Well the first weekend of college football came and went in a flash, and what did we learn. Well we mostly learned what we already knew. USC and Oregon are going to be scary, there could be a few sleepers in the conference, and there will certainly be a few big drop offs this year. Let’s take a closer look.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way. USC is good, and they are worthy of their #1 ranking. You couldn’t have written a better beginning, as Marqise Lee took the first past of the season 75 yards to the house. Lee put up an astonishing 10 catches for 191 yards and a TD, as well as a 100 yard kickoff return for a TD. Lee could be the first legitimate threat at kickoff return since Reggie Bush for USC, and that could be a huge x factor. The defense looked good but was mostly untested, so it’s tough to put much value into that. Their first big test should come against Stanford in two weeks, but Syracuse did show that they could put some points up too.
Also, Oregon looks decent too. They put up 50 points against Arkansas State…..in the first half. They put in their reserves in the second half, and despite being outscored 24-7, still won the game with ease. This does show us though that Oregon’s bench is weak. If they suffer a big injury on either side of the ball, the Ducks could be in hot water. The Ducks start off with one of the softest first half schedules you will ever see, but their last few games could be tough.
A few teams struggled mightily in their openers. Stanford jumpd out to a 14-0 lead against San Jose State, but barely held on after that, winning 20-17. The same happened for Washington, as they started out up 14-o on SDSU before winning 21-12. And Arizona was barely able to squeak by Toledo at home.
Arizona State, UCLA, and Utah all scored blowout victories, but they were against bad teams, so we can’t put much into those. I was probably impressed most by UCLA, as I didn’t think that they could score 49 points against anyone, so good for them for kicking Rice’s ass.
Ok on to the big disappointments. Colorado started the season against their in state rival Colorado State, and they suffered an embarassing 22-17 home loss to a team that went 3-10 last year. Not a great start for the Buffalo there. But the biggest disappointment was easily Cal, who fell in their home opener to Nevada. The Golden Bears fell into a 14-0 hole, and couldn’t climb out of that. Cal always seems to be the team that can be great, but never reaches that potential, and it looks like they aren’t even good enough to warrant that thought this year. Could be a long year for Cal fans. And Washington State got thumped by BYU. Not a big shocker there.
Now let’s look forward to next week. The first matchup that pops up is Washington at #3 LSU. I’d love for the Huskies to pull off the ginormous upset, but I’d be surprised if this was less then a two possession game in LSU’s favor. Oregon State will make their debut at home vs #12 Wisconsin after having their game against Nicholls State postponed. I don’t think the Beavers have much of a change, but perhaps the Badgers will be thrown off by the weather and crowd noise.
Arizona has quite the tall task on their hands as well. They will welcome Oklahoma State to the desert, and they will be bringing an 84 point offense with them. Arizona barely beat Toledo at home, so year, this one probably won’t be close. The same goes for UCLA. Getting a blowout over Rice is one thing. Trying to beat #17 Nebraska is another. If the offense can stay hot, they may have a chance. But I don’t think the defense is up to snuff.
Last game to take note of is a battle of big conference mid levels teams, as Arizona State takes on Illinois. This is a nice inter-conference battle to start the year, and I like Arizona State to pull off a good win for the conference. Every other team in the Pac-12 has easy games that shouldn’t bring them any trouble. But you never know, on any given Saturday!
What were your thoughts on the Pac-12 opening week? Is USC your favorite to win it all? Let us know in the comments!