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Utah football: Pac-12 notebook: Kyle Whittingham expects super conferences

Published: Wednesday, July 29 2015 4:42 p.m. MDT

LOS ANGELES — Utah and Colorado officially joined the Pacific 12 Conference in July, but Kyle Whittingham, Utah's football coach, predicts more schools will soon follow.

"It's inevitable that there are going to be four super-conferences in Division I football with 16, maybe even 18 teams in each conference," he said Tuesday during the weekly Pac-12 football coaches' conference call.

"I'm not saying I'm in favor or against. I just think that's where it's headed, and I don't see any way around that. I also see a playoff system being implemented once those super-conferences are in place."

Whittingham said he has no insider information, that it's just an opinion he has held for years that has been accelerated recently.

The driving force behind it all? "Money," he said, laughing.

Comments from Oklahoma President David Boren on Saturday sounded as though the Sooners were already Pac-12 bound. And Monday, Sooners Coach Bob Stoops said super conferences are where everything is headed.

"He could be right," Stanford Coach David Shaw said. "There are a lot of financial advantages. The way the world is nowadays, not everything needs to be so regional that we need to be in close proximity to each other to be in a conference. That's been proven in the last few years."

GETTING CHIPPY: Oregon Coach Chip Kelly provided only short answers to the seven questions he fielded during a session that lasted all of two minutes (Whittingham's session was nearly 20 minutes).

Could have been that he didn't like the subject matter.

The questions Kelly faced focused on the Ducks' inability to beat a Southeastern Conference team, or four of the last five top-20 teams they've faced from outside the Pac-12.

In those losses — to Boise State, Ohio State, Auburn and, on Saturday, to Louisiana State — the Ducks averaged 18 points — 27 less than in their other 23 games during the same span.

Explanation?

"They have talented players; they're well-coached," Kelly said. "Sometimes the other team should deserve some credit."

LOOKING ... UNIQUE!: In the late 1960s, when Dennis Erickson was Montana State's quarterback, uniforms were pretty uniform.

Looking back, the Arizona State coach said the biggest cosmetic change his team made then was switching from a single-bar facemask to a double-bar, and some players still played without one at all. "That's when guys were guys," Erickson quipped.

Today's era of countless uniform combinations — which can go horribly wrong, as Maryland showcased Monday — has forced teams to adjust.

As such, Arizona State will debut its new all-black uniforms and helmets Friday at home against Missouri.

Erickson called the current culture "unbelievable" and credited (blamed?) Oregon for starting the movement that has affected how teams recruit.

"The young person nowadays notices those things and they're important to those guys," Erickson said, "so that's why we're doing it."

OLD HAND RETURNS: Washington State's new quarterback is really its old quarterback.

Marshall Lobbestael started for the Cougars in 2008 and the first three games of 2009. Now a fifth-year senior, he'll be back under center as the starter, replacing Jeff Tuel, who sustained a fractured collarbone during a season-opening victory over Idaho State.

Tuel could be out two months, Washington State Coach Paul Wulff said.

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