Pac-12 Media Day Storylines…

Pac-12 media day preview: Commissioner George Kliavkoff to make first public comments since the Big Ten raid

Jon Wilner (Bay Area News Group —  The Pac-12 will conduct a football media showcase unlike any in conference history Friday at the Novo Theatre in Los Angeles.

The participant list includes commissioner George Kliavkoff, chief of football operations Merton Hanks, head coaches and players from every school, and an existential crisis.

With USC and UCLA bound for the Big Ten in two years and the conference fighting for survival, the fast-approaching 2022 season, which carries significant intrigue unto itself, will have to share the stage.

The top storylines to watch …

The second-year commissioner will offer his state-of-the-conference remarks at 8 a.m. with no shortage of topics to address.

We don’t expect any thunderous news on expansion, mergers, alliances or media rights contracts. It’s simply too early in a negotiation process that likely will last weeks, if not months.

But Kliavkoff assuredly will lend perspective on the key issues and attempt to frame expectations for the upcoming season.

Odds are, he’ll take the highest of roads with regards to the defectors, USC and UCLA, whose athletes must spend two years as children of divorce.

His counterparts in the Big Ten (Kevin Warren) and Big 12 (Brett Yormark) offered bold declarations of unity, prosperity and predation during remarks at their preseason media events — all of which served to minimize the Pac-12.

Kliavkoff hasn’t uttered a public peep since the Pac-12’s world changed on June 30.

In both tone and content, he must make the case Friday for a robust future worthy of the Power Five, which, as everyone knows, is really the Power Two and the Middlin’ Three.

We’re curious to hear Kliavkoff’s perspective on reports that the College Football Playoff could expand to 16 teams, not 12 — and how that might impact the Pac-12’s strategic position relative to the ACC and Big 12.

2. The Lincoln Riley show

USC’s first-year coach figured to be the star of the event before the Big Ten move was announced, with a barrage of questions about leaving Oklahoma, USC’s playoff prospects, like in L.A. and a rebuilt roster featuring quarterback Caleb Williams.

Now, the Trojans’ future matchups against Ohio State and Michigan threaten to overshadow anything on the 2022 schedule.

It won’t be much different for UCLA coach Chip Kelly, whose standard zero-nonsense tact with the media will be pushed to the brink when he’s asked about road trips to Rutgers and Purdue.

The remaining 10 head coaches will attempt to espouse the virtues of their 2022 rosters while being grilled about the Pac-12’s next move and options for their programs.

Oregon’s Dan Lanning and Washington’s Kalen DeBoer are in unique positions as first-year coaches whose schools are hoping for invitations from the Big Ten.

At least for now, Lanning’s season opener against Georgia isn’t the top-of-mind issue for the Ducks.

Arizona State’s Herm Edwards, who carries the additional burden of an ongoing NCAA investigation, might be the only coach eager to field questions about the Pac-12’s survival.

3. QBs or no QBs?

Each team will be represented by its head coach and one player from each side of scrimmage.

The list includes just four quarterbacks but six offensive linemen — a sign of the times for a conference that has lacked star power at the skill positions in recent years.

In fact, one of the conference’s top returnees, UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, won’t even attend. Instead, the Bruins are sending lineman Jon Gaines II.

But make no mistake: Quarterback play is one of the central themes of the 2022 season after a substandard showing by the collective in ’21.

At least seven teams will have new starters — all of them transfers: Arizona, ASU, USC, Cal, Oregon, Washington and Washington State.

Of those, only USC’s Williams and WSU’s Cameron Ward will be in attendance Friday.

Like their peers and the head coaches, they won’t be able to escape the specter of realignment.

ocregister.com

________

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Golden Trojan
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July 29, 2022 6:45 pm

My reflections on Pac12 Media Day. USC will be much, much better than last year. Will they be good enough? Utah is expected to be the team to beat. Oregon is expected to have a tough defense. Can Chocolate Chip Kelly rally his troops? Lots of questions. Sept. 3rd we will have answers, Utah/Florida and Oregon/Georgia. Sept. 10 more answers, WSU/Wisc, ASU/OkSt, USC/Stan., Ariz./MissSt. Sept. 17th we are set, Cal/ND, Oregon/BYU, Col/Minn, Wash/MichSt. UCLA plays nobody till Col. Sept 24. George K and the Pac12, he is looking at media markets and regional to add members. On the West coast… Read more »

ATLien
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July 29, 2022 11:07 am

Sources: USC commit Malachi Nelson, No. 1 recruit in 2023, to visit Texas A&MPaolo Uggetti, ESPN Just a few days after overtaking Arch Manning for the top spot in ESPN’s 2023 player recruiting rankings, five-star USC commit Malachi Nelson is taking a visit to Texas A&M this weekend, sources confirmed to ESPN on Thursday night. Nelson, a 6-foot-3 quarterback out of Los Alamitos High School in Los Alamitos, California, did inform USC head coach Lincoln Riley and the program that he would be visiting College Station, Texas, sources said. Under head coach Jimbo Fisher, the Aggies put together the top recruiting class in 2022. Nelson flipped his commitment… Read more »

Golden Trojan
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July 29, 2022 11:45 am
Reply to  ATLien

Is this kid turning into a head case? Has driving around the OC this summer in his 2022 Mercedes AMG GLE 53 Coupe got him thinking he’s all that and more?

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July 29, 2022 3:28 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Good list. I was there for all of them except the Jarrett catch. My two trips to South Bend produced no memorable moments. Additional candidates, all of which I witnessed: Reggie Bush’s run against Fresno State that sort of traced the route of OJ’s ’67 run. I’m in the minority here, but I think the noise level in the Coliseum was higher at that moment than at any time during any SC game, including ’74 ND. Speaking of ’74 ND, David Lewis’s hit on the kickoff immediately following AD’s second-half kickoff return. When AD caught the kickoff the score was… Read more »

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July 29, 2022 3:47 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Yep. First SC-UCLA game with my wife, who didn’t understand why I had to pick her up at 8 a.m. for a 3:00 kickoff.

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July 29, 2022 4:10 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I always preferred 1:30 kickoffs in November (when the games took 2 1/2 hours to play), with the sun setting below the rim in the fourth quarter. That was the closest we ever got to fall football weather in L.A.

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July 29, 2022 4:17 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Not as tough as the ’67 loss, with NC on the line. Missed XP and two blocked FGs in a one-point game.

Golden Trojan
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July 29, 2022 3:39 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

#4 would be #1 for me. Not just Jarrett’s catch, the whole drive, the clock snafu, and finally the Push! I was not there but sitting on my couch I literally thought I would go into cardiac fibrillation. The whole season would be over with a loss there.
I would add one that I did witness in person, 2011, Barkley to Woods with 1:04 to go in the 4th quarter to beat UCLA 50-0. The best part was this was after Nuehisel called a time out and the Ruin thugs wanted to go to blows at mid field.

Last edited 12 days ago by Golden Trojan
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July 29, 2022 4:44 pm
Reply to  Golden Trojan

How do you edit your posts here?

Golden Trojan
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July 29, 2022 6:23 pm
Reply to  SC Gator

Look for the * in the bottom right, that is the edit button.

John Weld
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July 29, 2022 8:22 pm
Reply to  Golden Trojan

To get the ‘wheel’ tool you will need to roll your cursor over you own comment.

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July 29, 2022 8:50 pm
Reply to  John Weld

Thanks

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July 29, 2022 8:42 pm
Reply to  Golden Trojan

50-0 was a bunch of fun, but the late TD you’re remembering was in 2009. Pete Carroll did that when the score was 21-7. Not even Neuheisel is stupid enough to stop the clock in the last minute of a 43-0 game.

thanks for the editing tip.

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July 29, 2022 9:14 pm
Reply to  SC Gator

I stand partly corrected.

I had forgotten about the late TD in the 50-0 game, but that came after Kiffin called timeout, up 43-0 with his starters in the game. Neuheisel called timeout in the 2009 game and pissed off Carroll, who had been content to run out the clock.

Golden Trojan
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July 30, 2022 6:43 am
Reply to  SC Gator

I do forget which game was which. I remember late in the game, late at night (hate Pac12 at night), USC has the game in hand and UCLA calls time out. SC promptly throws a bomb for a TD. So which game did UCLA bench comes on the field? They were humiliated and butt hurt in both games.

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July 30, 2022 1:32 pm
Reply to  Golden Trojan

The bench-clearing was in 09, but right after the final TD, not after the game. Good times.

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July 29, 2022 7:54 pm
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For me, the greatest “play” that I witnessed in person was the “drive” by Barkley against tOSU to win that game in the Horseshoe. My second greatest “in person” “play” was the last 4 downs against Cal with Aaron Rogers at QB at about the SC 10 with the entire season on the line. The Coliseum was electric. My third was the TD catch by Keyshawn Johnson to beat Stanford for the Rose Bowl. The best plays I have witnessed in person: Reggie Bush’s kick off return for a TD against the Bruins followed by Maurice Drew-Jones following up the… Read more »

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July 29, 2022 8:49 pm
Reply to  TrojanRJJ

My favorite play from that game with the back-to-back kickoff return TDs (2003) was the botched extra point that UCLA returned for 2 points near the end of the first half. That made the score 30-2, but out came all the Bruin cheerleaders and flag bearers to do a full field victory lap. It was pathetic and hysterical at the same time. I almost felt sorry for them.

ATL D.D.S.
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July 29, 2022 5:01 pm
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Should we be concerned? After all, in the era of NIL, some players are simply taking checks from boosters running “media companies” to play their players NIL money when they are in no significant media market (talking to you ALA & TAM). Can player hold-outs for more NIL money be on the closer than expected horizon?

Recruits love to take all of their allowed visits to schools recruiting them—but now there is real money involved….

TrojanRJJ
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July 29, 2022 8:02 pm
Reply to  ATL D.D.S.

ATL, If Caleb is making $5 million a year without taking a snap for SC and Nelson made $1 million on the hope he would play for SC, he is not going anywhere. If he is as good as advertised, he will make more money playing for SC than anywhere else. In the era of transfers, he is simply being smart. Build up the market.

ATL D.D.S.
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July 30, 2022 10:08 am
Reply to  TrojanRJJ

Hope you’re right RJJ, but I could not help thinking out loud….

Post-Jar Jar the Cat, I am always nervous about SC’s world falling in on itself. It happened under Uncle Clay–theoretically it is possible that it would happen again.🤔

Last edited 11 days ago by ATL D.D.S.
Scioto
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July 29, 2022 8:04 pm
Reply to  ATL D.D.S.

Yes

Golden Trojan
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July 29, 2022 11:42 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Nice pay day for SUCLA. How much do the Ruin lawyers get, or are they state employees? Is Newsom gonna take the settlement and give it to Cal? 😂🤑

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July 29, 2022 1:09 pm
Reply to  Golden Trojan

The more pertinent question is how much UCLA will distribute to the less fortunate UC athletic departments in the name of equity.

ATL D.D.S.
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July 29, 2022 5:04 pm
Reply to  SC Gator

baby-blue wearing suckers!

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July 29, 2022 2:01 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

You have to wonder how UA evaluated their deal with UCLA two years in and how that compared to their pre-deal projections. They had to know it would eventually cost the something like what they paid to settle and that they’d lose any brand value of being associated with UCLA for 15 years. But they decided it was worth it to walk away after 3 years.

TrojanRJJ
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July 29, 2022 7:58 pm
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Totally agree. The strategy to litigate saved AU both money and brand value. My guess is UCLA is now totally hosed when dealing with sponsors.

HOF19
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July 28, 2022 8:10 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Well ….That Saturday October 15th (at Utah ) game will be one worth circling on the Calendar ! …….Fight On !!!!!

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July 29, 2022 7:16 am
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November 19, USC/UCLA and Utah/Oregon, huge weekend.

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July 29, 2022 7:15 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

For USC to be essentially tied for 2nd after how bad they were last season is nothing short of an amazing turn around. Preseason polls usually mirror the end of last season’s polls. Expectations are high for Utah, probably deserved after finishing last season with a blow out win over Oregon and playing OSU close. Boy after the top 3 or 4 there is not much to be impressed about the rest of the Pac12. Still, the bottom 8 is going to surprise the top 4 somewhere.

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July 29, 2022 7:22 am
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GT, This has to be the greatest turn around of a team in history. Last year, SC was rated 83rd out of I think 110 teams (and that was too high – Cal was rated 93rd and it beat SC). Without Drake London, the team was probably about 95th or so. That is bottom 10%. This year it should be top 10%. So, SC went from the bottom 10% to the top 10% in one year! It is truly remarkable. I think we miss just how great a player Drake London was. With him, the team was decent, without him,… Read more »

TrojanRJJ
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July 29, 2022 7:18 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

IMO, the most realistic view of the Pac I have seen in years. Utah is the best team in the league, but not by much. It has the best overall talent and a quality coaching staff. Oregon and SC are about equal – both are unknowns. But, both have talent. UCLA I would rank UCLA on a par with the top, in large part due to schedule. UCLA should be undefeated when it plays Utah in the Rose Bowl. UCLA plays three quality teams this year: Utah, Oregon (road) and SC. SC plays four: Utah (road), ND, UCLA (road) and… Read more »