Pac-12: Will Oliver

Kickers are football players, too ... and the ones listed on the Lou Groza and Ray Guy watch lists are some of the best in the country.

Lou Groza (kicker)
  • Zane Gonzalez, Arizona State: A returning Groza semifinalist, Gonzalez led the nation with 25 made field goals last season, equaling the all-time record for a freshman kicker.
  • Will Oliver, Colorado: Also a returning semifinalist, Oliver has connected on his last 60 PATs and needs seven more to break the Colorado record.
  • Andy Phillips, Utah: The former U.S. Ski team member had a great first season of football -- at any level -- last season, connecting on 17 of 20 field goals and all 41 of his PATs.
  • Jordan Williamson, Stanford: Williamson enters his fourth year as the Cardinal's starting kicker after a solid junior year in which he was 18-of-22 on field goals -- including just two misses inside 50 yards.
Ray Guy (punter)
  • Tom Hackett, Utah: Led the Pac-12 in just about every punting metric last season when he was named first-team all-conference.
  • Cole Leininger, California: Leininger was a member of the watch list last year when he dropped 14 punts inside the opponents' 20-yard line with only two touchbacks.
Other watch lists
Our look at position groups in the Pac-12 continues with place-kickers.

Arizona: Casey Skowron, Bret Miller and Michael Unzicker are all in the mix this spring to replace Jake Smith, who converted 12 of 19 kicks (63.2 percent) last season, including a long of 53. The 12 converted field goals were the lowest in the conference, as was the conversion percentage.

Arizona State: No team in the Pac-12 attempted more field goals in 2013 than the Sun Devils -- and Zane Gonzalez was one of the few bright spots for an otherwise dismal ASU special teams unit. The freshman All-American converted 25 of 30 attempts (83.3) and had a streak of 18 straight.

California: With Vincenzo D’Amato gone (he was 17 of 20 last season), it’s looking like James Langford, Noah Beito and Matt Anderson will all get looks. Langford might have the edge as the kickoff guy with Beito a potential early frontrunner for field goals.

Colorado: Senior Will Oliver is back after converting 17 of 24 kicks last year (70.8 percent). He was perfect inside the 30 (7 of 7) and missed just once inside of 40 yards. Three of his misses came from 50-plus (2 of 5). He’s a potential All-American candidate. Strong-legged Diego Gonzalez from Guadalupe, Mexico, is waiting in the wings.

Oregon: Oregon’s kicking adventures weren’t as interesting in 2013 as they’ve been in the past. While the Ducks attempted the fewest field goals in the conference, Matt Wogan was a solid 7 of 9, and Alejandro Maldonado was 3 of 5 for a combined 71.4 percent -- seventh in the conference. Wogan returns and should be considered the frontrunner to handle all kicking duties, including punting.

Oregon State: Trevor Romaine returns as a fourth-year starter after converting 14 of 20 attempts last season. He was mostly money inside of 40 yards, converting 11 of 13 attempts. But struggled on the longer kicks, converting just 2 of 5 between 40-49 yards and 1 of 2 beyond 50.

Stanford: Jordan Williamson is back after connecting on 18 of 22 kicks in 2013, including a long of 48. Of his four misses, two of them came from 50 yards or longer, where he was 0 for 2. He was automatic inside the 30 and 15 of 16 inside of 40 yards. Time to finally put the 2011 Fiesta Bowl to rest. He's one of the league's most consistent kickers.

UCLA: Ka’imi Fairbairn returns after a hit-and-miss year where he connected on 14 of 21 kicks with a long of 48. He had a stretch where he converted on eight in a row. But also had some inconsistent games (2 of 4 against Nebraska, 2 of 4 against ASU).

USC: Andre Heidari had an up-and-down season. He struggled greatly in the 40-49 yard range, converting on just 3 of 8 kicks. Overall, he was 15 of 22, and his 2013 will most likely be remembered for his 47-yard game-winner against Stanford. Heidari also handled almost every kickoff, though punter Kris Albarado is available if needed.

Utah: "Automatic" Andy Phillips returns after making quite the splash in his first season of football. The former skier became a household name -- well, at least a name in Pac-12 households -- after converting on the first 11 field goals of his career. He’s got a big leg, converting on 9 of 11 from 40 yards or longer.

Washington: No easy task replacing Travis Coons, who handled kicking and punting for the Huskies. He was the Pac-12’s most accurate kicker in 2013, converting on 15 of 16 attempts. Cameron Van Winkle handled some kickoffs before an injury set him back, and Tristan Vizcaino comes in this fall and should be in the mix.

Washington State: Strong-legged Andrew Furney is gone. Wes Concepcion and Erik Powell are the kickers on the roster. Powell was a walk-on, but the coaching staff is high on him. Concepcion likely will handle punting but could kick if needed.

Previous positions

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Cornerback
Linebacker
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Tight end
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Running back
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Offensive line
Defensive tackle

Top 2013 performances: Will Oliver

February, 12, 2014
Feb 12
9:00
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We're looking at some of the top individual performances in the Pac-12 in 2013.

[+] EnlargeWill Oliver
Doug Pensinger/Getty ImagesWill Oliver was good for 15 big points in Colorado's season-opening victory over Colorado State.
Up next: Good Will kicking

Who and against whom: Colorado opened its 2013 season with a 41-27 win over rival Colorado State, and kicker Will Oliver was perfect along the way in helping the Buffs to a 1-0 start.

The numbers: Oliver went 4-of-4 on field goal attempts, including boots of 22, 41, 44 and 52 yards, and hit all of his PATs for a 15-point day.

A closer look: Win No. 1 for new Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre had to feel pretty darn good. It was his debut game after jumping over from San Jose State, it was against an in-state rival, and it was a two-touchdown victory. And while Paul Richardson and Connor Wood get a lot of the credit for the offense, it was actually the 15 points provided by Oliver (his highest total of the season) that were the difference. Let’s face it, 4-for-4 is a good day; 4-for-4 with a couple of 40-plus yarders is an outstanding day. Throw in a 50-plus-yard kick and you have one of the best kicking days in the Pac-12 in 2013. Oliver’s 22-yard field goal in the first quarter helped put the Buffs up 10-0. He added a 41-yarder as time expired in the first half, a 44-yarder in the third quarter and then, with his team trailing 24-23, he drilled a 52-yarder in the fourth quarter to put Colorado on top for good. It was the second longest field goal in the conference in 2013 (he was tied for the longest of 53 yards), and it got the MacIntyre era off to a solid start.

Highs & lows in Pac-12 statistics

January, 14, 2014
Jan 14
11:00
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There were many remarkable performances in the Pac-12 this year. And some remarkably bad ones. Of course, one team rolling is another team getting rolled.

Here are some high & low lights of the 2013 season (conference games only).

And some of these are intriguing because they say the opposite thing.

Such as …

Worst rushing performance: Washington rushed for negative-5 yards at Arizona State on Oct. 19 in a 53-24 defeat.

Best rushing performance: Washington rushed for 530 yards at Oregon State in a 69-27 win on Nov. 23.

Best yards per rush: Washington averaged 9.1 yards per carry at Oregon State.

Most points: Washington at Oregon State.

Most rushing TDs: The Huskies at seven rushing touchdowns at … well, you get the picture.

[+] EnlargeOregon Ducks
Doug Pensinger/Getty ImagesThe Oregon Ducks had plenty to celebrate when they piled up 755 yards against Colorado on Oct. 5.
Most yards: Oregon gained 755 yards at Colorado on Oct. 5.

Most yards per play: USC averaged 9.8 yards per play at California on Nov. 9.

Longest run: USC running back Javorius Allen had a 79-yard touchdown run at Cal.

Longest pass: Cal QB Jared Goff connected with Chris Harper for an 89-yard TD against Washington State on Oct. 5

Fewest pass completions: Utah completed just six passes against Arizona State in a 20-19 defeat on Nov. 9.

Worst completion percentage: Utes QB Travis Wilson completed 28.6 percent of his throws against the Sun Devils.

Best completion percentage: Arizona's B.J. Denker completed 86.4 percent of his throws -- 19 of 22 -- against Oregon on Nov. 23.

Most interceptions: Wilson threw six interceptions in the Utes 34-27 loss to UCLA on Oct. 3.

Shortest "long" pass in a game: USC's longest completion against Washington State on Sept. 7 went for 8 yards.

Longest field goal: Arizona's Jake Smith (vs. Cal) and Colorado's Will Oliver (vs. Arizona) both made 53-yard boots.

Longest punt: Utah's Tom Hackett posted a 70-yard punt against Arizona State.

Best punt average in a game: Cal's Cole Leiniger averaged 54.2 yards on four punts at Colorado.

Longest punt return: USC's Nelson Agholor returned a punt 93 yards for a TD at Cal. He also had a 75-yard TD on a punt return in that game.

Longest kick return: Stanford's Ty Montgomery went 100 yards for a touchdown at Utah on Oct. 12.

Most fumbles lost: Cal lost four fumbles at Oregon on Oct. 28.

Most sacks allowed: UCLA gave up nine sacks to Arizona State on Nov. 23.

Most sacks by a player in a game: Both Arizona State's Chris Young (vs. UCLA) and Arizona's Sione Tuihalamaka (vs. Arizona State) had three.

Most penalties: UCLA had 13 penalties for 100 yards at Utah.

Most penalty yards: The Bruins had 122 yards in penalties -- on 11 flags -- against Colorado.

Touchdowns in one game: Montgomery had five at California on Nov. 23 (four receiving, one rushing).

Most rushing yards in a game: Washington's Bishop Sankey gained 241 yards against Cal.

Most passing yards in a game: Washington State's Connor Halliday passed for 557 yards at Oregon. (Just don't remind Nick Aliotti).

Most passing touchdowns in a game: Oregon State's Sean Mannion threw six touchdown passes against Colorado.

Most receiving yards in a game: Oregon State WR Brandin Cooks had 237 yards receiving at Cal on 13 receptions.

Most receiving TDs in a game: Montgomery had four against Cal.


Pac-12 names all-conference team

December, 2, 2013
12/02/13
3:50
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The Pac-12 has announced its first- and second-team all-conference squads and postseason awards for 2013.

[+] EnlargeKa'Deem Carey
Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY SportsPac-12 Offensive Player of the Year Ka'Deem Carey was the only unanimous first-team pick.
Arizona running back Ka'Deem Carey has been named the league's offensive player of the year. Arizona State defensive lineman Will Sutton joins an elite fraternity, earning his second straight Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year award. Washington's Steve Emtman is the only other player to win the league's defensive player of the year award in back to back years (1990-1991).

UCLA's Myles Jack earned freshman of the year for both offense and defense with his 70 tackles as a linebacker and seven touchdowns as a running back. This is the first time since the awards were introduced in 2008 that the same player has won both sides.

Arizona State coach Todd Graham is the league's coach of the year for guiding the Sun Devils to a conference record of 8-1 and winning the South Division. The Sun Devils host Stanford this weekend in the Pac-12 championship game.

The team is selected by the Pac-12 head coaches.

Offensive player of the year: Ka'Deem Carey, RB, Arizona
Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year: Will Sutton, DE Arizona State
Freshman Offense and Defensive Player of the Year: Myles Jack, RB/LB, UCLA
Coach of the Year: Todd Graham, Arizona State

First team offense

QB Marcus Mariota, So., Oregon (2)
RB Ka'Deem Carey, Jr., Arizona (2)
RB Bishop Sankey, Jr., Washington
WR Brandin Cooks, Jr., Oregon State
WR Paul Richardson, Jr., Colorado
TE Chris Coyle, Grad., Arizona State
OL Evan Finkenberg, Grad., Arizona State
OL Hroniss Grasu, Jr., Oregon (2)
OL Marcus Martin, Jr., USC
OL Xavier Su'a-Filo, Jr., UCLA (2)
OL David Yankey, Sr, Stanford (2)

First team defense

DL Ben Gardner, Sr., Stanford
DL Trevor Reilly, Sr., Utah
DL Will Sutton, Sr., Arizona State
DL Leonard Williams, So., USC
LB Anthony Barr, Sr., UCLA (2)
LB Trent Murphy, Sr., Stanford (2)
LB Shayne Skov, Sr., Stanford
DB Deone Bucannon, Sr., Washington State
DB Alden Darby, Sr., Arizona State
DB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Jr., Oregon
DB Robert Nelson, Sr., Arizona State
DB Ed Reynolds, Sr., Stanford (2)

First team specialists

PK Zane Gonzalez, Fr., Arizona State
P Tom Hackett, So. Utah
RS Ty Montgomery, Jr., Stanford
ST Soma Vainuku, So. USC

Second team offense

QB Taylor Kelly, Jr., Arizona State
RB Tyler Gaffney, Sr., Stanford
RB Marion Grice, Sr. Arizona State
WR Ty Montgomery, Jr., Stanford
WR Jaelen Strong, So., Arizona State
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jr., Washington
OL Jamil Douglas, Jr., Arizona State
OL Cameron Fleming, Sr., Stanford
OL Andrus Peat, So., Stanford
OL Isaac Seumalo, So., Oregon State
OL Khalil Wilkes, Sr. Stanford

Second team defense

DL Scott Crichton, Jr., Oregon State
DL Taylor Hart, Sr., Oregon
DL Devon Kennard, Sr., USC
DL Hau'oli Kikaha, Jr., Washington
DL Tenny Palepoi, Sr., Utah
LB Carl Bradford, Jr., Arizona State
LB Myles Jack, Fr., UCLA
LB Hayes Pullard, Jr., USC
LB Chris Young, Sr., Arizona State
DB Dion Bailey, Jr., USC
DB Osahon Irabor, Grad., Arizona State
DB Marcus Peters, So., Washington
DB Rashaad Reynolds, Sr., Oregon State

Second team specialists

PK Vincenzo D'Amato, Sr., California
P Travis Coons, Sr., Washington
RS Nelson Agholor, So., USC
ST Erick Dargan, Jr., Oregon
ST Joe Hemschoot, Sr., Stanford
ST Ryan Hofmeister, Jr., UCLA

RS: Return Specialist
ST: special teams player (not a kicker or returner)
(2): Two-time first-team selection

Honorable mention

Arizona: LB Marquis Flowers, Sr.; DL Tevin Hood, Sr.; WR Nate Phillips, Fr.; DB Jared Tevis, Jr.; LB Scooby Wright, Fr.

Arizona State: DL Davon Coleman, Grad.; Gannon Conway, Sr.; ST D.J. Foster, So.; ST De'Marieya Nelson, Jr.

California: DL Deandre Coleman, Sr.; QB Jared Goff, Fr.; WR Bryce Treggs, So.

Colorado: RB Mike Adkins, Fr.; LB Addison Gillam, Fr.; PK Will Oliver, Jr.

Oregon: WR/RS Bralon Addison, So.; WR Josh Huff, Sr.; OL Tyler Johnstone, So.; DL Wade Keliikipi, Sr.; LB Derrick Malone, Jr.; RB Byron Marshall, So.; DL Tony Washington, Jr.

Oregon State: OL Grant Enger, Sr.; TE Connor Hamlett, JR.; QB Sean Mannion, Jr.; DB Ryan Murphy, Jr.; DB Steven Nelson, Jr.; ST Terron Ward, Jr.

Stanford: DL Henry Anderson, Sr.; DB Alex Carter, So.; OL Kevin Danser, Sr.; DL Josh Mauro, Sr.; P Ben Rhyne, Sr.; DB Jordan Richards, Jr.; LB A.J. Tarpley, Sr.

UCLA: OL Jake Brendel, So.; ST Jayon Brown, Fr.; P Sean Covington, Fr.; TE Thomas Duarte, Fr.; WR Shaq Evans, Sr.; WR Devin Fuller, So.; DB Randall Goforth, So.; QB Brett Hundley, So.; DB Anthony Jefferson, Jr.; LB Eric Kendricks, Jr.; DL Cassius Marsh, Sr.; DL Ellis McCarthy, So.; DB Fabian Moreau, So.; OL Alex Redmond, Fr.; DL Eddie Vanderdoes, Fr.; LB Jordan Zumwalt, Sr.

USC: P Kris Albarado, So.; RB Javorius Allen, So.; WR Nelson Agholor, So.; DB Su'a Cravens, Fr.; OL Kevin Graf, Sr.; TE Xavier Grimble, Jr.; QB Cody Kessler, So.; WR Marqise Lee, Jr.; DB Josh Shaw, Jr.; DL J.R. Tavai, Jr.; OL Max Turek, So.; DL George Uko, Jr.

Utah: WR Dres Anderson, Jr.; OL Vyncent Jones, Sr.; DB Keith McGill, Sr.; PK Andy Phillips, Fr.; LB Jason Whittingham, So.

Washington: OL Dexter Charles, So.; PK Travis Coons, Sr.; OL Mike Criste, Jr.; OL Micah Hatchie, Jr.; DB Sean Parker, Sr.; QB Keith Price, Sr.; DL Danny Shelton, Jr.; LB Shaq Thompson, So.

Washington State: OL Elliott Bosch, Sr.; WR River Cracraft, Fr.; PK Andrew Furney, Sr.; DB Damante Horton, Sr.;

Some notes on the teams:

By School: Arizona State and Stanford placed the most players on the first team with six selections each.

By Class: Of the 27 first-team selections, two are graduate students, 11 are seniors, nine are juniors, four are sophomores and one freshman.

Unanimous: Only one player was named on the first-team ballot of all 12 head coaches -- RB Ka'Deem Carey of Arizona.

Two-time Selections: Ten players are repeat first-team selections from last year.

All-Academic: Two first team All-Pac-12 performers also were named to the Pac-12 All Academic second team -- RB Bishop Sankey of Washington and DB Ed Reynolds of Stanford, while Washington defensive lineman Hau'oli Kikaha was named to the All-Pac-12 second team and Pac-12 All-Academic first team. Arizona State QB Taylor Kelly earned second-team honors on both the Pac-12 All-Conference and All-Academic teams.
Tags:

USC Trojans, Stanford Cardinal, Oregon Ducks, Pac-12, USC Trojans, Washington State Cougars, Oregon State Beavers, Jordan Zumwalt, Washington Huskies, UCLA Bruins, Devon Kennard, Arizona State Sun Devils, California Bears, Tyler Gaffney, Stanford Cardinal, Deandre Coleman, Utah Utes, Will Sutton, Colorado Buffaloes, Todd Graham, Arizona Wildcats, Oregon Ducks, Xavier Su\'a-Filo, Andy Phillips, Shayne Skov, Keith Price, Evan Finkenberg, Sean Parker, Soma Vainuku, Cassius Marsh, Xavier Grimble, George Uko, Hayes Pullard, Marquis Flowers, Taylor Kelly, Hroniss Grasu, Josh Huff, Sean Mannion, Eric Kendricks, Paul Richardson, Anthony Barr, Taylor Hart, Wade Keliikipi, Chris Coyle, Anthony Jefferson, Cody Kessler, Chris Young, Brett Hundley, Vincenzo D'Amato, Kevin Graf, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jordan Richards, Shaq Evans, Deone Bucannon, Bishop Sankey, Danny Shelton, Marqise Lee, Khalil Wilkes, Kevin Danser, David Yankey, Davon Coleman, Dion Bailey, Alex Carter, Alden Darby, Terron Ward, Dres Anderson, Randall Goforth, Derrick Malone, Damante Horton, Connor Hamlett, Isaac Seumalo, Andrew Furney, Henry Anderson, Gannon Conway, Scott Crichton, Rashaad Reynolds, Ka'Deem Carey, Andrus Peat, Shaq Thompson, Will Oliver, Ben Gardner, Trevor Reilly, Ty Montgomery, A.J. Tarpley, Cameron Fleming, Trent Murphy, Su'a Cravens, Byron Marshall, Ben Rhyne, Josh Mauro, Nelson Agholor, Josh Shaw, Ellis McCarthy, Marcus Mariota, Erick Dargan, Joe Hemschoot, Devin Fuller, Leonard Williams, Max Turek, Grant Enger, Jared Goff, Brandin Cooks, Jared Tevis, Marcus Martin, Keith McGill, Marcus Peters, Ed Reynolds, Jamil Douglas, Bryce Treggs, Elliott Bosch, Tony Washington, Marion Grice, Eddie Vanderdoes, Ryan Murphy, J.R. Tavai, Carl Bradford, River Cracraft, Myles Jack, Thomas Duarte, Alex Redmond, Jake Brendel, Dexter Charles, Mike Criste, Tom Hackett, Bralon Addison, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Travis Coons, Robert Nelson, Tyler Johnstone, De'Marieya Nelson, Jaelen Strong, Tenny Palepoi, Steven Nelson, Tevin Hood, Micah Hatchie, Vyncent Jones, Jason Whittingham, Addison Gillam, Scooby Wright, Zane Gonzales, Sean Covington, Kris Albarado, Hau'oli Kikaha, Fabian Moreau, Javorius Allen, Jayon Brown, Osahan Irabor, Ryan Hoffmeister, Nate Phillips, Mike Adkins

Pac-12 players of the week

September, 2, 2013
9/02/13
6:00
PM ET
Colorado wide receiver Paul Richardson, Arizona safety Tra’Mayne Bondurant and California kicker Vincenzo D’Amato have been named the Pac-12 players of the week.

Some info on the trio, per the Pac-12's release:
Richardson, a junior from Los Angeles, Calif., caught 10 passes for 208 yards and two touchdowns in the Buff’s 41-27 season-opening win over Colorado State on Sunday. Two of his receptions went for 75 yards or more, including an 82-yard touchdown reception from Connor Wood to open the game. It was Richardson’s first game back after missing all of the 2012 season rehabbing a knee injury that ended his 2011 campaign early. The over-200 yard performance was the only one in the nation over the weekend and just the fourth in Colorado history. Richardson now owns two of those four efforts, with the first one coming against California in 2011 where he set the school mark of 284 receiving yards.

Bondurant, a junior from Vallejo, Calif., led the Wildcat defense in a 35-0 shutout against Northern Arizona on Friday night. The Arizona safety collected a game-high seven tackles, including one for loss, and picked off a pair of passes. The first one came just after half time when Bondurant stepped in front of a tipped pass and returned it 23 yards for a touchdown, his second career interception return for a score. Later in the third quarter he jumped in front of another pass, securing his first career multi-interception game.

D’Amato, a senior place-kicker from Lake Forest, Calif., accounted for a career-high 18 points in the Bears’ 44-30 loss to Northwestern on Saturday night. D’Amato thew a 10-yard touchdown pass to holder Jackson Bouza on a faked field goal attempt at the conclusion of California’s first drive. The senior converted three field goals in his first three attempts to tie a career-high and made all three of his extra-point attempts.

Also nominated for offensive player of the week honors were quarterbacks Travis Wilson of Utah, Brett Hundley of UCLA and Sean Mannion of Oregon State, running backs Daniel Jenkins of Arizona, Tre Madden of USC and Bishop Sankey of Washington, and wide receiver Chris Harper of California. Also nominated for defensive player of the week honors were linebackers Addison Gillam of Colorado, Eric Kendricks of UCLA, and John Timu of Washington, safety Josh Shaw of USC and defensive end Nate Orchard of Utah. Also nominated for special teams player of the week honors were kickers Will Oliver of Colorado, Andre Heidari of USC and Andy Phillips of Utah, and linebacker Kenny Orjioke of UCLA.

Non-bowl primer: Colorado

December, 19, 2012
12/19/12
9:00
AM ET
We've done our bowl primers, but now we take a quick look at teams that are sitting at home this holiday season.

COLORADO (1-11, 1-8)

What went wrong this season? You can start in the preseason when Colorado's top offensive threat, wide receiver Paul Richardson, was lost for the year with a knee injury. That's just one of several thousand things that went wrong. Inefficient quarterback play (combined with a healthy dose of rotating quarterbacks), combined with a bunch of young starters, combined with an inability to run the ball, combined with the inability to stop anyone on defense all led to the firing of head coach Jon Embree after just two seasons at the helm. But hey, Will Oliver was 28-of-28 on PATs. Other than that (and punting) the Buffs were near or at the bottom of virtually every statistical category in the league.

Low point: When there are so many to choose from, that's not a good thing. It started badly with a loss to Colorado State, then snowballed in a loss to FCS Sacramento State. There were embarrasing losses to Fresno State, Oregon, USC and Stanford. In fact, while the Buffs struggled, other teams flourished. Robert Woods and Matt Barkley both set records in their game against the Buffs. Ka'Deem Carey had a record-setting 366 yards against Colorado. De'Anthony Thomas decided it was better to run backwards 20 yards before returning a punt 72 yards. Need a helmet sticker? Play Colorado. Take your pick on low points, you can't go wrong.

How can it get fixed? For starters, all of those true and redshirt freshmen who were making their debuts are a year older, wiser and they'll be stronger. That's a good start. We saw with Oregon State that a youthful squad one year can be a nine-win team the next. Not saying that will happen with Colorado (and don't get your hopes up, because it won't) but the experience will certainly pay off. Hiring Mike MacIntyre, who has a history of rebuilding and strong roots as a defensive-minded coach, is also a good start. The administration appears to be making a financial commitment to MacIntyre and the program -- something they didn't do with Embree.

Bowling in 2013? Very unlikely. They miss Stanford, but they also miss Washington State -- the only team they beat in 2012. They trade Central Arkansas for Sacramento State, but are on the road at ASU, Oregon State, UCLA, Utah and Washington and are home to Arizona, Cal, Oregon and USC. They may beat Colorado State next year and Central Arkansas and maybe even Fresno State -- but finding three more wins in the conference doesn't seem likely. MacIntyre needed a couple of years to get a 1-11 San Jose State into a bowl game. Expect similar growing pains in Boulder.

Pac-12 All-Academic team

November, 20, 2012
11/20/12
6:30
PM ET
The Pac-12 conference has announced its 2012 All-Academic team. To be eligible, the player must have a minimum 3.0 overall grade-point average and be either a starter or significant contributor.

FIRST TEAM OFFENSE

QB Connor Wood, Colorado, So., 3.55, Finance
RB Jared Baker, Arizona, RS, Fr., 3.56, Undeclared
RB Patrick Skov, Stanford, So., 3.41, Undeclared
WR Andrei Lintz, Washington State, RS Sr., 3.72, Sport Management
WR Luke Matthews, Utah (2), Sr., 3.69, Mass Communication
TE Koa Ka'ai, Oregon, RS Fr., 3.94, History
OL Chris Adcock, California, So., 3.57, Business Administration
OL Jake Brendel, UCLA, RS Fr., 3.60, Math/Applied Science
OL Khaled Holmes, USC , Sr., 3.31, Communication
OL Tevita Stevens, Utah (2) , Sr., 3.54, Spanish
OL Matt Summers-Gavin, California, Sr., 3.27, Political Science

FIRST TEAM DEFENSE

DL Henry Anderson, Stanford, Jr., 3.43, Political Science
DL Nate Bonsu, Colorado, Jr., 3.42, International Affairs
DL Will Pericak, Colorado (2), RS Sr., 3.45, Accounting
DL Danny Shelton, Washington, So., 3.47, Anthropology
LB Dave Fagergren, Utah, Sr., 3.51, Business
LB Jake Fischer, Arizona (2) , Jr., 3.32, Marketing
LB Brandon Johnson, Arizona State, RS Jr., 3.44, Sociology
DB Brian Blechen, Utah, Jr., 3.18, Sociology
DB Jordan Richards, Stanford, So., 3.34, Undeclared
DB Eric Rowe, Utah, So., 3.54, Undeclared
DB Jared Tevis, Arizona, So., 3.25, Finance
PK John Bonano, Arizona (3), Sr., 3.93,Physiology
P Jeff Locke, UCLA (3), RS Sr., 3.70, Economics
ST Justin Gorman, Colorado RS So., 3.61, Finance
(2) Two-time first-team All-Academic selection; (3) Three-time first-team All-Academic selection

SECOND TEAM OFFENSE

QB Matt Barkley, USC, Sr., 3.21, Communication
RB Kenny Bassett, Oregon, So., 3.31, Business Administration
RB Steven Manfro, UCLA, RS Fr., 3.20, Undeclared
WR Dustin Ebner, Colorado, RS Sr., 3.47, Integrative Physiology
WR Nelson Spruce, Colorado , RS Fr., 3.73, Business
TE Michael Cooper, Arizona, So., 3.92, Pre-Business
OL Trace Biskin, Arizona, Sr., 3.29, Political Science
OL Zach Brevick, Washington State, RS Jr., 3.23, Entrepreneurship
OL Brad Cotner, Colorado, RS Fr., 3.34, Arts and Sciences
OL Kevin Danser, Stanford, Sr., 3.13, Biomechanical Engineering
OL Stephane Nembot, Colorado , RS Fr., 3.20, International Affairs

SECOND TEAM DEFENSE

DL Nate Fakahafua, Utah, So., 3.19, Undeclared
DL Ben Gardner, Stanford, Sr., 3.01, Science, Technology and Society
DL Taylor Hart, Oregon, Jr., 3.17, Sociology
DL Andrew Seumalo, Oregon State, Sr., 3.17, Finance
LB Michael Clay, Oregon, Sr., 3.10, Family and Human Services
LB V.J. Fehoko, Utah, So., 3.31, Economics
LB Travis Long, Washington State, Sr., 3.02, Management and Operations
DB Isaac Archuleta, Colorado, RS Fr., 3.09, Business
DB Tyré Ellison, California, Sr., 3.01, Social Welfare
DB Ronnie Harris, Stanford, So., 3.13, Undeclared
DB Charles Henderson, Utah, RS Fr., 3.47, Undeclared
PK William Oliver, Colorado , So., 3.66, Management
P Sean Sellwood, Utah, Sr., 3.70, Exercise and Sport Science
ST Richard Yates, Colorado, RS Fr., 3.60, Mechanical Engineering

For the list of all players who were named honorable mention, you can see the complete release from the Pac-12 conference here.

Big second half boosts ASU over Buffs

October, 12, 2012
10/12/12
12:38
AM ET
video

For the first 30 minutes, it looked like Colorado had a chance. The Buffs had all of the momentum heading into the locker room after scoring 10 points in the final 24 seconds of the half and cutting Arizona State’s lead to 20-17.

But a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to start the second half from ASU’s Rashad Ross, and the Sun Devils’ screen game on offense, was more than the young Buffs squad could handle and Arizona State pulled away for a 51-17 road victory.

Running back Marion Grice caught three of Taylor Kelly's career-high five touchdown passes; another went to running back D.J. Foster, who was running out of the slot. The two backs combined for 11 catches, 178 yards and four touchdowns. Kelly finished 20-of-28 for 308 yards. It was also the fifth time in six games that Kelly did not throw an interception.

The victory moves the Sun Devils to 5-1 (3-0 Pac-12) and sets up an intriguing showdown next Thursday night with No. 2 Oregon (6-0, 3-0). Colorado slips to 1-5, 1-2.

The Buffs didn’t make it easy on ASU early on. After the Sun Devils took the lead on Grice’s first touchdown (point-after attempt blocked), Colorado responded by taking a 7-6 lead early in the second quarter on a 2-yard run from Tony Jones. Touchdown receptions from Grice and Foster moved the Sun Devils ahead 20-7 toward the end of the first half.

But Jordan Webb (20-of-41 for 180 yards) engineered an 11-play, 75-yard drive that cut the lead to 20-14 in the closing minute. On the ensuing kickoff, Jamal Miles fumbled the ball back to Colorado at the ASU 19, which set up a 37-yard Will Oliver field goal to close out the first 30 minutes.

It was a different story in the second half, which started with Ross’ touchdown. ASU’s defense blanked the Buffs and Kelly added his fourth and fifth touchdown passes of the game -- the last one going for 31 yards to Richard Smith.

A scary moment in the closing minutes of the game when Colorado linebacker Brady Daigh was taken off the field on a stretcher after a collision with ASU's Michael Eubank. Daigh was seen moving his hands and his head; ESPN's Samantha Steele, who was working the game on the sidelines, reported that the medical staff was taking precautionary measures by putting him on the stretcher.

After the delay, Cameron Marshall (13 carries, 98 yards) added a late 14-yard touchdown run.

Pac-12 rewind and look ahead

September, 12, 2011
9/12/11
2:10
PM ET
Taking stock of the second week of games and looking ahead to Week 3.

[+] EnlargeBrock Osweiler
AP Photo/Matt YorkQuarterback Brock Osweiler and Arizona State won a thriller against Missouri.
Team of the week: Arizona State announced its return to relevancy -- and the national polls -- with a 37-30 win aganst Missouri. Sure, it was sloppy, and the Sun Devils nearly blew a 14-point fourth-quarter lead, but that was the sort of game that was a near-miss, not a win over the previous two seasons.

Best game: While the Sun Devils produced a thriller, it was ruined by 23 combined penalties with the Tigers. Utah's visit to USC was played at a high level throughout and lived up to its backdrop as the first-ever Pac-12 game (again, Colorado and California fans who didn't read any of the the 12,237 mentions that their game wasn't conference game: Your game wasn't a conference game; it didn't count in the standings). USC's 23-14 victory even featured a thrilling -- thrilling -- final score controversy.

Biggest play: Utah could have forced overtime at USC, but kicker Coleman Petersen's 41-yard field goal attempt was low and was easily blocked by Matt Kalil. Torin Harris returned the block for a TD, which accounts for the deceiving final margin.

Offensive standout: Wow. So many big numbers this weekend it's hard to single out one player. But one Pac-12 team beat a ranked nonconference foe, so we're going with Sun Devils quarterback Brock Osweiler, who completed 24 of 32 passes for 353 yards with three TDs and no interceptions and also rushed five times for 34 yards and a score. The number of Osweiler doubters has been greatly reduced.

Defensive standout: The many big offensive performances obscured a brilliant defensive one by Stanford outside linebacker Chase Thomas, who got screwed out of a helmet sticker. Duke couldn't handle Thomas, who recorded 2.5 sacks, 3.5 tackles for a loss and a forced fumble against the Blue Devils

Special teams standout: Colorado was concerned about its kicking during the preseason, but Will Oliver has answered those concerned. In the overtime loss to California, he was 4 for 4 on field goals, with a long of 52 yards, and 3 for 3 on PATs. He accounted for 15 of the Buffs 33 points. He's yet to miss a kick in two games.

Smiley face: USC, California and Arizona State have found ways to lose games they should have won of late, but all three found ways to win tight games over the weekend.

Smiley face II: Huge performances in the passing game over the weekend, from both quarterbacks and receivers. Quarterbacks accounted for 33 TD passes and just four interceptions. Seven threw three or more TD passes. Five threw for more than 350 yards. Only UCLA passed for fewer than 230 yards. And receivers had big days: Arizona's Dan Buckner, Arizona State's Aaron Pflugrad, Colorado's Paul Richardson, California's Keenan Allen, Oregon's De'Anthony Thomas (a running back!), Stanford's Chris Owusu, USC's Robert Woods, Utah's DeVonte Christopher, Washington's Devin Aguilar and Washington State's Marquess Wilson.

Frowny face: Arizona and Oregon State both lost on the road to very good teams, but neither distinguished itself with a competitive effort.

Thought of the week: If the quarterback play continues at the present pace, who wins first- and second-team All-Pac-12 quarterback? Consider the pecking order here before you answer.

Questions for the week: Can the Pac-12 make big statements on the road? Four conference teams face tough road matchups Saturday. Arizona State is at Illinois, trying to avoid a letdown game. Utah visits rival BYU in a contest that might be even nastier than before for the former Mountain West Conference members. Washington plays Nebraska for the third time in a year, this time with the Cornhuskers wanting revenge. And Washington State plays at a tough San Diego State squad looking for a 3-0 start.

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