The Pac-12 has generated enough news to last the entire season after two months.
Maybe an entire season and an off season.
From on-field performance to off-field development, including the elimination of two head coaches, Hotline has attempted to cover it. But we wanted to know what you think.
So late Saturday, the hotline published a poll on Twitter asking fans to vote for the No. 1 story so far in the 2021 Pac-12 football season.
Since Twitter polls don’t allow more than four options, we had to choose carefully and add topics that would ideally be different.
The categories were:
1. “Rolovitch Firing”
On October 18, Washington State fired coach Nick Rolovich after failing to comply with the state vaccine mandate. All higher education employees were required to be vaccinated or exempted on religious or medical grounds by October 18. Rolovich refused the shot, and his religious waiver request was denied. In addition, WSU sacked four assistant coaches who also failed to comply with the mandate of Gov.
2. “The Rise of the State of Oregon”
The Beavers are the biggest on-field surprise since their first win at USC in 61 years and their first win over Washington in a decade. Elected to finish fifth in the North, they are 5–2 on aggregate, 3–1 in conference play and tied with Oregon. 7 running game in the country, an impressive young quarterback in Chance Nolan and in control of his own fortunes in the division.
3. “UW/USC Crisis”
A combined entry to account for the demise of two Pac-12 favorites. The Trojans fired Clay Helton in mid-September and named Deontay Williams interim coach, but have so far failed to turn their season around: they are 3-4 overall with a series of one-sided home losses. Meanwhile, the Huskies started year two under Jimmy Lake with a shocking defeat to Montana and have since stumbled against Michigan, Oregon State and UCLA. Their defense is faltering; Their crime is even worse. And fans are ready to revolt.
4. “Non-Convention Results”
A comprehensive entry covering the full range of results, including Oregon’s encouraging wins and all-out losses at Ohio State in week two: Montana and Northern Arizona, Mountain West and Brigham Young (four times!). Overall, the Pac-12 is just 15-17 in non-conference games, with 8-15 points against FBS opponents.
With those four questions, we tried to cover everything of importance on the field.
Here’s what we haven’t covered: the death of Utah defensive back Aaron Lowe in late September, from a gunshot wound. In our decision, it was not appropriate to include the actual tragedy in a Twitter poll about football matters, which are trivial by comparison.
According to Twitter Analytics, the poll was active as of Monday and generated 38,000 impressions.
received it 4,212 votes.
1. Rise of Oregon State: 35.4%
2. Rollovich Firing: 24.6%
3. USC, Washington Conflict: 23.6%
4. Non-Convention Results: 16.4%
And with six weeks left in the regular season, there’s definitely more big news to come.
Still to be resolved:
– The result of an NCAA investigation into alleged recruitment violations by the state of Arizona. (Given the standard pace of NCAA justice, a solution could come after the session.)
– Oregon’s chase for college football playoff bid: If they win, the Ducks will be well positioned to break the Pac-12’s four-year drought.
– Arizona losing streak: The Wildcats have dropped 18 in a row, the longest active streak in the nation. (Previous win: October 5, 2019, in Colorado.)
– Appointment decisions by USC and/or the State of Washington, expected in the first half of December.
– Extension of the college football playoffs, which will have a significant impact on the future of the conference.
And let’s not overlook the possibilities of news we haven’t imagined.
If September and October were any indication, the stretch run should be wild.
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