5 need-to-knows for Week Eight in Pac-12 soccer …
1. The ‘GameDay’ issue
The Hotline is perpetually in quest of context. This week, we discovered a pile hidden in plain sight.
The rise and fall of the Pac-12 by way of its growth period tracks with the variety of campus appearances by ESPN’s ‘Faculty GameDay.’
Is smart, proper? The supremely common pregame present goes the place the massive video games are.
Saturday, ‘GameDay’ will broadcast dwell from Eugene, the place No. 10 Oregon hosts No. 9 UCLA in a showdown oozing implications — for the convention race, for the playoff chase and maybe for the Heisman Trophy marketing campaign.
However look at the ‘GameDay’ historical past throughout the Pac-12 footprint because the convention expanded in 2011 and also you’ll discover a definite sample.
The present made common appearances for six years, a stretch that coincided with a barrage of 10-win seasons and top-25 rankings for the convention, plus two playoff berths.
However up to now 5 years, because the Pac-12 pale from relevance, ‘GameDay’ turned an rare customer to the West Coast.
Appearances by 12 months (with campus):
2011: three (Oregon, USC, Stanford)
2012: two (Oregon, USC)
2013: three (Washington, Oregon, USC)
2014: one (Oregon)
2015: two (Arizona, Utah)
2016: two (Utah, Washington)
2018: two (Oregon and WSU)
2020: none (COVID)
2021: one (UCLA)
‘GameDay’ debuted in 1993 and is making its eleventh look at Oregon, which leads the Pac-12. (Solely USC, which has hosted 10 instances, is even shut.)
We’re barely skeptical of one other go to to the West Coast this season, not due to a paucity of high quality matchups however due to the areas.
The Washington-Oregon and Utah-Oregon video games could possibly be candidates, however each are in Eugene and ‘GameDay’ by no means makes two appearances on the identical campus.
That seemingly leaves only one choice: The USC-UCLA showdown, which falls on Nov. 19 — the weekend earlier than Ohio State-Michigan.
2. Howdy, byes
That is the lightest weekend of the season, with simply 4 video games: USC, Arizona, Utah and Washington State are idle.
As soon as Week Eight involves an in depth, solely two groups may have byes to take down the stretch: Oregon State and Washington. They’re idle on Oct. 28, then collide in Seattle on the primary Friday of November.
The sunshine lineup this weekend leaves the convention with simply two video games on main networks: Oregon-UCLA is on Fox at 12:30 p.m., whereas Washington-Cal will probably be on ESPN within the evening window. The opposite two video games are on the Pac-12 Networks.
3. QB issues
Solely eight groups are on the sector, but three have quarterback conditions value monitoring:
— Colorado will make a game-time choice on freshman Owen McCown, who was reportedly “dinged up” towards Cal and left the sport within the second half. His substitute, JT Shrout, threw the profitable landing go in time beyond regulation and will probably be obtainable if McCown isn’t prepared.
— Arizona State is anticipated to start out Emory Jones, who has cleared concussion protocol following a success two weeks in the past within the victory over Washington. If he struggles, the Solar Devils will flip to Trenton Bourguet, who tossed three touchdowns towards UW.
— Oregon State is anticipated to start out freshman Ben Gulbranson for the third consecutive recreation as first-stringer Likelihood Nolan stays in concussion protocol. Gulbranson is 2-0 as a starter, with wins over Stanford and Washington State.
4. Assist arrives
We now have change into accustomed to Pac-12 coaches getting fired in the midst of the season, however Cal took the alternative method this week.
The Bears coaxed Steve Greatwood out of retirement. The longtime Pac-12 assistant will function an analyst and work to revive Cal’s woeful play alongside the offensive line.
Greatwood is kind of acquainted with the college and the project, having coached the place for many years at Oregon and Cal. Primarily, he’s answering coach Justin Wilcox’s plea for assist.
The Bears have been terrible on offense, with 22 factors (mixed) towards Washington State and Colorado, and the floundering line is a chief purpose.
Our suspicion is that Greatwood’s affect will probably be felt instantly regardless of the analyst function.
5. Notes and nuggets
— Oregon, Oregon State and Washington change into bowl-eligible with victories this weekend. USC and UCLA have already reached the six-win threshold.
— Washington has scored extra factors in seven video games (295) than it scored in 12 final season (258).
— ASU’s final victory at Stanford was in 2007, the primary 12 months of the Jim Harbaugh period.
— Cal has gained six consecutive dwelling video games, its longest streak because the heydays of the Jeff Tedford period within the 2000s.
— Oregon’s 22-game dwelling profitable streak is the third-longest within the FBS. The Geese haven’t misplaced in Autzen Stadium since 2018 (Stanford).
— And at last: UCLA’s final street victory over a top-10 group in convention play was in 1990, when the Bruins beat Washington.
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