Tag:Stanford
Posted on: October 17, 2010 3:14 am
 

What I learned from the Pac-10 (Oct. 16)

Posted by Adam Jacobi

1. Oh, right, USC. That team with an embarrassment of riches. Them. It's easy (and not altogether unwise) to forget sometimes based on their on-field "exploits," but the USC Trojans still have a ton of talent. They don't have a ton of experience and they're with a brand-new coach, but still: these guys have some innate physical advantages. Take Matt Barkley, for example. The 5-star recruit had a rough freshman campaign last season with 15 touchdowns and 14 picks, but, y'know, he's still a former 5-star recruit. And he flashed that talent in a big way today with a 25-37, 352 yard, five-touchdown, zero-interception performance against Cal in a 48-14 whipping. Even with the reserves seeing plenty of garbage time, the Trojans still racked up 32 first downs, 602 total yards, and 5.9 yards per rush. And this is against a Cal defense that held UCLA to seven points and Arizona to 10 in their two prior games (yes, 52 to Nevada prior to that, but hey). USC isn't allowed to go to a bowl, and its scholarship restrictions are going to sting for years, but every now and then these Trojans are going to lay waste to mediocre opponents. This was one of those weeks.

2. Jake Locker is here, and not a moment too soon. Washington QB Jake Locker, the much-ballyhooed freshman of three years ago, is a senior now, and whether through lousy luck with injuries, insufficient surrounding talent, or poor play of his own, he hasn't really lived up to his high expectations for any sustained amount of time. Again, not completely his fault, but it's true. To Locker's credit, he's kept his head down and stayed at the task of improving this whole time, and he was rewarded today with a five-touchdown performance in Washington's 35-34 overtime win over Oregon State. Locker made some gorgeous throws today, and the memories of his ghastly 4-20 performance against Nebraska just four weeks ago seemed much further away today. Locker wasn't perfect, and his fourth-quarter fumble in Beaver territory killed the Huskies' most promising shot at a game-winning score in regulation, but still: five touchdowns. 

3. Meanwhile, bravery and stupidity are not mutually exclusive. After seeing his team match Washington's touchdown in the second overtime, Oregon State coach Mike Riley made the commendable decision to go for the win right then and there, to tell his team that victory was only three yards away. Curiously, though, Riley declined to dial the number of Jacquizz Rodgers, who had played like a man possessed up to that point with 189 total yards and four touchdowns up to that point -- including three rushing scores from within six yards. No, Riley called on his sophomore quarterback Ryan Katz, who tried to connect with tight end Joe Halahuni on the conversion. The ball slipped through Halahuni's hands before falling harmlessly incomplete, and that was that. Now, going for two was a bold, mansome decision, but not giving the ball to Rodgers even if the defense was expecting it (much as they had for the entire game thus far) doesn't put Oregon State in the best position to succeed, and for that Oregon State now has a loss instead of a win.

4. Is Matt Scott better than last season? We're about to find out. There wasn't a whole lot to take away from each team's performance in Arizona's 24-7 win over Washington State; the Huskies are improving but still not very good, but we already knew that. The real news is that Arizona's star QB Nick Foles injured his knee after getting rolled into early in the second quarter. Early indications are that it's a dislocated kneecap, which sounds far worse than it is; Matt Barkley suffered the same injury last season, and he was practicing after a week or two. Mike Stoops told reporters he expected Foles to miss two to three weeks. If true, that's rough news for the Wildcats, who will face Washington, UCLA, and Stanford in their next three games. Backup Matt Scott came in for Foles, but he's the guy who was benched for Foles after three games last season for ineffective play. He sure didn't do much for Arizona against Washington State, and there's no guarantee he can put up points against some of the Pac-10's better defenses. For the sake of everybody on the Wildcats, let's hope Scott can put together some good games in Foles's absence, because it's incredibly disheartening to see a team's shot at a conference crown go south on account of one key injury.

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Posted on: October 15, 2010 12:07 pm
 

USC AD Pat Haden talks Pac-10 alignment

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The Pac-10 still has a lot of details to work out for the 2011 season when both Colorado and Utah will join the conference.  Really, all we know for sure about the new Pac-10 is that its going to have a conference championship game, 12 teams and two divisions.  Where that conference championship game will be held, or who will be in those divisions, we don't know.

Thanks to USC athletic director, Pat Haden, however, we're beginning to at least get an idea of what the divisions will look like.  The conference athletic directors got together for a meeting last week in which they discussed these matters, and one of the divisional suggestions passed by a 7-to-5 vote.  Though that doesn't mean it will be put into effect.

The plan is to break the conference up between north and south, but that creates a problem for schools in Washington and Oregon who need to keep an imprint in the state of California for recruiting purposes.  So a bit of a compromise has been struck.  Both Cal and Stanford would be placed in the North Division, while the two newcomers to the conference will head south.

Which means the Pac-10 would look like this.

North

  • Cal
  • Oregon
  • Oregon State
  • Stanford
  • Washington
  • Washington State

South

  • Arizona
  • Arizona State
  • Colorado
  • UCLA
  • USC
  • Utah
Which makes a lot of sense, but Haden isn't really all that thrilled with the idea.  He's worried for his life, apparently.

“I told them my alumni will kill me if we don’t play the Northern California schools and have the weekender every year," said Haden.

“I proposed a 5-2-2 model that has us playing the five schools (UCLA, AZ schools and Co/Ut) every year and then have the Northern California schools as part of our regular 2 and then rotate the other two.  We need to play Stanford and Cal.”

Which doesn't seem all that unreasonable.  If the conference is willing to put Stanford and Cal up north so the Oregon and Washington schools can maintain a presence in the state of California, then I don't see why it can't give USC protected rivalries with Cal and Stanford as well.  The problem might come if UCLA asks for the same thing, because then the other four north schools may only get one game in southern California every six years or so.

The final vote will come later this month.
Posted on: October 11, 2010 2:28 pm
 

Video: Andrew Luck goes hard in the paint

Posted by Chip Patterson

The No. 14 Stanford Cardinal found themselves pushed to the brink against the Trojans on Saturday.  USC came into the game motivated, with memories of the 55-21 beat down they received from the Cardinal in the Coliseum fresh in their mind.  The Trojans came close to returning the favor, taking a 35-34 lead on Allen Bradford's touchdown run with 1:08 remaining in the game.  Andrew Luck answered with an 8 play, 62 yard drive to set up kicker Nate Whitaker for the game winning field goal as time expired.  

But Luck had already made his dominance known in the in-state battle near the end of the first half.  After Stanford running back Stepfan Taylor fumbled on the USC 34 yard line, senior cornerback Shareece Wright scooped the ball and took off with open field ahead.  Wright got about seven yards before he was met by the 6-4 235 pound Luck, who delivers one of the hardest quarterback tackles in recent memory.

Luck is arguably the top quarterback prospect in the 2011 NFL Draft and an essential piece to Stanford's success, so it might not be encouraged to repeat this particular move.  But for the moment, in this kind of game, it was awesome.



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Posted on: October 11, 2010 12:54 pm
 

Lane Kiffin complains about officials to Pac-10

Posted by Tom Fornelli

For the second straight week Lane Kiffin was forced to stand on the sidelines and watch his defense give up a game-winning drive in the final minutes.  First it was the Washington Huskies kicking a game-winning field goal in the closing seconds, and this past weekend it was Stanford.   Though this week Kiffin feels that the officials gave Stanford some help getting it done.

He even filed a complaint with the Pac-10 about it.

Before USC running back Allen Bradford scored a touchdown that gave the Trojans a 35-34 lead with 1:07 left in the game, Bradford had picked up a first down on the run preceding it.  The clock had to be stopped at the time so officials could review the spot of the ball and make sure that Bradford had picked up the first down.

Which is fine, it's just that once they determined it was a first down, officials never restarted the clock.  Which saved Stanford about 30 seconds of playing time, according to Kiffin, before getting the ball back.  So, essentially, the Cardinal should have only had around 37 seconds left to make their final drive but instead had over a minute.

Kiffin also complained that no "judgement calls" went against Stanford, as it was only called for three penalties: two false starts and an offsides.  Kiffin's Trojans were called for eight penalties.  It's the second straight week an opposing head coach has wondered why Stanford hasn't been getting called for penalties, as Oregon head coach Chip Kelly complained about it during an on-field interview with Erin Andrews.

Now, this may sound crazy, but could it be that Stanford just doesn't commit that many penalties?  Plus, it's not like USC getting called for a lot of penalties is exactly a new phenomenon, so Kiffin should probably just let that go.

The clock issue, though, that's a legitimate beef.
Posted on: October 10, 2010 1:44 am
Edited on: October 10, 2010 3:39 am
 

What I learned from the Pac-10 (Oct. 9)

Posted by Adam Jacobi

1. This conference is Oregon's and nobody else's. The Oregon Ducks didn't look great tonight in their 43-23 win over Washington State -- and they weren't looking great even before Darron Thomas left, either -- but they must be thrilled with the way the rest of the conference shook down tonight. Stanford dispatched USC, and we'll talk about that in a second, and Oregon State knocked Arizona from the ranks of the unbeaten with a 29-27 win. The more the other nine teams of the Pac-10 beat each other up, the easier the Ducks' road to the conference crown becomes. Not like they've needed the help so far.

2. When it matters, USC can't make the stop. Last week, Jake Locker led the Washington Huskies on a last-minute drive against the USC defense, and Erik Folk hit a game-winning field goal to beat the Trojans, 32-31. This week, same scenario: the Trojans score a touchdown to take a 35-34 lead on Stanford with 1:12, and everybody in the stadium knows that's too much time to give Andrew Luck. Sure enough, Stanford drives, Stanford moves the chains over and over, and Luck gets the Cardinal in place with enough time to spare that before the game-winning field goal, Luck had the luxury of running a play where he could down the ball in the middle of the field. Nate Whitaker was true on his kick, and USC found itself on a losing streak. Clearly that can't continue if the Trojans want a better destination than the Emerald Bowl this season.

3. The end zone tackle has got to go. First of all, if you haven't seen the knee injury suffered by James Rodgers, don't. It's gross and heart-breaking. The fact that it came on a tackle in the end zone, two strides past the goal line, only worsens the circumstance. Obviously, Arizona safety Adam Hall was just playing defense and not giving up on the play, but his effort really should have stopped at the strip attempt he made at the goal line--not by dragging Rodgers down five yards in. If the NCAA wants an issue to take up in the offseason, declaring tackling in the end zone after the whistle unnecessary roughness would be a good place to start. 

4. This conference might be Andrew Luck's and Jake Locker's now, but it'll be Ryan Katz's soon. Oregon State's sophomore quarterback Ryan Katz, a first-year starter, is not the best quarterback in the conference. He might get honorable mention. But from Week 1, he's been a surprisingly talented thrower, and he looked as good today against that normally decent Arizona pass defense as he has all season long. Katz had 393 yards and two scores through the air, and he did it without Rodgers for more than 30 minutes of play. As long as Oregon State keeps talented receivers around Katz, he's going to be putting up some huge numbers very soon.

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Posted on: October 10, 2010 1:44 am
Edited on: October 10, 2010 3:39 am
 

What I learned from the Pac-10 (Oct. 9)

Posted by Adam Jacobi

1. This conference is Oregon's and nobody else's. The Oregon Ducks didn't look great tonight in their 43-23 win over Washington State -- and they weren't looking great even before Darron Thomas left, either -- but they must be thrilled with the way the rest of the conference shook down tonight. Stanford dispatched USC, and we'll talk about that in a second, and Oregon State knocked Arizona from the ranks of the unbeaten with a 29-27 win. The more the other nine teams of the Pac-10 beat each other up, the easier the Ducks' road to the conference crown becomes. Not like they've needed the help so far.

2. When it matters, USC can't make the stop. Last week, Jake Locker led the Washington Huskies on a last-minute drive against the USC defense, and Erik Folk hit a game-winning field goal to beat the Trojans, 32-31. This week, same scenario: the Trojans score a touchdown to take a 35-34 lead on Stanford with 1:12, and everybody in the stadium knows that's too much time to give Andrew Luck. Sure enough, Stanford drives, Stanford moves the chains over and over, and Luck gets the Cardinal in place with enough time to spare that before the game-winning field goal, Luck had the luxury of running a play where he could down the ball in the middle of the field. Nate Whitaker was true on his kick, and USC found itself on a losing streak. Clearly that can't continue if the Trojans want a better destination than the Emerald Bowl this season.

3. The end zone tackle has got to go. First of all, if you haven't seen the knee injury suffered by James Rodgers, don't. It's gross and heart-breaking. The fact that it came on a tackle in the end zone, two strides past the goal line, only worsens the circumstance. Obviously, Arizona safety Adam Hall was just playing defense and not giving up on the play, but his effort really should have stopped at the strip attempt he made at the goal line--not by dragging Rodgers down five yards in. If the NCAA wants an issue to take up in the offseason, declaring tackling in the end zone after the whistle unnecessary roughness would be a good place to start. 

4. This conference might be Andrew Luck's and Jake Locker's now, but it'll be Ryan Katz's soon. Oregon State's sophomore quarterback Ryan Katz, a first-year starter, is not the best quarterback in the conference. He might get honorable mention. But from Week 1, he's been a surprisingly talented thrower, and he looked as good today against that normally decent Arizona pass defense as he has all season long. Katz had 393 yards and two scores through the air, and he did it without Rodgers for more than 30 minutes of play. As long as Oregon State keeps talented receivers around Katz, he's going to be putting up some huge numbers very soon.

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Posted on: October 9, 2010 12:32 pm
 

Game day weather updates, Week 6

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Here's the weather outlook for all of today's important matchups. Short version: warm and clear. It's beautiful everywhere today. This is Mother Nature's way of apologizing in advance, so plan on seeing it snow bloodflakes by Thursday. Anyway, as usual, all times are Eastern.

Noon kickoffs

Indiana at No. 2 Ohio State, 12:00, Columbus, OH: Mid 70s, clear

Minnesota at No. 20 Wisconsin, 12:00, Madison, WI: Mid 70s, clear

Afternoon kickoffs

No. 1 Alabama at No. 19 South Carolina, 3:30, Columbia, SC: Mid 80s, clear

No. 17 Michigan at No. 18 Michigan State, 3:30, East Lansing, MI: Low 70s, clear

No. 11 Arkansas at Texas A&M, 3:30, College Station, TX: Upper 80s, clear

Evening kickoffs

Oregon State at No. 9 Arizona, 6:00, Tucson, AZ: Upper 80s, clear

No. 10 Utah at Iowa State, 7:00, Ames, IA: Mid 70s, clear

No. 12 LSU at No. 14 Florida, 7:30, Gainesville, FL: Low 70s, clear

No. 8 Auburn at Kentucky, 7:30, Lexington, KY: Upper 60s, clear

Late night kickoffs

No. 23 Florida State at No. 13 Miami, 8:00, Coral Gables, FL: Upper 70s, clear

Southern California at No. 16 Stanford, 8:00, Palo Alto, CA: Lower 70s, clear

Posted on: October 8, 2010 3:19 pm
Edited on: October 8, 2010 5:15 pm
 

The Saturday Meal Plan: Week 6

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The Saturday Meal Plan is a helpful guide put together for you to maximize the results of your college football diet.  Just enough to leave you feeling full, but not so much you spend your entire Sunday in the bathroom.

Breakfast

Main Course - #2 Ohio State vs. Indiana - Noon - ESPN

You know what the real problem is with the ACC and Big East being so awful/mediocre this year?  It really leaves the early menu of games leaving a lot to be desired.  I mean, I have Ohio State and Indiana as the morning's best option.

Think about that for a second.  Ohio State and Indiana.  A game which hasn't seen the Hoosiers get within more than 19 points of the Buckeyes in every meeting since 2002 -- though the teams didn't meet in 2007 or 2008.  The good news for Indiana is that the 19-point loss came last season, with Ben Chappell at quarterback.

The Hoosiers offense has been very impressive this season, but the Buckeyes will be by far their biggest test six weeks into the year.  Considering that we can't be sure just how healthy Terrelle Pryor is, and the struggles the Buckeyes had in Champaign last week, this game could prove to be more interesting than you'd think.

Side Orders: Should that game go the blowout route, your other options Saturday morning would be the ACC fare of North Carolina State and Boston College.   One is a team looking to rebound from its first loss, the other is a team that is having its three quarterbacks pick a number between 1-10 to see who gets to start.  If you prefer something else, you can watch Georgia and Tennessee fight to see which school's season is more far gone than the other.  It's a must win for Mark Richt, because a loss to Tennessee at home would only send him to the hospital with third-degree burns on his backside.

Lunch

Main Course - #19 South Carolina vs #1 Alabama - 3:30pm - CBS

If there's one thing I think we can all be certain at this point of the college football season it's that Alabama is the best team in the country.  There's a bit of a gap between them and Ohio State and Oregon, but after the Ducks, things drop off quite a bit.  That being said, going in to Columbia to take on the Gamecocks shouldn't be a cakewalk for the Tide.

What I think will be the key to this one is if Marcus Lattimore can do anything against the Alabama defense.  While the Alabama defense is barely giving up nine points a game, they are allowing an average of 101 yards per game on the ground. 

Though even if the Gamecocks do get a ground game going, they still have to stop Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson, which no one has done to this point ('Bama is averaging 230 yards a game rushing).  Considering the Gamecocks allow 128.3 yards a contest on the ground, I'm not sure they're up for the challenge either.

Side Orders:
Listen, if people are taking this Michigan/Michigan State game so seriously that they're willing to die in order to see it, maybe you can take a few hours of your Saturday and do the same.  There is never a bad time to watch Denard Robinson play football, as he is without question the most dangerous one-man show in the sport right now.  If that's not good enough for you, check out Arkansas and Texas A&M.   One team has a quarterback who lives up to the hype, and the other has a quarterback who lives up to the hype on one series and then proceeds to get that hype lodged in his throat, suffocating himself and his team.  See if you can tell which one is which.

Dinner

Main Course - #14 Florida vs. #12 LSU - 7:30pm - ESPN

This game will be interesting for plenty of reasons, but perhaps none more so than the battles between the fans in the seats.  Watch as LSU and Florida fans argue about which team's offensive coordinator is going to drive some student to the top of the nearest bell tower with a sniper rifle sooner.  Then watch the other fan base tell them that if their offensive coordinator climbed up that same tower he'd only manage to fall out before getting a single shot off.

Then watch both fan bases fall into each other's arms in tears, unified in despair.  Then they'd smile when both agreeing that if it were Les Miles atop that tower, he'd kill 40 people before going to trial and being found not guilty on some technicality.

Side Orders: Though the rivalry between Florida State and Miami has lost some of its luster the last few years, the fact is both teams come into this game ranked and looking to stay on top of their respective divisions in the ACC.  Or you can watch Stanford try to run its win streak over USC to three games in Palo Alto as Ed Orgeron yells incoherently from home thanks to that staph infection in his leg.

Late Night Snack

The Washington Huskies look to build on any momentum they picked up by beating USC on the road last week against an Arizona State team that couldn't headbutt its way to a victory against Oregon State.
 
 
 
 
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