Tag:Rose Bowl
Posted on: October 30, 2011 8:27 pm
Edited on: October 30, 2011 8:28 pm
 

Pac-12 Winners and Losers: Week 9



Posted by Bryan Fischer


A handy recap of who really won and who really lost that you won't find in the box score.

WINNER: Andrew Luck's Heisman hopes

In case you've been living under a rock or on another planet, you know the Stanford signal-caller is the best quarterback in the country. After beating the last 10 opponents by at least 25 points, the Cardinal finally faced a stiff test from USC this week and it was Luck that helped lead them out of trouble and to another win to keep the record unblemished. True, he wasn't perfect, throwing an interception late in the 4th quarter that was returned for a touchdown. Luck responded though, leading a calm, efficient drive to tie the game before being flawless in three overtime periods - tossing a touchdown, the winning two-point conversion and picking up several yards using his legs. With two offensive linemen and one of his top targets in tight end Zach Ertz out due to injury, more of the load was on Luck's shoulders and he came through to deliver a big Heisman moment in front of a national television audience.

LOSER: Oregon's quarterback controversy

Starting quarterback Darron Thomas returned against Washington State after dealing with a knee injury and tossed two interceptions that kept the Cougars within five points at halftime. Chip Kelly swapped him out for backup Bryan Bennett, who led the offense to three touchdowns and a 43-28 win at home. Afterward Kelly said Bennett gave the Ducks the best chance to win but assistants downplayed any brewing quarterback controversy. The offense has not been as sharp as they were a year ago but that doesn't mean Thomas is not going to be the starter going forward, all he did was lead Oregon to the national title game in his first full year as a starter. The leash might be a little shorter with Bennett doing well but there's only a real quarterback controversy on message boards (or if they lose).

WINNER: De'Anthony Thomas

The sensational freshman from Los Angeles has continued to fit right into the fast-paced Oregon offense. He finished the game against Washington State with a pair of highlights on a 45-yard touchdown catch and a 93-yard kickoff return. Thomas now has 11 touchdowns this season, a school-record for a true freshman. What is surprising is how well he's held up over the season given his size but week-in and week-out he goes and makes plays. He finished with 262 all-purpose yards against the Cougars and should continue to be a focal part of the offense.

LOSER: Zach Maynard

California's starting quarterback, Maynard's third leading receiver this week was Tevin McDonald. The problem was McDonald plays safety for UCLA and ended up picking Maynard off three times on Saturday. The offense couldn't get much going against a Bruins defense that has struggled most of the year, with Maynard going 14-of-30 for 199 yards (he also threw another interception to Aaron Hester). It's somewhat puzzling how Jeff Tedford has never been able to get consistent quarterback play since Aaron Rodgers left but it appears he's sticking with Maynard through thick and thin this season. The Bears have lost four of five but have two winnable home games against Washington State and Oregon State to get bowl eligible. If they are going to win, they're going to need a lot more out of Maynard than what he showed at the Rose Bowl against UCLA.

WINNER: Barking for Sark

There was a time where Washington was one of the worst programs in FBS, much less the then Pac-10. Steve Sarkisian has done a wonderful job turning around the program and for the second year in a row has the Huskies bowl eligble and sitting comfortably in third place in the Pac-12 North. Having to replace Jake Locker is no easy task but the offense has actually improved behind Keith Price's arm and Chris Polk's running. The defense remains a work in progress but it is good enough to step up when needed. From top to bottom though, this is a completely different program under Sarkisian and has the entire city of Seattle 'Barking for Sark.'

LOSER: Colorado

Six straight losses and they really haven't been close to being competitive. Jon Embree was given a tough rebuilding job at his alma mater but this is starting to get embarrassing for the once proud program. The defense has given up at least 45 points the last four games and has held just one team under 31 all year. The offense has dealt with injures but has failed to move the ball much at all. The Buffs still haven't won a Pac-12 game and have only a slim chance to win any of their remaining games. Embree could get there and make the program more competitive but it didn't look like it this week.

WINNER: Utah

It took longer - a lot longer - than those around the program had hoped but the Utes finally have a Pac-12 victory to their name with 27-8 home win over Oregon State. Utah's defense was the strength of the team and forced four turnovers against an underrated Beavers offense that was looking for a second straight road win. Running back John White continued to be a problem for defenses on the ground, rushing for a career-high 205 yards to keep the heat off of starter Jon Hays. The schedule does lighten up during the back half for Utah and getting their first Pac-12 win should provide some momentum going forward.

WINNER: USC


There is no phrase losing coaches hate more than "moral victories" but after almost beating Stanford in one of the most thrilling games of the year, it's safe to give USC a moral victory. The Trojans fought hard and were it not for a fumble near the goal line in the third overtime, were close to pulling the upset. Certainly it's no accomplishment allowing 56 points but when you consider how good Andrew Luck is and the limited depth USC has, Monte Kiffin's crew did enough to put the team in a position to win. Between the Notre Dame win and the game against Stanford, Lane Kiffin has solidified this team as a top 25 team and one that could give Oregon some trouble down the road. As much as anything, seeing the Coliseum full and loud was a welcome sight to coaches and players. “If you’re going to play a team that has the longest winning streak in the country and has beaten everybody by over 25 points and you go down to a game that could have gone either way,” Kiffin said. “You have to be pleased with where your team is at.” The last time USC played a triple overtime game they used it as a launching point for one of the best runs in college football history. Not saying this game can do the same but it could be the impetus for good things in the land of Troy.

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Posted on: October 24, 2011 2:38 pm
Edited on: October 24, 2011 2:39 pm
 

LSU-Alabama Daily, Oct. 24: How rare is 1-vs-2?

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Counting down to LSU-Alabama with a daily dose of analysis and news.



DAYS REMAINING TO KICKOFF: 12, or the jersey number worn by Greg McElroy when he threw for 276 yards and two touchdowns in the Crimson Tide's 24-15 victory over LSU Nov. 7, 2009. (12 was also the jersey number worn by Bear Bryant and other Tide legends like Joe Namath and Kenny Stabler.) Also the number worn by Jarrett Lee (above), who'll have to do something similar to pull out a victory in Tuscaloosa in 12 days.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: No. 1 LSU vs. No. 2 Alabama is obviously an epic, historic matchup. But how epic? How historic? How often does No. 1 play No. 2, particularly in the regular season?

The ascension of the BCS national championship game has meant that 1-vs.-2 events are much more common than they used to be, since by BCS mandate the nation's top two teams have to finish the season by playing each other. (There used to be rare exceptions in which the BCS formula would override the polls -- as in 2003, when consensus polling No. 1 USC played No. 4 Michigan in the Rose Bowl -- but the updated polls-make-up-two-thirds formula makes this highly unlikely.) But that doesn't mean they're frequent by any stretch of the imagination, with The Tide and Tigers' showdown only the 46th such meeting in 75 years of the AP poll.

But even that roughly three-every-five-years ratio doesn't do anything like justice to the rarity of LSU-Alabama 2011. For one thing, regular season 1-vs-2 matchups only account for 22 of those 45 occurences, with bowls and conference championship games representing the other 23.

LSU-Alabama will be the first such game in five years, with No. 1 Ohio State's defeat of No. 2 Michigan in 2006 the most recent example. It's also the earliest in the season Nos. 1 and 2 have met since the top-ranked Buckeyes took on No. 2, defending national champion Texas on Sept. 9 that same 2006 season.

But here's the kicker: LSU-Alabama is the first ever 1-vs-2 regular season matchup between SEC teams. It's never happened. Both the 2008 and 2009 SEC championship games were 1-vs-2 meetings involving Alabama and Florida, but that's as close as the SEC has come to what we'll see Nov. 5.

So yes, we'd say the answer to "how epic/historic?" is "very." (For an updated list of every 1-vs-2 matchup in Division I history, check out page 87 of this NCAA PDF.)

THE LATEST FROM TUSCALOOSA: With All-American Barrett Jones having taken over (and thrived at) the Tide's left tackle spot, five-star freshman lineman Cyrus Kouandjio wasn't likely to see major time against the Tigers unless Jones left the game with an injury.

But the news that Kouandjio has had knee surgery and is expected to miss the remainder of the season is a blow to the Tide all the same; not only would he have been Jones' immediate replacement at tackle should one be needed, but Jones's versatility also meant that Kouandjio might have gotten the nod if Jones was needed as an emergency replacement as one of the guard spots. Kouandjio's absence substantially limits the Tide's options should the worst-case scenario occur.

But if Nick Saban sounds angry and curt at his next press conference (well, moreso than usual), that might not be the issue. Via Birmingham News reporter Izzy Gould, here's a photo of Saban's car being ticketed in Birmingham Monday (and yes, the ticketer was made aware of the identity of her ticketee):



Saban was in Birmingham to speak to the city's Monday Morning Quarterback Club, who he told he wasn't worried about his team's slow start against Tennessee. Why? Because "Ali didn't knock out everyone in the first round."

THE LATEST FROM BATON ROUGE: Should we hold off on presuming the "Synthetic Three" of Tyrann Mathieu, Spencer Ware and Tharold Simon will be back from suspension to face the Tide? It seems LSU chancellor Michael Martin would like us to, telling USA Today that their status for the game has not yet been decided. Martin said their availability was out of Les Miles's hands and would be determined by athletic director Joe Alleva.

"The athletic director will ultimately make the decision, (and) he'll consult with me," said Martin. "Fortunately for them and the team, they have two weeks to get their act together because we have a bye week. They have been directed to some counseling, and they will now be subject to greater scrutiny for the remainder of their time at LSU."

Obviously, losing three players of Mathieu's, Ware's and Simon's abilities would be a monumental blow. But given what's at stake and that this appears to be a first offense, it will be a major shock if all three aren't in uniform to face the Tide.

One player who doesn't want to wait these 12 long days ahead before the game: LSU senior lineman T-Bob Hebert. "I get goose bumps talking about it," he said. "I can't wait. A game like this doesn't come along very often - or ever." (As pointed out above: it doesn't.)

Posted on: October 24, 2011 12:44 pm
 

Pac-12 poll reactions, Week 8

Posted by Chip Patterson

This week's polls have been released. Here's how the Pac-12 fared, from the top of the polls to the bottom, and what it means.

(AP/Coaches)

4/3. Stanford

With the national audience and a ranked opponent, Stanford put on an explosive show at the right time for the voters. The 65-21 track meet victory against Washington highlighted everything dominant about Stanford not-named Andrew Luck. The 446-172 advantage in rushing yards showed the Cardinal have much more to going for them than just their junior star quarterback. The nation took notice, and now the Stanford has moved into position to possibly contend for a national title.

7/7. Oregon

Oregon showed no need to test their injured offensive backfield against Colorado during the 45-2 beatdown in Boulder. The Ducks move up in the polls to fill open spots, but unlike their Pac-12 rivals at Stanford they carry that one loss from the season opener. Oregon's best chances to continue to climb will require more top teams losing, but if LSU defeats Alabama and retains the top spot that one loss will continue to look "acceptable" in the minds of many voters.

20/N/A. USC

NCAA sanctions will keep USC out of the Coaches Poll, but their third 30+ point performance in as many weeks was enough to get them back into the AP rankings. USC's defense held Notre Dame to just 267 total yards and only one offensive touchdown in the impressive 31-17 victory under the lights in South Bend. The Irish got back to their turnover-prone ways, and the Trojans made sure to take advantage. Now Lane Kiffin gets the opportunity to play spoiler to title-contending Stanford when the Cardinal come to town this Saturday for the primetime showdown on national television.

23/20. Arizona State

Very little movement in the polls for the Sun Devils, as Dennis Erickson's squad got the enjoyed their off week. They will return to action on Saturday against Colorado at home (basically part of the bye week) before focusing on the home stretch and a potential Pac-12 South division crown. The schedule sets up well for the Sun Devils, who should be favored to represent the division in the inaugural Pac-12 Championship Game. All they need to do is make sure they don't slip up along the way.


Others receiving votes: Washington was dropped from the rankings after their loss at the hands of Stanford, but still received 32 points in the AP and 20 from the Coaches.

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Posted on: October 18, 2011 11:11 am
 

Eye on College Football Midseason Report: Pac-12



Posted by Bryan Fischer

Everybody is still trying to get used to calling it the Pac-12 but the football being played out West hasn't changed much at all from last year. Stanford still has the best player in college football and a punishing style of football that has them on the fringe of the national title race. Oregon continues to put up points faster than anybody and even if a few players are hurt, they just plug another player in to break big plays. There's been surprises too, like Washington doing just fine with new starter Keith Price under center. It's not as strong top-to-bottom as it was last year but there's plenty of quality football (and plenty of money) that Larry Scott couldn't be happier to watch.

With that, let's get onto the superlatives for the year thus far. There was plenty of competition every step of the way, and truth be told we could have handed out some ties on a lot of these categories, but if college football fans wanted ties we wouldn't have overtime, so here we go.

Offensive Player of the Year: Andrew Luck, Stanford. The object of many NFL general managers affection, Luck has gone out and played nearly flawless despite a rebuilt offensive line and a brand new cast of wide receivers. He's tossed 18 touchdowns against just three interceptions and positioned the Cardinal for a Rose Bowl for the first time since 2000. Watch him pick apart any secondary on a nice Saturday afternoon and it's a thing of beauty. Without Luck, one wonders if Stanford even makes a decent bowl game so it's easy to see why he's the Pac-12 offensive player of the year at the halfway point. Also considered: LaMichael James, Oregon; Keith Price, Washington; Robert Woods, USC.

Defensive Player of the Year: Vontaze Burfict, Arizona State. Burfict has built of a reputation for playing beyond the whistle and that sometimes overshadows how good he is between the lines. Despite losing several starters to the Sun Devils defense, the unit has still performed very well. He's much more dangerous on blitzes this season and is sixth in the conference in sacks. Burfict doesn't fill the stat sheet like others might but his impact on the field can be felt on every snap. Also considered: Chase Thomas, Stanford; Mychal Kendricks, Cal

Coach of the Year: Steve Sarkisian, Washington. Need to replace one of the most productive quarterbacks in school history? No problem for this former signal-caller, who has the Huskies offense humming and off to a 5-1 start and an appearance in the top 25. They've got a tough stretch of games coming up but they're almost assured of going to a bowl game for the second consecutive year. Also considered: Dennis Erickson, Arizona State; David Shaw, Stanford.

Surprise: Washington State. The conference bottom-dweller for so many years, the Cougars are much, much more competitive in 2011. They've won three games already and should be 4-2 but let a late lead slip at UCLA. There's still an outside shot of a bowl game but considering they're even this good despite quarterback Jeff Tuel has missed most of the season, returning just last week against Stanford. Also considered: Washington

Disappointment:  Utah. Everybody knew it would be a difficult transition for the Utes to a BCS league and the week-in and week-out grid. But not everyone expected the injuries, such as a season-ending one to quarterback Jordan Wynn, and trailing off in the second half of just about every game. They went on the road and beat Pitt so maybe they'll have a little momentum headed into the back half of their schedule (which is much easier than the front half). Still, for a team some touted as the possible Pac-12 South winner, the .500 record isn't what was expected. Also considered: Oregon State; Arizona; Cal

Game of the Year (so far): Utah at USC. We wouldn't exactly call this a scintillating game but it had drama and was hard-fought until the end. The first ever Pac-12 conference game, it pitted the league's most storied member against the league's newest. There was plenty of drama, as the Utes drove down the field in a last-minute to set up a game-tying field goal. But the kick was blocked and, in a unsual series of events, run back by USC for a touchdown while officials signaled that the points would be taken off the board due to unsportsmanlike conduct. Only hours later was their mistake corrected and the points added to the final score, sending Las Vegas sports books into a frenzy. Also considered: Oregon vs. LSU, Arizona State at Oregon.

Game of the Year (to come): Oregon at Stanford. The defacto Pac-12 championship game, this is a top 10 match up with the winner likely headed to the Rose Bowl at the end of the year. The Cardinal led last year before the Ducks stormed back on their way to the national championship game. This year Stanford will likely be favored to win the game at home and they're better equipped to stop Oregon's high-powered offense with the Pac-12's best defense this year. Running back LaMichael James should be back in the starting lineup by then so this is a battle of Heisman trophy runners-up from last year in Luck and James.  Also considered: Stanford at USC, Oregon at Washington.

North Division Champion: Stanford. See above, the division champion will be decided in Palo Alto in early November. Technically Washington still has an outside shot and they do host Oregon but they're not an elite team like the Ducks and Cardinal are. With Andrew Luck under center and an improved defense, the road to the first Pac-12 North title, and league championship, runs through Stanford. Also considered: Oregon.

South Division Champion: Arizona State. Thanks to a head-to-head win and USC being ineligible, the Sun Devils have locked up the South well before the end of the season. They don't have to play Stanford this season but in their first big test against elite team, they fell short against Oregon. Still, the schedule is easy the rest of the way and they will be favored to win out before playing at the North winner in the Pac-12 Championship game at 10-2.

Pac-12 Champion: Stanford. Having the best player in the league, the best defense in the league and the biggest game of the year sets up nicely for first year head coach David Shaw. Winning the inaugural Pac-12 title and a trip to Pasadena for Stanford's first Rose Bowl in over a decade would have been unexpected just two years ago but here the Cardinal are, in the driver's seat. They also have a chance to move into the top five and on the cusp of a national title appearance if still undefeated at the end of the year. Also considered: Oregon.

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Posted on: October 16, 2011 6:09 pm
Edited on: October 16, 2011 6:12 pm
 

Pac-12 poll reactions, Week 7

Posted by Bryan Fischer

This week's polls have been released. Here's how the Pac-12 fared, from the top of the polls to the bottom, and what it means.

(AP/Coaches)

7/5. Stanford

No movement for the Cardinal in the polls for the first time in a while. Perhaps voters only watched the second half of their game against Washington State or checked the box score because Andrew Luck and the offense struggled early in the game before blowing things open late. The issue with this team will be that they haven't played a ranked team at all but that will change with a game against Washington this week and possibly another with USC in two weeks before the big November showdown with Oregon.

9/9. Oregon

It's rare to see two ties in the poll but that's what the Coaches Poll had and the Ducks were involved with one of them. They're still at nine in the AP behind Clemson but are tied with the Tigers in the coaches at eight. It speaks to the perception of Oregon, especially after beating Arizona State at home, that they could be tied with an undefeated team in the polls and into the top eight despite the season opening loss to LSU. They still control their own destiny for the Rose Bowl which is all a Pac-12 team can ask for at this point.

18/20. Arizona State

A big win over Utah one week, a big loss to Oregon the next. The good news is they put up enough of a fight to show voters that they still deserve to remain in the top 25. The Sun Devils fell six spots in the AP and five in the Coaches but have a schedule that allows them to win and move back up into the top 20. They look set to be the Pac-12 South division champion so it might just be a matter of time before they have a second shot at the Ducks.

22/24. Washington

A 5-1 start and plenty of momentum around the program under Steve Sarkisian and the Huskies find themselves back in the top 25 for the first time in over two years. It's actually been even longer since Washington was ranked in both polls, as they are this week, because you have to go all the way back to October 5, 2003. It might be a short-lived stay in the top 25 for the team however, with a trip to Palo Alto to play Stanford this week. Still, quite the accomplishment for Sarkisian and his team.

Others receiving votes: USC (87 points AP)


Posted on: October 16, 2011 1:47 am
 

QUICK HITS: Oregon 41, Arizona State 27

Posted by Bryan Fischer

OREGON WON. In a possible Pac-12 championship game preview, Oregon pulled away from Arizona State with another big second half up in Eugene. Although they got the W, it was a costly one. Already without the country's leading rushing LaMichael James, starting quarterback Darron Thomas and hard-hitting safety Eddie Pleasant both suffered a knee injury in the 3rd quarter. Still, the Ducks slashed the ASU defense to the tune of 531 yards and 41 points.

WHY OREGON WON: Like many of their Pac-12 victories, Oregon used an explosive running game and a defense that created pressure and forced turnovers. Despite Pleasant getting hurt, the secondary stepped up and held Sun Devils quarterback Brock Osweiler to just five yards passing in the 3rd quarter and picked him off twice. The plug-and-play backfield also ended up with three rushers over 60 yards, including backup quarterback Bryan Bennett.

WHEN OREGON WON. A close game at halftime, the Ducks used a sequence in the middle of the key 3rd quarter to really take control of the game, scoring 17 straight after Cameron Marshall gave Arizona State a 24-21 lead. Behind Kenjon Barner, Oregon responded by going 68 yards in six plays in just 1:37 to re-take the lead. The defense forced a three-and-out and Bennett took over on the 12 yard line. After moving the offense to the 48, he took off for 18 yards but fumbled. It appeared a Sun Devils defensive lineman had successfully knocked it back inbound to another defender but a replay kept the ball in the hands of the Ducks. Barner scored a touchdown two plays later and it was pretty much over after that.

WHAT OREGON WON. Chip Kelly's squad continues to be well positioned for a big Pac-12 game at Stanford in early November that likely puts the winner in the Rose Bowl. It was a costly victory in terms of a few injuries but they still proved they have plenty of depth and the system that is tough for every conference opponent to stop. They have two easy games at Colorado and against Washington State before their big stretch of at Washington, at Stanford and against USC.

WHAT ARIZONA STATE LOST. In the grand scheme of things, not that much. The Sun Devils are still the runaway favorites to take home the Pac-12 South title and wind up back in Eugene (or Palo Alto) to play for a trip to the Rose Bowl. Still, this was a big step that the program wanted to take under Dennis Erickson and they fell short on the road.

THAT WAS CRAZY. The Ducks came into the game with only four turnovers on defense, none in the last three games. Cliff Harris ended that in the 2nd quarter, picking off Osweiler and returning it 50 yards to set up a score. Oregon also set a school-record for attendance at Autzen Stadium, with 60,055 screaming very loud.

Posted on: October 14, 2011 4:19 pm
Edited on: October 15, 2011 5:00 pm
 

Bielema to students: No more potty-mouth, please

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

No one any younger than Joe Paterno (and not even JoePa himself) will be surprised to learn that the student sections at major college football stadiums are not the place to be if one wants to hear clean, polite, sportsmanlike King's English. But the language at Wisconsin's Camp Randall Stadium has now become so foul that no less an authority than Badger head coach Bret Bielema himself has stepped in to try and clean it up.

Bielema and Badger athletic director Barry Alvarez co-signed a letter sent to student ticket holders Thursday "asking you to end the vulgar chants at our home football games." While praising the students for helping create the loud, intimidating atmosphere that contributed to the Badgers' 48-17 throttling of Nebraska, the letter -- available in its entirety here -- also shares a number of written complaints (from both Badger and Husker fans) sent to the Wisconsin athletics office:
"During the course of the game, the student body was led in a very obscene cheer consisting of echoing 'Eat [bleep]' and '[bleep] you'. I was pretty appalled considering that not all the spectators were 18 years or older. It was not the sort of thing children should be hearing."

“I recorded the game at home. You can hear the students chant 'You [bleep]ed up' when another player commits a penalty. I can’t imagine that’s the image we want for UW.”

“I was absolutely appalled by your students. I have been to about 15 other campuses, and I have never experienced worse students than I did at Wisconsin. In all of the venues I’ve been to, I’ve never dealt with students with less class than I did at your school.”
Bielema discussed the problems further at his Thursday meeting with reporters, saying that visiting recruits and their families have been moved away from the student section in order to distance them from the stream of profanities.

“If you come into the stadium for the first time and you've never heard it, it's kind of shocking,” Bielema said, adding that "the ones that get me are when it's a parent who has a small child that now has to explain what's being said or try not to explain what's being said."

Nebraska legend (and athletic director) Tom Osborne also weighed in on the Wisconsin students on his radio call-in show this week, saying they fell short of being "decent." And by way of explanation, Osborne sent a not-so-subtle shot across the bow at the Badgers' historical fortunes vis a vis his Huskers' (emphasis added):

"I was on a golf cart with three folks who were over 90 years old," Osborne said. "We were trying to get them up to some seats. We had some rather unpleasant names called."

Osborne said he hopes Nebraska fans set the bar higher.

"I think there are probably some venues in the Big Ten that will treat people pretty well, and there are some we've been to before, and it isn't necessarily going to be that way," he said ... "I think, usually, schools with good tradition, that have won a lot in the past, are fairly tolerant. The ones that have won just lately sometimes don't know how to handle it very well."

But of course, those Wisconsin students aren't going to give the first [bleep] what Osborne thinks. Could it be different with Bielema? Will hearing directly from the man who -- after a Rose Bowl season and dominating 5-0 start -- is likely now more hero than coach in that Camp Randall student section actually bring about change?

Knowing these are 18-22 year-old college students we're talking about here: [bleep] no.


Posted on: October 12, 2011 6:25 pm
 

Pac-12 RapidReport Roundup: Stoops reactions

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Running down everything you need to know from the current news in the Pac-12, courtesy of our CBSSports.com RapidReporters (and others).

ARIZONA. Obviously things are a bit different down in Tuscon with the ouster of head coach Mike Stoops. The bye week comes at a good time for the interim coach Tim Kish, who is changing up some of the staff duties, including giving offensive coordinator Seth Littrell complete autonomy on offense and possibly hiring another defensive assistant. Several other head coaches have weighed in on Stoops' midseason firing, from Mike Riley to Bo Pelini to Lane Kiffin.
 
ARIZONA STATE. Dennis Erickson says he always knew that things would work out despite a rough three-year stretch. Athletic director Lisa Love said this season was the one she and Erickson had been waiting for when she hired him. Also, cornerback Osahon Irabor might not play against the Oregon this week so Alden Darby could remain his replacement. Aderious Simmons is likely to start at right tackle. Quarterback Brock Osweiler says his team won't quit and it's Rose Bowl or bust.

CAL. The Bears will play USC at home on Thursday night but AT&T Park isn't exactly 'home' for the team yet, according to Jeff Tedford. He also is hoping that this week's game is not a repeat of last year's game, when the Trojans led 42-0 at halftime. Cornerback Stefan McClure will have the tough task of guarding wide receiver Robert Woods.

OREGON. Injured running back LaMichael James is working hard to get healthy but is unlikely to suit up against Arizona State this weekend. Freshman running back/all-around athlete De'Anthony Thomas will see his workload increase as a result, adding to an already impressive start for the Ducks. Chip Kelly is well aware of what ASU linebacker Vontaze Burfict can do and has all eyes on him. Likewise, defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti will be keeping tabs on Brock Osweiler, who might too short for his taste.

OREGON STATE. Head coach Mike Riley is using a bowl game as motivation for his squad and hopes to build off of the momentum of the program's first win. Things have improved in the Beavers' run defense and the offense is putting up more points but they'll still need to win five of seven. Starting wide receiver Jordan Bishop will have an MRI on his injured ankle and cornerback Brandon Hardin will have a checkup in a month on his shoulder injury. Running backs Jovan Stevenson and Malcolm Agnew will practice this week and both could return to action soon.

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA. Highly touted recruit George Farmer will make his debut at running back on Thursday, something quarterback Matt Barkley is looking forward to seeing. This week's game at Cal means head coach Lane Kiffin will be squaring off against his old mentor Jeff Tedford. Defensive tackle Armond Armstead will make the trip up even though he is redshirting, while linebacker Lamar Dawson and corner Torin Harris are questionable for the game. The game this week will be a big time match up between wide receivers on both sides.

UCLA. The Bruins get Arizona as their next opponent and even though they'll be without a head coach, they're still going to be a problem. No stranger to the hot seat himself, Rick Neuheisel certainly feels for Stoops and how he was fired. The offense does need a bit of a boost and could see freshman quarterback Brett Hundley get some reps this week. Wide receiver Randall Carroll could also see increased playing time based on the number of snaps he's received in practice.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com