The Pac-10 Report: Week 1

Posted by: Avinash on Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

For the record, I divided time between USC-Virginia and Oklahoma St.-Washington St., watched the end of Oregon-Washington, and watched most of Oregon St.-Stanford and UCLA-Tennessee. I did not see the Arizona games at all. The Cal recaps are here.

USC 52, Virginia 7: During the past five seasons and including the Virginia game, USC has outscored the big out-of-conference opposition by a 296-92 margin. This includes a 23-0 wipeout in Auburn, twin killings of both Arkansas (obliterated both times) and Nebraska (whom they control every year), and a closely contested game against Virginia Tech.

However, while the media has immediately leapt them back up to #1, it’s worth noting that the Trojans have always done this, and this year were facing perhaps the feeblest ACC opponent one could muster. Virginia was not forecast to be very good this year, with their entire defensive front from last season gone. After only giving up 2.9 rushing ypc last season, they allotted 218 yards on 41 carries to C.J. Gable, Joe McKnight, Allen Bradford, Stafon Johnson, and the entire moltely crew. Mark Sanchez was impressive against a weak Cavalier secondary.

Probably the more telling stat is USC’s defensive numbers, where they suffocated practically all ball movement for four quarters. Virginia’s only score came off of Trojan penalties, reinforcing the notion that USC beats itself more than other teams do. With supposedly a strong ground game to atone for their losses. They could barely run the ball the entire game, with Cedric Peerman picking up 20 yards on one carry and combining with Mikell Simpson for only 30 more yards the rest of the game.

We’ll talk about the Trojans after Ohio State.

(Better recaps: Conquest Chronicles also downplays the significance here, here, and here)

Stanford 36, Oregon State 28: Oregon State had a new quarterback, a new starting tailback, a new front seven, and still managed to take the game to the final play. Lyle Moveao made rookie mistakes, but in no way should Beaver fans be discouraged. Even after throwing a pass into the end zone for game ending scores and what looked like game-ending interceptions, he still managed to bring the Beavers down the field two more times for a touchdown that cut the lead to 8, and came close to another one if the receiver didn’t try to play hero.

As for the Trees, the only thing they should be pleased about on the offensive side of the ball was Toby Gerhart. He averaged 7.7 yards per carry, including two incredible carries on 3rd and long that he converted for 1st downs. Some of that can be attributed to the green Oregon State front seven, which really had no collective experience to stop the running game that was there. On the other hand, Tavita Pritchard was pretty lifeless, going 10-17 for a grand 91 yards. You already know what the Sun Devils defensive strategy will be next week.

Caveat: The Beavers managed to run 37 plays in the 4th quarter and still couldn’t pull it out, with three turnovers (two INTs–one returned for a TD–and another on downs) and a fumble/touchback into the end zone. The disturbing parallels between this game and Cal-Oregon are too noticeable. Wouldn’t put it past the ‘Furd to drop five of their next six.

(Much better recap: Building the Dam)

Oregon 44, Washington 10: Oregon’s defense put on a virtuous performance against Jake Locker, only allowing him to throw 42 percent of his passes into the hands of his receivers (a bare 12 completions in all). He only rushed for 3.6 yards per carry, as the Huskies just got overwhelmed in the second half. They managed two drives of 24 plays to cut the lead to 14-10. They did not enter Oregon territory again until the 4th quarter, when they were down 20.

Like Cal, Oregon was installing new starters all over the offense. Unlike Cal, they committed no mistakes (outside an early Justin Roper interception) that allowed their opponent any breathing room. The backup Jeremiah Masoli came in when Roper had an injury and guided the team home with two decisive 4th quarter drives. But the key was the Oregon defense obliterating a flat Washington team. The Huskies have games with BYU and Oklahoma forthcoming. Ty Willingham might need to start searching for new homes.

(Much better recaps: Addicted to Quack, UWDawgPound)

UCLA 27, Tennessee 24 (OT)

It was a nice win for the Bruins, who’ve needed a reason to feel elated for quite some time. Beating a powerhouse SEC program will do that, even if it’s one dawdling at mediocrity. It was nice to see DeWayne Walker And it was nice seeing a frenetic finish after the usual routs of Week 1.

That being said…well, I’ll let totallyawesome give a totally awesome recap:

We all knew UCLA was going to suck a fat one, but WHO KNEW THE VOLS WOULD SUCK JUST AS HARD! Craft have a craptacular 1st half, with 4 interceptions, could not get pass protection and had a running game that wasn’t going anywhere…


not to be out-sucked, the Vols sank to the occasion and were determined to represent for the SEC (Sucky East Conference). Crompton showed promise as an equally craptacular QB, doing maybe as well as the third stringer from UCLA. Second half was a bit easier on the eyes for both offenses, with Craft completing passes and putting together drives (teh rise of teh Craftsman?), resulting in a late TD in the fourth quarter. The Vols showed resilience, tying it up with a late field goal.

In OT, UCLA’s kicker > Vol’s kicker. Neuheisel made UCLA fans “happy”; Fulmer should lay low for a while.

(Almost as good recaps: Gate 21, Rocky Top Talk, Bruins Nation. For Cal fans’s entertaining liveblog of the game, check CGB here and here)

Arizona 70, Idaho 0: It seems Mike Stoops is taking this bowl talk seriously. The only time I see Arizona play like this is in November when they’re beating the stuffing out of a Pac-10 BCS contender. This isn’t November. This is disorienting.

Of course, the spin immediately began on the victory, that it was Idaho, one of the five worst teams in Division I, a destruction of a feeble opponent that meant nothing in the big picture. Still. USC beat a just as bad Idaho team by 28 last year. Arizona nearly tripled that margin of victory the year thereafter. I mean, 70 points people. That’s a lot of points.

(Better Recap: RauRaur)

Arizona State 30, Northern Arizona 13

It was 30-0 at halftime. Then everyone started partying.

(Better Recap: House of Sparky, Pitchfork Nation)

Oklahoma State 39, Washington State Much Less Than 39

Awful. We’ll talk about the Cougs soon enough, but that was an underwhelming performance.

(Better Recap: CougCenter, WSU Football Blog)

Cal fans only, take notice at these results.

Maryland 14, Delaware 7
Because the LSU-App State game was rescheduled for an earlier time, ESPN managed to squeeze in the ESPNU telecast of Maryland-Delaware. Because Cal is heading to College Park in a few

I know Delaware is supposed to be a good FBS team, but other than a great rushing performance by Da’Rel Scott (191 yards on 26 carries) and the Darrius Heyward-Bay drive, Maryland did nothing that deserved praise. They needed to put three quarterbacks in the game, and they did the smart thing and kept on giving it to Scott to run clock off their absymal performances.  Their promising drives stalled at the worst possible places for their field goal kicker, who missed three kicks from 45+ yards out.

I’m still wary of any East Coast trip we have to make (and I do think Maryland is a better overall team than Michigan State), but my concern has dropped a few notches after this typical ACC boner.

(Better recap: Turtle Waxing)

Colorado 38, Colorado St. 17
Let’s put it this way…the Rams didn’t allow a single Buffalo to run for over 55 yards…and they still got doubled up in terms of rushing yardage.

(Better recap: Ralphie Report–Colorado blog, couldn’t find any Rammers out there)

Anyone with more insights on these Pac-10 games? Leave them in the comments.

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