Who deserves to be on the Pac-12 All-Decade Team 2010-19? George and Ralph draft their best offense, defense, special teams, and coach to play a game. Starts at 43:00
Officiating calls continue to cause debate and controversy in college football and NFL games. We have a solution for the targeting call and catch/no-catch rules.
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The 2020 Pac-12 Tournament bracket has taken shape after another crazy week of Pac-12 Basketball. Oregon showed why they are the favorites to win this week’s tournament in Las Vegas, while last-place Washington shocked both Arizona and Arizona State. Officiating took some of the spotlight as teams jockeyed for position in the conference tournament.
Oregon Cements Front-Runner Status Ahead of Pac-12 Tournament
Oregon defended their home
court against California and Stanford, and they are looking like the
frontrunners in Las Vegas this week. Payton Pritchard has had a great senior
season, and is the favorite to win Pac-12 Conference Men’s Basketball Player of
the Year. Pritchard should also be included in conversations for the Naismith Men’s
College Player of the Year award. He has averaged 20.5 points per game this
season and shot 46.8 percent from the field. Pritchard has been one of the most
efficient players and will have a chance to lead his team to a second straight
Pac-12 Tournament Championship this week.
USC Beats UCLA, Teams Could
Meet Again In Pac-12 Tournament Semis
USC and UCLA played in a classic defensive duel on Saturday. With one second remaining Jonah Mathews made a 3-point shot in his last game at the Galen Center. USC got a much-needed win that helps their cause on Selection Sunday. UCLA is squarely on the bubble, but this loss does not diminish the turnaround they have had this season. The Bruins will be the two seed in Las Vegas, and USC will be the three seed. These teams could meet again in the Pac-12 semis. Both USC and UCLA can cement their tournament bids by winning games in the Pac-12 Tournament. However, both the Bruins and Trojans will face nerve wracking Selection Sundays if they are unable to get at least one win in Las Vegas.
Washington Shocks Both Arizona State and Arizona On Road
Washington poses a threat in the Pac-12 Tournament next week. They played excellent against both Arizona State and Arizona. They won both these games by playing the types of games their opponents are used to playing. The Huskies may also be getting back point guard Quade Green, who was declared academically ineligible in January. It is unclear if Green will play in the Pac-12 Tournament. If he does, he will add another dimension to a suddenly dangerous Husky team. Washington is considered a dark horse to win the Pac-12 Tournament but will have to do so as the last place team in the conference. Also, they have to play Arizona again on Wednesday in Las Vegas.
Arizona State Backs Their Way into Pac-12 Tournament First Round Bye
Arizona State took a huge
step back against Washington, but they were able to beat Washington State on Saturday.
A point of concern in ASU’s victory against the Cougars is that they
relinquished a 17-point lead in the second half. They were able to make enough
plays to get a first-round bye in the Pac-12 Tournament, but the Sun Devils are
also not a lock to make the Tournament field.
Arizona Tournament Bound,
But Struggles Showing
Arizona has done enough to make the tournament, but they have struggled during the back end of the season. The Wildcats are 1-4 in their last five games, with their only win coming last Thursday against Washington State at home. Their offensive woes have shown, as they only had five made field goals in the first half of their 69-63 loss against Washington. Arizona is like a lot of teams in the conference, as they do not have one player that can elevate them to victory on a consistent basis. Nico Mannion and Zeke Nnaji, who are both freshmen, have shown why they were top recruits at Arizona. However, they have not been able to lift the Wildcats to victory lately.
Colorado Is Simply Searching For Answers
The Buffaloes lost a controversial overtime game at Utah 74-72. Up 72-71, McKinley Wright was called for a foul on Utah guard Both Gach’s three-point shot. It was unclear if Wright even made contact with Gach on the play. However, Wright missed a pivotal free throw on the previous sequence. If Wright makes the first free throw, the Buffaloes get a chance to possibly go up by three points.
The Buffaloes were having a dream season, but a four-game losing streak has left them searching for answers. In reality, they ended the 2020 Pac-12 conference season with the same record (10-8) they had last year. This team is tournament-bound due to their performance in non-conference play, namely their win against a possible 1-seed in Dayton. However, they need to recapture the swagger they played with in January and the early part of February to have any shot at making noise in the postseason.
However, it is frustrating that the result of this game was basically determined on an official’s call at the end of overtime. Teams such as Colorado had everything to play for this past weekend, and the officials took center stage. Critical junctures in seasons call for players to perform at their best, and the Pac-12 needs to make sure their officials are performing at their best this week in the Pac-12 Tournament. Let the conference champion be determined by good basketball, not bad officiating.
Non-Conference Wins Difference for Presumptive Tournament Locks In Pac-12
Teams such as Stanford and
UCLA are in precarious positions because they do not have a non-conference win that
stands out. UCLA’s best win arguably was their road win against Colorado in
Boulder, and Stanford’s best win is against Oregon at home. However, multiple
teams, including Washington State and Oregon State, beat Oregon at home this
season. There has been so much parity in Pac-12 conference play, that the teams
that are considered safe bets to make the tournament are in that position
because of how they performed in non-conference play. Oregon has huge wins
against Seton Hall and Michigan. Colorado has a huge win against Dayton.
Arizona has a quality non-conference win against Illinois.
The Pac-12 will get at
least five teams into the tournament, but there are four teams (Arizona State,
USC, UCLA, and Stanford) that face an uncertain Selection Sunday at this point.
All four of these teams have arguments to get in the field, but some of their
bubbles may burst on Selection Sunday. However, every team in the conference
has a chance to make the tournament by winning the Pac-12 Tournament this week.
With all the parity that has presided over the conference this season, it
should be a fun tournament this week.
week in 2020 Pac-12 Basketball belonged to the home team. Across the league,
the home team went 9-1 in the 10 games played between Wednesday (2/25) and
Sunday (3/1). Teams such as UCLA, USC, and Stanford were given huge boosts to
their tournament hopes. However, teams that established themselves as
tournament contenders, such as Colorado, Arizona, and Arizona State, had
weekends to forget.
UCLA’s 7-Game Winning Streak Propels Them to First Place in 2020 Pac-12 Basketball
weekend got off to a great start against Arizona State on Thursday. Freshman
guard Jaime Jaquez Jr. hit a game-winning three with 0.6 seconds left to lift
the Bruins to a 75-72 victory. Then on Saturday, they pulled away late against
Arizona and won 69-64. The same UCLA team that has the worst loss in
non-conference play, to Cal State Fullerton, is now in first place in the
Pac-12. Mick Cronin has arguably become a shoe-in for Pac-12 Coach of the Year.
The Bruin’s turnaround is great for the conference, as they are one of the most
nationally-recognized names in the Pac-12.
It is interesting to think about how the conference is viewed as a whole, because they are the first place team that lost to Cal State Fullerton. Still, the Pac-12 has some good non-conference wins as a conference. Washington, who has the worst record in the conference, has arguably the best non-conference win against Baylor.
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Tournament Chances: Trending Up – UCLA has made their case for March, but they have a massive game on Saturday against USC at the Galen Center. Winning this game will give UCLA a share of the 2020 Pac-12 Basketball Regular Season title. If they are able to show up in the conference tournament, they may need to get to the conference championship to cement their spot in the tournament.
Oregon Beats In-State Rival, Frontrunners for 2020 Pac-12 Basketball Regular Season Title
will get overshadowed by the weeks UCLA and USC had, but the Ducks took care of
business against Oregon State 69-54. The Ducks broke their three-game losing
streak against the Beavers, as they will attempt to get at least a share of the
conference title. Oregon has home games against California and Stanford this week.
They are undefeated at home, boasting a 15-0 record at Matthew Knight Arena
Tournament Chances: In the field – Oregon has quality wins in non-conference play. They are near the top of the standings in the Pac-12. The main question for the Ducks is where they will be positioned in the bracket.
Arizona State Takes a Step Back In LA Road Trip
The Sun Devils went toe-to-toe with UCLA Thursday night but were beat at the buzzer. They trailed for most of the game Saturday against USC. Arizona State is an exciting team to watch, and Bobby Hurley has done a great job to get this team on the right side of the bubble. However, losing two straight is a bit of a letdown after their seven-game winning streak.
Tournament Chances: Decent – The Sun Devils will need to take care of business this week against Washington and Washington State, but they should be in the tournament. They are 6-1 at home in-conference, including a resume-boosting win against Oregon. Expect to see the Sun Devils in an 8-vs-9 or 7-vs-10 game.
Colorado Buffaloes Have Worst Week of 2020 Pac-12 Basketball Season in Bay Area
The Buffaloes had a stinker Thursday night in Berkeley, as they lost 76-62 to a California team that they simply should have beat. Colorado had more life Sunday against Stanford, but they were still looking for answers after a 72-64 defeat. This season for the Buffaloes is at a crossroads, as they are no longer in contention for the Pac-12 regular season title. They have accomplished so much this season, and this iteration of the Colorado Buffaloes is probably the best team Tad Boyle has had in his tenure as head coach. However, reputations are made in March, and the Buffaloes will have to start their turnaround from their current three-game losing streak Saturday at Utah.
Tournament Chances: In the field – The Buffaloes have a huge non-conference win against Dayton, who has not lost since Colorado defeated them. They beat Oregon when they were ranked fourth in the country. However, the loss to Cal was probably their worst loss of the season. The Buffaloes need to win at Utah and show up in the conference tournament to ensure that they will still get a top-6 seed on Selection Sunday.
USC Trojans on Right Side of Bubble
USC also beat both Arizona and Arizona State this weekend. They led for the majority of both games. The Trojans got contributions from Jonah Mathews and Daniel Utomi in both games. Their defense also showed up in both games, as they held Arizona and Arizona State to 48 and 61 points, respectively. Both of their games were complete games. If their defense can travel, they will be a tough out in both the conference tournament and the NCAA tournament.
Tournament Chances: Decent – The Trojans have a better NET rating and a head-to-head victory over UCLA, giving them the upper hand over their Los Angeles rivals. However, Saturday’s game at the Galen Center is huge, as it could help USC get a higher seed in the conference tournament. USC has had a more consistent season than UCLA, but the winner of Saturday’s game will regard their season as the better one.
Arizona Struggles, Sean Miller Get Ejected Saturday
had a tough go on Thursday against USC, as they had one more field goal (16) than
turnovers (15) in the 57-48 loss. On Saturday against UCLA, they played better
and were leading for most of the first half. However, Sean Miller got ejected
with 12:28 remaining in the second half as the Wildcats were leading, 47-44. Arizona
was able to hold their own, but UCLA ended the game on an 11-2 run to win
Tournament Chances: In – Arizona still has the best NET rating in the Pac-12 conference at number 11. They were able to dominate their non-conference schedule (minus the loss to St. John’s) despite their inconsistencies in-conference. However, every team has had their struggles in-conference, especially on the road. The Wildcats will have a chance to right the ship this week, with home games against Washington State on Thursday and Washington on Saturday.
Stanford Gets Resume-Boosting Win Against Colorado
was able to beat Utah 70-62 on Wednesday, but they were able to beat a ranked
Colorado team 72-64 on Sunday. The Cardinal led the Buffaloes for the majority
of the game, and had four starters score in double figures. Stanford was
thought of as one of the teams on the outside looking in, but they may be on
their way to playing in the First Four in Dayton.
Tournament Chances: 50/50 – Stanford is squarely on the bubble, but they have a huge opportunity at Oregon on Saturday. No team has gone into Eugene and won this season, and beating Oregon along with a win against Oregon State may be enough to get Stanford into the tournament. They may have another opportunity for a resume-boosting win in the Pac-12 tournament. However, Saturday feels like a must-have for the Cardinal, or else they may be NIT-bound.
Can Pac-12 Basketball Get Seven Teams Into the Tournament in 2020?
Pac-12 getting six teams into the tournament looked like a pipeline dream a
month ago. Now, they could get seven teams into the tournament. Teams that were
afterthoughts not too long ago, like Arizona State and UCLA, have turned a
corner and have become different teams in the second half of the conference
season. It will be interesting how the selection committee ultimately views the
parity in the conference, but this season it looks like it has helped the
conference. A season after having only three teams in the tournament, the Pac-12
could have more than half their teams dancing in the NCAA Tournament.
The 2020 Pac-12 Basketball season turned on its head this past weekend as parity was on full display. Arizona State has surprised many, as they took over sole possession of first place in the conference, going 2-0 against Oregon and Oregon State. Oregon, Colorado, and Arizona were only able to split their games.
First off, here is how the top seven teams in the Pac-12 Standings looked before last Thursday night’s games:
Here is how the top seven looked by the end of the weekend:
Pac-12 Basketball has been as unpredictable as ever in 2020. Who would have thought a few weeks ago that Oregon would lose a road to Arizona State then beat Arizona in Tuscon? Who would have thought that Colorado would sweep the season series with USC, but lose to a UCLA team that looked lost in Mick Cronin’s first year in charge?
Arizona State Takes First Place in Pac-12 Basketball 2020
The Sun Devils had just lost to Washington State in Pullman on January 29, 2020, to drop to 3-4 in league play. Since then, they have racked up seven straight wins. The Sun Devils squeaked by Oregon State, 74-73, on Saturday night. However, they got their signature win of the season last Thursday against Oregon, 77-72. The Sun Devils never trailed in the game, and the team is coming together at the right time. They had to take advantage of their opportunity against the Ducks. Now, the Sun Devils are looked at as a team that could cut down the nets in Vegas at the Pac-12 Tournament.
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Colorado Lets Golden Opportunity Slip on Senior Day
The Buffaloes went 1-1 in their last two home games of the 2019-20 season, as they beat USC and then lost to UCLA. However, against USC they saw a 12-point second-half lead dwindle to one before pulling out a 70-66 win. Against UCLA, the Buffaloes led by 10 points in the second half before UCLA used a 20-3 run to help them secure a 70-63 win. CU has now seen two double-digit second-half leads turn into losses in two of their last four games. The Buffaloes need to show much more consistency if they want to make a deep run in March. That consistency will need to start Thursday at California.
Oregon Rebounds with Huge Win At McKale Center Saturday
Oregon gave their fans some heart-pounding basketball this weekend. First off, the Ducks lost to Arizona State on Thursday, making Saturday’s game against Arizona at the McKale Center even more meaningful. It ended similarly to the first encounter between these two teams, as Oregon squeaked out a 1-point win in overtime, 73-72. Payton Pritchard led the way with 38 points in the victory. Oregon could be looking at a 13-5 finish in-conference, as they close the regular season with home games against Oregon State, California, and Stanford. However, with the parity in the conference, nothing is guaranteed.
Free Throws Achilles Heel for Arizona Against Oregon
Arizona beat Oregon State on Thursday but suffered another tough loss against Oregon. The Wildcats have now lost five straight games against the team that they have competed against as the face of Pac-12 Basketball the past few seasons. Arizona went 10-for-21 from the free-throw line against Oregon. In yet another overtime loss to the Ducks, the Wildcats left too many points on the floor. Arizona has a chance to strengthen their resume as they play USC and UCLA in their next two games.
UCLA Surging, Making Their Case for March
The Bruins had the signature win of their season against Colorado in Boulder on Saturday. On what was supposed to be a senior day celebration for the Buffaloes, the Bruins, led by Cody Riley and Tyger Campbell, were able to pull off the upset. This Bruins team that beat the Buffaloes lost to Cal State Fullerton in December. The Bruins improved to 10-5 in-conference. Mick Cronin has done a masterful job in conference play, and the Bruins could get a first-round bye in the conference tournament. The Bruins still have work to do to make the tournament, but they have two great opportunities against Arizona and Arizona State in the coming days.
USC Has Tough Weekend but has Opportunities Against Arizona Schools
USC lost to both Colorado and Utah this weekend, weakening their tournament hopes. The Trojans have been able to be competitive in Pac-12 play, but they do not have a truly signature win on their resume. Winning against conference-leading Arizona State on Thursday would be a start, but a win against Arizona on Saturday may get more national attention. Not being able to win on the road has hurt the Trojans. Defending home court is a must this week to keep their tournament hopes alive.
Stanford Needs to Finish 2020 Pac-12 Basketball Season Strong
Stanford got Oscar Da Silva back last Saturday in a loss against Arizona. With the help of Da Silva, the Cardinal took care of business against Washington and Washington State this week to get themselves back to .500 (7-7) in the conference. Stanford will have an opportunity this week to improve their resume if they are able to beat Colorado in a home game on Sunday. It will be interesting how the committee views the loss to Colorado where Da Silva got injured, and the subsequent game against Arizona State where he did not play. Stanford could have possibly won both games if Da Silva was in the lineup.
2020 Pac-12 Basketball Regular Season Will Be a Race to the Finish Line
Big games for the upcoming week include the Arizona schools going to Los Angeles to play USC and UCLA. All teams involved could bolster and hurt their resumes in these games. Colorado goes on the road against Stanford on March 1. Both teams could use another resume-building win.
With the surges of UCLA and Arizona State the past few weeks, there are now seven teams in the Pac-12 that could make the case for March. However, the committee will probably only choose five or six teams. There is a case for more, however. The parity in the Pac-12 has produced in a way this season that may get more teams into the tournament. Oregon, Colorado, and Arizona are regarded as the best teams, but the other teams’ abilities to beat these teams have helped their cause for March. It is sure to be a crazy last two weeks of the Pac-12 Basketball regular season before the conference tournament in Las Vegas.
Pac-12 basketball has put itself in position to get five teams into the 2020 NCAA Tournament. Each team can improve their potential seed in the NCAA Tournament if they perform well. However, with the volatility of play in the 2020 Pac-12 Basketball season, multiple scenarios are in play as teams approach the home stretch of the regular season.
Colorado Buffaloes Leading the 2020 Pac-12 Basketball Standings
Record: 19-5 (8-3 Pac-12)
Key wins: VS Dayton (in Chicago), VS Oregon
Bad losses: VS Oregon State, at UCLA
The Buffaloes are in line for a six seed in the 2020 NCAA Tournament as of right now. They have been able to pull off huge resume-building wins against Oregon and Dayton, who both got places in the Selection Committee’s Top 16 seeds as of right now. Even though they are first in the Pac-12 standings, the Buffaloes have not been respected nationally as much as a conference leader should be.
Colorado has a huge opportunity to make an impression on the committee when they head to Eugene to play Oregon on Thursday. The Buffaloes also have the opportunity to avenge both of their bad losses at Oregon State (Feb. 15) and at home against UCLA (Feb. 22). If the Buffaloes can win out after the Oregon game and beat opponents not named Arizona and Oregon in the Pac-12 tournament, they will probably stay on the six-line as far as the NCAA Tournament is concerned. However, if the Buffaloes can pull off the upset in Eugene, win out, and be impressive in the Pac-12 Tournament, a top-four seed could be in the cards for them.
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Oregon Ducks Still Regarded as Best Team in 2020 Pac-12 Basketball, but Bad Losses Mounting
Record: 18-6 (7-4 Pac-12)
Key wins: VS Arizona, VS Seton Hall (Battle 4
Bad losses: VS North Carolina (Battle 4 Atlantis), at Washington State, at Oregon State
The Ducks were the preseason pick to win the Pac-12. They were also the only team in the Pac-12 who was in the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee’s Top 16 seeds as of right now. Oregon was listed as a 4-seed.
However, the Ducks received that seeding before
losing to Oregon State in Corvallis on Saturday night. This loss is the second
bad conference road loss the Ducks have had. They have to show consistency on
the road and defend home court to stay in position to obtain a top-four seed.
Their first test defending home court will be Thursday against the
conference-leading Colorado Buffaloes.
Arizona Wildcats: Inconsistency Caught Up to Them on Home Floor
Record: 16-7 (6-4 Pac-12)
Key wins: VS Colorado, VS Illinois
Bad losses: VS St. John’s (Al Attles Classic), at
Oregon State, VS UCLA
Arizona had only lost to Gonzaga on their home
court before UCLA beat them by 13 points Saturday night. This loss is brutal
for Arizona’s prospects of landing a top-four seed in the NCAA Tournament. Arizona
needs to prove they can beat teams that they should beat, and their first test
will be this Thursday when they are on the road to face California.
The Wildcats will have another opportunity to
beat Oregon at home on February 22 after losing to them by one point in an
overtime thriller in Eugene. If Arizona can win this game and perform well in
the conference tournament, there could be an argument for them to be a top-four
seed. Right now it looks like they are in line for a spot on the five or six
Stanford Cardinal Have to Possibly Navigate Next Few Games Without Oscar da Silva
Record: 16-7 (5-5 Pac-12)
Key wins: VS Oregon
Bad losses: at California, VS Oregon State, at
The Cardinal are 1-4 in their last five games.
They have losses to California, Oregon State, Utah, and Colorado. However, they
have a huge win against Oregon sandwiched in between two two-game losing
Stanford may be without big man Oscar da Silva
for the foreseeable future after he suffered a head laceration. Oscar da Silva collided
with Colorado forward Evan Battey in Saturday’s game, and had to get stitches
because he was bleeding. The injury could have been worse, but luckily da Silva
is “going to be okay,” according to Stanford spokesperson Zack Reynolds.
Stanford plays Arizona, Oregon, and Colorado
each one more time before the conference tournament. They will probably have to
win at least one of these three games to be ensured of a tournament selection,
and they cannot have any more bad losses.
USC Trojans Need to Right Ship After Three-Game Losing Streak
Record: 17-7 (6-5 Pac-12)
Key Wins: VS LSU (Basketball Hall of Fame
Classic), VS Stanford
Bad Losses: at Washington
USC is currently on a three-game losing streak.
However, they are still being projected as a nine or ten seed in most brackets.
The Trojans could add to their resume, as they still have a trip to Boulder to
play Colorado and a home date with Arizona on their schedule. They are in the
same boat as Stanford. If the Trojans can win one of these two games and have
an admirable showing in the Pac-12 Tournament, they will probably make the tournament.
USC beat an LSU team that was undefeated in SEC
play before losing two straight this past week. However, they have a stinker on
their resume, as they lost by 32 points to the last-place team in the
conference in Washington. It will be interesting to see how the committee
judges this loss by the Trojans, because Washington was still with point guard
Quade Green in this game. Green was ruled academically ineligible for the rest
of the regular season after this game.
Team That Still Has Opportunities in 2020: Arizona State
15-8 (6-4 Pac-12)
Key Wins: VS Arizona, VS USC
Bad Losses: @ Washington State
Arizona State will probably be living life on
the bubble until Selection Sunday on March 15. They are 5-1 in their last six
games, with wins against Arizona and USC. If the Sun Devils can beat Stanford
and USC and have a decent showing in the conference tournament, they can make
an argument for being included in the field in March.
However, Arizona is the best win of the season
for the Sun Devils. Washington State is their only truly bad loss, but beating
Oregon will be more important for Arizona State than it will be for any other
team playing them the rest of the way. Coupling an Oregon win with a run in the
Pac-12 Tournament will make a decision on whether the Sun Devils should be in
the tournament a tough one for the committee.
Rest of Teams in Pac-12 Need to Win 2020 Conference Tournament to Make the Field
Washington, Washington State, Oregon State,
California, UCLA, and Utah all have to hope they can have a magical weekend in
Las Vegas from March 11-14. All of these teams have beat at least one of the
teams that are projected to be in the tournament. However, winning the
conference tournament ensures an automatic berth into the tournament. With how
the Pac-12 has been playing out, anything is possible in the tournament.
As of right now Colorado, Oregon, Arizona, Stanford, and USC look like the five teams that will be representing Pac-12 Basketball in the 2020 NCAA Tournament. With how college basketball has been this season, there will probably be madness that occurs before March. It will be interesting to see if there is a team that can achieve consistency in a Pac-12 conference where consistency seems impossible. If the beginning of February college basketball has been any indication, the rest of the month will be crazy.
First off, before any other news is commented on, first look at Eric Bean’s 2020 Senior Bowl Review. In it, he goes into great detail on each Pac-12 football player and how they performed. Spoiler alert: they shined!
Multiple Pac-12 Football Programs Vie for Clay Millen
Because of this promising junior season, the 6-foot-3 quarterback out of Snoqualmie earned 4-star ranks in recruiting.
To Pac-12 football fans, the name Millen might sound familiar. That’s because his older brother Cale Millen plays as a backup quarterback for the Oregon Ducks. Additionally, his father Hugh Millen played for the Washington Huskies and in the NFL for eight years. Because of his size, family ties and breakout junior season, Clay Millen got noticed.
With another year to strut his stuff for Mount Si, Millen is certain to earn more than just Pac-12 football interest. However, we desperately want him to stay in the Pac-12.
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Gerald Alexander Leaves Cal, Golden Bears Sign Marcel Yates
Losing Gerald Alexander is a huge loss for the Cal Golden Bears. In three seasons as Cal’s defensive backs coach, he was pivotal in their defensive success. Alexander’s defensive backs rose to elite with his excellent coaching and leadership. Per calbears.com, Cal’s 2018 defense was top-ten in the nation in:
Passing yards allowed.
Among those stats, Alexander’s defensive backs accounted for:
17 of 21 interceptions
3 of 5 defensive touchdowns
3 of 7 fumbles recovered
Thankfully, Cal hired Marcel Yates (recently fired Arizona Wildcats defensive coordinator) as defensive backs coach. Somehow, they talked Marcel Yates to be okay with a defensive assistance coach position. Now, the Bears have four coaches with defensive coordinator experience. Justin Wilcox, Tim DeRuyter, Peter Sirmon and Marcel Yates have a combined 41 years of D.C. experience. Well done Cal.
USC hires Todd Orlando as Defensive Coordinator
Recall that last week we mentioned that USC eyed Todd Orlando as their 2020 defensive coordinator. Well, now they made it official. However, Trojans need to temper expectations. Orlando is still a very speculative add. His 2019 Longhorns ranked 54th in Football Outsider’s DFEI rankings, almost matching USC’s 57th ranking. His middling 2019 defense got him fired from Texas, but his experience still got him hired for USC.
With 15 years as defensive coordinator, Orlando is known as an aggressive coach with positive influences. Hopefully, 2019 was just a blip on his career and due to the Longhorns defensive injuries. If that’s the case, USC did exceptionally well.
Keep in mind, the Trojans somehow kept Graham Harrell at Offensive Coordinator. With Kedon Slovis and Graham Harrell at the offensive helm, USC football will certainly put up points. Because of this, Orlando’s defense can afford to be risky and aggressive. It could be the perfect fit for a USC team on the rise. Be ready for a surge up the ranks as USC. Pac-12 football’s 2020 champion could very well be USC.
UCLA Athletics Rack up an 18.9-Million Dollar Deficit
As if UCLA wasn’t already at a low point in Pac-12 football, now they’re running a nearly 20-million dollar deficit. Yikes. Although they generated 108.4-million dollars in revenue, the UCLA Athletics Department ran up 127.3-million dollars in expenses. Because of this, the deficit was covered by an interest-bearing loan from central campus.
For the budget nerds out there, we’d highly recommend you read this work by Jon Wilner of Mercury News. In it, he breaks down the Bruins debt in detail, along with any solutions. The biggest solution seems to be clear for most. UCLA needs to win games.
The 2020 College Basketball season has already brought the madness that is usually seen in March. There is no clear-cut favorite, and the AP Top 25 constantly changes from week-to-week. Pac-12 Basketball has brought the craziness in the 2019-20 season, as unpredictability has been the theme of the conference so far.
Pac-12 only had three teams in the NCAA Tournament in 2019 (Washington, Arizona
State, and Oregon) and one team in the National Invitation Tournament
(Colorado). This season, the conference is looking to have far more teams in
Joe Lunardi, the most prominent “Bracketologist”, had five teams in his NCAA Tournament field for 2020 as of January 21. These five teams include Oregon, Colorado, Arizona, Stanford, and USC.
The Pac-12 Basketball Favorites: Oregon, Colorado, Arizona
The Pac-12 conference could end up making an argument to have six or seven teams make the tournament come Selection Sunday, which is March 15.
Oregon is widely regarded to as the best team in Pac-12 basketball. Currently, the Ducks are 15-4, with a 4-2 mark in Pac-12 play. Led by senior Payton Pritchard, the Ducks have impressive non-conference wins against Memphis and Seton Hall at neutral sites. They also won an overtime thriller against Michigan. However, Oregon lost to Washington State this past Thursday. The Ducks have not always been consistent but should be at least a top-4 seed come tournament time.
Colorado is one of the most experienced teams in the Pac-12, led by junior McKinley Wright IV. The Buffaloes have an effective supporting cast with Tyler Bey, D’Shawn Schwartz, and Evan Battey to name a few, but sometimes the offense looks stagnant, especially in losses against Kansas and this past Saturday against Arizona. The Buffaloes have wins against Oregon and Dayton which should help their cause. If they can build upon their 14-4 (3-2 Pac-12) record, they should be strongly considered to be a top-4 seed come March.
Listen to the Best Pac-12 Football and Basketball Podcast
The Arizona Wildcats are having a bounce-back season in wake of the bribery scandal involving DeAndre Ayton a few years ago. The Wildcats are 13-5 (3-2 Pac-12) this season, but also have been inconsistent thus far in conference play. They have defended home court in conference play, defeating opponents by an average of 21.7 points per game. However, they lost to both Oregon and Oregon State.
Pac-12 Basketball NCAA Tournament Hopefuls: Stanford and USC
and Stanford are currently the top two teams in the conference standings, with
each having a 4-1 conference record, respectively. USC won against Stanford in
Los Angeles this past Saturday 82-78. The Trojans and Cardinal have both not
been shown any respect nationally. Neither team is ranked, but they are both
15-3 this season.
is USC’s most notable win, however. The Trojans lost by 32 to Washington in
conference play, and Oregon will be the first ranked team they play this
season. The only ranked team Stanford has played was Kansas, and they lost
Non-Conference Schedule Hurting Pac-12 Basketball
The Pac-12 as a conference needs to work on their non-conference schedule in basketball, especially given how the conference was perceived at tournament time last year. Larry Scott’s goal should be to have at least half the league in the NCAA Tournament each season.
conference needs to have a partnership with one of the other major conferences.
The Big Ten/ACC Challenge and Big 12/SEC Challenge are both great for college
basketball and bolster both conference’s resumes. The Pac-12 should look to
possibly partner with the Big East or even one of the other conferences to help
with the non-conference schedule.
Best Non-Conference Win For Pac-12 Basketball: Washington Over Baylor
beat Baylor 67-64 in the Armed Forces Classic on November 8 in Anchorage,
Alaska. Baylor was just awarded the number-one spot in the AP Poll on Monday.
Washington has struggled in conference play with a 2-4 record. The Huskies will
be the most prominent Pac-12 teams that will be living life on the bubble until
March because they beat Baylor.
the end, there should be at least four teams in the NCAA Tournament for the
Pac-12. USC should end up getting in if they end with a winning record in
conference play. Beyond that, Washington is the conference’s best hope to get
half the teams from the “conference of champions” into the tournament. The
Pac-12 needs to live up to its slogan and accomplish this feat. The season has
been crazy, but hopefully the committee will take notice of the product the
Pac-12 is putting out there this season.
There is so much parity in Pac-12 that it is a tough undertaking to rank the teams outside of #1 Washington State. Washington lost to Oregon and Cal who lost to Arizona who lost to UCLA who lost to Arizona State who lost to Colorado, who lost to Oregon State who lost to USC who lost Stanford, who lost to Utah who lost to Washington. Teams 2-10 have switched up a lot this season and are pretty fluid from week to week. The Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 13 is based on four things: quality wins, schedule played, dominance, and how teams are playing now. The “eye test” and preseason rankings are not factored into the Unafraid Show’s rankings. I know some of you are used to the biased rankings, but you won’t find those here.
Send all your questions, comments, and grievances to: Immad@unafraidshow.com
12. Colorado (5-6)
(L) 7-30 Utah
Not only has Colorado lost six straight games since starting 5-0. The Buffaloes have scored a grand total of 14 points in the last two weeks! The team isn’t playing as hard and their intensity is gone. It is obvious that the team sees the writing on the wall. Mike MacIntyre likely won’t be retained as the head coach for next season. He deserves credit for bringing stability to a program that was in total dysfunction. However, after six seasons and only one of those with more than five wins, it is hard to advocate for him. The Buffaloes will try to get bowl eligible this weekend at Cal.
11. Oregon State (2-9)
(L) 23-42 Washington
Everyone knew there would be no upset against Washington, but things are looking up for the Beavers. While their defense still can’t stop anyone ever their offense is continuing to show promise for the future. Jonathan Smith can at least take solace in the fact that multiple times this season the Beavers were not the worst team in the Pac-12.
10. Arizona (5-6)
(L) 28-69 Washington State
The Arizona defense returned back to form against Washington State. They allowed Wazzu quarterback Gardner Minshew to have a career day with 473 passing yards and seven touchdowns. The Wildcats defense had been poor all season against the pass and run despite back to back solid performances against Oregon and Colorado. Khalil Tate was one of the few bright spots this week. He finished with 319 total yards and four passing touchdowns. It seemed the freezing temperatures in Pullman took a toll on the warm-blooded Wildcats as they fumbled the ball six times. Coach Kevin Sumlin has to get his team back firing on all cylinders if he hopes to make a bowl game year one.
9. USC (5-6)
(L) 27-34 UCLA
The doomsday scenario has happened for USC. They do not have a school President, the athletic director Lynn Swann will likely be leaving soon, the boosters, fans, and alumni are demanding Clay Helton be fired, and they lost to a 2-8 UCLA team. The game against UCLA looked like it was going in Helton’s favor until a pair of horrendous second-half interceptions by quarterback JT Daniels sealed the Trojans fate. USC allowed UCLA running back Joshua Kelley to rush for 289 yards. So, I have no idea how they are going to compete against Notre Dame this week. If Helton can upset the Fighting Irish and knock them out of the College Football Playoff, he just might be able to save his job.
8. UCLA (3-8)
(W) 34-27 USC
It is all smiles for the “boys in blue”. I actually have never heard anyone other than Maurice Jones-Drew call them that, but whatever. They beat USC after starting off the season 2-8. Chip Kelly has started 20 freshmen this season. Their start was slow, but have improved more than any other Pac-12 team from the beginning of the season until now. Their rushing offense and pass defense have steadily improved throughout the season. The future is extremely bright for the Bruins. I believe Chip Kelly will have UCLA in the College Football Playoff discussion in two more years.
7. Arizona State (6-5)
(L) 29-31 Oregon
If I told ASU fans that they would hire Herm Edwards (who hasn’t coached in forever), and have a chance to finish 7-5 year one they would have been happy. It will only take a win against their rival Arizona to make that a reality. The Sun Devils had to feel like they let a game slip away against Oregon. After a slow start, their defense held the Ducks to only a field goal in the second half. They picked off Justin Herbert twice and put up 16 points as well. If ASU can hold Khalil Tate in check this weekend, their bowl game destination will improve.
6. Cal (6-4)
Postponed vs Stanford (Dec. 1)
Cal is last in the Pac-12 in scoring offense (22.7 ppg). Ordinarily, that would be a huge impediment to winning games. But the Cal defense is only giving up 21.1 ppg. If they can get two wins to finish the season 8-4 coach I am positive you will start to hear Justin Wilcox’s name floated around for other head coaching jobs.
5. Oregon (7-4)
(W) 31-29 Arizona State
The good news is Ducks offense showed signs of life against Arizona State. The bad news is that it was only for one half of football. The Ducks offense scored 28 points in the first half. But only managed three more points and under a hundred yards of total offense in the second half. If the Ducks finish off the Beavers in Corvallis they will finish the regular season 8-4. It will be a could games less than I predicted preseason, but the future still appears bright. The biggest question for the Ducks is will their stars return for their senior seasons Herbert, Mitchell, Dye) . If they do, the Ducks will be in the preseason national championship conversation.
4. Stanford (6-4)
Postponed vs Cal (Dec. 1)
There has been nothing “Stanford-like” about this season. They still need two more wins just to tie David Shaw’s worst record at Stanford. UCLA and Cal won’t be pushovers the next two weeks. The Cardinal will need to get refocused after their game got postponed due to the California fires.
3. Utah (8-3)
(W) 30-7 Colorado
Everyone thought the Utes were done competing for the Pac-12 South crown when they lost their top two offensive playmakers, Tyler Huntley, and Zach Moss. Kyle Whittingham’s team had no intention of packing it in. They have had decisive victories against Oregon and Colorado since then. No matter what happens this week against BYU this week, Utah will still play the winner of the Washington vs. Washington State game in the Pac-12 Championship game. The conference needs Utah to dominate BYU and Washington State to beat Washington. It would set up at top 15 matchup in the championship game. The Utes will have an opportunity to make it to their first Rose Bowl appearance.
2. Washington (8-3)
(W) 42-23 Oregon State
The Huskies had been battling injuries all season, but are finally getting healthy. Myles Gaskin returned to the lineup last week and rushed for over 130 yards in both games. Washington’s offense came back to life and the look like a team that can win the Apple Cup. It will be interesting to see how the #2 defense holds up against the #1 offense in the Pac-12. A potential berth in the Rose Bowl will come down to Jake Browning’s ability to make throws and be special. Washington’s preseason hopes of playing for a national championship are gone, but there is still plenty on the line this week.
1. Washington State (10-1)
(W) 69-28 Arizona
DOMINATION. The Cougars whipped Arizona at every part of the game. Mike Leach’s team had 55 points at halftime. If he were Steve Spurrier in his Florida days he may have just done it. This was one of the statement games Washington State needed to send a message to the College Football Playoff committee that they deserve real consideration for the top four.
Now if they can survive the Apple Cup against Washington on a short week, and handly beat Utah in the Pac-12 championship, the Cougars just may get a berth in the playoffs. There feels like there is something magical about this squad. If they get in the playoffs, everybody better watch out!
The Pac-12 is still not decided yet. The south division is wide open, and the north is a two-team race. There are still four teams with a shot to win the south. The Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 11 is based on three things: quality wins, schedule played, and dominance. The “eye test” and preseason rankings are not factored into the Unafraid Show’s rankings. I know some of you are used to the biased rankings, but you won’t find those here.
Send all your questions, comments, and grievances to: Immad@unafraidshow.com
12. Oregon State (2-7)
(L) 21-38 USC
Oregon State returned to earth after beating Colorado the week before. The good news is they have a quarterback Jake Luton. The bad news is that Luton is a senior. They have a legit running back for the future in Jemar Jefferson who already has eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark as a freshman. Oregon State didn’t win one Pac-12 game last year, so this season should be seen as an improvement… right?
11. Colorado (5-4)
(L) 34-42 Arizona
The Buffaloes are spiraling out of control. Granted, they have been without their All-American wide receiver Lavishka Shenault. They started the season 5-0, but have dropped their last four against USC, Washington, Oregon State, and Arizona. Mike MacIntyre’s job will be in danger if Colorado drops their last three games against Washington State, Utah, and Cal. They have fallen from the top tier of the Pac-12 in rushing defense, rushing offense, 3rd down conversions, and sacks against.
10. UCLA (2-7)
(L) 21-42 Oregon
Their 2-7 record doesn’t show improvement, but when you see the Bruins play, it is clear their team is on the rise. They have found a running back in transfer Joshua Kelley. Their defense held Oregon’s offense in check for three quarters. The offensive line is blocking better and Chip Kelly is getting his college football playcalling legs back under him. At this point, the Bruins goal for the rest of the season should be getting one more win. A win against USC would make the entire season worth it.
9. USC (5-4)
(W) 38-21 Oregon State
USC had been inconsistent rushing the football all season but had their best rushing output of the season against Oregon State. Clay Helton called the plays, and the Trojans finished with 332 yards on the ground against the worst rushing defense in the Pac-12. Can USC keep up the momentum through the rest of the season? Cal brings the best pass defense in the conference to the Coliseum this week. USC cannot go to sleep in this game. If they do, Cal will beat them to sleep.
The USC faithful are trying to be patient, but everyone knows that losses to Cal, UCLA, and Notre Dame will take things to DEFCON 1.
8. Cal (5-4)
(L) 13-19 Washington State
Cal suffered a brutal loss against Washington State. Justin Wilcox has his team playing phenomenal defense, but his offense continually lets him down. They had an opportunity to go up on Wazzu late in the 4th quarter, but sophomore quarterback Brandon McIlwain threw an interception in the end zone. Cal switched quarterbacks like they were running backs all game. I’m not sure why they won’t just stick with Chase Garbers who is the better passer. If Cal can manage at least their 23 point season average, they will have a chance to get bowl eligible.
7. Stanford (5-4)
(L) 23-27 Washington
David Shaw’s teams are usually a shoo-in for 10 wins. The “intellectual brutality” is missing in 2018. Stanford is still averaging under 100 yards per game rushing, only scoring 26.1 ppg, and 11th in the conference in total offense. The combination of K.J. Costello to JJ Arcega-Whiteside was only good for one catch for 11 yards against Washington. Costello finished the game throwing for 347 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions.
Even with so many things going wrong in 2018 Stanford still has the opportunity to finish 8-4. Their last three games against Oregon State, Cal, and UCLA are all very winnable.
6. Utah (6-3)
(L) 20-38 Arizona State
Utah is in a bad spot right now. They were in control of their own destiny in the Pac-12 south and were just starting to get respect nationally. Then they lost their starting quarterback Tyler Huntley to a broken collarbone. The Utes backup quarterback Jason Shelley struggled to complete passes and move the football. Oregon makes their way to Salt Lake City this weekend. Only a fool would count the Utes out of this game because Oregon has struggled to take their game on the road.
5. Arizona State (5-4)
(W) 38-20 Utah
Herm Edwards has his team in prime position to get to a bowl game in year one. After back to back wins against USC and Utah the Sun Devils are in the driver’s seat in the Pac-12 south. N’Keal Harry torched the Utah secondary. He finished with nine catches for 161 yards and three touchdowns. This was the kind of monster game we had been waiting all season to see. Arizona State has moved up to 4th in the conference with 435 yards of total offense per game. Their last three games are against UCLA, Oregon, and Arizona. If they can keep up the scoring, they have a legit shot to make the Pac-12 title game.
4. Washington (7-3)
(W) 27-23 Stanford
Huge win for the Huskies. Their defense and running game fueled the victory. The defense forced three turnovers and only allowed Stanford 77 rushing yards. Jake Browning and the Washington offense has continued to be underwhelming this season, but they did get their running game going. Myles Gaskin returned to the lineup and rushed for 148 yards. Despite all the negatives, the Huskies are a win against Oregon State and Washington State away from a birth in the Pac-12 Championship game.
3. Oregon (6-3)
(W) 42-21 UCLA
Oregon got a much-needed win at home against UCLA. Their defense and special teams led the way. The score would fool you into believing the Ducks offense is back where it needs to be; it’s not. However, the Ducks did flash some big play ability again with a long run from Tony Brooks-James and a 67-yard touchdown pass from Herbert to Mitchell.
Oregon heads to Utah to face Utes on Saturday. Offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo will need to have his offense firing on all cylinders if they are going to put up points against the Pac-12’s best defense.
2. Arizona (5-5)
(W) 42-34 Colorado
The “eye test” and stats tell me that Arizona is a middle of the road Pac-12 team, but they just continue to win games. The results say Arizona is the second hottest team in the conference right now. I have no clue how they keep winning with one of the worst defenses in the conference. They are ranked 10th against the run, 9th against the pass, and 10th in total defense. Khalil Tate being nearly healthy is a significant difference maker for the Wildcats. His legs help him extend plays, but the magic happens when he passes the ball. Arizona wide receivers make more acrobatic catches and draw more pass interference penalties than any team in the Pac-12. They have a bye this week and will need one win at Washington State or against Arizona State to secure a bowl game.
I predicted Arizona would win the Pac-12 south, but I never fathomed it would look like this.
1. Washington State (8-1)
(W) 19-13 Cal
The Cougars are sitting at #8 in the College Football Playoffs. Something special is brewing in Pullman, Washington. Mike Leach has turned one of the worst college football teams into a playoff contender. No one expected their success after they lost their starting quarterback Tyler Hilinski to suicide during the offseason. However, graduate transfer Gardener Minshew II has shown up and thrown for nearly 400 yards per game.
If one of nations top defenses cannot stop the Cougars, they should be able to finish their Pac-12 schedule unscathed.