As we mentioned awhile back, the Pac-12 is going to football media days — plural — this year, a departure from the traditional, crammed, less-than-one-day event in which coaches couldn’t seem to get out of LA fast enough to go home.
Well, they may still not be able to get out of LA fast enough to get home, but now the format calls for a two-day event, with six schools per day, represented by the head coach and two players. No doubt this is a response to the extended formats put on by conferences like the SEC, which has been staging a three-day event. (Out here, we can’t guarantee adoring fans hanging out in hotel lobbies for a glimpse at Sonny Dykes, but this revised format will have to do.)
The schools have been apportioned in a “zipper” format. You’ll recall that was one of the proposals for the division alignments when this was being discussed back in 2010 — with all natural rivals in opposite divisions.
The players selected (by the schools themselves) are usually picked on the basis of star-performer quality, plus some ability to deal well with the media.
You can sometimes glean a little insight into the choice of players. For instance, last year, while Brett Hundley might have seemed an obvious pick for UCLA, head coach Jim Mora felt some reluctance in anointing Hundley prematurely, and he picked standout offensive guard Xavier Su’a-Filo.
At the other end of the spectrum, Cal’s Dykes has designated a sophomore quarterback, Jared Goff, which is a little unusual.
Quarterback, the primo position in the league in 2014, will be well-represented, as eight of the 12 schools have a QB coming to media days. Washington, with uncertainty at the position, joins Arizona, Utah and Colorado as the outliers, and I’m guessing Utah’s Travis Wilson probably would have been the choice there but he’s not due to be cleared medically until sometime in July.
Arizona State breaks with tradition in sending two offensive players and none on defense. The Sun Devils return only two defensive starters from 2013.
The lineup for the event, which is at the Paramount Studios in Hollywood:
Arizona — WR Austin Hill, S Jared Tevis.
Cal — QB Jared Goff, CB Stefan McClure.
USC — QB Cody Kessler, DT Leonard Williams.
Oregon — QB Marcus Mariota, LB Derrick Malone.
WSU — QB Connor Halliday, LB Darryl Monroe.
Utah — WR Dres Anderson, DE Nate Orchard.
Arizona State — QB Taylor Kelly, OL Jamil Douglas.
Oregon State — QB Sean Mannion, LB Michael Doctor.
UCLA — QB Brett Hundley, LB Eric Kendricks.
Washington — OL Ben Riva, OLB Hau’oli Kikaha.
Stanford — QB Kevin Hogan, DB Jordan Richards.
Colorado — WR Nelson Spruce, DE Juda Parker.