Stock report: Pac-12 plans derailed, new coaches shine, basketball approaches and the need for flexibility

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Commentary on Pac-12 developments on and off the field …

Falling: Best-laid plans.

The Pac-12 took more time to weigh its options and created more elaborate testing plans than any other Power Five  conference.

And four teams couldn’t even get started.

Yes, the conference expected disruption. It expected games to get canceled. But so many so soon? And in the manner we’ve witnessed?

The daily antigen testing was supposed to eliminate the possibility of one or two positive tests sparking burdensome contact tracing that would lead to mass quarantines that would deplete rosters and force cancellations.

The Pac-12 said as much in a news release announcing the antigen testing partnership with Quidel Corp:

“In addition to significantly decreasing the risk of spreading the infection in student-athletes, coaches and staff members through sport, a daily testing protocol will also reduce the potential burden on local health authorities to carry out widespread contact tracing.”

By waiting so long to start and not carving makeup dates into the schedule, the conference bet everything on a near-flawless navigation of the expected late-fall spike in COVID-19 cases.

We’re not ready to pronounce the entire plan a failure, even though the Pac-12 boxed itself in with the decision to postpone, the lack of progress in mid-September, the delayed vote by the CEOs, the refusal to start on Halloween, etc.

It’s too soon for conclusions, too much can happen, and we knew there would be some level of disruption on a regular basis.

How much disruption and how regular?

By the middle of the month, we should have enough evidence to render a verdict.

Falling: UCLA.

Based on preliminary data, we can declare 2020 is 2019 is 2018; November is September; and opportunity is wasting away.

The third season under Chip Kelly started just like the second season under Chip Kelly, which started just like the first season under Chip Kelly.

Aug./Sept. ’18 record: 0-4. Losses to Cincinnati, Oklahoma, Fresno State and Colorado.

Aug./Sept. ’19 record: 1-4. Win over Washington State; losses to Cincinnati, San Diego State, Oklahoma and Arizona

Nov. ’20 record: 0-1. Loss at Colorado, which featured four turnovers and a 35-7 deficit in the first half.

Yes, the Bruins rallied and made a game of it, which they have done repeatedly over the two-plus seasons.

They don’t quit, which might be the best that can be said of the collective performance in the Kelly era.

The problem is the breakdowns on both sides of scrimmage that create the quit-or-don’t-quit moment.

There is opportunity for UCLA in the South this season, assuming there is a season.

USC is the clear favorite, but the Bruins have enough talent and experience — relative to the competition — to produce a top-half finish and corral some momentum for next season.

The loss to Colorado, which has experienced so much disruption and was relying on so many new pieces, is an ominous sign for the remainder of Year Three.

Falling: Pac-12 basketball.

The season is supposed to start two weeks from today.

Any takers?

OK, we’re being more than a bit flip.

Nothing has materially changed for the worse; nothing has been canceled or postponed.

It’s the opposite, in …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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