Scott Olmos-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
We look at the weekend of the Pac-12, and what the Huskies need to do to get prepared for their upcoming matchup with USC.
The Dawgs had a rough weekend, but there's good news. They get to come home to Seattle where they play much better and regroup for USC. USC is very vulnerable, having played very sloppy against Utah. The Dawgs have won 2 of the last 3 against the Trojans, and even when UW is at it's worst always seems to give the Trojans more than they expected.
The Huskies have to try to get as healthy as they can. The offensive line was improved against Oregon, but a healthy Ben Riva would give it a little extra something as well. The priority should be finding some way to get explosive plays downfield because right now they are throwing the ball laterally and relying on runs after the catch. It works sometimes, but Keith Price was so good last year because he was throwing the ball into the holes of defenses and picking up chunks. Getting back to that is necessary for the Dawgs to keep winning.
How healthy is Keith Price? With the new rules about injuries, we won't really know for sure, but we know how tough he is, and if he can play he will play. Austin Seferian-Jenkins also has some injury concerns, and though Michael Hartvigson is a good tight end he can't do all the things that ASJ can. A limited ASJ would severely handcuff an already crippled Washington offense.
Outside of Eugene, there is a lot of parity in the Pac-12 right now. The Ducks are the clear favorite in the conference, but just about every other team seems like it could win or lose any games, even those that many of us thought would be walkovers to start the season. It's good for viewers of football because it's exciting to watch, but ultimately may cost the Pac-12 programs some money if they don't end up with a second BCS bowl bid and the cash that comes along with it.
I don't really see anybody beating Oregon in the regular season. USC is making too many mistakes, and the Ducks are humming right now.
The Trojans showed a lot of moxie fighting back against Utah when it would have been really easy for them to just roll over and die. The game could have gone differently if not for an ineligible man downfield on a Utah trick play, but it didn't and Marquise Lee is just a monster. Not sure if anybody in the nation can shut him down for 4 quarters.
3) Oregon State
Beavers didn't look very good at all against a bad WSU team, but they'll take an ugly win all day every day. They face a tough matchup against BYU, who might have the best defense they'll see all year. If they play like they did against WSU in Provo, they'll get shut out.
4) Arizona State
A bye for the Devils, and I'm not really sure what to make of them just yet. You look at their schedule, they don't really have an impressive win yet, but they're beating the teams they need to, and there's something to be said for that. Won't really learn anything about them this week though as they should win comfortably in Boulder.
Sure they got blown out by Oregon. Join the club. They still are 3-2, and get to bounce back against USC in what should be a much closer game. Desmond Trufant against Marquise Lee has to be the best 1 on 1 matchup you'll see this weekend.
Stanford went from losing a defensive battle, to almost losing a shootout. Arizona's style was a bad matchup for them, and when they play Oregon they're again going to get trounced by the Ducks.
Jim Mora learning that life in the Pac-12 is not as easy as your nonconference schedule, and he's learning it hard. They got torched by Sean Mannion, and then they got torched by Zach Maynard. Mannion is understandable, but Maynard is awful. Good luck trying to defend USC's passing attack. Safe to say the monopoly is not over just yet.
The Bears circled the wagons, and to the delight of Pac-12 fans everywhere are doing their best to save Jeff Tedford's job. Please win some more games, Cal. Do it for the rest of us.
Defense is still optional in Arizona. Aside from the coach and the quarterback, the result from lthe last two weeks have looked a lot like last season: QB puts up crazy stats, but it doesn't matter and they lose.
The Utes are bad. The talent level is a lot lower than it used to be -- before they arrived in the Pac-12 -- and with the lowest budget of any Pac-12 school they'll be fighting an uphill battle back to relevance for a long while. And maybe hiring a 25 year old offensive coordinator wasn't a smart decision.
Will the Buffs win another game this year? No, probably not. But maybe they can use their bye this last weekend to figure some things out.
12) Washington State
The defense was surprisingly good against Oregon State, but you don't expect such poor quarterback play from a Mike Leach team. Has he lost it? Is WSU's offensive personnel that bad? Have college football defenses caught up to the Leach version of the Air Raid? Or has he not grown as much as other guys like Art Briles and Dana Holgorsen? Whatever it is, it needs to get righted. WSU is paying Leach a lot of money, and it's not to score 6 points.