our program and also in Todd’s best interest that we part ways at this time."

UCLA's offensive staff appears set. The two remaining staff vacancies are on offense: D-line and coordinator.

Utah reshuffles staff

February, 4, 2011
2/04/11
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Norm Chow: Utah tight ends coach.

Sorry. Just wanted to type that.

Here's how Utah coach Kyle Whittingham has reshuffled his staff after hiring Chow away from UCLA, per a press release:

[O]ffensive coordinator Norm Chow will also coach the tight ends, while Dave Schramm takes over at running back -- a position he managed during his first four years at Utah (2005-08). Aaron Alford, a Ute assistant since 2007 and the running backs coach for the last two seasons, moves into an administrative role as the director of high school relations. The rest of Utah’s offensive staff has Aaron Roderick beginning his seventh year with the receivers, Brian Johnson coaching the quarterbacks for the second year, and Tim Davis taking over the offensive line.

[+] EnlargeNorm Chow
Kirby Lee/Image of Sport - US PresswireNew Utah offensive coordinator Norm Chow will bring a lot of experience to the staff.
Utah also announced that Chad Kauha’aha’a will take over as defensive line coach. He replaces John Pease, who retired after the season. Kauha’aha’a was Utah State's defensive line coach for the past two seasons. He's a former second-team all WAC player for the Utes in 1996. Whittingham was the defensive coordinator during Kauha’aha’a’s last three years at Utah.

But back to the offensive shakeup. Here's how Whittingham explained it:

“We took our time re-positioning the offensive staff and made sure that we got everybody into the roles we felt were best for the program. Aaron Alford did a nice job with our running backs, and the cornerbacks before that, but as the director of high school relations, he will fill a critical role for us in our move to the Pac-12.”


It seems like Whittingham tried to limit the shock to his staff's system as best he could, seeing that Schramm and Roderick shared the coordinating duties last year and are functionally getting a demotion because of the arrival of Chow.

Most interesting: Chow is not coaching quarterbacks. That's been his specialty since his BYU days in the 1970s. That decision feels like tip of the cap to Brian Johnson, as well as a way to allow Chow to serve in a more supervisory role. A graduate assistant can put tight ends through drills. Coaching quarterbacks is far more involved.

Further, Chow turns 65 in May. It seems unlikely he'll be Utah's offensive coordinator for the next decade, though you never know. You'd think the rest of the offensive staff, even if they are grumpy at present about the changes, could absorb plenty of knowledge from Chow over the next few years that will benefit them down the road.

While Chow's tenure at UCLA wasn't successful, he's still on a short list of the best offensive minds in college football history. You'd also think he'll be plenty motivated to wash the bad taste out of his mouth over how things went in Westwood.

And who isn't excited about UCLA's visit on Nov. 12?

Pac-10 bowl projections

November, 14, 2010
11/14/10
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Will any team mired in the bottom-middle of the Pac-10 get hot down the stretch? It sure would make the conference's bowl partners happy.

With Oregon State's stunning loss to Washington State, it's becoming increasingly likely that only four conference teams will earn bowl eligibility, barring any special waiver from the NCAA for 5-7 teams to play in contracted bowl games.

Oregon, Stanford and Arizona are already bowl eligible. If Oregon wins out, it almost certainly will play for the national title. If Stanford wins out, and the Ducks play a non-AQ team for the title, the Cardinal will play in the Rose Bowl. After that, Stanford's status is fluid. Could it earn an at-large invitation to a BCS bowl game? Or will it possibly be relegated to the Alamo Bowl?

If Arizona loses to Oregon and beats Arizona State, it figures to end up in the Alamo Bowl or the Holiday Bowl. We are projecting California to end up 6-6 after losing to Stanford and beating Washington at home in the season-finale, which would put the Bears in the Holiday or Sun Bowl.

And the Las Vegas Bowl and Kraft Fight Hunger bowl, in our projection, would have to look elsewhere for teams.

Of course, there are possibilities for UCLA and Washington and even Arizona State.

The Bruins (4-5) play at Washington (Thursday night), at Arizona State and play host to USC. It's not implausible to imagine them winning two of three. Of course, they will have to show some toughness on the road, which they did at Texas.

Washington (3-6) plays the Bruins, at California and at Washington State. It's not implausible to imagine the Huskies winning all three, though the visit to Cal looks a bit daunting.

As for Arizona State (4-6), it needs to beat UCLA and win at Arizona to reach .500. If it does, it's likely the Sun Devils would be a candidate for a waiver that would allow them to play in a bowl game, despite getting to six wins with two victories against FCS foes.

And it's not that hard to be sympathetic to that position. The Sun Devils' two FCS foes are not really that much weaker than the nonconference patsies a number of other 6-6 and 7-5 teams will have played.

The Bruins, however, look like the swing team, with remaining games against Washington and Arizona State. If they manage to get a fifth win at Washington, it wouldn't be hard to see them splitting their final two games and getting to 6-6.
  • Tostitos BCS National Championship Game: Oregon vs. BCS team [a non-AQ]
  • Rose Bowl Game: Stanford vs. Big Ten
  • Valero Alamo: Arizona vs. Big 12
  • Bridgepoint Education Holiday: California vs. Big 12
  • Hyundai Sun: No team.
  • MAACO Las Vegas: No team
  • Kraft Fight Hunger: No team.

Pac-10 bowl projections

November, 7, 2010
11/07/10
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There's some happy in this week's bowl projections: Two BCS teams!

And there's some grumpy: Contract bowls with no eligible Pac-10 teams.

First, after watching Boise State and TCU this weekend, I've decided to roll the dice that one or the other will play Oregon for the national title.

That opens the door for Stanford to play in the Rose Bowl. That's my makeup gift for nagging Stanford fans about all those empty seats Saturday.

That's the good news. The bad news is I'm now projecting just five bowl-eligible teams. Which means the Las Vegas Bowl and Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl make have to look elsewhere for a Pac-10 team.

The way I see things playing out, Arizona State, UCLA and Washington all finish 5-7.

Of course, what that also means is a one-game swing would create a bowl-eligible team (though ASU needs to be 7-5 to guarantee bowl eligibility). On the other hand, Washington's visit to California on Nov. 27 is a swing game. I've got it being Cal's sixth win (Bears at home!) and the Huskies seventh loss. And if UCLA keeps rolling and wins at Washington on Nov. 18th ... well, you get the point.

Still, as I keep typing: Lots of football to be played. These are for entertainment purposes. I don't want to be seen as a travel agent. Don't book anything yet.
  • Tostitos BCS National Championship Game: Oregon vs. BCS team [a non-AQ]
  • Rose Bowl Game: Stanford vs. Big Ten
  • Valero Alamo: Arizona vs. Big 12
  • Bridgepoint Education Holiday: Oregon State vs. Big 12
  • Hyundai Sun: California vs. ACC
  • MAACO Las Vegas: No team
  • Kraft Fight Hunger: No team.

Pac-10 bowl projections

October, 31, 2010
10/31/10
8:30
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Oregon State is the big mover this week, its win against California making a 6-3 Pac-10 finish the most likely scenario for the Beavers. That could make things interesting.

If both Arizona and Oregon State finish 6-3 in the Pac-10, that likely would make them top candidates for the Holiday Bowl, which gets the Pac-10's No. 3 team.

The Wildcats played in the Holiday Bowl last year. Oregon State never has. And the Beavers won at Arizona.

The guess here is the Beavers would go to San Diego and Arizona would get a trip to El Paso for the Sun Bowl, which the Beavers played in in 2006 and 2008.

Of course, both are still in the Rose Bowl race. And if Arizona wins at Stanford on Saturday, its bowl possibilities greatly expand. (I'm sure to get some grumpiness from Wildcats fans not appreciative of getting losses to Stanford and Oregon written into their future).

After the top four teams, though, things are murky. We've got California and Arizona State earning bowl berths at 6-6. For the Sun Devils, that means some sort of waiver is given, because they played two FCS teams and typically would be required to win seven games. Contracted conference bowl games might be able to fudge things with the NCAA. (With 35 bowls requiring 70 teams, this might be necessary to fill all slots).

A key player might be USC. Will the Trojans finish strong or wilt? My present scenario has the Trojans losing to Arizona State, Arizona and Oregon State, meaning they're about to begin a four-game losing streak.

To be honest, that feels unlikely. But, not to seem like a whiny baby or anything, these bowl projections aren't easy to do.
  • Tostitos BCS National Championship Game: Oregon vs. BCS team
  • Rose Bowl Game: No Pac-10 team
  • Valero Alamo: Stanford vs. Big 12
  • Bridgepoint Education Holiday: Oregon State vs. Big 12
  • Hyundai Sun: Arizona vs. ACC
  • MAACO Las Vegas: California vs. Mountain West
  • Kraft Fight Hunger: Arizona State vs. WAC

Pac-10 bowl projections

October, 24, 2010
10/24/10
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These bowl projections don't match up with how I penciled out the rest of the regular season. My perhaps pessimistic projections see more 5-7 than 6-6, which likely means open bowl slots.

So I'm leaning on the conference's unpredictability to provide a boost to teams that could go either way toward bowl eligibility. Stanford, Arizona, USC and, heck, maybe even Oregon, are going to lose to someone in a "We didn't see that coming" game. That probably is where an elusive sixth win will appear.

Two games among the muddled middle seem critical to me, with unpredictable Cal being the linchpin: First, the Bears visit Oregon State on Saturday. The guess here is the winner is a sure-thing bowl team.

Second, Washington visits Cal on Nov. 27. It's hard to win in Berkeley, but the Huskies might need that one to get to six wins.

And by the way, Stanford and Arizona fans: You are now also TCU and Boise State fans. If a non-AQ team were to play Oregon for the national championship, then the Rose Bowl could stick to its traditional Pac-10-Big Ten matchup. If the No. 2 Pac-10 team is BCS-bowl eligible, then it likely goes to the Rose Bowl in that scenario.

So here we go.
  • Tostitos BCS National Championship Game: Oregon vs. BCS team
  • Rose Bowl Game: No Pac-10 team
  • Valero Alamo: Stanford vs. Big 12
  • Bridgepoint Education Holiday: Arizona vs. Big 12
  • Hyundai Sun: California vs. ACC
  • MAACO Las Vegas: Washington vs. Mountain West
  • Kraft Fight Hunger: Oregon State vs. WAC

Four Pac-10 defenders on Lott list

October, 20, 2010
10/20/10
8:46
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Four Pac-10 players are among the 23 quarterfinalists for the annual Lott IMPACT Trophy, the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation announced Wednesday.

The four players are: UCLA linebacker Akeem Ayers, Arizona State defensive tackle Lawrence Guy, California linebacker Mike Mohamed and Oregon linebacker Casey Matthews.

Named after Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott, the Lott is awarded to college football's Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year. Now in its seventh year, the Lott is the first -- and only -- college football award to equally recognize athletic performance and the personal character attributes of the player.

The Big 12 and the Big Ten have five players on the list, the SEC and ACC three each, the WAC two and one independent, Army.

The semifinalists will be announced Nov. 3 and the four finalists Nov. 24. Those four finalists will be flown to Newport Beach, Calif., for the annual black-tie banquet that will be televised by FOX.

Pac-10 lunch links: Sark and Kiffin are battling buddies

September, 28, 2010
9/28/10
2:30
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Whoever you are -- I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.

Some Pac-10 numbers to chew on

September, 28, 2010
9/28/10
12:46
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Some numbers that might interest you.
  • The Pac-10 is 10-4 vs. other BCS conferences.
  • The Pac-10 is 2-4 vs. the WAC and Mountain West.
  • The conference's overall record vs. FBS foes is 15-9 (.624).
  • Arizona ranks fourth in the nation in total defense (230.75 yards per game) and is tied for third with Oregon in scoring defense (11 ppg).
  • Three Pac-10 QBs rank in the nation's top 25 in passing efficiency: No. 11 Andrew Luck of Stanford, No. 14 Matt Barkley of USC and No. 25 Nick Foles of Arizona.
  • Four Pac-10 teams rank among the top 15 in the nation in pass efficiency defense: No. 2 Oregon, No. 4 Stanford, No. 11 Arizona and No. 15 California.
  • Oregon is No. 1 in the nation with 57.75 points per game. Stanford is No. 4 with 48 ppg.
  • Oregon and Stanford have both allowed only one sack so far this year. Stanford leads the conference with 14 sacks. Oregon is tied for second with 11.
  • Stanford is tied for No. 1 in the nation with a 100 percent scoring rate in the red zone. Its 26 red zone opportunities -- 18 TDs -- also is the most in the nation.
  • Oregon RB LaMichael James is No. 2 in the nation with 158.83 rushing yards per game. Cal's Shane Vereen is 22nd with 106.5 ypg.
  • Arizona's Travis Cobb is No. 1 in the nation in kickoff return average (37.83 ypr).
  • Oregon's Cliff Harris is No. 1 in the nation in punt return average (28.14 ypr).
  • Arizona State's Trevor Hankins is No. 1 in the nation in punting, averaging 51.07 yards per boot.
  • Oregon is No. 1 in the nation in turnover margin (2.75). The Ducks have forced 18 turnovers -- three more than any other team -- and lost seven.
  • Oregon State is the only team in the nation that has yet to lose a turnover.
  • The Beavers rank 119th in the nation in third-down defense. Opponents are converting 58.7 percent of third-down plays into first downs. Meanwhile, the Beavers' offense is 115th in the nation in third down conversion percentage (26.5 percent).
  • Arizona State ranks last (120th) in the nation in penalty yards per game (93.8 ypg). USC ranks 118th (90 ypg).

Opening the mailbag: USC hate, BCS issues and general worries

September, 23, 2010
9/23/10
7:23
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For our restaurant enthusiasts who might want to get ahead on the new Pac-12: Check this out.

I have a feeling I'm going to be pretty happy with covering games in Boulder, Colo.

By the way: This is your brain. And this is your brain if you follow me on Twitter.

To the notes!

Jason from Northern California writes: Let's say Cal being unranked gives them what they needed (irrelevance) and they manage to beat Arizona in Tucson. How much does this affect the global view of Pac-10 football? I'm thinking there isn't much respect for my Golden Bears anywhere right now and them beating UA might just lower everyone else's view of the overall conference since Arizona's a serious contender, which in turn hurts our BCS rankings, etc. Would it be better for the conference if Cal just finished off a mediocre year 7-5 -- losses to Oregon, Arizona, Stanford (it pains me to say it), and Washington -- and won a meaningless bowl?

Ted Miller: Are we looking big-picture for what's best for the conference?

Best for the conference: Two victorious BCS bowl teams, one winning the national title, preferably over undefeated Alabama. And then a nicely laid out second and third tier of teams winning their bowl games.

Not saying that's going to happen, obviously, but you asked.

As for Cal: Well, if the Bears use the upset loss at Nevada, which goes on to upset Boise State and win the WAC, as a touchstone for winning the rest of their games, they will get plenty of credit. And a Rose Bowl berth.

It's too early to start projecting hypotheticals, though I realize it's ridiculous to try to stop such speculation. Even if Arizona lost to Cal, it still would have a win over Iowa. And if Iowa ends up winning the Big Ten, that's pretty darn good.

My gut feeling is we are going to have plenty of strange results this years, with teams soaring one week and crashing the next.

One Big Duck Fan from Medford, Ore., writes: If USC is not eligible for any bowl games &/or a Pac 10 championship game or title, WHY play them at all ?A win against them doesn't help. A loss does. But mainly injuries. A season could be won or lost on an injury against a team that doesn't count.To me, it's a lose-lose. You?

Ted Miller: Well, first of all, USC didn't get the death penalty, so the Trojans get to play this season.

And a win against them could very well help you. Let's say, for example, your beloved Ducks are tied with UCLA atop the Pac-10 heading into the final weekend of the season (I know; work with me here). Your Ducks win at Oregon State, and the Bruins lose at home to USC.

Your beloved Ducks are the champs! Thanks to the Trojans!

Does a successful season from USC hurt the Pac-10? Yes, in many ways. If the Trojans hand out a bunch of conference losses, those teams drop in the polls and/or their odds of bowl eligibility fall.

The solution, of course, is to beat USC.

But there's another side to this: Say USC goes 11-1, its only loss to Oregon. That quality win for the Ducks would be recognized in the polls (even in the coaches poll, which can't rank USC, would recognize a quality win when ranking the Ducks) as well as the computer rankings.

Truth is, for teams at the top of the conference, a good USC isn't necessarily a bad thing -- as long as those top teams beat the Trojans.

A. Morales from Maricopa, Ariz., writes: I think it's garbage that USC is banned from a potential conference title game. If the Pac and NCAA didn't want USC completing for a conference title, they should have banned them from playing any conference games at all. My team, Arizona, tied for the conference title in 1993 but it sure didn't feel like we won or tied considering UCLA played in the Rose Bowl that season. If the Cats somehow win the conference this year and miss the Rose Bowl because of the non-AQ agreement it will also not feel much like a conference win unless we somehow earn a trip to the national title game. Every Pac-10 fan knows the real reward for winning the conference is the Rose Bowl. What's your take on this?

Ted Miller: Boy, some USC hate today.

First, see above.

But let's also clarify the Rose Bowl selection procedure this year.

Here it is from the BCS website:

For the games of January 2011 through 2014, the first year the Rose Bowl loses a team to the NCG and a team from the non-AQ group is an automatic qualifier, that non-AQ team will play in the Rose Bowl.


So if Arizona -- or any team -- wins the Pac-10 outright this year, it's either: 1. Going to the Rose Bowl; 2. Going to the national championship game.

And if Arizona is tied for the Pac-10 title but wins the tiebreaker with the team or teams it's tied with, it will go to the Rose Bowl.

How could things go wrong?

Well, say undefeated Oregon is selected to play for the national championship. Most years, the Rose Bowl would select the No. 2 Pac-10 team, if it qualified for an at-large berth (nine or more wins; 14th or higher in the BCS standings). But this recent addition to the BCS rules means the Rose Bowl is required to pick an eligible non-AQ team.

Keep in mind though: That non-AQ team would have to be eligible. In other words, probably undefeated.

So lighten up. If your team legitimately wins the Pac-10, it will either play in the Rose Bowl or for the national title.

Erin from Eugene, Ore., writes: What do you think the chances are of the PAC-10 getting two BCS berths if, for instance, Arizona and Oregon win out except against each other?

Ted Miller: Extremely good.

In that scenario, 12-0 one and 11-1 the other, I'd almost guarantee two BCS bowl berths. In fact, if a Pac-10 team goes undefeated, I'd lay big money -- if, of course, I were a betting man -- that it would play for the national title.

By the way, it's not like an undefeated Pac-10 team has ever been screwed by the BCS. It's only when there's a loss involved.

Eric from Belgium writes: I just wanted to thank you, for everything you do in regards to keeping me in touch with PAC-10 football. Its hard to stay in touch being military and overseas but you make serving overseas a little less harder. Thanks..... Also go Arizona beat Cal this weekend!!

Ted Miller: Yeah, I'm over here doing important stuff while you help defend our country.

So... thank you.

And how freaking good is the beer over there? I'm more of a liquor guy, but man, oh, man, do they know beer in Belgium. Might have to pop an Affligem Tripel in celebration of you, Eric, as soon as I finish typing.

Thoms from Los Angeles writes: Ted, your readers might enjoy this website. It compiles the bcs era conference head-to-head records. not surprisingly, the sec has a losing record to the pac 10. and that's despite oregon state's kicking debacle at lsu a few years ago. but, hey, give them this: sec teams were fantastic in their 78 games against division 1-aa teams (more than double the number of 1-aa games played by pac 10 teams during the same stretch).

Ted Miller: The National Championship Issue is a good website, and that's an interesting chart.

What was most interesting to me was the overall winning percentage vs. BCS conference foes: The SEC was 53.14 percent; the Pac-10 was 52.47 percent.

The other four BCS conferences had losing records.

But I'm not going to mention the Pac-10's 12-9 record vs. the SEC since 1998, because then all the Big East fans would point out they are 19-14 vs. the SEC. And then the Big Ten fans would wonder if they were really that much slower with a 20-22 record vs. the SEC.

Duck Quixote from Eugene, Ore., writes: how many national championships in a row do you think this duck team will win? 5? 6? I think we're looking at a minimum nine-peat. And, how much better do you think Thomas is than Masoli? Dixon? Is he better than Tom Brady yet? Joe Montana? Abraham Lincoln? Chuck Norris?? What do you think are our chances of increasing our point per minute scoring average? I mean, I think we will easily put a 100 on somebody this year but could we average that for the season? Should we really even play the rest of our games? What is the precedent for a team leaving its conference and joining the NFL. I still think we would go undefeated but at least we could get a little better competition.

Ted Miller: The answer, of course, to all of this is "Chuck Norris."

Anyone else see an Jack Kerouac influence here?

Andrew from Boise writes: I feel obliged to mock you for picking a team that is at least a 2 TD dog in an away game at a Top 10 team for the 2nd time this season, but I think it might be better to refer you to a mental institution.

Bill from Eugene, Ore., writes: Boise State scoring the same number of points AT HOME against the Beavers as Louisville did in Corvallis next week? That seems a bit unrealistic to me. Sitting in Corvallis last week, I saw Louisville burp up the opportunity for 14 more points. I like the Beavs, (I am a virulent anti-Duck) but I am realistic. I would be shocked to see them within 2 touchdowns of the Broncos at game's end.

Tim from Seattle writes: Can't believe you are picking the Beavers to win. No pressure defense, a serviceable young QB, and a sad linebacker crew. Have we been watching the same games? BSU looks good...at home...with an experienced team.I can't remember when I felt more skeptical of a 1-1 OSU team than this. I can see OSU having a losing record pretty easily in 2010. We have a few stars but little depth. With a stronger Pac-10 can we really finish better than 7th?

Steve from Eugene, Ore., writes: What's with picking my Beavs for the upset on the smurf turf? We need all the karma we can get for the game with the Blue Donkey's this weekend. All signs point to a thorough beat-down which is why we need you to pick against the Beavs so it guarantees a win. Your ineptitude at predicting the outcomes of previous Beaver games has been a source of confidence for us fans of the Orange and Black. No offense of course. Keep up the good work with the Pac-10 predictions but please remember to also maintain your track record of bad work with the OS(U) predictions.

Ted Miller: Not much support for my pick of Oregon State to upset Boise State.

We shall see.

Some Pac-10 numbers to chew on

September, 21, 2010
9/21/10
11:30
AM ET
Some numbers that might interest you.
  • The Pac-10 is 8-4 vs. other BCS conferences.
  • The Pac-10 is 2-3 vs. the WAC and Mountain West, pending Oregon State's trip to Boise State on Saturday.
  • The conference's overall record vs. FBS foes is 13-8 (.619).
  • Three conference teams rank in the top six in the nation in total defense: No. 1 Oregon (193. ypg), No. 3 Arizona (220.3 ypg) and No. 6 Stanford (227.7 ypg).
  • Four teams rank among the nation's top 13 in scoring: No. 1. Oregon (63 ppg), No. 3 Stanford (51.7 ppg), No. 7 California (45 ppg) and No. 13 Arizona (42.3 ppg).
  • Other than total defense and scoring offense, Oregon is also No. 1 in the nation in total offense (611.67) and scoring defense (4.33 ppg). So the Ducks are No. 1 in the top-four statistical measures. Oh, and they are also No. 1 in pass efficiency defense. And No. 2 in rushing offense (380.67).
  • Stanford is No. 1 in the nation in pass defense (90 ypg).
  • Oregon State's James Rodgers leads the nation with 226.5 all-purpose yards per game.
  • Four Pac-10 QBs rank among the nation's top 16 in passing efficiency: No. 3 Andrew Luck, Stanford; No. 13 Kevin Riley, Cal; No. 14 Nick Foles, Arizona; No. 16 Matt Barkley, USC.

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