The Pac-12’s first week of college football was absolutely insane, and saw teams lose — or play in close games that shouldn’t have been — games. It was a good time to remember why we all love this level of competition so much, despite all of its issues.
The ugliest surprise(s) in the Pac-12 during week one play had to be the losses by Washington State and Colorado. WSU entered its game against Rutgers as eight-point favorite, and many Cougar faithful expected the Cougs to be able to cover the spread. Unfortunately for them, the defense forgot to defense, and Rutgers left Seattle, Wash. with a 41-38 victory.
Colorado’s annual rivalry game against Colorado State has been tightly contested over the last couple of seasons, but this years match-up was different. And by different, I mean that Colorado was boat-raced by its in-state rival. The Rams domination of the fourth quarter gave them the 31-17 victory.
1) Stanford Cardinal: The No. 11 Cardinal did exactly what a top-10 team in the Top-25 poll should do to a mid-major conference team, beat the living snot out of them. Stanford’s 45-0 victory over UC Davis was the result of an incredibly potent air attack that saw Stanford play all three of its QBs at some point during the game; the best numbers (of course) belonged to starting QB Kevin Hogan — he was 12/16 for 204 yards, an average of 12.8 yards per attempt, 3 TDs and 1 INT. As for the ground game, the Cardinal averaged 4.7 yards per carry (32 carries, 149 yards) and one touchdown.
2) UCLA Bruins: The No. 7 Bruins were big favorites in their trip to Charlottesville, Va. Early on, the betting line looked like it was justified as UCLA’s defense forced three turnovers and returned all three of them for touchdowns — two pick sixes and one fumble recovery. While the defense was dominating the first half, UCLA’s offense was struggling…but it didn’t really matter as the Bruins had built a 21-3 lead. Then QB Matt Johns came in for Virginia, and the Cavalier offense began to work. UCLA ended up escaping with a 28-20 victory.
3) Oregon Ducks: No. 3 Oregon took on a FCS foe when it faced South Dakota on Saturday, and the Ducks took care of business. Starting QB Marcus Mariota three TDs and ran the ball in for another one, as Oregon stomped the Coyotes; 62-13. Mariota’s incredible day through the air was matched by a balanced running attack that had all five RBs average more than six yards a carry…woah. The Ducks first test of the season will be against Michigan State on Saturday, Sept. 6th in Autzen Stadium.
4) USC Trojans: The No. 15 Trojans opened up the season against the same team they played in the 2013 Las Vegas bowl, Fresno State. New head coach Steve Sarkisian’s offense functioned as advertised as USC scored at will and put up 52-points on the Bull Dogs defense. Starting QB Kody Kessler proved why he was the obvious choice to lead the offense, as he completed 67.5%, averaged 10.6 yards per completion, and tossed four touchdowns with no interceptions.
5) Washington Huskies: New head coach Chris Petersen’s debut did not go as many Husky fans had hoped, as No. 25 Washington struggled mightily on offense in a 17-16 victory over the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors. The defense, on the other hand, was extremely effective at generating pressure all night and was the primary reason the Huskies escaped Hawaii with a win. Fortunately for Husky fans, QB Cyler Miles will be available for Washington’s game against Eastern Washington next Saturday and there is no way he can be as bad as QB Jeff Lindquist was against Hawaii…right?
6) Arizona State Sun Devils: No. 19 Arizona State started off the 2014 season with an absolute butt-whooping of an over-match Weber State. The Sun Devils controlled the game from the outset as the offense put up video game numbers, in fact the Wildcat’s defense couldn’t even stop ASU’s back-up QB. Weber State’s only points came in the third quarter (seven points) and the fourth quarter (seven points), the game — in reality — had been decided by half time.
7) Oregon State Beavers: Oh Oregon State, you’ve lost to so many FCS foes in the past that there wasn’t any surprise in the college football world that OSU was struggling against Portland State. The Beavers offense sputtered against the Vikings throughout the first half of the game, as a result Portland State took a 14-13 lead into the locker rooms. Fortunately for Oregon State fans, the Beavers offense woke-up and eventually outscored the Vikings.
Please stop this madness Beavers, the Pac-12 is begging you.
8) Arizona Wildcats: The Wildcats took on UNLV in the first game of their season, and the inexperienced Arizona offense took advantage. Despite the fact that UA is breaking in a new QB and RB, the Wildcats amassed a whooping total of 787 yards of offense and averaged 8.4 yards per play (lolwut). Head coach Rich Rodriguez, and Arizona fans, had to be pleased with the offensive showing; as the Wildcats won the game, 58-13.
9) Utah Utes: Utah’s offense was clearly energized by the return of QB Travis Wilson, as they scored 56-points. The Utes thoroughly dominated perpetual FCS tire fire Idaho State. Idaho State’s two scores came in the first, and the third quarters, thanks to two TD passes from two different QBs. But it is important to note that the Bengals aren’t a good team…period…and that a blow out win was the only exceptable result for the Utes.
10) Washington State: Rutgers wasn’t supposed to be able to score 41-points, the WSU offense was supposed to be able to out gun Gary Nova and the Scarlet Knights running attack. But that’s not what happened, now the Cougs now have to figure out how to stop the run and do it quickly. The Cougars next opponent is the Nevada Wolf Pack, a team notorious for its rushing attack out of the pistol formation *gulp*.
11) California Golden Bears: The Golden Bears trip to Evanston, Ill. was a chance for Cal fans to see if their favorite squad had improved since the last time Cal and Northwestern played. Cal outplayed the Wildcats for three-quarters, in fact the Golden Bears built a commanding 31-7 lead early on in the third quarter, but then the California’s offense and defense began to struggle…and Northwestern took advantage. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, the 24-point lead proved too much to overcome and Cal won its first game over a FBS foe since defeating Washington State in Pullman back in 2012.
12) Colorado Buffaloes: Just, ugh, no…why Colorado? Why? The Buffaloes had a three-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, but they couldn’t hold on to it…or stop the Colorado State offense at all. It was an ugly field at Invesco Field in Denver, Colo. and it could lead to another ugly season for Colorado; unless the defense (and offense) figure things out quickly.