Weekend Pac-12 roundup: Three upsets provide surge
Pac-12 teams fell into only two camps this week: the overachievers and the underperformers, those who either lost by unexpectedly large margins or and this only applies in the hyperattentive spectrum of college football not dominating by enough.
The Pac-12 went 9-3 this weekend, a remarkable performance consdiering seven teams played opponents from power conferences. UCLA and Arizona sneaked into the AP Top 25 after their wins over ranked Nebraska and Oklahoma State, and Oregon State went from being considered one of the worst teams in the conference to receiving votes.
Arizona rose to No. 24, while UCLA debuted at No. 22. Of note to Utah fans, BYU check into the Top 25 at No. 25 after season-opening wins against Washington State and Weber State.
It was a week of upsets, as we all know by now. From the Utes playing horribly (and potentially losing their quarterback) and losing in overtime to Utah State, to Colorado becoming the second Pac-12 team in two years to lose to FCS Sacramento State.
Here's how they went down:
Utah State 27, Utah 20
Logan The Utes, who lost to the Utah State Aggies 27-20 in front of 25,513 at Romney Stadium Friday, lost more than a game. They lost their quarterback, they lost state bragging rights and, thanks to a nationally televised broadcast, they lost national respect. The Salt Lake Tribune
Oregon State 10, Wisconsin 7 Corvallis, Ore. Well, that was unexpected.
Before examining Oregon State's shocking 10-7 win over No. 13 Wisconsin, sophomore linebacker D.J. Welch would like to make one thing clear: That game was for Fred Thompson.
Thompson is the Beavers' late defensive tackle, a should-be sophomore who died on Dec. 7 of a heart attack while playing pick up basketball on campus, a loss that stunned the Oregon State football program. The Oregonian
California 50, Southern Utah 31Berkeley, Calif. On the heels of a season-opening loss to Nevada, the Bears had to scramble a bit to avoid their first 0-2 start in 11 seasons under coach Jeff Tedford, scoring 30 points in a frenetic fourth quarter. San Jose Mercury News
Sacramento State 30, Colorado 28 Boulder, Colo There are still 10 games left in the 2012 season. That seems like cruel and unusual punishment for everyone who follows this program.
It's certainly an awful lot of bad reality television for the Pac-12 Network to fill time with. Dish Network customers, you've been warned. Embree held a meeting with his staff following his postgame press conference. There was plenty to discuss. Like burning this thing to the ground and starting over. Boulder Daily Camera
Washington State 24, Eastern Washington 20 Pullman, Wash. Mike Leach talks about "clusters," the idea that good football teams follow a positive development on offense with another one on defense, or maybe a big return or blocked punt on special teams.
It was very nearly a cluster here Saturday for his Washington State football team, which took all of Eastern Washington's best shots in a 24-20 victory, Leach's first at the school.
In fact, the game ended in pulsating fashion, with a gaggle of players in the end zone there's your cluster, coach leaping for the "Big Ben" pass of Eastern's Kyle Padron, the throw from the WSU 32 that was going to visit all sorts of dire judgments on the Cougars if it came down in the right hands. The Seattle Times
No. 2 USC 42, Syracuse 29 East Rutherford, N.J. Turns out playing this game 10miles from New York City was appropriate because USC delivered an off-Broadway performance Saturday night.The No. 2-ranked Trojans defeated Syracuse 42-29 in front of a small crowd of 39,507 at MetLife Stadium with little of their usual swagger, a close-to-the-vest gameplan and a few nervous moments that were unexpected for 26-point favorites. Los Angeles Daily News
No. 4 Oregon 42, Fresno State 25Eugene, Ore. That dazzling, dashing Oregon offense is human after all.
The Ducks won't score every time they touch the ball, as it turns out. They will have to punt a few times. And they will need to fight and claw for tough yards, not just slash their way through opposing defenses with abandon. Eugene Register-Guard
No. 3 LSU 41, Washington 3Baton Route, La. For the span of about a minute, the Washington Huskies looked like they were capable of playing with the No. 3 LSU Tigers.
A big fumble recovery by the Huskies on the opening kickoff led to a field goal but that turned out to be Washington's only points of the game.
Nothing good followed after that fleeting moment. Tacoma News-Tribune
UCLA 36, No. 16 Nebraska 30Pasadena, Calif. UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley took the last snap, fell on his back, got up and hobbled off the field, never once letting go of the football. That was a keepsake.
This wasn't like beating Rice. It was so much better for UCLA. Los Angeles TimesArizona State 45, Illinois 14Tempe, Ariz. In the Aug. 30 season opener, you could point to the opponent. Northern Arizona, a lower-division opponent, couldn't keep up with Arizona State, not in any phase.
Saturday night also came with an asterisk: Illinois took the field at Sun Devil Stadium without starting quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase, out because of an ankle injury, a setback that no doubt played a role in the outcome.
BUt through two games, those are the only two thoughts that can chip away at a surprising conclusion: The Todd Graham era is off to an eye-raising start in the desert. Arizona Republic
Arizona 59, No. 18 Oklahoma State 38Tucson, Ariz. It wasn't a rallying cry, really. More like a reminder.
As Oklahoma State took a two-score lead early Saturday, Arizona Wildcats fans almost certainly had dÃ©jÃ vu. After all, remember the Alamo Bowl?
Thirty unanswered points and six consecutive defensive stops later, the Wildcats faithful had a reason to root for a blowout: Remember the Alamo Bowl! Arizona Daily Star
No. 25 Stanford 50, Duke 13 Palo Alto, Calif. The Cardinal (2-0) needed just 67 seconds to take the lead and kept the pressure on the Blue Devils (1-1) before an announced crowd of 44,016 at Stanford Stadium. The impressive all-around effort Stanford scored touchdowns on offense, defense and special teams was worthy of the Andrew Luck era, when the Cardinal pummeled second-rate opponents. San Jose Mercury News