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Oregon carries conference banner into Fiesta Bowl


#Commentary on #Pac-12 developments on and off the field …

#Rising: #Oregon

#An opportunity awaits the #Ducks — and, by extension, the #Pac-12 — that should not and cannot be missed.

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#At least, not if the conference hopes to end the season with a show of quarter-force.

#It’s not full force unless the victory comes in the #College #Football #Playoff.

#It’s not semi-force unless the victory comes in a #New #Year’s #Six bowl over a powerhouse program, like #Georgia or #Oklahoma.

#But a victory over #Iowa #State in the #Fiesta #Bowl this weekend — #Oregon is a mere four-point underdog — would qualify as the highlight of the season for the conference, with nothing else close.

The #Pac-12 started later, and experienced more disruption (by percentage of games canceled), than its peers.

#It produced no #Heisman #Trophy candidates, playoff contenders or top-10 teams.

#It has just two bowl participants, and the other, #Colorado, was run off the field by #Texas last night in the #Alamo #Bowl.

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#To this point, the #Pac-12 has nothing to display on the national stage in 2020, save its late-arriving presence.

#But an #Oregon victory over the #Big 12 runner-up in the #Fiesta would be something tangible — a noteworthy final impression as it heads into the offseason.

The #Ducks could use a victory.

The #Pac-12 is desperate for one.

#Rising: UCLA

The #Bruins are an early winner in what should be an offseason of unprecedented player movement and roster tumult.

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The transfer portal is overflowing, the recruiting cycle is ongoing, and the 2020 season didn’t count against the players’ eligibility clocks.

#We could have redshirt sophomores entering the 2021 draft and fifth-year seniors returning for the 2021 season.

#Since their season ended with an overtime loss to #Stanford, the #Bruins have won more than they’ve lost.

#Tailback #Demetric #Felton and defensive tackle #Osu #Odighizuwa were quick to declare for the draft, but quarterback #Dorian #Thompson-Robinson and safety #Quentin #Lake announced their intentions to return.

#Tuesday brought more good news for the #Bruins, with starting guard #Paul #Grattan, nickel corner #Qwuantrezz #Knight and tailback #Brittain #Brown (the heir to #Felton’s starting spot) all stating their intentions to return.

UCLA also landed a significant transfer:

#Ethan #Garbers, the former four-start recruit who signed with #Washington and spent this year on the bench in #Seattle, announced he’s headed to #Westwood.

#Garbers will assuredly compete with #Chase #Griffin for the starting job once #Thompson-Robinson departs.

#All of which is to say:

UCLA’s roster has stabilized for ’21, while the quarterback options now appear sufficient for ’22 and, perhaps, beyond.

#Rising: #Washington

#For the moment, we’ll slot the #Huskies as the frontrunner in the #North for 2021.

They, too, have been on the right side of the draft declaration game.

#On a memorable #Montlake #Monday, three first-team all-conference players announced they would return for 2021: tight end #Cade #Otton, offensive tackle #Jaxson #Kirkland and edge rusher #Zion #Tupuola-Fetui.

#Tupuola-Fetui’s return will assist a defense that’s losing star nickel back #Elijah #Molden.

#Otton’s return ensures quarterback #Dylan #Morris will have his favorite target for another season.

#And #Kirkland’s decision likely means UW will return all five starters along the offensive line.

#If the #Huskies get reasonable production from their wide receivers — that’s hardly a guarantee — they should have all the pieces in place to contend for the division, regardless of the decisions made in #Eugene over the next few weeks.


#Falling; #Colorado

#It was ugly #Tuesday night in #San #Antonio, far uglier than we imagined — and we suspected trouble for the #Buffaloes as soon as the matchup with #Texas was announced.

The COVID-depleted #Buffs were overmatched, overpowered and every other ‘over’ you can name in their 55-23 loss to the COVID-depleted #Longhorns.

#Texas, which went a mere 5-3 in the #Big 12, averaged more than nine yards per play against CU and scored more points with its backup quarterback in the game than its starter.

#Colorado — and by extension, the #Pac-12 — played the role of cupcake.

Down arrow

The #Buffaloes could have been #Colorado #State or #Colorado #College, such was the lack of resistance offered.

A valuable recruiting opportunity was missed.

The chance to back up their regular-season success was squandered.

#All in all, it was dreadful.

#How should we remember CU in 2020 … in the entirety of 2020?

#It began with the departure of coach #Mel #Tucker and ended with the blowout loss to #Texas.

#In between, there was change, chaos and, ultimately, a glimmer of hope for the program:

The #Buffaloes showed enough promise, enough competency, to suggest they won’t cycle back to the bottom of the #South.

They have a first-rate young tailback in #Jarek #Broussard; they’re scheduled to return the bulk of their starting lineup; and they might have found their quarterback of the future #Tuesday night in #Brendon #Lewis.

#Because of the limited amount of top-tier talent within the state … because its pipelines must stretch to #Dallas and  #Southern #California … #Colorado is closer to the bottom of the #Pac-12 than the top when it comes to margin for error:

#Recruiting misses and player attrition cut deeper, last longer.

The climb often requires years; the fall can take mere weeks.

#What we saw #Tuesday night was a team not ready for the medium stage.

#What we witnessed this season was a program that just might get there soon enough.

#Falling: #Arizona basketball

The #Wildcats have exited the NCAA tournament earlier than expected several times during #Sean #Miller’s tenure.

Their announcement #Tuesday reframed that existence:

#Arizona self-imposed a postseason ban for 2021 in the wake of findings by the NCAA and what the school called “serious lapses in judgment” by former staff members.

#Meaning, the #Wildcats won’t participate in the #Pac-12 tournament or #March #Madness this spring.

#Meaning, the season is effectively over in #Tucson … unless the players muster the urgency and execution required to win the #Pac-12 regular-season title.

#With the decision to willingly remove itself from the postseason, #Arizona is taking a well-traveled path to (theoretically) avoiding harsher penalties when the NCAA eventually rules on the misdeeds uncovered in the FBI investigation.





[ source link ]
https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/12/30/stock-report-oregon-carries-the-banner-good-news-for-ucla-and-uw-arizona-self-imposes-and-colorado-face-plants/

##Oregon #carries #conference #banner ##Fiesta ##Bowl

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