Archive for: November 2012

Arizona State Basketball: Senior Carrick Felix Leads Sun Devils to 5-1 Record

In what has become an alarming trend, the Arizona State Men’s Basketball team started off sluggish at home on Wednesday night against the Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions but finished in grand fashion to reach 5-1 for the fourth time in 12 years and the fifth time in 18 seasons.

In Wednesday night’s game, it was senior Carrick Felix who eventually put the Sun Devils on the board with five-straight points after the Devils missed their first five shots, four of them from three-point territory.

Felix ended the game with 21 points, his seventh 20-point game in his career and his second this season. He also finished with six rebounds, four assists, two blocks and two steals.

Arizona State managed only 27 points in the first half with Felix scoring 12 of them. The Sun Devils hit a mere 7-of-23 from the field with 3-of-12 coming from beyond the arc.

The biggest surprise was the NCAA’s leading freshman scorer, Jahii Carson. Carson had only two points in the first half, off of 1-of-5 shooting from the field with 0-for-3 from three-point land. The nation’s leading blocker, Jordan Bachynski had only recorded one block before the intermission.

That would all change in the second half when the Sun Devils caught fire and went on a 17-2 run with just under 10 minutes remaining.

The big stars of the second half were Jonathan Gilling with 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting from the field, with 3-of-5 from long range. Felix added another nine points on 4-of-5 shooting, and Eric Gordon hit two big three-pointers as well.

Checking back on Carson and Bachynski, it seems as if they had an epiphany in the locker room at halftime. Carson, who didn’t visit the free throw line in the first half was able to hit all four shots from the charity stripe and drained a three-ball as well.

 

Hi-res-6764238_crop_exactBachynski, who missed both shots he took in the first, hit 3-of-4 and more importantly, blocked five shots and grabbed four rebounds to finish with an impressive 10 points, six blocks and five rebounds.

Carson still leads all Sun Devil scorers through six games with 114 points and averages 19.0 per game. He also leads the team in assists with 33 and averages 5.5 per game. His 53 free-throw attempts and 72 field-goal attempts are also tops for the Sun Devils.

With six blocks added to Bachynski’s career total, his 93 blocks has moved him into a tie for third place on the Sun Devils all-time list with Kurt Nimphius, who played from 1976-1980. Bachynski leads the team in field-goal percentage—hitting 25-of-41 for .610—and offensive rebounds with 13.

Carrick Felix leads the team in three-point percentage with 11-of-23 for .478 and steals with 14. He is second in scoring with 92 points, averaging 15.3 per game.

Jonathan Gilling leads all Sun Devils in minutes played, with a 35.7 average, and leads in free-throw percentage with .833 and total rebounds with 53, averaging 8.8 per game.

Filling out the starting rotation is Eric Gordon, who has been overshadowed by sixth man Chris Colvin through the first six games. Gordon averages 7.5 points per games compared to Colvin’s 8.8. Gordon has pulled down 21 total rebounds, averaging 3.5 per game—compared to Colvin’s 25 boards and 4.2 per game average. Gordon does lead Colvin in assists (14-13) and steals (11-9).

The next game up for the Sun Devils is the 5-1 Sacramento State Hornets. The Hornets are looking for their first ever 6-1 start, including big wins on the road at Central Arkansas and over the Devils’ Pac-12 foe, the Utah Utes.

The Hornets are led by senior forward John Dickson, who averages 17.3 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. Sophomore guard Dylan Garrity, coming off being named the Big Sky Freshman of the Year, is also contributing 15.2 points and 3.7 assists per game along with an amazing 31-of-32 from the charity stripe. The sharp-shooter also leads the team in field-goal and three-point percentages.

The Sun Devils have struggled in the the first half in three of the last four games and in the second half in two of their first three games. Coach Sendek needs to revisit the games against Florida A&M and Arkansas when they scored 40 or more points in both halves. This is the type of consistency that is needed if the Sun Devils are to compete or at least stay out of the cellar in the ultra-competitive Pac-12 Conference.

West’s Best Bets – California Dreamin’

The West’s Best Bets hits the road leaving the great Pacific Northwest and heading for California! In the second matchup of the second round we visit a rivalry as old as the state itself. Which is better – NorCal or SoCal? Read on to find out the answer…

After besting Cal in the first round; Stanford, the Harvard of the West takes on the University of California, Los Angeles. One of the nation’s best private universities versus arguably the best public institution in the country, this is going to a great matchup.

Located approximately halfway between San Francisco and San Jose lies the city of Palo Alto and the home of Stanford University. The 8,180-acre campus is located about five miles west of the famed San Francisco Bay and 25 miles east of the Pacific Ocean.

Stanford University was found by railroad magnate, U.S. Senator and former California Governor Leland Stanford and his wife Jane in 1891 to honor their only son, Leland Jr. who passed away prior to his 16th birthday. They declared that the chldren of California to be their own and donated their country estate “Palo Alto Stock Farm” as the site of the university.

Stanford asked then president of Harvard, Charles Eliot in 1885 how to replicate Harvard on the west coast and the two moved forward with the plans opening the campus to students in 1891. The school offered free tuition up until the 1930’s.

Stanford has finally grown in to the vision that the founders had in mind producing over 50 faculty, staff and alumni that have won Nobel Prizes and is the alma mater of 30 living billionaires and one of the leading producers of the United States Congress.

Let’s revisit their rankings:

 

Athletics Teams

  • Football – Two National Championships, Bowl Record of 10-12-1 with a Rose Bowl record of 5-6-1 and 12 Conference Championships.
  • Men’s Basketball – 16 tournament appearances, four Sweet Sixteens, three Elite Eight, two Final Fours and one National Championship in 1942 as well as two pre-tournament championships. They have fifteen regular season Championships and five Conference Tournament Championships.
  • Baseball – 30 Tournament appearances including 27 out of 30 years while going to the College World Series 16 times and winning back-to-back championships in 1987-1988.
  • 61 total Men’s National Championships including Tennis (18), Water Polo (11), Golf (8), Swimming & Diving (8), Gymnastics (5), Outdoor Track & Field (4), Cross Country (4) and Volleyball (2).
  • 42 total Women’s National Championships including Tennis (17), Swimming & Diving (9), Volleyball (6), Cross Country (5), Synchronized Swimming (6), Water Polo (3), Basketball (2), Rowing (1) and Soccer (1).
  • 116 total National Championships and 448 individual sport champions.
  • Winner of the NACDA Directors’ Cup for the past 17 years straight, the award has only been given out for 18 years.

Absolute dominanceand I didn’t even mention Tiger Woods – for this I award Stanford University 29 out of a possible 30 points.

 

Women

Women with big brains turn me on…as long as they are wearing skimpy outfits that show off their “assets.” Unfortunately, too many women had their noses buried in books and were always bundled up. The night life/party scene seemed to bring out some beauties, but I doubt they were Stanford students. I have always had a thing for Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Connelly though. – 20 out of 25 possible points.

Local Bars & Pubs

Much like Berkeley, Palo Alto has its fair share of good college bars and pubs but it seems to be overrun with wine bars, like it was still stuck in the 90’s. There is a Gordon Biersch and a local brewpub called the Firehouse Grill & Brewery, but you really need to leave Palo Alto to find some real night life.  – 15 out of 20 possible points.

Weather

The coldest winter I have ever spent is the summer in San Francisco is a famous saying from Mark Twain an it pretty much rings true 35 miles south east in Palo Alto, but at least it gets into the 80’s there…or so I am told. The winters are a little cooler than Berkeley, but once again, no snow…just a bunch of rain– 8 out of 15 possible points.

Academics                                                              

Is there anything about Stanford’s academics that you don’t know? In a head to head battle of academia, the Ivy League of the West is head and shoulders above the rest. Stanford is a virtual breeding ground for billionaires, the millionaires settle for Berkeley. Google, PayPal, Netflix, LinkedIn, Victoria’s Secret, Pandora, Electronic Arts, Cisco Systems, Trader Joe’s, Dolby Labs, Charles Schwab, Capital One, Hewlett-Packard, Yahoo! And Sun Microsystems were all were founded with Stanford degrees. If you are looking to get ahead and you are smart enough, get your ass to Stanford   – 10 out of 10 possible points.

FINAL GRADE 82%

 

A short five-and-a-half hour drive south we find the University of California, Los Angeles, or UCLA in the city of Westwood.The city borders some of the most affluent towns in the state if not the country. WIth Brentwood, Bel-Air, Holmby Hills(site of the Playboy Mansion) and Beverly Hills close by, the sprawling campus that was originally called the UC “southern branch” is gorgeous. The name University of California at Los Angeles became the official name in 1927. The campus is a short six-mile trip to Santa Monica and the iconic pier and beach park. It is no wonder that UCLA is the most applied-to university as well as being the most selective public university in the nation. Over 72,000 freshman applications were received for the fall of 2012 with only 17.8% were accepted.

This has marked the 14th year that UCLA has been the most applied-to public university and has been one of he most selective public universities in the country along with UC-Berkeley and The University of Virginia.

The University ranks 10th by the American Ranking of World Universities and was ranked 12th by Newsweek Magazine. The Washington Monthly ranks UCLA third nationally based on research, community service and social mobility. The Princeton Review listed it as the only public institution on the “Dream School” edition selected by students and parents. Lastly, it ranks ninth nationally and tied for second among public schools for most billionaires produced.

This is going to be close, so let’s revisit the rankings for UCLA:

 

Athletics Teams

  • Football – Bowl Record of 15-16-1 with a Rose Bowl record of 5-7, one National Championship (shared) and 17 Conference Championships.
  • Men’s Basketball – 44 tournament appearances, 18 Final Fours with 13 National Title Game appearances and 11 National Championships including a streak of seven straight. They also have 40 regular season Championships and three Tournament Championships.
  • Baseball – 18 Tournament appearances and four College World Series appearances.  They have won eight regular season Conference Championships including the past two.
  • Softball – 11 National Championships and seven time runners-up.
  • 108 Total National Championships
  • Other men’s teams National Championships (60) – Volleyball (19), Tennis (16), Track & Field (8) Water Polo (8), Soccer (4), Gymnastics (2), Golf (2), Swimming & Diving (1).
  • Other women’s teams National Championships (26) – Water Polo (7), Gymnastics (6), Track & Field (5), Volleyball (4), Golf (3), Tennis (1).

The University of California, Los Angeles has a tradition of winning. The basketball streak of seven straight National Championships is a record that will never be broken, not to mention the litany of other records including an 88-game regular season winning streak, a 38 game NCAA Tournament winning streak and four perfect, undefeated seasons. Add to that their football team notched eight consecutive Bowl game victories; including three Rose Bowls and the sheer dominance of their Men’s Volleyball and Softball teams, I award UCLA 28 out of a possible 30 points.

Women

With such close proximity to the beach, Hollywood and Rodeo Drive, it’s no surprise that the women at UCLA are hot. I was thoroughly impressed with the current student body as well as three of my childhood crushes in Winnie Cooper, Jessie Spano, Princess Vespa from Spaceballs and Blossom, well, maybe not Blosssom. I spend most every day with a UCLA alum – the Food Network’s Giada de Laurentiis. Another notable UCLA hottie is Bridget Marquardt from the Girls Next Door and you know what they say “If she’s good enough for Hef, that’s good enough for me.”   – 22 out of 25 possible points.

Local Bars & Pubs

It seems like there is always a party going on with all levels of beautiful people and celebrities galore within a couple miles of campus. So, if you are looking to see and be seen, LA-LA Land is right up there with the best scenes in the country. However, if you are looking for your neighborhood sports bar or college bar head to nearby Barney’s Beanery or O’Hara’s (the old Maloney’s), you will not be disappointed – 17 out of 20 possible points.

Weather      

Beautiful beach weather with a wide range of temperature changes are the norm in the city of Westwood and nearby Los Angeles.  Sunny and warm weather keep the co-eds in shorts and sundresses for most of the year and the beach at night is a crisp and cool alternative – 13 out of 15 possible points.

Academics

As previously stated, UCLA is the most selective of all public universities in the nation and for good reason. Ranked as the #24 University in the country by U.S. News & World Report, #9 on the list of top research universities and #13 by the London Times for International Universities, UCLA is definitely a top tier school. Their roll call of alumni, students & faculty includes 12 Nobel Laureates, 12 Rhodes Scholars, 12 MacArthur Fellows and 3 Pulitzer Prize Winners – 8 out of 10 possible points.

FINAL GRADE 88%

It looks as though the public school beats out the private school – take that Muffy! The academics and athletics are better at Stanford, but the lifestyle of the typical UCLA student seems to be just a little bit better. Whether it is because it is on the beach or because the weather is nicer. You can’t deny that both schools are wonderful, but it seems that UCLA is just a little bit better and they have Giada.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of the San Diego Chargers 2012 Season

Doug Pensinger-Getty Images

This has been a trying season for even the most dedicated San Diego Chargers fan. Last week’s home game against the 8-2 Baltimore Ravens didn’t sell out and the game was blacked out locally—thankfully. The words “4th-and-29” will forever live in the lore of San Diego Chargers and cut as deep as “Ryan Leaf.”

It hasn’t been all bad for the Bolts in 2012. They have won four games this year, and three of them have been against their hated division rivals Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs.

This season began with such hope and promise; a healthy team, a seemingly easy schedule and the AFC West looked to be in its worst shape in recent memory. The Chargers could not capitalize on any of those and actually found new and interesting ways to embarrass and alienate fans.

Here is a closer look at what has been good so far for the Chargers this year, what has been bad and what has been downright ugly.

The Good: Mike Scifres

scifresWhen the Chargers drafted Mike Scifres in the fifth round of the 2003 draft, I was a little perplexed. They had one of the best punters in the league in Darren Bennett, and teams rarely carry two punters.

Bennett taught Scifres his famous drop punt that he learned from his days of Australian Rules Football and adapted it to the NFL. Scifres took over the punting duties full-time in 2004 and hasn’t looked back.

In his nine-year career with the Chargers, he has done it all. He has 544 punts, with only nine percent of them being touchbacks. More importantly, he has pinned 218 of those punts inside the 20-yard line for a 40-percent ratio—the best in the NFL.

He leads the league this year in average punt with 50.6 yards per punt and is second in net punt yards with 43.8. He has placed the ball within the 20-yard line 21 times this year on 52 punts, and his return average is a scant 8.3 yards.

It’s a sad state of affairs when the best player on your team is your punter, but he has been instrumental in saving the offense when it has had its share of struggles.

The Good: The Defense

Despite giving up the dreaded 4th-and-29 last weekend, the play of the Chargers defense has been solid.

They boast the sixth-best rush defense in the NFL, having only allowed 1,006 yards this year and surrendering a mere four touchdowns. They have forced 14 rushing fumbles, recovering eight of them and returning one for a touchdown.

They rank sixth in the league in total sacks with 32, with Shaun Phillips leading the way with seven while Corey Liuget and Antwan Barnes have three apiece. Their 215 yards lost due to sacks is the fourth-best in the league.

When it comes to tackles, the defense also hits high numbers with 779 on the year, good enough to bring in a No. 7 ranking with Donald Butler leading the way with 72 and Atari Bigby close behind with 68 and Eric Weddle with 64.

Coming in with 14 interceptions so far, the Bolts are third in the league and have returned four for the score from standouts Eric Weddle and Quentin Jammer.

The Good: Receiving Corps

gatesIt’s difficult to say that the receiving corps is good when the donor of their passes is having arguably his worst season in recent memory, but I am saying it anyways.

Malcom Floyd and Antonio Gates both have four touchdowns each this year, but the biggest surprises are Dante Rosario and Danario Alexander with three apiece.

Their 211 receptions rank them as the 11th-best squad, and their 18 touchdowns bring them into a tie for ninth in the league.

Malcom Floyd has 13 passes for over 20 yards for 10th-best and is tied for 11th with former teammate Vincent Jackson for most receiving first downs with 41.

New addition Danario Alexander averages 18.3 yards per reception, while Robert Meachem averages 14.8.

The Bad: The Running Backs

This was supposed to be Ryan Mathews’ year to shine, to prove that he is the franchise running back that they had planned on him being. Instead of shining, he is looking to be a dud.

With only one touchdown on the year and 594 rushing yards, Mathews ranks as the 22nd-best rusher in the league in total yards and 19th in yards per game with 66.

The team as a whole has 1,094 yards, which clocks in at No. 25 in the country, and their four touchdowns rank them at 28th. They are 24th in the league in yards per attempt with 3.8 and 25th in yards per game with 99.5.

Jackie Battle started off great with a 52-yard scamper in Week 3 against the Atlanta Falcons and three touchdowns in his first four games, but has only had 20 attempts since gaining 59 yards.

Ronnie Brown was supposed to be a great addition out of the backfield, but has only averaged eight yards per reception and 4.5 yards per rushing attempt and has yet to find the end zone.

Fullback Le’Ron McClain has not lived up to the fullback legacy that Mike Tolbert left behind with 11 rushing attempts for a paltry 38 yards.

The Bad: The Offense as a Whole

I know I previously said the receiving corps was part of the good, yet it is the only saving grace. I have also discussed the atrocious running game, which is only a part of what makes this offense horrendous.

Gaining only 3,568 yards over the first 11 games is the eighth-worst in the league, and their 324.4 yards per games comes in at the same ranking.

The passing games ranks 18th in the country on two occasions with 2,474 total yards and 224.9 yards per game.

It isn’t all doom and gloom as they manage to be in the top 50 percent in total points with 245 and points per game at 22.3.

I long for the days of defenses not knowing how to defend, as the Chargers had so many different weapons with Rivers going deep to Gates, Jackson and Brown while having LT, Sproles and Tolbert out of the backfield.

Those days are long gone, and the offense has become anemic.

The Ugly: Philip Rivers

philipWhat has happened to Philip Rivers?

After showing so much promise by making an immediate impact by leading the Chargers to four straight division championships and three 10-plus win seasons, Rivers was the real deal with 105 touchdowns and 35 interceptions in that 2006-2009 stretch.

Then came the 2010 season, and the Bolts haven’t seen the playoffs since. Over the past three seasons, Rivers’ touchdown-to-interception ratio stands at 75 to 47.

When he threw 20 interceptions last year, I thought it was just a fluke, but he has already thrown 14 through 11 games, second to only Tony Romo. He has had 15 multiple-interception games over the past 26 games and has only had four games in that span where he didn’t throw an interception.

During his first five years, he only had 14 total multiple-interception games and had four-game streaks where he didn’t throw an interception several times.

If there is any silver lining to be found with Rivers, it’s that he has performed his best coming down the stretch the past two years, even with the playoffs outside the realm of possibility. In 2010, he won seven of the last nine games with a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 15-to-6, and in 2011, he won four of the last five games with a ratio of 11-to-3.

Even if he were to rally the team and finish 9-7, the Bolts will not be making the playoffs and it will be time to end the Philip Rivers experiment. There isn’t much hope in Charlie Whitehurst either, so I think it would be in the best interest of picking up a player from the vaunted quarterback draft of 2012 on another team, namely Brock Osweiler from Denver.

Two quarterbacks from that draft have recently ousted standout veterans from their starting jobs, so perhaps take a look at Alex Smith in San Francisco or Matt Flynn in Seattle.

The Ugly: Norv Turner

TurnerI’m still trying to figure out how Norv is still the head coach in San Diego. Losing five out of the last six games, including a zero-win New Orleans Saints team and a one-win Cleveland Browns team.

With Turner at the helm of the Chargers, they have failed magnificently this year, giving up 17 unanswered points to the New Orleans Saints in Week 5, only to give up an incredible 35 points in the second half a week later to the Denver Broncos.

Coming off their bye week facing the hapless 1-6 Cleveland Browns, the Chargers failed to cross the end zone during hurricane conditions in Cleveland and lost 7-6. Turner must have known at that time that his head was on the chopping block.

Four days later at home, the Chargers thumped the Kansas City Chiefs, 31-13, and saved Turner’s job, only to go forward and lose consecutive games to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Denver Broncos.

Then there was the debacle last Sunday where they were leading the 8-2 Baltimore Ravens 13-3 with 7:09 remaining in the game. A touchdown and a 4th-and-29 conversion later, the Chargers are seeing overtime for the first time this season. As with everything else this season, that didn’t end well, and Turner blew another lead and hopefully his job.

I am so ready to get rid of Norv and bring in somebody new; anybody will be better than this disaster.

The Ugly: 4th-and-29

This play will go down in the annals of one of the greatest plays in Ravens history. Unfortunately for the Chargers, it is also one of their worst.

After watching the Chargers give up 35 straight points at home to the Denver Broncos in one half, I had thought I had witnessed the worst way to lose a game. I was wrong.

The unbelievable happened last Sunday afternoon when Joe Flacco had an eternity to find Ray Rice open, and Rice ran right by eight Charger defenders en route to completing a unheard of 4th-and-29 conversion.

My hopes and dreams for the San Diego Chargers season died a slow death while waiting over 10 minutes to see if they did indeed convert. It was eventually called a first down, and the Ravens went on to score a field goal and send the game in to overtime, where they bested the Bolts 16-13.

I walked away from the TV along with the season.

Arizona State Football: Will Sutton Leads Group of Pac-12 All-Conference Team

will

Mark J. Rebilas-US Presswire

The Pac-12 Conference announced the All-Conference teams yesterday in California, and there were no surprises with USC Trojans receiver Marqise Lee and Arizona State Sun Devils linebacker Will Sutton receiving top honors.

The Defensive Player of the Year is named after somebody that everybody in Sun Devil Nation as well as the Conference knows, honors and respects—Pat Tillman.

tillmanFor those that don’t know, Tillman was a linebacker for Arizona State from 1994-97, was named the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year and was named to the all-league team every year. The Academic All-American graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.S. in Marketing and has garnered several honors including the Distinguished American Award from the National Football Foundation. He was also inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Although Sutton was injured in the first series against Oregon, missed the game against UCLA and was at 75 percent strength against Oregon State, he leads the Pac-12 and ranks fifth in the FBS with 20 total tackles for loss and 1.82 per game.

Sutton ranks third in the conference and 12th in the FBS with .95 sacks per game (10.5 total) and heads up a stout defensive squad that is second in the nation in both sacks per game and tackles for loss per game.

The Bednarik Award finalist is the fifth Sun Devil to receive the prestigious honor following in the footsteps of the aforementioned Tillman and joining past standouts like Adam Archuleta, Terrell Suggs and Dale Robinson.

Brandon Magee

brandon

  • Position: Linebacker
  • Year: Senior
  • Selection: Second Team Defense

Brandon Magee was named to the Pac-12 second team defense after missing the entirety of last season with a torn Achilles tendon.

He is second in the conference with 9.5 tackles per game (104 total) and .59 sacks per game (6.5 total).

After a successful 2010 season where he and fellow linebacker Vontaze Burfict wreaked havoc on opposing offenses, Magee was destined for another great season in 2011 until the preseason camp injury. Magee battled back to greatness in his final season with the football team as well as a member of the Sun Devil baseball team that twice went to the College World Series.

Magee made an immediate impact with a 45-yard interception returned for a touchdown in the first game of the season against Northern Arizona and put an exclamation point on the final game of his career against the University of Arizona with 17 tackles, 14 of them solo.

Alden Darby

Alden Darby

  • Position: Defensive Back
  • Year: Junior
  • Selection: Second Team Defense

Alden Darby is a dynamo in the secondary for the Sun Devils and has motivated the offense with his stellar plays on defense.

His three interceptions, including a 70-yard return for touchdown against USC, rank him fourth in the country for interception yards and have made him a household name in the desert.

Darby has a total of 72 tackles, 49 of them solo with an average of 6.0 per game. He also earned the right to wear the esteemed camouflage No. 42 jersey in practice.

Josh Hubner

hubner

  • Position: Punter
  • Year: Senior
  • Selection: Second Team Specialists

This is quite an honor after he was snubbed as a finalist for the annual Ray Guy Award honoring the nation’s best punter.

Hubner leads the conference and is ranked third in the FBS with an average of 47.1 yards per punt. His longest punt of 73 yards is also tops in the conference and eighth in the nation.

The senior punter excels at placing his punts inside the 20-yard line with over 40 in his two years for the Sun Devils.

Taylor Kelly

  • Position: Quarterback
  • Year: Sophomore
  • Selection: Honorable Mention

Kelly finished the season 224-of-340 for 2,772 yards, 25 touchdowns and only nine interceptions. His completion percentage of 65.9 percent puts him at third in the conference, and his total yards places him in fourth.

He comes in at fourth in the conference in total touchdowns and ranks second with 8.2 average yards per pass attempt. This feat also ranks him No. 23 in the nation.

His nine interceptions ranks him well above his conference peers with at least 250 pass attempts. Oregon’s freshman quarterback Marcus Mariota has the fewest with six in his 312 attempts.

His quarterback rating of 153.3 rates him third in the conference and 22nd in the FBS. Kelly ranks fourth in the conference both in total yards per game with 267.2  and average passing yards per game with 231.

I feel that it is safe to say that the quarterback controversy is over, although backup QB Michael Eubank will still get the calls on goal-line stands.

Marion Grice

  • Position: Running Back
  • Year: Junior
  • Selection: Honorable Mention

“Grice is Nice” is a popular saying in Tempe as Grice sparked the running game…out of the backfield. With 17 touchdowns on the season, eight of them are receiving, making him a dual threat.

His 102 total points and 8.5 average points per game ranks him third in the conference and tied for 25th in the FBS.

He leads all running backs in the nation with eight receiving touchdowns, and is tied at No. 14 for total touchdowns, with 17.

Chris Coyle

coyle

  • Position: Tight End
  • Year: Junior
  • Selection: Honorable Mention

Chris Coyle led the Sun Devils in receiving this year with 53 receptions for 659 yards. Coyle follows in the footsteps of former Arizona State standout tight ends Todd Heap and Zach Miller; the only thing missing was the No. 86 on his jersey.

Coyle finished the season as the third-best tight end in the nation for receptions, and his total yards are fourth best.

Coyle looks to build on his recent success as his five touchdowns were more than that of his predecessors who now receive NFL paychecks.

Keelan Johnson

  • Position: Defensive Back
  • Year: Senior
  • Selection: Honorable Mention

Keelan Johnson finished his senior season in grand fashion. With 81 total tackles, 60 of them solo, Johnson averaged 6.8 tackles per game.

His five interceptions ties him for eighth in the nation and second in the Pac-12. Johnson is also tied with teammate Osahon Irabor for fifth in the conference for passes defended, with 13 total and an average of 1.08 per game.

Evan Finkenberg

  • Position: Left Tackle
  • Year: Junior
  • Selection: Honorable Mention

After completing his third year protecting the quarterbacks at Arizona State, Finkenberg is being recognized as one of the best offensive linemen in the country.

The ironic thing about offensive linemen is that when they receive media attention, it is usually not something good. As long as the skill players are doing well, that means the line is doing their job. When star players fail to impress, the first people to be blamed are the offensive linemen.

Finkenberg began the year as part of Athlon Sports All-Pac-12 second team after a stand-out sophomore season during which he started 10 games.

Carl Bradford

bradford

  • Position: Linebacker
  • Year: Sophomore
  • Selection: Honorable Mention

The redshirt sophomore out of Norco, California had a stand-out year for the Sun Devils and is a major part of the Sun Devils’ No. 2 defense in the Pac-12 Conference.

His 10.5 sacks has him tied for second in the conference and tied for 14th in the country. He also ranks fourth in the Pac-12 with 17.5 tackles-for-loss and averages 1.46 per game.

DJ Foster

  • Position: Running Back
  • Year: Freshman
  • Selection: Honorable Mention

The hometown freshman had a great debut as a Sun Devil. He finished with 492 net rushing yards and 522 receiving yards.

His six touchdowns, two rushing and four receiving, was third on the team behind Marion Grice and Cameron Marshall.

Osahon Irabor

  • Position: Defensive Back
  • Year: Junior
  • Selection: Honorable Mention

Irabor finished his junior year tied sixth in the conference with 13 total passes defended and an average of 1.08 per game.

He finished with 35 tackles and a big interception in the annual Territorial Cup against the Arizona Wildcats.

Rashad Ross

ross

  • Position: Wide Receiver/Return Specialist
  • Year: Senior
  • Selection: Honorable Mention

Ross had a great year in returning kicks and finished fifth in the conference with a 25.6 average per return. He was one of three players to return a kickoff 100 yards for the score.

Ross also had three touchdowns from the receiver slot and averaged 14.3 yards per reception and 39.2 yards per game.

Deveron Carr

  • Position: Defensive Back
  • Year: Senior
  • Selection: Honorable Mention

Carr finished the year with great numbers, including 22 tackles, an interception and seven passes defended.

Jaxon Hood

  • Position: Defensive Tackle
  • Year: Freshman
  • Selection: Honorable Mention

Jaxon Hood filled in nicely for Will Sutton in his absence. He will continue to learn and be an integral part of the defense.

Arizona State Basketball vs. Creighton: Start Time, TV Info, Preview and More

The Arizona State Sun Devils are now 4-0 for the fifth time in the past 28 years and are looking to start the season at 5-0 for the first time since the 1985-1986 season.

The Sun Devils currently lead the series against the Creighton Blue Jays 4-2, but they haven’t played in nearly 40 years. The Blue Jays are sitting at 5-0 and ranked No. 12 in the USA Today/Coaches Poll and No. 14 on the AP Poll.

Where: Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada.

When: Saturday, Nov. 24 at 9 p.m. MST

Watch: ESPNU

Listen: 620-AM in the metro Phoenix area or ASU All Access on the web.

Arizona State coach Herb Sendek has 36 wins against ranked teams in his 20-year career, but only seven wins in the past seven seasons with ASU, and five of those were at home. In the 11 seasons prior to Sendek’s arrival, ASU went 5-66 against ranked teams.

This Creighton team is going to test the Sun Devils in a way they haven’t been tested in a while. The Blue Jays have won all five games this year by double-digits, including last night’s game against the Wisconsin Badgers, who were ranked No. 24 on the USA Today/Coaches Poll.

The Blue Jays are one of only five teams that are 5-0 with all victories by double-digits; the others are Indiana, Northwestern, Mississippi and Florida.

Hi-res-6770400_crop_exactThe Sun Devils are clicking and running on all cylinders with freshman phenom Jahii Carson and junior center Jordan Bachynski leading the way.

Carson is leading the team in scoring with 75 points and is averaging 18.8 per game. He also leads the team in assists with 18 and free throw attempts at 38. His 22 field goals lead the team, and he is second on the team in three-point percentage, hitting 4-of-9 from beyond the arc.

Bachynski continued his dominance and notched his third double-double in four games with 14 points and 13 rebounds yesterday. He leads the team in blocks with 26 and rebounds with 43. Although he hasn’t posted a triple-double in his career, he is averaging double-digits in points (13.3) and rebounds (10.8). He averages an amazing 6.5 blocks per game. He also leads the team in field goals hitting 20-of-31 for a .645 percentage.

The senior captain Carrick Felix had a monster game yesterday against the Arkansas Razorbacks with a career-high 24 points as well as four three-pointers in 27 minutes. Felix is second on the team in total points and points per game. He leads the team with 11 steals and three-point percentage, hitting 7-of-13 from long range.

Chris Colvin has been a shining star off the bench and exemplifies the sixth man role for the Sun Devils. Averaging fewer than 25 minutes per game, he is fourth on the team with 43 total points and 10.8 per game. He is also averaging four rebounds and three assists per game and has the third most steals on the team with seven.

Sophomore Jonathan Gilling, the “Great Dane” continues his spectacular play at power forward, grabbing 13 rebounds yesterday to bring his average to 10 per game. He is averaging a team-high 36.5 minutes per game and leads the team in free throw percentage. He has four blocks and six steals while averaging just under 10 points per game. Gilling is one of the most well-rounded players on the team.

The matchup this evening will be tough with new Creighton point guard Austin Chatman hitting career-high stats in his last three games: 14 points last night preceded by seven rebounds and 11 assists prior to that.

The Blue Jays have been sharp-shooters from the charity stripe, hitting 22-of-25 from the line against Wisconsin last night, and are hitting 78.6 percent for the season and outscoring opponents 92-40.

The superstar of the Blue Jays is without question Doug McDermott, who is averaging 23.7 points a game with his 30-point effort last night. McDermott has scored 30-plus points in eight games and has notched 20-plus in 33 games, with his career-high at 44 points.

If the Sun Devils can contain McDermott and avoid sending the Blue Jays to the line, they can win this game and thus their first in-season neutral tournament since the 1994 Maui Invitational. Coach Bill Frieder led his team past Texas A&M, No. 16 Michigan and No. 7 Maryland.

This team has a lot more talent than the 1994 team, so I don’t put it beyond the realm of possibility, I just don’t see them beating this tough Creighton team.

Creighton: 84, Arizona State: 73

West’s Best Bets – Clash in the Cascades

Welcome back to the West’s Best Bets. We are moving into the second round of competition and re-visit the schools in the Pacific Northwest. Once again, we begin in the Emerald City of Seattle, Washington and the University of Washington then travel to Eugene, Oregon to visit the University of Oregon.

The University of Washington or UDub, as it more commonly known is a Public Ivy institution and has been annually ranked in the Top 20 worldwide schools for the past decade. They currently rank at No. 16 by the American Ranking of World Universities and No. 42 by U.S. News and World Report.

Spread out over three campuses in downtown Seattle, Tacoma and Bothell, the University of Washington occupies more than 500 buildings and 20 million gross square footage of space. The main campus in Seattle has an enrollment of just over 42,000, accepting 59% of all freshman applicants with an average grade point average of 3.63.

Let’s revisit the rankings and see if they can advance to the next round:

 

Athletics Teams

  • Football – 4 National Championships, Bowl Record of 16-14-1 with seven Rose Bowl victories and 15 Conference Championships.
  • Men’s Basketball – 16 tournament appearances, five Sweet Sixteens and one Final Four. 20 regular season championships and three Conference Tournament Championships.
  • Softball – 3 Conference Championships, 19 Tournament appearances, 10 WCWS appearances and a National Championship in 2009.
  • Baseball – 8 Tournament appearances
  • 67 National Championships in other sports with Swimming & Diving, Rowing & Track & Field all in double digits.

The sheer number of titles and championships date back to the 1920’s and as recent as this year in Rowing is outstanding and a true testament to their Championship mentality. I award the University of Washington 25 out of a possible 30 points.

Women

With the exception of US Women’s soccer gold medal winning goalie, Hope Solo and actress Anna Faris; the women at the University of Washington didn’t really stand out too much. They seemed a little too wrapped up in their galoshes and umbrellas but there was an underlying hotness that if they were on a beach, all that would change, take Playboy’s Ophelia Shallot (pictured below) as an example. – 19 out of 25 possible points.

Local Bars & Pubs

Since the University of Washington is in the heart of downtown Seattle and the city basically grew around the University, there are plenty of bars nearby, but they are not all necessarily college bars. In the downtown area alone, your typical college student looking to watch the game or just throw back a beer has numerous options. There are also several breweries in the city including the world famous Pyramid Breweries – 18 out of 20 possible points.

Weather

Everybody knows about the constant rain in Seattle, but when it is not raining, it is absolutely beautiful. Located in between Portage and Union Bays, the temperature doesn’t fluctuate too much, with highs in the 80’s during the summer and rarely dropping below freezing in the winter –10 out of 15 possible points.

Academics

The University currently has 136 Fulbright Scholars and 35 Rhodes Scholars and awarded over 14,000 degrees last year including 723 Doctoral and 528 Professional degrees –8 out of 10 possible points.

FINAL GRADE 80%

 

 

Once again, we jump on Interstate 5 in the shadow of the great Cascades Mountain Range and head 280 miles due south to the city of Eugene, Oregon. Much like the University of Washington, the University of Oregon has four campuses statewide with the largest contingent being in Eugene. The main campus is spread over 295 acres and holds over 60 buildings as well as a forest of over 500 varieties of trees.

A much smaller enrollment with over 24,000 students, the University of Oregon accepts over 75% of applicants with an average GPA of 3.5. This past fall, the honors program received 1,570 applicants and enrolled only 205.

The University hovers around the Top 100 rankings by U.S. News and World Report and the American Ranking of Worldwide Universities. Perhaps the most auspicious recognition is that the University of Oregon was the setting for fictional Faber College in the movie Animal House.

After a narrow victory of in-state rival Oregon State University in the first round, let’s see if they can beat their Pacific Northwest rival:

 

Athletics Teams

  • Football – 1 National Championship appearance, Bowl Record of 10-15 with six Rose Bowl appearances, winning two and 10 Conference Championships.
  • Men’s Basketball – 10 tournament appearances, four Sweet Sixteens, one Final Four and one National Championship in 1939 as well as a CBI Championship in 2011. They have four regular season Championships and two Conference Tournament Championships.
  • Baseball – 4 Tournament appearances and one College World Series appearance.
  • 19 total National Championships including Cross Country and Track & Field for the Men & Women.

The University of Oregon football team is currently ranked the #2 team in the country and has been a force to be reckoned with since 2000. Prior to that, the only thing that UO was famous for was their track teams. Rose Bowl appearances and a National Championship in Basketball in the 30’s and 40’s but a long 60 year stretch where nothing happened of note- for this I award the  University of Oregon 20 out of a possible 30 points.

Women

I have been in love with the University of Oregon cheerleaders for quite some time now. How would I hear of UO cheerleaders in the desert you may ask? Arizona State football player Aaron Pflugrad has a twin sister, Amanda who was a UO cheerleader and current Fox Sports mega-babe. I could go on for days about the lovely ladies in Eugene but I have to stop myself– 24 out of 25 possible points.

Local Bars & Pubs

The Eugene-Springfield metro area has over 300,000 residents and a student population of approximately 25,000 students. UO students will not have a problem finding a great place to sit back and watch the game with a bunch of friends and brews or even fancy it up a bit with a higher class of restaurants and brewpubs. As mentioned before there are several breweries statewide yet Eugene has many of their very own including Ninkasi, Steelhead & Oakshire Breweries – 18 out of 20 possible points.

Weather

Surrounded by forest land to the south, east & west you would expect Eugene to be a winter haven. Yet, at an elevation of only 426 feet above sea level, the temperature rarely gets into the 90’s in the summer and has less rain and snow than Corvallis to the north which is basically in flat, farming land. The city center of Eugene has an urban heat island due to the asphalt which rises the temps a little as well – 8 out of 15 possible points.

Academics                                                              

The University of Oregon offers nearly 300 academic programs with more than 25 research centers and institutes statewide including locations in Portland, on the coast in Charleston and atop Pine Mountain. The incoming GPA in 2012 was 3.59 and a median class size of only 19 students for the hands on personal experience. Former students include Nike founders Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman, the CEO’s of Columbia Sportswear, Palm, Inc. and Gucci as well as the Principal Owner of the Golden State Warriors and the General Manager of the New Orleans Saints   – 7 out of 10 possible points.

FINAL GRADE 77%.

In a close, hard-fought battle, the University of Washington prevails over the University of Oregon. I will always hold the Oregon cheerleaders near and dear to my heart, but man cannot live on hot cheerleaders alone. The University of Washington simply has a lot more to offer a student if he was dead set on attending college in the Pacific Northwest.

WINNER – WASHINGTON

ASU Football: Todd Graham Faces Tough Challenge in His First Territorial Cup

Mark Kartozian-US Presswire

Mark Kartozian-US Presswire

It is safe to say that the honeymoon is over for Todd Graham and the Arizona State Football team.

After a rocket start at 5-1, Graham and the Sun Devils hit the meat of their schedule and lost four straight to No. 5 Oregon, No. 17 UCLA, No. 15 Oregon State and No. 19 USC.

Graham is now poised to take on a familiar face in Arizona Wildcats coach Rich Rodriguez. They first met in 1993 on the football field where Graham played defensive back and was hired on as Defensive Coordinator five years later.

The site was Norris Field on the campus of East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma. Rodriguez was in his third year as head coach of small Glenville State College in Glenville, West Virginia, 90 miles south of his alma mater, the University of West Virgina.

The NAIA Championship was on the line. Graham’s defense bested Rodriguez’s offense, 49-35. Although Graham’s Tigers won the Championship, it was Rodriguez who was named Coach of the Year and was eventually hired on as the head coach at the University of West Virginia in 2001. One of the first coaches Rodriguez hired was Todd Graham as his Linebackers Coach.

Graham was promoted to Co-Defensive Coordinator and parlayed that into his first college head coaching job at the University of Tulsa.

Now, the two will meet again—nearly 10 years later—as opposing head coaches.

I will break down the game, the matchups and relive some of the great memories of one of the best rivalries in college football.

The Territorial Cup

T-Cup

The Territorial Cup is one of oldest trophy rival games in college football. It originated in 1899 when the University of Arizona hosted the Arizona Territorial Normal School in Tucson.

Upon the victory for the “Normals” on that Thanksgiving Day, the cup was inscribed with the following: “Arizona Foot Ball League Championship 1899 Normal.” This inscription has certified the cup as the oldest trophy in college football history.

The Cup was misplaced and lost for several decades, finally being located in 1980 in the basement of a church adjacent to the current Arizona State campus. It was then moved to the University Archives and placed on display for all to see.

It wasn’t until 2001 when Arizona State President Lattie Coor ordered that the Territorial Cup be shared with the University of Arizona, with the winner of the game taking possession of the cup until the next year’s game.

Series History

After winning the inaugural Territorial Cup Game and having their name forever inscribed on the trophy, Arizona Territorial Normal School went on to lose nine straight games to the University of Arizona over the next 30 years. They managed only three points, total, during these nine contests.

The University of Arizona eventually lost in 1931, but went on to win the next 11 games over the next 16 years. The game became an annual event in 1946 and gained its true rivalry status at that time.

  • 1946 – 1949 Arizona 3 – Arizona State 1
  • 1950 – 1959 Arizona 3 – Arizona State 7
  • 1960 – 1969 Arizona 4 – Arizona State 6
  • 1970 – 1979 Arizona 2 – Arizona State 8
  • 1980 – 1989 Arizona 7 – Arizona State 2,  Tie in 1987
  • 1990 – 1999 Arizona 6 – Arizona State 4
  • 2000 – 2009 Arizona 4 – Arizona State 6
  • 2010 – 2011 Arizona 1 – Arizona State 1

The Arizona Wildcats currently lead the rivalry 47-37-1, but trail 26-35 since the game became an annual contest.

Expect the Unexpected

One thing that you can say about rivalry games is that they are a different type of game. Legendary Arizona State football coach Frank Kush has said that any coach can come to Arizona State and be 11-0 going into the Duel in the Desert, but if he loses, his season will be considered a failure.

With that said, many ASU pundits believe the opposite to be true.

Regardless of what the pundits, students or fans believe, neither Graham or Rodriguez want to lose their first Territorial Cup game.

It seems that this rivalry game’s trend is to never go with the favorite heading into this game.

In 1997, Arizona State was 8-2 and Arizona was 5-5. The result? The Wildcats won in Tempe, 28-16.

In 2004, Arizona State was 9-2 and Arizona was 2-9. The result? Arizona came away with the 34-27 win.

Home field advantage also doesn’t factor into the equation, as it has actually been a detriment. Each team has only won at home four times apiece in the past 20 years.

As Arizona is ranked No. 24 in the BCS and is playing at home, what do you think will happen?

Key Matchups

The University of Arizona has the nation’s top rusher in Ka’Deem Carey with 1,585 yards. The Arizona State Sun Devils have the nation’s third-best defender in interception yards, Alden Darby, with 154.

Arizona has the sixth most prolific yard-producing offense with 5,740 total yards and ranks eighth with 521.8 average yards per game.

Arizona State leads the nation in sacks with 48 and yards lost on sacks with 307. They are seventh in the nation with 17 interceptions and sixth with yards gained on interceptions and sixth in defensive touchdowns.

Arizona quarterback Matt Scott is second in the Pac-12 with 3008 passing yards to ASU’s Taylor Kelly with 2,581.

Ka’Deem Carey and ASU running back Marion Grice are tied for second for scoring in the Pac-12 with an average of 12 points per game.

Arizona State punter Josh Hubner leads the Pac-12 in average yards with 46.8 yards per punt.

Arizona is 21st overall in scoring offense with 37.5 points per game but ranks 103rd overall in points surrendered with 33.6. Meanwhile, Arizona State is only seven spots behind Arizona in total points scored with 36 and their defense is ranked 36th overall, giving up only 23.1 points per game.

We have a matchup of two comparable offenses, but Arizona State’s defense is better than Arizona’s—far and away the better.

This will be a very interesting game.

Final Outcome and Prediction

ASU-UA

Rivalry games are fun. The pageantry and trash-talking is never-ending. The team pride is rich and can sometimes be downright ugly.

For this writer, it has leaned toward the ugly side. I have seen some of the worst experiences due to the fact that I am an Arizona State alum who lives in Tucson.

I am a lightning rod every time I set foot outside my home whenever the University of Arizona does well or Arizona State University performs poorly, regardless of the sport or team they played.

That said, the University of Arizona has a good football team, but I believe that Arizona State University will prevail and bring the Territorial Cup back to its rightful home in Tempe, Arizona.

A final intangible is the fact that Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez can’t seem to win rivalry games. In his three-year stint at the University of Michigan, he never beat his chief rivals in Michigan State and Ohio State.

Arizona State 41, Arizona 34

ASU Basketball: A Progress Report After the First 3 Games

Rick Scuteri-US Presswire

Rick Scuteri-US Presswire

Arizona State Basketball is now 3-0 after defeating the Cornell Big Red on Tuesday night in front of 4,595 fans at Wells Fargo Arena.

They will get the next couple days off for the Thanksgiving holiday and then travel to Las Vegas on Friday to complete in the Continental Tires Las Vegas Invitational. They will face the Arkansas Razorbacks on Friday night at 5 p.m. MST at the Orleans Arena.

The following game will be quite a bit more taxing as both possible opponents; the Wisconsin Badgers and Creighton Blue Jays are nationally ranked.

We have seen the ups and downs already of Coach Sendek’s team and it is time to grade the players and the team as a whole.

0: Carrick Felix

  • Position: Forward/Guard
  • Height: 6′ 6″
  • Weight: 197
  • Year: Senior

Carrick Felix has started all three games and is averaging 30 minutes per contest. He is averaging 10 points and six rebounds per game.He leads the team with 10 steals including a career-best four against Cornell on Tuesday night.

While his offensive numbers are not spectacular, it is his ability to compete on defense that really makes Felix stand out as a player and a leader.

Grade: B- 

1: Jahii Carson

Jahii

  • Position: Guard
  • Height: 5′ 10″
  • Weight: 175
  • Year: Freshman

Jahii Carson is becoming the player that Sendek knew he could be all along. Through three games, he is leading the team in points and assists. Carson is averaging 30.7 minutes a game with 18.7 points and 5.3 assists.

He has a knack for getting fouled as well, with 27 trips to the charity stripe already, Carson is quietly adding to his point totals.

It doesn’t hurt that he is also 4-of-9 from three-point territory with two super shots against Cornell on Tuesday night. With the exception of the one shot Kenny Martin attempted and made against Florida A&M, Carson is leading the team in three-point percentage with .444.

GRADE: A

2: Chris Colvin

  • Position: Guard
  • Height: 6′ 2″
  • Weight: 185
  • Year: Senior

Colvin is embracing the sixth-man role and doing great things from the bench. Averaging 24 minutes per contest, Colvin is third on the team in total points scored with 34 and average points per game with 11.3. He trails only starting point guard Jahii Carson in total assists with 11.

On the defensive side of the ball, he has puled down 12 boards and seven steals.

He is a dynamo and the necessary spark when the starters need a breather or some time to collect themselves. Colvin is a clutch sixth-man and does what needs to do in the time allotted.

GRADE: B+

3. Eric Jacobsen

  • Position: Forward/Center
  • Height: 6′ 10″
  • Weight: 245
  • Year: Freshman

Eric Jacobsen is slowly taking over the backup center position for senior Ruslan Pateev although I am not sure why. Averaging 11 minutes per game to Pateev’s six, Jacobsen isn’t as impressive as his Russian counterpart, in my eyes at least.

In nearly twice as much playing time as Pateev, he has 10 points, seven rebounds and one block in comparison to Pateev’s eight points, six rebounds and two blocks.

Grade: C-

Ruslan Pateev Grade: C+

10: Evan Gordon

  • Position: Guard
  • Height: 6′ 1″
  • Weight: 187
  • Year: Junior

The starting shooting guard is taking a lot of shots and is sixth on the team in scoring. Something needs to change, either increase his ability to make the baskets or stop taking as many. With the most attempts from the field and from beyond the arc, his percentages are abysmal at .212 and .190 respectively.

His free throw shooting is among the tops on the team hitting 9-of-12 and his assists (seven) and steals (nine) totals are admirable but he obviously needs to work on his accuracy.

I had incredibly high hopes for Gordon coming into this year after sitting out last season due to NCAA transfer regulations. The brother of NBA pro Eric Gordon, he was a standout at Liberty University.In his first three games at Arizona State, the only thing that stands out are his atrocious shooting percentages.

Grade: C 

13: Jordan Bachynski

bachynski

  • Position: Center
  • Height: 7′ 2″
  • Weight: 250
  • Year: Junior

The “Blocking Canadian” has been incredible these past three games. Bachynski leads the team in rebounds with 30 and has an insane amount of blocks with 22. That is double what the rest of the team has combined.

He has been just shy of a triple-double for two of the last three games and is currently tied for eighth all-time in career blocks.But he doesn’t stop there, he is second on the team in points scored with 39 and field goals made with 15.

Jordan Bachynski is a big time player that can carry the Sun Devils deep into the season and the future.

Grade: A 

31: Jonathan Gilling

  • Position: Forward
  • Height: 6′ 7″
  • Weight: 215
  • Year: Sophomore

This is going to be Gilling’s stand-out season. Although Carson and Bachynski will be stealing most of the spotlight, the “Great Dane” will be the soul of this team and the glue that keeps it all together.

The workhorse averages over 35 minutes a game and leads the team in 3-pt attempts and shots made. He is rarely fouled and is a sharp-shooter hitting 3-of-4 from the line.

Gilling is a monster on defense as well, averaging nine rebounds per game as well as four blocks and five steals.

He is fourth on the team in points scored with 33 and has tallied seven assists as well.

A true all-around player that measures well in all areas.

Grade: A-

The Team

Rick Scuteri/US Presswire

Rick Scuteri/US Presswire

The starting trio of Jahii Carson, Jordan Bachynski and Jonathan Gilling are all straight A students in my book. Unfortunately, basketball is not a an individual sport.

With newcomers Carson and Gordon, the team has not gelled completely and it is imperative of their most senior players, Carrick Felix and Chris Colvin to be the court generals that bring them all together.

With Bachynski and Gordon as juniors, Gilling and Bo Barnes as sophomores and Carson, Jacobsen and Kenny Martin as freshmen, this team is going to be solid in the future, but as of right now, they are experiencing some growing pains and getting through the awkward getting-to-know-you phase.

I see them doing well this year, but just not well enough to compete in the ultra competitive Pac-12 Conference.

Overall Grade: B-

Arizona State Basketball vs. Cornell: Start Time, TV Info, Preview and More

Arizona State Basketball (2-0) returns to the hardwood tonight after a convincing 97-70 win over the Florida A&M Rattlers.

The Sun Devils once again started with an up-tempo game leading by as much as 22-7 in the first half and never relinquished the lead.

They came out sluggish in the second half and allowed the Rattlers to claw their way back into the game trailing by only five points within the first seven minutes of the second half.

ASU then shifted into overdrive and went on a 20-4 run and finished with a 40-18 run after Florida A&M’s comeback. The victory gave the Sun Devils their best start since 2009-10 when they started 4-0.

The win also notched coach Herb Sendek’s 100th victory with Arizona State. Sendek is now the fourth coach in ASU history in the Century Club joining Rob Evans, Bill Frieder and legendary coach Ned Wulk, who coached for 25 seasons and compiled 406 wins.

The Sun Devils face the Cornell Big Red tonight for the first time in school history and are a combined 5-0 over the Ivy League with wins over Brown, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn and Princeton.

Where: Wells Fargo Arena, Tempe, Ariz.

When: Tuesday, Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. MT

WatchPac-12 Networks

Listen: 620-AM in the metro Phoenix area, Sirius 92/ XM 207 or ASU All Access on the web.

Hi-res-6764240_crop_exactTonight will be the second game of the Continental Tires Las Vegas Invitational, and the Sun Devils look to go 3-0 heading to their toughest non-conference games on the schedule. The day after Thanksgiving has ASU against the Arkansas Razorbacks in the first round and then facing either the No. 24 Wisconsin Badgers (2-1) or No. 12 Creighton Blue Jays (3-0) on Saturday.

Stat Corner

The Sun Devils are spreading the love with five different players in double digits in the first two games of the season. If this trend continues, ASU will truly learn the benefits of team play versus singular star power.

After two games, freshman sensation Jahii Carson leads all scorers with 35 points followed by Jordan Bachynski with 31, Chris Colvin with 26, Jonathan Gilling with 24, Evan Gordon with 22 and Carrick Felix with 20.

Jordan Bachynski has cracked the career blocks record books tying Shawn Redhage and Jim Deines for the 10th spot with 76. The next best are Sam Williams and Mike Batiste who are tied with 83. I see Bachynski passing them after tonight’s matchup.

Gilling leads all players with rebounds at 21 including a career-high 15 on Sunday while Bachynski has 20 and Felix has 14. Like a true point guard, the assist category is led by Jahii Carson with 12 while Colvin has eight helpers.

Hi-res-6764268_crop_exact

Up-tempo Games

The new era of quick attack and keeping the pedal to the metal is already making an impact for Herb Sendek and the Sun Devils. The 97 points scored on Sunday was the third most in the Herb Sendek era. The 45 first-half points ranks as the ninth-most and the 49 points against Central Arkansas last Saturday was the fifth-most in Sendek’s six year tenure.

Key Bench Players

Chris Colvin has provided a spark while allowing starters to catch a breather. The sixth man has shown a vast improvement beginning in the second half of last season and isn’t looking back with double-digit scoring in the first two games while averaging just 23 minutes per game.

Backup center Ruslan Pateev has been sharp in his 15 minutes of playing time this year hitting 3-of-4 shots from the field and 2-of-2 from the charity stripe. He has also grabbed six boards in limited playing time.

 

Prediction

Cornell (1-3) had lost two consecutive four-point games to St. Bonaventure and Saint Peter’s College scoring 64 and 68 points respectively. They traveled to Madison, Wisconsin and were blown out by the Badgers 73-40.

The Sun Devils will have no problem with the Big Red if they continue their high tempo game and continue what they have been doing in the first half the past two games. Coach Sendek needs to motivate these guys at halftime as they have been slow to get started after the intermission. While this may not be a problem this evening, it will be huge next Saturday when they play Wisconsin or Creighton.

Cornell 65, Arizona State 84 

Pac-12 Football: Updated Bowl Predictions After Upset Saturday Rocks the BCS

Scott Olmos – US Presswire

Pac-12 Football needs to stop cutting its nose to spite its face.

When the No. 13 Stanford Cardinal came into Autzen Stadium to face the Oregon Ducks, who were ranked No. 1 on three separate polls and No. 2 in the BCS, they had one thing on their minds—winning.

Stanford had no idea how quickly the BCS would jump at the the chance to show its blatant east coast bias after Oregon joined the ranks of one-loss teams.

Not only did the Alabama Crimson Tide jump back into National Championship Game talks, but the Ducks were also leap-frogged by two other teams from the SEC with one loss on their resume; the Georgia Bulldogs and the Florida Gators.

One of the teams is merely a placeholder, as Georgia looks to play Alabama in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta on Dec. 1.

The UCLA Bruins wrapped up the Pac-12 South Division with their victory over the USC Trojans last weekend, but their opponent has yet to be determined.

Here are my projections of what teams will go where once the regular season ends.

Pac-12 Championship Game

  • When: November 30, 2012
  • When: 5 p.m. PST
  • Where: Stanford Stadium, Stanford, California
  • Prediction: UCLA 38, Stanford 45

Stanford will travel this weekend to the Rose Bowl to take on the UCLA Bruins for the right to return there on New Year’s Day.

I predict the Cardinal will win their sixth straight and host the Bruins six days later for the Pac-12 Championship Game.

The Bruins will lose both at home and on the road to the Cardinal, but will finish the season feeling like they earned the return to the Championship Game instead of backing into it as they did last year.

Gildan New Mexico Bowl

  • When: December 15, 2012
  • When: 1 p.m. EST
  • Where: University Stadium, Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Prediction: Arizona State 42, Nevada 24

The Arizona State Sun Devils football team finally achieved their sixth win last weekend at home, lambasting the Washington State Cougars 46-7, and will now have to travel to the Old Pueblo in Tucson to take on their in-state rival Arizona Wildcats.

The Sun Devils have struggled on the road and the Wildcats have been spectacular at home, but this is a rivalry game, and all bets are off. If history tells us anything about the annual Territorial Cup, it is to expect the unexpected.

Arizona State is 2-3 on the road, with close losses to Missouri and then-No. 11 Oregon State. They jumped out to an early 14-3 lead over the Beavers and a 14-7 lead over the USC Trojans a week later, but failed to compete in the second half of both games.

I predict that the Sun Devils will do the same in this game and lose a close one to Arizona.

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl

  • When: December 29, 2012
  • When: 4 p.m. EST
  • Where: AT&T Park, San Francisco, California
  • Prediction: Arizona 31, Navy 28

With new head coach Rich Rodriguez, the Arizona Wildcats vowed a much improved product in their football team.

He delivered at home, beating the No. 18 Oklahoma State Cowboys by 21, the Washington Huskies by 45 and the No. 9 USC Trojans by three.

The Wildcats had a stroke of luck this year, only having to travel for four games. They were blown out at the No. 3 Oregon Ducks 49-0, lost an overtime shootout to the No. 18 Stanford Cardinal 54-48, were humiliated by the UCLA Bruins 66-10 and were trailing a bad Utah Utes team 24-17 heading into the fourth quarter.

Arizona will win the Territorial Cup game on the day after Thanksgiving over the Arizona State Sun Devils and finish at 8-4 (5-4). Although they will finish above USC, they will be skipped over and head to the Bay area to take on the Navy Midshipmen.

Las Vegas Bowl

  • When: December 22, 2012
  • When: 3:30 p.m. EST
  • Where: Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Prediction: USC 48, Boise St. 45

Matt Barkley was projected to be drafted in the Top Five of the 2012 NFL Draft if he decided to forgo his senior season. He would have been part of arguably the best QB draft since the hallowed 1983 class, but he stayed in school.

As the preseason No. 1 team in the nation, the USC Trojans looked as if they had it all going in their favor. In Week 3, they traveled to Palo Alto and lost a close 21-14 game to the Stanford Cardinal.

After losing their No. 2 ranking, they hit the soft part of their schedule and won their next four games including a win over a tough Washington Huskies team that had just beaten aforementioned Stanford.

The Trojans wound up on the losing end of two consecutive shootouts against the Arizona Wildcats and Oregon Ducks scoring 36 and 51 points in losses.

They finish their season with their two biggest rivalries, the UCLA Bruins and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.The loss to UCLA not only cost them the Pac-12 South crown, it also cost them quarterback Barkley for the game against No. 1 Notre Dame.

Everybody and their brother is projecting that Washington will be playing in this game, but I believe the Sun Bowl would rather have the Huskies over a reeling Trojan team.

Losing four of their last five regular season games was not how Matt Barkley wanted to end his college career, but hopefully he will be able to return in the postseason finale against Boise State.

Hyundai Sun Bowl

  • When: December 31, 2012
  • When: 2 p.m. EST
  • Where: Sun Bowl, El Paso, Texas
  • Prediction: Virginia Tech 28, Washington 17

The Washington Huskies have returned from the dead. After losing three straight games and a record of 3-4(1-3), the Huskies regrouped and reloaded.

They were embarrassed by the Arizona Wildcats 52-17 in Tucson and bounced back to beat the No. 7 Oregon State Beavers, then set the cruise control as they went on to beat the bottom feeders of the Pac-12.

I predict that they will have no problem next week in Pullman and will finish the year with a respectable 8-4 (6-3) in the the tough North division.

The unfortunate part of playing straight cellar dwellers is that they will get soft and when the time comes to play a tough team like the Virginia Tech Hokies, they will be out matched in El Paso.

Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl

  • When: December 27, 2012
  • When: 9:45 p.m. EST
  • Where: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California
  • Prediction: Oregon State 38, Texas Tech 31

The true surprise team out of the Pac-12 has to be the Oregon State Beavers. Their season started a week late since Nicholls State was recovering from the effects of Hurricane Isaac.

The game was rescheduled for December 1, a day after the Pac-12 Championship Game was scheduled. That’s a sure sign that nobody in the Conference, including Oregon State thought that they had a chance of playing in the Championship Game.

Starting the season at 7-0 with victories over No. 13 Wisconsin and No. 19 UCLA, the Beavers were the “Cinderella Team That Could.”

Losing two of their last four has brought the team back down to Earth, and they still have to face their toughest challenge yet—hosting the Civil War and the No. 5 Oregon Ducks.

I predict that the Beavers will lose at home to Oregon as Chip Kelly and the Ducks will be fighting to maintain their elite status and a BCS Bowl game.

Oregon State quarterback Cody Vaz will lead them over the Texas Tech Red Raiders in a close game with plenty of scoring and tons of intriguing story lines.

Valero Alamo Bowl

  • When: December 29, 2012
  • When: 6:45 p.m. EST
  • Where: Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas
  • Prediction: UCLA 41, Oklahoma State 34

In its third year of Pac-10/12 affiliation, the Alamo Bowl hosts the No. 2 team in the Pac, but will have the No. 3 team this year due to BCS invitations.

The UCLA Bruins football team has been a true roller coaster ride this year with new head coach Jim Mora, Jr. and freshman quarterback, Brett Hundley.

They topped the current Big Ten leader Nebraska Cornhuskers in Week 2, then lost to the upstart Oregon State Beavers two weeks later.

The ride continued as they eked out a last second victory over the Arizona State Sun Devils, then blew out the Arizona Wildcats at home. They repeated themselves the next two weeks, nearly escaping victory against the lowly Washington State Huskies but going on to beat cross-town rivals, the No. 18 USC Trojans.

Five straight victories for UCLA earned them the Pac-12 South crown, but that is where it will end for the Bruins. I predict them losing two straight to the Stanford Cardinal and finishing the the regular season at 9-3 (6-3).

The Oklahoma State Cowboys are no strangers to the Alamo Bowl, besting the Arizona Wildcats in 2010. The Bruins will recover from the consecutive losses to the Cardinal and win in San Antonio in grand style.

Fiesta Bowl

  • When: January 3, 2013
  • When: 8:30 p.m. EST
  • Where: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona
  • Prediction: Oregon 44, Kansas State 21

After last weekend’s upset at home to the No. 13 Stanford Cardinal, the Oregon Ducks went from hosting the Pac-12 Championship Game and playing for the National Title to missing out on the Pac-12 Championship as well as the Rose Bowl.

As much as I would have loved to see the Ducks play the Alabama Crimson Tide in the National Championship Game, that is not looking like it is going to happen.

Oregon coasted through the season, resting their starters in the second half and still managed to score 49 or more points in eight of their 11 games.

I predict that they will go to Corvallis with something to prove and hang a huge total on the No. 15 Oregon State Beavers to prove to the BCS voters that they deserve better than the current No. 5 ranking.

Kansas State and Heisman Trophy-hopeful quarterback Collin Klein will be dismantled in Glendale and the Ducks will finish a near-perfect season.

Rose Bowl

  • When: January 1, 2013
  • When: 5 p.m. EST
  • Where: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California
  • Prediction: Stanford 24, Nebraska 17

What a long, strange trip it’s been for the Stanford Cardinal. After being shocked by a pesky Washington Huskies team in Week 4, the Cardinal have played one of the toughest schedules in the country.

They started with a victory over the No. 2 USC Trojans, then traveled to South Bend and lost to the No. 7 Notre Dame Fighting Irish in overtime.

They went back and forth in Tucson, finally besting the Arizona Wildcats 54-48 in overtime, and have won five straight, including wins over the No. 11 Oregon State Beavers and the No. 2 Oregon Ducks.

Next up for Stanford is the No. 17 and Pac-12 South champion UCLA Bruins. I predict that they will continue their hot streak and beat the Bruins twice in six days, once in the Rose Bowl and again at home in the Pac-12 Championship Game.

The battle in the Grand Daddy of them all will be a hard fought one with limited scoring but plenty of excitement.