Pac-12: No lingering drama between Sarkisian, Shaw
If you’re looking for a juicy coaching subplot to Stanford-USC, look elsewhere.
Last year after Stanford beat Washington 31-28, then-Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian accused the Cardinal of faking injuries to slow down his offense. David Shaw fired back saying, "If we didn’t do it against Oregon, why would we do it against Washington?"
The salvo stirred up the Pac-12 this season. But is there still beef?
"We never talked about it again," Shaw said Tuesday. "It was over, it was in the past. … Actually our wives have gotten to be pretty good friends. There’s no animosity whatsoever."
Seriously, stop talking about it. Nothing going on here.
No. 1 Oregon 1-0
No big surprise, but Michigan State will be more revealing
No. 2 Stanford 1-0
David Shaw graded 45-0 win a “solid B” performance
No. 3 USC 1-0
Hoping for an encore performance against Cardinal this week
No. 4 UCLA 1-0
Brett Hundley, offense have work to do before bigger games
No. 5 Arizona State 1-0
Reassuring start, but still some questions on defense
Freshman QB looked solid working with top-tier receivers
No. 7 California 1-0
First FBS win is a small but meaningful step for Sonny Dykes
No. 8 Utah 1-0
Performance versus Bulldogs will be a measuring stick against Trojans
No. 9 Washington 1-0
Hoping new starting QB will improve a sluggish offense
No. 10 Oregon State 1-0
Sean Mannion and company got things moving after halftime
No. 11 Washington State 0-1
Connor Halliday needs more help from his defense
No. 12 Colorado 0-1
Glaring issues, especially in run defense, in opening loss to CSU
If there is lingering controversy, both Shaw and Sarkisian were quick to dismiss it. Sarkisian described it as "a disagreement in the heat of the moment" that had since smoothed over. Both said they’ve met together several times since, and the incident hasn’t come up in those conversations.
Instead, the hot topic was the game itself this week, a conference game with huge potential implications. Stanford is looking to go to the Rose Bowl again, while USC is trying to break through in the South Division in Year One of Sarkisian’s tenure.
Ideally, this game wouldn’t be quite so early.
"I don’t think either of us would choose this," Shaw said of playing a heated rival in the second game of the sesaon. "But it’s an early test to see where we are, and an early chance to get a jump on positioning in our conference."
Cal pumped after first win
How much has changed for Cal in a year? Just about everything, coach Sonny Dykes said. And that’s how the Golden Bears got a season-opening win at Northwestern over the weekend.
"We were physically better, stronger and in better condition," he said. "We were much more mentally tough. I think we had a 19-play scoring drive and we didn’t have an offensive penalty the whole game. Last year we had a tough time executing at a high level at all."
The 31-24 victory was huge for Cal, which hadn’t beaten an FBS team since 2012. There’s always a concern that the thrill of one victory for a team so used to losing can get heads stuck in the clouds. But Dykes said he’s been happy with his team’s response and preparation for Sacramento State this week.
"It was good to see some tangible results of the work we’ve done," he said. "We came back focused on Sunday, and I think we’ve moved on quickly."