Catching up with the PAC

Time to take a look at the league . . . and USC. And see where things stand right about now.

Time to catch up with the PAC and look at the news -- such as it was -- that came out of last week's summer meetings in San Francisco. And not to diss the AP story here but we think they mostly missed the news. There will be a spotter system for injuries in football games, with video technology to monitor each play from every sort of angle and communicate what the spotter sees to medical staff and coaches.

And that's obviously a good thing. If only the Pac-12 had shown such out-front leadership five years ago when the NCAA's injury-encouraging scholarship limitations were dropped on USC. But we digress.

And no, we're not all that excited about the "new governance model" that will include one student-athlete per school attending council meetings. "The voice of the student-athlete is crucial as we take meaningful action to improve the college experience," commissioner Larry Scott said in a statement released by the conference, "and we look forward to their deeper involvement."

No, what should encourage USC fans is the league bailed on requiring all schools turn over their multimedia rights to the Pac-12's newly created in-house operation that would have lumped LA and Pullman in a single sales unit. Obviously USC and UCLA -- and maybe even Arizona State, Cal and/or UW -- said no thanks. We're not doing that. Our rights are worth more to us and for USC, after giving away the store five years ago, we're holding on to what we have.

S.O.S backs the PAC

For those out there -- and they're legion -- who might like to take a shot or two at the SEC from our Pac-12 perspective, here are some numbers you might like. The average Pac-12 team played 9.91 Power Five conference teams. The average SEC team played just 8.78. And only the SEC, among the Power Five conferences, played more FCS out-of-conference opponents than Power Five out-of-conference opponents.

And here's the final shot. Every single SEC team played an FCS opponent while four Pac-12 teams -- USC, UCLA, Colorado and Arizona -- did not. And as we know, USC and UCLA -- along with Notre Dame -- never have and we can only hope never will.

What are the odds?

They're breaking out all over this week with the Las Vegas odds on teams to win conference championships and the Pac-12 is once again on top, if you're looking for a close race.

At the top, according to sportsbook CG Technology, as published in ESPN's Pac-12 blog, the Pac-12 is closer than any other conference -- with Oregon edging out USC as the 9-4 favorite to USC's 11-4 odds. And at the other end, the worst Pac-12 odds are the 50-1 numbers for Oregon State and Colorado. Every other Power Five conference has at least one 100-1 bottom-feeder in Vandy, Wake Forest, Purdue and Kansas.

In the Big Ten, Ohio State is an overwhelming 1-2 favorite. And Alabama at 5-2 to Auburn's 15-4 is the big pick in the SEC.

And while only one other conference -- the Big 12 -- has four teams as close as 6-1 to win, the Pac-12 has five -- with Stanford and UCLA at 5-1 and Arizona State at 6-1.


Guess we're about to find out just how big a stick the SEC is able to swing if it can stand off the rest of college football with the vote on the early signing period whch would allow schools to sign players as early as Dec. 16. Since the SEC is the lone -- and very loud -- opponent to the proposal, supported by among others the Pac-12, we have to think they think this is an even battle when it comes up for vote when the conference commissioners get together to decide it this week in Ashevlle, NC.

Should be interesting. The SEC just doesn't want to give up those last six/seven weeks to close their recruiting deals and with the results as we've been seeing them recently, who can blame them?

But if they pull this off and somehow stand off the rest of the college football world, you have to give the SEC credit. You don't even have to win the CFB playoffs any more to be the king of college football. Can't wait to see how this plays out.

Big, bad PAC . . . well one place in the PAC is

OK, last week we thought we'd finished the's "15 for '15" series with Adoree Jackson and Su'a Cravens earning spots at the top of their "Fastest,' Most Physical" and "Freakiest Athlete" categories. But we were wrong.

And Zach Banner was there to remind us in this tweet today: "@zachbanner73 "The Biggest Player in College Football Award goes to... Me."

And indeed it did as the continued its series and there was the 6-foot-9, 360-pound Zach at No. 1 among college football's 15 biggest players -- maybe because he was the tallest. But he barely beat out No 3, another USC offensive lineman -- Damien Mama, who finished No. 3 on the list.

"How is it possible that Damien Mama isn't the biggest member of the Trojans' offensive line at 6-4, 355?," the asks. "Banner has him by five inches and five pounds. He held down the right tackle spot for USC last year and figures to do so again in 2015. Banner once tried his hand with the Trojans' basketball team, but football is in the blood here -- his father is a former Atlanta Falcons first-round draft pick who also played offensive line: Lincoln Kennedy.".

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