Pac-12 Notebook: Pac-12 Network, Oregon, USC, and Washington State

Pac-12 Network vs. DIRECTV

When the Pac-12 began their own television network, it was seen as a boost for the conference. It has been a boost to the profile of the conference and everybody connected with the Pac-12, but the one thing that has been hanging over the conference since the inception of the network has been the ongoing dispute with DIRECTV. The dispute has obviously been about how much it will cost the network to be put on the satellite provider. It has frustrated those Pac-12 fans that use DIRECTV as their television provider and has cost millions in lost viewership to the conference. However, things may just be changing for everybody concerned.

AT&T, the communications giant, has bought DIRECTV and with this purchase has put renewed vigor into the thought that the Pac-12 Network can finally be on DIRECTV. AT&T is already a major sponsor/advertiser for the Pac-12. The powers that be in the conference have said that getting a deal done is not a matter of “if”, but “when”. Customers like myself have been frustrated with the satellite provider because we are paying for other sports networks, while my own sports conference is not on DIRECTV. Rumors are saying that a deal will be done before the start of season, but I will only believe it when it is done.

Oregon

What is going on in Eugene? Oh, just a few things. One of them being that they have lost a potential 1,000 yard running back to their offensive attack. Thomas Tyner is gone. He injured his shoulder, had surgery, and his 2015 season is over. Big loss. Massive loss. Attach any adjective you want, but it won’t change anything for Tyner. The Ducks have many weapons with their offense to absorb the blow, however, it’s still a big loss for them. He may not have been the number one running back for the Ducks, but he was certainly a very close second. Is there any chance that Tyner comes back in 2015? No. If he does, he certainly could injure the shoulder again and it could end up being worse. Take 2015 to heal completely and come back at full strength in 2016.

Vernon Adams. How many of you are tired of talking about this guy and whether or not he will be showing up in Eugene? Well, we can finally stop talking about whether or not he’s there. We all know he’s finally showed up on the practice field for the Ducks. Now the questions being asked are about whether he can catch up and learn the high powered Oregon offense and whether or not he will start. I’ll answer those two questions right now.

Yes and yes.

As much as the coaches say that it’s a competition at quarterback with the Ducks. It’s not. You don’t bring in a guy like Vernon Adams and then tell him to sit. Adams may be a little behind due to arriving late to fall camp, but a guy that has thrown for over 10,000 yards in a career is not going to be a bench warmer. He’s going to start for the Ducks. Period. End of story.

USC

Things seem a little quiet in Trojan land the last few weeks. After a few little squabbles between USC and Oregon fans, players, and even coaches things have gone dark for the Trojans. You can assume that they are eagerly anticipating the start of the season and are waiting to throw around that Trojan swagger again after coming off the sanctions of the Reggie Bush era. The Trojans have the talent, experience, and the expectation to go into the college football playoff. Can USC get to the playoff? Yes, but it’s going to be tough. It’s just going to be difficult to get out of the South division of the Pac-12. They have their work cut out for themselves. Cody Kessler is going to be the leader of the group and has to stay healthy for them to have that chance. Having the Trojans relevant again in national college football talk is good for football and the Pac-12. It gives the conference a little higher profile. Let’s hope the Trojans can continue to bring that swag back to their program.

Washington State

Can the Cougars of Washington State get out of the cellar of the Pac-12 North? Good question. Yes, they can, but can they go higher than fifth in the division? Not sure about that. There are many things about this program that people question. Can Coach Leach finally turn it around in Pullman? Is Leach done as a coach? Is his offense going to work in Pullman? Police reports on the team seemingly are a constant occurrence. Are things out of control for the Cougars?

A recent report listed the Cougs at the number one team in arrests over the last 5 years. Many people would consider that fairly disturbing and it would be easy to agree with that, but is this the kind of stat that Coach Leach should be worried about? Yes. According to the report 24 of the 31 arrests were made after Leach was hired. Are they not doing their due diligence with these kids being brought into the Cougar program? It sure sounds like it. Washington State has been a school who has given second chances to many a player who have had checkered pasts. It seems like this kind of practice may be catching up with the program. Let’s hope they can figure this out in Pullman and turn things around and soon! This type of thing causes stress for the coach and distraction for the program. Coaches hate distraction. I’ve said that a few hundred times and will keep saying it. Distraction can kill a season and just might for the Cougars. Let’s wait and see with this program.