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2022 Pac-12 Media Day takeaways: Tension palpable among conference commissioners, key transfers make debuts

LA — The Pac-12 was the ultimate Power Five league to unofficially start the upcoming 2022 season using its media day occurring Friday at The Novo in downtown L.A. Though media days are usually all smiles and eternal optimism, this specific moment comes at a tumultuous time after USC and UCLA officially declared their intentions earlier come early july to leave the league and join the Big Ten in 2024.

However, the complete day wasn’t overrun by off-field realignment questions. Key transfers and debuts for new coaches also dominated the storylines because the Pac-12 heads in to the upcoming season.

Listed below are the main element takeaways from Pac-12 Media Day:

Things are receiving testy between commissioners

Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff started cordial, but couldn’t help but take shots at a large 12 he claimed was attempting to “destabilize” his league — as recently as this week.

“The tampering continues,” Kliavkoff told 247Sports. “The good thing is my presidents and chancellors and athletic directors forward me those messages. I’ve a big assortment of those messages.”

The Pac-12 and Big 12 are battling for most of exactly the same media rights because the leagues have contracts that result in 2024 and 2025, respectively. Several Big 12 schools fought to get in to the Pac-12 this past year, however now several Big 12 schools have turned their eyes on adding Pac-12 schools.

“I am spending a month trying to reduce the chances of grenades which have been lobbed out of every corner of the Big 12 attempting to destabilize our remaining conference,” Kliavkoff said. “I am aware why they’re carrying it out, when you consider the media value between your two conferences. I obtain it, I get why they’re scared.”

Kliavkoff initially made a plea for collegiality between commissioners, but ultimately his frustration shined through. Things may only be getting worse as college football enters its most significant moment.

USC is embracing expectations

The Trojans went 4-8 last season, but Lincoln Riley hasn’t run from any expectations. The first-year coach emphasized that his expectations because of this season are nothing lacking winning a championship.

“The truth is if there is no pressure, you then probably don’t possess exactly the same opportunities as others do,” Riley said. “You need to start to see the opportunities inside it. This is among those programs and something of the cities that should you take action here, the sky’s the limit.”

USC has been possibly the most scrutinized team in the united kingdom in the last almost a year following Riley’s controversially departure from Oklahoma. The Trojans come up with the country’s No. 1 transfer class, featuring five-star quarterback Caleb Williams and Biletnikoff winner Jordan Addison.

For USC and Riley, there is absolutely no learning curve. 2022 is championship or bust.

Utah has earned everyone’s respect

While USC may be the top on-field story, the Utes will be the overwhelming preseason selection to repeat as Pac-12 champions. The Utes received 26 of the 33 first-place votes in the preseason poll and opposing coaches gushed about their ability.

“There’s obviously a man at the helm that I’ve a tremendous quantity of respect for,” Colorado coach Karl Dorrell said of Utes coach Kyle Whittingham. “He’s got an excellent staff plus they recruit. They do things right.”

Utah won its first Pac-12 Championship in 2021 after switching to quarterback Cameron Rising. A great deal of production returns, headlined by strong running back and tight end rooms around Rising. Now, the task for Utah would be to keep things in perspective despite suddenly lofty expectations.

“We’re an application that’s still focusing on our brand and attempting to are more of a national presence,” Whittingham said. “But you need to earn that. No one’s likely to give that for you.”

The Big Ten hung just like a cloud

Just about any coach was asked about USC and UCLA’s shocking proceed to the Big Ten, from recruiting impact to the long-term health of the league. Some coaches shied from the problem while pointing out that the move continues to be 2 yrs away. Others gave votes of confidence to the rest of the 10 schools.

“I believe the Pac-12 will be here and is likely to be thriving for a long time,” said Washington State coach Jake Dickert.

Whittingham claimed that nothing could surprise him in college football anymore after his long tenure in the market. Oregon coach Dan Lanning didn’t seem too worried about where his program stood in the ever-shifting landscape of college sports.

“I’ve zero concerns from that front because I understand how strong our brand and product is,” Lanning said. “I share a vision our leadership in the conference and school shares … Oregon is really a brand that’s national.”

New faces abound

Four new coaches will undoubtedly be making their debuts in the Pac-12 this fall: Riley, Dickert, Lanning and Washington’s Kalen DeBoer. However, the coaches took a backseat to the amount of transfer players who arrived to Pac-12 Media Day.

USC quarterback Caleb Williams headlined the group after entering the entire year on the list of Heisman Trophy candidates. FCS transfer Cameron Ward can be set to lead just how at Washington State after he followed Eric Morris, the former Incarnate Word head coach who’s now the Cougars’ offensive coordinator.

The transition could ultimately be considered a good thing for most programs, especially one like Arizona that went 1-11 last season. The Wildcats added former Washington State starter Jayden de Laura and brought standout receiver Jacob Cowing to media day as its offensive representative.

Ultimately, the brand new faces will decide the ceiling of the Pac-12 in 2022.

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