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.

The Best Pac-12 NFL Players: Week 14’s Performers from Each School

Pac-12 NFL Players

Zach Ertz and Marcus Peters show how clutch Pac-12 NFL athletes are

Unfortunately, Week 14 was not like last week’s edition of the Best Pac-12 NFL Players. We didn’t see the special teams and defensive touchdowns like we were afforded. Nonetheless, there was still great representation from our conference in Week 14.

The Big List of Pac-12 NFL Performers, College by College

Arizona

Will Parks – Denver Broncos

Down 38-24, with 23 seconds left, Will Parks picked off Deshaun Watson to seal the game. Granted, this was garbage time, but it was still a nice moment for Broncos fans.

Against the Texans, Parks and the Broncos defense played an exceptional game. They racked up three turnovers and helped get the Broncos a 38-3 lead. During this win, Parks totaled five tackles, one pass break-up and one interception.

Arizona State

Damarious Randall – Cleveland Browns

Thankfully, Damarious Randall and Freddie Kitchens are back on good terms. After staying home while the rest of the team went to Pittsburgh, Randall once again got the start.

In this game, his 100-percent snap-share displays that Kitchens and the team worked things out with Randall. On the season, Randall has 40 tackles, 4 pass break-ups, 2 sacks and owns a 70.0 PFF Grade. He’s a great defensive asset. 

With his five tackles and coverage play, Randall helped the Browns stay in the playoff hunt.

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Cal

Jared Goff – Los Angeles Rams

In the lights of Sunday Night, Jared Goff played well. Though he wasn’t perfect, throwing two interceptions (and one pick-six) to Quandre Diggs, Goff got that W.

Russell Wilson and the Seahawks were the favorite and led the division. However, Goff threw for 293 yards, while leading the Rams to four touchdowns. They protected Goff and he paid off with a modest, nonetheless critical, 95.2 Passer Rating.

Colorado

David Bakhtiari – Green Bay Packers

Yes, the Packers gave up four sacks against Washington and Rodgers only mustered 195 passing yards. However, David Bakhtiari and the Packers offensive line also blocked for 174 rushing yards.

Aaron Jones took 16 carries for a season-high 134 yards, while Jamaal Williams added 24 and Rodgers 16. Bakhtiari is a fan-favorite and he’s a staple of the Packers offense.

Oregon

Troy Hill – Los Angeles Rams

Currently, Troy Hill is in great form. His 77.9 PFF Grade displays his upside and why he was a smart extension by the Rams. He’s made big plays and helped the Rams win three of their last four games.

In their Sunday night win against the Seahawks, Troy Hill stepped up bigtime as a Pac-12 NFL athlete. He broke up two passes, totaled three tackles and came down with an interception. It was a great day to be a Rams fan. 

Oregon State

Jordan Poyer

If there’s one thing Jordan Poyer is, it’s a sure-tackler. Poyer takes players down. Even though the Bills lost to the Ravens, it was still a close game.

Poyer and the Bills defense held Lamar Jackson’s offense to just 24 points. Somehow, against the number one team in the league, the Bills lost by just one touchdown. It’s a statement to Buffalo’s defense right now.

Stanford

Zach Ertz – Philadelphia Eagles

Yes, it was against the 11 and 2 Giants. But still, Zach Ertz came up big. It’s why he earned a top-spot on Unafraidshow’s Pac-12 NFL list.

On a night where the Eagles were completely depleted at wide receiver, Ertz stepped up. He caught 9 of 13 targets for 91 yards and two critical touchdowns. 

However, we still can’t ignore this laughable moment from Zach Ertz.

UCLA

Kenny Clark – Green Bay Packers

Geez. Kenny Clark is an animal. So strong, powerful. An absolute force to be reckoned with.

At 6-foot-3, 314lbs, it’s impressive how much he can move. He threw Washington lineman aside like dolls and earned 1.5 sacks.

USC

Robert Woods – Los Angeles Rams

Back-to-back-to-back-to-back big weeks for Robert Woods. In his last four games, Woods has at least 6 receptions and 95 receiving yards. His four-week streak includes:

  • 33 Receptions
  • 462 Receiving Yards
  • 29 Rushing Yards
  • 23 First Downs
  • One well-deserved touchdown

Thank goodness Woods finally found the paydirt. And at the Coliseum, too! What better way to please the Pac-12 NFL fanatics than a USC-alumni touchdown at the Coliseum?

Robert Woods continues to stay hot as the Rams fight their way back to relevance.

Utah

Sam Tevi – Los Angeles Chargers

45 to 10. Dominant.

At Jacksonville, the Chargers completely controlled the game. During their big win, Sam Tevi played 90-percent of snaps. He was a big contributor to their 195 yards rushing and two rushing touchdowns. Additionally, they only let Jacksonville sack Rivers once. Tevi had himself a great game.

Washington

Marcus Peters – Baltimore Ravens

Big-time players make plays in clutch moments. That’s exactly who and what Marcus Peters is… Clutch.

Even though the Rams gave him away to the Ravens, he is playing elite football. Every Pac-12 NFL fan see his level of play. His 85.1 PFF Grade on the season and three pass break-ups against the Bills display this. Peters is right at home on the Ravens. Their secondary is the best in the league and the Rams management have to regret that trade.

Washington State

Gardner Minshew – Jacksonville Jaguars

In a blowout loss, Minshew threw for a humble (very humble) 162 yards and one touchdown. But, it certainly wasn’t enough to combat the Chargers’ offense and the Jaguars’ defensive woes.

Honestly, to those that watched the game, it felt like the Jaguars defense phoned this one in. The Chargers ran and passed all over the Jaguars. Jacksonville didn’t have their heart in the game.

Granted, that’s much easier to say coming from the comfort of my own home, while not actually playing football. And we know players like Gardner Minshew gave it their all. It’s just too much on Minshew’s shoulders. He’s shown excellent upside this season, but with injured pass-catchers and a porous defense, it’s too much.

Miss Week 13’s Top Pac-12 NFL Performances?

https://unafraidshow.com/best-pac-12-nfl-players-week-13-performers-2019/

The Best Pac-12 NFL Players: Week 13’s Performers from Each School

Defensive and Special Teams Touchdowns Highlight Pac-12 NFL Upside

In this week’s edition, we were graced with incredible play. Vita Vea impressed last week, but week 13 was a treat for football fans! Trick plays, blocked kicks, and unbelievable defensive plays highlight the Pac-12 NFL Players Week 13.

The Big List of Pac-12 NFL Performers, College by College

Arizona

Dane Cruikshank – Tennessee Titans

With 5 minutes remaining in a tied game, the Indianapolis Colts lined up to take the lead. That field goal would give them a 20-17 lead over the Titans. However, Dane Cruikshank thwarted their plans.

Although Cruikshank is primarily a special teams player, he’s made his mark. Players dream of blocking a single kick, let alone two in one season. For his special teams efforts, he climbs to the top of Arizona’s Pac-12 NFL bests.

Arizona State

Matt Haack – Miami Dolphins

Obviously, this wasn’t the best play in NFL history. But, it made for an insane highlight and contributed to a huge upset. How are these Miami Dolphins 3-and-9 and beating teams like the Philadelphia Eagles?

With this touchdown pass, Matt Haack and Jason Sanders etched their names in the record books. This was the first time in NFL history that a pure punter completed a touchdown pass to a kicker. Unbelievable!

Cal

Cameron Jordan – New Orleans Saints

Cameron Jordan is a wrecking ball. His four sacks against the Atlanta Falcons tied a Saints record for sacks in a game. Wayne Martin, in 1997, was the last Saints player to accomplish this feat.

After this monster performance, Jordan set his career-best in sacks (13.5). His 87.3 PFF grade is creeping up to elite once again. If he continues his dominance, he’ll decisively be Cal’s 2019 best Pac-12 NFL player.

Colorado

Jimmy Smith – Baltimore Ravens

Against the San Francisco 49ers, Jimmy Smith allowed just 3 receptions for 38 scoreless yards on 6 targets. It was another shut-down game for him.

Since returning from injury, Smith is playing at an exceptional level. His plus-33.7 Coverage Rating and 52-percent Catch Rate Allowed are exactly what the Ravens needed. Combined with the current form of Marcus Peters and you’ve got a Super Bowl secondary.

Oregon

DeForest Buckner – San Francisco 49ers

In a potential Super Bowl preview, DeForest Buckner and the 49ers held Lamar Jackson’s Ravens to just 20 points. In the game, Buckner played 83-percent of snaps and totaled six tackles. 

Also, Buckner got the credit for one sack against Lamar Jackson. As everyone is aware, Jackson is the most elusive quarterback in the league. Getting him down is always worth recognition. Great performance by this Pac-12 NFL player.

Oregon State

Jordan Poyer – Buffalo Bills

On Thanksgiving Day, the Buffalo Bills feasted on the Dallas Cowboys. Their defense held the Cowboys to just 15 points. Although he ended up compiling 355 yards and two touchdowns, he did so on 49 attempts. In addition, the Bills sacked Prescott four times and intercepted him once.

At AT&T Stadium, Jordan Poyer did his regular thing. He totaled five tackles, including stuffing one run. His 73.0 PFF grade displays his contribution to pass and run defense.

Stanford

Richard Sherman – San Francisco 49ers

Right now, Richard Sherman is playing incredible football. At age 31, his form is perfect as he and the San Francisco 49ers vie for the NFC West.

Against Baltimore Ravens, Sherman not only locked down coverage but tallied seven tackles. His tackling will always be an underrated aspect of his game. Even though Richard Sherman is credited with 20 receptions allowed, he only let receivers gain 105 yards. Unreal. His close-down ability and tackling is most impressive.

Also, of note is Richard Sherman’s off-the-field work.

UCLA

Fabian Moreau – Washington Redskins

Since Josh Norman’s injury, Fabian Moreau has played exceptionally. Moving him from the slot corner to outside corner was a great move. 

In his last two games, Moreau has three interceptions. He’s exactly the type of developmental player Washington needs for their future.

USC

Robert Woods – Los Angeles Rams

After starting off the season slow, Robert Woods is heating up during the Rams playoff push. His last three games include:

  • 7 receptions for 95 yards
  • 6 receptions for 97 yards
  • 13 receptions for 172 yards

Against Arizona, Woods torched the coverage. He now has 835 yards and looks to surpass 1,000 yards for the second time in his career.

Utah

Marcus Williams – New Orleans Saints

Although Star Lotolelei got his first career interception, Marcus Williams still remains the best Pac-12 NFL player out of Utah. On the season, he’s allowed just 9 receptions on 17 targets, while also intercepting four passes. 

Additionally, Williams is a sure-tackler. He managed seven tackles against the Atlanta Falcons. His 91.0 PFF grade displays an elite safety and the Saints are lucky to have him.

Washington

Taylor Rapp – Los Angeles Rams

He could. Go. All. The. Way!

Welcome to the big leagues Taylor Rapp! In a dominant win against Arizona, Rapp earned his first career interception and touchdown. He now totals 47 tackles, 7 pass break-ups, 4 stuffed runs, and one pick-six. Rapp has a bright future ahead of him.

Washington State

Gardner Minshew – Jacksonville Jaguars

The mustache is back! In everyone’s best interest, Gardner Minshew is once again the starting quarterback of the Jaguars. After Nick Foles committed his third turnover in three drives, the crowd chanted “We want Minshew.”

While Minshew couldn’t lift the Jaguars to a victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he’ll look to beat the Los Angeles Chargers this weekend.

Miss Week 12’s Top Pac-12 NFL Performances?

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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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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.

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.

The Utah Utes will Finish Above of the Oregon Ducks. They are Better

Best pac-12 defenses

The Utah Utes are Heating Up

At 9 and 1, the Utah Utes are truly coming into their own. After moving from the Mountain West Conference to the Pac-12, they took a few seasons to get their feet under them. Now. ranked No. 7 in the nation (just one spot behind Oregon), the Utah Utes are making their name known. Just two more regular-season games and a pivotal clash against the Oregon Ducks in the Pac-12 Championship. If the Utes win all three, they earn College Football Playoffs or at least a Rose Bowl appearance.

Utah vs Oregon. Who gets playoffs?

The gap between the Utah Utes and Oregon Ducks is slight. Both programs sit at 9 and 1 in the Pac-12 and they are side by side in the AP rankings. Additionally, Oregon’s only loss this season came to Auburn (currently ranked 15th), while USC (currently ranked 23rd) beat Utah. ESPN’s Football Power Index gives Oregon a 48.1-percent chance of winning the Pac-12 Title and Utah a 38.1-percent chance. It’s ever so close.

Across the experts, analysts and fans, the debate is tight. SB Nation’s Fan Pulse ranked Utah at 7 and Oregon at 8. Even ESPN’s Kyle Bonagura and Mark Schlabach are split in their Oregon vs Utah projections. While both have LSU making the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, Bonagura has Utah and Schlabach picked Oregon.

Ever so close to each other, here’s why the Utah Utes will reign supreme in the Pac-12.

The Utah Utes Defense is Elite

Through 10 games, they’ve allowed just 11.3 points-per-game to opponents. They are elite.

According to PFF grading, Utah’s defense is the third-best in the FBS. Breaking it down further, PFF ranked Utah top-five in both run-defense and coverage. Against Utah, runners average 2.3 yards-per-carry, while only scoring three rushing touchdowns against them all season. There’s no room to run with stars like Leki Fotu and John Penisini hovering.

In coverage, the Utah Utes are equally impressive. Terrell Burgess and Julian Blackmon are at the top of their game. Opposing quarterbacks average:

  • 56-percent Completion Percentage
  • 193 Passing Yards
  • 1 Passing Touchdown
  • 1.3 Interceptions

Their defense is stout against the run, can cover any receiver and is opportunistic. In addition to their 13 interceptions, the Utes also have 7 fumble recoveries. They capitalize on mistakes. And, they limit opposing big plays.

It’s Hell to go against the Utah defense.

An Offense to Match Oregon’s

Tyler Huntley

For anyone that watches Utah Utes games, Tyler Huntley is the Russell Wilson of college football. Efficient, accurate and deadly in limited opportunities. Remember that Tyler Huntley was the best quarterback in the Pac-12 and still is now. He’s the big reason why the Utah Utes are averaging 34.7 points-per-game and blowing out opponents.

Yes, Justin Herbert is still ranked as the better quarterback prospect by most. But, come on, we can’t keep ignoring Huntley. His efficiency is off the charts!

  • 78.6-percent Completion Percentage (No. 2)
  • 86.2-percent Adjusted Completion Percentage (No. 3)
  • 11.5 Yards-Per-Attempt (No. 2)
  • 12.5 Adjusted Yards-Per-Attempt (No. 3)
  • 190.1 Passing Efficiency Rating (No. 5)
  • 13 Touchdowns, 1 Interception
  • 221 Rushing Yards and 5 Rushing Touchdowns

In comparison, Justin Herbert only ranks higher than Huntley in passing yards and passing touchdowns. The rest goes to Huntley and proves he’s the better quarterback right now.

Zack Moss

In addition, Zack Moss continues to prove he’s a top running back prospect.

His stats this season are unbelievable:

  • 6.2 yards-per-carry
  • 16.9 yards-per-reception
  • 61 broken tackles on 154 carries
  • 955 rushing yards
  • 288 receiving yards
  • 14 total touchdowns

Moss is powerful, physical runner. He’s difficult to tackle and has the ability to take any carry to the house. Combining his rushing talent with Huntley’s elite passing created the best offense in the Pac-12.

Utah Utes and Oregon Ducks common opponents

So far this season, the Utes and Ducks had four common opponents. USC, Washington State, Cal and Washington. In those matchups, Oregon won all four. The Utah Utes, on the other hand, lost to USC. So, Oregon is 4-0 against common opponents, while Utah is 3-1. The edge goes to Oregon. Right?

Actually, it’s a bit more complicated. Oregon handily beat USC 56-24, while Utah lost 23-30. They also both let Washington keep it close. But, Utah beat Cal and Washington State by far better margins. Oregon won 17-7 against Cal. Meanwhile, Utah torched Cal 35-0. Additionally, Oregon barely beat Washington State 37-35. But, Utah won with ease 38-13.

Yes, they lost to USC. But, it’s far closer than people think. Utah is proving to be a powerful adversary.

The Best Pac-12 NFL Players: Week 11 Top Performers From Each School

New Pac-12 NFL Blood

This wee, only one Pac-12 NFL player repeated from Week 10’s Best Pac-12 NFL list. Finally, we get some fresh faces and new players on here. Let’s see who joined the ranks of the best!

Arizona

Nick Folk – New England Patriots

It’s not often that a place-kicker joins the best of Pac-12 NFL players. Yet here we are. With the New England offense moving slowly, their defense and special teams are picking up the slack. 

In a tight, 17-10 win over the Philadelphia Eagles, Nick Folk scored the majority of the Patriots’ points. He went three-for-three with field goals of 35, 22 and 39 yards.

Arizona State

Lawrence Guy – New England Patriots

Although his three tackles don’t seem like much, Lawrency Guy was a key-cog in the Patriots’ defensive win. Against the Eagles, his two biggest were:

  • Penetrating tackle on Miles Sanders on the one-yard line (shown in above Tweet)
  • Fumble recovery after the strip-sack by Danny Shelton

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Cal

Cameron Jordan – New Orleans Saints

Through 10 games, Cameron Jordan’s racked up:

  • 18 quarterback hits
  • 8 tackles for a loss
  • One fumble recovery (and one should-be touchdown)
  • And 10 sacks

On Sunday, he managed to hit quarterback Jameis Winston four times, get 1.5 sacks and add a tackle for a loss. It was another All-Pro game for Cameron Jordan. His stats and 82.0 PFF grade are why he is still among the best Pac-12 NFL players in the league.

Colorado

Josh Tupou – Cincinnati Bengals

Although the Cincinnati Bengals lost to the Oakland Raiders, Josh Tupou played very well. It was by-far his best game of the season. Tupou compiled seven tackles, 1.5 tackles for a loss, one stuff and one forced fumble.

In his third season, he’s regularly seeing playtime. Keep in mind, Tupou accounted for just 10 defensive snaps in 19-percent of defensive snaps in Week 1. In Weeks 10 and 11, he earned 30 (67-percent) and 39 (56-percent) snaps. It’s a mild breakout for the Colorado product.

Oregon

Kenjon Barner – Atlanta Falcons

Honestly, is there anything better to watch than a special teams touchdown? They are rare, special and should be treated as such.

In the first quarter, up 3-0, Kenjon Barner fielded the punt from Younghoe Koo at the Atlanta 22. He then took it 78 yards to the house. The seventh-year journeyman just earned his first, NFL punt/kick return touchdown. Of course, his highlight-touchdown is worthy of praise.

Oregon State

Jordan Poyer – Buffalo Bills

Yes, their game was against the hapless Miami Dolphins. Nonetheless, the Buffalo Bills won by 17 and Miami finally couldn’t cover the spread. 

In this game, Jordan Poyer did his usual damage as a reliable tackler. He totaled six tackles (four solo) and also added a fumble recovery. On the season, Poyer now has 72 tackles, one sack, 2 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries and an interception. 

Stanford

Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers

Somehow, even though he compiled nearly 200 yards from scrimmage, the Carolina Panthers only scored three points. How on Earth is that possible? What else does Christian McCaffrey have to do?

In their Week 11 matchup, our Pac-12 NFL superstar turned 14 carries into 70 rushing yards and also caught 11 balls for 121 yards. 191 yards from scrimmage. Yet, only three points for the Panthers. This team needs to get a viable quarterback or send the Stanford star to another team. His play deserves the playoffs.

UCLA

Eric Kendricks – Minnesota Vikings

Eric Kendricks is elite. Right now, he’s playing the best football of his career. He currently owns a 90.5 PFF grade. Last week, he earned a spot on the top Pac-12 NFL list with his fourth-down heroics. 

Because of his stellar form, the Vikings have utilized Kendricks in pass coverage this season. He’s stepped up to the challenge with 12 pass break-ups. Eric Kendricks, with 85 tackles and 12 pass breaks-ups, is playing like a top-three linebacker.

USC

Sam Darnold – New York Jets

Though his 43.7 (No. 25) QBR on the season is uninspiring, Sam Darnold played his best game this week. He displayed an excellent passing ceiling with 293 yards and 4 touchdowns. Yes, he still took two sacks and threw an interception against Washington. But, this was one of the better games for Darnold and his 6-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio since returning from illness is promising.

Also, keep in mind these two things before putting down Darnold:

Utah

Marcus Williams – New Orleans Saints

Heading into Week 11, Marcus Williams already was PFF’s top safety. That’s already praise enough for a Pac-12 NFL player. But then, he went and showed out in Week 11. Games like this show why he is the best of the best. Not only did he record three tackles and two pass break-ups. But, he also took an interception to the house.

There’s nothing like a pick-six for football fans. Especially defense enthusiasts. Marcus Williams is having a career year.

Washington

Danny Shelton – New England Patriots

Down ten to six with just over two minutes left in the first half, Danny Shelton came up big. His strip-sack of Carson Wentz put the Patriots in excellent field position. Unfortunately, as is the case this year with the Patriots’ offense, they came away with three points. Though they started at the Eagles 22, they couldn’t score a touchdown. It’s a shame.

But, what isn’t a travesty is the New England Patriots’ defense. They look like one of the greatest defenses of all time. If players like Danny Shelton can keep bailing out the offense, they might win yet another Super Bowl.

Washington State

Jalen Thompson – Arizona Cardinals

As most know, the Arizona Cardinals need help in their secondary. Their pass-defending is among the worst in the league. However, Jalen Thompson got his first interception this week.

Additionally, he also had his first pass break-up. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come for the rookie out of Washington State.

Miss Week 10’s Best Pac-12 NFL Performances?

https://unafraidshow.com/the-best-pac-12-nfl-players-week-10-top-performers-from-each-school/

UW Football is set up to finish the 2019 season in spectacular fashion

It’s not the season we hoped for UW Football

Obviously, this season is a letdown for UW football fans everywhere. After starting the season with high hopes, the Huskies dropped four games. Even worse, the Dawgs have to watch Oregon rise the ranks each week. Oregon is now 9-1 (7-0 in Pac-12 games) and has a good chance to make the College Football Playoffs. Die-hard Huskies are quickly becoming Utah fans in hopes that Oregon gets knocked out of playoff contention.

Apple Cup Victory

While Oregon’s reign is particularly annoying to UW football fans, the Apple Cup is the ultimate save-face. Yes, the Washington-Oregon rivalry is certainly up there, but it doesn’t hold a candle to UW-WSU hatred.

Since childhood, kids know where they stand. Household banners and decorations let the neighbors know where they stand. Jeers and taunts abound throughout the year. Because, unlike the Washington-Oregon rivalry, Huskies and Cougars see each other all the time. Family, friends and coworkers have to hold back their loathing whenever they see the enemy’s logo.

Ironically, as I write this in a local cafe, another coffee-drinker across from me is wearing a WSU sweater. I, too, must remain calm and keep my detest to myself.

So, regardless of UW Football falling off the playoff rails, a win against Washington State is still pure satisfaction.

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Bowl Eligibility

Currently, there are Pac-12 teams that are bowl eligible: Oregon, Utah, USC and Washington. There are also four Pac-12 programs just one win away from eligibility: Arizona State, Cal, Oregon State and Washington State. Of note, it would be a delight if Washington State lost to Oregon State in Week 13. Then, in the Apple Cup, the Huskies could stomp out any bowl chances for the Cougars.

Back to UW, they look good in bowl eligibility. Last season, seven Pac-12 teams made bowls appearances. If they can get wins against both Colorado and Washington State, they solidify their bowl claim. And though it won’t be another Rose Bowl, fans will still appreciate any bowl victory.

UW Football is the best recruiting program in the Pac-12

According to 247 sports, UW ranks first in the Pac-12 in 2020 recruiting. This is a jump from their second-place rank in 2019 and their third-place rank in 2018. Additionally, the Huskies also rank 14th nationally.

Of their hard commits, UW Football nabbed eight 4-Star recruits and one 5-Star Recruit:

  • Sav’ell Smalls – OLB – 5-Star
  • Jalen McMillan – WR – 4-Star
  • Myles Murao – OC – 4-Star
  • Roger Rosengarten – OT – 4-Star
  • Sam Adams II – ATH – 4-Star
  • Geirean Hatchett – OG – 4-Star
  • Ethan Garbers – PRO – 4-Star
  • Rome Odunze – WR – 4-Star
  • Mark Redman – TE – 4-Star

Yes, it’s a off season for the Dawgs. But, their commitment to recruiting is impressive. UW Football’s coaches and staff never stop recruiting. They get young stars to buy-in to their program and it’s a great look for the Huskies. Continual recruiting is how top programs stay top programs.

They aren’t perfect, but the Huskies can end the year on a high note

At 6-and-4, there are still plenty of reasons to enjoy the Huskies. Even though they’ve struggled to finish games, UW Football knows how to finish a season. To fully please the fans, donors and future recruits, the Dawgs need to:

  • Beat Colorado
  • Win the Apple Cup
  • Claim a Bowl Victory
  • Recruit additional four and five-star 2020 recruits

Unafraidshow Bold Prediction: Call football beats USC

California Golden Bears win debut against UC Davis

What the odds say about Cal Football’s chances

Per Vegas sports-books, Cal Football opened as 6.5-point underdogs. ESPN’s Football Power Index gave USC a 63.1-percent chance of winning, while numberFire’s Win Probability gave USC a 59.2-percent chance. Adding to that, USC is ranked fifth in Unafraidshow’s Pac-12 Power Rankings, while Cal is seventh. Almost everyone has USC claiming the victory.

Why USC Should Win

It’s for good reason, too. Don’t get me wrong. USC is a good team. They are 6-and-4, bowl eligible and have a breakout quarterback.

USC’s Offense

Currently, USC’s offense averages:

  • 30.5 points-per-game
  • 444 yards-per-game (311 passing, 133 rushing)
  • 45-percent success rate on third down (59 of 131)
  • 56-percent success rate on fourth down (5 of 9)

In nine games this season, Kedon Slovis looks like a future-star.

His 156.1 Passing Efficiency Rating and 20-9 touchdown-interception ratio are both good. In the seven games he’s started and finished, Slovis has four wins, three losses. His wins came against Stanford, Arizona, Colorado and Arizona State. When he started, USC lost to BYU, Notre Dame and Oregon. All in all, he’s played well for a rookie.

Star Wide Receivers

With all the praise given to Slovis, it’s important to remember that USC’s wide receivers are the stars of the show. In the Pac-12 conference, USC’s top-three wide outs are each top-ten in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.

  • Michael Pittman Jr.
    • 71 (No. 1) receptions
    • 938 (No. 1) receiving yards
    • 8 (No. 3) receiving touchdowns
  • Tyler Vaughns
    • 62 (No. 3) receptions
    • 752 (No. 4) receiving yards
    • 5 (No. 8) receiving touchdowns
  • Amon-Ra St. Brown
    • 55 (No. 5) receptions
    • 666 (No. 7) receiving yards
    • 5 (No. 8) receiving touchdowns

USC’s Defense

On defense, they’re holding teams to 28.1 points-per-game and 418 yards-per-game. That’s not ideal, considering they’re only averaging 30.5 points-per-game. But, it highlights why they are 6-and-4 and not 8-2.

Why Cal Football will win

Injuries to USC

Unfortunately, USC’s recent health hasn’t been good. Running backs Stephen Carr, Merkese Stepp and Vavae Malepeai were all out. Hopefully Carr and Malepeai can play against Cal. But if not, USC plays without three, key running backs.

More importantly, USC’s Brett Neilon left last week’s game with a calf strain. That calf strain sidelines him for multiple weeks, while Justin Dedich takes over. Adding to that is the health of Kedon Slovis. Again, during the same game against WSU, Slovis dealt with cramps that briefly sidelined him. While he sat out two series, they had to use an IV pump.

After starting out the game 15 of 17 for 297 yards and 4 touchdowns (on the first four drives), USC slumped. They only scored three points the rest of the game. Following the four touchdowns, their drives ended:

  • 5 punts
  • One fumble
  • One interception
  • One turnover on downs
  • One field goal

If USC isn’t in better health, Cal football takes the W.

Cal Football’s Defensive Strength

While not elite anymore, the Cal football defense is still good. They rank 30th in DFEI, according to footballoutsiders. Their .38 DFEI best USC’s .25 DFEI. Additionally, the strength of Cal’s defense directly challenges the strength of USC’s offense. Cal’s secondary is their best feature, while USC’s talent is in their receiving corps. They’ll have their work cut out for them guarding Michael Pittman Jr., but if anyone can do it, Cal can.

Chase Garbers is back

Remember Chase Garbers?

Back when the Cal football program was winning and ranked, Garbers was their guy. Before his Week 5 injury, Garbers led Cal to four straight wins. In five games (one partial), Garbers showcased a 148.1 Passing Efficiency Rating, alongside an 8-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio. After years of poor play, Cal actually had an offense. Following his injury, they lost four straight games.

But now, finally throwing without limitations, Chase Garbers is good to go. Even if Justin Wilcox won’t name him as the starter yet, he should be. Garbers played well enough at the start of the season to earn the job. Moreover, Garbers brings a running dimension. Oh, and let’s not forget that Garbers led Cal football to a victory last season against USC.

Recap of the Pac-12 Referee Debacle during WSU vs Cal

Pac-12 Referees at it Again

Wow. That was the worst call of the season. Every Washington State fan should be infuriated. It is despicable what the Pac-12 referees and officials did to their team. While mistakes happen every game, this was without a doubt a horrible penalty. But, even worse, this poor call and what ensued after uncovered pure incompetency by the Pac-12 conference.

For those that missed it, here’s what happened:

Saturday (An Egregious Mistake)

  • Down 20-11 in the third quarter, WSU’s Travell Harris returns kickoff to the 50-yard line.
  • WSU penalized for illegal hands to the face. Football placed at WSU 8-yard line.
  • Referee realizes he made an error. Because the penalty was against WSU, it should have been placed at Cal’s 35-yard line. The drive results in a field goal.
  • WSU loses to Cal 20-33

Sunday (Incorrect Apology)

Pac-12 Statement
  • First, the Pac-12 releases the above statement acknowledging “mechanics error”.
  • In that statement, they claim that WSU was informed of the mistake “After the next play was run”.
  • In punishment, the Pac-12 suspends referee for one game and crew is “downgraded”.

Tuesday (Where is No. 15???)

Wednesday (6:38 of Game Clock)

  • In review, the Pac-12 corrects its statement that they informed Washington State “after the next play was run.”
  • After realizing his mistake, Matt Richards (referee) decided to wait until the next media break to inform Washington State. Their drive took up 6 minutes and 38 seconds of the game clock…

What this all means for Pac-12 refereeing

Among college football, the Pac-12 is not respected. It’s the ugly duckling of the Power Five. Because of mistakes like this, and other failures of Larry Scott, Pac-12 football is taunted.

For Pac-12 fans, it’s clear that Pac-12 referees are inconsistent and consistently make poor judgment calls. But, it’s one thing to make a mistake as an official. It’s an entirely other issue to have no measures to correct it.

Is this not 2019? Don’t we have booths, staff and video replay? The Pac-12 should utilize on-site and off-site video assistants to make sure that errors like this don’t happen. Honestly, it’s pathetic. Absolutely depressing. Football programs shouldn’t endure Pac-12 referee mistakes that ruin a game. We are better than this.

It’s about time that the Pac-12 owns up to its faults, corrects its mistakes and takes action for the future. Apologies aren’t enough.

What are the Worst Pac-12 Referee Mistakes?

If you remember an official error that is bigger than this one, comment below or Tweet at us!