Pac-12 Football: Stanford-UCLA rematch is for title

2012-11-27T00:00:00Z 2012-11-27T07:08:45Z Pac-12 Football: Stanford-UCLA rematch is for titlePatrick Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
November 27, 2012 12:00 am  • 

Movies have sequels. Some have Squeakquels.

But football, rarely ever, gives teams a do-over.

With that in mind, we present a plotline for the as-yet-unmade "Groundhog Day" redux: Friday night's Pac-12 football championship game.

Six days after punching its ticket to the title game by winning 35-17 at UCLA, the Cardinal (10-2, 8-1) will again face the South division champion Bruins (9-3, 6-3).

Only the location is different: Stanford is hosting the South champions this time around.

Which, depending on how you look at it, makes the league championship game that much more interesting - or boring.

Stanford coach David Shaw, who was named the Pac-12 coach of the year, said Monday a challenge is "fighting complacency" after beating the same team.

"To think UCLA is going to come up here and roll over for us is extremely wrong," Shaw.

UCLA coach Jim Mora said he began thinking about the rematch before the left the field Saturday.

"We certainly need to do a better job of protecting our quarterback," Mora said. "Defensively, we need to eliminate the big runs against us. We did a fairly decent job in a general sense against the big run."

With only six days between games, though, familiarity isn't at all bad.

Mora said getting "the right mix of rest and work" is key this week, while Shaw said the Cardinal will have fewer physical practices.

"I suppose the fact that we're playing each other, as opposed to playing another opponent, helps both teams with your preparation," Mora said.

Stanford and UCLA played each other in the final week, in part, because the Cardinal had to shoehorn Notre Dame into its nonconference schedule and USC played the Irish on Saturday, bumping its tilt with UCLA up one week.

The Pac-12 could mandate only inter-divisional play in the final week to avoid the possibility of a title game rematch, but that could get complicated.

"One of the things I've learned - scheduling is unbelievably difficult," Shaw said. "You're talking about 12 teams with rotating schedules. Us and USC have to have the Notre Dame game. And rivalry games … And, oh yeah, let's make sure North plays North at the end of the year and South plays South. That's so hard to get completely done."

Mora said he wasn't "familiar enough" with the quirks of scheduling to say what changes could be made, but argued the title game wasn't losing its luster because of the circumstances.

"I think, regardless of it's a rematch or not, it's a tremendously interesting and exciting game for everybody," he said. "It's the Pac-12 championship game."

Embree: Good luck on hire

The list of Pac-12 head coaching vacancies grew to two, with Colorado firing Jon Embree after going 4-21 in two seasons. Cal coach Jeff Tedford was fired a week ago.

Monday, both Embree and CU athletic director Mike Bohn spoke to reporters about the surprising move. Coaches rarely are fired after two seasons, and Embree, an alum, inherited a losing program.

"If you just hire the next guy and say you've got two years, keep your fingers crossed," Embree said.

Bohn said he would form a search committee. "Jon's results were extremely revealing in a very short period of time, and the prowess of the Pac-12 conference revealed it a lot faster," Bohn said.

ASU defender honored

Will Sutton was named Arizona State's only first-team All-Pac-12 member Monday, but he received the highest honor afforded a defensive player.

The junior defensive end was named the Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year after leading the Pac-12 with 20 tackles for loss.

USC wide receiver Marqise Lee, who caught a conference-record 112 passes for a conference-best 1,180 yards, was named the top offensive player.

David Shaw of Stanford was named coach of the year for the second-straight season.

Marcus Mariota, who piloted Oregon to a one-loss season, was named the top freshman offensive player. Defensive end Leonard Williams of USC won the defensive award.

Here's a look at the first and second teams:

First Team Offense

QB Marcus Mariota, Fr., Oregon

RB Kenjon Barner, Sr., Oregon

RB Ka'Deem Carey, So., Arizona

WR Marqise Lee, So., USC

WR Markus Wheaton, Sr., Oregon State

TE Zach Ertz, Sr., Stanford

OL Hroniss Grasu, So., Oregon

OL Khaled Holmes, Sr., USC

OL Brian Schwenke, Sr., California

OL Xavier Su'a-Filo, So., UCLA

OL David Yankey, Jr., Stanford

First Team Defense

DL Scott Crichton, So., Oregon State

DL Dion Jordan, Sr., Oregon

DL Star Lotulelei, Sr., Utah

DL Will Sutton, Jr., Arizona State

LB Anthony Barr, Jr., UCLA

LB Trent Murphy, Sr., Stanford

LB Chase Thomas, Sr., Stanford

DB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, So., Oregon

DB Jordan Poyer, Sr., Oregon State

DB Ed Reynolds, Jr., Stanford

DB Desmond Trufant, Sr., Washington

First Team Specialists

PK Vince D'Amato, Jr., California

P Jeff Locke, Sr., UCLA

RS Reggie Dunn, Sr., Utah

ST Jordan Jenkins, Sr., Oregon State

Second Team Offense

QB Matt Scott, Sr., Arizona

RB Johnathan Franklin, Sr., UCLA

RB Stepfan Taylor, Sr., Stanford

WR Austin Hill, So., Arizona

WR Robert Woods, Jr., USC

TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, So., Washington

OL Jeff Baca, Sr., UCLA

OL David Bakhtiari, Jr., Colorado

OL Sam Brenner, Sr., Utah

OL Kevin Danser, Sr., Stanford

OL Sam Schwartzstein, Sr., Stanford

Second Team Defense

DL Henry Anderson, Jr., Stanford

DL Morgan Breslin, Jr., USC

DL Ben Gardner, Sr., Stanford

DL Datone Jones, Sr., UCLA

LB Kiko Alonso, Sr., Oregon

LB Michael Clay, Sr., Oregon

LB Brandon Magee, Sr., Arizona State

DB Deone Bucannon, Jr., Washington State

DB Alden Darby, Jr., Arizona State

DB T.J. McDonald, Sr., USC

DB Nickell Robey, Jr., USC

Second Team Specialists

PK Andrew Furney, Jr., Washington State

P Josh Hubner, Sr., Arizona State

RS Marqise Lee, So., USC

ST David Allen, Sr., UCLA

Up next

• What: UCLA at Stanford, Pac-12 Championship game

• When: 6 p.m. Friday., Channel 11

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