It's still early...lots of football to be played...but darn it, this is...dare I say it...FUN! Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE
Well here we go! I thought we would wait until at least a couple of games are played before we do a BN power poll, just to have a decent idea of where teams were, rather than sticking your finger in the air in August. It was quite an eventful week in the conference, with some major surprises. Some teams look better than predicted, others worse, others absolutely stink up their joint. But one thing is for sure: it is a lot more fun doing these polls after a weekend like UCLA just had!
Player of the Week: Johnathan Franklin, UCLA - the mayor had himself an awesome day on the campaign trail. 217 yards rushing, 59 yards receiving, and a TD to boot. JetSki has started his senior season with a bang. I won't even consider anyone else in the conference, except his teammate Brett Hundley who had 305 yards passing and 4 TDs.
Stat of the Week: 35 - That's how many net yards Wisconsin had against Oregon State (70 yards rushing, 35 yards lost to 3 sacks). Who are these Beavers?! Well done.
Game of the Week: Southern Cal at Stanford, 5:30 pm PT, ABC - the Trogans try to avenge all those losses in the Luck era by traveling to Palo Alto.
1. Oregon (2-0): The Ducks' high speed train keeps moving along, rolling past Fresno State in a blur and garnering all first place votes. Part of an absolutely pathetic and embarrassing out of conference slate for Oregon, who beat Arkansas State (not impressive even if Gus Malzahn is the coach) last week, and will play Tennessee Tech next week. No, Chip, even if they're from SEC states, those teams don't count.
2. Stanford (2-0): The Cardinal had a much better showing than it did last week when it struggled to get going against San Jose State and only won by 3. They beat Duke handily, but it was more of a routine affair than an impressive win. They had better improve dramatically if they want to beat Southern Cal at home next week.
3. Oregon State (1-0): after two years of serious underachievement, the Beavers come out of nowhere to beat the Big 10's best team from the last two years. Yes, the Badgers had lost Wilson, who is now starting for Cheatey Petey in Seattle, but they have Montee Ball, who usually dominates the running game. Perhaps keying in on the new QB, whom they blitzed relentlessly, the Beavers were able to completely contain Ball and held him without a TD. Sure, they had an extra week to prepare (their game last week was postponed due to weather), and Wisconsin is likely a tad overrated, but this was an impressive win that just might put the Beavers back on track. Their next game, after yet another bye week coming up, is against UCLA at the Rose Bowl. Mora should have our boys ready for a tough game.
4. Washington (1-1): gotta give credit to the Huskies for actually scheduling LSU...but I bet they wish they hadn't. UW was absolutely pummeled by a dominant LSU squad that only allowed them 183 yards...total. Even with their new Defensive Coordinator Wilcox, who came from the SEC, the Huskies were just not able to compete. Not many teams can, in Baton Rouge. UW gets a much easier opponent in Portland State next week, but they'll have nightmares about LSU's speedy defenders for a while.
5. Cal (1-1): Cal continues to look unimpressive at home. A week after succumbing to the pistol (again) against Nevada, Cal struggled until the 4th quarter to put away Southern Utah. They were only leading 20-17 after the 3rd quarter, and then got a lot of help from Southern Utah's mistakes. But Tedford may finally be getting through to Zach Maynard, who had an efficient day, and that 4th quarter may just be the Bears' wake up call. The challenge gets much bigger next week, when Cal visits Ohio State...
6. Washington State (1-1): The Cougars notched their first win of the Leach era. A week after getting beat handily by BYU, this should help Wazzu get settled a bit. There will be growing pains in adapting Leach's system, and the defense is likely many steps behind still, but you know it's coming. Forgive the tennis analogy, but it reminds me of when Andre Agassi hired Brad Gilbert to be his coach, at a crucial point in his career. Gilbert had to completely change Andre's approach, mentally and physically. At first, Agassi kept losing matches and was getting frustrated, but Gilbert kept smiling, seemingly happy, and kept saying "good things, good things". Eventually, Agassi caught on and started his most successful stretch of tennis. Leach will eventually be successful...but hopefully after the UCLA game this year. Wazzu travels to UNLV to play on Friday.
1. Southern Cal (2-0): the Trogans had themselves a game until the 4th quarter, which they entered only leading 21-16. Dorkley only threw for 187 yards...but had 6 TDs. Still, the cheaters won this game on the back of Penn State transfer Silas Redd (Lane Kiffin is a rotten no good liar), who rushed for 107 yards. Of note: the Trogan D still allowed 455 yards to Syracuse. It might eventually come back to bite them in their cheating arse, hopefully against Stanford next week. And I don't know if it's true, but Dorkley looks like he's hit the buffet a bit in the offseason.
2. UCLA (2-0): this one felt different...this one felt real...this one felt sustainable. I don't think I am alone in feeling that way. This was the first time I didn't change channels while watching a UCLA game, since 2010. Even when we have been winning, I found our team unwatchable too many times. This was an awesome football game to watch, and I had committed to watching it even if we lost. The offense was fun, the defense was fast, neither was without flaws, but it sure was watchable. We called this game a toss-up in our predictions, and now we can notch it as a win. I think as the season goes, the Nebraska defense will prove to be not that good (continuing last year's trend - read my notes here), but their offense is good, and our D stepped up when needed. That's 3 very good quarters of football in a row for UCLA...when was the last time we had that? 1998? Let's hope it continues next week against Houston. No letdown!
3. Arizona (2-0): I did not see this one coming. Especially after the Wildcats struggled against Toledo last week. But Arizona gave Oklahoma State a spanking. After trailing 14-0, Arizona scored 30 straight points and then hung on to win 59-38. Matt Scott (who terrorized UCLA at the Rose Bowl in 2010) threw for 320 yards, Ka'Deem Carey had 126 yards rushing, Austin Hill had 124 yards receiving...either Rodriguez has installed his system really quickly, or Oklahoma State has a bad defense. A bit of both, I would say. RichRod benefits from having some senior playmakers. We shouldn't take anything away from this victory, but the Cowboys were breaking in a new QB (who threw 3 interceptions, including a crucial pick-6), committed a ton of penalties, and have never been known for defense. But, like UCLA, Arizona already has a big win in its new era and earned a spot in the top 25. After a likely easy game against South Carolina State next week, Arizona will begin its Pac-12 season likely undefeated. Too bad their first game is against Oregon...
4. Arizona State (2-0): ASU continued the Pac-12's reign of terror against the Big 10 this weekend, pounding Illinois 45-14. New coach Todd Graham's team continues to put up tons of points, but it is still not clear if their competition has been anything noteworthy. The Illini were missing their starting QB, not that the defense was anything to write home about, and Northern Arizona is an FCS school. Still, the South looks tougher than many thought. We will know a lot more about the Sun Devils next week when they travel to take on Missouri.
5. Utah (1-1): Ouch. It's bad enough to lose your starting QB Jordan Wynn to the same shoulder injury yet again...it's another to lose to Utah State. Now, don't be fooled: I think this Utah State team is decent (they played in a bowl game last year). But Utah State had lost the last 12 games and 20 of the last 22 in the rivalry (trivia side note: the Aggies play in Romney Stadium, named after coach Dick Romney, cousin to Mitt Romney). But Utah just could not get things going on offense, had some untimely fumbles, and the usually stout Ute defense eventually caved. If the Utes don't rebound from this, the season could be tough. And that begins next week, when BYU comes to town.
6. Colorado (0-2): oh geez. It's still ugly in Boulder. The Buffs lost to Sacramento State at home, on a last second field goal, negating a nice day for RB Christian Powell who had 147 yards and 3 TDs. Jon Embree inherited a really big mess, and it looks like it will be a while before he gets it going. QB play is still lackluster. The scary thing is, Colorado didn't lose this game because of mistakes or turnovers...Sacramento State was actually the better team. It is getting hard to see where the Buffs will get a win this season. They travel to Fresno State next week.
Note that the records are overall records.
There you have it folks, let's hear your thoughts!