Pac-12 is un­pre­dictable, with a hint of scan­dal

San Francisco Chronicle Late Edition - - PAGE 2 -

Things you didn’t ex­pect to see in the Pac-12:

An of­fi­ci­at­ing episode that went be­yond in­com­pe­tence and into the realm of scan­dal. You won’t see a more bla­tant tar­get­ing episode than the hel­met-to-hel­met hit de­liv­ered by Wash­ing­ton State’s Lo­gan Tago to USC quar­ter­back JT Daniels last week. Some­how it was ruled a rough­ing-the-passer vi­o­la­tion, and af­ter the re­play booth and the Pac-12 com­mand cen­ter agreed it was a tar­get­ing foul, a third party — Woodie Dixon, the con­fer­ence’s gen­eral coun­sel who over­sees the ref­er­ee­ing — got it over­turned. It’s baf­fling that Dixon even had a say, and as dis­taste­ful as it sounds (did he have some sort of per­sonal agenda?), that be­comes the per­cep­tion. The con­fer­ence is widely im­pli­cated in the on­go­ing fed­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tion into col­lege bas­ket­ball, and it’s fair to won­der if Com­mis­sioner Larry Scott can hold his job.

Chip Kelly bring­ing the UCLA Bru­ins into Berke­ley on Satur­day with an 0-5 record. Maybe it’s not a big shock to 49ers fans, but there was a time when Kelly could do no wrong. Rack­ing up a 46-7 record over four years at Ore­gon (2009-2012), he didn’t take a sin­gle dis­turb­ing loss. All seven came against top-tier teams, in­clud­ing in a Rose Bowl and a na­tional cham­pi­onship game.

Stan­ford coach David Shaw hav­ing to de­fend his poundthe-ball phi­los­o­phy. It’s not that peo­ple have it wrong; the Car­di­nal’s of­fen­sive line isn’t up to its stan­dards. But run­ning back Bryce Love hasn’t been fully healthy all sea­son, and with op­po­nents build­ing early leads, Shaw has turned to a mostly im­pres­sive pass­ing at­tack. Stan­ford will win its next two games, against Ari­zona State and Wash­ing­ton State. If Love takes the field at full speed in the Nov. 3 show­down at Wash­ing­ton, cer­tain truths will be told — one way or the other.

The con­fer­ence’s most ex­cit­ing player is a sopho­more wide re­ceiver at Colorado. Laviska Shenault leads the na­tion in re­ceiv­ing yards per game (141) and has scored 10 touch­downs. A chis­eled ath­lete who set records in the Buffs’ weight room (squat­ting 500 pounds), Shenault has been used as a re­ceiver, tight end, run­ning back and quar­ter­back (in the Wild­cat set). Colorado is the story of the South Di­vi­sion with a 5-0 record built against pal­try op­po­si­tion, and now comes a se­ri­ous test at USC on Satur­day night.

Changes com­ing

The Gi­ants aren’t the only Na­tional League West team in the midst of up­heaval. Ari­zona is look­ing at a mas­sive tear­down that could in­volve Zack Greinke and/or Paul Gold­schmidt be­ing traded. In a ter­ri­bly de­press­ing move, the Di­a­mond­backs are in­stalling ar­ti­fi­cial turf at Chase Field for next sea­son. Colorado, sum­mar­ily dis­missed by Mil­wau­kee in the Di­vi­sion Se­ries, could lose Nolan Are­nado to free agency af­ter next sea­son and will con­sider the risk of trad­ing one of the game’s great­est play­ers . ... Play­ers have been ridi­cul­ing um­pire An­gel Her­nan­dez for years, with plenty of video ev­i­dence ex­pos­ing his du­bi­ous calls. The Yan­kees’ CC Sa­bathia didn’t hold back af­ter Game 4 of the Di­vi­sion Se­ries, say­ing, “He’s bad. He’s al­ways bad. He’s a bad um­pire. I don’t un­der­stand why he’s do­ing these games.” Good point. Um­pires work­ing post­sea­son games should be the ones held in the high­est re­gard, and those un­der le­git­i­mate scru­tiny should be rel­e­gated to the mi­nors . ... From St. Mary’s to the NLCS: Corbin Burnes, one of Mil­wau­kee’s most val­ued re­liev­ers, had an All-Amer­ica ju­nior sea­son in 2016 and helped the Gaels make their first-ever NCAA tour­na­ment ap­pear­ance. The Brewers drafted him in the fourth round that year . ... Likely to hap­pen this sea­son, as the Cal women’s bas­ket­ball team takes a run at the con­fer­ence ti­tle: Kris­tine Anigwe throw­ing down a dunk. A three-time all-Pac-12 se­lec­tion, the 6-foot-4 Anigwe told the col­lege­s­ports­maven web­site, “I’m dunk­ing eas­ily (in prac­tice). It would be very cool, very cool (to dunk in a game) be­cause no one has done it at Cal.”

A New York Times head­line read, “Is your col­lege foot­ball team in the wrong league?” In the case of Colorado and Utah, yes. Noth­ing against those schools, but the Pac-10 was a per­fect setup, al­low­ing all teams to face other all sea­son. It’s all crazy and im­bal­anced now, to the point where (among other ex­am­ples) USC doesn’t play Wash­ing­ton or Ore­gon this year. That just can’t hap­pen . ... Soc­cer fans have suf­fered with TNT gain­ing rights to Cham­pi­ons League games and sched­uled to show 100 fewer games (146-46) than Fox aired last sea­son. When DirecTV and Com­cast dropped the beIN chan­nel, fans lost the chance to watch Barcelona and Real Madrid (among oth­ers) on a reg­u­lar ba­sis. Tip: Check the week­end list­ings on Univi­sion, the Span­ish-lan­guage net­work fully de­voted to the sport . ... How many body blows can the San An­to­nio Spurs with­stand? Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker and Manu Gi­no­bili have de­parted. Point guard De­jounte Mur­ray and top rookie Lon­nie Walker have been lost to knee surgery. And now Der­rick White, a po­ten­tial starter at the point, is out 6-8 weeks with a heel in­jury. Typ­i­cally fresh per­spec­tive from coach Gregg Popovich: “There’s so much junk in the world, I think you’re bet­ter off if you look at the cup as half full. I’d just say that draft­ing Tim Dun­can was prob­a­bly all the luck we de­served for a long time.”

Bruce Jenk­ins is a San Fran­cisco Chron­i­cle colum­nist. Email: bjenk­ins@sfchron­i­ Twit­ter: @Bruce_Jenk­ins1

Eric Ris­berg / As­so­ci­ated Press

Could Pac-12 Com­mis­sioner Larry Scott be in dan­ger of los­ing his job?

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