LOS ANGELES—The coach of the team picked to win this year’s Pac 12 title summed it up perfectly at Wednesday’s annual media day.
“We’re trying to get there,” Washington’s Chris Petersen said. “We have not arrived.”
Coach Pete was talking about his Huskies but also could have been talking about his conference.
Pac 12 football is coming off a 1-8 bowl season and there is not enough sugar produced at C&H to coat that. The league reduced its media days this year to “one day” and just for reference, the SEC had four days of festivities.
The Pac 12’s best player, Stanford tailback Bryce Love, was a no show but had a note from his counselor so precious it almost made you want to contribute to a scholarship fund.
Isn’t that the Pac 12 for you, more concerned about kids becoming doctors than promoting the 2018 campaign?
Love is trying to help Stanford win and win the Heisman Trophy, obviously, but he is also a human biology major trying to graduate next December.
“So, that requires,” as he put it, “school commitments and what nots.”
Love was made available to the media via Skype which, based on the way revenue streams are running, could be broadcasting Pac 12 games in 2025.
“I really wanted to be there,” Love insisted and most of us believed him.
Truth be told: I’m trying to get worked up about Pac 12 football this year, but just can’t get any mojo flowing.
I honestly can’t summon or even conjure a reason to think this will be the year the Pac 12 breaks through to the next level.
Despite adding five intriguing coaches to the story lines, I still don’t see a Nick Saban in the bunch, or an Urban Meyer, or a Bobby Bowden, or a Dabo Swinney.
I haven’t been this down-in-the-dumps about the Pac since the late 1900s, Tyrone Willingham era. But I also hope that I’m wrong.
Chip Kelly could eventually be the guy at UCLA, but not this year, not with this roster and not with AT Oklahoma in Week 2.
Petersen pushed Washington to the playoff two years ago but the Huskies still seem a half-step slow.
I’ve already seen how Jake Browning, an excellent quarterback, fared against Alabama in a national playoff game. The final score was 24-7. Browning is back for his senior year but also returning is…Nick Saban.
Washington vs. Auburn on Sept. 1, in Atlanta, is cards-on-the-table for the Pac 12, the most important game in recent conference history. Washington, to me, is the closest thing the Pac has right now to a playoff contender. But if Washington loses, on national television, everyone out West can go back to their gardening.
Clay Helton seems like a fine man and a good coach, but do people really believe he can lead USC to a national title? Not based on what I saw in last year’s Cotton Bowl against a coach who has won three national titles (Meyer).
USC’s schedule is also a problem: it’s always too good, nine league games plus Notre Dame every year? Athletic Directors in the South get fired for that kind of initiative.
The problem with the Pac in general is that it’s hard NOT to lose two games in a system that will rarely reward for that. And the close defeats, the ones that cost you, leave you tossing and turning for months.
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