With Week 3 in the books, we are starting to get a clearer picture of the way college football is likely to shake out the rest of the way. Which teams are on the rise? Which teams are headed down? Who is as good as we thought? Who may not be who we expected them to be? Let’s run down the lessons learned about the Pac 12.
Washington State Cougars 35, UNLV Rebels 27
Lesson learned: The Cougars have a long way to go.
While the offense looked explosive in the first half, with backup quarterback Connor Halliday throwing for four touchdown passes, the Cougars reverted back to their old ways in the second half, scoring just one touchdown. Halliday also threw a pair of interceptions, the offense failed to muster a drive longer than two minutes in the fourth quarter while trying to run out the clock, and the defense. Oh, the defense is terrible. Here’s looking to year two as the turnaround year for Mike Leach and the Cougars.
Lesson learned: The Bears still have some fight in them.
The Bears showed fight and poise rallying against a talented OSU squad with a Heisman hopeful in Braxton Miller. They still gave up five scores to Miller, including a career-best four through the air, and the go-ahead score for the Buckeyes was a horrible breakdown in coverage, so everything is not sunshine and drum circles in Berkeley. But it wasn’t nearly as bad as people thought it would be, and that’s something.
Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles 14, Oregon Ducks 63
Lesson learned: The Ducks are way more talented than Tennesse Tech (but we already knew that).
Not much can be taken away from this game. Oregon playing a ridiculously soft pre-conference schedule doesn’t do much to test Chip Kelly‘s team, but it does provide some nice highlight reel material for De’Anthony Thomas, so that’s something. Most importantly, Oregon never looked like they were struggling, hitting on all cylinders, getting the machine of the blur offense up and running. That will be good as they start to play actual football teams starting next week.
Portland State Vikings 13, Washington Huskies 52
Lesson learned: UW is really ticked off about that beating in Baton Rouge last week.
The Huskies came out of the locker room with their hair on fire and dropped 45 points on their FCS foe in the first half. In some small way, maybe they were hoping that some of those points would retroactively be added onto the score of the LSU Tigers game last week and make it look not quite so bad. No such luck for Steve Sarkisian, but taking care of a lesser opponent at home will help the Huskies get the bad taste of Baton Rouge out of the team’s psyche as they head into conference play.
Lesson learned: The Sun Devils will be competitive this year.
ASU entered the game 0-5 all time against SEC opponents and quickly fell behind Missouri 17-0 deep into the second quarter. But Todd Graham‘s team didn’t pack it in and staged a nice rally, scoring a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter to make the Tigers sweat. This kind of toughness and close game experience will do nothing but help the Devils down the road.
Lesson learned: Depth matters.
The Trojans are arguably one of the most talented teams in the country. But they are thin at some very important positions, particularly offensive and defensive line. Stanford is not thin on the line, and they flexed their muscle against the undersized and overmatched Trojan line. Does USC have the more talented players? Sure, but Stanford has more very good players and they know how to come together to beat USC.
Colorado Buffaloes 14, Fresno State Bulldogs 69
Lesson learned: The Buffs are bad.
How bad? Historically bad. Colorado allowed 35 points in the first quarter alone and ended the day allowing 665 yards for Fresno State and two scoring plays of more than 90 yards. Oh, and the offense threw a pair of pick-sixes for the Bulldogs, both to Philip Thomas. Colorado had hoped earlier this season that the talent of their young roster would shine through this year, but it looks like they’ll have to endure the prospect of 0-12 instead.
BYU Cougars 21, Utah Utes 24
Lesson learned: The Utes are efficient
Utah held on to beat rival BYU in the Holy War despite a pretty low-powered offensive attack. The Utes gained just 245 yards, including just 49 yards rushing on 35 carries while star John White sat out with an ankle injury. Despite not being able to move the ball, they built a 24-7 lead after three quarters with efficient play from new starting quarterback Jon Hays, who threw a pair of touchdown passes, and opportunistic defense with a fumble returned for a score. It wasn’t pretty, but in a war, you’ll take any win you can get.
South Carolina State Bulldogs 0, Arizona Wildcats 56
Lesson learned: Rich Rodriguez can coach up an offense.
The Wildcats followed up an upset win last week with a performance that you would expect from a top 25 team. Matt Scott is flourishing in this spread attack, scoring four touchdowns (3 in the air, 1 on the ground) against SC State and the Cats look to be running at full speed heading into a huge showdown with another explosive offense, Oregon, in Week 4.
Houston Cougars 6, UCLA Bruins 37
Lesson learned: The Bruins are back.
UCLA has been one of the biggest surprises this season, showing toughness and an offensive explosiveness that few people predicted under first year head coach Jim Mora. Brett Hundley and Jonathan Franklin have keyed this Bruins turnaround and look to keep it going into conference play. Plus, they’re half a game up on USC in the Pac 12 South. So that’s nice.
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