Pac-2 Goes to Court; Elite 8; Giant Collapse; New Hat
Oregon State and Washington State, the two schools left behind when the rest of the Pac-12 bailed out for the Big Ten, Big 12 and ACC, are trying to gain control of the future of the league.
The Beavers and Cougars want the right to operate a rebuilt Pac-whatever Conference if they can attract new members or merge with the Mountain West. They also want control over the distribution of the conference's remaining assets.
Their petition for a temporary restraining order seeks "to confirm the governance structure of the conference, gain access to business information and protect the conference’s assets.”
Turns out, some of the departing members are pushing to dissolve the conference asap, with the expectation they would divvy up whatever's left in the Pac-12 bank plus forthcoming revenues from NCAA basketball tournament units, this year's College Football Playoff, bowl revenues and the like.
Emasculated commissioner George Kliavkoff had scheduled a Board meeting Wednesday to vote on this issue, and one of the departing schools quoted as saying they only needed 9 votes to dissolve the Pac-12 and evenly distribute any assets.
It's likely WSU and OSU will get a TRO at a hearing today in Washington, and that meeting will be scrubbed. After that, the lawyers will take over.
This one will probably take months to unpack, but I'm rooting for the Cougs and Beavers to prevail. They deserve the opportunity to explore sustaining the league, and they deserve transparency and clarity on its assets and liabilities.
Any league they form with the likes of San Diego State, Boise State and others won't have a prayer of gaining Power 5 status, but as the only schools left in the conference, they should have the authority to do whatever they wish with the brand and what's left in the coffers.
Clueless George: Kliavkoff, as usual, will bring nothing to the party. I might point out that when he was hired our post, entitled "Pac-12 Stays Outside the Box...Way Outside" predicted he would be a disaster. I wrote back then: "Kliavkoff is being celebrated by the Pac-12 for his 'vision' and for being the 'prototype' of the commissioner of the future. Which is total nonsense."
We ended our post with these words: "Kliavkoff has no experience, expertise or relationships at the college level. So while he may not be going in blind, he’s at least vision impaired."
Sadly, the "visionary" turned out to be a deer in the headlights.
The presidents who hired him--and the equally incompetent Larry Scott before him--deserve a big share of the blame for the Pac-12's collapse.
Elite Eight: USC moved up to No. 5 in the latest AP college football rankings after thrashing Stanford 56-10. It could've been much worse.
The Trojans led 49-3 at halftime after toying with Stanford for 30 minutes. Graciously, they went with reserves the second half and didn't attempt to run up the score. The disparity in talent between the two teams was stunning.
It didn't look like it on Saturday, but Stanford coach Troy Taylor has his program going in the right direction. Graduations, transfers and the coaching change left him with a pretty bare cupboard. He needs a massive infusion of players who can compete at a much higher level. Next year's solid recruiting class will help.
USC is one of eight Pac-12 schools ranked in the AP Top 25. The Trojans are joined by No. 8 Washington, No. 12 Utah, No. 13 Oregon, No. 16 Oregon State, No. 18 Colorado, No. 23 Washington State, and No. 24 UCLA.
And how many of us thought Colorado would be ranked No. 18 after opening against TCU and Nebraska. You can question his tactics, or his bravado, but what Deion Sanders has done in Boulder is simply amazing.
And his son, Shedeur, the quarterback, is the real deal. If he continues to play at this level, he'll challenge SC's Caleb Williams for the Heisman Trophy. Week 4 and 5 games against Oregon and SC will tell the tale.
Cougs Rule: Speaking of Washington State, my favorite quote from this weekend came from their head coach, Jake Dickert, after WSU's big 31-22 upset win over 19th-ranked Big Ten stalwart Wisconsin. "We belong in a Power 5. Our team belongs at the highest level — our program does."
Indeed they do.
Giant Collapse: It's been an awful, disheartening season for the SF Giants, even though they remain on the periphery of the wild card race.
As always in the Fahran Zaidi/Gabe Kapler era, there is far too much reliance on silly analytics. Platoons. Pitch counts. Trying to win with a bunch of spare parts or players recovering from serious injuries. They only look good when they're playing the hapless Rockies.
It's not unusual in the Giants' crazy world, for a pitcher to be lifted in the seventh inning after striking out the side in the sixth, because of some matchup or pitch count nonsense. Or for a player to hit a home run early in the game, only to be pulled for a pinch hitter because of a pitching change by the other team.
Kapler seems to believe that right-handed hitters should never face right-handed pitchers, and lefties should never bat against lefties. Rubbish.
My old friend Bruce Jenkins wrote a brilliant column in the Chronicle on the dysfunctional Giants this weekend. My favorite sentence from Bruce's piece: "The fact that it’s all about numbers, and the insane notion that “probability” overrules humanity, runs deeply contrary to the essence of this great game."
Words to Live By: I've always been a stickler for telling the truth. I've only lied a handful of times in my life, and I still feel guilty about all of them. I guess I believe in the old cliche that your word is your bond.
There were always three guiding philosophies in our house: try to do the right thing, tell the truth, and treat other people the way you'd like to be treated. I'm proud to say our three kids--now beautiful, grown women--have followed those guidelines.
One of the biggest problems we have in our country today is that people lie with impunity. Including some very important people.
If you can't accept basic facts and agree on certain basic principles--like the results of a fair and free election, or the rule of law--then it's going to be very hard to sustain a democracy.
So when I saw the hat pictured below, I ordered one. I'm going to wear it proudly.