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Pac-12 Notes

Discussion in 'CU Buffs Newsroom' started by RSSBot, Feb 15, 2012.

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    By Stuart

    February*15th
    Colorado off the radar in national*championship*race
    Not that it’s a real surprise, what with Colorado coming off of six straight losing seasons, and a 3-10 record, but the Buffs are not turning any heads in the 2012 national championship race.
    According to a British sports book, the favorites for the 2012 national championship includes two Pac-12 teams:
    LSU Tigers: 4.5 to 1 odds
    Alabama Crimson Tide: 5 to 1
    USC Trojans: 8 to 1
    Oregon: 10 to 1
    Oklahoma Sooners: 12 to 1
    Florida State Seminoles: 12 to 1
    Georgia Bulldogs: 12 to 1
    The odds improve for the conference when the Heisman trophy is considered, with USC quarterback Matt Barkley considered the favorite. Pac-12 players on the list:
    • USC quarterback Matt Barkley tops the list at 5-1 odds.
    • Oregon running back De’Anthony*checks in at 25-1 odds.
    • Washington quarterback Keith Price is the darkhorse at 40-1.
    February 14th
    Big 12 schedule skews old rivalries
    West Virginia has finally settled its lawsuit with the Big East, allowing*the Mountaineers to join the Big 12 this fall, and not have to wait out the contractually agreed to 27 months.
    This being the case, the Big 12 has been able to publicly announce its conference schedule for this season.
    Texas A&M and Missouri are off the SEC, with West Virginia and TCU becoming*the newest members of the Big 12. The changes in partners have made for some strange bedfellows …
    - Gone is Texas v. Texas A&M Thanksgiving weekend, replaced with Texas v. TCU.
    - Gone is the season-ending Border War between Kansas and Missouri, replaced with the new season-ending Time Zone war between Kansas and … West Virginia.
    - The Mountaineers. for their part, have given up the Backyard Brawl with Pittsburgh in order to take on the Jayhawks.
    - The very first game of the reconfigured Big 12 will be Kansas hosting TCU on September 15th.
    My question: West Virginia plays at Texas on October 6th, then at Texas Tech on October 13th … will the Mountaineers just hang around the Lone Star State for the week, avoiding traveling all the way back to Morgantown in between road trips?
    It’s a strange new world. I can’t wait for the Big*East scheduling when Boise State and San Diego State schedule games in the east coast … *
    February 13th
    Conference USA and Mountain West to form a new “Association”
    Just*don’t call it a merger …
    The Mountain West and Conference USA will announce a newly named conference in what is being termed a new association, not a merger of the remaining existing members.
    The conference may start as early as 2013-14. The MWC/C-USA will have a regional/divisional makeup of the current membership of the two leagues and will likely include 18 to 24 universities.
    “This is an exciting development that will stabilize the current conferences and create the first truly national conference with members in five time zones and television viewership from coast to coast,” UNLV president Neal Smatresk said in a statement. “This partnership brings together like-minded institutions to improve the integrity and stability of intercollegiate athletics.
    “We are moving our plans forward rapidly and expect to complete our conversations in the near future. Look for further announcements soon as we work together on this exciting new venture.”
    So who’s in?
    Break out your*atlas …
    The new league – which is yet to be named – is expected to consist of* Southern Miss, Marshall, East Carolina, UAB, Tulsa, Rice, UTEP and Tulane from C-USA and Wyoming, Air Force, Colorado State, UNLV, New Mexico, Fresno State, Nevada and Hawaii from the MWC. Hawaii would be a football-only member. Other schools which may be invited include Temple, Idaho, and Utah State.
    The presidents and chancellors will have follow-up meetings during the next six months to fully develop the operational issues essential to the formation of the association.
    While the move will be spun as a move to protect the members of the association as full FBS partners, don’t look for an automatic bid to be extended to the new league anytime soon.
    Also look for spin on how the “student athlete” will not be adversely affected by having to travel across three or more time zones for a conference game. This is not as much an issue for football, with a limited number of road games per season, but anyone want to mark up the cost of Fresno State at East Carolina in women’s volleyball? Marshall at Nevada for a tennis match?
    It will be interesting to see how the Colorado State fans try and put a good face on this, rather than acknowledge it for what it is …
    … a desperate move by teams who found themselves without a chair when the music stopped.
    Cal signs two non-descript prospects
    So, it’s not just Colorado who signs “under the radar” players …
    Last season, Colorado signed four players to national Letters of Intent after Signing Day in February. Joining the team late were wide receiver Tyler McCulloch, wide receiver Austin Vincent, athlete D.D. Goodson, and offensive lineman Brad Cotner. Of the four, only McCulloch and Vincent were even rated by Rivals, with two stars apiece. Goodson and Cotner, meanwhile, were unrated players.
    While the jury is still out as to whether the Colorado coaching staff found diamonds in the rough in these four prospects, it is of some comfort to know that the Buffs are not the only team out there reaching after Signing Day.
    Cal has signed two players since Signing Day, 2012. One is defensive lineman Maurice Bennett, from Madison, Mississippi, who is listed as a three-star prospect, but only had offers from Memphis and Washington State. The other new Bear is defensive back Willie Fletcher, from Orange, California, who was unrated by either Rivals or Scout.
    So … it’s not just Colorado who is willing to take a shot on some undiscovered/unrecognized/underdeveloped talent.
    We just spend a lot more time worrying about it when its the Buffs taking the shot.
    February 11th
    Rodriguez/Leach*considered top hires from Pac-12 off-season
    In a CBSSportsline article, Ohio State made the best hire this past season. The hiring of former Florida head coach Urban Meyer was rated as best move by any of the 26 teams who switched head coaches*this season.
    Arizona’s hire of Rich Rodriguez was rated as the second-best hire overall, stating:
    In seven years at West Virginia, Rodriguez won 61 games, reached two BCS bowls and lost only 26 games. In three years at Michigan he lost 22 games. So which Rodriguez does Arizona get? Either way, one thing is certain: He will bring an entertaining, high-scoring offense to Tucson == and even higher expectations. “When you watch us play it won’t be boring,” Rodriguez said. “I want to win the Rose Bowl at the University of Arizona. I want to be in the top 10 in the country every year. Why not Arizona? Why not us? Why can’t we win it all?” Rodriguez has an 18-year coaching record of 120-84-2, including 75-48 at West Virginia and Michigan. This will be Rodriguez’s third FBS head coaching job == and, he says, his last. “This is my final coaching stop,” Rodriguez said. “I hope to be able to do this another 12-15 years.”
    No. 3 on the list was another Pac-12 school, Washington State, who took on former Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach:
    Leach, 50, returns to coaching for the first time since his controversial firing at Texas Tech in 2009 amid allegations he mistreated a player with a concussion. Leach was 84-43 in Lubbock, leading the Red Raiders to 10 bowl appearances in 10 seasons. The Cougars haven’t been to a bowl game since 2003 or had a winning record in eight years. Yet Leach remains confident he can turn Washington State around. “You can win here and win big, I believe,” Leach said.
    Jim Mora, who had an amazing run to end the 2012 recruiting season, was considered no better than the 15th-best hire, while new Arizona State head coach Todd Graham checked in at No. 18.
    Jim McElwain, who came from Alabama to Colorado State this off-season, was rated as the No. 9 best hire of the year.
    Pac-12 Network studio breaks ground
    Get the money train rolling … the Pac-12 is breaking ground on the Pac-12 Network studios next week …
    WHO: Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott, Pac-12 Enterprises President Gary Stevenson, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, Kilroy Realty Corporation President and CEO John Kilroy, Former Pac-12 Athletes Jennifer Azzi (Stanford women’s basketball), Ronnie Lott (USC football), Marshawn Lynch (Cal football), Kim Oden (Stanford women’s volleyball), JT Snow (Arizona baseball) and Cal Women’s Swimming Coach and U.S. Olympic Swimming Coach Teri McKeever
    WHAT: Will begin the construction of the Pac-12 Studios by putting up the first wall in Studio 1 and doing demolition work on another wall. MATT Construction is the General Contractor, HLW is the architect and Diversified Systems is the Integrator.
    WHY: The Pac-12 Studios will be home to the Pac-12 Network and the Pac-12 Digital Network. The Pac-12 Network will showcase 850 live Pac-12 sporting events each year as well as original studio programming. It is scheduled to launch in August, 2012.
    WHEN: Monday, February 13 at 11:00 a.m.
    WHERE: 370 Third Street, Third Floor, San Francisco, CA 94107
    February 8th
    Two starting Pac-12 linebackers out?
    Stanford and Washington State both had linebackers arrested this week. Washington State dismissed its offender; disciplinary action in Palo Alto is still pending.
    Washington State
    Linebacker C.J. Mizell has been dismissed from the Washington State football team for a violation of team policy, the school announced Tuesday.
    Mizell was arrested Sunday night on allegations of fourth-degree assault and second-degree criminal trespassing stemming from a fight at a fraternity party early Sunday morning, according to Pullman Police.
    A statement from WSU said that Mizell is “not being retained.”
    Pullman Police Sergeant Dan Dornes said police were called at approximately 12:24 a.m. after Mizell allegedly tried to enter a party at the Delta Tau Delta fraternity house. When Mizell was denied entry, he allegedly “punched one of the guys several times,” Dornes said.
    Mizell, who came to WSU from Tallahassee, Fla., recorded 56 tackles in nine starts as a sophomore last season. He started 15 games in his WSU career.
    His dismissal follows a WSU career marked by turmoil. Perhaps the most athletically gifted member of the Cougars defense, Mizell frustrated coaches with his lacking work ethic during his freshman year, but appeared to be turning things around last season until injuries slowed him.
    Stanford
    Star linebacker Shayne Skov was arrested and jailed last weekend for driving under the influence.
    A Stanford University Department of Public Safety spokesman said Skov was arrested for driving under the influence Sunday at about 2 a.m. The incident, first reported by The Stanford Daily student newspaper Monday night, occurred on campus.
    Skov was pulled over in the parking lot of his dormitory after his vehicle swerved several times, SUDPS spokesman Bill Larson said. Skov was booked at the Santa Clara County jail, he said, and the case is being turned over to the Palo Alto District Attorney’s office.
    “We have an expected standard of excellence and conduct for our players and Shayne failed to adhere to those standards,” Stanford coach David Shaw said in a statement released through a team spokesman. “It’s a matter we are taking very seriously. Shayne will be responsible to adhere to any legal responsibilities regarding this event along with ramifications which will be determined by the program.”
    Skov’s signature Mohawk and liberal display of eye black made him the unquestioned face and leader of Stanford’s defense.
    Skov led the Cardinal with 84 tackles and had 7½ sacks two years ago. He tore a ligament in his left knee in the third game of the 2011 season, sidelining him for the year and likely through most of spring practice.
    Best bet: Skov will be suspended for the first two games of the 2012 season.
    Why two?
    The first two games on the Cardinal schedule this fall are against San Jose State and Duke.
    Game three?
    USC.
    February 6th
    Too good to be true?
    According to a CBSSportsline article, the Pac-12 has*updated its executive regulations, with the new rule stating that non-conference neutral site football games will no longer be permitted unless the conference gets their cut of the media rights.
    The language of the new regulation: “No member institution shall enter into an agreement to play a neutral-site football game (except in circumstances where such neutral-site game is the away leg of a home-and-home series) unless such agreement provides the Conference with the exclusive broadcast rights and digital rights in all media, and copyright to such neutral-site game.”
    Will this mean the end of the Rocky Mountain Showdown against Colorado State in Denver?
    Dare to dream.
    But it may not work out that way …
    First, it may be that the league will not*enforce the new regulation upon existing contracts. The current CU/CSU agreement for Denver*runs through 2019 (with the 2020 game, strangely enough, scheduled as a home game for CSU in Ft. Collins). Still, if Buff fans could see the writing on the wall for the end of the series in Denver, they may be willing to put up with the game at Mile High Stadium (okay – Sports Authority Field)*for the next*eight seasons.
    Second, the regulation does not say that neutral-site games against non-conference opponents are prohibited, just that such a game would have to be a Pac-12 Network game, or be the back end of a home-and-home. Would the league will be willing to give some $$ to CSU in exchange for showing*CU’s*”exciting” in-state rivalry game with the Rams? Would CSU be willing to give up the*media rights in order to have a broadcast partner (note that the RMS for 2012 has been moved to Sunday, in order to try and find a network interested in showing a 3-10 team play a 3-9 team)? Would CSU be willing to play its future*”home” games against Colorado*in Denver, and allow CU to play its “home” games at, well, home (which would satisfy the terms of the regulation) in order to preserve the series?
    These questions will be ironed out over the next few months/years. Still, as it is right now, Colorado is getting hamstrung with its twelve game schedule.*Colorado is bound to play nine Pac-12 games each season, and with a Big Ten opponent every year (in the not-to-distant future) creating a tenth prescribed game. With*the CSU game on the calendar each season, Colorado will have only*one non-conference game to work with after 2015.
    If there are no changes,*there will be a lot more Sacramento State’s and Central Arkansas’ in CU’s future.
    Getting out from underneath the CSU game would certainly assist in allowing CU to schedule home-and-home games with more quality opponents.
    Plus, it would get*CU out of Denver …
    February 4th
    Pac-12 Network numbers keep getting better and better
    While the Pac-12 facility arms race*continues to heat up – with Colorado still urging fans to “stay tuned”, the chances of any Pac-12 team crying poverty any time soon continue to diminish.
    We already knew that the $3 billion, 12-year contract the Pac-12 signed with ESPN and Fox would bring Colorado more than double what it was used to in television revenues. As a member of the Big 12, Colorado brought home $8-$10 million per year. Over the term of the ESPN/Fox contract, the average take will be around $21 million per year (starting out between $15-$18 million next year, and escalating from there).
    What we didn’t know was how the Pac-12 Networks would work out financially.
    Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott and his team took a risk, at least compared to the model which was out there, the Big Ten Network. The BTN members took less revenue (51%) in exchange for Fox taking care of the setup costs and distribution issues.
    The Pac-12 Network is wholly owned by the league, with the conference also taking on all of the costs associated with the start up and administration. Now, Scott and the conference did hedge their bets in owning the league, getting ESPN and Fox to agree to allow 36 football games (three per week, including some marquee games) to*be shown on the Network, along with most of the men’s and women’s basketball games.
    The thought was that retaining 100% of the rights would pay off … in the long run.
    It now appears that the gamble will pay off handsomely, and even sooner than expected.
    In an article in the Seattle Times, Bud Withers quoted A.J. Maestas, whose Chicago-based company, Navigate Marketing, does media research and measurement.*”Off the top of my head, four years from today, I would not be surprised if the Pac-12 schools saw $12-15 million distribution (each) from the Pac-12 Networks,” Maestas said. “The truth is, it could actually be 30-40 percent higher than that.”
    That’s on top of the average of $21 million per year from the television package.
    Bring on women’s lacrosse!
    “In my opinion, it will be the most successful sports-network launch in history,” Maestas continued. “It’s an absolute home run, period.”
    Why?
    First, Pac-12 Networks lined up four partners – Comcast, Time-Warner, Cox and Bright House – that already reach 40 million homes. So if Pac-12 Networks launched today, it’d be No. 11 in the country in sports networks for distribution.
    (According to Sports Business Journal, these were the top-10-distributed sports networks for June, rounded off: 1, ESPN, 100.1 million TV homes. 2, ESPN2, 99.9 million. 3, Golf Channel, 83.8 million. 4, Speed, 78.5 million. 5, Versus, 76.2 million. 6, ESPN News, 74.2 million. 7, ESPNU, 73.2 million. 8, NFL Network, 56.9 million. 9, MLB Network, 56.2 million. 10, NBA TV, 55.6 million.)
    While Maestas says the 40-million start is a robust number, he adds, “In 12 months, I think they’ll easily pick up another 20-25 million households.”
    All that would do is vault the Pac-12 Network saturation past any of the pro leagues’ networks. Remember, the conference hasn’t even gone to DirecTV or the Dish Network yet – or all the other cable carriers out there.
    The figure behind the scenes in much of Scott’s blockbuster success in two years is*Kevin Weiberg, who has been instrumental on at least two fronts – expansion and the Pac-12 Networks. Before Scott hired him as deputy commissioner 18 months ago, he was Big 12 commissioner, so he knew the sacred cows and vulnerabilities of that league (and boy, have those been exposed). But more recently, he had been with the Big Ten Network for 18 months.
    Says Maestas, “I think what we’re seeing in the Pac-12 Networks is Kevin Weiberg’s education in the process from launching the Big Ten Network. I think he said, ‘We get to do it again; here’s the 2.0 version.’ ”
    Will the new television and Pac-12 Network revenue fund all of the facilities upgrades Colorado wants to make? No.
    Will the new television and Pac-12 Network revenue bring Colorado even with Oregon and USC in terms of revenue and amenities? Of course not – the Ducks and Trojans will also be seeing a financial windfall from these contracts.
    But the extra money will make it*possible for Colorado to remain in the upper echelon of college sports.
    And that’s a good start …
    February 1st
    Colorado turns in Top 35 class despite 3-10 record
    Imagine what these coaches might do with a winning record …
    While Colorado undeniably got a boost in the national rankings from the sheer number of signings – the largest recruiting Class since 1978 – there is also something to be said for the job the CU coaching staff did overcoming the burden of six straight losing seasons and a 3-10 record in 2011.
    Team Rankings (February 1st):
    Rivals: 34th nationally / 8th in the Pac-12
    Scout:**29th nationally /*6th in the Pac-12
    24/7 Sports:*42nd nationally*/ 9th in the Pac-12
    ESPN: Outside of the top 25 nationally
    Where did other players end up?
    While the list of Colorado recruits was pretty much a known quantity heading into Signing Day, there were a number of other players CU coveted this recruiting season. A list of some of the players who took official visits to Boulder, and where they wound up:
    Linebacker Seth Jacobs – Oklahoma State
    Tight end Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick – USC
    Offensive lineman Isaiah Folasa – New Mexico State
    Defensive end Kyle Kelley – Arizona
    Defensive end Morgan Breslin – USC
    Offensive lineman Alexandru Ceachir – UCLA
    Offensive lineman Steven Moore – Cal
    Linebacker Deaysean Rippy – Pittsburgh
    Offensive lineman Shane Brostek – Washington
    Tight end Taylor McNamera – Oklahoma
    Linebacker Rashawn Hooker – Utah
    Former CU commits …
    Running back Erich Wilson – Committed to CU August 13th; de-committed November 1st – Signed with Washington
    Defensive back Ma’ne Manaea – Committed to CU September 14th; de-committed in November – Signed with Idaho
    Defensive lineman Zaheer Webb – Committed to CU September 14th; but never qualified – remains unsigned
    Defensive lineman Victor Irokansi – Committed to CU July 12th; de-committed July 28th – Signed with Oklahoma State
    Running back Benjamin Catalon – Committed to CU March 14th; de-committed May 12th – Signed with TCU
    Colorado high school top ten recruits*…
    Quarterback Cyler Miles – Washington
    Offensive lineman Joey O’Connor – Ohio State
    Offensive lineman Paul Thurston – Nebraska
    Offensive lineman Shane Callahan – Auburn
    Tight end Evan Bayliss – Oregon


    Originally posted by CU At the Game
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