Pac 12 Sightlines: Week 3

MADISON, WI - SEPTEMBER 10: Sean Mannion #4 of the Oregon State Beavers is sacked by the Wisconsin Badgers. The Beavs get a week off. They need it if for no other reason than to let that QB controversy fester. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Week 2 is in the books and we can all now acknowledge that those things that we all felt would be certainties certainly turned out to be certainties.  For example, I think we all knew USC was going to beat Utah.  They did.  We all knew for sure that Oregon was going to smack the Wolfpack.  They did.  We saw in our collective mind's eye the Wildcat meltdown even before Mike Stoops did.  They did.  We had a premonition that Crazi would say something crazy and that Bugs would say something, well, dodgy.  They did.  And now we march on to Week 3 with the Pac 12 starting to come into focus a little more, but with plenty of sightlines yet to be observed.

Colorado at Colorado State

This is an important rivalry game for our new friends to the East.  They go into it with an 0-2 record and some questions surrounding the effectiveness of their offensive line.  Tyler Hansen has already shown that he belongs as a starting Pac 12 QB and there is no denying that all of us had our eyes opened to Paul Richardson following his Player of the Week performance against Cal.  However, I find myself wondering what ever happened to Rodney Stewart.  The Senior RB has just 125 yards over the last two games with a per carry average of less than 3.  Can he get it back on track against a rival that he has owned in the past?  He's my sightline for Week 3.

Texas at UCLA

The Weasel-mobile is just about out of gas.  Mack Brown brings in a Texas team that was downright embarrassed by UCLA last season en route to his worst season at Texas.  Think of it like losing a pessimism contest to PurpleDawg.  That bad.  Bruin Nation is ardent in their love for all things Rick, but the rumbling you've been feeling from down south isn't the San Andreas fault line (at least, not yet).  My sightilne for Week 3 is the Bruin Nation blog.  If UCLA gets stomped, will they finally succumb to the curse of the Gekko and completely melt down or will they simply revolt, turn coats and eat their young as most rabid fan bases should?

Missouri St at Oregon

Oregon gets another patsy to beat on in an effort to rekindle the Heisman hopes of LaMichael James.  There isn't much interesting going on in this matchup.  Oregon is playing angry right now - and rightfully so given the absolute lack of respect that the national media has given them.  That said, my lack of respect for Chip Kelly will endure as long as the degenerate Kiko Alonso still has a place on this team.  Think of all the other players that have been dismissed or served longer suspensions for crimes much less serious that Kiko's.  My sightline is Chip Kelly and, specifically, a focus on whatever charming words he has for the media this week, especially any bullshit defense that he might spew on behalf of Alonso.

Presbyterian at Cal

Presbyterian's nickname is the Blue Hose.  I don't know anything about them.  I'll be watching to make sure that nobody dies.  Literally.

Washington St at San Diego St

As is normally the case, the long commute and inclement weather has caused WSU to be late to another party as the rest of the conference held Measuring Stick Saturday last week.  No matter.  This week WSU will get tested with some decent competition and we will learn a lot about what this team is.  Believe it or not, WSU leads the entire nation in scoring offense.  Read that again.  They are #1 in the nation.  That includes Oregon.  That includes Oklahoma St.  That includes South Carolina.  That includes Baylor.  #1.  And they've done it with a balanced attack.  Marshall Lobbestael is the #3 rated passer in the nation (Keith Price is #13, Andrew Luck is #20) and four different receivers, including stars Marquess Wilson and Jared Karstetter, have caught two TDs apiece.  These guys are rolling.  But they are rolling into San Diego to play a team that has, so far been stingy against the pass and limited their opponents to an average of 20 points a game.  My sightline is on the WSU receiving corps.  Can they keep playing at a high level, making the Lobster look good and creating room for that nascent running attack to function?

Syracuse at USC

That Lane Kiffin.  He sure does like to keep us in suspense.  He's taken it down to the wire in each of his last few games to continue a trend of fourth quarter cardiac complications that he has imposed on the lesser genetically competent of his fanbase.  Syracuse probably won't pose as much of a threat as his previous two opponents ... but, hey, Lane likes an audience.  My sightline will be the first aid station at the Coliseum.  They've stocked up on aspirin and portable defibrillators, but will they have enough as Doug Marrone and his Orangemen come to town?

Utah at BYU

Utah goes "on the road" to play its Holy War rivalry game against the Cougars of BYU.  The Utes claim hatred for all things BYU but, frankly, I'm not buying it.  Why should I?  What is there to hate about the Cougs?  They share a nickname with a group of lovable losers to the north.  They have a coach named after an animal.  A beastly animal, at that.  They are the alma mater for a certain QB turned assistant turned UW Head Coach.  And, most importantly, they are a cuddly bunch of Mormon boys who live their lives according to an honor code that not even KirkD, despite all his virtues, could stick to.  The Utah fanbase is nearing panic mode.  A lackluster showing against Montana St followed by a loss to USC which exposed both the physical limitations of Jordan Wynn and intellectual limitations of Norm Chow have them on edge.  My sightline for this game is JazzyUte himself.  He's the blogger at BlockU and a human barometer who is constantly measuring the pulse of Ute Nation.  If he blows a gasket, I'll know things are bad.

Stanford at Arizona

Arizona continues a brutal stretch of schedule where they play Oklahoma St, Stanford, Oregon and USC all in a row.  The good news is that Stanford and Oregon are at home and, well, Nick Foles still looks like he has a beating heart despite the lickings his O-Line have afforded him the opportunity to experience.  Arizona sports some good looking WRs emerging out of Juron Criner's shadow - both Dan Buckner and Austin Hill shined in last week's otherwise unshiny loss to OKST.  They also may be catching Stanford at a good time.  The Cardinals have yet to really hit their stride offensively and they have yet to be challenged by a competent offense when the D is out there.  My sightline is the how the Stanford secondary holds up under the Arizona air assault.  Though Sundodger disagrees, I think the Cardinal secondary is their most glaring weakness and I'll be curious to see if Delano Howell and company shut me up.  By the way, I won't be given points to that secondary for plays that are caused by the Stanford D-Line against that horrible UA offensive line.

Washington at Nebraska

I joked around a little (a lot?) in my Gekko File write up on this game.  However, I am intrigued by Keith Price's efficiency running this offense.  He is the #2 most efficient passer in the Pac 12 and, really, isn't that the most we could have asked from him as he attempts to replace Jake Locker?  My question is whether or not Keith's patience and decision-making are retained in the face of the kind of extreme pressure he has yet to face in a real game?  He's sort of seen it before when he started at Oregon.  But this is a different gig.  The Huskers are going to undoubtedly put the game in his hands.  Will he make winning decisions, keep the game close, and commit fewer mistakes than Taylor Martinez? Good lord, I hope so.

Those are my sightlines for Week 3.  What will you be looking for?  You better comment or I will permanently ban the first person who doesn't.  I'm serious.

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