Las Vegas Bowl Preview: Chris Petersen will beat his former team

Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 12 Las Vegas Bowl

Chris Petersen faces off against former team in Las Vegas Bowl

Call it bittersweet, but Chris Petersen says goodbye to both of his collegiate teams in the Las Vegas Bowl. In his fourteen years as a head coach, Petersen split it between Boise State and Washington. Eight years for the Broncos. Six years for the Huskies. With both, he significantly raised their success and ceiling.

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To say the least, Petersen had an illustrious career with both programs. In his time with them, he’s responsible for the Broncos and Huskies best seasons of recent history. To each, he’s a coaching titan.

But now, after stepping down due to anxiety and quality of life, Petersen’s final game is match-up between the two teams he holds most dear. And the two programs that hold him most dear.

So, a question remains: Can coach Petersen shrug off his familial ties with the Broncos and lead the Huskies to a Las Vegas Bowl victory?

Las Vegas Bowl Match-up by the Numbers

Boise State

  • 12 wins, 1 loss
  • 0.39 (No. 29) DFEI, per footballoutsiders
  • 36.8 (No. 14) points-per-game
  • 20.6 (No. 24) points-against-per-game
  • -3.19 (No. 95) Strength of Schedule
  • 10.74 (No. 24) Simple Rating System, per sports-reference
  • 267 passing yards per game
  • 174 rushing yards per game
  • 33 pass attempts to 39 rush attempts per game
  • 234 passing yards-allowed-per-game
  • 34 pass attempts-allowed-per-game
  • 113 rush yards-allowed-per-game
  • 32 rush attempts-allowed-per-game
  • -0.3 in turnover battle

Washington

  • 7 wins, 5 losses
  • 0.49 (No. 20) DFEI, per footballoutsiders
  • 31.5 (No. 48) points-per-game
  • 20.4 (No. 23) points-against-per-game
  • -2.6 (No. 45) Strength of Schedule
  • 11.10 (No. 22) Simple Rating System, per sports-reference
  • 245 passing yards per game
  • 152 rushing yards per game
  • 31.5 pass attempts to 35 rush attempts per game
  • 225 passing yards-allowed-per-game
  • 35 pass attempts-allowed-per-game
  • 133 rush yards-allowed-per-game
  • 34 rush attempts-allowed-per-game
  • -0.4 in turnover battle

Boise State won’t go down easy

First off, it’s important to remember that Boise State nearly went undefeated heading into bowl season. They narrowly lost to BYU 25-28 in October. If not for that loss, the Broncos could be vying for a third undefeated season this century.

Keep in mind, Boise State’s road to the Las Vegas Bowl wasn’t simple. They started three different quarterbacks this season due to injuries. Yet, even with the bad luck, they still went 12-1 with 36.8 (No. 14 in FBS) points-per-game. Coach Bryan Harsin created an excellent offensive system with interchangeable pieces. Each and every year, Boise State proves that they can win on offense no matter what playmakers they have. It’s an outstanding program.

Because of this high-powered scoring, they are always a threat to score over 30 points and keep games competitive. The Huskies need to respect this offense and Jimmy Lake has his work cut out for him.

Washington’s has advantages in the Las Vegas Bowl

Strength of Schedule

Although Boise State’s 12-1 record is far above Washington’s 7-5 record, context must be added. According to Sports Reference, Boise State’s negative-3.19 Strength of Schedule ranks 95th in the FBS, while Washington’s negative-2.6 ranks 45th. Because of this, the Huskies 11.10 Simple Rating System ranks 22nd, just ahead of the Broncos’ 10.74 SRS (24th). Yes, Boise State almost went undefeated. But, opponents matter.

Explosive Offensive Plays

Opponents are the first advantage of Washington. Washington has been tested. Granted, they lost five games this season. But, going up against top Pac-12 defenses and still churning out 31.5 points-per-game is impressive. Now, instead of going against a Utah or Oregon defense, the Dawgs get Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl. As shown in the Apple Cup, Washington is comfortable letting quarterback Jacob Eason let it fly.

Downfield throws are a large part of the Huskies offense. If the Huskies can execute a similar scheme to the Apple Cup victory, they should do well. In that game, they:

  • Let Eason take deep shots
  • Utilized young talent
  • Mixed up pass-to-rush ratio
  • Went for it on fourth downs

They were aggressive and came to play. In order to beat Boise State, they’ll have to do the same. Thankfully, Boise State’s defense is nothing compared to some of the Pac-12 opponents Washington already faced this season. Yes, missing Hunter Bryant will hurt. He’s the team’s leading receiver. However, with rising play-makers like Terrell Bynum and Cade Otton, Eason should have a capable receiving corps to throw to.

Washington’s Defensive Prowess

Defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake (soon to be head coach), put together another strong Washington defense. Per Football Outsiders, the Huskies rank 20th in DFEI and allow just 20.4 (No. 23) points-per-game. Additionally, the Huskies are in the top-40 in yards-allowed-per-game and explosive plays allowed.

As shown in their deafening win against Washington State, Lake’s defense can make plays. Players like Joe Tryon are stepping up for the Huskies. His 8 sacks and 12.5 tackles for a loss display the Dawgs strength. If UW football wants to win the Las Vegas Bowl, they’ll have to make life difficult for the Broncos’ high-powered offense. Tryon needs to get to the quarterback and UW’s secondary needs to cover. They made it look easy against Washington State.

But, as said above, Boise State’s offense is their success. The Broncos will come to play. However, if Lake’s defense can keep Boise State under 25 points, the Huskies should win. That, based on their stats against Pac-12 competition, is completely doable.

Reigning Purple and Gold in Vegas

Although Chris Petersen’s UW tenure shows a struggle at the finish line, he now has his big moment. In his six seasons with the Huskies, he’s brought them to six consecutive bowls. However, so far, he’s lost four of five. This is his time to finish his coaching career on a brilliant note. Beat his former team, end his Washington career as a hero and ride off into the sunset.

Pac-12 Needs To Have First Winning Bowl Season Since 2015

Pac-12 Bowl Games

It is vitally important for the Pac-12 to put together a good bowl season. The conference has not had a winning bowl season since 2015 and has not sent a team to the College Football Playoff since 2016. The Pac-12 went 3-3 in 2016, 1-8 in 2017, and 3-4 in 2018. Having a good bowl season will help elevate the league’s perception to start the 2020 season.

The Pac-12 is sending seven teams to bowl games in College Football 2019. These teams are USC, Arizona State, Utah, Oregon, Washington, Washington State, and California.

Preseason Rankings and Not Winning Big Games Have Hurt the Pac-12

Utah vs USC on a Friday Night is Another Pac-12 Conference Bad Idea

Preseason rankings play a role in how the final standings play out. The Pac-12 has only been represented in the College Football Playoff twice in the six years of the tournament. Going into the 2019 season, the Pac-12 did not have a single team in the top 10 in either the Associated Press or USA Today Coaches Poll. Oregon was the highest-ranked Pac-12 team in both preseason polls (No. 11 in AP Poll). However, they lost their first game to Auburn in College Football Week 1. This loss put the Pac-12 behind the 8-ball right away as far as their hopes to make the College Football Playoff.

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In the last three seasons, the Pac-12 champion has lost their bowl game (Washington twice and USC once). The last time the Pac-12 champion won their bowl game was when Stanford beat Iowa 45-16 in the Rose Bowl to end the 2015 season. Washington lost in the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Peach Bowl to Alabama 24-7 in 2016. USC only scored once and got beat around by the Ohio State Buckeyes 24-7 in the Cotton Bowl to end the 2017 season. In the 2018 Rose Bowl, the Washington Huskies’ rally from down 28-3 against the Buckeyes and fell short, losing 28-23.

Pac-12 Can Gain a Lot If Oregon Beats Wisconsin

Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 13: Time to Win the Beauty Pageant

If Oregon, the newly minted Pac-12 champion, can beat Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl on January 1, 2020, it would help Oregon’s and the Pac-12’s standing heading into 2020. Their champion would win a game on the national stage on New Year’s Day, and the conference could feed off showing that their champion could have been competitive in the College Football Playoff. As a conference, the Pac-12 needs to get a team into the playoff. The conference is not spoken of in the same breath as the SEC or Big Ten. Winning the Rose Bowl would help the Pac-12’s cause.

Pac-12 Could Take Image Hit If Utah Loses to Texas

The Utah Utes are better than the Oregon Ducks

However, the Pac-12 has a lot to lose from bowl season also. The Utah Utes are currently ranked 11th in the country. They are playing the Texas Longhorns in the Alamo Bowl. If the Pac-12 runner-up loses to the team that finished tied for third in the Big 12 conference it would be devastating. Utah has been the better team all year, but some may give the Longhorns a slight edge because they simply have better recruits.

If Utah loses this game, an outsider who may not follow the Pac-12 conference may think, “Wow, one of the best two Pac-12 teams is not as good as a team that finished 7-5 in the Big 12”. People will tune into this game nationally because of Texas’ brand. Utah needs to show the nation that they are deserving of their ranking. They need to take care of business against an unranked Longhorns team.

USC Needs Bowl Win to Help Embattled Head Coach Clay Helton

Another bowl game that will generate interest within the Pac-12 and nationally because of “the brand” is the Holiday Bowl, which features the USC Trojans against the Iowa Hawkeyes of the Big Ten. USC hired new athletic director Mike Bohn in early November, and he has endorsed head coach Clay Helton. Many believed Helton was coaching for his job at numerous points throughout the season.

Beating Iowa in the Holiday Bowl would cool all the seats Clay Helton will be sitting in during the offseason, whether that is on an airplane during the recruiting cycle or in his office after spring practice. There is still the pipeline dream that Urban Meyer may eventually take over at USC, but for now, it is Helton’s team. USC simply gets better recruits than Iowa. On paper, USC should beat Iowa. It would help with recruiting because it would show the nation that Clay Helton can beat an equal opponent. After a 5-7 season in 2018, many thought Clay Helton could have been gone. With the new athletic director, Clay Helton could have been gone. He needs this game so there is more certainty around the program entering 2020.

Pac-12 Needs Winning Bowl Season

The Pac-12 needs to go a minimum of 4-3 in their bowl games this bowl season. As a conference, they are suffering in terms of national image because of their inability to get their champion to the College Football Playoff. The conference can show that their teams are able to compete with the best programs. Going 4-3 would be decent, but the conference should be hoping for at least a 5-2 mark this bowl season. Also, Utah needs to absolutely win for the Pac-12 to look positively on this bowl season.

Oregon had Auburn on the ropes in College Football Week 1, and it hurt the conference that the Ducks were unable to finish the job. However, Oregon’s loss to Arizona State and Utah’s loss to Oregon were the main reasons the Pac-12 did not get a team into the College Football Playoff. The Ducks have a huge non-conference game against Ohio State next season.

Other schools have also scheduled tough non-conference games in 2020, such as the Colorado Buffaloes scheduling the Texas A&M Aggies. Many will choose Oregon and CU to lose these games. However, maybe a few pundits will have more confidence if the conference can have a positive end to a decade where more was expected for the conference.

College Football Bowl Game Participants​ Should get More Than a $550 Bowl Gift

College Football Bowl Game Gifts

It is that time of year again. College football playoff and bowl game season! The College Football Playoff (CFP) matchups are set. Bowl game matchups are set. There is a lot at stake during the college football post-season. Bragging rights for winning a bowl game, being crowned the CFP champion, and last but not least – MONEY. There are millions of dollars at stake for coaches, conferences, and schools. However, there is one group that is systematically left out of the financial distributions. That group is none other than the football players themselves. 

It is true that the NCAA permits bowl game participants to receive up to $550 in gifts. However, those gifts severely pails in comparison to the rewards that coaches, schools, and conferences receive. Right out the gate, the conferences of the schools that qualify for the College Football Playoff semifinal games receive 6 million dollars for each team. Conferences that do not have a CFP contender still have a chance to rake in 4 million dollars for each team that qualifies for a bowl game. However, this revenue barely scratches the surface of all of the money that is at stake. Let’s take a look at how much the coaches, schools, and conferences stand to earn during the college football post-season.

The CFP and Bowl Games are a Cash Cow for the Participating Coaches

Dabo Swinney $93M contract There's enough money to pay the players

Several college football coaches enjoy million-dollar salaries. CFP champion coach, Dabo Swinney, signed a 9.3 million per year contract for his base salary  Many more coaches enjoy salaries in the upper six figures. However, the college football post-season is the sweetest time of year for qualifying coaches. It is sweet because qualifying for post-season play demonstrates that the coach has led the team through a very successful season. It is also sweet because qualifying for post-season play equals sizeable bonus money for the coaches.

Coach Mack Brown at The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Take the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill coach, Mack Brown, for instance. He will receive $75,000 for the Tar-heels qualifying for the Military Bowl. This $75,000 is additional compensation on top of the $3.5 million he earns as an annual salary. Brown is not the only person on his staff who will be a bonus beneficiary. The Tar-heels assistant coaches will receive bonuses up to “two-twelfths of their annualized salaries”. Meanwhile, the football players will receive a compilation of arguably useless gifts up to $550 in value

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Coach Ryan Day at Ohio State University

Another coach who stands to make more in bonus money than most people make in a year is Ohio State’s Ryan Day. Day replaced Ohio State coaching legend, Urban Meyer, and quickly realized that he needed to make a name for himself. Make a name for himself is just what he did in leading the Buckeyes to the CFP for the first time since 2016. Day stands to earn an additional $450,000 in CFP bonuses. Per Day’s contract, he will earn $200,000 just for the Buckeyes making an appearance in the CFP. Day stands to make another $250,000 if the Buckeyes make it to the CFP semifinals.

However, Ohio State and Clemson are set to face off in the Fiesta Bowl. If the Buckeyes are successful in that game, Day will not receive $250,000 if the Buckeyes make it to the CFP semifinals. Instead, Day will receive $350,000 for “team participation in the finals of the College Football Playoff.” These are only the bonuses that two coaches stand to receive for post-season play. Every other qualifying coach stands to receive similar compensation. Meanwhile, the football players are left with arguably useless gifts totaling up to $550 in value.

Conferences and Schools Rake in the Cash from the CFP and Bowl Games too

Justin Fields Ohio State

Merely having a school qualify for the CFP semifinals or a bowl game earns a conference at least 6 to 4 million dollars respectively. There is so much money available to the conferences and schools from post-season play. Each conference with a school that qualifies for post-season play receives $300,000. Each qualifying independent school receives $300,000 as well. An independent school is one that does not belong to a conference like Notre Dame.

Additionally, each of the ten conferences receives a base amount of money. Conferences who participate in the Orange, Rose, and Sugar Bowl receive approximately $66 million for each conference. Conferences that do not participate in those bowls receive approximately $90 million in the aggregate that is dispersed as the conferences see fit. If Notre Dame qualifies, it receives $3.19 million as an independent school. The other three independent schools receive $1.56 million.

Furthermore, each conference with a school participating in the Cotton, Fiesta, or Peach Bowl or the CFP National Championship receives an additional $2.43 million to cover game expenses. This is a lot of money. Meanwhile, the football players receive arguably useless gifts totaling up to $550 in value. The schools do use some of the money to fund their athletic departments to make collegiate sports participation possible. However, there is still enough money that football players can receive more than $550 worth of gifts.

The Bowl Gifts Are a Joke in Comparison to the Coaching Bonuses and Revenue the Conferences and Schools Receive

Football players who participate in bowl games and the CFP are allowed to receive $550 worth of gifts. In the scheme of things, the gifts are arguably worthless and pails in comparison to the six-figure bonuses their coaches receive. Participants in the Peach Bowl will receive a $390 Vanilla Visa Gift Card, a Fossil watch, and a football. While a $390 gift card sounds nice, it is nothing for all of the hard work and effort players put into their sport. It is certainly nothing compared to the bonuses the coaches receive.

Participants in the Playstation Fiesta Bowl receive a PlayStation 4 Gift Package, a Fossil watch, an Ogio Shuttle Pack backpack, a history of bowl games book, and an Ice Shaker Insulated bottle. A PlayStation 4 is a nice gift. However, is it really that useful for a college football player who puts in 40 plus hours a week on football and has to study too? It would seem that sharing the revenue with the players would be a better option. However, that is not going to happen because of the NCAA’s farce of amateurism.

College Football Bowl Game Gifts

What if the NCAA, Conferences, and Schools Decided to Share the Revenue With the Players?

If the revenue was shared with the players it would provide a major financial boost for the players. This is especially true for players who come from disadvantaged situations. Such players often need extra money to make ends meet. Players who may need extra cash cannot even sell their gifts without fear of being declared ineligible for receiving an impermissible benefit like Terrelle Pryor. In 2010, Pryor was suspended for selling his sportsmanship award from the 2008 Fiesta Bowl. If the NCAA, conferences, and schools decided to share some of the revenue they could eliminate this problem for their athletes.

The NCAA could hold the money in a trust for the football players to receive after they graduate. They could provide financial planning seminars to help them manage the money and use it in a productive manner. This would help the players way more than a fossil watch ever could. With all of the money floating around college football post-season play, the players should receive more than a $550 gift.

Chris Petersen lifted the Huskies and now passes on a far better program

Chris Petersen Washington Huskies

Now that the dust has settled with Chris Petersen’s surprise step-down

It’s been almost two weeks since Chris Petersen announced his intention to step down. Washington Huskies football fans are still spinning in confusion and remorse. But, after reflecting, Petersen’s impact on UW football is massive and it will still reign purple and gold.

Chris Petersen’s brought championships to UW

From 2004 to 2008, the Huskies were in awful form. Their season records were as follows:

  • 2004: 1 and 10
  • 2005: 2 and 9
  • 2006: 5 and 7
  • 2007: 4 and 9
  • 2008: 0 and 12

After that, the Dawgs got Steve Sarkisian as a head coach and he led them back to being a good, not great team. Sarkisian ended the seven-year bowl-drought for UW and that was a huge accomplishment. While his 34 and 29 record wasn’t amazing, it was a step in the right direction.

Then, in 2014, the UW football program lucked out and stole Chris Petersen away from Boise State. He kept what Sarkisian started and added to it.

From 2016 to 2018, the Huskies were on another level.

  • Three straight seasons with at least ten wins
  • Two Pac-12 Championships
  • Three straight NY6 Bowls
  • One College Football Playoff berth

Additionally, he set a record for the most games won by UW football in a four-year stretch. From 2015-2018, they totaled 39 wins. However, if Chris Petersen’s Huskies get a Las Vegas Bowl victory, he will set the record again with 40 wins from 2016-2019.

With Petersen at the helm, the Huskies were Pac-12 Champions, routinely top-25 ranked and demanded respect. He rejuvenated the UW program and brought success. His leadership and coaching were instrumental to the purple and gold.

Perfect in Apple Cups

For true Dawgs, the Apple Cup is a huge priority. Friends, colleagues and even family are torn apart each year because of the UW-WSU rivalry. It’s serious business.

Conquering Washington State is always both a delight and a must. But, Chris Petersen did it with perfection. In his six Apple Cups, UW:

  • Won six out of six times
  • Scored 221 points (36.83-per-game)
  • Held WSU to 82 points (13.67-per-game)

Although Washington State might be glad that he’s stepping down, they unfortunately still have to face Jimmy Lake.

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Passes the Huskies torch to highly sought-after Jimmy Lake

After the Huskies lost the Rose Bowl last year to the Ohio State Buckeyes, it was a shock that Washington retained Jimmy Lake. Lake was a sought-after defensive coordinator for a head-coaching job. He certainly garnered attention.

However, with the news of Chris Petersen stepping down, it makes more sense. This step-down was a surprise to everyone outside of the UW program. But, it remains a mystery whether Peterson, Lake or other staff knew. Nonetheless, this is excellent news for Washington football. Lake’s defensive coaching is a large part of UW’s success in recent years. Though he’ll create his own culture at UW with the absence of Petersen, promoting Lake was a calculated move. It keeps the successful environment intact.

Washington Huskies Top Recruiter

As of today, Washington’s 2020’s recruiting class ranks 1st in the Pac-12 and 15th nationally.

247Sports Recruiting Profile

With the staff and culture Chris Petersen built, it set them up for top-recruiting. From 2018 to 2020, Washington’s ranked 16th, 15th and 15th nationally.

It’s no surprise either. Remember that the University of Washington is a historic program. Since 1889, they’ve won seventeen conference championships, seven Rose Bowls and two NCCA recognized national championships. Combining that history with Chris Petersen’s leadership and success is the perfect base for recruiting.

Additionally, Chris Petersen’s athletes are doing well in the NFL. Over the last five years, NFL teams drafted 24 Washington athletes and there are currently 33 Dawgs on NFL rosters. Petersen created a winning environment in Washington that also led to the NFL draft. What’s not to love?

But, with Petersen stepping down, there’s a large fear that his recruiting success leaves with him. However, recent signs show otherwise. As of this Wednesday, zero of their 21 commits de-committed. Additionally, it’s been Jimmy Lake’s already been involved in the recruiting process with Petersen. As a proper head coach does, they delegate. So, positional coaches and Jimmy Lake already have practice in the recruiting process.

Moreover, Jimmy Lake’s defensive brilliance will aid his recruiting of defensive talent. The “Jimmy Lake Defense” is a known quantity in Montlake and well-respected. Currently, there are eight defensive backs in the NFL that had Jimmy Lake as a coach. Also, the Huskies defense, in an off-year, still rank 24th-best in scoring. If Washington hires a promising offensive coordinator, their recruiting will continue their reign.

Wishing you the best of luck and healing Chris Petersen

Say what you want about stepping down during your prime, but Chris Petersen made a choice for his quality of life. His decision was praised by Seahawks coach, Pete Carroll. Carroll, who can empathize with coaching an elite, college program.

“The college thing is really, really demanding in terms of the constant recruiting pressure and strain,’’ Carroll said. “It’s really the strain of it. It just doesn’t go away. You’re on the next year always anyway. It’s just an ongoing process. That’s one part of it.”

Pete Carroll

With the way college football programs are set up now, it’s easy to see burnout in coaches. Petersen said it himself that he didn’t enjoy the Rose Bowl like he should have.

“You work your whole life to get to (the Rose Bowl),” he said, “and I didn’t really appreciate the week. I didn’t appreciate the game like I need to, you know, as a kid growing up looking at that game. I think that was one of the things that really hit me loud and clear. So, you know, you start to pay attention to that. Then you go and you put your heart and soul into what you’re doing.”

Chris Petersen Quote

So, with all that Chris Petersen has given the Huskies, let’s wish him the best. Football was his life. But, football also was the cause of constant stress, anxiety, missed expectations, demands, pressure, and exhaustion. It’s time for Petersen to take a break and recovery. Whether or not he ever coaches a football team again, he’s done enough with UW football to earn his status as a lifetime Husky.

Steven Montez: Record-Setting Quarterback for Colorado Buffaloes With Zero Bowl Game Starts

Steven Montez Colorado

Quarterback Steven Montez was an important figure in Colorado Buffaloes football from 2016-2019, setting numerous records during his time in Boulder. He began his career as a redshirt freshman in 2016 and started every game for the Buffaloes from 2017-2019. Montez accrued an overall record of 17-22 (9-21 in Pac-12 play).

Montez has set over 40 school records. He is the all-time leader in passing yards with 9,649 passing yards and has 63 passing touchdowns. 

How representative of Steven Montez is His 17-22 Record?

Montez had some great moments in a Buffaloes uniform but also had some not so great moments. Accountant Brandon Westbrook, a Buffaloes fan for over 20 years, believes that the record is representative of the type of quarterback Montez was at CU.

“(Montez) does have some stats that make him look a lot better, but I think ultimately his (17-22 record as the Buffaloes’ starter) speaks to the caliber of quarterback he was,” Westbrook said.

A fan may look at a 17-22 record and think Montez was mediocre. Some fans, including Westbrook, believe this to be the case. However, Neill Woelk, the contributing editor at CUBuffs.com, points out an important statistic that he believes sets Montez apart: touchdown to interception ratio. Montez ranks No. 1 in that category with 63 touchdowns and 33 interceptions.

Despite Records, Fans Left Frustrated With No Bowl Game Appearances Last Three Seasons

Image result for steven montez utah 2019

Many fans will give reasons why Steven Montez was great for the Buffaloes, while other fans may give reasons as to why it may have been frustrating for fans to watch his career unfold. Despite fans being awed by his arm strength and physical capabilities, Montez never led the Buffaloes to a bowl game in his three full seasons as the starting quarterback (2017-2019).

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“At the end of the day though, we never really got to the promised land,” CU Student Drew Sharek said. “(Montez was a) heck of a talent, great arm, great personality, but just never was able to get the ultimate job done (of making a bowl game).”

The Colorado Buffaloes football team finished 5-7 each of the last three seasons with Montez as the starter. Fans of any team lay a good chunk of the responsibility for the team’s record on the quarterback. Montez was never able to get the team to the promised land, and that is why he will not be looked in the same light as other CU quarterbacks, such as Kordell Stewart and even Sefo Liufau.

However, there are plenty of people within the Buffaloes’ faithful who supported Montez, including Keith McCormick, a Buffaloes fan for 60 years who lives in Westminster, Colorado.

“I’m a fan of Steven Montez,” McCormick said. “I’ve always believed that he plays better under pressure and under a faster-paced game.”

Montez’s Biggest Home Win: September 7, 2019 Versus Nebraska

One example of Montez playing well under pressure was on September 7, 2019, when the Buffaloes welcomed the rival Nebraska Cornhuskers to Folsom Field.

They trailed Nebraska 17-0 at halftime and looked out of sorts under new head coach Mel Tucker. Then, the Buffaloes offense and Montez alike got going in the second half.

McCormick remembers the play that ended with 14:06 remaining in the fourth quarter that cut Nebraska’s lead to 17-14. It was the flea flicker to wide receiver K.D. Nixon that silenced the Nebraska invaders at Folsom Field. Montez took the pitch back from running back Alex Fontenot and threw the ball deep down the middle of the field to Nixon, who dashed into the end zone.

“That one play completely turned the game around, and the momentum and the emotion and gave (the Buffaloes) the opportunity to come back,” McCormick said.

It was time for Montez to come up strong in the clutch. The offense got to the Nebraska 26-yard line with 46 seconds left to play, and Montez threw a perfectly placed pass to wide receiver Tony Brown in the right corner of the end zone to tie the game at 31. The Buffaloes would go on to win the game in overtime, 34-31, with Montez recording 375 yards passing with two touchdowns and one interception to go along with it. Both McCormick and Neill Woelk believe that this game was his legacy game.

“That’s going to go down as his highlight as a CU Buff,” McCormick said.

“That’s the kind of game that I’m going to remember from Steven because it demanded a big play at a big moment,” Woelk said.

Montez Also Beat Nebraska On the Road in 2018

Along with the heroics of 2019, Montez led the Buffaloes to victory against the Cornhuskers in Lincoln on September 8, 2018. He was able to accomplish this in what was Nebraska head coach Scott Frost’s first game in charge. Frost, who was Nebraska’s quarterback on their national championship-winning team in 1997 and is revered by the Cornhusker faithful. The Buffaloes played spoiler, as the offense got the ball back with 2:23 left to play in the game. Montez delivered, as he hit wide receiver Laviska Shenault for a 40-yard touchdown with 1:06 left to play, giving the Buffaloes a 33-28 lead. The defense would hold on for the victory.

When Buffaloes fans think Steven Montez, the two wins against Nebraska will stand out as some of the best memories of the team while he was quarterback. Even though Nebraska football may be looked at by some as worse than Colorado, the win was vitally important to Buffaloes fans.

Beating Oregon in 2016 Another One of Montez’s Great Moments

Colorado white uniforms vs Oregon

Another standout game in the minds of many fans was Montez’s first start of his career his redshirt freshman year in 2016. The Buffaloes had never beat Oregon since joining the Pac-12 in 2011, and Montez had to come in relief for injured starting quarterback Sefo Liufau. Montez introduced himself to the fans and left a great first impression, leading the Buffaloes to a 41-38 victory in Eugene. Drew Sharek was particularly impressed with many throws by Montez in this game, including his pass to wide receiver Bryce Bobo to give the Buffaloes the lead in the fourth quarter.

“It was incredible to see him scramble around (the pocket), stay calm, and make some absolutely perfect throws,” Sharek said.

Beating Oregon was thought to be a stepping stone for greater achievements to be had in Montez’s career, but Brandon Westbrook believes these achievements never came.

“I would have thought he would have gotten better over the years but I actually think he regressed each year,” Westbrook said.

Frustrating Losses Also a Part of Montez’s Legacy

steven montez usc 2019

A frustrating loss that sticks out in Westbrook’s mind is when the Buffaloes played USC on October 25, 2019 in Montez’s senior season. The Buffaloes were coming into the game off of two embarrassing road losses to Oregon and Washington State, 45-3 and 41-10, respectively. The Buffaloes built up a 31-21 lead going into the fourth quarter but would ultimately lose the game 35-31.

Montez left the game momentarily late in the third quarter after he took a hit while rolling out to his left. He came back, and Westbrook thought he did not look the same. Even though it was the defense that gave up the 10-point lead, Montez and the offense had one last chance. On a 4th and 4 in the Buffaloes’ own territory, Montez threw a swing route to running back Alex Fontenot that was behind the line of scrimmage. Westbrook believes this was a bad decision by Montez and a product of not being able to improve each year.

“When the offense is looking out of sync, that comes back on the quarterback,” Westbrook said.

Inconsistencies Go Back to Constant Coaching Carousel

Mel tucker

Montez may have been wildly inconsistent at many points throughout his career, but he also had to deal with coaching changes throughout his career. He had three quarterback coaches, three offensive coordinators, and two different head coaches in his career. Neill Woelk attributes this as one of the main reasons Montez was inconsistent.

“It’s been hard for Steven to develop any kind of continuity because every year there’s a new quarterback coach saying, okay, this is the way we do things,” Woelk said.

Fans have expected the Buffaloes to have more success with Montez at quarterback, but it never yielded the results of a bowl game. However, Keith McCormick felt empathetic towards Montez with having to go through coaching changes.

“I just felt for the kid,” McCormick said. “(Montez) had a lot on his plate during mid-season last year. I know he was close to coach (Mike) MacIntyre.”

Montez could have foregone his senior season to test the NFL waters but decided to stay. He had some good moments as the quarterback on first-year head coach Mel Tucker’s team. He led the Buffaloes to surprise victories in conference against Stanford and Washington. Although the season did produce its struggles, Tucker stood by Montez the whole season.

“Hats off to Mel Tucker for hanging in with him and letting him finish out his senior year,” McCormick said.

Montez Will Be Remembered As Decent, Not Great Quarterback

Some of Montez’s struggles can be attributed to the coaching changes, but he kept showing the same inconsistencies throughout his time at CU. He was never able to elevate his play enough against good teams, and that will be the knock against him. Steven Montez was a great statistical quarterback at CU, but in reality, he was a decent to average quarterback for the Buffaloes.

McCormick goes up to Boulder for the parade before the first game each year and met Steven Montez at this parade.

“I was taking some video and he walked right past me,” McCormick said. “I took a couple snapshots and a selfie, and he was very professional about it, very friendly and talked with me.”

Don’t Fire Your College Football Head Coach Until You Answer 2 Questions

Tis’ Coach Firing Season

Willie Taggart, Chad Morris, and Matt Luke are all college football coaches who were fired, while Clay Helton, Will Muschamp, and Kevin Sumlin were all retained. It is abundantly clear that many college football programs do not make good decisions when it comes to deciding whether to retain or fire their head coaches. So I am here to help. I have come up with a simple, absolutely genius, and foolproof Coaching Test to determine whether or not your head coach needs to be fired.  Thanks to social media, fans, and boosters that scream about wanting their coaches fired are now heard except at USC. More often than not get their wish granted.

2019 Coaching Changes

As of December 12th, there have been 15 FBS head coaching jobs that have come open. All of the schools fired their coaches except two. Chris Petersen (Wash) and Jeff Tedford (Fresno St) unexpectedly resigned. 

The Power 5 firings happened at Arkansas, Missouri, Florida State, Ole Miss, Boston College, and Rutgers (Is it ok to call them Power 5).

None of these coaching changes were unexpected, but were they justified? Often, coaches are on an extremely short leash and are expected to win now despite the dysfunction they inherited. College football fans and school administrations demand microwave results for problems that took years to make.

Fans and boosters have called for Clay Helton (USC), Tom, Herman (TEX), Gus Malzahn (AUB) fired. But should they be gone as well?

Washington Huskies 2019

Cost of firing a coach

With some coaches having enormous buyouts, there are obvious financial ramifications to firing a head coach. For instance, for USC to fire Clay Helton they would have to pay out over $20 million for him and his assistants remaining contracts. Kevin Sumlin is another name that rings a bell. The school just paid Rich Rodriguez a buyout and is probably reluctant to pay another so soon.

In addition to financial ramifications of firing the coach, there is often a lot of uncertainty when you don’t know who the next head coach is going to be. Many fan bases that have called for their coaches to be fired are learning a hard lesson. You may get your wish with your coach being fired, but your new coach may be from the “scratch and dent bin.” There are good coaches in the scratch and dent bin, but they aren’t perfect and have some unsuccessful times in their history. But you got what you wanted, a new coach.

Most importantly, recruiting classes are often destroyed when recruits believe a coach will be fired. No matter how good a coach is, he cannot win without players.

Unafraid Show Coaching Test

Every head coach needs to be reevaluated every season. It does not matter whether the coach went undefeated and won the championship or went defeated and zero games. You only need to answer two questions to know whether your coach needs to be fired or not.

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Number one:

Is there a coach that is guaranteed to take your job that is better than your current coach? Example: James Franklin is the head coach at Penn State. In fact, they just gave him an extension. He is winning football games while recruiting well, but PSU would fire him without a second thought if Dabo Swinney or Nick Saban were walking through that door. Often coaches are fired, and the schools have no clue who will replace him.   I believe that is part of the reason USC did not fire Clay Helton. They kicked the tires on Bob Stoops and Urban Meyer but ultimately couldn’t get a deal done. So, Helton lives to “fight on” for another day.

Coaches are more often valuing the stability at a top 11-25 job rather than jumping at the chance to coach a top 10 team.

Number Two:

Is there still hope? Can your current coach go into the living rooms of 17-21-year-old players and sell them and their parents on the fact that the future of your program is brighter than the past? Can you make them buy-in, believe, and go all-in with you?   If you can’t answer both of these questions in the affirmative, then you need a head coaching change. The Unafraid Coaching Test is a simple and foolproof test. If Athletic Directors and administrators answered these two simple questions every season, they wouldn’t consistently mess up their programs.

This method of determining whether to keep or fire your coach is an easy explanation for the boosters and other influential people around your program. It will keep the waters from being muddied by people with personal agendas and faulty reasoning. When Athletic Directors and administrations listen to the mob of angry fans, they mess up their programs by firing a coach too prematurely, or they rely on their gut/pride and keep the coach too long.   The angry mob of fans and boosters change their minds like the wind; their opinions cannot be trusted in the short term. Think about this.  Last year Florida State fans couldn’t wait to get Jimbo Fisher out and Willie Taggart in. Now, they would happily take Jimbo back. Texas fans were unsure about Tom Herman’s prospects as head coach. Now the Longhorns fanbase is smiling. Here are a couple of common questions I got when I explained this on the Pac-12 Apostles Podcast:

Fire College Football Coach

What if the coach is winning, but he can’t recruit?

If your coach can’t recruit, then he can’t win long term. If he can’t win, there will be a loss of hope. When the loss of hope happens, fire your coach. Don’t fire a winning coach!

Those people that tell you “recruiting stars don’t matter” are delusional. There is no coincidence that the best teams in college football every year finish at the top of the recruiting rankings.

What if the coach recruits well, constantly goes 8-5 or 9-4, and can never get you “over the hump”?

This is clearly referring to the coaches like Tom Herman and Mark Dantonio. These coaches are expected to compete for conference championships and sometimes be in the national championship conversation. Coaches that consistently recruit well stay in around 8-9 wins per season. They are really close to breaking through and will eventually win the conference. But, fan bases aren’t happy with nine wins per season. They want a maximum of one loss per season. It is damn near impossible to put up win totals like Nick Saban every year.

Next time you get into a discussion about whether or not the coach of your favorite college football team needs to be fired refer to the Unafraid Coaching Test.  

True-Freshman Jayden Daniels is the Future of Pac-12 Football

Arizona State University Recruits Jayden Daniels

On December 13th, 2018, Arizona State’s Christmas present came early. Jayden Daniels, ASU’s highest-rated recruit in 247sports history, committed. The four-star recruit out of San Bernardino was their future.

But, this August, Daniels didn’t wait to impress. As a true freshman, he won the starting job. Herm Edwards put his confidence in Daniels and he hasn’t disappointed. Jayden Daniels is impressive.

Jayden Daniels’ Dual-Threat Ability

After committing to ASU, fans quickly realized that Jayden Daniels was dangerous. In his senior year at Cajon High School, Daniels averaged:

  • 322.5 passing yards-per-game
  • 4.3 passing touchdowns-per-game
  • 109.7 rushing yards-per-game
  • 1.14 rushing touchdowns-per-game

Once he hit the Pac-12, he quickly displayed his elusive abilities. Right away, he was dodging collegiate defenders and taking the ball himself.

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https://twitter.com/YotesGlendale/status/1201005289165639680

As every NFL fan knows, Lamar Jackson is the NFL-MVP front-runner. Due to his elite rushing ability, he’s on a historic run. Intelligently, John Harbaugh and the Ravens leaned into Jackson’s dual-threat ability. Which is so smart. It maximized their chance to win. If Daniels continues to progress, he can hope for a Jackson-like career arch.

Willingness to Throw Downfield

Remember, Jayden Daniels is a true-freshman. Even so, Daniels is playing aggressive and confident football. His 8.9 Yards-Per-Attempt ranks 13th in the nation. Stunningly, his 9.7 Adjusted-Yards-Per-Attempt ranks 10th. The only Pac-12 quarterback to best him in both is Tyler Huntley, who is still playing like the best quarterback in the conference.

https://twitter.com/YotesGlendale/status/1198439302343979010

Protecting the Football

In the 2019 season, Jayden Daniels threw the ball 310 times. Though he’s been aggressive, Daniels only has two interceptions this season. He’s taken care of the ball. How many young quarterbacks can’t say the same? His 153.5 (No. 19 in the nation) Passing Efficiency Rating displays his secure, yet effective passing style.

Jayden Daniels Upsets Oregon to Show Ceiling

Somehow, against the No.6-ranked Oregon Ducks, Jayden Daniels led the Sun Devils to a win. He threw for 408 yards and 3 touchdowns. In the fourth quarter, he hit Brandon Aiyuk for an 81-yard bomb to seal the victory.

Against Oregon, Daniels showed up in a big way. And Oregon’s defense is great. His Sun Devils put up 31 points. Additionally, Daniels didn’t throw a single interception. Oregon also only sacked him twice. His 206.8 Passing Efficiency Rating against Oregon shows Daniels’ massive upside. Not only did he beat Oregon, he destroyed their playoff hopes. That dagger to Aiyuk was fantastic for him. But, it was devastating to the Ducks.

As an 18-year-old, he’s already proved himself. Very few players bring his raw talent. In future years, get ready for an explosive campaign from Daniels.

College Football Top 10 Power Rankings Week 15 As it Should Be

Welcome to the College Football Top 10 Power Rankings Week 15 As it Should Be. I believe this season makes the best case for CFB Playoff expansion. The seasons when there are a bunch of 1-loss teams that don’t get in are compelling. However, in 2019, the teams from #4-10 can beat anybody on any given Saturday. Imagine a national championship tournament where there are upsets and the occasional “Cinderella” story like March Madness. Television ratings and bowl game interest would be significantly higher. The New Years Six Bowls would have no top NFL Draft picks sitting out. There would be so much more money flowing that the NCAA wouldn’t have to share with the players (who actually generate the revenue).

Wouldn’t it just make more sense to have an 8-team playoff? The five Power 5 champions and highest-ranked Group of 5 teams would get automatic bids. The two remaining spots would be at-large bids.

College Football Playoff

After two sets of CFB Playoff Committee rankings, we have more information to put playoff scenarios together. So here is how it should shake out at this point. Check back here on Tuesday for the Road to the Playoff series where we examine every team’s path to the top 4.

  1. Ohio State– The only thing that could mess up Ohio State’s season if 2-loss Wisconsin wins the Big Ten Championship.
  2. SEC Champion- LSU and Georgia will play in the SEC championship. The conference could make a case for two teams if 1-loss UGA beats LSU.
  3. Clemson– Just don’t lose. Dabo Swinney knows the committee would love to throw them out with a loss to Virginia.
  4. Utah– Utah will get in if they can beat Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship and LSU beats Georgia in the SEC Championship.
  5. Oklahoma/Baylor– The winner of the Big XII championship will have first dibs on a playoff spot if Utah loses to Oregon.

The Rules: No Bias, No Bull College Football Rankings

There is no more unbiased ranking out there than Unafraid Show’s College Football Top 10 Rankings Week 6. I get criticized from time to time by people who only want to see the college football world through the lens of the AP Poll. These rankings are not going to look like the AP Poll. Open your eyes to see a different view of evaluating the top 10. Most polls including the College Football Playoff Committee give college blueblood teams a massive “benefit of the doubt.” I don’t believe in that. Teams are ranked by the correct criteria: quality wins, schedule played, and dominance. After the preseason rankings, only games played matter. No consideration is given for future games.

I re-rank the top 10 every Sunday from scratch. The previous week’s rankings do not factor into the next week. So, the rankings will change, sometimes drastically every week because we will have new information. So make sure to come back every Sunday. For reference, you can check College Football Top 10 Power Rankings Week 14.

College Football Top 10 Rankings Week 15:

Next Up: Wisconsin, Penn State, Minnesota, Alabama,

Alabama has not earned top 10 status. They have only played two top 25 teams and lost to them both. And they have ZERO quality wins and didn’t play Georgia or Florida. So, while they only have two losses, and are a crazy talented team, nothing about their resume says they 100% would beat any team on this list.

10. Oregon Ducks (10-2)

Last Week: 24-10 (W) vs Oregon State

Johnny Johnson III Oregon Ducks wide receiver 2019

A win is a win. Weirdly the Ducks offense has been inconsistent over the last three games. They have been stout defensively in two of the three so they were able to win those two games. Their dreams of the CFB Playoff are dead for 2019, but their Rose Bowl dreams are still alive. However, they are six-point underdogs heading into the Pac-12 Championship.

9. Auburn (9-3)

Last Week: 48-45 (W) vs Alabama

The only thing holding Auburn back all year has been Bo Nix. There is still hope for his future, but they have won more in spite of him more than because of him. The Tigers defense has been top tier all year despite the offense continuously putting them in bad spots against good teams. If Auburn had either true freshman QB Kedon Slovis (USC) or Jayden Daniels (ASU) they would be undefeated or at the very least in the top four.

A lot of Auburn fans are always calling for Gus Malzahn’s job but he and Dabo Swinney are the only two coaches to beat Nick Saban two of the last three times they faced him. The best part is that he outsmarted Nick Saban last week.

8. Florida (10-2)

Last Week: 40-17 (W) vs Florida State

Slow and steady is winning the race for Florida. Dan Mullen has Florida back as a top 10 team. No one expected this team to be in the conversation for a national championship, but they will absolutely be in 2020. They also won the state of Florida. The Gators knocked off Miami and destroyed Florida State in the same season. Recruiting should be fun with all those bragging rights.

7. Baylor (11-1)

Last Week: 61-6 (W) Kansas

Baylor Bears

I really believed Baylor would finish 10-2 like Minnesota, but they have shown they are in it for the long haul. When you look at their CFB Playoff resume, their non-conference schedule leaves a lot to be desired ( SFA, UTSA, Rice). But if an 11-1 Alabama without a conference championship would have been in the conversation, why not Baylor and a Big XII Championship?

Name brands mean a lot in college football. It is hard for people outside of Waco, Tx to wrap their minds around the fact that Baylor may be one of the four best teams.

6. Oklahoma Sooners (11-1)

Last Week: 34-16 (W) at Oklahoma State

Oklahoma finally has a dominating performance against a good team. Better late than never, but never late is better. It might just be at the right time to impress the CFB Playoff committee. A dominating performance against Baylor in the Big XII championship might provide the Sooners the momentum to leapfrog Utah and Georgia if they lose the SEC Championship.

Lincoln Riley has the Sooners peaking at the right time. The only thing I’m sad about this season is that we won’t get to see Jalen Hurts and Tua play against each other. It would have been far and away the most-watched college football game this season.

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5. Utah (11-1)

Last Week: 45-15 (W) vs Colorado

Utah has crushed every team in their path since their loss to USC. No team has been able to withstand the defensive onslaught that the Utes bring. They are physical, tough, and well-coached. If Utah makes it to the top four, whoever they play will underestimate them and be in for a rude awakening.

Tyler Huntley may be having the best season of any quarterback in the Pac-12. Some are even arguing they are better than the Oregon Ducks. If you haven’t watched Utah play, Florida would be a really good comparison except UF has more explosive wide receivers.

4. Georgia Bulldogs (11-1)

Last Week: 52-7 (W) at Georgia Tech

Georgia Bulldogs College Football Rankings Top 10

UGA made Georgia Tech look more like a November cupcake game than a rivalry game. The Bulldogs got the win but suffered major damage in the process. D’Andre Swift was injured, Lawrence Cager is out, and George Pickens is suspended for the first half of the SEC Championship for fighting.

Not only does Georgia have to win to make the playoff, but they also have to do so short-handed. If they win, where do you seed them? Could LSU and Georgia play in the first round of the playoff, or could LSU get bounced out?

3. Clemson Tigers (12-0)

Last Week: 38-3 (W) at South Carolina

Clemson is ready and they are mad. Dabo timing was perfect for his rallying cry to his team. They feel like underdogs and like everyone is waiting for them to fail. In reality, Clemson has won 27 straight games. In past years the committee would have ranked them #1 because they were the reigning champs who hadn’t lost. I love that they are basing the rankings on this season and week to week like the College Football Top 10 Power Rankings Week 15 As it Should Be.

I have long believed that the two best teams in the country are Ohio State and Clemson. But, if the best team didn’t earn their spot, they don’t get it.

2. LSU (12-0)

Last Week: 50-7 (W) vs Texas A&M

Joe Burrow Joe Burreaux LSU Ap Poll

Joe Burrow, or should I call him Joe Burreaux? The man has cemented himself an LSU legend. He is the QB who turned the tide on Alabama, reshaped LSU’s offense, and will win the Heisman trophy. The Tigers’ defense clearly heard all the chirping from the outside about the amount of 30-point games they have surrendered. They put a hurting on Texas A&M. Jimbo Fisher’s team didn’t even look like they belonged on the same field. Had Ohio State not crushed a much better football team than LSU, the top spot would have been different.

1. Ohio State Buckeyes (12-0)

Last Week: 56-27 (W) at Michigan

The Ohio State faithful were nervous they had suffered the same fate as Alabama when Justin Fields went down grabbing his knee. But, then he rose from the ashes like a phoenix and threw a pinpoint touchdown pass. JK Dobbins looks unstoppable running the football. The pass rush is spectacular and deserving of all the praise and attention they receive. Now, they cannot let it slip against Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship game.

They deserve the #1 spot of the College Football Top 10 Rankings As It Should Be.

Check back next Sunday morning for the College Football Top 10 Power Rankings Week 14.

2019 Apple Cup Full Breakdown: WSU Fizzles and UW Dominates

WSU Started Out Hot

Even though the Apple Cup was in Seattle, the Washington State Cougars began with a bang. They took the ball 81 yards down the field on a patient, 13-play drive. Capping the drive off with a Max Borghi one-yard touchdown, WSU looked great.

Then, the Cougars defense sacked Jacob Eason on his first offensive play. They held strong and forced the Huskies to a three-and-out on their first possession. Ball goes back to the Cougs and they’re already leading 7-0.

The stage was set for a WSU upset in the Apple Cup. Anthony Gordon looked comfortable, patient and was willing to take what the defense gave him. Mike Leach schemed up open looks and it was perfect weather for the Air Raid offense. 41 degrees, sunny and no wind.

But, everything changed after that.

Anthony Gordon’s Dreadful Apple Cup Performance

Although Gordon’s 103.0 Passing Efficiency Rating against Utah in Week 5 was poor, that was at least against an elite defense and the Pac-12’s best team. But, even though the Washington Huskies played exceptionally well, they are no Utah. Somehow, the Huskies held Gordon to 308 yards and zero touchdowns on 62 attempts, while intercepting two of his passes. So why did Gordon struggle so much in this Apple Cup?

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Offensive Line Issues

Up until the Apple Cup, Washington State ranked first in the FBS in Sack Rate, per footballoutsiders. Their 2.1-percent Sack Rate was phenomenal. Keeping Anthony Gordon upright was standard procedure. Just 13 sacks on 585 attempts. Their line was top-notch.

However, against the Huskies, they fell apart. Washington consistently pressured Gordon and sacked him five times. In just one game, they accounted for 28-percent of all sacks against WSU this season. Joe Tryon, Edeguan Ulofoshio and Ryan Bowman took Gordon down for negative-45 yards and a forced fumble on their five sacks.

Even more impressive, they delivered back-to-back sacks on the Cougars fourth drive. After starting out leading 7-0 and playing with a lead, Gordon’s fourth drive was a nightmare. Down 10-14, sacked twice in a row and throwing from his own end zone on 3rd-and-27. The Huskies manhandled WSU’s line time and time again.

UW’s Secondary

Even after a poor Apple Cup showing, Anthony Gordon still leads the FBS in passing yards (5,228) and touchdowns (45). In fact, his 5,228 passing yards is almost 1,000 yards better than Joe Burrow’s second-ranked 4,366 yards. Yet, against UW, he couldn’t get anything going after their opening drive.

Check-Down King

Call it preparation, home-field advantage or the Chris Petersen edge. Whatever it is, the Cougars consistently fail in the Apple Cup. In Peterson’s own words. the Cougars “run the same offense every week.” Because of this, preparation was simple and all the Huskies needed to do was execute their game-plan.

In their game plan, they often dropped eight into coverage and only rushed three. UW’s secondary gave up nothing deep and forced Gordon to check passes down. It was a rare occasion to see even an attempt, let alone a reception downfield. Instead, Max Borghi led the team with 12 receptions. Then, when Gordon actually tried to make something happen, he threw into a sea of defenders.

Offensively, the Cougars came into the Apple Cup with all the counting stats. But, UW matched up in perfection. They covered downfield, gave their defensive line time to get to Gordon, forced everything short and kept Gordon fearful of taking shots.

Jacob Eason Let’s it Fly in the Apple Cup

Unlike Anthony Gordon, Jacob Eason and the Huskies were willing to take chances downfield. And it paid off in spectacular fashion.

Though Jacob Eason started off the game with a sack, a deep incompletion and a three-and-out, he kept his gunslinger attitude. He took advantage of Terrell Bynum’s speed and hit him for 57-yards on their first touchdown drive.

More importantly, Eason and the Huskies maintained their confidence, even with more issues. Remember that Eason started off the game with a three-and-out, missing on a deep shot. Then, in the second quarter, he overthrew a wide-open Hunter Bryant and was then bailed out on a deep overthrow because of a penalty. Aside from his earlier 57-yard connection with Bynum, it appeared that Eason’s inaccuracy was hurting the Huskies. But, they continued to put faith in Eason and their receivers.

Again and again, it paid dividends. While the Cougars lacked downfield threats or ability, the Huskies took advantage of their Apple Cup matchup. Not only that, but UW finally utilized their talent properly. Hunter Bryant led the team in receptions and yards, which completely makes sense given his talent.

But, unlike prior games where Aaron Fuller and Chico McClatcher took up targets and space, sophomores Terrell Bynum and Cade Otton got involved. Their combined 6 receptions for 123 yards and one touchdown were huge. They made play after play, getting first downs, yards after the catch, or making difficult catches.

The Huskies Won the Apple Cup by Sticking with Their Gunslinger

It took Anthony Gordon 62 attempts to reach 308 passing yards. On the opposite sideline, Eason threw just 22 times, but compiled 244 yards and led his team to four touchdowns. The Huskies leaned into Eason’s gunslinging style and schemed up ways to get his receivers one-on-one matchups downfield. Even though Eason missed some throws and Bryant and Bynum dropped passes, they stuck with it.

Unlike this, the Cougars collapsed and failed to adjust. Gordon was afraid to throw it deep and continued to dump it off to his safety valves. His passes routinely traveled to the short-middle or the flats.

If Mike Leach ever wants to win an Apple Cup, he needs to make adjustments and have a backup plan. It was clear that he didn’t have that on Friday.

UW’s Offense Continues to Be a Big Problem, Even After a Bye

Pac-12 UW Washington Huskies

UW didn’t do their homework

It was assumed that the UW offense would solve their problems with a bye-week. Well, even with the extra week of preparation, Washington flopped. With their fifth loss of the season, the Huskies displayed both poor scheme and execution. This is the Washington Huskies downfall in 2019.

First Half Washington Huskies Woes

In the first half, the Huskies couldn’t sustain or finish drives. Even with six drives in the first half, they couldn’t score a single point.

  • 3 plays, 2 yards, Punt
  • 13 plays, 64 yards, Interception
  • 3 plays, 0 yards, Punt
  • 3 plays, -13 yards, Punt
  • 3 plays, 8 yards, Punt
  • 7 plays, 25 yards, Punt

Six drives, five punts, one interception and zero points. Just awful. Also, ignoring the 64-yard drive, UW attempted just 19 plays for 22 yards. How on Earth can the Huskies expect with offensive performances like this?

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Eason’s poor showing

https://youtu.be/a8jsWrPoixU

For UW fans, this season seems like a Jekyll-Hyde tale. Eason fluctuates from brilliant to ineffective week to week. It’s absurd.

Against Colorado, he completed just 21 of 34 attempts for 206 yards, one touchdown and one interception. His ESPN QBR was a measly 39.9. Colorado got in his face, hurrying him four times and sacking him five times. It was clear that he was under duress. But, worst of all, Eason led just two scoring drives. On 10 offensive drives, Eason and the Huskies scored two touchdowns.

Game on the line. Down by six. UW and Eason had two more drives to attempt to take the lead. But, they came away with nothing. Eason and company proved this season that they can’t finish games.

No room to run

On 25 attempts, Richard Newton and Salvon Ahmed combined for 61 yards and one touchdown. That’s just 2.44 yards-per-attempt. Moreover, the Huskies couldn’t run anywhere on first down. On first down, they had runs of: 1, 3, -2, 0, -2, 0, -1, 1, -2, 0 and 4 yards. On the other sideline, Colorado had 207 rushing yards off of 41 attempts. This massive difference displays the Huskies offensive line troubles.

Huskies Second Down Predictability

Oh my goodness. It is unbelievable how predictable UW is on second down. Here is their second down playcalling:

  • After a first down rush: pass 73-percent of the time
  • Following a first down pass: rush 73-percent of the time

So, there was a 73-percent chance that the Huskies would apply a balanced (pass-run or run-pass) first and second down approach.

Come on UW. This is Pac-12 football. Leave that predictability to high schools.

UW disappointing season continues

Honestly, UW had the perfect arrangement for the end of the season. They were set up to finish the 2019 season in spectacular fashion. With wins against Colorado and WSU, along with a Bowl game, UW fans would leave happy. Albeit, disappointed from missed expectations, but still left on a good note.

But, as is tradition this year, the Huskies let everyone down again. Now, Husky fans are in chaos-mode. If UW loses against WSU in the Apple Cup, they’ll be demanding a shake-up. Everyone will be on the hot-seat. Coaches will get fired.