Pac-12: Stanford Cardinal

College football is not only about being good. It's about scheduling.

Who you don't play is often as important as who you do. Just look at the SEC, where retaining an eight-game conference schedule in a 14-team league is Machiavellian genius. It's cowardly and fraudulent, of course, but it might help the conference get more teams in the College Football Playoff.

Anyway... back to the Pac-12, a 12-team league that plays a nine-game conference schedule.

So let's look at how the Pac-12 schedules stack up, starting with the North Division (*-denotes FCS team; toughest nonconference game bolded):

CALIFORNIA

Nonconference slate: Aug. 30, at Northwestern (5-7); Sept. 16, Sacramento State (5-7)*; Nov. 29, BYU (8-5)

Pac-12 misses: Arizona State, Utah

Road games (5): at Northwestern, at Arizona, at Washington State, at Oregon State, at USC

Bye weeks: Sept. 13 (before Pac-12 schedule begins), Nov. 8 (before Thursday game at USC)

Skinny: Last year, California had the third-toughest schedule in the country with Ohio State and Northwestern on the slate. This year, things are more manageable, though the Bears will almost always be hurt by playing UCLA and USC every year, per agreement with the Pac-12 office. This schedule is far from easy, as a trip to Chicago is no cakewalk, and BYU is pretty much the equivalent of a B-list Big Five foe. The home conference schedule is much tougher than the road trips, but that can operate against a team struggling to climb from the bottom of the standings. The byes are reasonably spread throughout the year -- recall the useless "bye" last year the final weekend of the season -- though USC is also off before the Thursday game. The Bears also get a couple of extra days to prepare for the Big Game against Stanford due to the Thursday kickoff.

OREGON

Nonconference slate: Aug. 30, South Dakota (4-8)*; Sept. 6, Michigan State (13-1); Sept. 13, Wyoming (5-7)

Pac-12 misses: Arizona State, USC

Road games (5): at Washington State, at UCLA, at California, at Utah, at Oregon State

Bye weeks: Sept. 27 (before Thursday game with Arizona); Nov. 15 (before Colorado)

Skinny: This schedule sets up for a national championship run, including the Pac-12's nonconference game of the year against Michigan State, a likely top-5 team. The Ducks miss two South teams that are almost certain to be ranked in the preseason, so those are good misses. They don't play consecutive road games all season. By playing at Cal on a Friday, they get an extra day to prepare for Stanford at home. The Oct. 11 trip to UCLA could loom large in the national title race, and we might get a rematch in the Pac-12 championship game. So, because the Ducks play Arizona on a Thursday night, it's notable they will get a couple of extra days to prepare for the Bruins.

OREGON STATE

Nonconference slate: Aug. 30, Portland State (6-6)*; Sept. 6, Hawaii (1-11); Sept. 20, San Diego State (8-5)

Pac-12 misses: Arizona, UCLA

Road games (5): at Hawaii, at USC, at Colorado, at Stanford, at Washington

Bye weeks: Sept. 13 (before San Diego State); Oct. 11 (before Thursday game with Utah)

Skinny: The Beavers have the weakest nonconference schedule in the conference. They also have a bye before playing host to San Diego State, which might be good coming after a long trip to Hawaii. The conference misses are good, as UCLA is a top-10 team and Arizona is at least solid. The road schedule is tough, though the Beavers have recently had some success versus USC, at least at home. The Thursday game with Utah provides extra time to prepare for the trip to Stanford. They play four of their first seven games on the road, but the upside is playing four of the final five at home. The trip to Washington looms large as a North Division separation game. And will the Beavers play spoilers for Oregon at home in the season finale?

STANFORD

Nonconference slate: Aug. 30, UC Davis (5-7)*; Sept. 13, Army (3-9); Oct. 4, at Notre Dame (9-4)

Pac-12 misses: Arizona, Colorado

Road games (6): at Washington, at Notre Dame, at Arizona State, at Oregon, at California, at UCLA

Bye weeks: Sept. 20 (before Washington); Nov. 8 (before Utah)

Skinny: A brutal schedule. Just like last year. The trip to Notre Dame is never easy. From a preseason perspective, the misses are the least advantageous in the Pac-12. There are six road games, five of which should be against teams ranked in the preseason top 25. The Cardinal plays Washington and Notre Dame on the road on back-to-back weekends, and three of their final four games are on the road. The bye before playing the Huskies is well-timed, and you might recall that Stanford lost to Utah last year, so that bye isn't bad either. Of course, if the Cardinal emerge from this schedule at 11-1 and then win the Pac-12 championship, they not only will make the College Football Playoff, they might be seeded No. 1.

WASHINGTON

Nonconference slate: Aug. 30, at Hawaii (1-11); Sept. 6, Eastern Washington (12-3)*; Sept. 13, Illinois (4-8); Sept. 20, Georgia State (0-12)

Pac-12 misses: Utah, USC

Road games (6): at Hawaii, at California, at Oregon, at Colorado, at Arizona, at Washington State

Bye week: Oct. 4 (before game at Cal)

Skinny: The Huskies play 13 games due to an NCAA rule that allows them to after taking a trip to Hawaii, and they have given themselves a pretty darn soft nonconference slate. Anything less than 4-0 would be a massive disappointment. The bad news about 13 regular season games is just one off weekend, and a break before visiting Cal doesn't seem ideal, though it does come after what should be a physically taxing matchup with Stanford. The misses are not unhelpful, particularly no game with USC. The final four games figure to define the season, with UCLA and Oregon State coming to Husky Stadium and trips to Arizona and Washington State. Hard to believe a 3-1 finish wouldn't make Chris Petersen's first season feel successful.

WASHINGTON STATE

Nonconference slate: Aug. 28 in Seattle, Rutgers (6-7); Sept. 6 at Nevada (4-8); Sept. 13 Portland State (6-6)*

Pac-12 misses: UCLA, Colorado

Road games (5, with the Rutgers game played in Seattle): at Nevada, at Utah, at Stanford, at Oregon State, at Arizona State

Bye week: Oct. 17 (before Arizona); Nov. 15 (before game at Arizona State)

Skinny: The nonconference slate is manageable, if not completely soft. Cougars fans have a right to believe 3-0 is the most likely scenario in Year 3 under Mike Leach. Playing Rutgers in Seattle rates as a 50-percent road game, as it breaks from routine, if not fan support. A road trip to Nevada could be tricky. Missing UCLA is good; missing Colorado probably isn't. Can the Cougs go 2-2 in conference play on the road? That might be the key to the season. That and beating the hated Huskies at home to conclude the campaign. It's not too much of a stretch to see eight wins on this schedule.

Pac-12 lunch links

May, 28, 2014
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I know we usually start with song lyrics, but in honor of the extraordinary Maya Angelou, who passed away Wednesday morning, I thought it'd be appropriate to start Wednesday's lunch links with one of my favorite quotes from her.

"I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back."

Now, on to the links.

Way-too-early bowl projections

May, 27, 2014
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ESPN.com's Brett McMurphy and Mark Schlabach have made their "way-too-early" bowl projections, and both foresee Oregon representing the Pac-12 in the inaugural four-team College Football Playoff.

McMurphy has the Ducks facing Ohio State in the Rose Bowl, one of the semifinal sites. Schlabach has the Ducks playing Alabama in the Rose. Both matchups likely would inspire plenty of "yes, please" among college football fans -- ignoring the fact that said fans obviously want their teams in those spots.

In the other semifinal -- the Sugar Bowl -- McMurphy has Alabama playing Oklahoma and Schlabach has Florida State taking on Michigan State.

Both also project Stanford making another trip to the Fiesta Bowl. McMurphy has the Cardinal playing Michigan State -- a rematch of January's Rose Bowl -- and Schlabach has the Cardinal playing Wisconsin, a rematch of the Rose Bowl following the 2012 season.

In total, both believe at least eight Pac-12 teams will earn bowl berths: Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Washington, Oregon State, Arizona State and Arizona. McMurphy projects a ninth with Washington State in the Heart of Dallas Bowl opposite Rice.

Buffalo Wild Wings: Oregon State vs. TCU (McMurphy), Oregon State vs. TCU (Schlabach)
Las Vegas: Utah State vs. Arizona (McMurphy), Boise State vs. Arizona (Schlabach)
Heart of Dallas: Washington State vs. Rice (McMurphy)
Sun: Louisville vs. Arizona State (McMurphy), Duke vs. Arizona State (Schlabach)
Holiday: Nebraska vs. USC (McMurphy), Washington vs. Iowa (Schlabach)
San Francisco: Minnesota vs. Washington (McMurphy), Minnesota vs. USC (Schlabach)
Alamo: Texas vs. UCLA (McMurphy), Kansas State vs. UCLA (Schlabach)
Fiesta: Stanford vs. Michigan State (McMurphy), Stanford vs. Wisconsin (Schlabach)
*Rose: Ohio State vs. Oregon (McMurphy), Alabama vs. Oregon (Schlabach)
*Sugar: Alabama vs. Oklahoma (McMurphy), Florida State vs. Michigan State (Schlabach)

*-College Football Playoff semifinals

These are perfectly reasonable and defensible projections, though the Pac-12 blog at present sees UCLA as a more likely No. 2 seed coming out of the Pac-12. You could make an argument that Utah might give the Pac-12 10 teams with legitimate designs on bowl eligibility.
Over the last two weeks we’ve been taking a look at some players who had big springs for their respective teams. Some are upperclassmen finally coming into their own, some are younger guys taking advantage of open spots on the depth chart, while others are leap frogging some older players and making a name for themselves. Regardless, there were plenty of impressive performances in the Pac-12 this spring. All of these players are going to play a big part for their teams this fall, but which player do you think will be the most crucial to his team’s success in 2014? Rank them 1-12 here.

Here’s a breakdown of the players we’ve profiled over the past two weeks:

Arizona: WR Cayleb Jones -- The Wildcats might have the deepest wide receiver group in the entire conference, but could a Texas transfer become the most important one of the bunch? With a year spent studying the offense and learning from the sideline, Jones could be a major factor.

Arizona State: LB D.J. Calhoun -- The early enrollee ended the spring listed as a starter with Antonio Longino at the weakside linebacker position. With the Sun Devils trying to replace three starting linebackers, could Calhoun become a significant contributor as a true freshman? Seems likely.

Cal: RB Daniel Lasco -- Lasco found himself taking some extra reps this spring as Khalfani Muhammad (last season’s leading rusher) split time between the Cal track and football teams this spring. During his career he has been slowed by injury, but now that he’s finally healthy and taking more reps, could he battle Muhammad for the lead spot this fall?

Colorado: WR Bryce Bobo -- Colorado fans should feel encouraged by Bobo’s spring game performance (five catches, 132 yards) as they head into the summer wondering who can replace Paul Richardson's yardage. It’s highly unlikely that it’ll be one single player, but could Bobo carry a large part of it?

Oregon: WR Devon Allen -- When he wasn’t running for the Oregon track team this spring he was running circles around some Ducks defensive backs. The redshirt freshman could prove to be a huge player for Oregon as they look to replace last season’s top-three receivers as well as injured Bralon Addison’s production.

Oregon State: WR Victor Bolden -- Could Bolden be a possible replacement for some of the yardage lost by Biletnikoff Award winner Brandin Cooks? He has seen most of his time on special teams, but could step up as a big contributor in the fall as QB Sean Mannion looks to have another very big season for the Beavers.

Stanford: DL Aziz Shittu -- The sophomore, who can play every spot on the defensive line for the Cardinal, has received high praise this spring. Coach David Shaw said Shittu was, “probably the player of spring for us.” If it’s good enough for Shaw, is that good enough for you?

[+] EnlargeNelson Agholor
Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY SportsHow will USC wideout Nelson Agholor follow up his stellar 2013 season and excellent spring?
UCLA: CB Fabian Moreau -- He was a big contributor to the Bruins last season but during this spring season Moreau became a better leader for UCLA. Coach Jim Mora has given Moreau high praise and if the Bruins are able to take the South Division title next season, a bit part could be because of the breakout year Moreau could have.

USC: WR Nelson Agholor -- Chances are if you’re a USC fan, you know who Agholor is. If you’re not -- then he was the guy who played opposite Marqise Lee. But this spring Agholor took the steps to go from good WR to great WR, and next fall, the fruits of his labor could be on display for the entire conference to see.

Utah: RB Devontae Booker -- Booker is right on the heels of RB Bubba Poole, as displayed by his spring game performance (2 touchdowns, 19 carries, 103 yards). But between Booker, Poole and Troy McCormick, the Utes could have a three-headed monster at running back that Pac-12 teams would not enjoy having to face.

Washington: LB/RB Shaq Thompson -- He was the second-leading tackler for the Huskies last season so it wasn’t a defensive breakout spring for him. But considering he started getting offensive reps, it was a breakout spring for him as a running back. UW needs to replace Bishop Sankey’s yardage, could Thompson’s spring give him a jump start to do so?

Washington State: WR Vince Mayle -- The converted running back had a big spring for the Cougars. This spring Mayle got close to becoming quarterback Connor Halliday’s safety net. Considering Halliday threw for more than 4,500 yards last season, being his safety net would mean major, major yardage next fall.
On Thursday, the 2014 College Football Hall of Fame Class was announced. Unsurprisingly, the Pac-12 was well represented among the 2014 honorees.

Of the 14 players selected, three were Pac-12 alumni: former USC offensive tackle Tony Boselli, former Stanford running back Darrin Nelson and former UCLA quarterback John Sciarra.

Former Oregon coach Mike Bellotti was one of the two coaches selected for the honor. The other was former Appalachian State coach Jerry Moore.

The 16-man class will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame on Dec. 9 at the 57th National Football Foundation annual awards dinner in New York City.

College Football Hall of Fame Class, 2014
DB Dre Bly, UNC
OT Tony Boselli, USC
OT Dave Butz, Purdue
LB Shane Conlan, Penn State
QB Joe Hamilton, Georgia Tech
RB Darrin Nelson, Stanford
OT Willie Roaf, Louisiana Tech
QB John Sciarra, UCLA
WR Sterling Sharpe, South Carolina
LB Derrick Thomas, Alabama
RB LaDainian Tomlinson, TCU
TE Wesley Walls, Ole Miss
Mike Bellotti, Oregon coach
Jerry Moore, Appalachian State coach
And I would walk 500 miles and I would walk 500 more.

Top five recruiting jobs: Pac-12 

May, 21, 2014
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While Pac-12 parity is on the rise thanks to an influx of money and dynamic coaching, all things still are not equal on the recruiting scene. The conference as a whole has more to offer recruits than ever before, but location and tradition simply can't be trumped, as we take a look at the five best recruiting jobs in the Pac-12.

[+] EnlargeTommy Trojan
Kirby Lee/USA TODAY SportsIt's tough to beat the tradition of USC, especially for the rest of the Pac-12.
1. USC

Proximity to out-of-state talent: Finding out-of-state talent ranks a distant second to locking up in-state recruits, of which a large majority lives near USC's home in Los Angeles. The top players from Arizona, Washington and Nevada are easy enough to reach, while going into the Southeast is made possible by the draw that is Los Angeles. Still the distance to Florida and the rest of the Southeast does take a number of talented prospects off the board before the recruiting process even really begins.

Pac-12 lunch links

May, 20, 2014
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Sail on silver girl. Sail on by. Your time has come to shine. All your dreams are on their way. See how they shine.
We continue our look at breakout players from spring practice. Today, the Stanford Cardinal.

Breakout player: DL Aziz Shittu

2013 statistics: Recorded five tackles in 10 games, including one in the Pac-12 championship game.

[+] EnlargeAziz Shittu
AP Photo/Marcio Jose SanchezStanford coach David Shaw said DL Aziz Shittu was "probably the player of spring for us."
The case for Shittu: Over the past two years, Shittu has been an interesting player to watch progress. He arrived on The Farm after a high-profile recruitment that included just about the entire Pac-12 and several national powers. He had the type of profile that made it seem plausible for the Atwater, Calif., native to contribute early in his college career.

It didn't exactly play out that way. Stanford pulled his redshirt midway through his freshman season in 2012, but Shittu held minimal roles the past two seasons. After a strong spring, it appears that will change this season.

Shittu is listed at defensive end, but he can contribute at all three spots on the defensive line, which will be without Ben Gardner and Josh Mauro, both of whom are beginning their NFL careers. Among the players Shittu will compete with for snaps are Blake Lueders and tight-end convert Luke Kaumatule. DE Henry Anderson, a potential All-American, and DT David Parry, a one-time walk-on, both return.

Stanford coach David Shaw was complimentary of Shittu throughout the spring, especially after the spring game when he called him, "probably the player of spring for us."

Other spring breakout players:

Arizona: WR Cayleb Jones

Arizona State: LB D.J. Calhoun

Cal: RB Daniel Lasco

Colorado: WR Bryce Bobo

Oregon: WR Devon Allen

Oregon State: WR Victor Bolden
The 2014 NFL draft has come and gone and taken some of the best Pac-12 players with it. But, there is still a lot -- A LOT -- of talent left in the league for the 2014 season, including several underclassmen who finished in the top 10 in different statistical categories last season.

Here’s a breakdown of the top returners in the Pac-12:

[+] EnlargeHawaii Bowl
AP Photo/Eugene TannerSean Mannion leads a group of returning Pac-12 QBs that is the envy of the nation.
PASSING YARDS PER GAME
1. Sean Mannion, Oregon State, 358.6 yards per game (1st in Pac-12 in 2013)
2. Connor Halliday, Washington State, 353.6 yards per game (2nd)
3. Jared Goff, Cal, 292.3 yards per game (3rd)
4. Marcus Mariota, Oregon, 281.9 yards per game (4th)
5. Taylor Kelly, Arizona State, 259.6 yards per game (5th)
6. Brett Hundley, UCLA, 236.2 yards per game (7th)
7. Cody Kessler, USC, 212.0 yards per game (8th)
8. Travis Wilson, Utah, 203.0 yards per game (9th)

  • Of note: We keep talking about how strong the Pac-12 quarterbacks will be next season, but the fact eight of the top-10 passers from last season will be back in 2014 is a bit ridiculous. Last season, the SEC didn’t have anyone who averaged more than 350 yards per game. Its only player who averaged more than 300 yards per game (Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, 316.5 yards per game) is gone. The Big 12 had one player average more than 300 yards per game (Baylor’s Bryce Petty), and he’s back for 2014. But between the ACC and Big Ten quarterbacks, there wasn’t a single one that even averaged more than 300 passing yards per game.
RUSHING YARDS PER GAME:
1. Byron Marshall, Oregon, 86.5 yards per game (5th)
2. Tre Madden, USC, 63.9 yards per game (7th)
3. Michael Adkins II, Colorado, 59.4 yards per game (8th)
4. Thomas Tyner, Oregon, 59.2 yards per game (9th)
5. Brett Hundley, UCLA, 57.5 yards per game (10th)

  • Of note: The top two rushers last season were both underclassmen who declared early for the NFL draft (Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey and Washington’s Bishop Sankey). The third- and fourth-ranked rushers were both seniors. This is a rare category where two players from the same school are both in the current top five and last season’s top 10. However, it’ll be interesting to watch the position battle between Marshall and Tyner to see which finishes this season as the Ducks’ top rusher, and that player could likely be at the top of this list come season’s end.
RECEIVING YARDS PER GAME:
1. Dres Anderson, Utah, 83.5 yards per game (4th)
2. Jaelen Strong, Arizona State, 80.1 yards per game (5th)
3. Chris Harper, Cal, 77.5 yards per game (6th)
4. Bralon Addison*, Oregon, 68.5 yards per game (8th)
5. Ty Montgomery, Stanford, 68.4 yards per game (9th)
6. Nelson Agholor, USC, 65.5 yards per game (10th)

  • Of note: For as strong as the conference is in returning QBs, there are a lot of notable receivers not on the list. The top three receivers in the league are gone, and even though Mannion and Halliday averaged more than 350 passing yards per game last season, they don’t have a single returning receiver in the top 10. The conference doesn’t have a returning receiver who averaged more than 100 yards per game in 2013.
[+] EnlargeAddison Gilliam
AP Photo/David ZalubowskiFreshman Colorado linebacker Addison Gillam (44) led the conference in tackles per game in 2013.
TACKLES PER GAME:
1. Addison Gillam, Colorado, 8.9 per game (1st)
2. Eric Kendricks, UCLA, 8.8 per game (3rd)
3. Jason Whittingham, Utah, 8.1 per game (6th)
4. Derrick Malone, Oregon, 8.1 per game (7th)
5. Tyrequek Zimmerman, Oregon State, 8.0 (T-8th)

  • Of note: Gillam, who was a freshman last season, joins Mannion in the select group of individuals who led in a statistical category in 2013 and is back for 2014. In this group, Zimmerman is the only non-linebacker.
INTERCEPTIONS:
1. Steven Nelson, Oregon State, 6 (T-1st)
2. Marcus Peters, Washington, 5 (T-5th)
3. Greg Henderson, Colorado, 4 (T-9th)
4. Tra'Mayne Bondurant, Arizona, 4 (T-9th)

  • Of note: Quarterbacks, feel free to sling it. With only a handful of defensive threats deep, some signal-callers are going to feel much more confident sending a ball down field.
SACKS (TOTAL):
1. Hau'oli Kikaha, Washington, 13 (2nd)
2. Jacoby Hale*, Utah, 6.5 (4th)
3. Tony Washington, Oregon, 7.5 (T-9th)

  • Of note: We’ve talked a lot this offseason, and even in this story, about how good the quarterbacks are going to be this season. Well, here’s one more reason why they’ll be so good -- so few pass rushers return. Two (maybe three) of the top 10 from last season are back. Kikaha, who was second in the Pac-12 last season to Stanford’s Trent Murphy, will be the likely frontrunner for sacks leader in 2014 and he’ll have the opportunity to go up against some of the best QBs in the league -- of the eight returning top-10 quarterbacks, the Huskies will face six.

* Denotes a player who suffered a severe injury that could keep him out of the 2014 season

Pac-12's lunch links

May, 19, 2014
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The dream of the '90s is alive in Portland. The dream of the '90s is alive in Portland. The tattoo ink never runs dry.
It’s time to start thinking about preseason watch lists. And the first one out is the Lott IMPACT Trophy, which is given annually to the defensive player who has the biggest “impact” on his team -- impact being an acronym for Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity.

The award is in its 11th year.

Of the 42 players on this year’s watch list, 11 come from the Pac-12:
UCLA’s Anthony Barr was the 2013 winner. Cal’s Dante Hughes was the league’s only other winner, in 2006.

Other previous winners include Manti Te’o (Notre Dame, 2012), Luke Kuechly (Boston College, 2011), J.J. Watt (Wisconsin, 2010), Jerry Hughes (TCU, 2009), James Laurinaitis (Ohio State, 2008), Glenn Dorsey (LSU, 2007), DeMeco Ryans (Alabama, 2005) and David Pollack (Georgia, 2004).

You can click here for the complete watch list.
And so we will have a Pac-12 championship game at a neutral site.

Levi’s Stadium is going to give fans a new experience for the Pac-12 championship game and the opportunity to travel to a city that wouldn’t have been on their travel list before. The stadium itself is in Santa Clara, Calif. -- about one hour outside of San Francisco and 10 minutes from the San Jose (Calif.) International Airport.

SportsNation

If the championship game were to become a rotating-site event, where would you most like to see it hosted next?

  •  
    38%
  •  
    11%
  •  
    28%
  •  
    23%

Discuss (Total votes: 4,804)

But this got the Pac-12 blog thinking. If league commissioner Larry Scott ever decided that it would be a rotating neutral site for every season’s championship, where would you most like to see the game?

So we racked our brains and came up with three other stadiums. These three stadiums all fit a criterion, which we established. First, it must be a neutral site. As much as we love the view at Husky Stadium or the feel of the Rose Bowl, neutral means neutral and since we can’t go to Switzerland, our options became a bit more limited.

Second, it would need to be a sizable stadium with the growing interest in the Pac-12 conference, so we looked in the 65,000-plus seating level. And third, it needs to be in a favorable city. A championship game is going to bring an influx of football fans and those fans need food, drink and entertainment.

Thus, we came up with three fantastic options that span the entire west coast and give an array of options for football fans.

1. CenturyLink Field, Seattle. Though the obvious headliner for this stadium is the Backstreet Boys’ reunion tour (May 22, tickets still available), this would be an excellent choice for the Pac-12 championship game. The stadium seats 67,000 but can be expanded to 72,000 for special events. The field is fantastic and is the home of the Seattle Seahawks and the Seattle Sounders FC. The city of Seattle is a gem. Where else can you visit the original Starbucks, the Space Needle, Pike Place Market and go for an underground city tour all in one day? The main deterrent would be the weather. The average low in Seattle in December is 36 degrees and the average high is 47. So if fans are looking for a tropical getaway (and the Seattle Aquarium just isn’t going to do it for you), then this wouldn’t be the best place. But for a fan who wants good football, a great stadium and fantastic food and drink, this could be a very viable option.

2. Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver. Again, a great city, a great venue and another great option for the Pac-12 championship game. Like Seattle, it is a city that wouldn’t feature a tropical climate in early December (Average high: 43, average low: 17), but haven’t you ever watched the fans at Lambeau Field and wondered what it was like to bundle up and watch a game? (No? OK, fine.) But imagine the satisfaction you could get walking into the stadium and shouting, “Omaha! Omaha!” Similar to Seattle, it’s an easily accessible city and one that people would have no problem spending a few days in. Between the live music, the Denver Art Museum and food options, you can’t go wrong. And if you have a free day before the big game, head out to the mountains and get in a day of skiing or snowboarding.

3. Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego. All right, so here’s an option that would bring fans to a location where they wouldn’t have to worry about packing a parka. In December, temperatures range between 48 and 65 degrees, on average. So for those who would gripe about the Pac-12 North teams having such a huge advantage if the game were to be played in Seattle or Denver, this might be the best option for you. The stadium seats just over 70,000 and has 19,000 parking spots on site (the most of these three options). And who doesn’t want to visit San Diego? Between the opportunity to quote Anchorman, a trip to the world-famous San Diego Zoo or the USS Midway Museum, there’s plenty to see and do.

Pac-12 recruiting roundup

May, 15, 2014
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With spring football done and the Pac-12 coaches hitting the recruiting trail, we figured it was time to check in on how each team is faring with its recruits.

Here's a look at where each school stands:


Arizona

2015 commits: 6
Players: Keenan Walker, OT, Scottsdale, Ariz.; Taren Morrison, RB, Mesa, Ariz.; Darick Holmes Jr., RB, Westlake Village, Calif.; Finton Connolly, DT, Gilbert, Ariz.; Alex Kosinski, OG, Larkspur, Calif.; Ricky McCoy, TE, Fresno, Calif.

2016 commits: 2
Players: Trevor Speights, RB, McAllen, Texas; Shea Patterson, QB, Shreveport, La.



Arizona State

2015 commits: 6
Players: Brady White, QB, Newhall, Calif.; Morie Evans, ATH, Huntsville, Texas; Bryce Perkins, QB, Chandler, Ariz.; Nick Ralston, RB, Argyle, Texas; Tony Nicholson, ATH, Grand Prairie, Texas; Raymond Epps, TE (JC), Yuma, Ariz.

2017 commit: 1
Player: Loren Mondy, DE, Mansfield, Texas


Cal

2015 commits: 4
Players: Austin Aaron, WR, Napa, Calif.; Greyson Bankhead, WR, Corona, Calif.; Malik Psalms, CB, Chino Hills, Calif.; Lonny Powell, RB, Sacramento, Calif.


Colorado


2015 commits: 3
Players: T.J. Fehoko, DE, Salt Lake City; N.J. Falo, OLB, Sacramento; Dillon Middlemiss, OG, Arvada, Colo.


Oregon

2015 commits: 4
Players: Taj Griffin, RB, Powder Springs, Ga.; Zach Okun, OG, Newbury Park, Calif.; Jake Breeland, WR, Mission Viejo, Calif.; Shane Lemieux, OT, Yakima, Wash.


Oregon State

2015 commits: 3
Players: Tyrin Ferguson, OLB, New Orleans; Kyle Haley, OLB, Anaheim, Calif.; Treshon Broughton, CB (JC), Tustin, Calif.


Stanford

2015 commits: 3
Players: Arrington Farrar, S, College Park, Ga.; Christian Folau, ILB, Salt Lake City; Rex Manu, DT, Mililani, Hawaii


UCLA

2015 commits: 7
Players: Josh Rosen, QB, Bellflower, Calif.; Alize Jones, TE, Las Vegas; Tevita Halalilo, OG, Moreno Valley, Calif.; L.J. Reed, WR, Elk Grove, Calif.; Jaason Lewis, ATH, Virginia Beach, Va.; Bolu Olorunfunmi, RB, Clovis, Calif.; Victor Alexander, ILB, Jacksonville, Fla.


USC

2015 commits: 5
Players: Chuma Edoga, OT, Powder Springs, Ga.; Ricky Town, QB, Ventura, Calif.; David Sills, QB, Elkton, Md.; Taeon Mason, CB, Pasadena, Calif.; Roy Hemsley, OT, Los Angeles


Utah

2015 commits: 7
Players: Jake Grant, OT, Scottsdale, Ariz.; Tuli Wily-Matagi, ATH, Kahuku, Hawaii; Donzale Roddie, WR, Paramount, Calif.; Chayden Johnson, K, South Jordan, Utah; Brandon Snell, WR (JC), Miami; Corey Butler, WR (JC), Wilmington, Calif.; Zach Lindsay, OT (JC), Kaysville, Utah


Washington

2015 commits: 3
Players: Jake Browning, QB, Folsom, Calif.; Trey Adams, OT, Wenatchee, Wash.; Myles Gaskin, RB, Seattle

2017 commit: 1
Player: Tathan Martell, QB, Poway, Calif.


Washington State

2015 commits: 5
Players: Thomas Toki, DT, Mountain View, Calif.; Austin Joyner, RB, Marysville, Wash.; Tyler Hilinski, QB, Upland, Calif.; Kameron Powell, S, Upland, Calif.; James Williams, RB, Burbank, Calif.
Picture yourself in a boat on a river with tangerine trees and marmalade skies. Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly. A girl with kaleidoscope eyes. Cellophane flowers of yellow and green towering over your head.

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