Celebrating standout seniors

December, 14, 2010
12/14/10
12:04
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Not every player earns All-American or All-Conference honors. Not everyone plays in the NFL. But lots of guys turn in outstanding college careers, even if they don't get a lot of publicity.

Here are some outstanding senior Pac-10 players, none of whom made first- or second-team All-Conference teams.

Arizona: NT Lolomana Mikaele
The fifth-year senior was a co-captain this season who matured significantly during his time in Tucson. He missed the 2008 season because of a suspension for violating team rules, but he returned in 2009 and 2010 as one of the Wildcats quiet leaders and became well-respected by his teammates. He started all 12 games and finished with 32 tackles, including 7.5 for a loss.

Arizona State: S Max Tabach
The Scottsdale native grew up a Sun Devils fan: He's quoted in his bio as saying that "the day he received a scholarship from ASU was 'one of the best days' of his life." Despite only starting six games -- out of the final seven -- he tied for third on the team with 64 tackles. He also chipped in a sack and two interceptions. He was ASU's most consistent safety in 2010.

California: C Chris Guarnero
It's not easy to replace the best center in program history: Alex Mack. And Guarnero is not terribly big -- 6-foot-2, 270; Mack is 6-5, 316 -- but he started 27 career games and earned honorable mention All-Pac-10 honors the past two seasons.

Oregon: WR D.J. Davis
Davis, the Ducks second-leading receiver, has started 20 games, but his 36 receptions for 410 yards don't tell his whole story. For one, he's a tenacious blocker, a key part of the Ducks rushing success the past two seasons. Second, he's a class guy. Davis, who in high school won the Watkins Memorial Award as the nation’s top African American male scholar athlete, was so moved by the death of Notre Dame student videographer Declan Sullivan, he decided to make a touching tribute this season.

Oregon State: WR Aaron Nichols
Nichols is a former walk-on who ended up tied for third on the Beavers with 29 receptions for 330 yards. When the Beavers needed a clutch play this year -- particularly after James Rodgers went down -- Nichols was often the go-to guy. And he's been accepted into Oregon State's highly competitive Doctor of Pharmacy Program.

Stanford: OG Andrew Phillips
Phillips is the unsung leader of one of the nation's best offensive lines, and he played well this season despite a heavy heart: In August, his father, Bill Phillips Sr., died in a plane crash.

UCLA: DT David Carter
Carter never started until he was a fifth-year senior, yet he led all Bruins defensive linemen with 42 tackles and 3.5 sacks. Further, he's a history major and honor roll student.

USC: FB Stanley Havili
Havili is a four-year starter who's made so many big plays he's hardly "unsung." But he's still underappreciated. He was named USC's Most Inspirational Player Award and was named Co-Lifter of the Year. He played the entire season with a shoulder injury. His 116 career receptions are the most of any fullback in program history.

Washington: OLB Victor Aiyewa
He's a two-time first-team Pac-10 All-Academic selection (2nd team this year) and made All-Pac-10 honorable mention. A former safety who moved to "Sam" outside linebacker this season, he ended up leading the Pac-10 in tackles for a loss with 18, 11th-most in school history.

Washington State: OT Micah Hannam
The four-year starter and three-time Pac-10 All-Academic first team member started more losses than any player in the 107-year history of Cougars football. That's perseverance.

Cal posting a big recruiting week

December, 14, 2010
12/14/10
9:27
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California didn't have a great season on the field, but it's surging in recruiting.

The Bears received commitments from two ESPNU 150 players this week: defensive tackle Todd Barr of Lakewood, Calif., and linebacker Jason Gibson of Serra (Gardena, Calif.).

And they might pull a trifecta: touted defensive back Avery Walls of Eagle's Landing Christian High School (McDonough, Ga.) is expected to decide Tuesday between the Bears, Oregon and Michigan.

Barr and Gibson give Cal 14 commitments.

Barr, 6-foot-3, 265 pounds, is ranked the nation's No. 3 defensive tackle and No. 31 overall prospect. He made official visits to Oregon, Washington and Florida, but he had offers from every BCS conference.

"It's where I always wanted to go," Barr told ESPN's Greg Biggins. "I have a great comfort level there and I'm very comfortable with all the coaches. I'm super tight with Tosh [Lupoi], the defensive line coach and that made a big difference for me. I think the defense is a great fit for me, I love the academics and I like how the school is far enough away from home to get the college feel but still close enough to come home whenever I want to."

The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Gibson is ranked the No. 6 outside linebacker and No. 129 overall in the nation. He also received offers from every Pac-10 school, among others across the country.

The Bears' 2010 class finished ranked 15th in the nation. Is this one on pace to match or even eclipse it?

A look at 2011 nonconference schedules

December, 13, 2010
12/13/10
6:46
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Utah and Colorado should fit right in when Pac-12 play begins next fall, at least in terms of playing tough nonconference schedules.

The Utes will maintain their rivalry with BYU and they also visit Pittsburgh. Colorado has two tough road trips -- at Hawaii to open and at Ohio State -- as well as its rivalry game with Colorado State.

As a whole, it will be another tough year of nonconference scheduling, with games against Oklahoma State, Missouri, LSU, Wisconsin, Texas, Notre Dame and Nebraska being highlights.

Here's a look (note: California and Oregon are still filling out their dates).

Arizona
9/3 Northern Arizona
9/10 at Oklahoma State
11/26 Louisiana-Lafayette

Arizona State
9/3 UC Davis
9/10 Missouri
9/17 at Illinois

California
9/3 Fresno State (Candlestick Park in San Francisco)
According to the school: "Cal's remaining two non-conference games scheduled for September 10 (away) and 17 (home) will be announced at a later date.

Colorado
9/3 at Hawaii
9/17 Colorado State
9/24 at Ohio State

Oregon
9/3 LSU (Arlington, Texas, Cowboys Stadium)
9/10 Nevada
(Oregon has open dates on 9/17 and 10/01 that are listed as TBA; one will be filled with another nonconference foe).

Oregon State
9/3 Sacramento State
9/10 at Wisconsin
10/15 BYU

Stanford
9/3 San Jose State
9/10 at Duke
11/26 Notre Dame

UCLA
9/3 at Houston
9/10 San Jose State
9/17 Texas

USC
9/3 Minnesota
9/17 Syracuse
10/22 at Notre Dame

Utah
9/1 Montana State
9/17 at BYU
10/15 at Pittsburgh

Washington
9/3 Eastern Washington
9/10 Hawaii
9/17 at Nebraska

Washington State
9/3 Idaho State
9/10 UNLV
9/17 at San Diego State

Video: Wrapping up Arizona's regular season

December, 13, 2010
12/13/10
6:00
PM ET


Ted Miller wraps up Arizona’s regular season.

Oregon State completes 2011 schedule

December, 13, 2010
12/13/10
4:09
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Oregon State has added the Atlanta Falcons to its 2011 schedule.

Kidding!

The Beavers, whose 2010 nonconference schedule included two top-10 teams, have completed their 2011 slate by adding a home game vs. Sacramento State on Sept. 3.

The Beavers won't, however, malinger their way through the season against FCS teams. The nonconference schedule also includes a visit to Wisconsin (Sept. 10) and a home game with BYU (Oct. 15).

Oregon State opens the inaugural Pac-12 season hosting UCLA Sept. 24 in a non-divisional game. The Beavers’ first divisional game in the Pac-12 North will be Oct. 22 against Washington State at Qwest Field in Seattle.

You can see the entire schedule here.

Lunch links: Will Luck return in 2011?

December, 13, 2010
12/13/10
2:30
PM ET
This one time, at band camp ...

Checking in on Pac-12 recruiting

December, 13, 2010
12/13/10
1:06
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National Signing Day on Feb. 2 is more than eight weeks away, and a lot of big names remain on the board, but it seems like a good time to check in with Pac-10 recruiting.

Er, make that Pac-12 recruiting. We've included Colorado and Utah, considering these incoming freshmen will bump heads next fall -- or redshirt -- as Pac-12 players.

At present, four programs rank among the top-25 teams in the ESPN Recruiting rankings: USC (13), Stanford (15), Oregon (19) and Washington (22). California also is a threat to push into the top-25, and UCLA has made a late run the past two years under coach Rick Neuheisel, so the Bruins also could surge.

You can review the ESPNU 150 here.

Team name links to the commitment list.

Arizona

Commitments: 18

ESPNU 150: 0

Comment: The top-three committed players are linebackers. Closing strong on linemen on both sides of the ball would significantly bolster the class.

Arizona State

Commitments: 10

ESPNU 150:0

Comment: This will be a small class because the Sun Devils only had 13 seniors this year. Still, there's not a lot of bang here.

California

Commitments: 12

ESPNU 150: 1

Comment: California continues to be in the running for a number of elite prospects on the ESPNU 150. Receiver Maurice Harris and one of the highly rated running backs figure to be in the mix for playing time early.

Colorado

Commitments: 6

ESPNU 150: 0

Comment: Coaching changes always complicate (read: typically hurt) recruiting: see only six commitments. The good news is the Buffaloes don't need a big class. Don't be surprised if you start seeing new coach Jon Embree making some noise late in Southern California.

Oregon

Commitments: 16

ESPNU 150: 4

Comment: Just as Oregon has moved up in the national pecking order on the field, so has it moved up in recruiting. The Ducks continue to extend a national reach for what figures to be a top-20 class.

Oregon State

Commitments: 23

ESPNU 150: 0

Comment: This looks like a typical Oregon State recruiting class under Mike Riley. It was under the radar, though snagging a couple of players previously committed to UCLA was a show of verve. When the Beavers are doing well, it's celebrated. When they struggle -- as they did this season -- there's some grumbling about recruiting. Based on this season, the question with this class is can anyone offer immediate help on either line?

Stanford

Commitments: 21

ESPNU 150: 1

Comment: The Cardinal will try to close strong with about three or four more top-shelf guys, and that will happen if Jim Harbaugh is still the coach on national signing day. This will be another top-25 class with lots of top-to-bottom quality.

UCLA

Commitments: 8

ESPNU 150: 1

Comment: The best news is QB Brett Hundley, a duel threat guy just about everyone wanted who looks well-equipped to run a pistol offense (if that's what the Bruins will be doing next fall). While the effort at present seems to be lagging, the Bruins are among the finalists for a number of elite guys. They could close strong.

USC

Commitments: 19

ESPNU 150: 5

Comment:Trojans coach Lane Kiffin could push this class close to the top-10 again, even with scholarship limitations. For those who keep asking: USC can only sign 15 players for the 2011 class, due to NCAA sanctions, but it can bring in a handful of January enrollees. So every name over 15 will be in school in January.

Utah

Commitments: 20

ESPNU 150: 0

Comment: Going forward, you'd think Utah would have more to sell in Southern California than now, but the Utes recruiting strategies of late seemed to work just fine. So far this class is fairly balanced: 11 offense, nine defense.

Washington

Commitments: 18

ESPNU 150: 3

Comment: This is a good class, but can the Huskies close strong? They appear to be losing ground to Oregon on Auburn (Wash.) defensive lineman Danny Shelton and just lost running back Brendon Bigelow (Fresno, Calif./Central to California.

Washington State

Commitments: 19

ESPNU 150: 0

Comment: Paul Wulff has upgraded Washington State recruiting, but the Cougars aren't a program that's going to sign a bunch of four- and five-star guys. It will be interesting to see if the Wulff and the Cougars can prevent Washington from poaching talented RB Bishop Sankey (Spokane, Wash./Gonzaga Prep).

News from the weekend

December, 13, 2010
12/13/10
9:39
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Hey, you take your second day off since Aug. 28 and lots of stuff happens. Go figure.
  • Big blow for Arizona losing senior center Colin Baxter for the Valero Alamo Bowl, which would have been his 49th consecutive start. Baxter taking care of a knee injury now -- an injury he played through late in the season -- will help his NFL prospects. It also will give sophomore Kyle Quinn his first career start against Oklahoma State as he becomes the Wildcats' center of the present instead of the future.
  • USC recruiting also got some expected good news over the weekend from receiver George Farmer, the No. 13 overall player on the ESPNU 150.
  • Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck became the second consecutive Cardinal to finish second for the Heisman Trophy. And here's some reaction from Oregon running back LaMichael James, who finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting behind Newton and Luck: “Just finishing in the top four … I think that’s a bonus for me and the program,” he told George Schroeder.
  • James, a consensus All-American, also made the FWAA All-American team along with Cliff Harris, who made it as a punt returner.

Opening the mailbag: Poor Duckies!

December, 10, 2010
12/10/10
6:22
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What the heck are we supposed to do Saturday?

Follow me on Twitter.

A couple of Oregon fans talk to an SEC defense about Auburn QB Cam Newton.

Dirk from Auburn: Do you really think the Duckies can keep up with an SEC team in the national championship game. This is big boy football and the SEC is the big boys.

Ted Miller: Poor ole Duckies. I just hope they get out of Glendale alive!

If I may humbly speak for Oregon and the Pac-10, we are just grateful that the SEC has allowed the conference to step on the field -- for one shining moment! -- with the big boys.

SEC teams are so big. So absolutely huge. Gosh, we're all really impressed over here, I can tell you that. Forgive us, for this, our dreadful toadying and barefaced flattery. But you are so strong and, well, just so super. Fantastic. Amen.

Dave from Florence, Ore., writes: Ted, assuming both the Rodgers brothers are back, with Ryan Katz having a bit more experience, plus a lighter non-conference schedule, how do you see Oregon State doing next year?

Ted Miller: Not that much lighter on the ole schedule: at Wisconsin and BYU are the nonconference games (with a TBA remaining that, hopefully, won't be filled with a top-five team).

Hey, Beavers, ever thought of playing San Jose State or Utah State or New Mexico State or something?

The Beavers offense should be much improved: QB Ryan Katz in his second year, both Rodgers brothers back, a good crew of receivers and (cross your fingers) better O-line play with four starters back. A good start on the line would be a healthy Michael Philipp at guard, not tackle.

The bigger issue is defense. It loses its best players: DT Stephen Paea -- that leaves a HUGE hole in the D-line -- LBs Dwight Roberson and Keith Pankey, CB James Dockery and DE Gabe Miller. No returning defensive player even earned honorable mention All-Pac-10 honors from the coaches. The Beavers thrive when they play high-pressure defense. Where's the pressure going to come from next year? Dominic Glover? Taylor Henry? A JC transfer. We'll see.

I love Katz's upside, and James Rodgers paired with Markus Wheaton is a nice combo at receiver, but the offense may have to outscore folks, particularly early on as the defense figures itself out. Still, there is no clear No. 2 behind Oregon in the Pac-12 North. If there are some "changes" at Stanford -- goodbye Andrew Luck and Jim Harbaugh -- then the Beavers might even end up picked No. 2.

Owen from Palo Alto, Calif., writes: Hey Ted, a chat with many contenders for awards ran today and Andrew Luck took some questions. When asked about the draft, he said, "It's not a distraction because I'm putting it off until after the bowl game to think about it." However, when asked about the new Pac-12 alignment, he said, "It's going to be fun to have the opportunity to play Utah and Colorado now and have a championship game," and "I'm excited to have the opportunity to go play Colorado and Utah." How far should we read into this, if at all?

Ted Miller: How far? Perhaps one inch.

Luck goes to Stanford. He's smart. He knows that if a reporter asks him about next season, he's not going to go, "I haven't thought about it because I'm going to be in the NFL... oops!"

And think about it: If he indeed hasn't thought about it -- come on! -- then he should talk about next year as if he were still going to be on the Farm.

If Luck enters the draft, he almost certainly would be the No. 1 overall pick. He's a franchise NFL QB in the grand sense of the word (and his character, humility and social skills -- he's a funny guy -- will take him far as the "face" of a franchise).

I'd rate his chances of returning at about three percent.

Pierce from Tempe, Ariz., writes: Given the injury to Tuinei and Huff filling in, I count at least 7 starters for the Oregon offense, 8 if you want to count a combination of Weems, York, and Asper, who have all started and played at both tackle and guard.I also count at the very least 6 returning starters: Turner, Kaddu, Harris, Gildon, Boyett, and Pleasant. The Oregon depth chart also notes that Dion Jordan and Wade Keliikipi have registered starts on the D-Line. Onto the question. Do you think that because of the pace of Oregon and the necessity of substitutions that basing predictions based on returning starters is something to be leery of?

Ted Miller: "Official" returning starters started at least five games, so Weems could be considered a returning starter. But, as I said, when I calculated returning starters, I was looking at end-of-season depth charts and not working my way through those calculations -- or factoring in injuries.

Yes, returning starters isn't a foolproof way to measure teams, particularly when a team -- such as Oregon -- plays a lot of guys. Nonetheless, we have to make distinctions.

And, for example, losing Brandon Bair and Kenny Rowe -- the Ducks two best D-linemen -- is a blow. They are proven, productive guys. Sure, their backups saw action. But let me put it this way. Can you name them right now?

Raymond from Tucson writes: Arizona loses two coaches to Colorado:From a Fans perspective which also means its an outsiders perspective. Can I blame coaches for leaving the spastic and over the top personality of Mike Stoops? How much can an adult take of child like antics?Arizona players have been quoted to say Stoops over-charged, in your face, ready to explode behavior gets them pumped-up. I wonder if the coaching staff shares the same perspective? Cool Hand Luke type coaches over the years have displayed poker face and chess like thinking behavior with great success. Tom LaundryBill WalshTony Dungy.I dont expect Coach Stoops to act like the list above because its not in his nature. But it would be nice to see some self control to possibly eliminate sideline confusion.If I see the confusion so does the opposing team.

Ted Miller: Yes, Mike Stoops is very animated on the sidelines. He seemed more animated this year than last, and more than a few times he probably wishes he had been less animated.

Does Stoops' hyperkinetic way on the sidelines bother some Arizona fans? Yes. Do I think athletic director Greg Byrne wishes Stoops would chill a bit? Yes. Does Stoops intensity bother some of his assistant coaches? Maybe, though it's not like football coaches are a bunch of shrinking violets.

If Stoops asked my opinion, I'd say he might want to ratchet it back a bit. But, to be honest, I find it entertaining. It's sorta his thing. Like I said: It bothers some folks a little. And it bothers some a lot.

But on the list of things college coaches do that are bad, I'd rate rate Stoops' sideline behavior somewhere in the mid-90s, two or three notches below below a coach talking about himself in the third person.

John from Oregon writes: Now that all the bowl games are set, say the Cam Newton is found guilty and is suspended. and if they punish not only Newton, but Auburn too and make them forfeit their wins, then who would be playing for the National Championship? Would they leave it and claim Oregon as the Champion?

Ted Miller: Don't worry. This won't happen.

The NCAA made a quick ruling that Newton is eligible. The larger investigation will take months. And months.

Tyler from Tucson writes: Why, oh why, did the Wildcats' DE Ricky Elmore not make the 1st Team All-Pac-10 Defense team?

Jake from Midland, Texas writes: What's the deal with the snub of Washington State WR Marquess Wilson for Pac-10 offensive Freshman of the Year?

Ted Miller: Two of my toughest choices, and I've had some post-decision regret over USC's Robert Woods over Marquess Wilson.

With Elmore, who would you kick off my D-line? He started fast and had a long lull before playing well vs. Arizona State. What clinched it was the coaches picking fellow Wildcats DE Brooks Reed ahead of Elmore. I'd probably rate them No. 5 and No. 6 among my D-linemen.

As for Wilson: I saw Woods a lot this year. He's really impressive. I didn't see as much of Wilson. That made a difference. While Wilson's numbers were better as a receiver, Woods was pushed over the top by his work returning kicks.

Am I certain that I wouldn't pick Wilson over Woods if I did the team again Saturday? No.

But Cougars fans should want Wilson to be angry about the slight. That should motivate him during the offseason.

Andrew from Portland writes: I'm traveling to the Natty with a bunch of friends and fellow Duck alum. For all of us that have never been to the Glendale/Phoenix area, can you put together a little travel guide for us since you're a resident of the area? Specifically, can you tell me (1) what area to book a hotel (I've heard that Scottsdale is the way to go, even though it's somewhat far from the stadium), (2) what bars/nightlife to go to, and (3) restaurants to eat at?

Ted Miller: I live in North-North Scottsdale, near Cave Creek and Carefree. That's a ways from Glendale. And the wife and I don't get out much because The Lord of Miller Manor just turned two, and he yells a lot -- he makes Stoops look like he's asleep.

The good news about our location: We are a short drive from the best restaurant in the state of Arizona: Binkley's. It's a special event sort of place -- if you run into Phil Knight and he says, "Hey, can I buy you dinner?" This is where you go.

Even closer to Miller Manor: Spotted Donkey. Really enjoy that place. Down south in civilization, we've had good luck with these guys. I haven't been here yet, but it's high on the to-go list. This is good nuts and bolts Mexican, and you might run into a bunch of sportswriters -- this guy and this guy always go there. These guys offer good steaks and their Ocean Club -- part of the chain -- is good for seafood and a cool scene. This place is old school Phoenix.

If I were coming to town, I would stay near downtown Scottsdale -- it's where all the cool stuff happens. Good restaurants and bars. Good scene.

Here's a entry from the preseason -- a fan survey of best restaurants and bars around the Pac-10 -- though a couple of Arizona State fans were later critical of it.

Hope this gets you started. By the way, it's 71 degrees today.

Brrrr.

Grant from Claremont, Calif., writes: Great article on Chip Kelly!

Daniel from Eugene, Ore., writes: I was wondering why you didn't include this story in your lunchtime links? It's a brief little article about DJ Davis' tribute to Declan Sullivan from the Civil War. Considering the bad pub that a lot of our players got after the Rose Bowl last years (and rightfully so), it's nice to see stories about the good things our players do as well.

Mudpuppy from Eugene writes: You should check out the myth of Auburn's size advantage posted by our friends at Addicted to Quack.

Ted Miller: All three worth noting.

Video: A warm welcome to Utah, Colorado

December, 10, 2010
12/10/10
3:58
PM ET

Ted Miller officially welcomes Utah and Colorado to the conference.

Lunch links: Pac-12 coaches on Gators' list

December, 10, 2010
12/10/10
2:30
PM ET
Happy Friday. What are you going to do tomorrow! Eeeeek!

Report: Colorado nabs Cal O-line coach

December, 10, 2010
12/10/10
10:36
AM ET
New Colorado coach Jon Embree is not wasting any time introducing himself to the Pac-12.

After hiring two assistants away from Arizona earlier this week, it appears he found his new offensive line coach at California, hiring Steve Marshall away from the Bears.

The story was first reported by Rivals.com.

Marshall is a former Colorado assistant under Gary Barnett, so he knows Boulder as well as the conference formerly known as the Pac-10.

California coach Jeff Tedford only hired Marshall in 2009 after the highly respected Jim Michalczik bolted for a brief -- he never coached a practice -- stint at Washington before heading to the Oakland Raiders.

Embree also has hired former Buffaloes linebacker Kanavis McGhee to serve as defensive ends and outside linebackers coach. That's another tie-in to the Colorado team that split the national title with Georgia Tech in 1990, but McGhee also was in the news of late for another reason -- you might have seen this Sports Illustrated article: Confessions of a agent.

Of course, that was 20 years ago. Bygones?

Embree appears to have a clear plan on what he wants out of his staff, going for Colorado, NFL and Pac-10 ties. That's sound in terms of knowing a program, knowing future foes and recruiting.

And you have got to love how Embree trashed-talked his son, UCLA receiver Taylor Embree, here to the Denver Post:
"Taylor is excited," Embree said. "He hasn't beaten me at anything yet, whether it's basketball, pool, PlayStation. . . . He probably thinks this is the time he can get me. He's happy for me. He's a great kid. One of the things is, he grew up wanting to play here, but the opportunity didn't present himself."

Did you know? Pre-bowl edition.

December, 10, 2010
12/10/10
10:00
AM ET
Some numbers you might find interesting.

You can review Pac-10 statistics here. And national stats here.
  • Oregon scored 79 touchdowns this year, which was 17 more than No. 2 Stanford. UCLA had the fewest in the Pac-10 (29).
  • Oregon averaged 6.1 yards per rush. USC was No. 2 at 5.2. Washington State averaged 2.6 yards per rush. Every other conference team averaged at least four yards per rush.
  • Oregon yielded 25 touchdowns, fewest in the conference. The Ducks gave up 15 field goals, second most in the conference behind Arizona State.
  • Oregon gave up just 11 rushing TDs, fewest in the conference. Opponents averaged 3.3 per run, which was tied with Arizona State for No. 1 in the conference.
  • Arizona led the Pac-10 with 310 yards passing per game and was the only conference team that averaged more than 300 yards passing. Oregon led the conference, however, with 29 TD passes. Stanford's 8.6 yards per completion was the best in the conference by nearly a yard. UCLA averaged just 5.3 yards per completion and had just nine TD passes, which was seven fewer than any other team.
  • Oregon ran 951 offensive plays this year. USC was No. 2 in the conference with 930. No other team had more than 877.
  • Oregon had 20 interceptions this year. That was at least double four conference teams. Stanford was second with 17.
  • Opponents completed 66.3 percent of their passes vs. Washington State and averaged 8.2 yards per completion. Both numbers were the worst in the conference.
  • Oregon's defense yielded 4.5 yards per play, best in the Pac-10 and fifth nationally among AQ teams.
  • Arizona State returned three kickoffs for touchdowns. The only other team with that many was Toledo. Just 11 had two.
  • Oregon returned five punts for touchdowns. No team had four. Utah, Oklahoma State, Rutgers and North Carolina State were the only teams with three.
  • UCLA is the only conference team that threw more interceptions (14) than TDs (9).
  • Oregon State had the fewest turnovers (16). UCLA had the most (29). Oregon forced the most turnovers (35). Arizona State and Washington tied for the fewest (17)
  • Oregon ranks sixth in the nation in pass efficiency defense, higher than any of Auburn's previous opponents.
  • Arizona passed for twice as many first downs as it ran for.
  • Stanford was No. 1 in the nation in third down conversions (57.76).
  • USC gave up the most first downs in the Pac-10.
  • Oregon and Arizona State tied for No. 1 in the conference in third down defense, with foes converting only 33.5 percent of the time. Because the Ducks were 0.01 percent better, however, they ended up 10th in the nation and the Sun Devils were 11th.
  • Stanford gave up just five sacks this year, fewest among AQ conference teams. Oregon gave up just eight, second fewest among AQ teams.
  • Stanford ranked No. 1 in the nation in time of possession. Chip Kelly doesn't care.

ASU lands linebacker from Florida

December, 10, 2010
12/10/10
9:47
AM ET
Arizona State recruiting has reached into Florida and snagged a linebacker.

Gionni Paul, a three-star outside linebacker from Lakeland, Fla., has committed to the Sun Devils, multiple sources report.

Paul, 6-foot, 225-pounds, also had offers from Louisville, LSU, Tennessee, Auburn, Michigan, Rutgers, South Florida, Texas Tech, Cincinnati, West Virginia and Central Florida.

According to ESPN Recruiting, Paul was a standout at the Orlando Nike combine prior to his senior year, posting an electronically-timed 4.48 40-yard dash, 4.47 20-yard shuttle and 38.9-inch vertical.

Paul is the Sun Devils' 10th commitment for a class that figures to be small because the 2010 team featured only 13 seniors. Another Lakeland prospect, three-star offensive guard Devin Goodman, has also picked Arizona State.

James wins Doak Walker Award

December, 9, 2010
12/09/10
8:28
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Oregon running back LaMichael James had a big night Thursday, winning the Doak Walker Award as the nation's best running back and earning consensus All-American honors.

Read more here.

James was the Pac-10's only player named a Walter Camp first-team All-America.

Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, UCLA linebacker Akeem Ayers and Stanford center Chase Beeler earned second-team honors. Oregon's Cliff Harris was named a second-team All-American as both a cornerback and kick returner.

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