Pac-12 Football: Week 12 Predictions

18 11 2010

Week 11 delivered more exciting story lines with Cal players faking injuries like WWE superstars, Chip Kelly getting frustrated with sideline reporters, and Auburn’s Cam Newton still collecting cash payments to play at Auburn.

Cal’s marketing department had a brilliant strategy this past weekend. They convinced all the hippies in Berkeley that they were having a prop 19 rally at the stadium and when they showed up to the football game they spewed their venomous chants at the Oregon Ducks and almost guided their team to the upset. The infamous New York Jets reporter Ines Sainz is all-in on the Ducks this year and she loves the highlighter jerseys.

It’s safe to say that Arizona’s performance this year parallels the premature ejaculation that affects 25-40% of men in the United States. Getting revenge against Iowa, climbing to the top ten in the rankings, and now finding themselves on a 2 game skid in November leaves their gorgeous coeds as disappointed as they are in the bedroom.

Oregon State has been relegated to the doormat of the conference after getting thumped by Washington State this past weekend. The Cougs haven’t won a conference game since 2007 and there’s nothing more embarrassing than having the loss come on your home turf. Everybody should take home a cougar this week and show them some love.

On to the games

UCLA at Washington: This is a must win for both teams if they want to make it to a bowl game. If the faculty and fans  show up with the same energy that they’ve expressed about the parking and traffic situation on a busy Thursday in Seattle then the fans should be a factor in the game. Gore-Tex 27 – Flip Flops 20

Utah at San Diego State: Utah felt the wrath of Jesus at Notre Dame last week while San Diego State gave TCU all they could handle. Which Indian tribe will go Apacalypto on the other? Utes 28 – Aztecs 24

USC at Oregon State: Lots of double entendres when the Beavers and Trojans face off this weekend, but I’ll let your imaginations run wild with it. I’m guessing the Beavs were looking ahead to this weekend, but they love crapping on USC when they come to town. Beavers 27 – Trojans 24

Stanford at Cal: Cal fans took over Stanford’s stadium last year after upsetting them in Palo Alto, and look for them to rejoice again in Strawberry Canyon. Mike Mohamed and Mychal Kendricks will be all over Andrew Luck and the Bears come away victorious 24 – 20

2010 Prediction Record 61-19

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2010 Midseason All Pac-12 Team

18 10 2010

Time for our first annual Mid-Season team and you can already see some shakeups from our preseason team, most notably Jake Locker getting cut from the team. Locker’s numbers would probably look better if Jermaine Kearse didn’t lead the Pac in drops with 9, but you take the good with the bad and he’s been productive when he holds onto the ball. The tight ends in the conference haven’t been used as much as they have in the past, but Coby Feleener of Stanford has been consistent catching the ball and solid in run blocking.

1st Team

Offense

QB Andrew Luck Stanford
RB LaMichael James Oregon
RB Shane Vereen Cal
WR Juron Criner Arizona
WR Jermaine Kearse Washington
TE Coby Fleener Stanford
OL Bo Thran Oregon
OL Adam Grant Arizona
OL David DeCastro Stanford
OL Butch Lewis USC
OL Ryan Taylor UCLA

Perhaps the biggest surprise on the first team defense is the freshman Justin Washington making the team. He benefits from playing alongside two of the best defensive ends with Brooks Reed and Ricky Elmore, but he’s taken advantage of his opportunities. Mason Foster will lead the conference in tackles this year, because the Husky defense will struggle to get off the field, but Akeem Ayers plays a bigger role in the success of UCLA. Sophomore Cliff Harris of the Oregon Ducks leads the conference with 4 interceptions and has a couple punt returns for touchdown this year so he makes the list as a corner back and punt returner.

Defense

DL Brooks Reed Arizona
DL Jurrell Casey USC
DL Justin Washington Arizona
DL Kenny Rowe Oregon
OLB Mason Foster Washington
MLB Vontaze Burfict Arizona St
OLB Akeem Ayers UCLA
CB Cliff Harris Oregon
CB James Dockery Oregon St
S Rahim Moore UCLA
S TJ McDonald USC
PR Cliff Harris Oregon
KR Travis Cobb Arizona

For the 2nd team, Matt Barkley got the nod over Nick Foles. Barkley has been impressive in his last few games and absolutely torched a solid Cal defense yesterday. Leaving JacQuizz Rodgers off the list might surprise some people, but he just hasn’t produced like the team needs him to. Part of the problem is the offensive line and combined with an inconsistent passing game, opposing defenses can stack the box. Robert Woods makes the list over his teammate Ronald Johnson and he’s quickly becoming one of the top wide receivers of the conference.

2nd Team

Offense

QB Matt Barkley USC
RB Johnathan Franklin UCLA
FB Stanley Havili USC
WR Jeff Maehl Oregon
WR Robert Woods USC
TE Joe Halahuni Oregon St
OL Zane Taylor Utah
OL Carson York Oregon
OL Chase Beeler Stanford
OL Mitchell Schwartz Cal
OL Colin Baxter Arizona

2nd Team Defense

DL Ricky Elmore Arizona
DL Brandon Bair Oregon
DL Travis Long WSU
MLB Shane Skov Stanford
MLB Mychal Kendricks Cal
MLB Casey Matthews Oregon
OLB Sean Westgate UCLA
CB Omar Bolden Arizona St
CB Darian Hagan Cal
S Delano Howell Stanford
S Lance Mitchell Oregon St
PR Ronald Johnson USC
KR Kyle Middlebrooks ASU

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NASPAQ : Pac-12 Stock Report – Week 6

12 10 2010

At the midway point of the season we can now see that 9 teams will be competitive in the conference this season. Although Washington State is making great strides, they’re still a year away from winning a couple games in conference play.

Quarterbacks

According to Chinese Zodiac week six is the week of the quarterback and based on the performances this week that holds true. Ryan Katz (KATZ) had his coming out party by torching the Arizona defense with the long-ball and an accurate, strong-armed, intermediate passing game. The Beaver quarterback finished the day with 22 completions on 31 passes for 393 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. We thought that Katz would struggle after James Rodgers (JROD) went out with an injury, but he didn’t miss a beat. Every year Oregon State gets blown off the line of the race to the championship, but Mike Riley is a long-strider that picks up his pace in conference play.

The top three quarterbacks of the NASPAQ all had big days. Nick Foles (FOLE) threw 35 of 46 for 440 yards with 3 touchdowns, one interception. In Palo Alto Stanford’s Andrew Luck (Luck) (20-24, 285 yards, 3TD’s) and USC’s Matt Barkley (BARK) (28-45, 390 yards, 3TD’s) saw two of the worst secondaries in the country and capitalized on their opportunities. This game felt like the last team with the ball would win the game, and for the second straight week USC went down to a game winning field goal. If you’re a fan of big time passing games, then the other Bay Area game between UCLA and Cal would have put you to sleep. Kevin Riley (RILE) just hasn’t made the improvements he needed to this season and Kevin Prince (PRNC) has a lot under achieving potential at wide receiver.

Team Symbol Δ Δ% Total
Andrew Luck Stanford LUCK ↑ 25 16% $175.00
Nick Foles Arizona FOLE ↑ 20 14% $160.00
Matt Barkley USC BARK ↑ 20 15% $150.00
Jake Locker UW LOCK ↑ 10 10% $110.00
Jordan Wynn Utah WYNN ↑ 10 15% $75.00
Kevin Riley Cal RILE ↓5 7% $65.00
Darron Thomas Oregon DARR ↑ 10 18% $65.00
Tyler Hansen Col HANS ↑ 5 11% $50.00
Ryan Katz UCLA PRNC ↑ 25 100% $50.00
Jeff Tuel WSU TUEL ↑ 5 14% $40.00
Steven Threet ASU THRE ↑ 15 300% $20.00
Kevin Prince OSU KATZ ↓10 40% $15.00

Running Backs

With all the great performances we saw at quarterback this week one would expect the running back numbers to drop, but the top three guys keep on going over the 100 yard mark. It should be noted that no roster has both a top three quarterback and running back on their roster. LaMichael James (LMJ) continues to set the pace each week and playing Washington State was another opportunity for him to climb on the Heisman ballots. James had 142 yards and 2 TD’s on 25 carries and added an 84 yard touchdown reception on a wheel roue where he blew right by the defending linebacker. Shane Vereen (VERE) had almost identical rushing numbers with 25 rushes for 151 yards and 2 TD’s against the Bruins. A surprisingly poor performance came from USC’s tandem of Allen Bradford (BRAD) and Marc Tyler (MARC). The duo combined for 16 carries and 44 yards. Kiffin has always favored the passing game, but their offensive line is stacked with five star offensive lineman and they’re not running the ball with consistent success.

Team Symbol Δ Δ% Total
JacQuizz Rodgers OSU JQR ↑ 5 4% $130.00
LaMichael James Oregon LMJ ↑ 10 6% $160.00
Shane Vereen Cal VERE ↑ 10 10% $105.00
Chris Polk UW POLK ↑ 5 5% $90.00
Johnathan Franklin UCLA FRNK ↓10 20% $40.00
Allen Bradford USC BRAD ↓5 11% $40.00
Stepfan Taylor Stanford STEP ↑ 5 20% $30.00
Deantre Lewis ASU DEAN ↓10 28% $25.00
Kenjon Barner Oregon BARN ↓10 40% $15.00
Nic Grigsby Arizona GRIG ↓5 40% $15.00
Marc Tyler USC MARC ↓10 40% $15.00
Derrick Coleman UCLA COLE ↓10 40% $15.00
Cameron Marshall ASU MRSH ↓10 50% $10.00

Wide Receivers

For the second straight week the highest wide receiver stock has moved around on the NASPAQ. Juron Criner (CRIN) took back his number one position with a 12 catch 179 yard, 1 TD performance and former #1 – Jermaine Kearse (JERM), has been battling drop like symptoms the past few weeks. True freshman Robert Woods (WOOD) had the best game of the year for Pac-12 receivers with his 12 reception 224 yard, 3 touchdown performance. Perhaps even more impressive than his numbers is that the majority of the youngster’s yards came against Stanford’s senior corner back- Richard Sherman. The Ducks Jeff Maehl (MAEL) also had a big game with ten receptions for 119 yards and a TD.

Team Symbol Δ Δ% Total
Juron Criner Arizona CRIN ↑ 15 21% $85.00
Ronald Johnson USC ROJO ↑ 5 7% $70.00
James Rodgers OSU JROD ↑ 5 7% $70.00
Jeff Maehl Oregon MAEL ↑ 15 27% $70.00
Jermaine Kearse UW JERM ↓10 13% $65.00
Robert Woods USC WOOD ↑ 30 100% $60.00
Marvin Jones Cal MARV ↑ 10 22% $55.00
Doug Baldwin Stanford BALD ↑ 20 80% $45.00
Devin Aguilar UW AGUI $25.00
D. Christopher Utah DEVO ↑ 10 66% $25.00
Jared Karstetter WSU KARS ↑ 5 25% $25.00
Keenan Allen Cal KEEN ↑ 5 33% $20.00
David Ausberry USC BERY ↓10 50% $10.00

Defensive Players Market

Our top defensive player, Akeem Ayers (AYER) finally saw his stock take a hit  with only three tackles in the loss at Cal, but the other two UCLA linebackers (Westgate & Larimore) combined for 21 tackles. The biggest defensive star in the game just happened to be on Cal’s roster as Darian Hagan (HAGN) had five tackles, two sacks, and an interception to be the conference’s defensive player of the week.  Delano Howell (HOWL) at Stanford was jarring the ball out of receivers hands and forced a fumble. While the USC defense looked terrible, at least their cheerleaders destroyed the Stanford cheerleaders. If Stanford has another game on TV this year I think their coeds might crack my television set.

Symbol Δ Δ% Total
Akeem Ayers UCLA AYER ↓5 4% $120
Rahim Moore UCLA MOOR ↑ 5 5% $105
Mason Foster UW FOST ↑ 10 10% $105
Jurrell Casey USC CASE ↑ 5 5% $100
Omar Bolden Arizona St BOLD ↑ 5 11% $100
Vontaze Burfict Arizona St BURF ↓5 5% $95
Casey Matthews Oregon MATT ↑ 10 11% $95
Kenny Rowe Oregon ROWE ↑ 5 $90
Stephen Paea Oregon St PAEA ↓5 5% $85
Mike Mohamed Cal MIKE ↑ 5 6% $85
Brooks Reed Arizona REED ↑ 5 6% $85
Mychal Kendricks Cal MYCH ↑ 5 6% $80
Delano Howell Stanford HOWL ↑ 15 23% $80
Trevin Wade Arizona WADE ↓5 6% $75
Tony Dye UCLA DYE ↑ 5 7% $75
Spencer Paysinger Oregon PAYS ↑ 5 7% $75
James Dockery Oregon St DOCK ↑ 5 7% $70
Darian Hagan Cal HAGN ↑ 20 40% $70
Cliff Harris Oregon CLIF ↑ 10 18% $65
Malcolm Smith USC SMIT ↓5 9% $50
Shane Skov Stanford SKOV ↑ 10 25% $50
TJ McDonald USC TJMC ↓5 10% $45
Owen Maracic Stanford OWEN ↑ 5 12% $45
Richard Sherman Stanford THOM ↓10 20% $40
DJ Holt Cal HOLT $25
Michael Thomas Stanford THOM ↑ 5 25% $25
Patrick Larimore UCLA LARI ↑ 5 25% $25

Defensive Units

You know how the saying goes when you face the pistol, “You shoot me once, shame on you, you shoot me twice…..” well the Bears weren’t fooled this time. After giving up nearly five hundred yards to Nevada they held UCLA to a paltry 144 total yards and only 26 yards on the ground. Mychal Kendricks was outstanding at linebacker for the Bears and he’s now tied for the most sacks in the conference with 4. In the USC vs Stanford game both teams looked like they were playing touch football in the secondary. The Trojans are athletic, but undisciplined and lack fundamentals in their tackling. As previously discussed about Stanford, they are slow and with the exception of Delano Howell, they’re poor tacklers. Arizona State had the best defensive performance going on the road and shutting down the Husky offense. Holding Jake Locker to just 14 points at home is impressive and Vontaze Burfict seems like he got the message of cutting back on his penalties, but that could be because he played less. And although she’s not in any UCLA apparel, we need more Rachel Lorraine.

Symbol Δ Δ% Total
Oregon Defense ORED ↓ 5 4% $120
Arizona Defense ARID ↓ 10 11% $75
Utah Defense UTAD ↑ 5 6% $85
ASU Defense ASUD ↑ 15 18% $95
Cal Defense CALD ↑ 20 30% $85
USC Defense USCD ↓ 5 8% $55
Stanford Defense STAD ↓ 5 8% $55
UCLA Defense UCLD ↓ 5 16% $50
OSU Defense OSUD ↑ 5 11% $50
Colorado Defense COLD ↓ 5 12% $35
UW Defense UWD ↓ 5 12% $35

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Pac-12 – Week 2 Players of the Week

14 09 2010

Another glorious Saturday of college football and the Pac-12 taking care of business. Oregon gave Tennessee a Pac-12 shocker that was felt through SEC country. UCLA looked lost offensively, USC can’t seem to play a complete game yet, and U-Dubb quarterback Jake Locker looked like the guy that received some Heisman hype before the season.

Jake Locker played an efficient game and even more importantly led his team to victory. The Huskies were down 10-zip before Locker started finding his rhythm and completed 22 of 33 passes for 289 yards and four touchdowns. His favorite target was Jermaine Kearse who was the recipient of 9 passes for 179 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Another player that I was extremely impressed with was Darron Thomas of the Oregon Ducks. His 17 of 32 passing for 202 yards won’t blow you away, but he was in a hostile environment and didn’t turn the ball over. He had some help out of his backfield with LaMichael James stealing the spotlight back from Kenjon Barner by running for 134 yards on 16 carries. His 72 yard run not only gave Oregon the lead, it was probably the best play of the weekend.

There were a couple other players that stepped up big time this weekend, but I prefer the two defensive performances from the Bay Area teams. Cal harassed Colorado quarterback Tyler Hansen to the tune of six sacks and 3 interceptions, and a fumble. The defense scored two touchdowns with one coming on an 82 yard fumble recovery that popped right into the hands of senior corner back Darian Hagan. When I highlighted a strength of the Cal Bears in the off-season I mentioned Mike Mohamed and Mychal Kendricks, the two combined for 25 tackles, an interception returned for a touchdown, a fumble recovery, 3 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks.

Stanford’s defense was even more impressive by posting a shutout of the UCLA Bruins in the Rose Bowl. Playing on the road in the Pac-12 is difficult, but shutouts are more rare than a perfect game in baseball. The Cardinal held the Bruins to only 233 yards of offense and Michael Thomas spearheaded the effort by collecting five tackles, forcing two fumbles and returning one of them for a 21 yard touchdown to blow the game open to 28-0. My research team told me that it was nearly impossible to find a picture of a good looking girl wearing Stanford apparel, but here is the one bright spot for them.

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Pac-10 Blue Chip Team Scores

11 08 2010

I had a lot of trouble with the formatting of this article, so I just had to put the information into excel and made some jpeg files out of the information which look blurry on the blog, but will be clear if you click on them. Mike Lombardi came up with this blue-chip formula to determine how much talent is on each team in the NFL, but I only follow former Pac-10 players and wanted to see how our conference would look applying the same scoring system. The outside linebackers account for 2.5 more points than the middle linebackers, which makes sense for the NFL where most teams are using a 3-4 defense, but the majority of teams in college are still using a four man front and the middle linebacker can impact the game more than an outside linebacker – think Casey Matthews of Oregon and Vontaze Burfict of ASU. I was also concerned that the red chip secondary players received the same 7.5 points as the blue chip players. There are many talented players in the NFL secondaries, but in college there aren’t that many cornerbacks and safeties that would make as big of an impact as many of the blue chip players at other positions.

Arizona has a total of 80 points with a good mix of offensive and defensive players, with points coming from both the skill positions and in the trenches. Arizona State only has 30 points with 22.5 of those coming from the defensive side of the ball, so don’t expect them to be lighting up the scoreboard any time soon. Cal surprised me with 82 points, but Tedford has recruited as well as any coach in the conference not named Pete Carroll.
Arizona Points Arizona St Points Cal Points
Nick Foles 12.5 Lawrence Guy 7.5 Mitchell Schwartz 10
Adam Grant 10 Vontaze Burfict 7.5 Cameron Jordan 10
Ricky Elmore 10 Omar Bolden 7.5 Anthony Miller 7.5
Juron Criner 7.5 Thomas Weber 7.5 Matt Summers-Gavin 7.5
Colin Baxter 7.5 Mike Mohamed 7.5
Trevin Wade 7.5 Bryan Anger 7.5
Robert Golden 7.5 Mychal Kendricks 7.5
James Brooks 7.5 Sean Cattouse 7.5
Nic Grigsby 5 Kevin Riley 7
Shane Vereen 5
Marvin Jones 5
Chris Guarnero 5
Derrick Hill 5
Oregon brings 82.5 points with strength in the trenches. I think Casey Matthews is more valuable to their defense than the 7.5 points he’s allotted, but Paysinger received a higher rating in the formula and evened out the same number of points I would have given them combined. Oregon State has a lot of skill players, but without much depth in the trenches their team only accounts for 55 points so this tells me that they should be relying on the big plays this season. Stanford brings almost all of their 67.5 points on the offensive side of the ball. Chris Owusu probably would have made the list as the next red-chip wide receiver, but he gets 7.5 points for his kick return abilities.

Oregon Points Oregon St Points Stanford Points
Bo Thran 10 JacQuizz Rodgers 7.5 Andrew Luck 12.5
Kenny Rowe 10 James Rodgers 7.5 David DeCastro 7.5
Spencer Paysinger 10 Joe Halahuni 7.5 Chris Owusu 7.5
LaMichael James 7.5 Stephen Paea 7.5 Chase Beeler 7.5
Carson York 7.5 Lance Mitchell 7.5 Delondo Howell 7.5
Casey Matthews 7.5 Justin Kahut 7.5 Ryan Whalen 5
John Boyett 7.5 Michael Philipp 5 Jonathan Martin 5
Talmadge Jackson 7.5 Alex Linnekohl 5 Owen Maracic 5
Jeff Maehl 5 Andrew Phillips 5
Mark Asper 5 Shane Skov 5
Brandon Bair 5

UCLA will be carried by their defense and special teams this year, but that’s two thirds of the game so maybe they’ll do better than the 8th place finish the media projected them for. Still, they are only bringing 45 points to the table and having a kicker be the most dangerous weapon on your offense is never a good sign. USC is stocked with talent throughout the roster so it’s no surprise that they are the Leader of the Pac with 84 points in the blue chip scoring. The Washington Huskies totaled 42.5 points and will be relying on a strong passing game to win some games for them, but there’s not much talent on the offensive or defensive lines.

UCLA Points USC Points Washington Points
Akeem Ayers 10 Tyron Smith 10 Jake Locker 12.5
Kai Forbath 7.5 Butch Lewis 7.5 Mason Foster 10
Rahim Moore 7.5 Kris O’Dowd 7.5 Desmond Trufant 7.5
Jeff Locke 7.5 Jurrell Casey 7.5 Jermaine Kearse 7.5
Sheldon Price 7.5 Shareece Wright 7.5 Chris Polk 5
Nelson Rosario 5 Malcolm Smith 7.5
Michael Morgan 7.5
Matt Barkley 7
Nick Perry 7
Ronald Johnson 5
Stanley Havili 5
Chris Galippo 5

Here’s all of the team points in alphabetical order and these are pretty consistent with my conference predictions which were posted a month ago.

Points
Arizona 80
ASU 30
Cal 82
Oregon 82.5
Oregon State 55
Stanford 67.5
UCLA 45
USC 84
Washington 42.5

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Middle of the Pac

20 06 2010

This part of the conference is completely interchangeable, but for the sake of the imaginary conference playoffs that are to follow the rankings, we must have order.

#8 Arizona Wildcats

Returning Starters – Offense 9, Defense 4, punter/kicker 2

Strength – Defensive End – Ricky Elmore tied for the conference lead in sacks at 11.5 and Brooks Reed has 10.5 career sacks. The Wildcats will need them to pressure the QB with the departure of all three starting LB’s.

Weakness – Linebacker – This is a complete unknown for this team and after researching their depth chart I’m pretty sure the coaches just used a random name generator to fill out the depth chart. Arizona is relying on a couple of JUCO transfers to come in and compete for playing time, which is never a good sign.

#7 Stanford Cardinal

Returning Starters Offense 8, Defense 7, punter/kicker 2

Strength – A little Luck – Mel Kiper already has Andrew Luck as the #2 player on his big board, and for good reason. Luck is a cerebral passer with great accuracy and descent arm strength.

Weakness – Running Back – The three guys that backed up Gerhart last year combined for 497 yards rushing and 5TD’s, but there’s bound to be a drop off losing the Pac-10’s Offensive Player of the Year. They have a strong offensive led by Chase Beeler who was 2nd team All-Pac 10.

#6 Washington Huskies

Returning Starters – Offense 9, Defense 7, punter/kicker 2

Strength – QB – Jake Locker made tremendous strides under first year coach Steve Sarkisian and with that same progression this year he’s likely to end up a top 10 draft pick.

Weakness – Defense – This team’s best defense will be its offense. Their top two defenders, Donald Butler and Daniel Te’o-Nesheim were both selected in the third round of the 2010 NFL draft #79 and #86 overall respectively.  They are particularly weak in the front seven, but the one bright spot is their defensive coordinator, Nick Holt, who provides comic relief with his roid-rages on the sidelines every game.

#5 Cal Bears

Returning Starters – Offense 8, Defense 6, punter/kicker 2

Strength – Mike & Mych- Mike Mohamed and Mychal Kendricks. Kendricks was leading the nation in tackles three games into the season before he suffered a shoulder injury, and Mohamed led the conference in tackles last year at 111. These two should be one of the top tackling tandems in the Pac-12 this year.

Weakness – Secondary – Maybe Kevin Riley would display more consistency if he was playing his games against the Cal secondary every week. This unit finished 111th in the nation in total pass defense giving up 266 yards per game. The Bears will need to replace two starters in the secondary including their two-time All-Pac 10 CB Syd Thompson. Three secondary positions remain unfilled heading into the Fall.

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