Author: Chris Dufresne

Pac Tracks: Shrinking Violet makes playoff case for USC vs. Ohio State

One far-fetched question to ask before this year’s Pac 12 champion gets left out of the playoff and makes preparations for the Fiesta Bowl. Is there any two-loss playoff argument USC could win? Wow. Sorry. Too soon, or too late? This is NOT me trying to upset Kirk Herbstreit’s intestinal workings but, with deference and due respect, why has a two-loss champion Ohio State been anointed? Again, not trying to step out of my lane here–I’m just asking for a Passive 12 friend. God knows there is no two-loss scenario for Washington or Washington State. Please, though, let me expunge this from my system and then we’ll all roll over and retreat into a perpetual state of Pac 12, after-darkness. Shred and dismiss this story, obviously, if a Washington defeat over Washington State in the Apple Cup allows three-loss Stanford to win the conference title on Dec. 1 in Santa Clara. But what if USC wins out to finish 11-2? Are there really no scenarios in which the Trojans can sneak in? Nate Silver’s 538 blog gives USC a 25% chance, but that was dismissed by the ESPN jaw firm of Fowler & Herbstreit. They’re probably right. It is remarkable, though, how little push-back there ever is from Pac 12 push overs. I stand by my statement the College Football Playoff has been infinitely fairer to the Pac 12...

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UCLA fires Jim Mora–what comes next?

UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero didn’t want to do this–you know he didn’t. The last thing on Earth he wanted was to conduct another football coaching search as he heads toward umbrella-drink retirement in 2019. But, if it was ever going to happen, it was going to happen Sunday. Terrible timing for Jim Mora. The athletic department was coming off its worst public relations weeks after the shoplifting fiasco in China. Guerrero, who was on the trip, was already in a foul mood and so was Chancellor Gene Block, also on the China trip with his wife. It was an embarrassing, humiliating escapade that is not over yet. UCLA got in bed with LaVar Ball’s family and woke up Sunday to a tweet fight between Ball and the President of the frigging United States. Another loss to USC, on Saturday, well, that had to be tipping point.  Who cares how hard the Bruins played? Guerrero decided not to wait to see if Mora could become bowl eligible at 6-6 with a win over Cal next week. He wasn’t going to allow GoFundMe a chance to fly another plane banner over the Rose Bowl. If you don’t think Guerrero is pissed off, understand this. He fired Mora on Jim’s 56th birthday. “Making a coaching change is never easy, but it’s an especially difficult decision when you know that a coach...

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Rankman’s wrap: USC vs. UCLA, Alabama\Clemson cupcakes and Baker’s Mine Field.

Here’s what we know after ESPN sent its first team, Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit, all the way across the country to cover the second-rate Pac 12. Fowler thinks USC plays its fight song A LOT in the fourth quarter, while Herbie clearly gives UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen the nod over Sam Darnold as a ready-made NFL prospect. It was nice to have ESPN,  which doesn’t gas up many diesel trucks headed West, roll in for a visit. I used to get a kick when local papers would do a four-part series whenever Monday Night Football was coming in for a broadcast. Friday:  “Where does Don Meredith eat when he comes to town?” Thank goodness Los Angeles doesn’t fawn like that because we’re a big city that is two-deep again with NFL teams and just advanced a baseball squad to the seventh game of the World Series. At least this ESPN crew didn’t break out “cupcakes” to illustrate the weak schedules Pac 12 “contenders” often play out here. Fowler and Herbie prepared well and a gave a pretty good rivalry game their two-half, divided attention. Many of us locals were just happy to see Darnold vs. Rosen play each other at least once. There seemed a chance, when Rosen got knocked woozy at Washington a few weeks back, that the two stars would move on to the NFL without...

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Rankman’s picks: Week 12

“Child 2” came through again last week to earn another full plate of odds-and-ends. Junior was a valuable mid-season call up from AAA Pick-tucket and has thus far impressed the front-office staff with the gnarl on his fastball and his every-day starter stuff.  Kid was 4-2 last week and is 10-6 overall with a quality WHIP (Wagering vs. House Index Percentage). Rankman remains in the Pick 3 Friday rotation only because of his huge contract and access to the TMG sign-in code. In the old days of the four-man rotation we Angels’ fans used to say “Tanana and Ryan and two days of cryin.” At TMG headquarters the one-two punch saying is “Rankman & Son” but there’s really only one.” We carry on into the dying light of November to forge a late-season rally for the aged and the ages. Three more regular-season weekends means three more weekends to level the score and even the ledger. And then there’s bowl-picking season!   Child Locks Army getting 2.5 vs. NORTH TEXAS Syracuse getting 13 vs LOUISVILLE Texas getting 3 1\2 vs. WEST VIRGINIA   Over\Under  Arizona vs. OREGON (74 1\2) Oklahoma vs. KANSAS (70 1\2) Central Florida vs. TEMPLE (55)   Father Knows Bets Cal vs. STANFORD (55 1\2) Arizona getting 1 vs. OREGON The rest of this article is available to subscribers only – to become a subscriber click here....

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Rankman’s super duper ranking\comments: Week 12

The selection committee finally came around to Alabama at No. 1 the same week Rankman came around to relegating the Pac 12 to the “Group of 6”. The Pac will join Conference USA, the MAC, Mountain West, Sun Belt and the American in a pool of conferences that will compete for two very good bowl bids. The top finisher in the Pac 12 will receive an invitation to the Fiesta Bowl while the champions of five other leagues will vie for a spot in the Peach Bowl. This has been a down year for the Pac 12 but there’s no sense getting up in the league’s face. The conference released its 2018 schedule on Wednesday and it was hard not to get excited about the prospect of Cincinnati playing at UCLA on Sept. 1. If you don’t like that, there’s also Bowling Green at Oregon Green on the same day. Ok, we buried the lead.  After two years of getting ripped for scheduling Rutgers, the University of Washington will play Auburn on Sept. 1 in a neutral-site game. The selection committee will likely hail Auburn for making this game while chastising U-Dub for taking so long to make it. And here’s an opening-week present for the new Oregon State coach: at Ohio State. Yikes! The second week could make or break the Pac playoff psyche with key non-conference games:...

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Notes

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Miami’s Mark Richt
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TMG Guest Lecturers

TMG contributor, Tom Luicci, asks the big questions and more after week 12 in college football. Read More…

What you need to know about the Big 12 and the CFP from TMG contributor, Wendell Barnhouse. Read More…

Special contribution from USC grad student, Anthony Ciardelli, on 50th anniversary of USC vs. UCLA 1967 game for the ages. Read More…

TMG contributor, Tom Luicci wonders how you fit 5 teams into this week’s top 4 spots. Read More…

Big 12 is defensive…about its defenses, from TMG contributor, Wendell Barnhouse. Read More...

TMG welcomes Guest Lecturer/ Fresno State Alum, Larry Stewart, for a trip down memory lane in CA’s Central Valley.  Read More...

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