This weekend had some pleasant surprises in the Pac-12, especially considering that ranked UCLA and Washington teams were able to move up in the rankings without taking the field. There were some interesting games around the conference and even a couple of contests that had some importance while not involving Pac-12 team.
ASU and Arizona
With the exception of the opening drive by Sacramento State, everything ASU did on Thursday night was golden as they coasted to an impressive 55-0 victory over the Hornets. It was the first shutout by the Devils against a non-conference opponent since the 19-0 win over Nebraska in 1996. The first real test is Saturday against Wisconsin.
Arizona also won big in Las Vegas, taking down the UNLV Rebels 58-13. The victory over a weaker Mountain West team doesn’t necessarily help the conference, but a loss would have been another Pac-12 failure similar to Oregon State in week one.
While the Huskies were idle, Washington State pulled off a 10-7 upset over nationally ranked USC in Los Angeles. I knew the Cougs would give the Trojans a battle, but I wasn’t sure they could win in L.A.. While this knocks a Pac-12 team out of the rankings, it is good for ASU because it gives USC, a competitor in the South, an early conference loss. The Trojans have some issues moving forward and the Lane Kiffin watch is in effect.
Since I already mentioned the USC loss, let’s move on the UCLA. The Bruins were idle but have moved up to #19 in the rankings.
Cal struggled again but was able to secure a victory over an improved Portland State Vikings team 37-30.
Stanford was the last team to take the field on Saturday, as they sat at #5 without playing a 2013 while most other ranked teams had already completed two contests. As expected the Cardinal took down San Jose State, but not as impressively as many would have thought. The final score was 34-13, which didn’t even cover the point spread of 25 points.
Oregon State notched their first victory of the year by defeating Hawaii at home. However the Beavers did let the Warriors hang around, and their 33-14 victory also didn’t cover the 27 point spread by which they were favored.
Oregon, on the other hand, took care of business easily against Virginia 59-10 behind a great day by quarterback Marcus Mariota. Oregon looks like they won’t skip a beat with new head coach Mark Helfrich.
Other games of importance
There were two other games that, while not featuring a PAC12 team, had some impact on the Devils and how the conference in general is viewed.
Michigan vs Notre Dame
Sun Devil fans would have loved to see the Irish undefeated and a top ten team when the Devils play them in Dallas. However, the #14 Irish were dropped by the #17 ranked Wolverines 41-30. Notre Dame dropped in the polls but is still ranked #21 and should climb higher by the time the Devils play them in Dallas.
BYU vs Texas
Texas was ranked #15 when they visited Provo on Saturday night and the Cougars put a pounding on the Longhorns. Texas gave up the most rushing yards ever in a game and went home 40-21 losers. Why is this important?
BYU lost last week at Virginia. While the Cougars proved they can dominate the #15 team in the country in Texas, the Virginia Cavaliers got smashed by Oregon, showing that Oregon is definitely a national title contender. It’s also another example showing why the Pac-12 is a dominant conference in the college football world.
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