Monday, September 1, 2008

Scouting The Pac: Week 1

A quick look around the Pac-10 Weekend...a bunch of blowouts, sure, but it was all made up for with that AMAZING UCLA/Tennessee game.

Arizona put up 70 points on Idaho, who might be the worst team in the FBS this season. It's the biggest margin of victory for the Wildcats in 87 years; in 1921, UA beat the Texas College of Mines and Metallurgy 74-0. That school, of course, is now the fine institution known as UTEP, but no word whether Jordan Palmer was the QB in that game. The game was delayed by an hour by lightning and the field was cleared, literally, as UA was lining up to kick off.

California picked up a nice season opening win over Michigan State when backup RB Shane Vereen busted the Spartan run defense for an 81-yard game winning scamper. Unfortunately for Bear Nation, their calls for a Gold Out were completely unheeded, and I laughed heartily when I saw the entire student section in dark blue shirts. The new Cal 3-4 needs some work though. No one should give up 31 to Michigan State.

Oregon seems to have a problem: God doesn't want anyone to play quarterback for the Ducks. Justin Roper goes down with a concussion, but JuCo transfer Jeremiah Masoli stepped in and led the Ducks to a 44-10 win over hapless Washington. Very moving story from the game as well: Patrick Chung wore the late Todd Doxey's #29 jersey with no nameplate on it and a defensive player will wear it every week of the season.

Oregon State has a quarterback problem as well...this one being that their starter just straight up is no good. Two good news pieces though for the Beavers: Jacquizz Rodgers is going to be a stud of a running back and Sean Canfield started throwing again. 0-2 for the Beavers is at least a 95% possibility having to go to Penn State next week.

Stanford has found a running game with Toby Gerhart, but we'll see how he looks against an experienced front seven, something that Oregon State didn't come to Palo Alto with. However, it was still "Dress Like Your Favorite Empty Seat" night at Stanford Stadium. Looks like Cardinal fans are already cashing in on the Gridiron Guarantee.

UCLA could be 2008's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Kevin Craft threw four AWFUL interceptions in the first half and Rick Neuhiesel wouldn't even commit to him coming out to play the 2nd half with Ho-Rowe. He obviously drank his good quarterback juice during the break as he led the Bruins to a stunning comeback and a 27-24 OT win over #18 Tennessee. The unsung heroes were the members of the youthful Bruins front seven.

USC trashed on Virginia...who might actually be worse than Duke in the ACC this season. Mark Sanchez looked super comfortable under center for the Trojans and Joe McKnight showed almost no ill effects from the injury that slowed him down during camp. They've got a week off to prepare for their September 13 showdown with USC at the Coliseum. One thing is certain: USC's defense is incredibly fast.

Washington might actually eclipse Washington State as the worst team in the conference. They have NO weapons around Jake Locker and it showed in a 44-10 drubbing at Autzen. It's their fifth straight loss to the Ducks. It should be the start of Tyrone Willingham's last season in Seattle.

Speaking of Washington State, they didn't look much better in losing to Oklahoma State, but at least Brandon Gibson is still a stud. It'll be a long season for Paul Wulff in the Palouse. Someone needs to explain to me what "It was somber, not happy, but at the same time hopeful" means. Maybe they can put that on the cover of the media guide as WSU's slogan for 2008.

Photo Credit: Conquest Chronicles

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