Pac-12 Roundup: The stage is set for a winner-take-all weekend. Click through to find out what shook out from an intriguing Saturday for the Pac-12.
Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott told KXSC Sports late last year that conference was on track to get its seven television networks up and running by August 2012.
He said the network would allow the conference to “gain unprecedented exposure for our programs and get every major game televised.”
As of now, the Pac-12 network would reach 40 million homes because deals haven’t been struck with Dish, DirecTV, Verizon, AT&T and a handful of other television providers.
Neal Pilson, the former head of CBS Sports, said getting deals done by the end of 2012 should be no problem.
He added that at least 40 million homes means as much as $120 million in revenue from the subscriber fees the carriers must pay for the networks.
“All of the sudden colleges are tapping into what homeowners pay for regional networks,” Pilson said.
Each university in the conference gets $21 million annually from television deals with ESPN and Fox. The Pac-12 network will deliver as much as $7 million more to each school.
One of the unique things about the Pac-12 network, compared to other conference networks, is the television providers do not have any stake in the network. It’s completely owned by the Pac-12 schools.
“It was very important for me to maintain control,” Scott said. “Control was very important so we can present the conference in a way that is very true to our brand, position athletics as part of the overall academic mission and invest in the quality of the production and programming that we believe best represent the conference. We don’t have other masters to serve in terms of partners in the network.”
CAA has advised the conference throughout the process, Scott said. The network’s headquarters will be in seven-story building in San Francisco.
“We wanted proximity to the conference office…We like the idea of being pretty close to the tech world,” Scott said. San Francisco is obviously a tremendous creative center.”
Scott has promised that subscribers to television providers that carry the Pac-12 Network will be able to watch the networks on any device they desire.
—Paresh Dave, Neon Tommy
Pilson discussing the network’s start-up plans:
NT College Football Picks - Championship Saturday
SEC Championship: LSU 23, Georgia 13 - It might not count as an offensive explosion, but I think there will be at least a couple touchdowns scored in the SEC Championship game on Saturday. The same couldn’t be said for LSU’s showdown with Alabama, but the neutral site should help the offenses settle down a little. Georgia is playing well, but they haven’t beaten an elite team all year, and the Tigers present too many challenges offensively for Georgia. Even if LSU struggles to move the ball, cornerback and punt-returner Tyrann Mathieu is capable of tipping the field in the Tigers’ favor with a big return like he did in their comeback last week against Arkansas.
Oklahoma St. 45, Oklahoma 32 - OU comes into this game after a dominating 26-6 win over Iowa State. However, QB Landry Jones has 0 passing touchdowns and 3 interceptions over the last two games - a sign that he is missing WR Ryan Broyles, who is out for the season. Oklahoma State is coming off a poor performance against the Cyclones two-weeks ago, but they should be primed and ready to fire their way to their first Bedlam win since 2002. Oklahoma couldn’t stop Baylor’s offense, and they’ll have trouble stopping Weeden, Blackmon and co. on the road.
Baylor 38, Texas 24 - Baylor’s Robert Griffin III is one of the top three quarterbacks in the country, and he boasts a remarkable completion percentage of 72.6 percent. However, Texas’ defense is outstanding against both the pass and run, so RGIII will be tested on Saturday in Waco. The Longhorns’ best bet is to establish the running game early and often in order to keep Baylor’s offense off the field as much as possible. But the Texas offense just doesn’t have has enough weapons to keep up with Baylor.
Big-10 Championship: Wisconsin 21, Michigan St. 17 - The last matchup between the Badgers and Spartans was settled by a last-gasp hail-mary touchdown pass by Michigan St. QB Kirk Cousins. We may be in for another wild game as these teams are very evenly matched. Both have great run defenses, but Wisconsin boasts a better running back in Montee Ball, who has gained over 1,600 yards this season. This game will probably be won by who makes the fewest mistakes. Wisconsin is +14 in turnover margin this year, while Michigan St. is only +8, so I’ll pick the Badgers in a thriller.
ACC Championship: Virginia Tech 27, Clemson 24 - After the Hokies made me look incredibly stupid last week for picking Virginia, I couldn’t possibly pick Clemson in this one, especially considering the form of both teams. VA Tech has won seven straight while Clemson has lost three of four. Plus, the Hokies’ pass defense has held opposing quarterbacks to only a 48 percent complete percentage this year, and their offense, led by RB David Wilson, who is averaging 6.2 yards per carry, should perform much better than they did in their 23-3 loss to Clemson team on Oct. 1 - their only defeat of the season thus far.
- Omar Shamout
College Football Picks
Predictions for Saturday’s best games:
Alabama 28, Auburn 10 - The Tide is probably still reeling from last season’s second-half meltdown against Cam Newton and Auburn, so the Crimson Tide will be out for revenge this weekend. Unfortunately for the Tigers, they don’t have nearly enough offensive weapons to hang with the Tide this year. Expect the ‘Bama defensive line to wreak havoc in the Auburn backfield and pressure QB Barrett Trotter all day.
Virginia 24, Virginia Tech 21 - The Cavaliers are rolling into their rivalry matchup with the Hokies at home this weekend, having won six straight. They’ve shown an ability to win close games including victories over top-25 teams Georgia Tech and Florida State. The defense will have a tough time slowing down VT’s RB David Wilson, who has over 1,400 yards on the ground this season, but overall their offenses are similar statistically. Look for the Virginia to get their first win over Tech in seven years, and earn a spot in the ACC title game.
Wisconsin 20, Penn State 14 - This will be a tense battle in Madison as both teams vie for a spot in the inaugural Big-10 title game. Penn State’s 3rd-ranked defense heads west to take on QB Russell Wilson and the Badgers, who claim the 7th-best defense in the country themselves. Both teams are solid in the running game, but with Wilson’s receiving corp, and the home crowd behind them, the Badgers should have the edge in this one.
Stanford 34, Notre Dame 23 - Stanford has ebbed a bit over the last couple weeks, losing to Oregon 53-30, and holding off Cal 31-28. The Cardinal defense needs to pick things up in order to keep the resurgent Fighting Irish off the scoreboard. Tommy Rees should be able to find targets downfield, but without RB Jonas Gray, Notre Dame will struggle to move downfield consistently, giving Andrew luck and the Stanford offense plenty of chances to score.
- Omar Shamout
College Football Week 10 Picks
No. 1 LSU over No. 2 Alabama - The Tigers have caliber of a winning football team like no other team in the country right now. Their defense and offense are equally strong and the way that they have managed to play against teams like Oregon is impressive. This is will be a true match up of skill on both sides of the ball and the team that manages to stop the run will ultimately be successful.
No. 9 South Carolina over No. 7 Arkansas - Both teams have managed to pull off wins in closely matched games but it will ultimately be up to how each team maximizes their assets. South Carolina has the third-ranked defense in the SEC behind Alabama and LSU. With Arkansas missing receiver Marquel Wade, South Carolina is going to take advantage of the opportunity and the Razorbacks’ dwindling defense.
No. 3 Oklahoma State over No. 14 Kansas State - KSU had a poor performance against Oklahoma last weekend. Collin Klein was only 8 for 16 for 58 yards and was sacked a career-high seven times. Oklahoma State is on a one-way track to make it to the championship game and they have the winning mindset to get there.
No. 8 Oregon over Washington - The Ducks have to keep in mind that they must take every game seriously, even if it is a team like Washington. The Huskies managed to come off with a win last week against Arizona as Chris Polk had a career-high five touchdowns. Darron Thomas and LaMichael James are going to be the key components for the Ducks and their dominant offense. It will prove to be too much for the Washington defense and the Huskies will see this as their biggest test since Stanford.
No. 19 Arizona State over UCLA - The Bruins are on a mission to prove their worth. Head coach Rick Neuheisel still remains in hot water as his team stands at a record of 4-4. ASU is in control of their own destiny as they remain at the top of their division in Pac-12. UCLA has been inconsistent all season and though they are coming off a big win against the Cal Bears last week, they won’t be able to measure up to the Sun Devils and their ability to pass the ball.
- Alix Fitch
Big 12 Commissioner Resigns
The commissioner of the Big 12 conference, Dan Beebe, decided to resign Wednesday night based on a mutual agreement that was reached by the board of directors. This is nearly the second time the conference has collapsed in the last year.
It was reported that after the Pac-12 expansion deal fell through, Oklahoma was only agreeing to remain a part of the Big 12 if Beebe had resigned. “I put all my effort into doing what was best for the Big 12. With great fondness, I wish the Big 12 Conference a long and prosperous future,” Beebe said in a statement released by the Big 12.
Beebe was in his fifth year as the commissioner, and recently became an easy target for schools and fans that were upset about the instability found within the league. Former Big Eight Commissioner Chuck Neinas will serve as interim commissioner for the time being.
— Alix Fitch
USC’s Athletic Director Pat Haden speaks on the NCAA ruling denying USC’s appeal.