Weekend roundup: Down goes USC
For the second straight week, a previously lightly regarded Pac-12 team rose up. This time it was Stanford stunning No. 2 USC 24-21 in Palo Alto. Meanwhile, just three hours from Stanford, Colorado getting stomped at Fresno State 69-14 in one of the worst showings by a conference team in years. The Pac-12 was 6-3 in non-conference games. In the AP Top 25, released on Sunday, the Pac-12 still had five representatives, although in strikingly different order.
From Cal nearly winning in Columbus to Arizona State missing a chance in Columbia, it was a strange week in the Pac-12. Onward...
Washington State 35, UNLV 27 (Friday)
It's a bottom-line thing, college football, and the bottom line said Washington State managed to avoid the embarrassment of losing to UNLV here Friday night.
The final was 35-27, Cougars, which might have made their several thousand fans happy, but for the fact WSU was a point or two or three shy depending on when those folks visited a casino sportsbook from covering the spread.
That bummed the fans, but not nearly as much as the iconoclastic new coach, Mike Leach, is flummoxed by the way this team has performed in lurching to a 2-1 record. The Seattle Times
No. 12 Ohio State 35, California 28Chances for a Cal team, any Cal team, to have a shot at defeating Ohio State don't come around too often. The last game between the schools was 40 years ago, and it's been 90 years since the Bears were on the winning side against the Buckeyes.
On Saturday at Ohio Stadium before more than 105,000 fans, Jeff Tedford came close to joining the sainted Andy Smith (1922 Rose Bowl) as Cal coaches with victories over Ohio State on their resumes, nine decades apart. San Francisco Chronicle
Oregon 63, Tennessee Tech 14
Looking back on it, the Ducks probably ruined the curve for themselves with a brilliant seven-touchdowns-in-seven-drives start to the season.
That bit of perfection was sweet candy for UO fans, but ruined any chance of a realistic judgment through three games. Months ago, Oregon's uninspiring nonconference schedule at least looked like the perfect chance for a new quarterback to get his feet under him, and for the Ducks to weather some growing pains before the start of conference play. While both have happened, they've come in the wake of a scintillating start during which they did little wrong, offensively or defensively. Eugene Register-Guard
Washington 52, Portland State 13
Washington coach Steve Sarkisian said last week would be a healing process for his wounded Washington Huskies, who had taken their mental and physical lumps following a thumping at LSU in Week 2.
Consider the Huskies temporarily cleansed.
Washington pummeled Football Championship Subdivision member Portland State, 52-13, on Saturday at a sun-soaked CenturyLink Field in front of 54,922 to move to 2-1 with a bye week awaiting to get further healthy. Tacoma News-Tribune
Missouri 24, Arizona State 20No matter how impressive Arizona State looked the first two weeks, no matter how disciplined, the Sun Devils still cannot conquer the road demons that have haunted them for years.
Nearly everything that could have gone wrong Saturday night did at Memorial Stadium. ASU's special teams were horrendous. Its ball security, terrible. And yet, somehow, the Sun Devils still had two chances to defeat Missouri in the final minutes in front of 71,004 fans.
They couldn't pull it off, losing 24-20 in a way that will have fans muttering all week. Arizona Republic
No. 21 Stanford 21, No. 2 USC 14
Stanford didn't need any luck to upset second-ranked USC on Saturday. It had tailback Stepfan Taylor, quarterback Josh Nunes and a dominating defense.
Taylor scored two touchdowns, Nunes made big plays in the second half, and the defense overwhelmed USC in a 21-14 victory at Stanford Stadium.
The win was Stanford's fourth in a row over the Trojans its longest winning streak in a series that dates to 1905 and fifth in the past six meetings. San Jose Mercury News
Fresno State 69, Colorado 14
Which team, again, represented a power conference? Colorado certainly didn't look like one of the big boys Saturday night against Mountain West member Fresno State at Bulldog Stadium.
Fresno State, which historically has prided itself in knocking off teams from the bigger conferences, raced to a 35-0 lead in the first quarter. Yes, first quarter. Then 48-0 midway through the second quarter. It was 55-7 at halftime.
But the time the final gun sounded, Fresno State had geared down to finish with a 69-14 victory. Denver Post
Utah 24, BYU 21
The Utah-BYU rivalry game had so many twists and storylines this week, why not carry the theme of unpredictability into the game until the final seconds clicked away?
Underdogs on their own field after losing at Utah State last week, the Utes entered Saturday's rivalry bent on avoiding a loss that would have given them the unwanted designation of being just the third-best team in the state.
While they might have had the motivation, they were short on key players with quarterback Jordan Wynn announcing he was giving up on football after suffering a fourth shoulder injury, running back John White being sidelined with an ankle injury and starting safety Eric Rowe out with a hamstring injury. The Salt Lake Tribune
No. 24 Arizona 56, South Carolina State 0
Arizona's biggest football challenges lie ahead, against teams with national rankings and home-field advantages and little numbers next to their names on the Bottom Line ticker.
A reality check is certainly coming, maybe as soon as next weekend.
For now, though, the Arizona Wildcats can revel in the fact that they're undefeated. Why quibble over the quality of opponents? Arizona Daily Star
No. 22 UCLA 37, Houston 6
Houston came along at the right time.
UCLA needed a patsy, a team that had no chance of winning no matter how poorly the Bruins played, and the Cougars stepped right up. The Bruins' 37-6 victory at the Rose Bowl will look impressive in the books, especially to those on the East Coast who probably passed on the 10:30 p.m. start. But this was lurching along to the inevitable. Los Angeles Times