Pac-12 Football Notebook: Stanford's David Shaw Defends the Playoff Committee

Kyle Kensing@kensing45Contributor IOctober 15, 2013

Stanford head coach David Shaw offered his thoughts on the College Football Playoff selection process Tuesday on the Pac-12 coaches teleconference call. 

One of Shaw's suggestions included a universal conference scheduling model. 

"If we all play eight conference games or we all play nine conference games...we have to have as much empirical data as possible," he said. 

Automatic-qualifying conferences the Pac-12 and Big 12 plays nine conference games. The Big Ten is adopting a similar schedule beginning in 2016.

The other two from the "Group of Five" with priority access to College Football Playoff berths, the ACC and SEC, play eight games. 

The SEC could move to the nine-game format, but nothing has been finalized. 

Shaw also offered a defense of one prominent members of the inaugural selection committee. 

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is one of two panelists expected to be formally introduced Wednesday with ties to Stanford. The other is one-time Cardinal head coach Ty Willingham. 

"Those are very good selections," Shaw said. "You’re talking about two of the most objective people you’ll find." 

Rice's rumored selection has generated heated opposition from critics who object to her lack of formal college football experience, including from ESPN analyst David Pollack. 

Shaw dismissed such notions of Rice's credentials. 

"Anybody who thinks Condoleezza doesn’t know football needs to sit down and talk to her for 10 minutes," he said. 


Marcus Mariota Is Finally Intercepted 

Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota has navigated through half of the 2013 schedule with 17 passing touchdowns and zero interceptions. 

His last interception in a game was Nov. 17 against Stanford. That makes Mariota's run of games without a pick as long as his streak of appearances with at least one rushing and passing touchdown: Eight. 

Mariota hasn't been so fortunate against an Oregon defense that led the nation in interceptions a season ago and has again this year.

"He had one in practice today," Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich said on Tuesday's teleconference.

"We promptly cut him," he added with a laugh.

Mariota is racing ahead in early Heisman contention, but Helfrich dismissed the importance of campaigning for his quarterback to win the award.

"The best thing anybody can do is play well as a team. All those kind of accolades and honors comes as a result of that," he said. "Our best service to him and to our team is to prepare."


The Man Behind the Outstanding UCLA Linebacker Corps 

A tweet referring to UCLA as "Linebacker U" last June raised eyebrows. 

Veterans Anthony Barr, Jordan Zumwalt and Eric Kendricks have acquitted the unit nicely, and true freshman Myles Jack is establishing himself as one of the most exciting defenders in the Pac-12. 

The "U," however, stands for Ulbrich—as in linebackers coach Jeff Ulbrich. 

"[UCLA linebackers] love him and trust him," head coach Jim Mora said of Ulbrich on Tuesday's conference call. 

Mora said he saw Ulbrich's potential to be a special coach when Mora was defensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers, where Ulbrich played for 10 years. 

"He’s able to give these guys tips and clues they wouldn’t be able to get from somebody that didn’t play the position [and] he's been able to give our players a road map for success," Mora said. "They’ve taken it hook, line and sinker." 

And how. UCLA ranks No. 25 nationally in rushing yards allowed per attempt at just 3.4. Barr is solidifying himself as one of college football's premier defensive players with four sacks and 10 tackles for loss. 


Kyle Kensing is the Pac-12 Lead Writer for B/R. All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.

Follow Kyle on Twitter: @kensing45.