Here is the latest Pac-12 Conference sports news from The Associated Press

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UNDATED (AP) — The Pac-12 could get a clear front-runner or the conference race could get even more muddled after Thursday's game between No. 16 Colorado and No. 17 Oregon. The Buffaloes lead the Pac-12 at 8-3 and the Ducks are a half-game back at 7-4. Colorado is atop the Pac-12 for the first time since 2012 and has its highest ranking since 2014. The Ducks have been ranked 15 straight weeks, the program’s second-longest streak since being in the AP Top 25 19 straight weeks from 2016-17.

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — The Colorado Buffaloes are scrambling to fill the void left after Mel Tucker surprisingly bolted for Michigan State. Tucker recruited a strong class to Boulder and the mission now is to keep them in the fold. Athletic director Rick George named assistant head coach Darrin Chiaverini as the interim coach with spring practice looming. George has started a search to find a permanent head coach for a school that has spent nearly three decades trying to recapture the glory of its 1990 national title.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Southern California has hired Sean Snyder as its special teams coordinator and Donte Williams as its cornerbacks coach and defensive pass game coordinator. The 50-year-old Snyder has spent the past 26 years working in several jobs at Kansas State, where his father, Bill, was the longtime head coach. Williams spent the last two seasons as the cornerbacks coach at Oregon, where he earned a reputation as one of the West Coast's top recruiters, particularly in his native Los Angeles area.

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Payton Pritchard considered making the jump to the NBA last season but decided to wrap up his career at Oregon. He has now set several career records for the Ducks but he says he's still got some work to do. Pritchard wants to help the Ducks build on the success they had in going to the Sweet 16 last season. No. 17 Oregon faces a big test Thursday against No. 16 Colorado.

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan State has hired coach Mel Tucker away from Colorado to lead its football program. The Buffaloes gave Tucker a shot to run a program a little more than a year ago after he was Georgia's defensive coordinator. They were 5-7 last season. Tucker succeeds Mark Dantonio, the school's all-time winningest coach. Dantonio retired less than two weeks ago. Tucker has ties to Michigan State, where he was on Nick Saban's staff two decades ago. He went on to work in the NFL and for major programs in college football.

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