Pac-12 Apostles: Media Day Recap, Interviews with Cam Rising, Dan Lanning, Yogi Roth, Chip Kelly

On this Episode of the Pac-12 Apostles, George Wrighster and Ralph Amsden react to the biggest storylines and best quotes to come out of Pac-12 Media Day, including George Kliavkoff’s “shopping” comments about the Big-12. Featuring interviews with Utah QB Cam Rising, UCLA Head Coach Chip Kelly, Oregon Head Coach Dan Lanning, and Pac-12 Network star Yogi Roth.



-Conference games in L.A. post USC/UCLA exodus? (7:40)

-What can the Pac-12 do to hang on to the rest of its schools? (11:40)

-Impressions of Kyle Whittingham and Utah (17:00)

-Impressions of Dan Lanning and Oregon (19:11)

-George Kliavkoff “shopping” comments about the Big-12 (21:40)

-Impressions of Kalen DeBoer and Washington (29:20)

-Impressions of Karl Dorrell and Colorado (32:20)

-George Wrighster Interview with Utah QB Cam Rising (34:00)

-Impression of Jedd Fisch and Arizona (38:00)

-Impressions of David Shaw and Stanford (42:15)

-Impressions of Herm Edwards and Arizona State (44:40)

-Impressions of Washington State, Cal and Oregon State (49:00)

-George Wrighster Interview with UCLA Head Coach Chip Kelly (53:00)

-Impressions of Lincoln Riley and USC (1:03:00)

-George Wrighster Interview with Oregon Head Coach Dan Lanning (1:08:50)

-George Wrighster Interview with Pac-12 Network’s Yogi Roth (1:14:45)

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Who are the Pac-12 Apostles?

The Pac-12 Apostles is a podcast for fans who love the Pac-12 conference. George Wrighster and Ralph Amsden are committed to the honest and fair conversation about the conference. Join us by becoming a Pac-12 Apostle. Subscribe and share the podcast.

Please leave a rating and review of our podcast on iTunes! We record a podcast once a week with emergency episodes when necessary. Our podcasts are always heavy on Pac-12 football. But we make it a point to also try and cover the other notable Men’s and Women’s Pac-12 sports. We cover recruiting and any other major storyline in the Pac-12 universe.

George Wrighster is a former Pac-12 and long-time NFL tight end. As a television/radio host, opinionist, and analyst, who is UNAFRAID to speak the truth. Contrary to industry norms he uses, facts, stats, and common sense to win an argument. He has covered college football, basketball, NFL, NBA, MLB since 2014. Through years of playing college football, covering bowl games, coaching changes, and scandals, he has a great pulse for the conference and national perspective.

Ralph Amsden is a sportswriter and podcaster. He is the publisher of Rivals’, and was previously the managing editor of the Arizona State University Rivals affiliate, Wyoming born, Arizona raised, and now based in Charlotte, North Carolina with his wife and four kids, Amsden made his mark in Arizona sports media through investigative reporting, and being one of the first people to leverage social media and the podcast medium to grow his platform. In addition to his podcasts, he is the Content Director for Ralph might be sub-.500 in spousal disputes and schoolyard fights, but whether the topic is food, movies, music, parenting, politics, sports, television, religion, or zoological factoids, he’s always UNAFRAID to square up.

George Wrighster Looks At The ESPN FPI, Says ‘Get Ready For A Wide Open College Football Season’

We need to talk about the upcoming college football season.

Has there ever been a year where things felt this unpredictable and wide open? At this point, preseason rankings are about as solid as USC and UCLA’s commitment to the Pac-12.

Let’s take ESPN’s Football Power Index rankings

It’s no surprise that Alabama and Ohio State are ranked #1 and #2, but one thing we learned last year is that Superman can actually bleed. The Crimson Tide lost a conference game against Texas A&M, and Ohio State finally saw its dominant streak over Jim Harbaugh and Michigan come to a close. 

Georgia sits at #3, and while Kirby Smart says they’re the hunters and not the hunted, he’s going hunting without last year’s defensive coordinator Dan Lanning, and FIFTEEN of last year’s players were selected in the 2022 NFL Draft.
At #4 you have Clemson, which hasn’t settled on a starting QB, lost their defensive coordinator to Oklahoma, and is attempting to exist in the transfer portal era without participating in it. 

At #5, Notre Dame has itself a first time head coach in Marcus Freeman, who has replaced nearly the entire offensive staff, and is staring down a schedule that includes Ohio State and USC on the road, and an early November game hosting Clemson.

At #6, Michigan is coming off its best season under Jim Harbaugh, but they’ve got four coaches filling two coordinator roles, and three of them are in their first year on the job. That’s a lot of cooks in the kitchen.

At #7 you have a team that has finished the regular season .500 or lower FIVE TIMES IN THE LAST NINE YEARS, including last season. That’s right. Texas is in the top 7. 

At #8 you have a team that has a brand new head coach, brand new offensive coordinator, and will be starting its third QB in the last two years- the Oklahoma Sooners. 

#9 is the Miami Hurricanes and new Head Coach Mario Cristobal- and Mario’s my guy, but his offenses at Oregon didn;t exactly set the world on fire, and outside of the QB position, the Hurricane offense looks to be in rebuild mode. 

And rounding out the top 10 ESPN FPI FAH-MAH-LAY is Brian Kelly and the LSU Tigers. 3-5 in SEC play last year, and questions at QB, on the offensive line, and in the defensive backfield. 

I don’t see a sure thing anywhere in the bunch. All of these teams have warts, and before you try to argue that I’m just being negative, or trying to convince myself that Oregon has a path to the playoff (when I know we have Utah to worry about), believe me when I say that the fact that the sport seems more wide open than it has in recent years is actually a very good thing!

Hope drives this sport, and if you’re outside the top 10 of ESPN’s FPI, you might just have more hope than you’ve had in a long time.

Let that sink in.

Miami Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross Takes a Page Out of Donald Trump’s Playbook

We need to talk about Stephen Ross

Back in July 2019, one month before Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross started tampering by contacting Tom Brady while he was under contract with the New England Patriots, Donald Trump made one of the most shrewd political decisions of his presidency.

In July 2019 Donald Trump declared himself exonerated by the Robert Mueller investigation into whether Russia tampered in the 2016 election, and whether Trump had any knowledge or involvement in it.
Was Donald Trump exonerated by the Mueller report?

Absolutely not

But his supporters took his declaration as gospel, and the investigation is largely remembered as a waste of time.
Did it matter that anyone following the 2016 election watched Donald Trump publicly ask Russia to hack and surface Hilary Clinton’s missing emails? 

Of course not. 

You might be asking yourself, ‘why is George talking about Donald Trump?

Well, it seems to me that Stephen Ross was paying close attention to Trump’s ‘declaration of victory no matter what’ strategy, because NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell just released the results of an investigation in which he said ‘The investigators found tampering violations of unprecedented scope and severity,’ and in response to the investigation, Stephen Ross said ‘The independent investigation cleared our organization of any issues related to tanking.’

Did the NFL’s investigation exonerate Stephen Ross and the Miami Dolphins of anything?
let’s check the tape-

The investigation states that Stephen Ross REPEATEDLY told his team CEO, General Manager, Vice President, and head coach Brian Flores that he thought they should prioritize draft position over winning.
And what does ‘prioritizing draft position’ look like?

Losing. It looks like losing.

Roger Goodell actually commends Brian Flores in the investigation’s findings for not letting Stephen Ross’ comments affect his commitment to winning, and doing his best, in spite of Stephen Ross, to make the Dolphins competitive.

Roger Goodell is saying that Brian Flores KEPT the Dolphins from tanking, and Stephen Ross is using that fact to declare that because the Dolphins didn’t do what he asked, that he’s not only innocent, but that Brian Flores was false, malicious, and defamatory for bringing Ross’ attempt to intentionally tank out into the light.

Maybe Stephen Ross offering $100,000 to Brian Flores per loss was a joke, just like it’s possible Donald Trump looking onto a camera and asking Russia to interfere in the election was a joke, but that doesn’t make either party as innocent as they’ve declared themselves to be.

Look, Stephen. You might be rich like Donald, live in South Florida like Donald, and have a complicated relationship with Tom Brady like Donald- but that’s where the comparisons between you and The Donald end. He’s actually won something. All you’ve ever done is apparently purposefully try to do the opposite.

You might be out here declaring yourself exonerated, but you aren’t dealing with MAGA supporters that will bend over backwards to believe you. Your team’s fans don’t even like you. You’re not just going to be remembered as a loser that didn’t give your head coach or franchise quarterback a fair shake.

You’re going to be remembered as an INTENTIONAL loser.

Let that sink in.

Deshaun Watson’s 6-Game Suspension Definitely Isn’t Justice, But Is It The Right Move?

We need to talk about Deshaun Watson’s six game suspension.

Now this may be a controversial take, but I think six games makes sense. 

Is six games right? Hell no. Nothing about this is right. But we’re not here to talk about right and wrong. We’re here to judge the wisdom of arbitrator, former federal judge Sue L. Robinson, and the penalty she handed down given all the evidence and testimony available to her. 

Ezekiel Elliot and Ben Roethlisberger’s suspensions set the precedent here. As absurd as it is to realize that Deshaun Watson got the same suspension as Deandre Hopkins got for a trace amount of PEDs, or that Calvin Ridley’s suspension is three times longer over a bet he made when he was injured, as an actual arbitrator, you can’t cross-compare violations of NFL policy. 

Justice and fairness are not going to align.

Justice would look like victims not having to choose between accountability under the law, and monetary compensation. 

Justice would look like the Houston Texans organization having to answer for their culpability and active participation in Deshaun Watson’s extracurricular massage activities. 

Justice would look like Deshaun Watson getting his day in court in the event that even one of his accusers invented accusations for financial gain. 

Nobody in this situation is going to get what is just. 

So we’re left with the awful task of having to determine, using prior precedent, what might be fair according to the details that we have. 

Right or wrong, Deshaun Watson has not been charged with a crime. Right or wrong, Deshaun Watson has not publicly admitted to any specific instance of forcing anyone to do anything against their will. Right or wrong, the large majority of Deshaun Watson’s accusers have opted to settle their civil dispute with him without a trial. Right or wrong, in this country, and in this culture, the option of actually charging an alleged perpetrator of sexual impropriety or violence against women is up to the discretion of the prosecutor, not the public. 

Deshaun Watson, like Ezekiel Elliot, had accusations reported to law enforcement that did not result in an indictment. Deshaun Watson, like Ben Roethlisberger, is being suspended on the basis of the recklessness of his behavior, and not as an acknowledgement of the validity of the accusations against him.

Some of you listening to this might be on the complete opposite side, saying how can a man’s livelihood be taken from him when there’s been no criminal indictment? And I hear you.

The truth is that we live in a world where an overwhelming amount of instances of violence against women go unprosecuted, but we also live in the same world where a false rape accusation put Brian Banks in prison for six years and cost him everything. Anyone that can’t acknowledge that our system falls short for victims, but has also made victims of the falsely accused, is not a serious person.

Let me leave you with the words that NFL Commissioner wrote to Ben Roethlisberger 12 years ago, words that Deshaun Watson, regardless of whether he’s guilty or not, needs to hear.

…You are held to a higher standard as an NFL player, and there is nothing about your conduct… that can remotely be described as admirable, responsible, or consistent with either the values of the league or the expectations of our fans. Your conduct raises sufficient concerns that I believe effective intervention now is the best step for your personal and professional welfare.

Both Deshaun Watson and the public need to let that sink in.