|Over the next week, three Pac-12 teams will try to do what Arizona did in September: beat a Big 12 team. (US Presswire)|
News and notes from around the Pac-12 that you may have missed over the holidays:
- Between now and Jan. 3, the Big 12 and Pac-12 will square off in three different bowl games, a stretch that has the potential to reveal which conference is better this season. In CBSSports.com's pre-bowl conference power rankings, the Big 12 was tied with the SEC at the top of the list with the Pac-12 next. However, The Austin-American Statesman points out that no one truly knows how good the Big 12 is this season because they scheduled "so softly out of conference." The two conferences will meet in the Holiday Bowl (UCLA-Baylor), the Alamo Bowl (Oregon State-Texas) and the Fiesta Bowl (Oregon-Kansas State).
- Speaking of the Holiday Bowl, UCLA will have its hands full on Thursday with Baylor RB Lache Seastrunk. If Seastrunk sounds like a familiar name, that's because he started his career at a Pac-12 school. Seastrunk originally attended Oregon before transferring to Baylor. "I miss every single one of those guys I came in with," Seastrunk told the Oregonian. Seastrunk's name might also sound familiar to non-Pac-12 fans, as the running back is a family friend of scout Willie Lyles. The same Willie Lyles that Oregon wrote a $25,000 check to and is currently being investigated for. "It's behind me. It is what it is. I didn't do anything wrong and I'm still good friends (with Lyles)," Seastrunk said.
- New Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre has officially announced that Kent Baer will be his new defensive coordinator. Baer was promoted from linebackers coach to defensive coordinator at San Jose State when MacIntyre was hired as the Spartans coach in 2010. The Denver Post took a look at Baer's coaching history, including a 2002 stop at Notre Dame where he put together the ninth-ranked scoring defense in the country.
- USC QB Matt Barkley had national championship hopes when he decided to return for his senior season. Instead, the Trojans finished 7-5 and are headed for the Sun Bowl. Barkley hasn't spoken to local media in weeks, according to the Los Angeles Times, but the paper still put together a look at the past year of Barkley's life in football. It started last December when he announced in a nationally televised press conference that he was staying at USC and ended when he sprained his shoulder in the Trojans' 38-28 loss to rival UCLA. The loss to the Bruins came just one year after USC beat them 50-0. Barkley's father told the Times that Matt doesn't regret coming back to school. "He's had an incredibly fulfilling experience at USC, he doesn't regret it at all," Les Barkley said.