The Pac 12 hasn't done a whole lot to give the national media reason to stand up and take notice. It was a lackluster Week 3, to be sure. Despite several noteworthy matchups, the Pac 12 managed a pedestrian 6-5 record (with only five wins in the ten out of conference matchups we had). Our best team (Stanford) has been plagued by several stints of ineffectiveness and is now missing significant players to injury. Our second best team (Oregon) hasn't had a definitive opportunity at redemption following the LSU mess. There is no third best team. The fourth best team was WSU ... which is a punchline in and of itself. There is Oregon State. And then there is the entire South Division.
This is going to be a painful retrospective. Proceed past the jump at your own peril.
Colorado at Colorado State
This rivalry game has traditionally been the first game for each team each season. As such, it has been somewhat unpredictable over the years. My sightline was:
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
Rodney Stewart answered the bell. Though he didn't score, he racked up 191 yards of total offense - about 2/3 of Colorado's total in their 28-14 win. It was a big game for a little man.
Texas at UCLA
I don't know if any of you ever peruse Bruins Nation or not. If you don't and you have any interest in knowing what the buzz is all about, you better go over there now. If you wait much longer, you might not find it. They are in full-scale nuclear meltdown following the horrible showing in the Rose Bowl against Texas and their two freshman QBs.
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?
Asked and answered. Seriously, Rick Neuheisel is over matched for the job that he has and the players are not bought in. Earth is about to get scorched in Westwood unless someone among the player ranks steps into a leadership role pronto. Bruins Fan believes Urban Meyer needs to get installed immediately. The more "realistic" are calling for Mike Leach. Terry Donahue is being remembered fondly ... as is Norm Chow. Cats are sleeping with Dogs. It's mass hysteria. Note to Nestor: simply unban the Gekko, acknowledge the unjustness of it all and the curse will be lifted.
Missouri St at Oregon
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.
I don't know what to say about Chip. But I do know that Oregon got its letter of inquiry last week. Not really news, but poetic nonetheless. Interesting factoid of the week: Oregon has the third fewest sacks per game in the Pac 12 after three games - two of which were against absolute cupcakes. Does it mean anything? Probably not - but it is interesting to watch given who they lost from last season.
Presbyterian at Cal
I'll be watching to make sure that nobody dies. Literally.
I was watching and a few blades of grass were killed in the making of the final score. Protests immediately broke out outside of Sather Gate.
Washington State at San Diego State
For those who were not watching (guilty), WSU got their bubble burst by those pesky Aztecs. After another hot start, Marshall Lobestael went into Lobster-mode and reminded WSU fans why they love Jeff Tuel so much. My sightline was:
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?
The results were mixed. Marquess Wilson was an absolute beast - he caught 6 for 236 (yes, that is a 40 yard per catch average). However, Lobster only found four receivers all day and the running attack was completely taken out to the tune of less than two yards per carry. Some horrible turnovers and, bammo, the Paul Wulff hotseat express is rumbling down the tracks once more.
Syracuse at USC
Those sneaky Orangemen tried a little razzle dazzle with a press release prior to their game against USC. It didn't work as USC rolled all over them. My sightline was:
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?
As I understand it, no USC fans had any heart attacks. That is a good sign.
Utah at BYU
This game was an absolute disaster for BYU and Jake Heaps. BYU surrendered seven turnovers and two defensive TDs en route to the route.
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.
Given that JazzyUte was funneling his inner Rick Flair in a recent post, I'll say that he's doing all right. And, why not? Despite lucking into seven gifts from BYU, Utah has uncorked the surprise of the conference in RB John White IV. This guy is currently leading the conference in rushing and he is very impressive. He's a slasher in the mold of a young Ricky Watters. I'm on his bandwagon. I can't say as much for Jordan Wynn who was up and down all night.
Stanford at Arizona
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.
I watched this game and came away both satisfied that I was right about Stanford's secondary but stunned by the fact that it didn't matter at all. The reality of the story here is that Andrew Luck was the second best QB on the field last Saturday. Nick Foles, Juron Criner and Dan Buckner (who is a STUD) carved up that Stanford secondary on those occasions when the horrible Arizona O-Line actually established a pocket. On the flip side, Stanford was sluggish and, again, continued their trend of poor performance on third down. However, all the breaks went Stanford's way including two sure interceptions that ended up back in Stanford's hands. Stanford did what good teams do - they capitalized. They dominated the second half by running the ball against that soft Arizona front seven and got a significant and as somewhat easy win.
Washington at Nebraska
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?
All other bullshit about this game aside, I came away very impressed with Keith Price. That third quarter was as bad a quarter as we ever saw in 2008. However, a leader emerged in the fourth. That young man lined up his team, gave them a shot of hope and came out firing. He took blow after blow including a shot to the knee that left him barely amble, and he kept coming. After Lincoln, its clear to me that this is Keith's team now. Maybe I didn't want to accept it before. Maybe I can keep picking out flaws in his arm strength or his ability to recognize when to run. Maybe I preferred reminisce on what almost was and what could have been with Jake. But none of that matters. That kid showed serious guts on Saturday and I was very impressed.
With the retrospective complete, I feel like I have to give the obligatory Power Poll in order to entice a little banter on the post. Here goes:
1. Oregon - better offense than Stanford
2. Stanford - better defense than Oregon
3. USC - A complete thrashing of Syracuse
4. Arizona St - Nothing wrong with a 3 point loss to a B10 team on the road
5. Utah - John White aside, this team is physical and is up for a fight
6. Cal - 3-0 is 3-0
7. Washington - an elite offense is emerging, but will a decent Defense ever arrive?
8. Washington St - it'll be interesting to see how, or if, they bounce back
9. Arizona - never has such high-performing skill players been matched with such miserable trench players
10. Colorado - Hansen, Stewart and Richardson are a decent core to build around
11. UCLA - the good news is that less than 50,000 showed up for the whipping by the 'Horns
12. OSU - a new QB and James Rodgers are the only reasons for hope in Corvallis