Pac-12: Utah Utes

Season review: Utah

January, 20, 2015
Jan 20
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Our 2014 season Pac-12 team-by-team grades continue. If you want to check out last season's reviews, click here.

Utah Utes

Offense: The Utes ranked eighth in scoring in the Pac-12 and tied for last with 5.3 yards per play, not to mention they couldn't get themselves set at quarterback. Again. While Utah fans are understandably grumpy about Dave Christensen departing to Texas A&M, meaning the Utes will have an eighth different offensive coordinator in eight years this fall, Christensen didn't really distinguish himself. The good news was the running game managed to average 4.4 yards per rush, which tied for third in the conference, despite a passing game that scared no one. So, yeah, when considering the return of four O-linemen and running back Devontae Booker in 2015, Utes fans should leap into the air and click their heels together three times. Grade: C

Defense: The Utes ranked fourth in the conference in scoring defense (24.9 ppg) and tied for third in yards per play yielded (5.3), so it was another season of strong defense in Salt Lake. Further, Utah ranked No. 1 in sacks (55) and No. 3 on third down. And you can bet coach Kyle Whittingham was thrilled about improved turnover production -- 21 in 2014 compared to 16 in 2013. Nate Orchard won the Ted Hendricks Award as the nation's best defensive end and earned All-America recognition. On the downside, coordinator Kalani Sitake bolted to Oregon State, but that doesn't count against what the Utes defense accomplished this past fall. Grade: B+

Special teams: We could go on and on about kicker Andy Phillips and punter Tom Hackett, both first-team All-Pac-12, or the fact that the Utes rank among the conference leaders in just about every other special-teams area of coverage and returns, but we won't. Simply, the Utes were by a wide margin the best Pac-12 team when it came to special teams and among the very best in the nation. Grade: A+

Overall: Utah's fourth year of Pac-12 play was its best. It posted its first winning record in conference play in a season when the South Division was the toughest division in the nation. It finished 9-4, won a bowl game and finished ranked No. 21 in the AP poll after posting consecutive losing seasons. It beat Michigan, USC and UCLA. It showed resilience in the fourth quarter. It overcame issues on offense. While the post-bowl, behind-the-scenes soap opera between Whittingham and AD Chris Hill was a bit of a downer, it can't subtract from what happened on the field, which certainly exceeded expectations. Grade: A-

Other Pac-12 reviews

Washington State

Washington

Stanford
This past season saw Marcus Mariota bring the Heisman Trophy back to the Pac-12 for the first time since 2005. Now that the league's top superstar is on his way to the NFL, focus shifts to the possibility of keeping the Heisman in the conference next season. Here's an early look at some Pac-12 candidates who may have a shot to succeed Mariota in 2015.

Scooby Wright, LB, Arizona

He's only a sophomore, yet Wright finished the season leading the nation in tackles (163), tackles for loss (29), and forced fumbles (6). He was the only player who averaged more than two TFL per game (2.07), and second place in that category (Hau'oli Kikaha, also from the Pac-12) was way down at 1.79. Simply put, Wright dominated the stat sheet in 2014, and that's what a defensive player must do to have any shot of contending for college football's grandest individual prize. Wright was the only Pac-12 player besides Mariota to finish in the top 10 of the Heisman balloting. His 17 votes put him on the radar for 2015.

Cody Kessler, QB, USC

Kessler's 2014 season created a true rarity: A statistically impressive USC quarterback flew under the Heisman radar. With the Trojans actually early Vegas favorites in the Pac-12's bid to again send a team to the College Football Playoff, don't expect that to repeat itself in 2015. Kessler threw only five interceptions in 452 attempts (only Mariota's interception rate was better), and he completed 70 percent of his passes in a season that saw USC finish with two consecutive strong offensive performances. Kessler's performance against top-flight competition must improve in 2015, but he'll undoubtedly be in the way-too-early Heisman discussion because of his 2014 numbers.

[+] EnlargeScooby Wright
Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY SportsArizona linebacker Scooby Wright was the only Pac-12 player to finish in the top 10 of the Heisman voting besides Marcus Mariota.
Royce Freeman, RB, Oregon

Seeing a true freshman succeed is by no means a college football rarity, but Freeman's bruising style of productivity was indeed unusual for a youngster. The 230-pounder is built like a senior, and he ran like one in 2014, becoming the first true freshman 1,000-yard rusher in Ducks history. Freeman led Pac-12 backs with 18 touchdowns -- scoring seems to be a Heisman prerequisite -- and his workload is likely to increase in 2015 when increased experience and Mariota's departure are both taken into account.

Paul Perkins, RB, UCLA

Most of the UCLA glory went to Brett Hundley, but he's moving on. That means that Paul Perkins' eye-popping productivity will have more of a chance to shine in 2015. Perkins led the Pac-12 with 1,575 rushing yards this past season, and his average of 6.3 yards per carry was head and shoulders above other runners with at least 200 attempts. Perhaps Perkins' touchdown total hindered his visibility -- he rushed for only nine -- but with Hundley's 10 rushing touchdowns out the door, expect more end zone visits for the running back in 2015.

Devontae Booker, RB, Utah

Booker's return to Salt Lake City is a major boost to the Utes' offense moving forward. The team' passing attack was inconsistent at best in 2014, and that made Booker's 1,500-yard season -- second-best in the Pac-12 -- essential to Utah's success. With the quarterback position remaining a question mark entering 2015, Booker is again set to be Kyle Whittingham's offensive centerpiece. Expect more big numbers in the 203-pounder's senior season.

Jared Goff, QB, Cal

It's extremely difficult to enter the Heisman conversation when playing on a team that went 1-11 the year prior. That was Goff's predicament in 2014, when he threw for nearly 4,000 yards and established a solid 5:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio as the Bears improved to 5-7. Fair or not, that record will still prevent Goff from being a popular preseason award candidate, but it certainly puts him in better position than he was in a year ago. Goff seems primed for another statistical jump, and that makes him an early candidate for some 2015 attention.

D.J. Foster, RB/WR, Arizona State

Foster was the only Pac-12 player to finish with more than 1,000 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards in 2014. His 62 catches were second to only Jaelen Strong in Tempe, and the big receiver's departure to the NFL means that Foster should have more opportunities to score touchdowns in 2014 (he found the end zone 12 times in 2014). Todd Graham retains plenty of explosiveness at ASU: Foster has shown he can light up highlight reels, while Demario Richard averaged 5.7 yards per carry while playing almost all of 2014 as a 17-year old.

Nick Wilson, RB, Arizona

A healthy Anu Solomon may get some Heisman run in Rich Rodriguez's offense next season, but the true freshman Wilson delivered the most impressive 2014, so he's more prominent on our early radar. Wilson actually led all non-kickers in Pac-12 scoring, averaging 7.8 points per game. His power-speed combination fueled a 1,375-yard, 5.8 per carry, 17-touchdown season.

Kevin Hogan, QB, Stanford

Hogan is the latest addition to the 2015 Heisman radar, yet it would only be fair to classify him as a long shot at this point. Still, the quarterback's impressive finish to the 2014 season merits at least a mention on this list. Hogan battled considerable adversity this past year: His father passed away in December after a battle with cancer. Hogan delivered sterling performances against UCLA and Maryland to round out the campaign. He passed precisely and rushed effectively in both contests. Stanford returns most of its offensive talent in 2015, so a continuation of that strong finish is possible — especially if explosive youngster Christian McCaffrey continues to emerge as a force to be reckoned with.

Weekend recruiting wrap: Pac-12 

January, 20, 2015
Jan 20
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video
This past weekend was the first time since the middle of December that recruits and coaches could meet face to face and Pac-12 programs took advantage, as dozens of prospects took official visits to conference programs. With signing day rapidly approaching, recruiting fans got a sense of what the next two weeks could be like, as there were plenty of news and notes since Friday.

Pac-12 morning links

January, 20, 2015
Jan 20
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I was hiding under your porch because I love you.

Leading off:

Some interesting news out of California.

On Wednesday the governing board of the University of California campuses will meet to discuss a new incentive-pay policy approved by university President Janet Napolitano that will tie together how coaches and athletic directors are evaluated/compensated and the academic achievements of their student-athletes.
The new policy will apply to all coaches of intercollegiate sports and athletic directors going forward, both new hires and those whose contracts are up for renewal. The so-called "gatekeeper clause" establishing a minimum level of team-wide academic performance for coaches to receive any bonus pay will follow a formula the National Collegiate Athletic Association already uses to monitor student athletes.

Cal football coach Sonny Dykes already has a contract that links his bonuses to how his athletes perform in class, but he is the only coach that has that type of a contract. So, it should be interesting to see how this goes over on Wednesday.

News/notes/team reports:
  • Former Arizona tight end Rob Gronkowski is excited to return to the state where he played his college ball for the Super Bowl. Fun fact: It'll be the first time Gronk has returned to Arizona to play since his college playing days.
  • Arizona State is getting a lot of interest from a three-star defensive end that looks like he'd be a pretty good Devil-backer. "There's a lot going on there," he told Doug Haller. "They're on the rise."
  • There's some movement in the world of Cal football recruiting. A wide receiver who was committed to Illinois has decommitted and has a visit to Cal planned for next weekend, plus some other offers and info on recruits.
  • Oregon coach Mark Helfrich announced on Monday afternoon that there will be three transfers (at least) away from the program. Helfrich said that it's "just guys looking for an opportunity or a better fit."
  • The Oregonian's Gina Mizell is going through Oregon State's new staff, giving each new member a closer look. On Monday she caught up with running back coach Telly Lockette. This is her sixth piece in the series and the links to her others are on the page as well.
  • Can Stanford actually be an offense-first team in 2015? There's very little turnover on the offensive side of the ball so signs point to "yes they should be able to" but does that mean that yes, they will be able to? Rule of Tree takes a closer look.
  • UCLA's success has been tied to its quarterback's consistency. Over the past three seasons Brett Hundley has been that and more for the Bruins, but, who is the next guy up -- Josh Rosen? Jerry Neuheisel? Asiantii Woulard?
  • A quick look at the five biggest goals for USC football this spring.
  • It was a good news-bad news type of day for the Utes on Monday when it came to their recruiting.
  • NFL analyst Mike Mayock believes that Washington defensive lineman Danny Shelton could be a top-10 pick in this year's NFL draft. "When you put the tape on, he's quick. He gets up and down the line of scrimmage and plays forever at 350 pounds," Mayock said of Shelton.
  • Connor Halliday was nominated for the 2015 MTR Western Sports Star of the Year Award. Halliday is up against two Seattle Sounders, a Seattle Mariner, a Seattle Seahawk and Washington football linebacker Shaq Thompson.
Just for fun:

Before Saturday night's Arizona-Utah basketball match up, Wildcat coach Rich Rodriguez gave some love to the students in the form of ... chicken sandwiches. Rich, the form was pretty good. But if you're going to be out there tossing things, you have a pretty decent QB you could use to really get that Chick-fil-A to the students in the higher seats.



Also, according to TMZ, UCLA defensive back Justin Combs -- son of P Diddy -- had a birthday party this weekend and Justin Bieber was in attendance. So, you know, just put that in your back pocket.
So, the Pac-12 Blog is no Miss Cleo.

But even so, we went out on a limb and made 10 fearless predictions at the beginning of the season. Now, we look back on those predictions.

1. A Pac-12 team will win the national championship. We were close. A Pac-12 team got to the national championship game. It didn't deliver quite as much as we thought it might, but it got there. Not a perfect prediction but a nearly correct one. Meanwhile, we're still looking for the person who predicted that a Big Ten team, behind a third-string quarterback, would win the national championship. Bueller? Bueller?

2. A Pac-12 player will win the Heisman Trophy. Got it. Congrats, Marcus Mariota. It was a fun season to watch this special player and he more than deserved this trophy.

3. No Pac-12 coach will be fired at season's end. We got this one, too. Though, like the Ohio State/third-string QB prediction, no one really saw the Mike Riley departure coming. However, Gary Andersen infuses some new blood into this conference that also saw a fair number of coordinator changes. But as far as a coach being fired? The Pac-12 is in the clear. And your humble blog got this one right.

4. Cal and Colorado will be good enough to deliver a major upset this fall. Cal won five games this year. The Bears' wins at Washington State and Oregon State can certainly be put into this category. And the Buffs came close ... so, so close. But no cigar. We'll count half credit for this one.

5. The USC-UCLA game will be a battle of top-10 teams. Not top 10, but top 20. The 19th-ranked Trojans fell to No. 9 UCLA, 38-20.

6. Oregon will cover the spread against Michigan State in Week 2. Yup. Got 'em.

7. The Pac-12 will go 3-0 against Notre Dame. The conference went 2-1 against the Irish but as of Oct. 4, 2014, we knew this prediction wouldn't come true because someone (C'mon, Stanford) didn't get stuff done on the road. But Arizona State's 55-31 thumping and USC's 49-14 statement certainly made a 2-1 feel as good as a 2-1 can feel for the Pac-12.

8. Whoever starts at quarterback for Arizona will pass for more than 3,000 yards. Redshirt freshman Anu Solomon passed for 3,793 yards, finishing fifth in the league.

9. Stanford QB Kevin Hogan will be the Pac-12's most improved player. This was a whiff. If we're talking about most improved quarterbacks the award would probably go to Cal's Jared Goff. If we're talking most improved player, the field is wide open. We'll have more on that in the next few weeks. But one thing is for sure -- it wasn't Hogan.

10. Six teams will be ranked in the final top 25 at the end of the season. Though it might not have been the six teams we expected to be in the top 25 or the specific order, we did nail this one. The Pac-12 finished with six teams in that top 25 -- Oregon, No. 2; UCLA, No. 10; ASU, No. 12; Arizona, No. 19; USC, No. 20; Utah, No. 21.

Pac-12 morning links

January, 19, 2015
Jan 19
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Such a waste of talent. He chose money over power -- in this town, a mistake nearly everyone makes.

Frank's coming ...

But Monday's links are here first.

Leading off

If it wasn't for the East-West Shrine game (where both Taylor Kelly and Austin Hill fared well) and the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, this past Saturday would have been the first since August without any football.

Sunday was a far more heralded day on the gridiron, as several former Pac-12 players made prominent contributions in both of the NFL's conference championship games. California product Marshawn Lynch powered his way to bragging rights over former Golden Bear Aaron Rodgers in Seattle's win over Green Bay, all while Washington's own Jermaine Kearse scored the game-winning touchdown in Seattle. Stanford alumnus Andrew Luck didn't fare as well in the AFC title game, but Oregon's LeGarrette Blount and Cal's Shane Vereen left that one with Super Bowl tickets in hand.

News/notes/team reports
  • Arizona leveraged basketball success to their football benefit. The Wildcats hosted several of their prized recruits this past weekend, and the visits coincided with the basketball team's resounding 69-51 win over Utah inside the electric McKale Center.
  • According to a Wall Street Journal study, the value of the Arizona State football program on the open market would be $277 million -- good for 27th in the country.
  • The Oregonian's Andrew Greif shadowed Marcus Mariota on his epic awards tour up the East Coast -- a trip which included Disney World and ended with the Heisman Trophy ceremony in New York City. Here's the full article, including pictures. And here's an early prospectus of life after Mariota in Eugene.
  • In a critical recruiting weekend for new coach Gary Andersen in Corvallis, Oregon State netted the commitment of an under-the-radar safety.
  • You may have already guessed that recruiting was a central theme of the weekend. Stanford also hosted the majority of their 2015 class. Here's a tracker of what went down on the Farm.
  • Their big matchup happened yesterday and Lynch's team got the best of Rodgers' crew in dramatic fashion, but the Seattle Post-Intelligencer looked back at their Berkeley past before the NFC championship.
  • Former USC defensive back Josh Shaw is catching up on missed reps, and he recorded an interception in the East-West Shrine game.
  • Given extremely high expectations, a number of big wins, and a trio of disappointing losses, it's tough to judge UCLA's season. This article attempts to peg the 2014 Bruins' place in program history.
  • Six Washington official visitors took recruiting trips to Seattle this weekend.
  • Mike Leach continues to construct his new defensive staff. Washington State hired former Michigan assistant Roy Manning as its outside linebackers coach just days after naming new defensive coordinator Alex Grinch.
  • As Colorado aims to rise from the Pac-12 cellar, the Buffs' strength and conditioning program under Dave Forman takes center stage in this feature.
  • Here are some terms and details of Kyle Whittingham's four-year contract extension at Utah.
Just for fun

Colorado punter Darragh O'Neill has drawn at least one comparison to Odell Beckham Jr. for his catching ability. OK, the degree of difficulty on O'Neill's snag in the East-West Shrine game didn't quite match Beckham's sensational grab earlier this year, but it is morning link-worthy.

Top recruiting targets in the Pac-12 

January, 16, 2015
Jan 16
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With a little more than two weeks before signing day, a number of uncommitted prospects remain who could greatly alter both the college football landscape as well as the way recruiting classes are perceived on Feb. 4. Remaining “must get” recruits don’t check all the same boxes for every program, as some schools already have commitments from their must gets (for example, Arizona with Keenan Walker, or UCLA with Josh Rosen) and some of these prospects won’t exactly break a class if they don’t wind up there. But whether it’s keeping a local prospect at home, landing a five-star standout or filling a position of need, these are the uncommitted must-get recruits for every Pac-12 program between now and signing day.


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Pac-12 morning links

January, 16, 2015
Jan 16
9:00
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Happy Friday!

Leading off

The end of the college football season also means it's time for the NCAA convention. Having covered it last year in SoCal, I can tell you it was a non-stop laugh riot. OK, I kid. It can be a little dry. But it's also very important.

And as the Power 5 conferences (Pac-12, SEC, ACC, Big 12, Big Ten) move into the age of their newly-granted autonomous governance model, there are going to be some significant changes. Chief among them is full cost of tuition. That's just one of the topics that's on the table at this year's convention near Washington D.C.

Part of the restructuring also involves student-athlete feedback. Here are the three Pac-12 representatives.

Luke Cyphers put together a really informative Q&A style article for espnW that's worth your read if you have any interest in the future of collegiate athletics. And it's not just football-centric, it's men's and women's sports across the board.
On Saturday afternoon, the Power 5, their pockets filling with new FBS playoff cash, will propose several new rules under a new voting system. A group of presidents, athletics directors, faculty and athlete representatives will decide on new concussion protocols, boosting scholarship grants to cover the "full cost of attendance," extending scholarship guarantees beyond a one-year commitment, and increasing players' options to buy insurance to hedge against career-killing injuries.

George Schroeder of USA Today has a nice summary of the first day here.

News/notes/team reports
Just for fun

Utah kicker Andy Phillips is ready for the preseason watch lists to come out.

Pac-12 morning links

January, 15, 2015
Jan 15
8:00
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A word to the not very wise. You will never win an argument with a Borgia and a leopard in the room.

Leading off

Now seems like an apropos time to share this story.

Following Pac-12 Media Day, before the start of the 2013 season, Ted Miller and I were on a bus with Marcus Mariota and Ifo Ekpre-Olomu being shuttled from the event to the airport. Ted and I were trying to come up with our preseason top 25 list of players during the 20-minute ride. (Looking at it now, that's a pretty darn good list, by the way, in terms of talent).

Ekpre-Olomu was extremely helpful -- particularly when it came to the receivers -- but he also had an opinion on pretty much everyone we listed off. Mariota, not so much. All he would do was compliment each player and talk about how great they were. His main contribution to the conversation was, "Man, that guy's really good. Oh him, he's really good. That guy is really, really good." Ask Mariota about a fourth-string walk-on center, and he'll tell you he's got Rimington potential. That's just the kind of guy he is.

When we told him he was No. 1, he flashed the same humble smile -- an ah shucks-y grin with a mouth full of humility -- as when he accepted the Heisman Trophy last month. Then he thanked us with a handshake and told us it was a great honor.

He's the same guy after Year 3 as he was after Year 1 ... only now he has a lot more touchdowns and hardware.

Mariota's college career came to an end Wednesday when he announced he's entering the NFL draft. And after three years of watching him perform on the field and talking to him off it, the Pac-12 blog can say the honor was all ours.

Here's some reactions, both nationally and within the conference. News/notes/team reports
Just for fun

Oregon's senators had to pay up to Ohio's senators. Here's the story.

Pac-12 morning links

January, 14, 2015
Jan 14
8:00
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This is the end. My only friend, the end.

Leading off

Now, we begin the long and slow march until the 2015 college football season. But fear not, the Pac-12 blog isn't going anywhere. We've got recruiting, spring ball and spring meetings to kill the time -- a long with plenty of debate about rebuilding teams and the ensuing chaos that is sure to be the Pac-12 South.

As we transition to the offseason, we first look at the final AP rankings and how the Pac-12 fared.

Oregon (2), UCLA (10), ASU (12), Arizona (19), USC (20) and Utah (21) all closed out the year ranked in the Top 25. That's five of six teams from the South in the top 21. Four of those five teams won their bowl game and three of them beat teams from other Power 5 conferences. Stanford also received votes and was the unofficial 27th team.

The same six appeared in the USA Today poll in a few different orders: Oregon (2), UCLA (10), ASU (14), Arizona (17), Utah (20) and USC (21).

You can see the complete polls here.

As we wrote last week, regardless of the outcome of the title game, this was an extremely strong year for the conference. Chantel has a story on the final conference power rankings coming out later today.

News/notes/team reports
Just for fun

In case you missed it, ASU grad Jimmy Kimmel had a bold prediction for the national championship game.

Final 2014 Pac-12 Power Rankings

January, 13, 2015
Jan 13
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» More Final 2014 Power Rankings: Top 25 | ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC



» More 2015 Too-Early Rankings: Top 25 | ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC

Pac-12 morning links

January, 13, 2015
Jan 13
8:00
AM ET
Don't let yourself go, 'cause everybody cries;
And everybody hurts ... sometimes.

Leading off

So, there was a football game last night. Chances are, you already know the outcome. Yes, Oregon lost, and lost badly at that. But the real question on everyone's mind is whether quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota will depart for the NFL, where he's expected to be a top-five draft pick.

Kicking off the coverage is John Canzano of The Oregonian, who writes that the way Oregon lost might actually inspire Mariota to come back for another season.

Writes Canzano:
Will he do what Chip Kelly ultimately could not? Will he do what any other college football player in America would not? Will Mariota enroll in a post-graduate program and tell the other 27 juniors on this Oregon roster that he's coming back for another season?

Unthinkable, right? Impossible, right? Absurd, I'd be the first to say. Yet I find myself typing this sentence: If Mariota comes back for another season, the Ducks will get back here.

A few more championship game links: News/notes/team reports

Note: I'll do my best to get a story for each team as much as possible in the offseason, but some days there just isn't news. Just for fun

Chris Traeger weighs in.



And then there's this ... uhm ...

Pac-12 morning links

January, 12, 2015
Jan 12
8:00
AM ET
Tonight's the night (beyond the obvious, it's also a Dexter reference).

Leading off

Tonight we have the first-ever college football championship determined by a playoff. And the football gods rejoiced. Question is, will it be Oregon or Ohio State fans rejoicing this time tomorrow?

Ivan Maisel kicks us off with a really interesting column looking at whether the past BCS champs were worthy. Since the two teams that would have played in the title game under the old system -- Alabama and Florida State -- lost in the semifinals, it calls into question some previous teams that never got the chance under the BCS formula.

Writes Maisel:
Under the BCS system, which existed in sundry iterations from 1998 through 2013, the Crimson Tide and the Seminoles likely would have played for the national championship. It made for great theater in this first College Football Playoff -- the two teams that likely would have played for the BCS national championship lost in the semifinals. But those losses also serve as an indictment of every BCS decision made before them.

A few more links about the game to get you through till tonight: News/notes/team reports
Just for fun

Ashley Adamson of the Pac-12 Networks gets up close and personal with the man who invented the College Football Playoff (allegedly).

Pac-12 morning links

January, 9, 2015
Jan 9
8:00
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Happy Friday!

Leading off

A couple of bowl stories from the AP to kick us off this Friday.

First up is their All-Bowl team. Despite the Pac-12 going 6-2 in the bowl season, only a couple of Oregon players made the AP's team. Quarterback Marcus Mariota and cornerback Troy Hill were the lone Pac-12 players for their performances against Florida State in the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual.

However, their list is pretty strong in comparison to various Pac-12 performers. Travis Wilson had a strong bowl game against Colorado State, but Mariota against Florida State was more impressive. I thought Javorius Allen had a great game against Nebraska, but the trio of backs picked by the AP team are all deserving. I wouldn't drop one of them for Allen.

Maybe a case can be made for Adoree' Jackson, who caught a touchdown, returned a kickoff 98 yards for a score, and pitched in on defense. But LSU's Leonard Fournette had some pretty good numbers too.

Next up is a story about bowl attendance being down while viewership is up. It's not Pac-12 specific, just thought it was interesting.

From the AP's story:
The 38 bowl games this season have drawn an average announced attendance of 43,285, down 9.2 percent from the average of 47,659 for the 34 bowls last season that led up to the BCS National Championship.

Those figures are skewed by the fact that all four new bowls that had their inaugural games this season drew fewer than 30,000 fans. But even if you throw those four games out of the mix, the average attendance for the remaining 34 bowls is 45,904, down 3.7 percent from last season.
News/notes/team reports
Just for fun

Ever wonder how the term "Natty" got coined? Hint: It has nothing to do bargain-priced beer.

And if you haven't watched this by now, you really should.

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