Finally, after all the talk and speculation, we got to watch some football. Every Pac-10 team was in action this weekend and the conference put together a combined 6-4 record, but all the games against BCS conference teams resulted in losses, as did Washington's game against BYU, the other quality team on the Pac-10 slate.
On the whole, it wasn't the best of weekends for the conference, but no teams in the conference's top half got a chance a quality opponent so that can be misleading. This week will be misleading again, but this time in the Pac-10's favor as several teams play BCS conference opponents, none of whom are expected to contend in their respective conferences. Meanwhile, UCLA and Stanford will play in the first conference game of the season, giving the two teams a chance to battle it out for first place in the conference.
Player of the Week: Kenjon Barner, Oregon- Star running back out, no problem if you're Oregon. With LaMichael James serving a suspension, Barner ran for 147 yards on just 17 carries for an eye-popping 8.6 yards per carry. Inside, outside, everywhere, Barner ran wild and hit pay dirt four times on the ground. He also caught a short pass and went scampering 60 yards for another touchdown, capping an all-around impressive day for the Ducks' back-up.
Stat of the Week: 506- The Oregon mascot customarily does one push up for every point the Ducks have after each time the team score. Well, in Saturday's 72-0 shellacking of New Mexico, the Duck got a heck of a work out. By the time the game mercifully came to an end, the poor guy in the suit had done 506 push ups.
Game of the Week: Oregon at Tennessee, 4 pm PDT, ESPN2- On paper, Tennessee has no business matching up with Oregon. The Ducks are superior in nearly every facet of the game and the Vols are breaking in a new head coach and quarterback. That said, anyone who has been to Knoxville and Neyland Stadium knows how difficult it is to play in that sea of orange. With this being the only non-conference game of note on the schedule of the Pac-10 favorite, it's imperative that Oregon go into Knoxville and come away winners.
Pac-10 Power Poll
1) Oregon Ducks, 1-0 (6 first place votes)- New Mexico was never going to test the Ducks and at no point did the Lobos put the slightest ounce of doubt in Oregon. Even without suspended star running back LaMichael James, the Ducks rolled up 72 points, totaled 720 yards and held the Lobos scoreless in a laugher from Autzen Stadium. Now, Oregon turns its attention to Tennessee, where they will have to deal with a raucous Neyland Stadium crowd and try to work their way into the discussion of the nation's best teams. Last Week: 2
2) Arizona Wildcats, 1-0 (2 first place votes)- For a little bit it looked as if the Wildcats might be in trouble on the road against Toledo as the offense lacked the spark they needed to run away, but once they got going Arizona was off. A 41-2 win to open the season without any injuries is always a good week and with some JC transfers making their debuts on defense, the Wildcats looked stingy. If it's an indication of how good the Wildcat defense is going to be, they're a scary team, although even without stellar defensive play, they shouldn't have a problem in their home opener versus Citadel. Last Week: 1
3) Oregon St. Beavers, 0-1- Playing a top 10 team to open the season takes guts and the Beavers played TCU tough in what was basically a road game, in Arlington. As difficult as they made things on TCU, Oregon St. didn't have enough to get past the Horned Frogs and lost, 30-21. Concerning for the Beavers has to be the way the Horned Frogs gashed them on the ground, but the Beavers didn't break and most who watched saw little reason to knock Oregon St., instead praising a very good TCU team. Now, the Beavers get the week off before facing Louisville. Last Week: 3
4) Caifornia Golden Bears, 1-0- It was only a few years ago that UC Davis was upsetting Stanford on the road and while the Aggies may have gone to Berkeley with dreams of doing the same to Cal, the Golden Bears squashed those dreams quickly. UC Davis managed just four first downs to Cal's 26 and had 81 total yards to Cal's 517. The result is a 52-3 ballgame that was exactly what the Bears needed and got versus a clearly overmatched FCS opponent. Now, Cal gets a preview of future conference member Colorado as the Buffaloes make the trip to Berkeley. Last Week: 4
5) Stanford Cardinal, 1-0- If their rivals from across the bay, Cal, took the easy way out with an opener versus UC Davis, Stanford did their best to match them by welcoming Sacramento St. to Palo Alto. Three hours later, we knew as much about Stanford as we did entering the game. The Cardinal won 52-17 behind Andrew Luck's four touchdown passes, but they were careful not to show anything to future opponents, especially on defense. After an offseason installing a 3-4 defense, the Cardinal didn't show it for a single snap, but they'll show it all and do it all as they open up the Pac-10 slate in Pasadena against UCLA this weekend. Last Week: 5
6) Washington Huskies, 0-1- An offseason of talk and hype may have been flushed away after just one week. Versus a BYU team replacing several key players, Washington wasn't particularly poor, but they never did anything that made you take notice and ended up falling, 23-17. Jake Locker's Heisman Trophy campaign was solid, going 20-37 with a touchdown through the air and on the ground, but he certainly wasn't spectacular. When he had the chance to lead the Huskies down the field for a winning touchdown late, he fell short, having a fourth down pass knocked down at the line of scrimmage. Washington has to turn their attention to Syracuse now as they open up their home schedule. Last Week: 8
7) USC Trojans, 1-0- Against a Hawaii team that never even gave the impression that they would try to play defense, the USC offense had their way. Matt Barkley went 18-23 for 257 yards and five touchdowns, while Ronald Johnson not only caught three of those touchdown passes, but returned a punt for one too. Lane Kiffin's USC head coaching career started with a win as a result, but he can hardly be happy about a Trojan defense that was lit up. The lack of contact in practice was apparent, but it doesn't explain a secondary that could charitably be described as porous. It was good enough to get past Hawaii and will probably be enough for Virginia this week, but it will have to be better down the road. Last Week: 6
8) UCLA Bruins, 0-1- In a hostile environment, the Bruins needed to be sharp and were anything but. The defense struggled to tackle and were gashed time and time again. Kevin Prince showed every bit of his rust after missing nearly all of practice and most concerning, the receivers who were supposed to be the strength of the offense, were credited with eight drops. On the plus side, the offensive line far exceeded expectations and most of the problems UCLA had were expected and correctable, which is important because Stanford won't cut the Bruins any slack on Saturday. Last Week: 7
9) Arizona St. Sun Devils, 1-0- Arizona St. essentially scheduled themselves a pair of exhibition games to start the season with Portland St. last week and Northern Arizona this week. Against the Vikings, Cameron Marshall had a field day as he scored on three of his first carries and Steven Threet looked comfortable in his first game as a Sun Devil since transferring from Michigan. The junior threw for 239 yards and a pair of touchdowns in a 54-9 win that should be repeated again this week. Last Week: 9
10) Washington St. Cougars, 0-1- Despite a program that has been among the worst in the nation recently, Washington St. cannot be criticized for being scared away from competitive games. A trip to Stillwater to play Oklahoma St. is just another example of the Cougars stepping up to play legitimate games and like all of the other ones in recent years, it did not go well for Wazzu. Jeff Tuel has a respectable game for the Cougars, throwing for 212 yards and a touchdown without a pick, but it wasn't near enough as the Cougars were flat-out dominated, 65-17. Wazzu should get on the smiling side of the scoreboard when they return home for a game against Montana St. this weekend though. Last Week: 10