Follow us:

Pac-12 Confidential

Bud Withers offers an inside look at the Pac-12 Conference and the national college scene.

August 31, 2014 at 2:55 PM

Rating the opening-week performances, one through 12

Wherein we assess how each of the Pac-12 football teams acquitted themselves, taking into account performance, opponent and site:

1. USC. Trojans shook off a controversial week with a brisk offense that made mincemeat of Fresno State, 52-13, amassing 702 yards in 105 plays. USC scored touchdowns the first three times it had the ball and unleashed 31 plays in the first quarter, making it a joy ride in his debut for Steve Sarkisian.

2. Cal. Give it up for the Bears, who broke all sorts of losing streaks in a 31-24 win at double-digit favorite Northwestern, helping expunge the stain of their futile 2013 season.

3. Arizona. No question UNLV was going to be outmanned in this game, but the Wildcats were breaking in a new QB in Anu Solomon and Vegas was a bowl team last year. None of that mattered in a 58-13 ‘Cat win in which they gained 787 yards.

4. Stanford. No sweat here for the Cardinal, no chance of a repeat of the monumental Cal-Davis upset in 2005, and, I’m guessing, no hint in the game plan of what Stanford might be plotting this week for USC. The Aggies had only 115 yards in losing 45-0.

5. Oregon. The Ducks stomped South Dakota (or was it North?), 62-13, but didn’t seem all that happy with their defense.

6. Arizona State. Sun Devils quelled Weber State, 45-14, playing nine true freshmen. Of possible concern: They didn’t force a turnover against an FCS team that struggled badly last year.

7. Utah. Utes clobbered Idaho State, 56-14. Most notable was some very good special teams play.

8. UCLA. The Bruins’ 28-20 victory at Virginia might be the most provocative of the first-week results. As in: What does it mean? The UCLA offense was mostly inept, surely not remotely what will be necessary to crash the college football playoff (as many, including I, forecast). But the Bruins were missing a couple of offensive linemen and Virginia was stout defensively. UCLA had a second quarter for the ages on defense, returning three turnovers for touchdowns.

9. Washington. The Huskies’ 17-16 win at Hawaii certainly won’t wow any poll voters, coming against a team that couldn’t win a game in the Mountain West last year. But it’s not an easy place to play and Washington was breaking in a new quarterback. Improve and win games, and nobody will ever remember how close this was to a pratfall in Chris Petersen’s opener. For that to happen, the offense will have to make quantum strides.

10. Oregon State. Beating Portland State 29-14 didn’t exactly stir Beaver faithful to thinking this will be a special season, especially when they trailed in the third quarter.  But at least it wasn’t an opening loss against an FCS team, which OSU had sustained in two of the three previous years.

11. Washington State. Cougars could have qualified for the bottom rung here, as one of two losing teams, and favored by more than Colorado was over Colorado State. They were munched badly by the Rutgers ground game in a 41-38 loss, and the front seven was supposed to be one of the better groups on the roster. On the bright side, the offense was dynamic much of the night.

12. Colorado. Buffs, a slight favorite, allowed the final 24 points of the night, losing a 17-7 third-quarter lead in a 31-17 loss. As the game wore on, what Colorado State did approached domination, as CSU rolled up 266 rushing yards. Not a promising start for a Colorado team that was talking bowl game in the off-season.




No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.

The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.

The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►