Recap of a busy weekend on and off the pitch and the court …
Story of the week I: Oregon hires Dan Lanning
The Ducks found a replacement for Mario Cristobal in just five days, hiring Georgia defensive coordinator Dan Lanning. The 35-year-old was one of the most prominent coordinators in the market, but has no ties to Oregon and limited ties to the Pac-12 except for two seasons on the staff. from Arizona State ten years ago. He was never a head coach, and in Athens had a defense laden with five-star rookies and future NFL draft picks at his disposal. In our view, the decision carries high risks and rewards for the Ducks. If Lanning is successful, will he follow the same path as Willie Taggart and Mario Cristobal and return to the eastern half of the country, leaving the Ducks to conduct another search in three or four years?
Story of the week II: Oregon’s offer rejected
According to a report by John Canzano of Oregonlive, the Ducks opted for Lanning only after Cal coach Justin Wilcox, who was born in Eugene and played for Oregon, turned them down. Why would Wilcox turn down a chance to lead his alma mater? Perhaps he was suspicious of the fate that befell former coach Mark Helfrich, who was tarred and feathered just two years after taking the Ducks to the national championship. Perhaps his plans to put together a coaching staff wouldn’t suit Oregon’s preferences. Perhaps Wilcox wasn’t sure his style and philosophy of recruiting, which is very different from Cristobal’s, would be well received. This is pure speculation, of course. Most likely, we will never know.
Story of the week III: Heisman Trophy
Alabama quarterback Bryce Young, who attended Mater Dei high school, won the award decisively on Saturday night. In fourth place: Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud, who attended Rancho Cucamonga. And in seventh place: Ole quarterback Miss Matt Corral, who attended Long Beach Poly. The West Coast was well represented, but not by the Pac-12 players. In fact, it marked the third consecutive season the conference failed to produce a Top 10. (Last time: Washington State quarterback Gardner Minshew in 2018.)
Story of Week IV: Unhappy Trip, Road Wins
Two men’s basketball teams traveled to the Midwest last week and encountered significant issues. The Arizona-to-Illinois flight was diverted to Indianapolis due to weather, forcing players and coaches to take Uber the two hours to Champaign for what became an 83-79 win. Meanwhile, UCLA was forced to make an emergency landing in Denver because of a cracked windshield on their plane. The Bruins spent the night there and eventually made it to Milwaukee, but had to delay the start of their game against Marquette. They emerged with a 67-56 win.
Stat of the week: Arizona
The Wildcats (9-0) are the new No. 1 team in the NET standings and play a central role in selection Sunday decisions. However, they are one of three Pac-12 teams positioned for NCAA nominations, along with No. 14 in USC and No. 22 in UCLA. Beyond that trio, only Washington State No.42 could be considered a bubble team based on its current NET placement.
Surprising win of the week: Cal
In what the Hotline considers a real surprise, the Bears beat Santa Clara 72-60 on Saturday night behind 18 points behind Andre Kelly. The result was a rare one-on-one victory for the Pac-12 over the West Coast Conference and pushed Cal above the 0.500 mark, for as long as it lasts.
Tough loss of the week: Washington State
The Cougars stumbled at home against South Dakota State, which isn’t as bad as it sounds: the Jackrabbits have a NET ranking of 87 and could be the best team in the Summit League. But the result will undermine the WSU’s pursuit for an offshore spot and, therefore, impact the Pac-12’s hopes of sending more than three teams to the NCAA tournament.
Coup of the week: Stanford
In what constitutes the best end of a conference game so far, buzzing 3-point Jaiden Delaire defeated Oregon 72-69 at the Maples Pavilion on Sunday night. The shot came seconds after Oregon goalie Will Richardson missed a tough shot with enough time for Stanford to rebound, call the time-out and advance the ball from the backcourt to Delaire. , who buried a jumper at standard left wing reach. Oregon’s rise to the NCAAs gets harder and harder week after week.
Staff change of the week: USC
New football coach Lincoln Riley is expected to retain assistant Donte Williams, who served as the Trojans’ interim head coach and is considered one of the Pac-12’s top scouts. If Williams had chosen to leave, he would have known about job offers from other programs. Instead, USC was able to retain a staple of what may be the best lineup of conference recruiters. At worst, Riley’s staff should be exponentially more efficient than its predecessor under Clay Helton.
This Week’s Game: Oregon State vs. Utah State (LA Bowl)
The first of six bowl games for the Pac-12 and a tough point for the Beavers, who are solid favorites against an opponent from Mountain West well capable of winning outright – after all, the Aggies beat the State. Washington to open the season and beat San Diego State in the MW Championship. Kicks off Saturday at 4:30 p.m. on ABC.
Last week’s topic: Transparency
The Hotline voted for several awards last week. For the sake of transparency, here are the relevant details of our various ballots:
AP Player of the Year: 1) Alabama quarterback Bryce Young, 2) Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett, 3) Michigan State quarterback Kenneth Walker
AP Coach of the Year: 1) Luke Fickell from Cincinnati, 2) Dave Aranda from Baylor, 3) Kyle Whittingham from Utah
AP Comeback Player of the Year: 1) Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, 2) Notre Dame quarterback Jack Coan, 3) Utah quarterback Cam Rising
Heisman Trophy: Identical to AP POY
AP All-Americans (Pac-12 players): USC wide receiver Drake London, Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux, Washington cornerback Trent McDuffie and Utah linebacker Devin Lloyd were selected as the first team; UCLA offensive tackle Sean Rhyan, Oregon State center Nathan Eldridge, UCLA tight end Greg Dulcich, Oregon safety Verone McKinley and Arizona punter Kyle Ostendorp were our second team picks.