Thursday, 31 October 2013

The 2013 Pac-12 Journey Game 67: Halloween in Pullman

What teams are playing?

The Arizona State Sun Devils and the Washington State Cougars.

Where is this game being played?

Martin Stadium in Pullman, Washington.

What time does the game start and where can I find it on my television?

7:30 PM (PT)/8:30 PM (MT) on ESPN.

What is the point spread?

Arizona State is favoured by 11 points (-11). The line opened at -13.5.

What should I watch for when Arizona State has the ball?

ASU probably stands to have a good chance at moving the ball well by both land and air so it will be interesting to see how Mike Norvell balances the play calling for the ASU offense. Running Back Marion Grice has seen his yards per carry average drop from 6.59 to a still respectable 4.98 but has 18 total touchdowns, more than 15 entire teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Grice is going to be a heck of a challenge for Washington State, a team that has allowed 15 rushing touchdowns in eight games and is giving up an average of 173.5 rushing yards per game. The Cougars have been particularly exposed by spread offenses that feature a lot of zone read and the added threat of a running quarterback. Auburn amassed 295 yards against Cougars while the Ducks ripped them for 383 yards and six (!) touchdowns on the ground. Arizona State is not Oregon but their talent level is easily on par with Auburn and Grice in particular is more outstanding than any tailback who plays for the Tigers. Look for Grice to have an outstanding game tonight.

ASU could run the ball on every down and probably still win but when Norvell gets an itch to throw the ball, Taylor Kelly has proven himself to be an accurate passer and Jaelen Strong presents a darn near impossible challenge for the WSU corners with his combination of size and speed. Unless Washington State can get creative on defense and find a way to contain Grice and Strong, they'll be in for a long night.

What should I watch for when Washington State has the ball?

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

This may finally be Conner Halliday's last stand. Halliday has already thrown 17 interceptions this season, the most in the FBS. In addition to those many turnovers, a fair number of which came on bad throws and/or bad decisions, Halliday has been battered around and forced to play on one leg at times this season. Washington State finally had its first bye week of the season last week and that gave Halliday a 12 day reprieve to get healthy, work on his mechanics, and watch film. If Halliday can't keep it together tonight, he'll be done because he's already lost the fan base and he'll lose the coaching staff with another clunker.

Arizona State can definitely expedite Halliday's doom with a fine defensive performance. The Sun Devils' defense has been a disappointment of sorts this season based on their overall team play versus the number of All-Conference athletes they had returning from last year's stingy unit. Despite that, the Sun Devils have been scorching on defense lately, racking up 10 sacks and five takeaways in their last two games while holding both opponents (Colorado and Washington) to under 300 yards of total offense. ASU's tough start on defense can be epitomized by the play of its two biggest defensive stars, Carl Bradford and Will Sutton. Bradford and Sutton combined for 45 tackles for loss last season but struggled out of the gate this year. But against the Huskies they combined for five tackles for loss and both looked like their vintage selves for the first time all season. If Washington State can't hold up against ASU's defensive line, Halliday's decision making won't matter.

Which team should I bet on and which team will win?

Thomas Boyd/The Oregonian

There really isn't any legitimate reason to pick Washington State here. The Cougars do not possess a distinct advantage in any personnel match up against the Sun Devils but they may yet have a chance in this game for illogical reasons. It's Halloween night where weird things happen in a town like Pullman that is weird all year round. Furthermore Arizona State has shown penchants for struggling on the road, playing down to the level of its opposition, and failing to string together win streaks. My heart is rooting for Washington State because it would be nice to see them get to six wins and give their long suffering fans a bowl game experience for the first time in over a decade. However, my head does not see how the Cougars can stop Grice while protecting Halliday. I don't feel great trusting the Sun Devils because they've bit me in spots like these before but I will go ahead and lay the 11 points and take Arizona State to win, 38-24.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

The 2013 Pac-12 Power rankings: Post Week Nine

1. Oregon (Overall: 8-0, Conference: 5-0, Last Week: 1)
Oregon's offense did everything it could for two and a half quarters to keep UCLA in the game. For a little while it seemed as though UCLA was getting into position to pull an upset but Oregon in a flash turned the game into a signature blowout victory. Oregon played a C grade quality game and beat a top 15 quality team by four touchdowns.

2. Stanford (7-1, 5-1, LW: 2)
Concerns about the offense specifically with quarterback Kevin Hogan not only remain but are being amplified but the Stanford defense is just filthy.

3. UCLA (5-2, 2-2, LW: 4)
Lose by 28 points and move up one spot? Yes, when you give the best team outside the SEC since 2005 a real run for its money for almost three full quarters. The middle of the conference struggling certainly helps.

4. Oregon State (6-2, 4-1, LW: 3)
The Beavers' once dominant offense was exposed by Stanford but that's not all bad. The Beavers did look great on defense and there aren't a lot of Stanfords remaining on the schedule to copy the blueprint that Cardinal just established.

5. Arizona State (5-2, 3-1, LW: 5)
On a night when the Pac-12's "next best teams" got beat by the two powers, it was probably a good time for Arizona State to have its second bye week.

6. Washington (5-3, 2-3, LW: 8)
The Huskies were better against California and snapped their three game losing streak but the Huskies' passing game is still pretty hit or miss and let's face it, it's only Cal.

7. Arizona (5-2, 2-2, LW: 6)
B.J. Denker has been legitimately good at QB for three straight weeks now and the Wildcats' defense is rounding back into form as well. After Arizona gets through lowly Cal this week, the Wildcats should be 6-2 heading into a huge showdown with UCLA with significant Pac-12 South implications.

8. Washington State (4-4, 2-3, LW: 9)
Spent the bye week preparing all the wackiness and absurdities that are sure to come from a Mike Leach coached team playing in Pullman on Halloween night.

9. USC (5-3, 2-2, LW: 10)
A valiant effort by the USC defense went unspoiled by a competent and largely mistake-free offense against Utah. The Trojans won over the Utes despite having almost half as many scholarship players at the ready.

10. Utah (4-4, 1-4, LW: 7)
Utah's program defining win over Stanford is looking more fluky by the day. The Utes have struggled to run the ball all year but the hope was that the Utah tailbacks would rise to the challenge and pick up their ailing quarterback Travis Wilson. That makes the health of Wilson all the more important. If Wilson can;t get back to gripping and throwing the ball properly and pain free, Utah won`t get to six wins.

11. Colorado (3-4, 0-4, LW: 11)
Colorado was reasonably competitive in a conference game for the first time in over a calender year but there is still a very long way to go for this young, fledgling Buffalo program. The Buffs brought their best effort and still lost by 24 at home, a sign of how truly down the Colorado talent pool really is.

12. California (1-7, 0-5, LW: 12)
I started this last week without explaining it but here is the gist of what is happening underneath California`s name from now on: I`m sick of talking about how awful Cal is so I`m just going to post a picture of a sad bear in this space from here on out. What happened to you Cal? You used to be so much fun.

The Award Tracker:

Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year:
1. QB Marcus Mariota, So., Oregon (LW: 1)
Mariota's streak of consecutive games with at least one passing touchdown and one rushing touchdown ended at nine but he did account for one TD with his arm raising his season total to 29. His numbers may not show it but he was efficient and mistake free; he didn't give us as many dynamic plays as we have come to expect from him but he gave the Ducks everything they needed to beat a good team.

2. RB Ka'Deem Carey, Jr., Arizona (LW: 3)
Carey ran for 121 yards and four touchdowns against Colorado and did most of his damage early and was later rotated in and out of the game in the interest of saving his legs. Four players lead the conference with 12 rushing touchdowns but three of those plays have played eight games and the other has played seven. Carey has 10 rushing touchdowns in only six games played.

3. WR Brandin Cooks, Jr., Oregon State (LW: 2)
Cooks had easily his worst game of the season to date so far but still managed a decent stat line against the great Stanford defense. Cooks' performance against Stanford was a hallmark of a truly great player, we all saw he wasn't at his best but he still managed a respectable out put of eight catches for 90 yards and a touchdown.

Honorable Mentions:
RB Bishop Sankey, Jr., Washington

QB Sean Mannion, Jr., Oregon State

RB Marion Grice, Sr., Arizona State

Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year:
1. LB Anthony Barr, Sr., UCLA (LW: 1)
Barr was a beast again against Oregon as he blew right past Oregon left tackle Tyler Johnstone for a strip sack early in the game and finished with four solo tackles, two for a loss, a sack, and a forced fumble.

2. LB Trent Murphy, Sr., Stanford (LW: 3)
Murphy had a career day against Oregon State, tallying eight tackles, three and a half tackles for loss, two and a half sacks, and although he was only credited with one pass break up, he got his hands on at least three passes. Murphy now leads the Pac-12 in tackles for loss and sacks which tempted me to move him to first, but Murphy has an extra game played over Barr and I still prefer Barr`s body of work to date despite the stats. The gap between Murphy and Barr has narrowed to a finite margin though.

3. DE Scott Crichton, Jr., Oregon State (LW: 2)
Crichton had a very quiet day against Stanford's offensive tackles with the exception of one play where he absolutely blew up Dallas Loyd to force a fumble, recovered said fumble, and returned it 36 yards. No surprise though that Oregon State wasted that great play by punting five plays later.

Honorable Mentions:
LB Shayne Skov, Sr., Stanford

LB Addison Gillam, Fr., Colorado

CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Jr., Oregon

Pac-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year:
1. RB Thomas Tyner, Oregon (LW: 2)
Tyner returned to being the third string tailback against UCLA but rushed for 77 yards and his eighth touchdown of the season on 14 carries. 66 of those yards came on Oregon's final drive and although the margin was 21 points at the time, the Ducks have looked to players like LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner to get that final kill shot late in the game. The fact that Tyner was able to get out there and push the Ducks over 40 points shows the Oregon coaches are building their trust in him.
2. QB Jared Goff, California (LW: 1)
Tyner's promotion to the top spot has less to do with Tyner's own performance (although he has been very good) and more to do with me having an epiphany over Goff and getting sick of him. He is a startign quarterback and therefore impacting his team more than any other offensive freshman but that doesn't mean he is playing will. Goff has been inefficient and turnover prone and has been benched twice already this season. Tyner doesn't play such a big role on his team but he is a far better player playing at a much higher level.

3. RB Michael Adkins, Colorado (LW: 3)
I'm keeping three candidates for this award strictly for the sake of continuity at this point. The crop of offensive freshman in the conference this season outside of Tyner has been very disappointing.
Honorable Mentions:
RB Paul Perkins, UCLA

QB Sefo Liufau, Colorado

RB Khalfani Muhammad, California

Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year:
1. LB Addison Gilliam, Colorado (LW: 1)
Gillam's numbers won't suggest it but he did everything he could to stop Denker and Carey from running all over Colorado. He wasn't credited with as many tackles as he should have and he wasn't always the first man to make contact but he was always around the ball and did well to track ball carriers. Unfortunately, the rest of Colorado's defense couldn't follow his lead.

2. LB Myles Jack, UCLA (LW: 2)
Jack had a great game against oregon as he made the big play on defense to set up both of UCLA's short touchdown drives. He made a great effort play to punch the ball away from Keanon Lowe to force a fumble from behind to set up UCLA's first touchdown. In the second quarter, Jack showed his athleticism by runnign around two Oregon blockers to swallow up a punt and set up another quick, short touchdown drive.

3. LB Scooby Wright, Arizona (LW: 3)
Another solid game with nine tackles for Wright against Colorado. Wright has gone from an under the radar recruit, to winning a starting job early in the season, to entering the top 20 in the Pac-12 in tackles.

Honorable Mentions:
DB Daquawn Brown, Washington State

DL Eddie Vanderdoes, UCLA

LB Torrodney Prevot, Oregon

Pac-12 Coach of the Year:
1. Mark Helfrich, Oregon (LW: 2)
I'm starting to wonder if Helfrich may actually be better as Oregon head coach than Chip Kelly, we'll have to wait at least three more years when Helfrich has his own players to pass a true judgement but Oregon's performance last week in contrast to last year was telling. Last year, the Ducks made mistakes and let Stanford hang around but they kept making mistakes, allowed the game to go all the way to the end, and lost. This year against UCLA, Oregon recovered from its mistakes, soffocated UCLA on defense and found the kill switch on offense soon enough to still win by four touchdowns.

2. Jim Mora, UCLA (LW: 1)
Mora should be pleased by seeing his team slow down the Oregon death machine but I love his attitude after the loss. Mora said emphatically that he's "sick of being close, close is not good enough. We need to start winning these games." His players will respond to that and won't be happy to settle for being close but not good enough against top teams. Of his team responds the way I think they will, UCLA will get a second chance to win one of "these" games against either Oregon or Stanford in the Pac-12 title game.

3. Mike Riley, Oregon State (LW: 3)
Riley's 4th down decisions against Stanford were highly questionable and they may well have cost his team the game. That being said, Riley's body of work this season is still greater than all but two coaches in the Pac-12.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

The Pac-12 Weekend Roundup: Week Nine

USC 19, Utah 3

All year I've been saying that Utah belongs in the Pac-12 and had been showing themselves to be a team that could legitimately compete with anyone in the conference. That pretty much went out the window last Saturday. I know Utah has been a poor road team recently but there is no excuse for losing to such a depleted USC team at an empty L.A. Coliseum. Travis Wilson promised to "suck it up and play" for Utah at quarterback but the Utes fans probably wish he hadn't after he completed 5/14 passes with a pair of interceptions before mercifully being pulled for Adam Schultz who did not fare much better.

As for USC, it was encouraging for them to beat and display competent offense after last week's ugly showing against Notre Dame. It's hard to be impressed with Utah's defense forcing field goal after field goal when put on the field in their own territory throughout the afternoon thanks to the Utes' offensive ineptitude. The Utes held USC to 4.1 yards per play and gave their offense a chance to win all the way into the fourth but a handful of long passing plays from USC and a raging dumpster fire from the Utah offense did them in.

Thankfully for Utah, the second bye week is coming at a perfect time as Wilson will finally have some time to rest his hand and heal his broken index finger. Utah will return to the field in two weeks at home against Arizona State, a game Utah may very well need to win in order to reach bowl eligibility. The hits keep coming for USC though as they play on short week this Friday at Oregon State. The Trojans haven't won in Corvallis since 2004 and will have a more short-handed roster than at any other point during this road losing streak to the Beavers.

Oregon 42, UCLA 14

Bruce Ely/The Oregonian

For about 42 minutes of game time, it looked like UCLA had replicated the Stanford formula and was going to take Oregon all the way down to the wire. Then Oregon stopped making mistakes and allowing the Bruins to hang around and simply pummeled UCLA out of the building over the final 18 minutes of the game. The Ducks were very sloppy from the get go handing UCLA the ball on a short field following a fumble on the second play from scrimmage and later gifted UCLA another short touchdown drive on a blocked punt. Anthony Barr was dominating Tyler Johnstone, Myles Jack was having a coming out party on national television and UCLA was rolling with confidence...on defense.

The reason UCLA let this game get away from them and allowed it to get out of hand was because the Bruins offense was totally ineffective and the defense could only keep them in the game for so long. The Ducks held UCLA to 3.99 yards per play (for sake of context, Stanford held UCLA to 4.03 YPP the week before) and although UCLA ran the ball effectively for awhile it was almost by design of the Oregon defense. The Ducks kept small numbers in the box and encouraged the Bruins to run the ball. The Bruins made hay for awhile but if they had one bad play that knocked them off track, the Bruins could not recover thanks to their anemic passing game.

Banged up offensive line or not, UCLA fans may have to face an unfortunate reality about their quarterback, Brett Hundley. Hundley is an amazing athlete and a great play maker. He made several very nice plays against the Ducks to extend plays and run for first downs. Both on his short touchdown run early in the game and on his conversion of a 3rd and 14 later on, Hundley dodged multiple tacklers in the backfield and did a tremendous job to create a big play when the Ducks had him and the rest of the UCLA offense dead to rights. Hundley is a great football player and exciting raw talent but a merely average quarterback who hasn't gotten better since last year.

Hundley made a number of poor reads in the passing game especially on the first play of the 4th quarter with UCLA trailing by a touchdown and facing a 3rd and 20 from midfield. Hundley had an open check down for five to 10 yards but forced a pass deep into coverage to try to get the first down and hit Oregon safety Avery Patterson right between the two and the one on his jersey. Had he taken the check down, UCLA could have set up a make-able 4th down or played field position and pinned Oregon inside their own 10. Instead, he threw a bad interception that was returned to the UCLA 39 yard line and a few plays later the Ducks were up 28-14, pretty much an insurmountable lead in Autzen Stadium.

I don't want to rag on Hundley because he isn't getting any help from his offensive line right now and I also don't like Noel Mazzone's offensive system that has him throwing so many useless swing passes that never work against fast defenses like Oregon. Hundley's slow development and lack of improvement is as much UCLA's fault as it is Hundley since he does possess a great arm and terrific natural passing ability but the Bruins' system allows for very few routes down field and it seems like Mazzone and perhaps head coach Jim Mora as well aren't showing enough faith in Hundley to make big throws and lead the team. I just hope Hundley is wise enough to come back for one more year in college and the UCLA coaches will reward him by tweaking the offense to allow Hundley to develop into a better down field passer.

These two teams were co-favorites for the conference two weeks ago but are headed in very different directions now. The Ducks will get a bye week to prepare for their massive showdown with Stanford that will likely decide the Pac-12 North. Meanwhile, UCLA will get no rest as they are back in action on Saturday but at least they get to return to the Rose Bowl and face lowly Colorado.

Arizona 44, Colorado 20

Speaking of poor ole Colorado, the Buffs showed their first real signs of encouragement in over a month (I know they won last week but what can you really take from beating Charleston Southern?), but didn't have the gas to hang with Arizona. True Freshman Sefo Liufau was okay in his first conference start at QB for Colorado. He made a few nice throws and coupled them with inaccuracy. He never really built much momentum one way or the other while Arizona's B.J. Denker continued to play well. He still isn't a threat to go deep and he will always be limited for a variety of reasons but he was efficient and (motsly) mistake free and did major damage on the ground.

Colorado has gotten better but once again they lack the athletes to compete. This is going to sound awfully simplistic but this game really came down to Arizona having Denker and Ka'Deem Carey while Colorado did not. Carey was great again scoring four touchdowns and averaging better than five yards per carry while Denker added 192 rushing yards of his own. Colorado seemed to have a large portion of Arizona's offense reasonably well defended but they were simply outrun and outflanked by Arizona's superior athletes. I like that Mike MacIntyre was upset in his post game press conference saying that this one hurt more than the others because he felt his team could win this one but unfortunately, Colorado just does not have the players right now. The Buffs gave a great effort and hung in for a long time with the Wildcats and still ended up losing by 24 at home. A game like this can really set in the reality of what MacIntyre is facing in his effort to rebuild this program.

Stanford 20, Oregon State 12

Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Stanford has built a reputation for making great offenses look ordinary and Oregon State looked very ordinary against the Cardinal. Oregon State came into the game with the nation's leading passing offense both in terms of yards and touchdowns. Using raw yardage totals as a basis for the assessment of an offense is flawed for a number of reasons but the Beavers had been impressive throwing the ball regardless. The problem for Oregon State was not using unfiltered numbers to make themselves artificially look better than they actually were. The real problem was the Beavers doing all their work against inferior competition, never facing a defense ranked better than 76th in the nation in pass efficiency defense before this past weekend.

All year we waited for the Beavers to struggle to throw the ball. On Saturday, they struggled and they had nothing else to fall back on. As it turns out, you can only survive for so long without the ability to run the ball and the Beavers' 2.43 yards per rush average caught up to them. Stanford's secondary had a sublime performance in pass coverage which led to Sean Mannion holding onto the ball for way too long. Unlike Brett Hundley for UCLA against Oregon, Mannion is a statue in the pocket and was unable to extend plays under pressure. Stanford sacked Mannion eight times and put a blanket on national leading receiver Brandin Cooks. Cooks had a reasonable game with 80 yards and his 13th touchdown of the season on nine catches but the real key was that he could not break away and get yards after the catch. Cooks had been great all season as much for his ability to turn short passes up field as his ability to haul in bombs deep in the secondary. Cooks was not able to get separation all night and Stanford did a great job as they always do rallying to the ball and tackling in space.

The Beavers' offense was in reverse all night and that made Mike Riley's coaching performance all the more frustrating. Riley twice passed up make-able field goals to go for it on fourth down in 4th down and came up short both times. The Beavers could have an probably should have been up either 6-0 or 9-0 at halftime. Off the second of those two missed 4th downs, the Stanford offense that had been dormant in the first half suddenly reeled off a long touchdown drive buoyed by plays of 27 and 37 yards (Stanford had zero plays longer than 20 yards up until that point) and took a 7-3 lead into the half. After Oregon State fumbled the opening kickoff of the second half, Stanford quickly cashed in to go up 13-3 following a missed extra point and suddenly Stanford was in full control.

As Oregon State sputtered on offense and the clock started rolling, I never felt at any point in the second half that Oregon State had any chance to win. Yet as I'm sure everyone else did, I kept looking down at the scoreboard and seeing Stanford not pull away and thinking, "Oregon State is two lucky bounces away from flipping this game." And it almost happened when a Tyler Gaffney fumble set up a field goal to cut the Stanford lead to 20-12 and a quick three and out gave Oregon State the ball with a chance to tie. This illustrates what caused Stanford's undoing against Utah and what will, at this point, be their undoing in nine days against Oregon. The Cardinal are so one-dimensional on offense without the consistent threat of the pass and are so predictable and conservative with their run game that they keep opponents in the game even when they are dominating.

Kevin Hogan is not a gifted passer and is not effective throwing from the pocket but he is a very good athlete who operates well outside the pocket. Where are the zone reads? Where are the option plays? Where are the roll outs? Stanford was good offensively last year after Hogan took over because they tailored the offense to his strengths and they had a very good supporting talent around him at the skill positions. Stanford has not been able to replace the talent they lost at tight end and although Ty Montgomery has emerged at wide receiver, he is not a reliable every down player. Last year Stanford was able to line up Zach Ertz anywhere on the field and he would use his size, hands, and route running to create an opening and move the sticks on third down just about any time they needed him to. Montgomery is a great player but he doesn't work in the same way that Ertz did and Stanford hasn't developed anyone who can. Tyler Gaffney is as good as Stepfan Taylor was and has replaced everything he gave them but the offense is sputtering because the passing game has regressed and they are not tailoring the offense to get the most out of Hogan's skill set.

Stanford eventually stood tall and got the stop they needed late to survive but they won't be playing from the same position of strength next Thursday when Oregon comes to town. The challenge of stopping the Ducks two years in a row got even stiffer during the OSU game when standout defensive end Ben Gardner suffered a season ending injury. Gardner tore his left pectoral against the Beavers and is out for the year leaving the Cardinal woefully thin at defensive end. Henry Anderson, who was second team All-Pac-12 last year, will try to make his season debut against Oregon but will definitely be rusty and probably won't be entirely 100% either. More concerning is that when asked what the plan was if Anderson couldn't go either, head coach David Shaw simply said, "that's a good question." Yikes. If there is one thing Oregon does well it is test your depth on defense and force you to use players you are unsure of a lot more than you would like. We'll see if the Ducks just found the crack in Stanford's armor that they needed.

Washington 41, California 17

I told anyone who would listen to take Cal's opponents minus anything for the rest of the year and up until the 5:03 mark of the 4th quarter that was holding until Khalfani Muhammad ripped off a 73 yard run against Washington's second string defense for a frustrating back door cover. Keith Price played without a wrap on his right thumb for the first time since the Arizona game one month ago and although he still didn't look as good throwing the ball as he did early in the year, he was unquestionably better. Bishop Sankey got back on track in a big way with 241 yards on 27 carries (a very tidy 8.9 yards per carry average) and a pair of touchdowns. It was not all good news on offense for the Huskies though as Kasen Williams, he of the team leading 77 receptions and 878 yards a year ago, is likely done for the rest of the season with a broken foot. Williams has been a major disappointment this season as he has scored exactly one touchdown and his receptions per game are down from 5.9 to 3.6. Williams has had an up and down college career but he was a five star recruit who had his eyes on the NFL from the beginning. We may very well have seen Williams in a Huskies uniform for the last time.

As for the Golden Bears, they were atrocious again on defense allowing 8.23 yards per play which raises their season average to 7.04 yards allowed per play, worse than every other team in college football save for five unfortunate programs. Quarterback Jared Goff was unimpressive but was at least able to avoid the bench long enough to attempt 54 passes and account for 336 passing yards. Once the game was out of hand, Sonny Dykes did remove Goff but instead of bring out redshirt freshman Zach Kline who competed neck and neck with Goff for playing time all summer, came off the bench to replace him against Oregon, and battled him again this past week, Dykes brought out junior Austin Hinder.

Cal football everyone:

Saturday, 26 October 2013

The Post That Takes Your Money: Week Nine

Utah (+4.5) wins outright over USC

I know Travis Wilson is banged up but a dead crowd at the coliseum won't be able to affect him or his backup Adam Schultz and USC has simply run out of players. The Trojans only had 53 scholarship players available for last week's game against Notre Dame and five of those players have been pronounced out of this game due to injuries. USC got excited for one game without Lane Kiffin but that has disappeared. Look for Utah's defense to overwhelm USC's depleted offense and for Wilson to play well enough through pain to win on the road and put Utah on the brink of bowl eligibility.

The Pick: Utah 27, USC 17

Oregon (-23.5) over UCLA

Oregon should be energized by getting De'Anthony Thomas back and they will be looking to land a statement win over a good UCLA team to prove they belong ahead of Florida State in the chase for the BCS championship game. The best and perhaps only reason you need to pick Oregon is UCLA starting three freshman offensive linemen on the road in the loudest and most hostile stadium on the West Coast. Oregon's big, athletic defensive line should overwhelm the young Bruins like Stanford did last week and the Ducks offense is good enough to score on anybody, even a defense as good as UCLA. I hope you jumped on this line when Oregon opened as a 17 point favorite but even at 23.5, I still like the Ducks

The Pick: Oregon 45, UCLA 20

Arizona (-13) over Colorado

I expect Colorado to get a few encouraging plays from Sefo Luifau and Michael Adkins on offense but a better core of linebackers and a change of venue is not nearly enough to slow down Ka'Deem Carey and keep this score close.

The Pick: Arizona 49, Colorado 24

Stanford (-4) over Oregon State

Stanford consumes one dimensional offenses and the Beavers haven't faced a pass defense better than 76th ranked Utah. Stanford is hurting a bit on offense without Devin Cajuste but I think The Cardinal can grind this one out on the ground and slow down Sean Mannion and Brandin Cooks.

The Pick: Stanford 31, Oregon State 24

Washington (-28) over California

Just take Cal's opponent minus anything for the rest of the season (except for maybe the Colorado game) and thank me later.

The Pick: Washington 52, California 17

Last Week Against the Spread: 2-5

Last Week Straight Up: 4-3

This Season Against the Spread: 33-28

This Season Straight up: 49-12

The 2013 Pac-12 Journey Game 66: Washington is reeling but California is so much worse

What teams are playing?

The California Golden Bears and the Washington Huskies.

Where is this game being played?

Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington.

What time does this game start and where can I find it on my television?

8:00 PM (PT) on Fox Sports 1.

What is the point spread?

Washington is favored by 29 and a half points (-29.5).

What should I watch for when California has the ball?

How quickly does Jared Goff get benched? Goff was removed from the game last week after a poor performance and has not accounted for a touchdown in three of Cal's past four games. This is particularly bad facing a talented and desperate team on the road that is starving for a win after being embarrassed last week. The Huskies were a top five defense through the first five games of the season but have been run over for 600+ yards in each of the past two games by Oregon and Arizona State. The Huskies have had their biggest problems stopping the run allowing 265 rushing yards to Oregon and 314 to ASU. The good thing for Washington is Cal is hopeless trying to run the ball. With a patchwork offensive line and a lack of dynamic talent in the backfield, Cal can't run the ball and that means they are putting everything on either Goff or Zach Kline who will probably play in this game for a variety of reasons.

Goff is a perfect example of why total yardage is one of the last stats you should ever look at when evaluating a quarterback. Goff was the national leader in passing yards after Cal's first three games and he still ranks in a tie for third in the Pac-12 in passing yards with 2236. However, Goff only has nine touchdown passes and has thrown seven interceptions. Compare that to Washington's Keith Price who is trailing Goff by 443 yards but has 14 touchdowns and only four interceptions. Goff is a struggling young quarterback who has lost his confidence and Washington has a pass defense that may have struggled the last two weeks but still ranks among the nation's elite. Washington is allowing a 105.83 opposing passer rating and 5.4 yards per opposing pass attempts, both rank second in the Pac-12. It's going to be a long night for Goff and probably for Kline too.

What should I watch for when Washington has the ball?

Do you expect the Huskies to get off the team bus and show up at Husky Stadium? Good, because I do too and that means Washington will score a lot of points. Cal had a young and largely untalented defense to begin with and that has been compounded by a run of injuries. Five players who started Cal's opener against Northwestern are out for the season due to either injury or in Chris McCain's case dismissal from the team. Washington had its worst offensive game of the season last week but that was probably just an aberration. The Huskies were physically and emotionally drained coming off back to back grueling games against Stanford and Oregon and had to go on the road to face a good team. The Huskies are back home against a bad team and have spent the entire week getting ripped into by their coaches for their poor effort against the Sun Devils.

Look for Washington's offensive line to man up and play with a physical edge against a weak front seven to pave the way for Bishop Sankey to get back on track with another 150+ yard performance. Price practiced all week without any tape or other protection on his injured right thumb for the first time in three weeks so look for him to be sharper and more accurate as well as he looks to pick apart Cal's ghastly secondary.

The 2013 Pac-12 Journey Game 65: Stanford righted the ship but Oregon State can spring a leak

What teams are playing?

The Stanford Cardinal and the Oregon State Beavers.

Where is this game being played?

Reser Stadium in Corvallis, Oregon.

What time does the game start and where can I find it on my television?

7:30 PM (PT) on Pac-12 Network.

What is the point spread?

Stanford is favored by four points (-4).

What should I watch for when Stanford has the ball?

Stanford needs to grind this game out with its offense. The Cardinal have struggled to throw the ball anyway but Devin Cajuste their best possession receiver will miss this game with a knee injury. That means Oregon State can put their best corner on Ty Montgomery and provide safety help over the top on every play. Can another play maker step up on third downs? Stanford probably hopes that it won't need to discover an answer to that question. The Cardinal want to run the ball for a few reasons, mostly because the Cardinal want to run because their pass game is hurting without Cajuste and running the ball is their identity anyway.

The other main reason is because Stanford needs to keep the clock moving and limit the number of times Oregon State can touch the ball. This will put a lot of pressure on Stanford's budding young star at left tackle, Andrus Peat. Tonight, Peat will draw the match up of two time (and soon to be three time) All-Pac-12 defensive end Scott Crichton, a devastating defensive player who has made his fame not by sacking the quarterback but by shedding blockers and stopping the run. It is imperative for Peat to use his athleticism to prevent Crichton from crossing him and getting to the middle of the field. Stanford loves to run to the middle of the field and pull their backside guard on trap plays to serve as a lead blocker. That pulling action leaves a brief window when a defender can get into the hole and blow up the play and Crichton has the athleticism and movement skills to disrupt those trap plays. Peat needs to win his match up against Crichton to not only keep Stanford's famed trap play viable but also to prevent a need for double teams on the edge.

Stanford loves to double team blockers in the middle. They like to have one of the guards help the center block a defensive tackle off the ball before moving up to the second level to get to a linebacker. If Peat needs help handling Crichton, that changes the complexion of Stanford's run scheme.

What should I watch for when Oregon State has the ball?

Tonight we will finally find out for certain if Sean Mannion and Brandin Cooks are for real. Mannion and Cooks have been great all year and it has led to Mannion leading the nation in passing yards and passing touchdowns and Cooks being the national leader in every relevant receiving statistic. But, the Beavers haven't faced a good pass defense all season. The stingiest pass defense that Oregon State has faced all year was Utah, a team that currently ranks 76th in the nation pass efficiency defense. Stanford represents is a significant step up in competition for the Beavers. The Cardinal currently ranked 37th in the nation in pass defense but are capable of playing a lot better than that.

Stanford has not displayed the same trademark dominance we are used to seeing from its defense this season but last week they finally showed what makes them so special. The Cardinal ate up UCLA's offensive line and were able to do it without blitzing and that is the key to stopping Oregon State. Mannion thrives against the blitz, he is very good at identifying opposing blitz packages and finding his hot receiver. Blitzing also plays into Oregon State's favorite play, the tunnel screen to Cooks. The few times Mannion has struggled this season has been when teams have been able to get pressure with a four man rush. It hasn't happened often but when Mannion doesn't get time to stand and observe the field without a hot receiver against the blitz, he struggles. Mannion has not had those struggles often because most of the defensive lines he has faced haven't been very adept at rushing the pass but that changes today against Stanford.

The Cardinal need to copy what they did against UCLA last week. They stopped the run and harassed Brett Hundley into bad throws without blitzing. This is where Oregon State has serious problems because the Beavers have not run the ball well at all this year and Stanford is always at its best against one-dimensional teams. Look at Stanford's defensive performances this season against one dimensional passing offenses like Washington State and UCLA juxtaposed to how they played against balanced offenses like Washington and Utah. The Cardinal's defensive performance has been night and day based on how well their opponent can move the ball both by land and by air. Oregon State needs to develop some semblance of running attack tonight because there is nothing the Cardinal love more than predictable offenses.

The 2013 Pac-12 Journey Game 64: Nothing personal but Ka'Deem Carey wants to destroy you Colorado

What teams are playing?

The Arizona Wildcats and the Colorado Buffaloes.

Where is this game being played?

Folsom Field in Boulder, Colorado.

What time does the game start and where can I find it on my television?

5:00 PM (PT)/6:00 PM (MT) on Pac-12 Network.

What is the point spread?

Arizona is favored by 13 points (-13)

What should I watch for when Arizona has the ball?

If it seems like Ka'Deem Carey has an extra bounce in his step this week its because of the opponent he is facing. Last year when Colorado faced Arizona, Carey had one of the best rushing performances in Pac-12 history when he exploded for an Arizona record 366 yards and five touchdowns. Less than one full year later, things have not changed much. Carey is once again leading the nation in rushing yards per game and has actually improved his mark from last year by almost 13 yards. The man who had to fill in for Matt Scott at quarterback that day, B.J. Denker, is now the full time starter and is playing well recently after a poor start to the season.

Colorado's defense while better than last year, is still not in any shape to slow down Carey. It's no secret that Colorado  is going to give up a lot of yards and a lot of points to Arizona but the key to not getting embarrassed is tackling. Colorado got blown off the ball last year but they compounded that with terrible tackling and that allowed Carey to break five to 10 yard gains into explosive 20+ yard plays. Colorado can't hope to shut Carey down but if they stick to fundamentals they can at least avoid getting embarrassed like last year.

What should I watch for when Colorado has the ball?

Colorado is now starting true freshmen at both quarterback and running back for the first time in school history. Sefo Liufau and Michael Adkins are very talented young football players but it is hard to imagine them playing well enough to pull off an upset against Arizona. Arizona's defense should try to find out if Liufau can answer two questions: How poised and calm is he under pressure and can he go through his progressions effectively? Mike MacIntyre has raved about this kid's calm confidence in the pocket but he didn't have to face much pressure last week against Charleston Southern. Liufau does have an important asset in his disposal in Paul Richardson, one of the best receivers in college football. Arizona needs to double cover him and keep him under wraps and force Liufau to find other receivers. If I'm Arizona defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel, I want to know if Liufau has it in him to look off Richardson and rely on his other receivers or if I can bait him into forcing passes to a covered Richardson.

Friday, 25 October 2013

The 2013 Pac-12 Journey Game 63: UCLA dares to oppose Oregon's march of destruction

What teams are playing?

The UCLA Bruins and the Oregon Ducks.

Where is this game being played?

Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon.

What time does this game start and where can I find it on my television?

4:00 PM (PT) on ESPN.

What is the point spread?

Oregon is favored by 23 and a half points (-23.5)

What should I watch for when UCLA has the ball?

Gary A. Vasquez/US Presswire

Can the Bruins even get a competent performance from its offensive line? Through injuries and poor performance, the Bruins have turned to three freshmen including two true freshmen on the offensive line and it led to disaster against Stanford last week. The Bruins were out-manned all day and could not have run the ball even if they did have Jordan James at running back. Brett Hundley is a great football player but he is still a little raw as a pocket passer and does not throw on the run nearly as well as you would probably think. This was on display last week as the pocket collapsed around Hundley and while he did manage to extend plays, he was not able to throw accurately on the run and that left the Bruins shut out in the first half on their way to one of their worst offensive performances in school history.

 In theory, UCLA should be better this week. Freshmen, especially talented freshmen like right guard Alex Redmond and right tackle Scott Quessenberry tend to get better quickly with each start and you would think that UCLA's line could not play any worse than it did last week. Oregon does have a very big and athletic defensive line that has been disruptive this season but they are not quite as imposing as Stanford's unchained animals. But then you remember where this game is being played, perhaps the last place in the country where you want to travel with a young offensive line. Autzen Stadium has built a reputation for devouring inexperienced players. With a night game and ESPN's College Gameday in town, the Oregon crowd should be as raucous as ever and they will be especially hard on a player like Redmond who was once a verbal commit to the Ducks.

UCLA needs to speed up the process in the back field. Hundley needs to throw the ball quickly and on time; receive the snap, plant his foot, and throw. If Hundley plants his back foot and tries to scan the field, he will get consumed by pressure. UCLA also needs to rediscover its rushing attack even if James misses a third straight contest. Run blocking is a heck of a lot easier to do than pass blocking and it is certainly easier to communicate amongst a young offensive line. In run blocking, the offensive line is firing out and dictating the play to the defensive front seven, but on pass plays the line has to sit back and allow the defense to dictate the play to them. This has been especially problematic for UCLA even before injuries started to mount. With a sophomore first year starter at center, the Bruins have had issues identifying blitz packages and adjusting protections all season. Oregon loves to play a very aggressive and attacking style and must be excited to see the turmoil on UCLA's O-line. The Ducks use a lot of complex blitz schemes especially with their "radar" defense that involves no one putting their hand on the ground which confuses the offensive line because they can't possibly decipher who is blitzing and who is dropping into coverage.

If UCLA can raise its game up front and Hundley can show more poise under pressure than he did last week then UCLA has a chance. If Hundley is slow to get the ball out of his hands and if Paul Perkins or Malcolm Jones can't finally step up and pick up the slack from James, then UCLA will get consumed.

What should I watch for when Oregon has the ball?

Andrew Shurtleff/AP Photo

The most fascinating chess match within this game is how Oregon will deal with Anthony Barr. The nature of Oregon's offense is ideal for neutralizing a great player in the front seven. The Ducks always love to run zone read but will be especially active with their bread and butter play on Saturday in an effort to handle Barr. It sounds counter intuitive but the best way to block an elite defensive lineman or linebacker is to not block him at all. The Ducks will leave Barr unblocked and run their offense based on what he does. If he attacks down hill toward the mesh point between the quarterback and running back, then Marcus Mariota will pull the ball out of the running back's stomach and run. De'Anthony Thomas will return after missing the last four games with ankle injury so Oregon should have no trouble running away from Barr. If Barr sits back and waits for the play to develop, Mariota will let his running back keep the ball and run away from him.

Analysts and talking heads talk at great length about stopping the Oregon offense and they wonder out loud what scheme exists to stop the Ducks. The truth is, there is no specific scheme or system that is built to stop a team like Oregon. The equation for stopping the Ducks is the same now as it always has been and it is brutally simple, defeat blocks. Barr or whoever is designated as the read man is unblocked and made irrelevant in the play but if anyone up front can shed a block and get into the back field, the play is dead every time. The rest of UCLA's front seven all must have a career day if UCLA is to have any shot at beating the Ducks.

UCLA can win on running downs but they will only have won half the battle because Oregon has developed into an elite passing offense this season as well. As great as Oregon has been on offense since 2007, the Ducks have always been deceptively one dimensional with marginally talented quarterbacks like Jeremiah Masoli and Darron Thomas. Mariota has flipped that equation and has become an elite pocket passer who is also lethal on the ground. In past years, defenses could get off the field against the Ducks simply by forcing third and long but not this year. Teams can't easily force incomplete passes with Mariota playing at such a high level and with Josh Huff and Bralon Addison emerging as the best tandem of wide receivers Oregon has had in over a decade. This is where Barr can make his impact. He needs to beat future All-Pac-12 left tackle Tyler Johnstone and pressure Mariota into bad throws because as talented as the UCLA secondary is, they won't be able to hold up for long against Oregon's receivers.

Johnstone has to have a great game protecting Mariota from Barr. Right tackle Jake Fisher is banged up and unlikely to play and whether it's Fisher or true freshman Cameron Hunt at right tackle, the Ducks will have to dedicate their tight ends and running backs to helping their right tackle block Keenan Graham who has five sacks this year and has been a perfect compliment to Barr. Normally teams assign as much help as they can to Barr but that won't be possible for the Ducks on Saturday. Johnstone needs to play his best game yet or else UCLA could slow down Oregon's offense.

The 2013 Pac-12 Journey Game 62: Can USC field a full team?

What teams are playing?

The Utah Utes and the USC Trojans.

Where is this game being played?

The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California.

What time does the game start and where can I find it on my television?

1:00 PM (PT)/2:00 PM (MT) on Pac-12 Network.

What is the point spread?

USC is favored by six points (-6)

What should I watch for when Utah has the ball?

Rick Bowmer/AP

The biggest factor in this game for either team is the health of Utah quarterback Travis Wilson. Wilson banged up his throwing hand last week and sustained an injury to his index finger. He was removed from the game after completing only three of nine passes and throwing a pair of interceptions. Wilson has been adamant all week that he will play despite his injury but we won't know until game time if that is a good thing. Is Wilson's finger in good enough shape to throw a tight spiral and remain accurate? If Wilson can't throw effectively how much rope will Kyle Whittingham give him before pulling him?

The biggest key will be whether Utah can minimize Wilson's impact on the game by running the ball effectively. The biggest reason Utah struggled last week wasn't because Wilson was knocked from the game and Adam Schultz completed only 13/24 passes in his stead. Utah failed on offense last week because the Utes could not run the ball and ended up putting the game on the shoulders of an inexperienced backup QB. Last week Kelvin York and Bubba Poole averaged less than four yards per carry and Lucky Radley had 37 of his 56 yards on one carry. Utah should be fine whether Wilson plays or not if they can minimize their need for big pass plays and get production on the ground.

Obviously, that means the key for USC's defense will be simple fundamentals. Can USC wrap up and tackle Utah's running backs and can the Trojans plug gaps avoid letting Utah blow open big running lanes? Once USC does wrap up and tackle, they need to get pressure on Wilson. No matter what health situation Wilson is in, he is sure to be at least a little short on confidence, doubting whether he can throw effectively. USC needs to pressure him and hurt his confidence as much as they can. If Wilson can build a rhythm with some early completions and allow his adrenaline to dull his pain, then USC will get shredded.

What should I watch for when USC has the ball?

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

At this point what do the Trojans have left? This goes for the Trojans defense as well but the offense in particular has been decimated by injuries this year. Star wide receiver Marqise Lee aggravated his knee injury against Notre Dame and the Trojans top two tight ends Randall Telfer and Xavier Grimble have been ruled out for at least the Utah game while highly productive running back Justin Davis has been pronounced out for the rest of the season. The Trojans only had 53 players available to play against Notre Dame and lost the four players above as well as starting corner back Anthony Brown on defense. That leaves USC with no more than 48 of the players available last week to play on Saturday and it necessitates that USC will have to start emptying its bench and play walk-ons during meaning snaps. With Lee out and Nelson Agholor slowed by a rib injury (one that he will play through), the Trojans will have to play at least two and possibly as many as four walk-on wide receivers.

USC needs to do the exact same thing Utah must, run the ball. After Lee went down and USC's passing game devolved into a farce USC tried to shift to a run first game plan but couldn't consistently clear running lines against Notre Dame's very stout defensive line. USC fell behind 14-10 in the second quarter and began nine drives with a chance to retake the lead but didn't score any points over the course of the final 32 minutes of the game. USC was inconsistent on the ground and that left USC in a lot of third and long situations with a mediocre QB throwing to non-scholarship receivers.

This is all welcome news to Utah, a team that absolutely adores one dimensional offenses. What do Utah's two biggest wins (at BYU and Stanford) have in common? They were both against offenses that relied heavily on the run but Utah managed to neutralize both running threats and put the game on the arms of Taysom Hill and Kevin Hogan. Hill and Hogan weren't able to make big throws in obvious pass situations to move the ball on Utah and you're kidding yourself if you think Cody Kessler can succeed where those guys failed. The hope for USC is that Utah's run defense has not been singularly dominant as evidenced by what Arizona did last week. If The Trojans can copy Arizona's game plan and run effectively and compliment that with efficient and mistake free passing then the Trojans will have a great chance to win. If Silas Redd can't produce on the ground, then USC will be in a really tight spot.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

2013 Pac-12 Power Rankings: Week Eight

1. Oregon (Overall: 7-0, Conference: 4-0, Last Week: 1)
Oregon obliterated Washington State by a deceptively close margin of 62-38. It was deceptive because Washington State's first two scores came off uncharacteristic fumbles by Marcus Mariota and the last two came in garbage time against Oregon's scout team late in the 4th. After a few weeks of looking like a pass first team the Ducks got back to being a dominating ground attack as both Byron Marshall and Thomas Tyner had career games. The Ducks have both a positive and negative outlook on the injury side. De'Anthony Thomas will return this Saturday after missing the last four games with an ankle injury but perhaps more importantly is the status of right tackle Jake Fisher. Fisher surprisingly missed the Wazzou game with an undisclosed injury and true freshman Cameron Hunt started in his place and really struggled. If Hunt has to play again we'll have to see if he can play better and rise to the challenge of UCLA's pass rush.

2. Stanford (6-1, 4-1, LW: 4)
Stanford rediscovered its identity against UCLA by establishing a great power running game and absolutely suffocating UCLA's offense with an unblockable front seven. The real test will be whether Stanford can maintain its identity and grind a game out on the road against Oregon State.

3. Oregon State (6-1, 4-0, LW: 3)
While the Ducks get all the attention, Oregon State has quietly combined with the Ducks to make the state of Oregon undefeated in conference play. The Beavers have righted the ship following a disastrous opening weekend loss to Eastern Washington and have done it with the nation's most productive passing game and an opportunistic (albeit leaky) defense. It was somewhat predictable that OSU would redefine its season against a weak schedule but in the coming weeks we will see if Oregon State is a good team after all. The Beavers first four conference opponents are a combined 12-16 but the next five are currently 26-8.

4. UCLA (5-1, 2-1, LW: 2)
UCLA's offensive line has totally fallen apart and that has put UCLA at risk of watching its entire season crumble. The Bruins have already been forced to insert true freshmen Alex Redmond and Scott Quessenberry due to injuries and may be forced to play a third freshman going forward. Left tackle Simon Goines went down against Stanford and is highly questionable to play against Oregon on Saturday. His replacement Conor McDermott as well as Redmond and Quessenberry played very poorly against Stanford. Frankly the Bruins were probably lucky just to get to 10 points. The Bruins' reshuffled line as well as an injury to productive running back Jordan James has removed UCLA's ability to run the ball as well as the play action pass which are both crucial to UCLA's game plan. If the Bruins can't raise their level of play up front, the Bruins could fall into a tailspin.

5. Arizona State (5-2, 3-1, LW: 7)
Every time you pronounce the Sun Devils overrated and locked into the middle tier they go out and score a big win and blow out a previously good team. The Sun Devils embarrassed Washington along both lines by out rushing them 305 to -5. Yes, that's -5 as in the Huskies failed to produce positive yardage on the ground. We know the Sun Devils offense is great but all year we had been expecting ASU's defensive line to come up big and were routinely left disappointed. The Devils' line finally showed up last week by corralling the now former Pac-12 leading rusher Bishop Sankey and putting relentless pressure on Keith Price.
6. Arizona (4-2, 2-1, LW: 10)
Maybe B.J. Denker's performance against USC was not a fluke. Denker was far from spectacular but he was mistake free and really efficient on third down. That made him the perfect compliment to the new leading rusher in the Pac-12, Ka'Deem Carey, who run over Utah to the tune of 236 yards. The Wildcats defense also got back on track by knocking around Utah's great QB Travis Wilson (more on him in a second) and holding both Bubba Poole and Kelvin York to under four yards per carry.
7. Utah (4-3, 1-3, LW: 5)
Utah played a sloppy game and suffered an unfortunate letdown against Arizona after its huge win over Stanford and now find themselves back in a desperate search for six wins. Greatly hampering that run for a bowl game is the health of QB Travis Wilson who sustained an injury to his right index finger. He tried to play through it against Arizona but went 3/9 with two interceptions before the Utah training staff put their foot down and made him sit on the bench. Wilson said he will "suck it up and play" against USC and that sounds great right now but that goes out the window if he can't throw.

8. Washington (4-3, 1-3, LW: 6)
Washington reopened a beautifully renovated stadium, added some new uniform combinations, and overhauled its offense. The Huskies tried as hard as they can to be the Ducks and for five weeks they fooled a lot of people into thinking they were on that level. You can dress up Steve Sarkisian and his Washington program to look like Oregon for awhile but eventually the facade wears off and the Huskies get exposed for being the same team they always have been. Washington put forth a pathetic effort against Arizona State and were humiliated in every phase of the game. The Huskies are now on a three game losing streak and with road games against Oregon State and UCLA still to come, the Huskies sure look like a lock to be the same mediocre seven win team they have been the last four years.

9. Washington State (4-4, 2-3, LW: 8)
Washington State's fight and all around effort against Oregon was impressive especially compared to their defeatist mentality against Stanford and their fourth quarter meltdown against Oregon State. That said, the Cougars were pushed around in the run game by a short handed Oregon offensive line but more importantly, the Cougars have reached a critical mass with their quarterback situation. Connor Halliday played poorly again by throwing four interceptions and although he passed for over 500 yards and four touchdowns, he needed an NCAA record 89 pass attemtps to do it. The Cougars were once a feel good story and looked to be well on track to qualify for a bowl game but they won't win another game if they don't get improved quarterback play and start making a stand on run defense.

10. USC (4-3, 1-2, LW: 9)
Forget USC's pitiful offensive performance against Notre Dame. If you watched a second of that horror show I'm sure you are as eager as I am to forget it ever happened. The far more important thing for USC right now is the team's health. The Trojans could only play 53 players against Notre Dame and this week pronounced cornerback Anthony Brown and tight ends Randall Telfer and Xavier grimble out for the Utah game. That puts USC at 50 total scholarship and walk-on players (the normal scholarship limit is 85) available this week and the status of top receivers Marqise Lee and Nelson Agholor is in doubt after both left the Notre Dame game in considerable pain. USC was able to get excited and play well for one game under Ed Orgeron but the weight of the team's injuries sure looks like it has crippled them.

11. Colorado (3-3, 0-3, LW: 11)
Okay so maybe Colorado's roster is not quite akin to an FCS team. The Buffs allowed the game to become interesting in the second quarter but, they ultimately pulled away with a sound 43-10 victory over Charleston Southern. Colorado still has no hope of competing with any team in the conference other than California (and dare I say, USC), but it was nice to see the young Buffs play well for a change.

12. California (1-6, 0-4, LW: 12)

The Award Tracker:

Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year:
1. QB Marcus Mariota, So., Oregon (LW: 1)
Marcus Mariota is no longer turnover free after fumbling twice against Washington State but he is still without an interception and is the only quarterback with at least five starts this season that has not been picked off. Mariota now has 28 total touchdowns and after struggling with his accuracy early in the season, he has completed better than 71% of his throws in consecutive games.

2. WR Brandin Cooks, Jr., Oregon State (LW: 3)
Yes Oregon State's secondary is an abomination but Cooks' performance of 13 catches for 232 yards and a touchdown was amazing regardless. The skill of Cal's DBs was obviously suffering but Cooks was being double covered on every play and still could not be contained.

3. RB Ka'Deem Carey, Jr., Arizona (LW: NR)
Bishop Sankey was leading the Pac-12 in rushing but his dud of a performance (13 carries for 22 yards) dropped him from third to eighth nationally while Carey exploded against a very good Utah defensive front and now leads the nation with 161 rushing yards per game. Carey has not been held under 128 yards this season and has scored at least once in every game except for one.

Honorable Mentions:
QB Sean Mannion, Jr., Oregon State

QB Brett Hundley, So., UCLA

RB Bishop Sankey, Jr., Washington

Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year:
1. LB Anthony Barr, Sr., UCLA (LW: 1)
Barr was great again against Stanford recording eight total tackles including one for a loss (a rather impressive one at that) and made numerous other stat-less plays by controlling the edge and preventing Stanford's ball carrier from breaking outside for big gains.

2. DE Scott Crichton, Jr., Oregon State (LW: 2)
After Washington State spent the entire game trying to avoid Crichton, the big defensive end returned to the stat sheet in a big way against Cal`s patchwork offensive line. Crichton made two tackles for a loss and also had a sack, a forced a fumble, and he knocked down a pass at the line of scrimmage. Crichton also had four solo tackles, giving him his best all around performance of the season to date.

3. LB Trent Murphy, Sr., Stanford (LW: 3)
Murphy sacked UCLA's Brett Hundley twice last week and has been on an amazing hot streak with three consecutive games of at least two tackles for loss and one sack.

Honorable Mentions:
LB Shayne Skov, Sr., Stanford

LB Addison Gillam, Fr., Colorado

CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Jr., Oregon

Pac-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year:
1. QB Jared Goff, California (LW: 1)
I've said all along that Goff would stay in this spot all year because he is the only freshman QB starting in the conference and therefore would put up bigger numbers and have a greater impact than any other offensive freshman in the conference. Goff might be knocked from his perch next week after committing three turnovers against Oregon State and being benched once again in favor of fellow freshman Zach Kline. Goff was benched in the Oregon game but was quickly reinstalled as the starting QB the following Monday. Goff wasn't so lucky this week as he shared reps equally with Kline and Sonny Dykes has remained mum on the identity of his starter against Washington this Saturday.
2. RB Thomas Tyner, Oregon (LW: NR)
Tyner came a yard short of his first career 100 yard game but gained his 99 yards on only seven carries. Tyner also impressed as a receiver with 42 yards on three receptions and his all around production now puts him way out in the lead among Pac-12 freshman in yards from scrimmage. Tyner has been an under the radar name in the Oregon offense thus far and may fade a bit with De'Anthony Thomas reentering the fray. You might be surprised to know Tyner has scored in five of the six games he has played and has very quietly entered the top 10 in the conference in rushing yards per game.

3. RB Michael Adkins, Colorado (LW: 3)
Tyner isn't the only impressive true freshman tailback who has really come on lately. Adkins made his first official start as a college player against Charleston Southern and blew away the Buccaneers with 137 yards and four touchdowns on only 13 carries.
Honorable Mentions:
RB Paul Perkins, UCLA

RB Justin Davis, USC - Davis was a mainstay in the race for this award but he was recently pronounced to be out for the year with an ankle injury. This will be Davis' last appearance in this section.

QB Sefo Liufau, Colorado
Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year:
1. LB Addison Gilliam, Colorado (LW: 1)
Gillam had a quiet game by his standards with only six tackles (although all of them were solo) and did not make any plays in the backfield. Despite a relatively pedestrian effort, his performance to date puts him well ahead of the pack. Gillam is still the leader in most defensive category among Pac-12 freshmen including tackles, tackles for loss, and sacks.

2. LB Myles Jack, UCLA (LW: 2)
Jack was a busy man against Stanford as the Cardinal tried to run away from Barr and toward Jack, the outside linebacker on the other side of the field. Jack was a bit of a mixed bag as he did produce nine tackles and made a number of nice plays but he took a few poor angles to the ball that hurt his team and looked frozen and unsure of what to do against play action passes.

3. LB Scooby Wright, Arizona (LW: 3)
Wright had another steady and unspectacular performance with six tackles. There is nothing flashy about the way he plays and you often don't notice him on the field but that is actually a good thing as his mistake-free style keeps him out of the spotlight.

Honorable Mentions:
DB Daquawn Brown, Washington State

DL Eddie Vanderdoes, UCLA

LB Torrodney Prevot, Oregon

Pac-12 Coach of the Year:
1. Jim Mora, UCLA (LW: 1)
UCLA may have suffered its first loss of the season but it was not Mora's fault. The Bruins could not move the ball at all but Mora's defensive game plan kept the Bruins in the game and at least gave them a chance late. Mora's body of work this year, particularly with his in game defensive adjustments have been great and you can not oversell how well he has rallied his team following Nick Pasquale's unfortunate death.

2. Mark Helfrich, Oregon (LW: 2)
Anyone who questioned Helfrich's harsh handling of the Colt Lyerla fiasco can probably put that to bed. In case you haven't heard, Lyerla was arrested earlier this week for possession of cocaine and interferring with a police officer. Helfrich was criticized by some for how he treated Lyerla but in retrospect its obvious that he handled it in the best way he could.

3. Mike Riley, Oregon State (LW: NR)
What is possibly left to say about the most underrated coach in America? Riley has had to patch together a team with no running backs and a shoddy defense and recover from a horrible loss to start the year but his team has rebounded under his guidance to six straight wins.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

The Pac-12 Journey/The Saturday Slate/The Post That Takes Your Money: Week Eight

Okay, I know I said last week that Athletes in Space would return to its regular weekend programming in time for week eight but it turns out I lied. Because of various obstacles (read "laziness"), I couldn't get around to making Pac-12 Journey articles for all seven Pac-12 games this weekend. Hey, I'm not getting paid for this so shoot me. unless you run a sports writing publication of some kind and you want to hire me. If you want to hire me than I will have you know that I had to call this audible because I was working on numerous other projects and was too overworked to do seven individual, extended game previews. Anyway, here's what to expect tomorrow from the best conference in college football.

Charleston Southern at Colorado (-20)

Colorado gets a welcome break from conference play as the Buffs play the makeup game for the Fresno State game that was cancelled back in week three. A lot has changed for Colorado since then, conference play has exposed numerous holes and an overall lack of talent but more recently Colorado has turned to a new quarterback. True freshman Sefo Liufau burned his redshirt last week and replaced benched Connor Wood last week and played reasonably well. Today he will make his first career start and should get a chance to show what he can do against an FCS defense.

The key match up for Colorado will be its defense against the Buccaneer offense. CSU runs a run based option offense predicated on misdirection. Colorado may not be talented but one thing they do have going for them is discipline and sound fundamentals that will serve them well today. CSU is not your average FCS team, the Buccaneers are undefeated and ranked in the top 25 at the FCS level. As Colorado proved against Central Arkansas, Colorado isn't capable of beating anyone by 20 points, even an FCS team. But, Colorado should have success on the ground and Colorado's smart and sound tacklers should have a big game as well.

The Pick: Colorado 31, Charleston Southern 20

#9 UCLA at #13 Stanford (-4.5)

UCLA looks to become a front runner for the national title while Stanford tries to salvage their BCS hopes. UCLA has a few distinct advantages that they can exploit that will allow them to control the game. For starters, between Brett Hundley and Anthony Barr, the Bruins will always have the best player on the field. Secondly, as we have seen the last two weeks, Stanford struggles in second and third and long situations and particularly has problems creating explosive plays on offense in the second half. Stanford's offensive line is not as good in past years and UCLA has a very good front seven that should be able to stifle Stanford's run game and force Kevin Hogan to make throws.

This game will probably come down to how Hogan plays. UCLA won't score 40 points particularly without production from its running backs which they haven't been getting for a few weeks now. But Hundley is one of the best quarterbacks in the nation and he has proven he can make big throws to win games when he doesn't have support from his running backs. Hogan has not proven that I don't think he will start today.

The Pick: UCLA 31, Stanford 24

#20 Washington at Arizona State (-3.5)

We know Arizona State is not a mentally strong team but today we'll find out whether or not Washington has the character to come back. Washington has been emotionally crushed the last two weeks after losing in the last minute to Stanford and then being dominated by Oregon in the biggest college game in Seattle since 2000. Will Washington allow these last two  games to beat them again and will those emotional lows come to define their season?

There shouldn't be any question as to which is the better team. Washington has proven to be stronger on defense especially against the run. Arizona State has been simply horrible against the run this year and that is bad news facing Bishop Sankey, the most productive tailback in America. Washington QB Keith Price has been banged up the last two weeks but he was able to practice without a bandage on his right thumb this week so I expect him to play better than he has the last two weeks. Washington will be able to exploit ASU on the ground and the Huskies defense is good enough that ASU won't be able to keep up.

The Pick: Washington 35, Arizona State 31

USC at Notre Dame (-3)

Was USC's new found confidence and swagger under Ed Orgeron a one time thing or has USC found a new identity that can carry them for the rest of this season? The Trojans will get reinforcements as star WR Marqise Lee returns from an injury and Morgan Breslin the elite pass rusher will try to give it a go as well. Notre Dame does not have a dynamic offense and runs the kind of system that USC wants to see. Because of its poor depth, USC struggles against up tempo teams that can test the Trojans' depth but the Irish do not possess the ability to play consistent up tempo.

USC will probably struggle to run the ball with a poor offensive line facing a very good Notre Dame front seven but USC's once dormant but suddenly productive deep passing game will be the difference in a big win for the Trojans.

The Pick: USC 30, Notre Dame 27

Utah at Arizona (-4)

Utah must avoid the emotional letdown and continue to play well now that people expect them to succeed. It was easy for Utah to look good on both sides of the ball when no one was expecting them to but after beating Stanford, Utah must now deal with expectations for the first time. Arizona may be favored but Utah is the trendy pick because of a great defensive front that can match up with Arizona's dynamic tailback Ka'Deem Carey. Utah also has a good stable of running backs who can run with ease against an Arizona run defense that was exposed by USC last week.

This is also a critical spot for the Wildcats who have lost consecutive games and are currently win-less in conference play. Utah is a better team than most expected but in the preseason this was one of the games Arizona fans circled as one they had to win in order to make a bowl game. Despite losing last week, Arizona got better as the game went on and I think Utah is due to have a bit of a letdown after a full week of everyone telling them how great they are. I'm going to hedge a little bit just in case Utah really has turned the corner by taking the points but another big day from Carey and a bounce back game for the defense will be enough for Arizona to win.

The Pick: Arizona 34, Utah 31

Washington State at #2 Oregon (-39.5)

Oregon's tour of destruction rolls on as the Ducks face the reigning Apple Cup champs after knocking around the Apple Cup runners up last week in Seattle. Don't be fooled here, Oregon is the superior team across the board and Washington State has no chance at all in this game. Oregon should be able to move the ball at will particularly through the air as the best player in college football Marcus Mariota should pick apart a wilting Cougar secondary. Washington State will also have a heck of a time trying to score on Oregon. the Cougars have not been able to stretch the field with long pass plays and can not run the ball, a combination that equates to death against Oregon's defense.

The real game here as it has been all season is Oregon versus the point spread and my what a point spread it is. Oregon is 6-0 against the spread this year with all six spreads being double digits but 39.5 is a ton of points against a reasonably competent conference opponent. Oregon has shown a willingness to go up big and take its foot off the gas to allow for a back door cover (just look at last year's Wazzu-Oregon game). I know I said a few weeks ago that you should start picking Oregon minus anything but I wasn't expecting to see a 40 point line in a conference game that didn't involve Cal or Colorado. I'm sure the Ducks will make me pay for saying this and they will win 63-0 but I think its safe to take the points with such a huge spread.

The Pick: Oregon 56, Washington State 21

Oregon State (-10.5) at California

I really want to hear the reason this spread is only 10.5. Oregon State has the most productive passing attack in college football and Cal has one of the worst defenses, one that is experimenting with wide receivers at cornerback. The Beavers have gotten better and better on defense with each passing week and Cal's offense has been in rapid regression since the Oregon game three weeks ago. Cal can't take care of the ball and has committed the most turnovers in the conference while Oregon State has been ball hawking all season long forcing 15 turnovers in six games. This is a road game but the Beavers traditionally play better on the road and home field advantage does not do much for you when no one shows up to the stadium. This has to be the easiest pick of the Pac-12 season. Lay the points and take the Beavers to win big, you can thank me later.

The Pick: Oregon State 49, California 24

Last Week Against the Spread: 3-3

Last Week Straight Up:4-2

This Season Against the Spread: 31-23

This Season Straight up: 45-9

Friday, 18 October 2013

The 2013 Mid Season All-Pac-12 team

With every team in the Pac-12 having played at least half of its regular season games it is probably a good time to check on the individual players in the conference and honor the players at each position who have risen above their piers. This is not necessarily how the coaches and media would vote for the Pac-12 1st Team but it is how the team should be picked at this point in the season. Behold, the best the Pac-12 has to offer!


QB - Marcus Mariota, Oregon

This was probably the easiest choice as Mariota has emerged nationally as the front runner for the Heisman trophy by accounting for 10.34 yards per pass completion/rush attempt with 28 total touchdowns and no interceptions.

RB - Bishop Sankey, Washington

Sankey is the Pac-12's leading rusher with 921 yards and has also scored 10 rushing touchdowns which puts him second in the conference. His offensive line made him a dud last week but the week before he looked like the only guy who belonged on the field against Oregon.

RB - Ka'Deem Carey, Arizona

Carey is behind the pace in all rushing statistics because he missed Arizona's opening game (and Arizona has already had both of its bye weeks) but Carey's per game averages are sublime. Carey might be the most consistent performer in the conference, never rushing for less than 128 yards in a game this season and scoring at least one touchdown in all but one game.

WR - Brandin Cooks, Oregon State

Cooks is the best receiver in the Pac-12 by far and has been the most productive pass catcher in all of college football. Cooks leads the Pac-12 with 76 receptions (Gabe Marks is second with 59 and an extra game played), 1176 yards (Paul Richardson is second with 782), and 12 touchdowns (four players are second with six).

WR - Paul Richardson, Colorado

In most other years Richardson would be the run away top receiver in the Pac-12. Richardson is the other receiver in the Pac-12 beside Cooks averaging over 100 receiving yards per game (Richardson has 130.3, third place Josh Huff sits at 89.6). There have been five 200 receiving yard performances in Colorado history and Richardson has produced two of them this season.

TE - Chris Coyle, Arizona State

The tight end position has been a major disappointment in the Pac-12 this season with Colt Lyerla's ugly divorce from Oregon and Austin Seferian-Jenkins struggling, most notably when he dropped an easy catch on third down during Washington's final drive against Stanford. As a result, I'm going off the trail a little bit and taking Coyle who leads Pac-12 tight ends with 302 receiving yards and has produced either a first down or a touchdown on 17 of his 18 receptions.

OT - Tyler Johnstone, Oregon

Mariota has been facing more and more pressure in the past few weeks but it hasn't been coming from his blindside where Johnstone has been playing extremely well. Johnstone has also been key in springing some big run plays to the left side like the 66 yard burst from Thomas Tyner last week.

OT - Andrus Peat, Stanford

David Shaw said Peat "pitched a shutout" in the first two games of the year and he hasn't gotten any worse since. Any time you can force an All-American to move from left tackle to left guard and keep him there, you deserve to be a first team selection.

OG - David Yankey, Stanford

He may have been forced away from left tackle but Yankey has remained a physical presence, giving Stanford an edge to run the ball inside and grind opposing defenses into submission. 

OG - Xavier Su'a-Filo, UCLA

UCLA's offensive line is failing apart all around Su'a-Filo but he has done everything possible to keep the Bruins intact. Earlier in the year when UCLA was healthy, Su'a-Filo was the biggest difference maker of all clearing big running lines for the UCLA tailbacks and he has done yeoman's work in recent weeks playing both guard and tackle.

C - Hroniss Grassu, Oregon

Grassu has not had a spectacular season and has struggling at times uncorking high snaps but he has made a huge impact as a run blocker specifically when Oregon has had him pull out and act as a lead blocker to spring big plays around the edge. He is not playing as well as he did last year but still no other center in the conference can compare to him.


DL - Scott Crichton, Oregon State

Crichton was as much to blame as anyone for OSU's disastrous loss to Eastern Washington but he deserves as much credit as anyone for the Beavers' turn around. Crichton has 10 tackles for loss in six games since week one.

DL - Tony Washington, Oregon

There was major concern about Oregon's ability to generate a pass rush this season after Dion Jordan graduated and moved on the NFL as a third overall pick in the draft but Washington has quelled those fears and then some. Washington is second in the Pac-12 with 6.5 sacks (for references sack, Jordan's best season was 7.5). Washington has been very hot recently with multiple tackles for loss in four straight games and has been a big time play maker this season with three forced fumbles.

DL - Leonard Williams, USC

The stats may not totally suggest it as Williams has only seven tackles for loss but he has been a disruptive force both against the run and the pass and has been the focal point of USC's defense all season. During the first four weeks of the season when USC was absolutely rolling on defense, Williams was the central reason why the Trojans were successful.

DL - Trevor Reilly, Utah

Reilly leads all Pac-12 defensive linemen in total tackles with 58 (Williams is second with 45) and has been a critical focal point in Utah's defense. The Utes have relied heavily on Reilly setting the edge of Utah's defense and containing both running backs and quarterbacks within the offensive tackles. Reilly is not the greatest play maker on defense (although he does have as many tackles for loss as Washington) but his ability to excel in his specific role has been vital to the success of Utah's defense.

LB - Anthony Barr, UCLA

Barr has unquestionably been the best defensive player in the Pac-12. He leads the conference in tackles for loss with 11 and has forced four fumbles. Like Reilly, he makes several huge plays per game setting the edge and blowing up offensive tackles to force ball carriers inside where other Bruins defenders can make tackles but he does it in far more spectacular fashion.

LB - Trent Murphy, Stanford

Murphy has always been a steady performer for Stanford for the past three years but this year he has really emerged as a star. Murphy has 10 tackles for loss (just off Barr's trail) and has done really well to get his hands in passing lanes and tip passes. This led to the two highlights of his season when he snagged a screen pass for a touchdown against Washington State and tipped a pass in the air to create an A.J. Tarpley interception late in the 4th quarter to help preserve Stanford's win over Washington.

LB - Addison Gillam, Colorado

Gillam has been one of the pleasant surprises of the Pac-12 season, emerging as a true freshman and becoming the Pac-12's best middle linebacker. Gillam leads the Pac-12 in tackles per game and has been making big plays all over the field.

DB - Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon

Ekpre-Olomu hasn't put up the big numbers he had last year when he almost averaged one turnover forced per game but he has been largely unproductive this year because teams are scared to death of throwing his direction. He only has two interceptions but both have been huge as they were both caught in the end zone to kill an opposing scoring chance. Terrance Mitchell has made headlines for Oregon with four interceptions, three pass break ups and seven passes defended but, Mitchell only has those numbers because quarterbacks are throwing his way and avoiding Ekpre-Olomu.

DB - Steven Nelson, Oregon State

Nelson has been the best deep safety in the conference, recording a Pac-12 best five interceptions as well as 10 passes defended and five pass break ups. His big plays have been important as well; his pick-six with under a minute left won the game against San Diego State and he had two key interceptions against Utah that allowed Oregon State to eventually force overtime and win.

DB - Tra'Mayne Bondurant, Arizona

Bondurant has been quiet in recent weeks but he was easily the best defensive play maker in the Pac-12 during the early portion of the season when he had three interceptions and two defensive touchdowns in a span of two weeks. He has been a productive tackler for a deep safety averaging six tackles per game and he was credited with three pass breakups against Texas-San Antonio.

DB -Deone Bucannon, Washington State

Bucannon leads the Pac-12 in total tackles with 73 (three players are second with 59, although Gillam is on pace to finish with more over a full 12 game season) and he has already tied a career high with four interceptions. Bucannon's production and veteran leadership has been important leading a young defense.


K - Andy Phillips, Utah

Phillips would have looked a lot more sure in this spot last week before he missed a field goal attempt for the first time this season (and actually missed two, both loomed large in Utah's loss to Arizona). Putting last week aside, Phillips has been clutch hitting the game winning field goal against Utah State and hitting key field goals against BYU and Stanford that forced those teams to attempt to score touchdowns that they were unable to achieve. Phillips has not missed a PAT or get this, an onside kick. Utah has attempted two onside kicks this year and recovered both, the first of which was key in Utah's win over rival Utah State.

P - Sean Covington, UCLA

Covington does not qualify to be among the Pac-12's punting leaders (you need 3.6 punts per game to qualify, Covington has 3.5) but his 42.62 yards per punt average would put him second in the Pac-12. Covington's real value comes in his kickoffs. He splits kickoff duty with Ka'imi Fairbairn but half of Covington's kickoffs have gone for touch backs.

KR - Ty Montgomery, Stanford

There really is no other choice for this besides Montgomery. You could argue that his presence on returns single-handedly swung the Washington game and his 35.17 yards per return average is way ahead of the rest of the conference. There have only been two kickoff return touchdowns by Pac-12 players this year and both belong to Montgomery.

PR - Bralon Addison, Oregon

This was also a very easy choice. In addition to being tied for second in the conference with six touchdown receptions, Addison has also scored twice on punt returns. Both came against Cal and the second was a real beauty when he reversed his field and ran a grand total of over 150 yards, making at least four tacklers miss on the way to the end zone. Addison is averaging 22.3 yards per punt return and if that average holds, it will be the highest in the Pac-10/12 since Maurice Jones Drew averaged 28.47 yards per return in 2005.