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Yogi Roth, PAC-12 Network Analyst

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb
The Truth Network Radio
November 28, 2023 4:51 pm

Yogi Roth, PAC-12 Network Analyst

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb

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November 28, 2023 4:51 pm

PAC-12 Network Analyst joins Zach

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And now we get to see it again between Dan Lanning, Kalen DeBoer, Michael Pennix Jr. and also Bo Nix. Yogi, appreciate the time. How you been? I've been great. I've been great, man. Great to hear your voice and see you. Congrats on the setup and your success and always down to talk football and this time of year.

It's fun because we don't have to like be banging the drum like we've had to at times in the past. I think the whole country recognizes how talented Oregon is. Look at the point spread and then be what Washington has done, which is no one in the history of the Pac 12 has ever gone undefeated.

We all know the deal. Nine conference games. Nobody's playing Chattanooga in week 11.

They had to battle and they've earned it. And I think it's not only a playing game for the CFP, but if there's chaos in other conference championship games and Oregon wins this one, who knows? We might be talking about two teams battling and if other teams lose that are probably heavily favored in their respective conference championship game. Well, for the last like 90 minutes of the show, I've been yelling at my producer, Michael Samter, because he's a big fan of this expansion for the college football playoff next year to 12 teams.

And I was at Michigan, Ohio State. I love the do or die element of it that we got to see over the weekend. And I'm annoyed that we're still going to 12.

So let me ask you this just because it's been a major part of the show so far. We all know it's happening next year, but do you think that's the best thing for college football? Yeah, I think any sort of expansion is the best thing for college football.

Number one, I think that with the inequities that are dramatic. I referenced Chattanooga and it's not even jokingly like week 11 games that I think are an embarrassment to the sport. It's a dramatic advantage for teams in the SCC or in the ACC where they play conference games to have that type of game. So until like the sport got on some sort of equitable playing field around conference games, home games, road games, Georgia had four games, I think all year where they had to leave the confines of their stadium.

Right. And the SEC title game, they're not going to leave the confines of their state. So I just think that you have to expand it, especially when there were five power five leagues.

And now with the transfer portal, I think it makes sense. I have heard a lot of whispers, though, around conference championship games. You know, what's going to happen with those? You know, you look at the world last year, SC, they didn't play in a conference championship game. They would have gone to the playoff right this year. If Washington doesn't play in a conference championship, they're already in in the current model. So what happens with that?

Because I'm with you. It felt like it was a playoff game in the game that you referenced. You were at a winner advances. Loser goes home. I love that as a build up towards late November, early December.

I'd love to see that. And it'll be interesting to see what happens to these championship games, because right now it's it's it's mostly a money grab for a lot of these championship games once you expand the playoff. And let me be clear, Yogi, you're off like I'm OK going to six.

I'm OK going to eight. When we get to that number 12, I just feel as it provides it even softer landing spot for some of these schools where Penn State, their two biggest games of the year, Michigan, Ohio State, they could lose. And then they would still get into a 12 team college football playoff in all likelihood.

Yeah, it's a it's a super fair point. That's why scheduling can be so unique to watch over the course of the next couple of years. I mean, there was a world where at first it was, hey, get me to six wins.

And then when you got into the CFP world that we're in now with four, it was, hey, give me the easiest path. I mean, Bama and Georgia never play each other in the regular season. There's a reason for that right outside of 2020. I think it was a decade ago when they played in the regular season in 2020. There were no noncon games because excuse me, because of the pandemic.

So, yeah, I'm with you, man, in that regard. I mean, but it really is to me an 18 playoff because the top four are going to pass anyway because they're going to get a bye. And I like the idea, especially now, if you look at the lunacy that's happened to Washington State and Oregon State and how unfathomable that was to think about a year ago, a week ago while watching the Apple Cup, per se. And now I think those two teams are well positioned to finish a year at 11-1, 12-0 and be 11-12 seed and see if they can get some chaos. So I like that part of it versus just the rich getting richer, because that's basically what has happened with these super conferences with pay for play, which is code for NIL.

And I like it. I like that part of it, because I think those of us who still love seeing some upset, some darlings in college football, this expanded element will allow for that. But I think we'd be kidding ourselves if we didn't think there was going to be another iteration of changes in this sport that we've all grown to love over the next couple of years. I'm glad you brought up Oregon State as Yogi Roth is with us, right? They have one of their own as their head coach and Jonathan Smith, and they don't have a conference. And now he's the head coach of Michigan State. I felt as if they still had a conference, he would probably still remain there. I don't fault him for taking the Michigan State job, but what do you say to the Oregon State fan now who probably feels down in the dumps that they lost one of their own and they don't know what their future is going to look like?

Yeah, it's a fluid time, that's for sure. I mean, I think that they do have their conference, right? They're going to stay with two and then they're going to rebuild it. And I think for some that that's really scary, for some that's really exciting, but we all know the reality of what's going on in college football and Jonathan Smith saw that and decided to take a really good job. I don't know if it's a great job, but a really good job and take an opportunity to go build it in a really competitive league versus go do what Chris Peterson did at Boise State, which would be win 11, 12 games every year and then kind of punch your ticket at the playoff. And I think that's what I have continually and will continue to say to Oregon State fans to answer your question of you for the next two years. Everything I know is you've got a good amount of money coming in more than some power five teams are going to be making on their own respective TV deals. So you're going to be able to fund collectives, you're going to be able to fund coaches, you're going to be able to fund all the things that made you a quote unquote power five team and you're going to be able to win. We saw inklings of a schedule earlier today that came out and the Sports Illustrated is one of the first to report it. You know, they're going to have some crossover games with the Mountain West and then we'll see as they slowly piece together the logo that has a ton of brand equity, which is the Pac 12 logo, of course, and what that becomes in three or four years.

I don't know. But to those fans, I always ask, like, what matters most? And if it's winning, I think you're in a really good position to go win. Now, you're not going to be able to play some of the games that we've been accustomed to watching.

Right. That's what the Pac 12 was so unique for. You played Arizona, you played Washington, you played USC, UCLA, you know, all the teams that we've grown to love and teams that Oregon State have beaten over the course of the last couple of years and put themselves in position to be on the doorstep of a title game the last three seasons. So I think it hasn't been fun up there by any stretch of the imagination.

Same thing in Pullman. But I think both programs are really healthy when you start looking at the group of five and those teams, they're going to have to play. And I think if winning is what matters, you have a chance to go to a playoff, probably a better chance to go than a lot of these other teams that just hired head coaches, right? I'd say Oregon State next year, do they go into the playoff or is A&M going? I'd say, well, if Oregon State can keep some of their roster together, Damian Martinez, their best player, one of the best running backs in America announced earlier he's coming back. They got a better chance to be an 11-12 seed than a rebuild in a reloaded SEC, for instance. Yeah, it's an interesting point because in a 12-team format, here's what I fear, that the SEC because of their brand and because of what it means to college football, you could have similar resumes, maybe A&M and Oregon State and the brand of A&M would get in over Oregon State.

Yeah, that'll be interesting to track. I mean, I get to present to the CFP committee every couple of weeks. We'll do it again later this week. I've done it the last handful of years on behalf of the practical conference, along with our commissioner.

It was first Larry Scott, now George Klyavkov, along with Martin Hanks, Jim Thornby, other people within our league and you go present and you give context in your best case. It'd be curious to see what they do in that regard because they've always said the games matter. I think that there's always going to be a world for one or two of those at-large bids to be a group of fives. I think we all look at that and say, yes, if A&M had a month off and if UNLV had a month off, sure, we'd give A&M, but that's not reality. That's the position that the committee is in that's really unique because they're humans. This isn't the computer system that created the Mountain West Conference championship game, for instance.

These are human beings that have to evaluate for best today or for best bodies of work or for best if you give them a month off or for best if you evaluate recruiting classes. Those things are going to be really fascinating to track over the course of the next few days, let alone the next couple of weeks, but my gut says that there's always going to be one or two slots saved for one of those teams versus what you reference. LSU, it would be that team this year over an Oregon State, for instance, so we'll see, but I think that those schools that have been left outside looking in and what's happened in unfortunately in realignment.

I think if you're the best one or one of the top two of those, you'll find your way in. That's why I do enjoy the 12-team playoff where we sit today. Well, the most fascinating part about the games mattering, we'll see how true that is, if let's just say Alabama beats Georgia in the SEC title game and then you see Texas win the Big 12 championship. If it came down to that Alabama and Texas will Texas beat Alabama by 10 points and that's going to be the fascinating part in this final installment of the 14 playoff if they would put Texas in over Alabama. Yeah, I hope they would, to be blunt. I mean, look, when we talk to the committee, we're very clear because I think when you looked at the last couple weeks of the rankings when Florida State and Louisville were higher than teams in the Pac-12 or Iowa was higher than Arizona, you're saying like, what?

What are you watching? Like, what is happening in that regard? I'd be curious to see what the committee decides because I think there is a world where head-to-head of course matters, conference championship matters. Those are the first two things that they look to the cluster of decision makers when it's tight, so that would lean towards Texas. I think we can't ignore that Alabama is a different team, right? They were rotating quarterbacks, you know, from that game for the next couple weeks and then finally came back to where they started with their starting QB.

So I don't know what they would do. What I hope doesn't happen is the committee say, well, Alabama beat Georgia and well, of course, Georgia's in because they've won the last two. And I would say, hey, coming from a guy out here who studied the West Coast for the last 20 years I've been in this league, man, this league has never been as deep as it is. It's never been as talented at the top, in the middle, towards the bottom. I mean, every team- And that's a shame why it's going away. It's been phenomenal watching Pac-12.

I know that gets you hot and annoyed. That's a whole other conversation that I'm happy to have. But I think when it comes to the playoff, if the committee sits there and says, well, Alabama beat Georgia in a great game, let's put them both in. I would say, once again, what's the point of conference championships? It's the same thing why Ohio State's season is done in terms of the playoff.

There's no chance in my eyes they get in, no matter even if there is chaos. We're going to have one loss conference champions or even a two loss possible conference champion that to me should get in because this extra week matters. So I'd be really curious to watch how it shakes out because I do think if there's two teams from a league, the best case is if Oregon beats UW in a thriller. Let's just say it's a walk-off field goal and you look at a team that went unscathed in one of the most challenging schedules in the country, more challenging than anybody else who's in the conversation right now for the college football playoff berth. And you sit there and you say, oh, yeah, it kind of makes sense versus put in Georgia's because they lost in their title game based on what they did the last two years. Fact or fiction, Yogi Roth, the winner of the Pac-12 championship game will also have the winner of the Heisman Trophy in a few weeks. I think so.

I'd say that would be fact. I do not. I think with with every morsel of my body, if you're a Heisman voter and you have already voted or you plan on voting prior to kickoff on Friday or you're an idiot snap on Saturday.

Well, I don't want to attack anybody's character. You could say that, but I'll say you should lose your vote. I said that to the Heisman Trust. I've said that every year I go to the Heisman. I'll be in New York City again next week for covering.

It's just irresponsible. I'm a huge Jane Daniels fan. He was in the Pac-12. I met him when he was 16 at the Elite Eleven. He had an incredible year. Statistically was phenomenal. But the definition of the award is excellence with integrity. The athlete who pursues excellence with integrity and the excellence is the part that in this year with an undefeated Michael Penix Jr. and a one loss Bo Nix. That's different than multiple losses. And that's just the reality of the award, because this isn't to me. I understand his numbers are bonkers, but the SEC is down compared to what it's been in the past. And B, it's not the same year like it was when Johnny Manziel won or RG three one when the stats were so overwhelmingly in one person's favor. And it didn't matter if they won. I look at this and I say winning matters. And I say going through the gauntlet of nine conference games matters and having to compete against the team twice in a championship environment matters. And you look at what Bo Nix has done.

It's been masterful. I think he's got a slight edge heading into the title game. But what Michael Penix Jr. has done numerous times this year is he's had Heisman moments in terms of winning games. He's the one who called the audible and threw it to Roma Dunes, a that ended up beating Oregon. He's the one who threw the game winner on the road against Oregon State.

He's the one that called the audible to win the Apple Cup on the end around. I mean, he's the one that stood in the pocket and took a shot like he's he's done those things, whereas Bo Nix, they've been rolling team. So he hasn't had his moment. And I think Friday night, both of them will.

I'm not a fan of moments winning this award. I think it's the totality of the season is what should matter. But every voter is different.

So knowing that most voters will watch Friday night and probably make their vote based on that, I say just at least wait. Because what you did, what you did as a voter, not you specifically, man, but the voters did to Christian McCaffrey was criminal years ago. Absolutely criminal when I think was 15 percent of the vote was already sent in prior to him running for a Pac-12 championship game record in terms of rushing yards.

Total yards, all purpose yards, let alone breaking Barry Sanders, a longtime record of all purpose yards. I mean, it was it was robbery to me when it came to the Heisman. I'm not taking away from any anybody else who was at the finals that year. I was there.

I stood there and watched it. But Christian had the greatest season in the history of a running back in the history of the sport. And I believe he lost it because the voters voted early versus actually doing their homework and watching. Last thing I'll ask you about a minute left here with Yogi Roth. How do you think we're talking about Deion Sanders next season after your two at Colorado going back to the Big 12? I think it's really easy to pile on Coach Prime. And I don't think it's it's fair to where that program was. They were one of the top three worst teams I'd seen in my career a year ago. They really struggled. They had to flip that roster. They did.

I get it. Same amount of conference wins a year later. But the margin of losing was dramatically different.

I mean, this team was dramatically more competitive. They're going to be better. They're going to a league that isn't nearly as competitive as the Pac-12 was this year. So they'll have their chance.

Sure. Sanders, I'm imagining he's returning. They're bringing back Travis Hunter. I don't think they're going to go and get the 12 seed in the playoff. I don't think they're gonna go win the Big 12, but they should go to a bowl next year.

And it's going to take a little bit of time. I still think you got to develop a culture. And there's a reason why the teams that are all in the top six right now in the CFP majority of their rosters, especially on the defensive and offensive fronts, have been there since high school. And I think that's still what wins championship championships. You know, you got to be winning in the trenches.

You got to develop a culture over the over a period of time. He had to flip that thing quickly. I think he did an admirable job in year one. It was crazy in September because they took over college football. And now it's easy to pile on. But I like where they sit. I think he'll make the right changes on his staff.

I think they'll get enough players in there to ideally, I'd imagine, get to a bowl game next year. Yogi Roth, always great to catch up with you. Appreciate the time. Always enjoy the insight. Anytime, Zach. Collar at me anytime. You got it. There he is. Yogi Roth joining us on the Zach Gelb show on CBS Sports Radio. Really fun conversation as the Pac-12 championship game will conclude on Friday. And I can't wait for that one between Michael Pennix and Bo Nix and Dan Lanning will join us on the show coming up on Thursday.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-28 18:24:56 / 2023-11-28 18:33:35 / 9

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