Oregon Ducks

TEMPE, AZ - DECEMBER 07:  Pac-12 Commissioner, Larry Scott stands in front of the Stanford Cardinal as they celebrate the Pac 12 Championship after defeating the Arizona State Sun Devils 38-14 at Sun Devil Stadium on December 7, 2013 in Tempe, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Pac-12 to tamper down on select #Pac12AfterDark kickoffs

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When you allow television networks to pay you $3 billion to broadcast football games and happen to be located on the West Coast, you’re going to pay for it in the form of late kickoffs. ESPN and Fox want eyeballs on their networks as long as possible on fall Saturdays, and they’re not putting SEC games on at 10 p.m. Eastern time.

So, naturally, the Pac-12 drew those time slots.

And they absolutely hated it.

Remember, this is a conference that only recently joined the 21st century. For decades, the conference was happy with its 10 teams, its football games played on Saturday afternoons and its basketball schedule diced into a handy Thursday-Saturday format. Larry Scott was hired in 2009 to modernize the league while increasing the bottom line, and part of that required late kickoffs.

But on Tuesday the conference announced it has worked with its television partners to reduce the number of late kickoffs. ESPN and Fox won’t change their late slots, but the conference has received clearance to play Pac-12 Network games in previously exclusive windows of 2 p.m. or 6:30 p.m. local time. The change is expected to reduce the late night kickoffs by “up to” four games.

“The Pac-12 has some of the most loyal fans in college athletics and we appreciate our television partners working with us on this important issue for fans,” Oregon AD Rob Mullens said in a statement. “The increased exposure and revenue from our contracts with ESPN and FOX Sports have been instrumental to our success, but we continue to work hard to minimize as much as possible the negative impact late start times have on our fans who travel great distances to see our teams in person.”

Additionally, the conference announced it has instituted a field storming fine structure of $25,000 for a first offense, $50,000 for a second offense and $100,000 for a third offense. The SEC has a similar structure on its books.

“The Pac-12 Council carefully considered this policy and its impact on our fans who loyally support our teams,” Cal AD Mike Williams said. “This enhanced policy underscores the importance our universities place on the safety and welfare of our student-athletes, officials and fans, and will allow us to educate staffs and fans on procedures going forward.”

Finally, Pac-12 Network will start broadcasting eSports contests between member schools. Clear your schedule now.

2016 Las Vegas win totals think highly of Clemson, FSU, Sooners and Vols

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - DECEMBER 31:  Wayne Gallman #9 of the Clemson Tigers scores a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Oklahoma Sooners during the 2015 Capital One Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on December 31, 2015 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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The top two teams in the ACC, Clemson and Florida State, are widely expected to once again lead the way in the ACC and the first batch of season win totals from Las Vegas outlet The Golden Nugget back that up. The initial 2016 win totals for a handful of college football programs were released by The Golden Nugget this week, and it would appear the sportsbook expects a big season from the defending ACC champion and national runner-up Clemson.

As noted by The Sporting News, The Golden Nugget gave a regular season win total of 10 to Clemson and Oklahoma, both coming off an appearance in the College Football Playoff last season. Florida State also gets a double-digit win total, as does Tennessee. Defending national champion Alabama has a line of 9.5 for its win total.

Tennessee having a higher win total than Alabama? Well, consider the divisions each play in. The SEC West is still arguably a stronger division than the SEC East, suggesting Tennessee will have an easier path to hitting 10 wins during the regular season. Tennessee opens the season on a neutral field against Virginia Tech in Bristol, while Alabama hits the big stage in Arlington to take on USC. The Trojans have a win total of just 7.5. There was no number available for Virginia Tech.

Defending Big Ten champion Michigan State has a win total number of 8, which is half a game lower than the 8.5 given to Ohio State (take the over now while you can) and 1.5 games lower than in-state rival Michigan (9.5). Defending Pac-12 champion Stanford has to get to eight games to break even. The Golden Nugget set UCLA’s win total at nine, the highest among Pac-12 teams.

Clemson 10 (over -120)
Alabama 9.5
Florida State 10 (over -120)
Oklahoma 10 (under -130)
LSU 9.5 (over -140)
Michigan 9.5 (over -120)
Houston 9 (under -150)
Notre Dame 9 (under -125)
Ohio State 8.5 (over -115)
Tennessee 10
Baylor 9 (under -125)
Michigan State 8 (under -135)
Stanford 8 (under -130
Ole Miss 7.5 (under -115)
Georgia 8.5 (over -145)
Auburn 7 (over -120)
UCLA 9 (over -120)
USC 7.5 (over -120)
Oregon 8.5 (under -120)
Florida 8 (under -125)
Louisville 9
TCU 8.5 (under -125)
Oklahoma State (under -130)
UNLV 4.5

42 defensive players named to Lott IMPACT Trophy watch list

Ronnie Lott
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Another day, another watch list.

One day after the Rimington Award released its initial spring watch list, the Lott IMPACT Trophy has followed suit, with the award named in honor of former USC great Ronnie Lott unveiling a watch list consisting of 42 players from seven of the 10 FBS conferences.  The trophy is handed out annually to the defensive player who most represents the qualities of the honor’s namesake – Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity.

Last year’s winner was Penn State defensive end Carl Nassib.

Alabama is the only team with three players on the list. Six teams placed two players each: Michigan, Stanford, TCU, Tennessee, USC and Virginia. There was also one FCS team represented — Harvard.

Conference-wise, the Big Ten paced all leagues with 10 players selected, followed by the SEC”s eight and the ACC’s seven. The Mountain West led all Group of Five conferences with two players. The only other G5 league to get an initial nod was the AAC (Houston).

Below is the complete 42-player watch list for the 2016 Lott IMPACT Trophy.

Jamal Adams, S, LSU
Sean Ahern, S, Harvard
Joey Alfieri, LB, Stanford
Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama
Dante Barnett, S, Kansas State
Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
Evan Berry, CB, Tennessee
Quin Blanding, S, Virginia
Ben Boulware, LB, Clemson
Riley Bullough, LB, Michigan State
Jason Cabinda, LB, Penn State
Josh Carraway, DE, TCU
Jack Cichy, LB, Wisconsin
Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
Dylan Haines, S, Texas
Charles Harris, DL, Missouri
Adoree’ Jackson, CB, USC
Eddie Jackson, S, Alabama
Derwin James, S, Florida State
Joshua Kalu, CB, Nebraska
Andrew King, LB, Army
Desmond King, S, Iowa
Micah Kiser, LB, Virginia
Jourdan Lewis CB, Michigan
William Likely, CB, Maryland
Dallas Lloyd, S, Stanford
Cameron Malveaux, DE, Houston
James McFarland, DE, TCU
Raekwon McMillan, LB, Ohio State
Viliami Moeakiola, LB, Arizona State
Calvin Munson, LB, San Diego State
Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan
Cameron Smith, LB, USC
Arrion Springs, DB, Oregon
Weston Steelhammer, S, Air Force
M.J. Stewart, CB, North Carolina
Jordan Thomas, CB, Oklahoma
Drue Tranquill, S, Notre Dame
Anthony Walker, LB, Northwestern
Jordan Whitehead, DB, Pitt
Tim Williams, LB, Alabama
A.J. Wolf, DL, Duke

USC’s Adoree Jackson, Oregon’s Devon Allen shine at Pac-12 track meet

EUGENE, OR -SEPTEMBER 06: Wide receiver Devon Allen #5 of the Oregon Ducks celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the third quarter of the game against the Michigan State Spartans at Autzen Stadium on September 6, 2014 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
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Pac-12 football was well-represented at the conference’s track & field championship meet this past weekend.

Saturday, USC wide receiver Adoree Jackson, who was excused from spring practice to focus on track this year, won the conference long-jump event with a leap of 25-3.5. This is the second straight league long-jump title for the sophomore wide receiver, who won it in 2015 with an identical jump of 25-3.5.

In addition to defending his long-jump championship, Jackson, who is hoping to earn a spot at the U.S. Olympic Trials later this year in that event, also finished second in the 100-meter dash Sunday with a time of 10.44. Third in that event? Oregon wide receiver Devon Allen, who ran a 10.48, one-tenth of a second behind champion Reggie Lewis of Arizona State.

The day before, Allen added his own titles, plural, as the redshirt junior speedster claimed first in the 110-meter hurdles as well as the 200-meter dash. Allen also ran the second leg of the Ducks’ 4×100 relay team that finished third.

Allen was named male athlete of the event as the Duck’s men’s team won the Pac-12 title for the eighth straight time and 11th time in the last 12.

As an aside, and for those interested, the Ducks’ women’s team also won the title for the eighth consecutive year.

Oregon settles lawsuit over bonuses to Chip Kelly

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl - Oregon v Kansas State
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The University of Oregon has settled a little insurance squabble over money it lost to former head coach Chip Kelly and members of Kelly’s coaching staff following the 2012-2013 season. According to a  report from The Register-Guard, Oregon has accepted an insurance payment in the amount of $242,000 to put the issue to rest.

Oregon paid an insurance premium of $490,000 for a policy that was expected to cover all costs of bonus money to Kelly and his assistants following the 2012-2013 season, which was a reward for guiding the Ducks to a victory in the Fiesta Bowl that season. Following Oregon’s 2012 season, the school paid Kelly and his assistants a total of $688,000 in bonus money. When filing a claim to get a reimbursement for the full amount of bonus money paid, the insurance company refused to pay.

It all comes down to specific wording in the policy, which anyone who has dealt with an insurance issue can probably understand. Essentially, the insurance company refused to pay because they felt the insurance policy they opened with Oregon only focused on maximum bonuses, which would have come had Oregon played in and won the BCS Championship Game that season (Alabama steamrolled Notre Dame that season). Believing they should have been covered, the University of Oregon sued the insurance company for a breach of contract. Two other insurance companies managed to obtain the policy and will split the payout to Oregon as a result.

Kelly left Oregon to coach the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFL in 2013. He brought a handful of Oregon assistants with him as Mark Helfrich took over as head coach of the Ducks. Kelly lasted three seasons in Philadelphia before being let go. He is now the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers.