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Pac-12 Confidential

Bud Withers offers an inside look at the Pac-12 Conference and the national college scene.

September 14, 2014 at 12:21 AM

An interesting, but also alarming, day for the conference

What loomed as one of the sleepiest weekends of the Pac-12 football season instead turned into something a little more riveting. But in the end, it was not a great day for the league.

Jerry Neuheisel’s relief pitching for UCLA made for a great story — he’s the son of Rick Neuheisel, the ex-Washington coach and Pac-12 Networks TV analyst — and it helped keep the Bruins undefeated at 3-0.

The rest of the news wasn’t very good. USC, playing 3,000 miles away after a rugged victory last week at Stanford, lost 37-31 at Boston College, blowing a big hole in the notion that the Trojans could be good enough to get into the national playoff.

Come nightfall, Arizona State’s Taylor Kelly injured his right foot, and he left Boulder in a boot and on crutches. Hours earlier, it was UCLA’s Brett Hundley, who appeared to hyperextend his left (non-throwing) elbow, leaving early in UCLA’s 20-17 win over Texas. He’s due for an MRI Sunday.

So guess what’s next for those two teams who got their starting quarterbacks hurt? Why, each other. They both have a fortuitous bye next Saturday, and then face each other Sept. 25 in Tempe. So it’s quite possible that will be a battle of Jerry Neuheisel against Mike Bercovici.

Bottom line, the attrition is not good news for the conference. The devaluation of any team via injuries weakens the league and its stature with the playoff selection committee.

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