An 8-3 showing with the week three picks puts the season tally at 26-8 as the Pac-12 conference season hits full stride… sort of. UCLA, California, Utah and Colorado are all taking the week off, leaving a truncated schedule on the docket for week four. Washington State kicks the festivities off a day early with a Friday night under the lights date with the reeling USC Trojans. But first a quick recap of last week’s results.
Saturday, Sep 15
Stanford 30 – UC Davis 10 (pick: Stanford 42-3)\
Without running back Bryce Love the Cardinal weren’t at their best offensively. Quarterback K.J. Costello tossed a pair of touchdown passes but was picked twice. Stanford did hold the Aggies to 50 net yards rushing and forced three turnovers.
Colorado 45 – New Hampshire 14 (pick: Colorado 45-10)
Move over Jake Browning, Steven Montez might be the second best quarterback in the league though it is true a win over the FCS Wildcats wouldn’t require his best outing. That fell to running back Travon McMillian who ran for 162 yards and a pair of touchdowns as the Buffaloes enter Pac-12 play unbeaten at 3-0.
California 45 – Idaho State 23 (pick: California 38-7)
So too will California begin Pac-12 play unbeaten. The Bears raced to a 28-3 first half lead and were never threatened.
Nevada 37 – Oregon State 35 (pick: Oregon State 33-30)
Give the Benny’s this… they found a resiliency not seen in orange and black frequently of late and fought their way back into what ended up becoming a highly entertaining fracas. But also give the Benny’s that as Gilda Radner used to say “it’s always sumpin’”
Texas 37 – USC 14 (pick: Texas 31-17)
All that talent and a 1-2 record with a conference loss already attached to the resume leaves the Trojans a mess. It’s a long season and it has been the case previously by November all that talent comes together to some degree and USC finishes the year with a respectable but unspectacular record. But this sort of looks different… more like a meltdown in the making.
Washington State 59 – Eastern Washington 24 (pick: WSU 44-38)
With a Friday night match up with the Trojans ahead, the Cougs were on auto-pilot most of the way taking a 35-24 lead into the fourth quarter then unloading for another 24 points to extend the final margin.
Washington 21 – Utah 7 (pick: Utah 27-23)
The Washington defense held the Utes to 263 total yards and a first quarter TD in an impressive road win to open Pac-12 play. Myles Gaskin’s 30 carries for 143 yards led the way offensively for the Huskies. Jake Browning threw one TD, completing 14 of 24 for 155 yards. He and counterpart Tyler Huntley were each intercepted once but the Utes lost a pair of fumbles, one of which led to a Husky score.
Fresno State 38 – UCLA 14 (pick: Fresno State 38-28)
Gonna be a long season in Westwood for the Chipsters. UCLA is 0-3 for the first time since 1971 or so… and following a bye this week will open Pac-12 play against unbeaten Colorado.
San Diego State 28 – Arizona State 21 (pick: ASU 48-28)
An all too “shouldn’t be that surprising” faceplant by the Sun Devils. San Diego State knocked off what became a solid Stanford team on that same field a year ago and a week spent reading the press clippings of their upset of Michigan State the week before left Arizona State ripe for the picking.
Arizona 62 – Southern Utah 31 (pick: Arizona 44-10)
If ever Arizona’s Khalil Tate was going to return to form it would have to be against Southern Utah. The dual-threat qb who put up eye-popping numbers in claiming the starting job last season was kept under wraps in the Wildcats opening two losses. A week after being victimized by Justin Herbert, the Falcons gave up 349 yard and five touchdowns to Tate . Arizona rolled up 268 yards rushing in earning their first win of the season.
Oregon 35 – San Jose State 22 (pick: Oregon 52-3)
Lackluster would be the appropriate adjective… the temptation to keep the play book vanilla and keep an eye toward this weeks’ match-up with Stanford is the optimistic explanation but that only holds true if the subsequent performance follows through this Saturday.
Friday, Sep 21
Washington State @ USC
Too much drama in LaLa land and around Heritage Hall to think USC can pick up the pieces of their 1-2 record quickly enough to keep the Cougs from leaving town with a 38-17 win.
Saturday, Sep 22
Arizona State @ Washington
As long as Washington is winning games with their defense, Jake Browing and the Washington offense can continue to be steady if not yet lethal despite Myles Gaskins they will win games like this. Huskies 34-13
Stanford @ Oregon
Where the Ducks used to out-flank and out-speed the Cardinal, under first year coach Mario Cristobal the transition to more of a a toe-to-toe, headknocking offensive approach is underway. Oregon’s offensive line wasn’t one of the areas lacking when Willie Taggart took over a year ago and with Cristobal first as the position coach and now wearing the main headset after Taggarts’ departure, there is more continuity to that position group than is perhaps evident at first glance. If Oregon is going to win, Oregon will have to run the football. And if Oregon is able to run the football it will have been Cristobal’s guys that made it happen. Yes, the defense will have to contain Bryce Love and defend all-conference receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and if they could force a turnover or two it would be huge. But for Oregon to win, Oregon will need to run the ball. Ducks 28-23
Arizona @ Oregon State
Had last week not happened the way it did, the pick might be for the Beavs’ to steal a conference victory away from the Wildcats in their Pac-12 opener. But now that Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate has apparently found his role in new head coach Kevin Sumlin’s play book and despite a better defensive showing by the Beavers in rallying back against Nevada, the pick is Arizona 45-32.
~ Rick Morgan