All hail the Pacific-12 Conference, fresh off an 11-0 weekend.
And just how good were the opponents? None was ranked. Five were from the lower-division FCS. Almost none was impressive. Washington did not rout Rutgers. USC struggled with Western Michigan. UCLA needed a quarterback injury to beat Texas A&M.
“In general we’re off to a good start,” Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said at the Rose Bowl on Sunday.
Was Scott referring to Oregon State needing a touchdown with 1:08 left to defeat Portland State, 35-32? Arizona State holding off New Mexico State, 37-31?
The Conference of Champions is 12-1 overall (Oregon State lost to Colorado State in Week 0) but let’s see what happens when the schedules get a little harder.
Here’s a breakdown the good, the bad and the rarely discussed:
Happiest team of Week 1
They must be celebrating in Pullman after Washington State defeated Montana State, 31-0. This was the defining game of the season. Why? The Cougars were 0-5 in openers under Coach Mike Leach, including two losses to Big Sky Conference teams. It’s all downhill from here for the Cougars.
Second-happiest team of Week 1
Cal upset North Carolina in Chapel Hill, 35-30, which probably brought a half-smile to often stoic Bears coach Justin Wilcox in his debut. There is a theory in coaching circles that Wilcox might succeed because he works better with less-hyped players. His methods certainly didn’t work as USC’s defensive coordinator but he is off to a flying start at Cal.
Maybe the biggest difference is the Bears actually care about their defense. Well, at least enough to allow five fewer points than it scored against North Carolina.
Can’t Win U.
Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez could not even celebrate his 62-24 victory over Northern Arizona or rushing for 506 yards. Because at the same time, the Wildcats’ top commitment, defensive tackle Josh Walker, announced he decommitted. Maybe Walker realized Rodriguez might not even be his coach next season.
The hurry-up defense
Arizona State allowed New Mexico State to pass for 398 yards, proving it can still give up points as fast as it scores them. What happens when the Sun Devils face a real team? This game did little to determine if Coach Todd Graham keeps his job past the season.
A nice, boring victory
Colorado must be thrilled with its 17-3 victory over rival Colorado State. The Buffaloes didn’t lose. Nothing dramatic happened. This is exactly the kind of game Colorado lost when it was routinely…