Pac-12 gets scary after dark – Orange County Register

It’s only two weeks into the season and the catch-phrase “Pac-12 after dark” is already scaring fans brave enough to watch.

The Conference of Champions offered San Diego State pummeling Arizona State, Houston holding off Arizona and Minnesota routing Oregon State on Saturday night. All home games, by the way, for Pac-12 teams. Washington State trailed Boise State, 31-10, but came back and won in triple-overtime or the night would have been a complete embarrassment of nonconference games.

Was it just a week ago the Pac-12 went 11-0? Maybe it’s better to have late games to prevent East Coast fans from watching these performances.

At least Washington is 2-0 after playing hapless Rutgers and Montana. Next up: Fresno State. Definitely a game that should be played after dark.

This would all be funny but if enough teams are not competitive, it might hurt the conference champion’s chance of placing a team in the College Football Playoff. Washington already hurts itself enough with its weak nonconference schedule.

The looming disaster this week would be if San Diego State defeated Stanford. Imagine the Cardinal losing to the Aztecs and then upsetting Washington later this year in Palo Alto.

Quarterback U

Does it even matter who plays quarterback for Washington State as long as Mike Leach is the coach? Tyler Hilinski (Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks, Upland) replaced the injured Luke Falk and rallied the Cougars from a 21-point deficit against Boise State. Hilinski passed for 240 yards and three touchdowns.

Imagine that happening with a backup at UCLA last season or USC this season. It wouldn’t. But Leach’s system seems to make it easy for quarterbacks. Hilinski might start this week and is automatically the best No. 2 quarterback in the conference.

Big Ten vs. Oregon

When was the last time the Big Ten had two teams playing in the state of Oregon on the same day? Oregon barely held off Nebraska despite leading, 42-14. That’s what happens when you don’t score a point in the second half.

Oregon State’s season is already over after just three games. The Beavers lost to Minnesota, 48-14, in Corvallis. Maybe people are finally starting to appreciate what Mike Riley did for Oregon State.

Beavers coach Gary Andersen won at Utah State so he knows how to make more with less. Just not yet.

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