Welcome back for this week’s Gold Nuggets, Saturday Out West columnist Jon Gold’s weekly trip around the Pac-12.

Before we get to the weekly roundup, a quick note about the Rose Bowl’s posturing.

It’s one thing to know your own worth, but it’s another thing altogether to act as if the rest of the universe can’t move on without you. And college football fans might learn that the hard way unless the Rose Bowl powers-that-be can come to terms with the College Football Playoff organizers in order for the Playoff to expand by the 2024 season.

In a year when arguably 3 if not 4 Pac-12 teams could make arguments for a 12-team CFP berth, the Rose Bowl’s hardened stance rings especially frustrating.

“We want the Rose Bowl,” a CFP source told ESPN’s Heather Dinich. “We have a good partnership with the 6 bowls we are affiliated with. We do. And we want to continue with that. I hope the Rose Bowl will be part of that, but there’s no guarantee in any of that. None.”

Can you imagine a world where the CFP includes the Citrus Bowl but not the Rose Bowl? Where we’d see the Pac-12’s 3rd-best team vs. the Big Ten’s 4th? What a travesty that would be.

Now onto the news, notes and quotes from Championship Week …

Arizona: Jedd Fisch predicts extensive roster turnover

Few college football programs turned over their talent as much as the Arizona Wildcats did in 2022, adding a lot more than just Jayden de Laura and Jacob Cowing. The Wildcats had nearly 50 new players on the roster this season, Fisch’s 2nd year with the program. Heading into Year 3, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the other half of the roster turn over.

“I don’t know if it’ll be that high, but I’m going to say that we’ll probably have a high number,” Fisch said at his season-ending press conference, according to AZDesertSwarm’s Brian J. Pederson. “And then I think after that it will kind of mellow out. But I would guess that this year will be a significant turnover one more time. And then I think we should be good to go from that point.”

Entering Year 3, Fisch has added tons of talent to what was a nearly barren roster, and Arizona’s recruiting class is shaping up impressively, as well.

Arizona State: Kenny Dillingham’s first task — re-recruiting the current Sun Devils

The transfer portal both cost Arizona State ample talent and helped the Sun Devils score some key replacements this year, but with former Oregon offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham taking the reins of the program over the weekend, now is go-time for the ASU coaching staff to start retaining its key players.

Can Dillingham sell his vision for the future in a hurry? Or will the Sun Devils have to turn to the free market to re-stock the cupboards?

“I am a firm believer in the transfer portal,” Dillingham told reporters on Sunday, according to Arizona Sports’ Jake Anderson. “I am the number one advocate for it because what happens in recruiting is you have a whole bunch of people tell kids what they want to hear for two-three years. And in the past, those kids would get told what they wanted to hear and they’d get stuck and trapped.

“Now, you better be the person you say you are. You better come through with those promises.”

Cal: Justin Wilcox not looking for a quick fix

After a brutal season offensively, when his Bears finished ranked 95th in the country in scoring offense, Cal coach Justin Wilcox told reporters that he doesn’t want the program “to become a portal-only recruiting outfit,” but he admits the Bears need to better use it to their advantage in 2023.

Wilcox is still looking to replace offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, who was fired after a 38-10 loss to Oregon State 2 weeks ago. The next coordinator could have some key contributors to replace, as quarterback Jack Plummer is one of several Bears who have the option to return for an extra senior season because of the 2021-22 COVID-19 exemption. The Bears are also going to have to make sure their current talented youngsters decide to stick around, but adding outside talent is crucial, too.

“I do think it’s something we need to try to take advantage of,” Wilcox said, “and we think we have a lot to offer a guy that’s coming out of the portal.”

Colorado: Sans head coach, Buffaloes keep on recruiting

Even while seeking actively seeking a replacement for jettisoned head coach Karl Dorrell, Colorado continues to win kids over.

Morgan Pearson, a 3-star recruit out of Ardmore, Okla., announced his commitment to the Buffaloes on Monday, choosing Colorado over the likes of Michigan State, Iowa State, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Pittsburgh and Texas Tech, according to 247sports.

Pearson is not the only would-be Buffalo to join the fray; in the past month, Colorado has secured commitments from a trio of California prospects in linebacker Victory Johnson (San Diego’s Cathedral Catholic), receiver Jordan Onovughe (Mater Dei) and cornerback Jordan Shaw (Downey’s St. Pius X-St. Matthias Academy).

Oregon: Running back depth takes a blow

It’s astonishing how quickly players can fall out of favor with a new coaching staff.

But with the hire of Dan Lanning and the introduction of Bucky Irving, Noah Whittington and Jordan James, true sophomore running back Byron Cardwell was lost in the shuffle this year, after entering the season on the Doak Walker Award watch list.

Cardwell performed well in 2021 in support of CJ Verdell, rushing for more than 400 yards and 3 scores on 61 carries, but he had just 76 yards on 11 carries this season before being injured in Week 2 and missing the rest of the year. Perhaps Cardwell felt able to contribute but was limited by the depth chart. Either way, he’s off to a new home for 2023.

Oregon State: Beavers’ big win nets defensive coordinator an extension

Oregon State’s pivotal win over Oregon on Saturday was not without its rewards.

The first person to benefit from the fruits of their labor: defensive coordinator Trent Bray, who earned a contract extension through the 2024 season. The former OSU 2-time All-Pac-12 selection as a player helped lead a unit that ranked 2nd in the league with an average of 342.3 yards allowed per game and just 114.0 yards per game on the ground.

“Coach Bray has done a tremendous job since he took over as the defensive coordinator, and we needed to reward him for the hard work he has done to lead that group,” Smith said. “He has a passion and energy for Oregon State University, our football program and all of the players he has coached. We are thrilled he wants to remain in Corvallis to keep the momentum moving forward.”

Stanford: Cardinal brain trust acknowledge disadvantage

It has to be tough to be Stanford right now, losing arguably the best coach you’ve ever known while smack in the middle of the sea change in the college sports landscape that threatens your way of living.

The Cardinal are caught between a rock and a hard place, and they learned that the hard way with David Shaw’s resignation. He knew that the program — which went just 6-18 the past 2 seasons — might never regain the footing it once had among college football’s best programs. Those days are long gone in the NIL and open transfer portal era. Stanford simply cannot compete in free agency, something the nearby Oakland A’s know a thing or two about.

Stanford director of athletics Bernard Muir said the search was already underway for Shaw’s replacement, and he admitted that the new NIL landscape would alter the program going forward.

“It’s going to be rooted in education whatever we do,” Muir said. “We know others are a little more aggressive in that space right now and we just have to find what is right for Stanford.”

UCLA: Do the Bruins have to — gasp — root for the Trojans?

Every so often, a college football fan base has to do the dreaded and root for a rival team.

Now that fan base is UCLA and that rival team is the hated USC Trojans, who dealt the Bruins a crushing 48-45 defeat in their Rose Bowl matchup 2 weeks ago.

That will helped propel USC into the Pac-12 title game, and now, Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times points out, UCLA fans need to hope the Trojans do one better and win the championship game.

Why? That win would put the No. 4 Trojans into the College Football Playoff and a likely Peach Bowl battle with No. 1 Georgia, opening up a Rose Bowl invite most likely for the Washington Huskies. That, in turn, would most probably lead UCLA to land in the Alamo Bowl, rather than the Las Vegas Bowl or the Sun Bowl.

USC: Lincoln Riley not buying into title game hype

With a chance to secure a conference title for the first time since 2008 and a shot at its first College Football Playoff berth, Lincoln Riley is trying to make sure his USC Trojans keep a steady hand heading into their 4th Pac-12 title game matchup.

Pitted against Utah in a matchup Riley says is not a “revenge game” despite the Utes’ 43-42 win in Week 7 being USC’s lone blemish, Riley is trying to make sure the Trojans are even-keeled.

“It’s just football,” he said Tuesday. “Everybody says that now, but all the games have had this much at stake on them. If you don’t win those, you’re not even playing in this one. You’re at home, getting ready to go out and recruit and the players aren’t practicing like 99 percent of the other teams out there. It’s a privilege to be able to practice right now and to have a game this week.”

Utah: Can Dalton Kincaid repeat his All-Pro performance in the title game?

The last time the Utes and Trojans met, Utah tight end Dalton Kincaid was not just the biggest factor in the game, he was the biggest benefactor of Cameron Rising’s career-best performance.

Back on Oct. 15 in the Utes’ 43-42 win, Rising had 415 yards and Kincaid had 234 of them on 16 receptions with a touchdown. For the year, Kincaid is easily Utah’s top target with 843 yards on 66 receptions with 8 touchdowns.

This time, both are a bit nicked up but should be the primary offensive focal points for the Utah attack, and Kyle Whittingham expected USC to know that.

“You would think so,” Whittingham said, according to Jeff Call of the Desert News. “If I were them and seeing what he’s done and what he did the last time we played, I’m sure they’ll have some sort of tactic to slow him down a little bit.”

Washington: Not all roses for Huskies

Headed toward a possible Rose Bowl berth, things aren’t entirely pleasant up in the Pacific Northwest.

Washington head coach Kalen DeBoer announced the indefinite suspension of sophomore Daniel Heimuli, after the 6-foot, 225-pound linebacker committed a code of conduct violation.

Heimuli had played in 7 games for the Huskies, though he did not join the team in their Apple Cup win over Washington State. DeBoer wouldn’t answer questions about Heimuli’s future on Monday.

“I don’t think it’s probably something I want to discuss right now,” said DeBoer, according to Dan Raley of Inside The Huskies. “We can discuss that when the season is completely over.”

Washington State: Jake Dickert embraces the scars

Washington took a big bite out of the Washington State defense in the Apple Cup, pummeling the Cougars to the tune of a season-high 703 yards, with star quarterback Michael Penix Jr. flexing his arm strength to the tune of 485 yards and 5 total touchdowns, including 3 passing scores.

Washington State coach Jake Dickert isn’t shying away from using the game as a learning lesson for the Cougars.

“I told them in the locker room, it should scar them,” Cougars coach Jake Dickert, according to Colton Clark of the Spokesman-Review. “It should hurt. Scars are good if you learn from them. I remember the jubilation of last year’s game. This isn’t a game that we just game plan for, for seven days. This is 365 days a year, trying to outwork an opponent.”