Arizona State Kicks Off Pac-10 Football Season At Nebraska
Aug. 16, 2002
LET THE GAMES BEGIN: ARIZONA STATE gets a jump start on the 2002 football season with an early game at Top 10-ranked Nebraska on Sat., Aug. 24. The rest of the Pac-10 teams--save STANFORD and UCLA--tee the ball up in games around the Labor Day weekend. The Cardinal and Bruins hold off a week before opening on Sept. 7. Here's a look at the early portion of the schedule (Note: Ranking is the AP [media] poll first, followed by the ESPN/USA Today [coaches] poll):
COACHES TELECONFERENCES: Pac-10 head football coaches will be available on a media teleconference every Tuesday during the football season. The first call will be conducted Tue., Sep. 17 and the calls will continue each Tuesday through Nov. 19. Each coach is scheduled to be on the line for 10 minutes with the calls starting at 10:00 a.m. PDT/MST. In addition, a taped replay will be available at 3:00 PT/MT following the call and will be available until the next call. Media members may call the Conference office or any Pac-10 SID office to receive the media-only number for both the live teleconference or the taped replay. Following is the schedule for the teleconferences:
Tuesday Call Schedule (PDT/MST) 10:00 a.m. John Mackovic - Arizona 10:10 a.m. Buddy Teevens - Stanford 10:20 a.m. Dennis Erickson - Oregon State 10:30 a.m. Bob Toledo - UCLA 10:40 a.m. Pete Carroll - USC 10:50 a.m. Jeff Tedford - California 11:00 a.m. Dirk Koetter - Arizona State 11:10 a.m. Mike Price - Washington State 11:20 a.m. Mike Bellotti - Oregon 11:30 a.m. Rick Neuheisel - Washington
PAC-10 SATELLITE FEED: The Pac-10 provides a weekly satellite feed featuring interviews with the coaches and selected players regarding upcoming games along with highlight footage. The half-hour feed airs every Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. PDT/MST (2:30 p.m. EDT) beginning Sep. 4 and running through Nov. 20, with a final week run on Tuesday, Nov. 26. Coordinates for the feed are GE 2, Transponder 11 (C-Band). Trouble numbers: Master Control 310-543-1835 or 310-231-3229 or pager 888-423-0095 or Michelle Lockhart at the Pac-10 at 925-932-4411.
DOUBLE COVERAGE: A new one hour radio program devoted to Pac-10 football will air on a national network of radio stations. Double Coverage will air in most markets on Wednesday evenings with a rebroadcast on Saturday mornings on many outlets. Check local listings for the station in your area.
PAC-10 TELEVISION: Pacific-10 Conference television partners ABC Sports and FOX Sports Net will be joined by new partner TBS Superstation to provide extensive coverage of Pac-10 football in 2002. ABC will televise 14 Pac-10 games over the air, while Fox Sports Net will air 13 contests to a national cable audience. In addition, new television partner TBS Superstation will air five games to its national cable audience, giving the Pac-10 a total of 18 games on national cable. Additional away games involving Pac-10 teams will be televised by ESPN, ESPN2 and NBC. In addition to the Conference television packages, individual schools may at times present games on local over-the-air or cable entities.
Some of the games to be televised are selected prior to the season. The remainder of the games will be selected as the season progresses with picks made either six or 12 days prior to the games. In addition to the scheduled games listed below, additional non-conference road games may be aired on other conference's television packages.
PAC-10 ON THE WEB: Pac-10 releases and other information can be found online by accessing www.pac-10.org.
MEDIA TAB COUGARS: WASHINGTON STATE has been picked to win the 2002 Pacific-10 Conference football title in a pre-season poll of West Coast media members who regularly cover the league. It marks the first time ever that the Cougars have been selected to win the league title in the pre-season poll, which began in 1961. You might want to make your plans for the Apple Cup as Washington State edged out rival WASHINGTON in the media voting. Washington State garnered 17 of 34 first-place votes, with Washington getting 12. USC (3), OREGON (1) and OREGON STATE (1) also picked up first-place support. Washington State tied for second in the Pac-10 with a 6-2 league mark last year. The Cougars finished 10-2 overall, concluding the season with a victory over Purdue in the Wells Fargo Sun Bowl. Defending Pac-10 champion Oregon is picked to finish third. The media poll has correctly selected the Conference Champion in 19 of 41 previous polls, including the last two and three of the last four years. Following are the results of the pre-season media poll (points 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1, first-place votes in parentheses):
1. Washington State (17) . . 302 2. Washington (12) . . . . . . . 296 3. Oregon (1) . . . . . . . . . . . . . 272 4. USC (3) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 243 5. Oregon State (1) . . . . . . . . 207 6. UCLA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 178 7. Stanford . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131 8. Arizona . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107 9. Arizona State . . . . . . . . . . . 87 10. California . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
POLL NOTES: Pre-season media poll has correctly picked the Conference champion 19 of 41 times, including the last two and three of the last four years. . . . WASHINGTON STATE has never before been selected to win the Conference title in the 41 previous media polls. Since the league expanded to 10 teams in 1978, the highest the Cougars have been picked in the poll is fourth in 1985. In fact, WSU has been picked to finish 10th in the league the last three years. . . . Like Washington State, OREGON was a first-time selection to win the Pac-10 last season and did not disappoint the prognosticators by winning the league title. . . . Also a first since 1978, all four Pacific Northwest teams selected to finish in the upper division of the Conference. . . . Of all the teams, the pollsters seemed to have the most difficulty predicting how USC will fare this season. The Trojans were picked to finish as high as first and as low as eighth. . . . Five different teams have been the pre-season favorite the last five years. And why not? Seven different teams have won the Pac-10 title in the last seven years.
SERIES NOTES FOR THE EARLY SEASON GAMES:
ARIZONA STATE at NEBRASKA - Sat., Aug. 24 - 6:45 CDT/4:45 MST/PDT - ESPN - The Series: Arizona State and Nebraska have met seven times with the Cornhuskers holding a 5-2 series advantage. The Sun Devils won the first meeting in one of the most famous games in ASU history, a 17-14 comeback win in the 1975 Fiesta Bowl that capped a 12-0 season and propelled the Devils to a second-place finish in the final polls. Arizona State also won the most recent meeting, a 19-0 shutout at Tempe in 1996. Nebraska won the five meetings in between and has won all three games played at Lincoln, the most recent being a 77-28 shellacking in 1995. . . . Last Meeting: Arizona State and Nebraska met at Tempe early in the 1996 season with the Cornhuskers entering the game with a 26-game winning streak and the last two national championships on their resume. The Sun Devils shocked the Huskers with a 19-0 upset win. The shutout was made all the more remarkable by the fact Nebraska had hung 77 points on ASU the previous year. Sun Devil QB Jake Plummer passed for 292 yards and the game's only touchdown and the ASU defense limited Nebraska to 226 yards total offense and recorded a remarkable three safties.
EASTERN KENTUCKY at OREGON STATE - Thu., Aug. 29 - 7:00 PDT - The Series: First meeting.
WASHINGTON at MICHIGAN - Sat., Aug. 31 - 12:00 EDT/9:00 PDT - ABC - The Series: Washington and Michigan have met 11 times with the Wolverines holding a slim 6-5 series edge. Michigan leads 4-3 in regular season games and the teams have split four Rose Bowl games. The Huskies have won four of the last five games overall. Michigan has won two of the three previous games played at Ann Arbor, although UW won the most recent one in 1984 (16-3). . . . Last Year: Washington and Michigan met early at Seattle and the Huskies used some fourth-quarter magic to score late touchdowns on a blocked field goal and an interception to knock off the No. 11-ranked Wolverines 23-18. The big play came on a 77-yard return of a blocked field goal attempt by Roc Alexander. PK John Anderson kicked three field goals as Washington won the game despite not scoring an offensive touchdown. The game marked the debut of freshman WR Reggie Williams, who gave notice of things to come with four receptions for 134 yards.
NEVADA vs. WASHINGTON STATE at Seahawks Stadium, Seattle - Sat., Aug. 31 - 12:00 PDT - The Series: First meeting. . . . Game Note: This marks Washington State's first game at Seattle against an opponent other than rival Washington since meeting USC in the Kingdome in 1976.
BAYLOR at CALIFORNIA - Sat., Aug. 31 - 2:00 PDT - The Series: A matchup of Bears. California and Baylor have met just twice before and both occasions were season-openers at Berkeley in the days of Pappy Waldorf. The Baylor Bears won both games, 19-0 in 1953 and 7-6 in 1956.
MISSISSIPPI STATE at OREGON - Sat., Aug. 31 - 3:00 PDT - Fox Sports Net - The Series: First meeting.
NORTHERN ARIZONA at ARIZONA - Sat., Aug. 31 - 7:00 MST/PDT - The Series: Arizona and Northern Arizona have met six times, none too recently, with the Wildcats leading the series 5-1. The four most recent games have been at Tucson with Arizona winning all four. . . . Last Meeting: After not playing football for two years due to World War II, Arizona returned in 1945 and opened the season with a 52-6 win over Northern Arizona at Tucson.
EASTERN WASHINGTON at ARIZONA STATE - Sat., Aug. 31 - 7:00 MST/PDT - The Series: First meeting.
AUBURN at USC - Mon., Sep. 2 - 5:00 PDT - ABC - The Series: First regular-season meeting between USC and Auburn. The teams have met just once previously with Auburn taking a 16-7 win in the Florida Citrus Bowl following the 1986 season. . . . Last Meeting: USC and Auburn met on New Year's Day 1987 at the Florida Citrus Bowl in a chilly Orlando. Auburn prevailed 16-7 in a defensive struggle. The Tigers kept the SC offense out of the end zone with the only Trojan score coming on an interception return.
PAC-10 BOWL GAME ARRANGEMENTS: The Pac-10 has contractual arrangements to send six teams to post-season bowl games. New to the lineup this year are the Insight Bowl in Phoenix and the Silicon Valley Bowl in San Jose. Note that in this 12-game regular season, a team still needs a winning record to participate in a post-season bowl game. An exception to that rule occurs for a team with a 6-6 record if it is the only team available in a Conference to fill a berth in a bowl with a contractual tie to that conference. The Rose Bowl returns to its traditional Pac-10 vs. Big Ten matchup, unless the Pac-10 or Big Ten champ is rated No. 1 or 2 in the final BCS rankings, in which case it would play in the BCS National Championship Game at the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.
Bowl Site Matchup Date TVRose Bowl* Pasadena Pac-10 champ vs. Big 10 champ Wed., Jan. 1 ABCPacific Life Holiday Bowl San Diego Pac-10 #2 vs. Big 12 #3 Fri., Dec. 27 ESPNWells Fargo Sun Bowl El Paso Pac-10 #3 vs. Big Ten #5 Tue., Dec. 31 CBSInsight Bowl Phoenix Pac-10 #4 vs. Big East #3 Thu., Dec. 26 ESPNSega Las Vegas Bowl Las Vegas Pac-10 #5 vs. Mountain West #2 Wed., Dec. 25 ESPNSilicon Valley Classic San Jose Pac-10 #6 vs. WAC #2 Tue., Dec. 31 FSN
*Note: If ranked No. 1 or 2 in the final BCS rankings, Pac-10 Champion to BCS National Championship Game at the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on Fri., Jan. 3.
OUT OF OUR LEAGUE: The Pac-10 posted a stellar 26-9 (.743) overall record vs. non-conference foes in 2001, 24-9 (.727) vs. Division I-A opponents. Included was an excellent 5-3 mark against teams rated in the Top 25. Five of the Conference's 10 teams went undefeated vs. non-conference opponents--Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon, UCLA and Washington State.
NEW COACHES: Two new coaches grace the Pac-10 sidelines this season, both in the Bay Area. Jeff Tedford takes over at California, but he is no stranger to the Pac-10. Tedford has served as offensive coordinator for the high-flying Oregon Ducks the last four seasons and plans to bring a souped-up passing game to Berkeley. Across the bay at Palo Alto, Buddy Teevens takes the reins at Stanford. His background is on the offensive side of the ball, as well. Teevens served as an offensive assistant at Florida the last three seasons and has previous head coaching experience at Tulane, Dartmouth and Maine. Three new coaches entered the league last year, meaning the Pac-10 has turned over half its head coaching positions in the last two years.
PAC-10 NOTES ENTERING THE 2002 SEASON:
RETURNING STARTERS: The Pac-10 returns plenty from an outstanding 2001 season as 145 starters are back for another season of action. That's out of a possible 240 (including kicking specialists), which comes out to 60.4% of last year's starters returning. California leads the way with 18 starters returning, followed by Oregon State with 17 and Washington State with 16. Stanford has the fewest starters returning with just 11. The 'average' Pac-10 team returns 14.5 starters--7 on offense, 6 on defense and 1.5 kickers.
HEADLINERS: Quality returns as well as quantity. A total of 12 first-team All-Pac-10 performers return to action along with 12 more who were voted second-team All-Conference by the league's coaches for a whopping 24 players coming back from the first two All-Pac-10 units of a year ago. In addition, six players who garnered some form of All-America recognition return led by first-team selection SS Troy Polamalu of USC. Other returnees with some level of All-America status already accorded them are CB Dennis Weathersby of Oregon State, DE Terrell Suggs of Arizona State, ILB Kevin Mitchell of Oregon, FL Luke Powell of Stanford as a punt returner and WR/PR Keenan Howry of Oregon State as an all-purpose player. 2001 Pac-10 Co-Freshmen of the Year WRs Reggie Williams of Washington and Teyo Johnson of Stanford also return.
MORE PAC-10 NOTES:
MISSING YOU IN 2002: The Pac-10 scheduling format calls for eight Conference games--four home and four away--which means each institution misses one other league foe. Following are the Pac-10 'misses' for 2002: Arizona-USC Arizona State-UCLA California-Oregon Oregon State-Washington State Stanford-Washington
CURRENT STREAKS: Longest overall winning streak - 5 games - Oregon Longest Conference-game winning streak - 5 games - USC Longest home winning streak - 14 games - Washington Longest road winning streak - 5 games - Oregon and Washington State
CONFERENCE: 2002 marks the 25th year of the Pac-10 as Arizona and Arizona State joined the league prior to the 1978 football season. . . . The Pac-10 has had seven different champions the last seven years. . . . Did you know that four Pac-10 stadiums have hosted Super Bowls? You did if you figured the Rose Bowl, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Stanford Stadium and Sun Devil Stadium.
ARIZONA: Coach John Mackovic went after size in recruiting, especially along the offensive line, but insisted that the big men could move. 'One of the things we talked about in recruiting bigger players is we didn't want them to be like totem poles,' noted the coach. . . . All-Pac-10 RB Clarence Farmer is the top returning rusher in the Pac-10 after breaking out for 1,229 yards last season, an average of 111.7 yards per game. . . . QB Jason Johnson passed for 19 TDs in his first season as a starter last year and should be even better in year-two of the Mackovic system.
ARIZONA STATE: In this expanded season, the Sun Devils are slated for 13 regular-season games, most among Pac-10 teams. . . . Redshirt freshman Chad Christensen appears to be set as the ASU opening-day quarterback. He will be the only starting QB in the Pac-10 to have never taken a collegiate snap. He gets to open on the road at Nebraska. . . . Christensen has All-Pac-10 WR Shaun McDonald as a target. McDonald averaged a Pac-10-high 23.5 yards on his 47 receptions last year. He averaged a shade over 100 yards per game receiving and led the league with 10 TD catches.
CALIFORNIA: Golden Bears return 19 starters as new coach Jeff Tedford looks to jump start the Cal program. . . . Tedford is an offensive guy, with good work on his resume at Oregon and Fresno State, and has experienced QB Kyle Boller to pull the trigger. . . . Cal has hopes for a fast start with four of first five games at home. However, Bears do have some nasty trips on tap with first three road trips to Top 20 foes Michigan State, Washington and USC. . . . PK Mark Jensen was second Pac-10 in field goal percentage (78.6%) last year in connecting on 11-of-14 three-pointers.
OREGON: Already raucous Autzen Stadium should get even more noisy as the Ducks have expanded the stadium from 41,698 to 54,000. Oregon has eight home games at Autzen this year. . . . Oregon is the defending Pac-10 champion in both football and men's basketball, a rare double. The feat had only been accomplished 15 times before, and never by Oregon. . . . Oregon comes off the first 11-win season in school history. The Ducks are 21-3 overall and 14-2 in the Pac-10 over the last two seasons. . . . Ducks No. 2 ranking in the final polls was their highest ranking ever. . . . The Ducks lost just 11 turnovers last year, the lowest figure in the nation. . . . Oregon has a string of five consecutive bowl appearances going and have won the last three. . . . Tostitos Fiesta Bowl win over Colorado was Oregon's first victory on New Year's Day since 1917 Rose Bowl (14-0 over Penn).
OREGON STATE: Beavers expect to have one of the top defenses in the league and, perhaps, the nation with eight starters back to a very speedy unit. The unit was third in Pac-10 in total defense last year and expects to move up. . . . All-America CB Dennis Weathersby needs just one break-up of a pass to secure the OSU career record in that category. . . . Big (6-6, 230) sophomore QB Derek Anderson takes over as starting QB and big things are expected of him. He has explosive WR James Newson, second-leading returning receiver in the Pac-10, as a dangerous target.
STANFORD: The Cardinal returns 168 of the team's 176 receptions from last year with WRs Luke Powell (40), Teyo Johnson (38) and Ryan Wells (31) accounting for 109 of them. . . . Stanford opted not to add an allowable 12th game this year and will play the standard 11 regular season contests. . . . New coach Buddy Teevens comes from Florida's 'Fun and Gun' offense and figures to have the Cardinal throwing the football a lot. . . . Teevens has an experienced cast of characters to operate the offense and one of the biggest and best offensive lines in the land. . . . The same can't be said on defense, where the Card returns just three starters and has some major work to do.
UCLA: Starting OTs Mike Saffer (30) and Bryce Bohlander (25) have a combined 55 starts under their belts on the offensive line. They bookend an offensive line with four returning starters. . . . Matt Ware became the first true freshman to start every game for the Bruins when he lined up a cornerback last Fall. The versatile and athletic Ware led the team with five interceptions, took a few snaps as an option quarterback and even had one reception for 49 yards as a wideout. He likely will end up at free safety. . . . Bruins led the league in total defense last year (320.6) were second in Pac-10 in scoring defense.
USC: The Trojans face one of the most difficult schedules in the country with non-conference opponents Colorado, Auburn, Kansas State and Notre Dame on the docket. Seven USC opponents played in bowl games last year. . . . In its first major uniform change in 30 years, USC will wear jerseys that will remind fans of those worn in the 1960s. . . . Senior QB Carson Palmer is poised to crack Pac-10 career Top 10 lists. He currently stands 12th on the Pac-10 career passing list with 7,876 yards and 13th in total offense at 7,801. He is on pace to move all the way up to second place in both categories. . . . WR Kareem Kelly has a pass reception in 35 straight games. The Pac-10 record is 42 by Arizona's Dennis Northcutt (1996-99). . . . In going 6-6 last year, USC finished strong in winning its final four regular-season games while outscoring opponents 139-61. Troy's six losses were by a combined 29 points, with five of the defeats by five points or fewer.
WASHINGTON: In Rick Neuheisel's first three years as head coach, the Huskies have gone 19-5 in Pac-10 play and finished no lower than second in the Conference standings. That carries on the UW tradition as the Dawgs have finished first or second in the league standings in 18 of the last 25 years and have not had a losing season over that span. . . . Included in Washington's 6-2 mark in Pac-10 play last year were three Conference wins by three points and another by two points. The Huskies trailed in the fourth quarter in all four of those narrow wins. Overall, UW was 5-1 in games decided by five or fewer points last year. . . . Husky running backs lost only two fumbles all last year. . . . The Huskies averaged a school record 279.5 passing yards per game in 2001. . . . Despite playing in the sixth-largest stadium in the Pac-10, Washington led the league in attendance once again last year, marking the 12th time in the last 13 years it has done so.
WASHINGTON STATE: Mike Price is the current 'dean' among Pac-10 coaches as he enters his 14th year at the helm at WSU. His second game this season--at home vs. Idaho--will be his 150th as the head coach of the Cougars. . . . QB Jason Gesser is the first three-year co-captain in WSU history. The captains are selected by teammates. . . . Gesser got a Joey Harrington-style Heisman hype banner hoisted up a 100-foot-high grain elevator in the Eastern Washington hamlet of Dusty, 30 miles east of Pullman. . . . Gesser threw for 3,010 yards and 26 TDs last year to merit the attention. . . . Following last seasons 10-2 mark, the Cougars are looking to post back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 1988-89. The most victories WSU has ever had in consecutive seasons is 13.