Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott is in an uncomfortable position as the face of the Pac-12. With his conference continuing to lag in the financial department compared to other power conferences and with continued struggles to generate the revenue hoped for with the launch of the Pac-12 Network in recent years, Scott and the Pac-12 are scrambling to find new ways to spark interest and revenue for the conference. In a conversation with members of the media during some spring meetings this week, Scott addressed the future of the conference and its current plans, and also touched on the subject of some sort of scheduling uniformity between the power conferences.
Scott voiced his support for the idea of every power conference requiring its members to play 10 games each season against other power conference competition. The idea being that requiring every member of a power conference to play 10 games against other power conference opponents would compensate for the fact that each power conference either has a different number of members or a different scheduling requirement in place.
For example, the 14-team Big Ten schedules a 9-game conference schedule and requires its members to schedule one additional non-conference game against a power conference opponent. On the other hand, the SEC and ACC each schedule 8-conference games and require a power conference opponent in non-conference play. The Pac-12 plays a nine-game schedule in conference play but does not require its members to schedule power conference opponents (although many end up doing just that anyway). Scott also made clear the Pac-12 was not about to change the way the conference handles its scheduling philosophy any time soon.
In an attempt to level the scheduling playing field by having each member of the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, and SEC play 10 games overall against power conference opponents, you would be asking more from some conferences than others. And getting everybody on the same page might be a tall order that just will never be fulfilled. In requiring so many games against power conference opponents, you would be asking schools to be making some costly sacrifices by giving up s key home game, which for some schools is a massive revenue generator with the stadiums as big as they are.
Sure, it might make for great TV, and if that’s the case then the TV money may eventually win out, but it will also be cutting non-power conference schools off from some revenue opportunity as well. Fewer games to collect checks from power schools means a decrease in non-power conference revenue streams. The big conferences may not care about that impact though.
If nothing else, Scott’s on board with trying to improve the Pac-12 product, and that’s really all that he is supposed to be doing here.
Jerry Kill stepped down as Minnesota’s head coach in the middle of the 2015 season, but he’s remained active as ever in “retirement.”
He spent 2016 as an assistant AD at Kansas State, returned to coaching as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Rutgers in 2017, but, after the same epileptic seizures that chased him out of coaching followed him to Piscataway, Kill stepped down after just one season. He was quickly scooped up as the athletics director at Southern Illinois, but now Kill is returning again to coaching — sort of.
Virginia Tech on Monday announced Kill as the new assistant to the head coach for Justin Fuente. In this newly-created role, Kill will use his experience to assist Fuente with “a myriad of duties.”
“Jerry Kill will serve as a tremendous resource for our football program,” Fuente said. “Coach Kill possesses over three decades of expertise and will be great addition to our staff. In addition to over 20 years of experience as collegiate and high school head coach, he’s served as a coordinator on both sides of the ball. He can dissect the game from virtually every angle and will be able to provide his unique perspective on everything from recruiting, to personnel and facilities. ”
“While it was a difficult decision to leave so many wonderful friends and colleagues at Southern Illinois, I am thrilled for the opportunity to join Coach Fuente and his staff at Virginia Tech,” Kill said. “I’ve long appreciated and admired Justin as a coach and teacher of the game. I respect his penchant for identifying talent and helping young men reach their potential. He has assembled a fabulous coaching staff and roster of talented players at Virginia Tech. I can’t wait to help the Hokies in any way I can.”
Kill will join the Virginia Tech staff effective immediately. He went 152-99 as a head coach at five different schools from 1994-2015.
No. 24 Arizona State beat Michigan State 10-7 on Saturday, a win that was preserved by a 12-men-on-the-field penalty that wiped away a game-tying field goal for the Spartans. Matt Coghlin‘s second attempt, this one from 47 yards, sailed wide right, allowing the Sun Devils to hold on for the win.
But it turns out there should have been a second penalty called.
The Pac-12 has announced its officials missed a penalty on Arizona State on Coghlin’s second, missed attempt.
“An Arizona State defensive player took a running start and leapt over the kicking team’s line in an attempt to block the kick. In the process, he leapt into the frame of the body of an opponent. The penalty would have been 15 yards from the previous spot and an automatic first down.
In this case, it would have been administered as half the distance to the goal and Michigan State would have been provided one untimed down.”
That penalty would have moved the Spartans up to the Arizona State 14-yard line, giving Coghlin a third attempt from just 31 yards out.
The Pac-12 provided no word on what, if any, internal accountability the officiating crew that missed such a crucial penalty will face.
Chip Kelly revolutionized college football back when he was at Oregon, becoming so successful that not one but three NFL teams tried or succeeded in hiring him.
Kelly’s return to the sidelines in the college game however… could be going better. UCLA was blown out of the water on Saturday night at the Rose Bowl by No. 5 Oklahoma and the Bruins offense is actually among the worst in all of FBS.
They’re dead last in yards per play, second to last in total offense and No. 127 in scoring offense. Oh and sophomore quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson is No. 99 nationally in passer rating.
Despite those numbers, it appears Kelly isn’t contemplating a new face behind center as the team moves into Pac-12 play.
“We didn’t,” Kelly said when asked by the LA Times whether he thought of making a change at quarterback on Saturday. “…we felt confident in Dorian.”
To be fair, Thompson-Robinson did seem a little improved against the Sooners than he did in his first two starts of 2019 against Cincinnati and San Diego State. But those numbers speak for themselves with road trips to Washington State and Arizona coming up for the 0-3 side from Westwood.
TCU may have moved into the top 25 of the AP Poll this week after dispatching Purdue on Saturday but upcoming opponent SMU is off to an equally hot start coming into Week 4 after topping Texas State.
In fact, it’s a historic one down in Dallas.
As the school noted recently, the 3-0 start to the 2019 campaign is the Mustangs’ best since… 1984. That’s just after the Pony Express days on the Hilltop and right before the program got hammered by the NCAA for major violations.
Sonny Dykes’ tenure got off to a rough start after going 5-7 last season but the team looks much improved thanks in part to the play of Texas transfer QB Shane Buechele.
We’ll see if the two can keep things rolling against the rival Horned Frogs but the AAC might just have another intriguing team in the mix after such a hot start by SMU.