The Pac-12 held their annual media day in the shadow of the Waterworld show at Universal Studios Tuesday to remind the media and fans that we are still more than a month away from college football and that every team in the conference is really excited to be there, had a great spring and has been working really hard in the off-season. Sheltered inside of the confines of the Gibson Amphitheatre that was more chilly than a night game in Pullman in November, the conference's coaches and two select players for each team took the stage to field questions from media about the upcoming season and occasionally other topics such as Penn State and the Civil War.
As most press conferences go, nothing particularly enthralling was revealed, but the event does give the media the rare opportunity to see and hear all of the conference's coaches in one venue along with seeing their marquee players dressed business casual style in khakis and polo shirts. Media was also given the chance to mingle with coaches and players during lunch over the sounds of the various explosions and cheering from the nearby aforementioned Waterworld show, which I guess means that Universal is still trying to make up the money they lost on that movie almost 20 years ago.
Feeling the vibes of the Hollywood movie studio, I would like to highlight some of the best moments of the day by handing out some awards.
Best and Worst Media Guide
Each school provided a media guide upon entrance and they were all about as thick as a small town phonebook, with all twelve adding up to be about the most weight a journalist like me has carried around in years.
An award that is telling about where both programs stand, USC's was the most well designed and put together - fully ready, glossy and in color while more than half of the conference's guides were black and white print outs with Colorado's being the most underwhelming, as it was just a thin packet of papers stapled together that looked like a syllabus that you would get on your first day of class.
Best Example of Why Two Players from Each Team Might Not be Necessary
Steve Sarkisian asking Desmond Trufant a question at the end of their session because no one in the media did.
Best Question Asked to a Coach Who Hasn't Coached in the Conference in 10 Years
An unnamed reporter asked a question to "Coach Price" when he meant to ask a question to Mike Leach. I guess they do have the same first name, but Mike Price hasn't coached the Cougars for a decade now and Leach is the third coach at the helm in Pullman since Price left to embarrasses himself at Alabama.
Best Reference of an Old School Pac-10 Coach After Mike Price
Tie between Rich Rodriguez mentioning that Dick Tomey had some good teams in Arizona but just couldn't get to that next level for some reason and Todd Graham name dropping Frank Kush. I love the Tomey reference because he is an underrated great coach who had great defenses and I love the Kush reference because it just makes me think about how popular his name would be for stoner jokes about Arizona State if he was coaching them now.
Best Use of a 14-Year-Old Son in a Defensive Rant
Rich Rodriguez appeared to take offense to a question about whether or not the spread offense doesn't prepare quarterbacks for the NFL and he reasoned that pro-style offenses don't prepare quarterbacks any better because his 14-year-old son has mastered the three-step-drop.
Player That I Hope Returns to Media Day Someday as Media
Arizona State's Brandon Magee mentioned wanting to work in sports media and I hope he does whenever his playing career is over as he had a genuine energy and a happy-go-lucky attitude while providing solid insight in all of his answers to questions from media.
Least Appealing Training Camp Location
Much has been made of Arizona State's return to Camp T, which has a reputation for being a grueling proving ground, but I would sign up voluntarily do to Camp T twice before heading to San Bernadino where UCLA is holding their training camp this year.
Best Ric Flair Inspired Line
"To be the best, you have to beat the best." - David Bakhtiari, Colorado
Best Use of Attractive Women
Scout.com has appeared to recently be hiring a lot of good looking women for their regional recruiting coverage and it appeared that some of them were in attendance. I'm not sure if they believe that recruits will be more apt to talk to an attractive young woman than grizzled sportswriters, but if that is their thinking, I think they might be right.
Best Ability to Wear Khakis and a Polo and Still Look Frightening
It may have been the bagginess of the shirt, but Star Lotulelei looked like he didn't have an ounce of fat on him, and at 6'4 325 that is probably bad news for the rest of the conference.
Coach Most Ready to Replace Rick Neuheisel as the Most "Politiciany" Coach in the Conference
Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian are good candidates, but something about Jim Mora's bravado, wild eyes and ability to almost always keep everyone around him on edge gets him the nomination.
Best Opening Statement
"I don't like opening statements. Let's start with the questions." - Mike Leach
Best Rock Star Appearance
They may have been inspired by the rock bands that have performed at the Gibson Amphitheater over the years as the Oregon crew came out from behind the curtain almost a minute after they were supposed to, sat in the wrong chairs and then chuckled through a good portion of their questions while more cameras clicked than they had for any other team besides maybe hometown USC.
Best Comeback Player
The PC! It may be because I live in the hipster mecca of Silverlake where nary a laptop that is not a Mac is ever seen, but my fellow journalists and I in the pit clearly showed that the PC is not dead yet.