Tag:Arizona State
Posted on: August 27, 2008 3:56 pm
Edited on: August 28, 2008 9:42 am

Who's No. 26?

Utah didn't make the cut, not in my preseason top 25 which debuted on Wednesday.

Being No. 26, though, is no disgrace. To explain Utah's absence I have to both disparage and praise the Utes. In one sense they are -- next to BYU -- the non-BCS team most likely to play in the Orange Bowl. That's part of the problem, though -- their proximity to BYU, both physically and in the polls.

My No. 12 Cougars are darn good, put in the vernacular you'd likely hear on the Provo campus. BYU is quickly getting back to the days of Lavell Edwards under fourth-year coach Bronco Mendenhall. It has the roster and the schedule to go undefeated.

One thing to remember, though. BYU finishes the season on Nov. 22 at Utah. That might mean a little something, certainly something more than the Mountain West title.

This comes down to the Cougars having a slightly better roster. BYU has Arizona State transfer Max Hall at quarterback. Utah has senior Brian Johnson who has been around so long, I can remember him as a freshman in 2004 under Urban Meyer. Johnson is athletic, running an offense similar to the spread option Alex Smith ran under Meyer.

We'll find out if Utah is any good right off the bat. It plays at Michigan on Saturday. I'm shocked to see that the Wolverines are a 3 1/2-point favorite. Utah has a better team, more experienced. Michigan has the home field, such as it is.

Utah's season hinges on that trip to Ann Arbor. It can lose but I see nothing on the schedule before the BYU game that will cause pollsters and/or computers to take notice.

Why No. 26? Before the Utes get to November, they have to take care of August.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: August 18, 2008 10:40 am

Five things you should know about the Pac-10...

1. The Slickster: He's back and he's here to stir up Westwood, L.A., That School Down The Road and the Pac-10. Rick 
Neuheisel will be the freshest thing to hit the league since, well, Pete Carroll. Get ready for the USC-UCLA rivalry to reignite.

2. Curse of the Trojans: A dislocated knee is one thing (quarterback Mark Sanchez) but it's getting ridiculous at 
USC. Offensive lineman Jeff Byers is being treated for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Running back Joe McKnight 
smashed his fingers in a doorjamb last year (ouch!). Don't forget an outbreak of jock itch.

3. Curse of the Trojans II: USC has developed a nasty habit of a conference loss that defies explanation. Last year, it was Stanford. The year before that it was Oregon State. Put a shotgun (formation) to my head and I'd have to say 
the Oct. 25 game at Arizona qualifies as this season's head scratcher.

4. Intersectionals: Never let it be said the Pac-10 is ducking the competition. It plays that brutal nine-game 
round-robin league schedule. It doesn't fill the non-cons with cream puffs either. The Pac-10 was 5-3 against BCS 
conference schools in non-conference games last season (No. 1 in the country). We'll know a lot about the Pac-10 
(and a lot of other conferences) early on. Consider these intersectional doozies ...

USC at Virginia, Aug. 30
Oregon State at Penn State; BYU at Washington, Sept. 6
Oklahoma at Washington, Ohio State at USC; UCLA at BYU, Sept. 13
Georgia at Arizona State, Sept. 20

A case can be made for the Pac-10 being favored in only two of those games, both USC games (Ohio State, Virginia).

5. The end of an era: Commissioner Tom Hansen ends more than a quarter century of service when he steps down after 
this academic year. An NCAA veteran of 16 years, Hansen joined the league in 1983. Things have been great -- the 
re-emergence of USC -- and embarrassment -- the recent officiating snafus -- but Hansen always added class and dignity to a tough job.

His replacement could signal a small crack in the staunch Pac-10 position against a plus-one depending on who is 
hired. The short list: Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson, WAC commissioner Karl Benson and former 
Pacific/Dartmouth/Stanford AD Ted Leland.

Posted on: August 7, 2008 8:04 pm
Edited on: August 7, 2008 8:04 pm

Five things you should know about the MWC


1. LaVell Edwards would be proud. Bronco Mendenhall has BYU humming at the level set by the old coach. Mendenhall has won 22 combined games the past two years. The offense averaged 30 points per game to lead the Mountain West. The defense, Mendenhall's specialty, gave up less than 100 yards rushing per game. The schedule sets up for an Orange Bowl run. The toughest road game is the finale at Utah. The winner might get a BCS berth.

2. Urban Meyer would be proud too. Since Meyer left his replacement Kyle Whittingham has won run three bowls and averaged eight victories a season at Utah. If not BYU, then the Utes could make a BCS run. Whittingham is loaded with 16 returning starters. If the Utes win at transitioning Michigan to start the season watch out.

3. Hot Seat Central. If things don't improve at UNLV and San Diego State quick, Mike Sanford (6-29 for the Rebels) and Chuck Long (7-17 for the Aztecs) are going to be out of a job. The prospects aren't good. San Diego State has to go to Notre Dame, TCU, New Mexico and BYU. UNLV plays Utah, Arizona State and BYU on the road. 

4.The Mtn. is climbing. The folly that once was the conference's own network now seems to be gaining traction. The Mtn. will be getting more exposure on cable systems. Will anyone be watching?

5.They're not Horned Frauds. TCU always seems to be hanging around, threatening to break through to a BCS bowl. Three years ago they won at Oklahoma. Two years ago it was Texas Tech. This year Stanford and Oklahoma are on the schedule before the BYU game on Oct. 16.

Posted on: April 7, 2008 6:58 pm

From deep, deep underground

Ran into this nugget working the streets in San Antonio. (Wait a minute, that sounds disgusting. Let's just say I got some juicy gossip.)

USC and UCLA are very close to announcing a novel idea to heat up their rivalry. Both teams will wear their home colors this season at UCLA's home game Dec. 6 in the Rose Bowl.

That means USC will wear maroon. The plan is for the Trojans to be penalized a timeout when they take the field in their homies. UCLA, then, at its first opportunity will call a timeout to even things up. Pete Carroll apparently has signed off on the p.r. strategy. What a way to ramp up the Trojans-Bruins rivalry.

Something tells me this was the brainchild of Slick Rick.  

  Flew into Austin on Friday and visited with Mack Brown before heading down to San Antonio. Among other things, I wondered what had happened to Mack's stepson, Chris Jessie. Remember him? He was the kid who came off the sidelines and (officials ruled) touched the ball while it was in play. The goof negated an Arizona State turnover.


"He's working in (real estate) development in Chapel Hill," Brown said. "That's what he wanted to do. Bless his heart, I said, 'Hey, you didn't murder anybody. You didn't beat anybody up. You were excited about a game. I can handle that. On a night where there was nobody else playing, your timing was either really good or really bad.' "

Jessie became the story of the game in an otherwise forgettable Holiday, but don't forget Texas staffer Cleve Bryant and quarterback Colt McCoy probably came on the field farther than Jesse.

"If I to to fire anybody, I've got to (fire) Colt first, Cleve second and then Chris," Brown said.





Category: NCAAF
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