Tag:Pac-12
Posted on: December 28, 2011 8:44 pm
 

Keys to the game: Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl

Posted by Bryan Fischer

UCLA WILL WIN IF: The defense has to step up and get some stops. The Bruins defense looked better in the Pac-12 Championship game than they did in the regular season finale but still gave up nearly half a hundred. The secondary is young but has come along late in the season and should be healthier than they were at the end of the year. Both lines need for a few players to step up and become solid contributors this game, especially along the disappointing defensive line that was among the country's worst at getting into the backfield. The offense should be solid but if UCLA wants to get back to .500 for the season, they're going to need the defense to play the best they have since the Colorado game in mid-November.

ILLINOIS WILL WIN IF: The Illini have a pretty solid defense that has surprised some folks this season so it's up to the offense to use the extra time off before the game to get things going again. Offensive coordinator Paul Petrino has already left the team and that might be a good thing considering the team averaged just 11 points per game in their six game losing streak to end the season. Luckily their weakness (the offensive line) is matched up against the Bruins' weakness (the front seven - without middle linebacker Patrick Larimore) so it's likely quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase could have some time to make some plays. You can probably put All-American defensive end Whitney Mercilus down for a big game against the UCLA line he'll be facing.

X-FACTOR: Does anybody really want to be here? That seems to be the biggest question surrounding the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl given that two interim head coaches will be leading two teams that ended the year by falling flat on their faces. Illinois, sans Ron Zook, lost six straight games and you would figure that they want to get that taste out of their mouths. UCLA was thumped in their final two games to become the first team to make a bowl game at 6-7 and has several players who didn't make the trip up to the Bay Area due to a variety of reasons. Needless to say, motivation will be an issue in this one.

Posted on: December 28, 2011 1:36 pm
Edited on: December 29, 2011 12:54 pm
 

Pac-12, Big Ten enter schedule agreement

Posted by Jerry Hinnen and Adam Jacobi

College basketball's ACC-Big Ten Challenge? It's nice and all, but so 2007 (or so). So leave it to Larry Scott and Jim Delany to engineer the 2017 version -- and do it on the gridiron.

Scott's Pac-12 and Delany's Big Ten announced Wednesday that they have reached a formal nonconference scheduling agreement across all sports, with the football version starting five seasons from now in 2017. All 12 teams in each league will play one team in the other as part of their nonconference schedule.

"This makes a lot of sense," Scott told the USA Today, "in terms of continuing to broaden our exposure and improving programming and improving the caliber of our schools' matchups."

“As other conferences continue to grow through expansion, we believe there is great merit in deepening the historic relationship between the Big Ten and Pac-12,” said Delany. “We believe that both conferences can preserve that sense of collegiality and still grow nationally by leveraging our commonalities in a way that benefits student-athletes, fans and alumni. This collaboration can and will touch many institutional undertakings, and will complement our academic and athletic missions.”

The leagues have yet to reach a consensus on some issues of arrangement, from what the series will be called to how the teams will be paired up (and sites assigned) to where the games will be televised. But the "Pac-12-Big Ten Challenge" nonetheless promises to make an immediate, seismic impact on the nonconference profile of both leagues, and should provide plenty of high-stakes, must-see viewing for both leagues' respective TV networks. 

That doesn't mean there won't be drawbacks. The Rose Bowl will now run the small but tangible risk of repeating a regular-season matchup, for one. For another, with both conferences committed to nine-game league schedules, another fixed non-conference matchup will leave schools with annual non-league rivalries (think Michigan or USC, and their series with Notre Dame) with just one open "breather" date to fill on their schedules.

To that end, Scott has stated that the Pac-12 will remain committed to its nine-game schedule, but Delany told USA Today the Big Ten will "likely rethink the move," and if that sounds like a polite way of saying "it's out," it should be no surprise that Pete Thamel reports the Big Ten will stick with its eight-game schedule now instead.

Speaking as college football fans, the lack of juicy non-conference games has been a creeping menace to the quality of college football seasons -- just look at the dreck that fills SEC non-conference schedules every September (and mid-November) -- and Scott and Delany deserve major commendations for their part in fighting that problem head-on.

"This will add a tough, high-quality opponent," Scott said. "Certainly, it creates a tougher path (to the national championship game). But the benefits, we think, outweigh the fact it's far more challenging."

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Posted on: December 27, 2011 9:45 am
Edited on: December 27, 2011 9:48 am
 

Oregon's Rose Bowl uniforms released



Posted by Bryan Fischer

There's nothing quite like Nike's Pro Combat Uniforms and Oregon's football team. Together, they're in a whole new category when it comes to uniforms.

The former unveiled the latter's uniforms Tuesday morning as the Ducks prepare to take on Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. The technology behind the uniforms debuted last season in Oregon's uniforms in the national championship game and will make their way to the school's threads in their third consecutive BCS game on January 2nd. Pretty sharp (at least as far as Ducks uniform standards go) if you ask me.

“Nike’s relationship with the University of Oregon represents a forward-thinking approach to innovation and design. Our goal is to help build better athletes by providing them with state-of-the-art-innovation combined with a deep knowledge and understanding of their heritage” said Todd Van Horne, Nike’s Creative Director for Football. The latest Nike Pro Combat system of dress uniform delivers more on-field performance benefits than ever before while pushing the limits on creativity and design. The Oregon Ducks truly represent Nike's approach in developing athletes from the inside-out.”

Oregon won the program's only Rose Bowl in 1917 and lost the last time they were in Pasadena to Ohio State. They - and uber-booster and Nike boss Phil Knight - are hoping 2012 results in a not only new uniforms, but a win as well.

“Oregon represents the gold-standard when it comes to merging science and innovation with athletic performance and we are excited to continue our partnership with Nike by unveiling the next iteration in uniform innovation for the Rose Bowl” said Chip Kelly. “Nike always starts by listening to the voice of the athlete as they continue to bring the most intuitive technology to the game.”

You can view full resolution photos of the uniforms and more information on Nike's website and Facebook page. While you're at it, you can like the Eye on College Football on Facebook or follow the blog on Twitter. You can also keep up with the latest college football news from around the country in the CBSSports.com daily newsletter.




Posted on: December 26, 2011 11:41 am
 

Daxx Garman transferring to Oklahoma State

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Arizona quarterback Daxx Garman asked out of his scholarship in November, and he's already found a new school. The freshman is going home, as he'll be transferring to Oklahoma State. As per the rules, Garman will have to sit out the 2012 season but will be eligible to play for Oklahoma State in 2013 as a sophomore.

"I'm getting the opportunity to move closer to home," Garman told The Arizona Republic. "My family can be more involved in the situation, and I felt like it's a better opportunity for me. Oklahoma State, they have a great football environment. The fans are great people there, and they support the Oklahoma State football program completely. I'm very excited to be a part of that." 

Garman did not play for Arizona as a true freshman this season, taking a redshirt instead.

This won't be the first time Garman has had to sit on the sidelines due to a transfer, as he faced similar problems while still in high school. Garman and his father moved to Texas from Oklahoma before his senior season of high school so that he could play football at Southlake Carroll. However, Garman was ruled ineligible to play his senior season at the high school since it was deemed he had only moved to Texas to play football at Southlake Carroll, which is against the rules in the state of Texas.

Now he'll be forced to sit out a season for moving back home to Oklahoma.  
Posted on: December 23, 2011 2:18 pm
 

Alamo Bowl Key Matchup



Posted by Tom Fornelli


A look at the key matchup that could decide the Alamo Bowl

Robert Griffin, QB, Baylor vs. Washington pass defense

Though some of you may have not been familiar with him before the season started, every college football fan in the world knows who Robert Griffin is now. Winning the Heisman tends to increase your visibility. Of course, knowing who Robert Griffin is is a lot easier than having to stop him, and that's what Washington will be dealing with down in San Antonio during the Alamo Bowl.

It sounds incredibly simple because it is: Washington is not going to win this game if it can't corral Griffin. Easy to know, hard to do.

Even harder when you realize that the Washington pass defense hasn't exactly been good in 2011, allowing 283.8 yards per game with a defensive pass efficiency of 136.05. Both of those numbers put Washington's pass defense in the bottom third of the country. The Huskies also only managed 10 interceptions on the season, while allowing 21 passing touchdowns, so the idea that they'll be able to get Griffin (he of the 6 to 1 touchdown to interception ratio) seems to be a silly one.

Still, in order for Washington to have a good chance of winning this game, the Huskies will have to figure something out. Whether that means playing their safeties incredibly deep and forcing Baylor to dink and dunk down the field or some other strategy, they have to do something.

If not, well, then Griffin's final game as a college quarterback should be one to remember. 
Posted on: December 23, 2011 1:34 pm
Edited on: December 23, 2011 1:35 pm
 

Keys to the Game: Alamo Bowl

Posted by Tom Fornelli

BAYLOR WILL WIN IF: This may be a perfect matchup for Baylor. Not only is the game being played only a few hours away from the school's campus, but the Bears will also be facing a defense that hasn't shown much ability to stop anybody this season. Against the top three scoring offenses in the Pac-12 (Stanford, Oregon and USC) the Huskies allowed an average of 46.33 points a game. Which is music to the ears of a Baylor offense that finished the season averaging 43.5 points per game and has the Heisman Trophy winner handling the ball on every snap. This could be Robert Griffin's final game in a Baylor uniform, and he's going to want to end his college career with a bang. Washington will present him with a great chance to do so. Of course, as is usually the case in Baylor games, if the Bears want to win then the defense is going to have to make some stops.

We know the Bears will score points, but while Washington's offense isn't on the same level as Baylor, it can put points on the board too. So a Baylor defense that has given up 35.7 points per game this season is going to have to play a bit better than that if the Bears want to finish the season with 10 wins.

WASHINGTON WILL WIN IF: The Huskies are going to need to have their best defensive effort of the season to pull this one off, or at the very least, force enough turnovers to keep themselves in the game. Facing a passing attack like Baylor's is not good news for a Washington pass defense that has allowed opponents to complete 62% of their passes at 7.5 yards per attempt. Which means that the best way for Washington to slow RG3 will probably be to get pressure on him, which won't be easy given Griffin's mobility and the fact that the Huskies haven't had a great pass rush this season. Further complicating things is the fact that the Huskies defense has allowed over 4.5 yards per carry to opposing running backs this season as well, so even if Washington can keep Griffin in check, it'll still have to deal with a Terrence Ganaway and a Baylor offense that averages 215 rushing yards a game.

So the best bet for Washington in this one may be to get into a shootout and hope it has the ball last. Scoring points is something that Washington has shown it's capable of this season, with both Keith Price and Chris Polk proving to be hard to stop. The problem is that while the Huskies averaged 35.6 points per game in their first 8 contests, they averaged only 23.25 points a game over their last 4, so it's no surprise that Washington lost 3 of those games. The good news for Washington is that Baylor's defense has a unique ability to make your offense look a lot better than it is.

X-FACTOR: Chris Polk. We've already gone over Washington's run defense, but the truth is Baylor's is probably worse. The Bears allowed nearly 200 yards a game on the ground this season, and gave up 5.18 yards per carry. This is good news for Chris Polk, who rushed for 1,341 yards and 11 touchdowns this season. The best thing Washington can probably do for its defense to slow down Baylor would be to keep Robert Griffin and company off the field as much as possible. The best way to do this will be to utilize Polk and sustain long drives.
Posted on: December 22, 2011 3:48 pm
Edited on: December 23, 2011 10:36 am
 

Matt Barkley skips NFL Draft, returning to USC



Posted by Chip Patterson

Even with a projected Top 10 draft stock, USC quarterback Matt Barkley has decided to return for another season with the Trojans.

The junior from Newport Beach made his decision official on Thursday, making his announcement in the shadows of the USC greats in Heritage Hall.

"I am prepared to play quarterback in the NFL," Barkley explained. "It is my dream to play quarterback in the NFL. I intend to make that dream a reality.

"But I also know that I came to the University of Southern California to compete, and have a rare journey as a USC football player, to earn a degree from this exceptional university, and forge life-long bonds with the Trojan family.

"I will earn my degree, the bonds have been forged, but I know in my heart that I have not yet finished my journey as a Trojan football player. Our USC football team has been through some tough times, and we have persevered. The 2012 has some serious unfinished business to attend to, and I intend to play a part in it."

The crowd erupted, the band began playing, and the junior from Newport Beach flashed a smile as he confirmed what many USC fans had hoped.

Barkley threw for 3,528 yards, 39 touchdowns and just seven interceptions while completing 69.1 percent of his passes and leading the Trojans to a 10-2 record in 2011. He returns to Southern Cal with his two favorite receivers from the past season - Robert Woods and Marquise Lee - and will bring lofty expectations to the program for the first time since the Pete Carroll era.

Barkley was projected by many to be a Top 10 selection in the 2012 NFL Draft, but the lure of one more season as the Trojans starting quarterback was enough to bring him back to school. With the way USC finished the season in 2011, they will likely be early favorites to compete for a National Championship in 2012.  Barkley grew up dreaming of playing for USC, and with the NCAA sanctions lifted he will get the opportunity to lead the Trojans to a Pac-12 title - or possibly more.  

For much more on Barkley's decision to return, check out Trojans RapidReports from CBSSports.com's Chris Huston

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Posted on: December 22, 2011 12:11 pm
Edited on: December 22, 2011 12:12 pm
 

Matt Barkley staying at USC?

Posted by Tom Fornelli

If you're a USC fan checking out Twitter on Thursday morning then you are probably enjoying a lot of the tweets your reading. While there has been no official announcement, there have been quite a few tweets from a number of different people, including CBSSports.com's Bruce Feldman, that it looks like Matt Barkley will not be declaring himself eligible for the NFL draft. Instead he's going to stay at USC for another season.



"So does Matt Barkley stay or does he go?? In my opinion, I think he stays!! You heard it first here," tweeted former USC quarterback Matt Leinart.

What does it mean for USC if Barkley does in fact return for another season? Nothing but good things.

You may have noticed that USC looked like one of the best teams in the country over the final weeks of the season, and just about every major player on the roster will be back in 2012 save for tackle Matt Kalil. Still, with Barkley returning as well, not only does that give the Trojans a Heisman frontrunner for next season, but odds are it will make the Trojans one of the favorites for a BCS title.

Because not only will Barkley be back, but USC's postseason ban won't be in affect in 2012 and they'll be eligible to play in any bowl game, including the BCS.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com