Commentary on Pac-12 developments on and off the pitch…
Rising: relevance of Pac-November 12
The reputation of the Pac-12 has been severely damaged in recent years by the lack of college football playoff participants. Since Washington in 2016, the conference has produced a semi-finalist, and it has claimed just two of 28 spots in the history of the event.
But within the larger framework of the CFP is an important element: the relevance of the stretch.
Whether or not the Pac-12 sends a team to the CFP this season – Oregon is the only option – the conference needs to be part of the conversation during the sport’s most important month.
Without a legitimate playoff contender, the Pac-12 might as well be Conference USA for all the attention it gets on ESPN and FOX and all the other national media outlets.
That’s why Oregon’s No.4 position – the highest ever for a Pac-12 team in the initial standings – was so vital.
Until they lose, the Ducks will be right in the middle of the conversation, reminding everyone that the conference exists… that it deserves the Power Five designation.
Because a lot of people are not sure these days.
The history of the Pac-12 teams in the initial CFP ranking:
(Playoff participants in italics)
2014Oregon # 5No. 12 Arizona No. 14 Arizona State No. 17 Utah No. 22 UCLA
2015No. 11 Stanford No. 12 Utah No. 23 UCLA
2016# 5 WashingtonNo. 15 Colorado No. 16 Utah No. 25 Washington State
2017No. 12 Washington No. 17 USC No. 21 Stanford No. 22 Arizona No. 25 Washington State
2018No. 8 Washington State No. 15 Utah
2019No. 7 Oregon No. 8 Utah
2020No team ranked
2021# 4 Oregon
Fall: Pac cushion-November 12
The precipitous decline in representation over the past four seasons reflects the continued marginalization of the Pac-12 within the sport.
The SEC and Big Ten have more teams included this week than the Pac-12 ranked in week one in the past four years.
Yes, Oregon’s placement is a respite from gloom and uselessness, but it’s a shaky existence.
With just one loss, the Ducks will fall into their teens or twenties, and there’s no one to replace them as the object of attention.
The Hotline devoted considerable time and space to all of those September losses to opponents in the Group of Five, largely in anticipation of what the early carnage would mean at the end of the season.
This means that teams that could be 6-2 and ranked by the committee are instead 5-3 and ignored by the committee.
This means there are no other teams in a short winning streak to achieve CFP relevance.
That means Oregon could play the entire stretch without facing a ranked opponent, jeopardizing their CFP chances.
Losses to BYU and San Diego State – to Montana State and Utah – don’t matter on the Pac-12 Division races and the Conference Championship.
But they could have serious consequences in the race that matters most.
Rise in strength: recruiting at UCLA
We’re talking basketball, not soccer, although the Bruins are seeing a slight increase in the caliber of rookies engaged in soccer.
On hardwood, Mick Cronin has just obtained his second verbal engagement from an elite prospect of the 2022 promotion.
Months ago, the Bruins landed five-star wing Amari Bailey, from the Sierra Canyon powerhouse.
Earlier this week, they secured an engagement from five-star big man Adem Bona, of Prolific Prep in Napa.
Add four-star playmaker Dylan Andrews, and UCLA’s recruiting class for 2022 only runs Duke and Kentucky in the 247Sports per player rankings.
This is exactly what the Pac-12 needs from its premier brand of basketball, which has thrived on the court and on the scouting track for the past 10 months.
Rise: Washington’s NIL aftermath
It was only a matter of time before the Huskies offered an answer to Division Street, the newly founded organization designed to provide name, image and likeness opportunities for Oregon athletes.
On Thursday we were introduced to Montlake Futures, which is not directly affiliated with Washington but will support NIL efforts for Husky athletes.
Division Street brass include Nike boss Phil Knight.
Montlake Futures is supported by Amazon.
Division Street employs Sabrina Ionescu as Director of Athletes.
Montlake Futures has Chris Petersen as a Lifetime Transformational Leader.
Neither entity can be involved in the recruitment process.
Both entities are fully on the recruiting process.
Every school thinks they have the best support system, and one of them could possibly turn out to be correct.
For now, it’s rivalry week. Two days before kick-off.
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