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Weekend roundup: South takes a hit

Published September 23, 2012 1:08 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Roadside Cafe, Phoenix SkyHarbor International — So, here we are, four weeks into the season, and your South Division leaders are Arizona State and... Colorado? Arizona, UCLA, and USC have all sustained losses early in conference play. A division that appears to be significantly more open than anticipated when USC began the season ranked No. 1 in the AP Top 25 has no clear favorite except the one that is riding the fumes of its waning expectations.

The AP Top 25 was released Sunday morning and, as usual, Pac-12 teams came and went.

Oregon State appeared in the poll for the first time since 2010, debuting at No. 18 after beating previous No. 19 UCLA in the Rose Bowl. So the Bruins were dropped. Too, were the once-No. 22 Arizona Wildcats, who lost 49-0 to Oregon. The Ducks, conversely jumped LSU and rose to No. 2.

Perhaps the most stunning result in the conference, at least to those of us in our neck of the woods, was Utah's 37-7 debacle in Tempe, a lopside loss to an Arizona State team that we can now safely say has been underrated through the first month of the season. The Salt Lake Tribune was there and, of course, all over it.

— Wodraska: Arizona State torches Utes 37-7

— Wodraska: Utes might need longer than a bye week to correct problems

— Wodraska: ASU exposes numerous Utah weaknesses

— Kragthorpe: Utes' Pac-12 opener sets disturbing tone

— Oram: John White returns but can't lift Utes' run game

— Oram: Utes join Pac-12 trend by debuting new look

On to the leads...

Arizona State 37, Utah 7

Tempe, Ariz. — They've had some things go their way. Playing mostly against backup quarterbacks, for example, certainly isn't a bad thing.

But through four games, a third of the regular season, Arizona State's Sun Devils are off to an encouraging start. Saturday night's 37-7 win over Utah at Sun Devil Stadium was not a contest. In many ways, it mirrored ASU's previous two wins.

Quick start, big lead.

Little drama. — Arizona Republic

Oregon State 27, No. 19 UCLA 20

Pasasdena, Calif. —Two games, two Heisman campaigns tripped up. After frustrating Wisconsin's Montee Ball in the opener, Oregon State held UCLA's Johnathan Franklin to 45 yards — one-fourth of his nation-leading average — in Saturday's 27-20 victory in the Rose Bowl. That's two top running backs on two nationally ranked teams left with no room to run and no touchdowns allowed by a defense that got no respect before the stunning start to the season. — The Oregonian

No. 13 USC 27, California 9

Los Angeles —USC achieved its goal, defeating California and erasing the hurt of last week's loss at Stanford. But the Trojans' 27-9 victory on Saturday at the Coliseum was, at times, painful to watch.

And not just for the fans who came out to see whether the Trojans' defeat at Palo Alto was a stumble or a harbinger of things to come. — Los Angeles Times

Colorado 35, Washington State 34

Pullman, Wash. — Seven days after becoming a national punch line, Colorado dug deep for something inside Saturday and scored three touchdowns in the final 7:06 to overtake Washington State 35-34 in a Pac-12 opener, stunning a crowd of 31,668 at Martin Stadium.

CU (1-3, 1-0 Pac-12) never led in the game until junior quarterback Jordan Webb scored on a 4-yard keeper and Will Oliver kicked the extra point with nine seconds left. — Denver Post

No. 3 Oregon 49, No. 22 Arizona 0

Eugene, Ore. — Of all the things Oregon coach Chip Kelly treasures in this world, at or near the top of the list is leading his team through a football practice.

He loves the personal interactions with his team, cherishes the chance to get improvement out of his players, is fueled by the competitive edge meaningful preparation can provide. And so, when Kelly elected to cut short the Ducks' final workout of this past week, the day before they hosted Arizona in Autzen Stadium on Saturday, those who know him best felt something brewing.

Something special. Something resembling what the Ducks went out and accomplished — a 49-0 white-washing of what had been the nation's No. 4 total offense entering the weekend, and an emphatic opening stanza in Oregon's attempt to win a fourth straight conference title. — Eugene Register-Guard

— Bill Oram