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Posts Tagged ‘Washington’

No. 52: Washington

The Pac-12 has become a graveyard for defensive coordinators. The money’s good, the price is right and there’s opportunity for advancement, but enlist at your own risk: Chip Kelly awaits, as does Mike Leach, as do Rich Rodriguez, Noel Mazzone and Lane Kiffin. Many a defensive mastermind — Nick Holt, for instance — couldn’t keep pace with the new-look Pac-12. Who can? It takes two kinds: either a coordinator who has forgotten more football than most will ever know, like Monte Kiffin, or, like Oregon’s Nick Aliotti, a coordinator willing and able to adjust with the flow. Washington hopes that former Tennessee coordinator Justin Wilcox slides into the latter category. He’s shown a tendency to adopt non-traditional looks, most notably while at Boise State, a program that has historically made the most of its defensive personnel. But is Wilcox the missing piece of Washington’s puzzle? Ask again in September. Scratch that: Ask again in December, after he’s fought through the same gauntlet that tested and broke the will of last year’s defense.

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    No. 68: Washington State

    Pullman’s not Los Angeles. But you knew that. Pullman isn’t Seattle, which you also knew. Pullman is different: it’s more accepting of, let’s say, quirky personalities. Not crazy, mind you; when it comes to crazy, Pullman is as unforgiving as any place in America. But Pullman is a place where a coach can let his hair down, such as Mike Price did for a generation. It’s quirk-friendly, in short. When coaching the Cougars, you can be yourself. You can be wacky. You can call out your players’ girlfriends, co-host the evening news, make jokes and crack wise — it’s cool. It’s Pullman. You can be yourself. Also: you can win.

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      How Tippy Dye Changed College Football

      Tippy Dye changed college football. I’ll give you two reasons why, but let’s begin with a little background on Dye, who passed away on Wednesday at 97. He had an impact on college sports in three different incarnations: as a player, as a coach and as an administrator. Born in 1915 in Harrisonville, Oh., Dye was a two-sport star at Ohio State — basketball and football — from 1934-37. He took a brief foray into coaching after the end of his playing career, coaching at Brown and his alma mater from 1941-43, before serving in the Navy during World War II. Dye was actually a basketball coach: at Ohio State from 1946-50, winning 22 games in his final season, and at Washington from 1951-59, reaching the Final Four in 1953.

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        Can Anyone Knock Oregon Off Its Perch?

        Oregon knew – or had a very strong suspicion – that LaMichael James was going to forego his final season of eligibility; Darron Thomas’ decision to follow James out the door came as a bit of a surprise. It was certainly surprising on a national level, as Thomas, while certainly one of the top quarterbacks in the Pac-12, could probably have used another season of college seasoning before taking his game onto the next level. Oregon’s offense shouldn’t have much trouble replacing James, as strange as that might sound, since the Ducks can turn to the three-headed monster of Kenjon Barner, De’Anthony Thomas and Tra Carson to help pick up the slack.

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          The Year in Review: Washington (7-6, 5-4)

          Washington, like the Pac-12 as a whole, needs a big, strong, healthy dose of defense. The Huskies are sitting pretty when it comes to the offensive side of the ball, what with Keith Price under center and Steve Sarkisian pulling the strings, but the Huskies need a high-test defense to go with their high-potent offense. Perhaps improvement will come from the additions from Tennessee: Justin Wilcox and Peter Sirmon, two former Oregon Ducks, will be Sarkisian’s new defensive coordinator and linebackers coach, respectively. Another two new defensive assistants come from the Pac-12, with defensive line coach — and ace recruiter — Tosh Lupoi coming over from California and defensive backs coach Keith Heyward from Oregon State.

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            Washington’s Moves Illustrate New Pac-12

            There’s money, there’s big money and there’s TV money, and the latter can help pay bills, buyouts and paychecks, as Washington has illustrated over the last three weeks. The Pac-12 as a whole is flush, thanks to its 12-year broadcasting deal with both ESPN and Fox, signed in May, that will pay out $2.7 billion in total over the length of the contract. That sort of monetary infusion, about $225 million per year, will trickle down to the league’s 12 teams: the deal pays out about an additional $160 million annually when compared to the Pac-12’s prior TV contract, and that’s some serious, landscape-altering money.

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              Ranking the Countdown, 1-120, For 2011

              The season is over, so it’s time for the ugliness to begin. How bad was it, anyway? Oh, not terrible – but not great either. I nailed No. 1: Alabama in August, Alabama in January. I wasn’t too far off on No. 2, missing Boise State by a few spots. But what about No. 64, for example? Or No. 115, as another example? Here comes the painful task of ranking the rankings, measuring this past summer’s Countdown, 1-120, with today’s final re-ranking. After hitting jackpot on the top spot, it can only be downhill from there.

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                Oregon-U.S.C. at the Coliseum and More

                It’s completely apropos of the Pac-12 to lead its release of the 2012 conference schedule with a picture of fireworks exploding high above Autzen Stadium: Oregon is explosive, for starters, but the Ducks also factor into next season’s most highly-anticipated regular season game west of the SEC. In other words, get your popcorn — and blasting caps — ready. It’ll be Ducks and Trojans at the Coliseum on Nov. 3, the same day as Alabama’s trip to L.S.U., which makes for an interesting Saturday. And it’s only 303 days away!

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                  The Countdown

                  A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.