Washington drops out of top 25 with mediocre week one performance
I wasn’t convinced Peterson was worth his contract when he signed on with University of Washington, and his debut as head coach was anything but impressive as the Huskies edged the Warriors 17-16 Saturday to open up the Pac 12 season. Good news for the Huskies - their opener was against a Mountain West opponent coming off a 1-11 season; bad news – the running game alone is not effective in a conference like the Pac 12. This style of coaching can fare well if you’re up against the Lobos or Air Force, not so much against the Cardinal defense or the Ducks secondary.
Saturday they face Big Sky opponent Eastern Washington; a team who has outscored their opponents 97-44 in their first two games of the season. I’m betting against the spread with my pick this week. Shelton and Qualls were the only defense players that showed up last weekend, and with Lindquist finishing the day 10 of 26 for 162 yards I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw Miles under center this week. These two areas will be exposed Saturday, and if Eagles LB Ronnie Hamlin and his defense can shut down backs Washington and Coleman, it’s going to be a long day for the Huskies.
Game time: 12:05 Kickoff PST; Pac 12 Network
#13 Stanford and #14 USC Battle it out in this Pac 12 conference opener
Stanford is favored by 4 this weekend as they take on Southern Cal at home in this much anticipated conference opener. Trojans QB Kessler was 25 of 37 for 394 yards and 4 TD’s last week, and back Javorius Allen added 133 more on 22 carries. They finished the day with 700 yards on the offensive side. The defense side of the ball was strong too, holding their opponent to just 160 total yards and forcing 4 picks (from four different defensive players).
SC’s Kessler (minor toe surgery this week) and DE Leonard Williams are both expected to see the field Saturday.
Stanford spread the ball around on the offensive side last week with 10 players picking up a combined 424 yards in the air, while adding another 274 on the ground. On the defensive side of the ball, Stanford held the Aggies to just 115 yards last week as they walked away with the easy 45-0 win.
Senior QB Keith Hogan (12 of 16 for 204 yards and 3 TD’s) led the team to a perfect 7-0 record at home last season and was handed just one loss at home in 2012; from none other than USC. Off field controversy and drama (Anthony Brown and Josh Shaw) didn’t affect SC last week as some expected; but I wouldn’t be surprised if Sarkisian’s post game comments from their matchup last season comes back to haunt him this weekend. If I was Coach Shaw, I would play the audio clip of Sarkisian accusing Stanford of faking injuries before they head out on the field Saturday.
Fellow faithful college football fans - it is that time of year again. For the past 233 days we have been patiently waiting for this weekend to arrive. Patiently waiting to see how Leach will fare his second year in the Palouse, if no conference Notre Dame falls 0-3 against the PAC this season, if a Pac 12 team will win the national championship, and if Steve and Chris made the right decision (an $18 million dollar offer would make the transition from Boise to Seattle pretty easy for me).
Work production all over the US slowly decreased the past 4 weeks as we checked stats on team recruits, injuries, opponents, and spreads. As we overanalyze our Pac12 stats and put together the playoff brackets in our head, we all collectively hope that the SEC doesn’t return to claim their eighth consecutive title game.
Here are my recommendations of the top Pac 12 games to watch this weekend:
Rutgers vs. the Cougs: Leach returns for his third season with the Cougs as they take on this Big East contender Thursday night in the Palouse. Unlike Oregon or OSU, the Cougs face a tough opponent in their season opener. The Cougs could struggle on the defensive side of the ball as only 6 returning starters try to fill the holes of the two top tackles they lost last season. Washington State averaged 368 yards in the air last season, so expect the same from Halliday in this season opener. I think this will be a high scoring game with the Cougs capitalizing in the air, and the Scarlet Knights focusing on their rushing game.
Fresno State vs. USC: The Bulldogs travel to the Coliseum to take on SC without star QB Carr and WR Davante Adams; standout Adams finished his college career racking up 24 of the teams 50 total TD’s last season. Coach DeRuyter has yet to decide if Burrell or Connette will be starting Saturday, but whoever is chosen will face Leonard Williams, one of the top defensive lineman in the country. When you throw the recent SC headlines into the mix, Sarkisian has his hands full as he starts his career as the new head coach of the Trojans.
Recommendations to watch for entertainment value or because you’re a fan:
South Dakota vs. Oregon: We can only hope the weather is pleasant for the Duck mascot because he should be closing in on 200 plus pushups by the end of the day. This is a game for Oregon to pad their stats for the rest of the year and fine tune things before they face the Spartans.
Portland State vs. Oregon State: I wouldn’t waste any DVR space on this one, but you never know what can happen when the Beavs face a Big Sky opponent….Eastern Washington stunned the Beavers 49-46 season so anything could happen, but I would put money on the Pac 12 if someone wanted to throw some money on it.
Enjoy your first weekend of the best part of the year!