Photo Credit: Grant Halverson/Getty Images – SF Gate
Justin Wilcox took his squad all took his team all the way to Chapel Hill, N.C. and upended the Tarheels 35-30 in his head coaching debut.
Ross Bowers quickly showed off why Wilcox and Beau Baldwin are handing the offense to a true sophomore. Bowers is surprisingly mobile, which he used to make a play…even as the pocket collapsed around him — such as when he hit Patrick Laird for an 8-yard wheel route, which Laird took the remaining 46-yards to the house. The product of Bothell, Wash. finished the day with 24 completions on 38 attempts for 363 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions.
Defensively, the Golden Bears still are facing a talent gap up front; UNC was able to average 4.8 yards per carry and roll up 219 yards on the ground. But they’re secondary proved to be surprisingly stout against an aggressive Tarheel passing attack; North Carolina completed 25 of 44 passes for 221 yards (5 yards per attempt) with one touchdown and two interceptions.
With the Golden Bears victory over UNC, the conference went undefeated in week one of college football. So let’s take a look at our Pac-12 Power Rankings (reminder: these are cumulative, so team’s will move up and down from where they are in the rankings this week).
1) Washington Huskies: While the Huskies offensive line was clearly dominated by Rutgers’ defensive line, and that led to poor Jake Browning getting drilled on a couple of occasions.
If Washington’s o-line is going to be an issue, it could be a disappointing season on montlake.
2) Stanford Cardinal: Stanford’s bye week came in week one after they beat up on hapless Rice in week zero. Bryce Love looks like the real deal at running back, which is great news for Keller Chryst as he did not look completely recovered from his pre-season injury.
3) USC Trojans: USC overwhelmed an experienced Western Michigan squad in the last eight minutes of their game on Saturday. But the Trojans pulled away at the end to pick up an 18-point win.
4) Washington State Cougars: The stupid FCS streak is finally over. Washington State won its first opening day game since 2011…when Jeff Tuel broke his collarbone.
5) Colorado Buffaloes: The Buffs survived a tough match-up against their in-state rival Colorado State. Neither team scored in the second half, but it didn’t matter as Colorado scored all it needed to in the first quarter.
6) Utah Utes: The Utes offense took a quarter to get rolling, but once they did they put on quite a show against an overmatched a North Dakota squad.
7) Oregon Ducks: Oregon’s offense looked like Oregon’s offense in Willie Taggart’s debut as they rolled up 703 yards and 77 points against their not so good FCS opponent. The defensive line struggled to get pressure against Southern Utah, but the Ducks won in a route…so who cares?
8) California Golden Bears: A road trip to the east coast is a difficult task, especially with an afternoon start time. But they pulled off a great victory on the road to start off their season and Wilcox’s campaign.
9) UCLA Bruins: After starting slow, the Bruins scored 35 unanswered points to come back and beat Texas A&M in Westwood. Josh Rosen looked sharp at times, but he’s still getting comfortable with the offense as they start their second season Jeff Fisch.
10) Arizona State Sun Devils: New Mexico State is a bad independent FBS team that hung in against a talented, but not well coached, Sun Devils squad. It could be a long season for Todd Graham’s squad.
11) Arizona Wildcats: The Wildcats annihilated Northern Arizona in explosive fashion. Arizona’s defense continues to be an area of concern as the Cats allowed 6.1 yards per play against a not particularly good FCS squad.
12) Oregon State Beavers: An embarrassing loss to Colorado State in week zero, was followed up by a narrow victory over Portland State in week one. Gary Anderson’s squad has too many question marks in its defense to be considered a serious threat in conference this season.