Category Archives: Pac-12 Football

TURRible officiating

Or, as it’s referred to in the Pac-12, good work.

That was from the Cal-Stanford game, where nothing much was on the line.  Far worse was the attempted hose job on Oregon State (what the hell does the conference have against the Beavers, anyway?) where it seemed like the officials did their damnedest to save the game for Oregon — who, coincidently, was the conference’s highest ranked team at the time — as OSU drove late for what turned out to be the winning score.

For example, this somehow isn’t offsides.

There was also a missed touchdown on a quarterback sneak when he got the entire top half of his body over the goal line, but in the end OSU overcame all of that and managed to score on another sneak to pull off the upset.

In the SEC, there’d be complaints about refs throwing the game, but it’s just another day at the office for Larry Scott’s crew.

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Filed under Pac-12 Football

“All the power is in the coach’s hands — you can’t negotiate.”

Siri, what is the opposite of doing it for the kids?

Henry Bazakas embodied everything the University of California wants in a football player.

A third-generation Cal student who grew up in Berkeley, Bazakas arrived on campus five years ago as a walk-on offensive lineman. Three times he earned an award for having the team’s highest grade-point average. He and a teammate spearheaded a summer reading program at local elementary schools. He won another award, for his commitment to strength and conditioning while recovering from a torn knee ligament. And last season, after he finally earned an athletic scholarship, he started three games at left tackle.

But none of that counted for much in June, when Bazakas called the Cal football coach, Justin Wilcox, to say that he was opting out of his final season because of health concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic.

The call was the beginning of an odyssey that illustrates the normally unseen, cutthroat side of the business of college football, with tensions that have been magnified for athletes by the determined push to play during the pandemic.

Nine days later, Bazakas found his scholarship had been cut off, and he was then billed more than $24,000 halfway through his summer term because the athletic department had revoked the financial aid that it had already paid.

Nice way to thank him for his service.

The summer school aid was ultimately reinstated by a university appeals committee, which said the school had violated N.C.A.A. rules by abruptly pulling Bazakas’s aid before giving him an opportunity for a hearing.

Chalk it up as another episode of enhancing the academic experience.

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Larry Scott’s uphill battle

A commish can dream, can’t he?

The College Football Playoff management committee will discuss delaying the 2021 event when it meets Wednesday afternoon, according to sources with knowledge of the agenda.

The move to formally discuss a delay — it’s on the agenda — came at the request of Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott but, sources said, does not indicate a change is imminent.

To this point, the committee has shown a strong preference for keeping the semifinals on Jan. 1 (the Rose and Sugar bowls) and the national championship on Jan. 11 (in Miami).

“They’re talking about anything and everything,’’ CFP executive director Bill Hancock said (via email) of the management committee, which consists of the 10 conference commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick.

“Larry did suggest considering the dates of the games, which is certainly in the ‘anything and everything’ universe.”

When you can’t even get Bill Hancock to wax optimistic for you, that’s the definition of a lost cause.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Pac-12 Football

Same as it ever was.

Every once in a while, I find little surprises when I check the blog’s data.  There’s one this morning, in that right now, this is the most read post on the blog today.  Talk about your golden oldie!

The question, is why, of course.  And the answer can be found here.

♦ Oregon State was driving to take a fourth-quarter lead when it ran a third down and 1 play inside the Huskies’ 5-yard line. The Beavers appeared to make the first down. The spot looked short and bad. OSU then ran a fourth and 1 play, and again appeared to make the first down. The spot again looked bad (See: Jon Wilner tweet with photos). UW took over on downs. It was a game-changing sequence.

♦ The Beavers’ game vs. Washington kicked off at 8 p.m. on FS1. It was apparent in watching the game that the television crew had a limited number of camera angles. I’ve been in the Centralized Command Center in San Francisco on game day. It’s an impressive set-up. But what surprised me was learning how inconsistent the number of cameras was from Pac-12 game to game.

Mike Ortiz, the conference’s senior director of video operations, showed me a dozen angles in one Pac-12 stadium that day and only six on another, for example. Six is the minimum number of cameras for any conference game.

Guess how many were at Husky Stadium on Saturday night?

Answer: six.

Here’s Wilner’s tweet:

It’s a bad call, and it had an impact on the game.

Give Larry Scott credit for this, at least — he’s upholding the Pac-12’s long tradition of being the shittiest officiated P5 conference.  (That’s saying a lot, too.)  It’s your Pac-12 point of pride.

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“What exactly is the Pac-12 Network right now?”

This really is the saddest quote.

One high-ranking conference official told me: “No media company wanted to partner with the Pac-12. ESPN declined. FOX, CBS, even the Discovery Channel declined. Nobody knows this.

“We weren’t wanted.”

Whether that’s truth or hyperbole, “even the Discovery Channel declined” rocks.

I didn’t realize until I read that piece that Larry Scott runs both the conference and the network and draws a salary from each.  Whatever pictures he’s got on people, they must be doozies.

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Larry tried.

Hey, Larry Scott went through a lot of trouble to restart a football season to qualify for some of that sweet playoff cash he didn’t think was going to be there, and this is how you repay the favor, Mr. College Football Playoff Man?

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott asked the College Football Playoff management committee on Wednesday to consider expanding this year’s playoff to eight teams but the proposal was declined, playoff executive director Bill Hancock told USA TODAY Sports.

“After thorough, respectful and civil discussion, they decided that the best outcome would be to make no changes in the format, because it would have been such a significant change and would come with so many challenges, especially given that the season is already underway,” Hancock said.

That’s a shame.  Now Larry’s gonna have to argue with a straight face how his 6-1 conference champ deserves a spot alongside nine and ten-game winners.

Due to the league’s limited number of games compared to its Power Five peers, the Pac-12 would have stood to benefit most from increasing the number of teams in this year’s playoff.

A bigger tourney would have meant more TV money, too.  Sorry about that, Lar.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Pac-12 Football

Larry Scott makes his move.

The Pac-12 is back in, baby.

The Pac-12 will play a seven-game conference football season beginning Nov. 6, the league announced Thursday.

The decision, voted on by the Pac-12’s CEO group on Thursday, represents an official reversal after the conference announced in early August it would postpone all sports until at least Jan. 1, citing health concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Would the CFP accept a team that only played seven games?  Well, let’s put it this way:  they haven’t said they wouldn’t.  Besides, Larry’s got his eyes on the real prize.

Even if the Pac-12 doesn’t have a team worthy of inclusion in the four-team field, the eligibility component is important so it can be in position to collect the sizable payout. Last season, there was a $66 million base payout to each of the Power 5 conferences.

It’s always a relief when medical science aligns with profit.

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Larry Scott, a man for his time

How do you know when you’re watching an Olympic-class shitheel at work?  Paying out performance bonuses to high level employees approximately one month before half the staff was laid off or furloughed is a fairly ordinary shitheel move.

What elevates it to the truly spectacular is moving up the bonus payment schedule so that it came before the layoffs.

“I have no idea why they changed the schedule, but I was surprised,’’ one networks employee said. “I was just told, ‘Heads up, bonuses will be paid at the end of the week.’’’

A conference spokesperson said the payment timeline was accelerated to coincide with salary reductions for the highly-paid employees and because — with furloughs and layoffs possible if the football season was disrupted — the payments could be used to “support the retention of key employees.”

Yeah, I’m sure losing key employees during a pandemic shutdown was a real risk.

If Larry Scott has a bottom, I don’t think we’ve found it yet.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, Pac-12 Football

Sometimes, you get the conference commissioner you deserve.

Big Ten presidents:  Watch us make a disaster out of a decision to play football!

Pac-12 presidents:  Hold our beers.

The Pac-12 presidents and chancellors’ unanimous decision last month to postpone all conference sports competition until at least Jan. 1 came after they saw a presentation that included erroneous statistics that overstated the prevalence of COVID-19 in several of the conference’s communities during the first week of August.

The most glaring incorrect metric listed the seven-day average positivity rate for tests in Los Angeles County as 19% — more than three times the 5.49% average listed by the L.A. County Department of Public Health.

It’s times like this that make you realize why they pay Larry Scott the big bucks.

[Ed. note:  It should go without saying that this post isn’t an invite to debate COVID stats, so don’t go there.]

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Filed under Pac-12 Football, The Body Is A Temple

And now, it’s the Pac-12’s turn.

Two months ago, if you’d have told any college football fan there’d be one last P5 holdout to starting the 2020 season and asked them to choose which one, the likely answer would have been… well, the one that is the last P5 holdout.

Naturally, Larry Scott and his gang are scrambling now not to be left out in the cold.

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott says the conference has “gotten the comfort” to play football this fall, but needs to secure approvals from county public health officials in Oregon and California in order to proceed, with the best-case scenario for the start of the season being “end of October-early November.”

Scott’s remarks came during an interview on ESPN’s SportsCenter Wednesday night, capping a wild day for the conference. The day began with the Pac-12 as the lone Power 5 conference not planning to play fall sports after the Big Ten announced it was reversing course and starting its football season Oct. 23-24, saw California Gov. Gavin Newsom say his state’s regulations weren’t impeding the Pac-12 from playing despite 12-player cohort limitations to practices, Scott and Newsom spoke and Newsom contacted USC officials to address those impractical guidelines for football, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s office announced she and the Oregon Health Authority granted UO and OSU exemptions to state guidelines in order to play pending written plans and protocols from the Pac-12 and the athletic directors of USC and UCLA reportedly hold a joint call with Los Angeles County public health officials to get their go-ahead to begin contact sports practices.

My first thought on hearing that news was encapsulated nicely in this tweet:

But entirely on brand.  So much so, I can’t even laugh about it.

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