Jon Wilner

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Bowl projections, and why a CFP berth is looking unlikely for a one-loss Pac-12 champ

After the Huskies lost to Oregon last weekend, the Ducks, Cougars and, maybe, Colorado, now stand the best chance of representing the Pac-12 in the College Football Playoff. Problem is, those chances are looking very slim when you consider history, weak non-conference slates and the national picture.

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Midseason All-Pac-12 team: UW Huskies well represented, but not Jake Browning

It's the midpoint of the season, and you know what that means: Jon Wilner names his All-Pac-12 teams for the first half of the season. At quarterback, Justin Herbert and Gardner Minshew get some love.

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Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 7: If only the Huskies had a better kicking option than a freshman walk-on

Oregon overtakes Washington in Jon Wilner's Pac-12 power rankings, setting up a matchup of 1 vs. 4 in Pullman on Saturday. Meanwhile, have you seen what Chip Kelly's Bruins have done since nearly upsetting UW?

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Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 6: Huskies-Ducks will be a battle of 1 vs. 2 in Eugene

The Huskies and Ducks remain on top of Jon Wilner's Pac-12 Hotline power rankings, Stanford takes a tumble after its loss at Utah. Also: he takes a look at the Herm Edwards' eccentric tenure at Arizona State and passes on passing judgement — for now.

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Jon Wilner’s Pac-12 preseason ballot: Why I’m picking Washington to win the North

The disparity between the best and worst teams appears to be far greater in the North, where Washington, Oregon and Stanford look to be markedly better than Washington State and, especially, Oregon State.

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Q&A: Washington AD Jen Cohen on her hiring process, Mike Hopkins’ negotiations, Chris Petersen and more

Just as there are hot coaches, so are there hot athletic directors. Jon Wilner chatted with the University of Washington's AD on a hot streak, Jen Cohen, about her management style, the Husky culture and more.

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Analysis: What is the Pac-12 thinking with its bowl ban on five-win teams?

The new policy is hardly the egregious miscalculation we see from the conference in other football matters, but why legislate from on high? Washington State coach Mike Leach called it “a solution in search of a problem.”

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Analysis: Who’s up, who’s down in Jon Wilner’s post-NFL Draft Pac-12 stock report

Colorado might be the Pac-12's DB-U, until the Huskies catch up to them, says Pac-12 expert Jon Wilner

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Analysis: Why spring practice means more this year for the Pac-12 than ever before

The first month of the season could set up the Pac-12 for a fall of top-10 rankings and national media buzz. Or it could lead the conference down another disappointing path, weakened and wobbly and painfully far from the playoff chase.

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Epic on-field fails and off-court scandals: The Pac-12 has hit rock bottom

We assess the carnage of a miserable year for the Conference of Champions, one in which it was left out of the College Football Playoff and no team advanced past the first round of the NCAA tournament.

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Stock report: Hotline suggestion for the SiriusXM channel, Oregon State’s shrewd move and, of course, Arizona basketball matters

A weekly assessment of Pac-12 news, quasi-news and (occasional) non-news …

Rising: Pac-12 on SiriusXM.

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It’s official: The channel will launch March 5, giving the conference an entertainment, information and marketing path to 30+ million satellite radio subscribers.

The move isn’t a game changer like, oh, carriage on DirecTV, but it’s not insignificant, either.

This might come as a shock to Hotline readers, but I have a suggestion for the conference and the SiriusXM overloads:

Create weekly call-in shows with Pac-12 coordinators of officials David Coleman (football) and Bobby Dibler (basketball).

That’s right: Get the guys in charge of the officials on the air, in front of the fans, and let them educate.

The SiriusXM channel is an opportunity to proactively address an issue that constantly undermines the Pac-12 brand, dominates discussions, detracts from the players and coaches, and is choice meat for the media and talking heads.

Put Coleman on the air for an hour each week during the fall and Dibler for 30 minutes during the conference season. Let them interact with the drive-time hosts and engage the fans.

The segments would have to be well managed/produced, of course, but that’s easily done:

Either read questions or thoroughly screen the live callers. Whatever the delay … five seconds, 10 seconds … is more than enough time to hit the abort button if Fan X veers off the rails.

It would be great radio. More importantly, it would allow the conference to provide much-needed transparency into the training and oversight processes used with its officials … to explain the rulebooks (often misunderstood) … and to address in-game decisions.

Nobody would expect Coleman and Dibler to publicly undermine their officials, but there is plenty of ground available for them to cover between the outreach that current exists (zero) and the line that shouldn’t cross.

This is a great opportunity for the Pac-12 to address and attack one of its greatest vulnerabilities: The perception that its officials are worse than those in other conferences.

Get Coleman and Dibler out there. Let them explain and educate.

Rising: Oregon State.

Speaking of addressing sensitive topics head on, we present OSU athletic director Scott Barnes.

In case you missed it, Barnes recently conducted a town hall-style Q&A with fans in Corvallis.

The event included a presentation on the state of Beaver athletics and some very frank talk by Barnes. Per a report from the Oregonian, he wasted little time cutting to the most pressing issue:

“We have not invested in football like we should.”

During the visual portion of the presentation, Barnes showed just how lacking that investment has been:

Relative to the overall athletic budget, OSU allocates approximately 66 cents for every dollar spent by its conference peers.

When you consider the Beavers’ natural obstacles (i.e., lack of tradition and in-state talent), the tepid financial commitment carries an exponentially greater wallop than the raw dollar figure.

To create an even playing field, OSU actually needs to spend more, relative to its budget, than its peers.

That’s unlikely, of course. But closing the gap seems essential to the future of the football program.

Barnes is smartly taking his case to the people. If they’re not interested, well, there are more 0-9s to come.

Rising: Arizona basketball.

The program is a mess, undoubtedly, and it will remain so for the foreseeable future because of the potential for negative headlines to emerge from the trials and for the NCAA to levy sanctions.

But in its ongoing attempts to view all Pac-12 issues from all angle, the Hotline cannot overlook this matter:

Sean Miller’s decision to hire Lorenzo Romar last spring was smart at the time and looks downright genius now.

Despite the FBI storm, the Wildcats are a Final Four threat if they get Allonzo Trier back from suspension and get serious about defense.

If Miller doesn’t return to the bench, they’ll have an experience hand at the helm for what could be a deep, deep run.

Remember, Romar has been to the Sweet 16 three times and was an assistant on UCLA’s national championship team.

He’ll have a keen sense for navigating the postseason distractions that would await Arizona in a Miller-less existence.

Wouldn’t it be something if Romar got the Wildcats past the Elite Eight after all the near-misses with Miller.

Falling: Arizona basketball.

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One element has been overlooked in the inferno resulting from the ESPN’s report: Nuance.

It seems likely, at this point, that the crux of the report is wrong:

Miller did not discuss with Christian Dawkins a $100,000 payment designed to secure Deandre Ayton’s presence on the roster.

But that doesn’t mean the entire report is wrong.

That doesn’t mean Miller didn’t have a conversation with Dawkins … that they didn’t talk money … that they didn’t talk about other matters — any of which could be giving the Arizona administration pause about moving forward with Miller as the head coach.

Maybe the discussion that actually transpired did not violate federal law or NCAA rules.

Maybe Miller instantly rejected whatever plan Dawkins concocted and took a moral and ethical high road that would make Arizona proud.

But maybe he didn’t.

We don’t know. We’re pretty sure of what wasn’t said, but we don’t know what was said.

And that component has to be part of the Wildcats’ calculation in determining Miller’s fate.

For Arizona’s administration and its attorneys, the situation can’t be as simple as: The conversation never happened so get him back on the bench ASAP.

Let’s keep that in mind as the situation hurtles toward conclusion.

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Ranking the best Pac-12 quarterback recruiting classes of the century

The incoming class of quarterbacks to the Pac-12 could be one of its best. So, let's look at its competition.

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Pac-12 Stock Report: Surprise! Chris Petersen is finishing off his 2018 recruiting class with style

Also on the rise: Pac-12 alumni in the Super Bowl (did you know they have more than any other conference?). And falling: United Airlines Memorial Coliseum (you know, that iconic stadium USC plays at?)

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Pac-12 football projections: Washington an obvious favorite, but what about the wide-open South?

It's never too early to pick the Pac-12, especially after the exciting hire of Kevin Sumlin at Arizona. He offered up a idea at his introductory press conference that got Jon Wilner thinking.

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Analysis | Why the Washington Huskies are the clear favorite to win the Pac-12 in 2018

The smoke of the NFL Draft will clear the way for Washington, which represents the Pac-12’s best hope, by far, for reaching the College Football Playoff next season.

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Arizona grades out best in offseason football coaching hires

Relatively speaking, the Wildcats pulled off the best hire of new Pac-12 coaches by adding Kevin Sumlin from Texas A&M. UCLA was not far behind with the hire of Chip Kelly.

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Arizona grades out best in offseason football coaching hires

Relatively speaking, the Wildcats pulled off the best hire of new Pac-12 coaches by adding Kevin Sumlin from Texas A&M. UCLA was not far behind with the hire of Chip Kelly.

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The Pac-12 is getting its own channel on SiriusXM Radio, and we have the details

SiriusXM is creating channels for the Pac-12, ACC and SEC. Is it DirecTV? Nope. Is it something? Actually, it’s more than something.

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Pac-12 Stock Report: Addition of Jacob Eason has the Huskies’ offense on the rise

It could be a five-way duel for Washington's starting QB job in the spring and summer of 2019. Meanwhile, Stanford's D got hit hard by NFL draft departures.

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Analysis | Where does Washington rank in Jon Wilner’s ‘ridiculously early’ top-25 for 2018?

Five Pac-12 teams cracked Jon Wilner's way too early top 25 rankings for 2018, including Washington, which made the top 10.

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