Out of the Pac – Week Three

Nine up and two down with the week two picks brings the tally to 18-5 on the year. A full slate of action awaits in week three with the Beavers and the Cougars squaring off in the weekend’s only conference match-up. But first a review of what went right – and what went wrong – with the week two selections.

Week 2
Saturday, September 9
Colorado 37 – Texas State 3
(pick: Colorado 38-10)
The Buffaloes held Texas State to 283 total yards in the easy win at Folsom Field. A 17-point third quarter by Colorado left no doubt as to the result.

Oregon 42 – Nebraska 35 (pick: Oregon 37-23)
A through the looking glass second half tarnished a sterling first by the Oregon offense. Take another look at the throw Justin Herbert made to Dillon Mitchell from 17 yards out for the Ducks last score. Granted he had protection and was able to step into the throw but that ball was a rocket to exactly the right spot at exactly the time. Mitchell will keep that one in his memory banks for a lifetime. Herbert too for that matter, they don’t come much prettier. Royce was superb as was Charles Nelson for a solid win by the Ducks. On to the next rodeo.

UCLA 56 – Hawaii’ 23 (pick: UCLA 43-13)
An honest to goodness start-to-finish win by the Bruins. What that portends for the future is up in the air in Westwood but then that’s been the norm for some time now.

California 33 – Weber State 20 (pick: California 35-10)
Sixteen fourth quarter points pulled the Bears out of a 20-17 halftime deficit in Berkeley. Cal quarterback Ross Bowers completed 20 of 28 attempts for 200 yards but all four Bear scores came on the ground. Patrick Laird highlighted his three TD’s and 191 yards with a 73-yard bolt to put the icing on the cake.

Washington 63 – Montana 7 (pick: Washington 55-14)
Jake Browning threw for 259 yards and a pair of touchdowns and a committee of five led a rushing attack that piled up 213 yards and five touchdowns against the Grizzlies. A physical Washington defense man-handled Montana to the tune of 163 total yards, 31 on the ground.

USC 42 – Stanford 24 (pick: USC 31-28)
Trojan quarterback Sam Darnold tossed four touchdowns and got away with a couple of picks in USC’s methodical dispatch of the Cardinal. Double barreled running backs Stephen Carr and Ronald Jones II split 34 carries for 235 and a pair of scores from Jones. Bryce Love ran for 160 yards on 17 carries for the Cardinal.

Minnesota 48 – Oregon State 14 (pick: Oregon State 28-21)
A blindfold and a cigarette would have been kinder. 28 second half points by the Gophers has the Beavers reeling. Fumbles, a stagnant passing attack, a Swiss cheese defense leave the Orange and Black in as dire straits as has been seen in Corvallis in quite some time. Miracles do happen… but this is beginning to look near impossible.

Utah 19 – BYU 13 (pick: BYU 27-24)
BYU couldn’t find an answer for Utah quarterback Tyler Huntley who threw for 300 yards and ran for 89 more and a score. Tanner Magnum – his counterpart – three three picks and the Cougars were held to 63 yards rushing. You aren’t going to win many rivalry games that way.

Washington State 47 -Boise State 44 (3OT) (pick: WSU 44-21)
One the ropes and all but down for the count, the Cougs erupted for 21 fourth quarter points and then outscored the Broncos 16-13 over three overtime sessions in what was in the end the best game of the week two conference slate. With Cougar quarterback Luke Falk injured, back-up Tyler Hilinski connected on 25 of 33 pass attempts for three touchdowns. The two combined for 433 yards through the air against a Bronco defense that held WSU to 10 points through three quarters.  None of the above bodes well for Oregon State.

Houston 19 – Arizona 16 (pick: Houston 37-28)
The Houston defense allowed one Arizona touchdown to get the win in Tucson. Cougar quarterback Tyler Allen survived a pair of interceptions for a grind-it-out win in their season opener. Could be a long year in Wilburville…

San Diego State 30 – Arizona State 20 (pick: San Diego State 31-25)
And maybe a longer year in Tempe. San Diego State is no slouch by any stretch but does any team in the Pac-12 fail to live up to its potential in more inventive ways than the Sun Devils? The Aztecs Rashaad Penny carved up the ASU defense for 216 yards on 18 carries and a score to go along with four receptions and a second TD. ASU was held to 44 yards rushing.

Week 3
Friday, September 15
Arizona @ UTEP
UTEP might be the worst football team in the country. If you will remember the first time we saw Rice they were getting dismantled by Stanford 62-7. Rice was 17 points better than the Miners last Saturday, and while Arizona won’t be mistaken any time soon for the Cardinal, the Wildcats are at least as talented as Rice. Wilbur by a dozen, 30-18.

Saturday, September 16
UCLA @ Memphis
Memphis opened the season with a bang, rattling off one big play after another to defeat the University of Louisiana – Monroe 37-29. The Tiger scored touchdowns on a 99-yard kick return, a 66-yard by Patrick Taylor and a pair of touchdowns runs by Darrell Henderson – the first from 55-yards out, the second from 63. A pair of fourth quarter TD’s by UL-Monroe kept the score respectable but the real takeaway is that the Bruins aren’t as likely to cough yards in chunks the way the Warhawks did. UCLA by six, 33-27.

Northern Colorado @ Colorado
What many saw as perhaps a rebuilding year in Boulder has taken on a different shine with the Buffalos about to go 3-0 in non-conference action… a southern division title defense still goes through USC but that match-up looks to be fun. Not so much this week against the Bears. Ralphie by a bunch… 38-10

Oregon State @ Washington State
What more can possibly go wrong for the Benny’s? The schedule, that’s what. A horrendous non-conference showing ushers the Beavers into Pac-12 play against – in order – at Washington State, Washington, at USC, Colorado, and Stanford. Given the current state of affairs in Beaver Nation, that’s inhumane. The Cougs dodged an upset at the hands of Boise State last week but there shouldn’t be much drama in this one. WSU 55-18

Oregon @ Wyoming
No surprise the Cowboys have this one circled in red on their calendar … not often will a Power-5 conference venture into Laramie so as they say the joint should be jumping on Saturday. Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen will be a good test for the new Duck defense, both up front where the line will try to collapse his protection and in the secondary where a young group of DB’s will be making their first collegiate road start. At altitude. 7200 some feet of it. No gimme but the Ducks’ deeper roster and a bit of prairie swag surfin’ should be enough for a 41-21 win.

Arizona State @ Texas Tech
Texas Tech is favored by a bit more than a TD. Given ASU’s pedestrian effort last week in a loss to San Diego State, that’s not enough. Red Raiders by 13, 37-24

Texas @ USC
An opening season loss to Maryland – Maryland! – squelched any preseason hype that surrounded the Longhorns in August. A freshman quarterback earned the start in their week two blow-out over San Jose State, but USC is quite a different animal than the Spartans and the Coliseum is an uninviting place to make your collegiate road debut. USC leaves the Longhorns longing for the days of Darrell Royal, 48-18.

Fresno State @ Washington
Once upon a time the Bulldogs played toe-to-toe with the Pac-10/12. Then they got impatient and fired Pat Hill and have tripped themselves over three coaches in the past five years since. Now it’s Jeff Tedford’s turn. If there is to be a turnaround, it won’t happen quickly and certainly not by Saturdays’ goings on on Montlake. Huskies 42-21.

San Jose State @ Utah
With regard the Spartans – please see Texas vs. USC above. Utah won’t score as often as did Texas but it’s still a blow-out. Utes 45-10

Stanford @ San Diego State
Possible upset here, Stanford’s favored by nine but the Aztecs have a pretty physical running attack of their own and could well give the Cardinal an unanticipated thump on the noggin. The game is at Qualcomm to boot… why not…. San Diego State 21-18

Ole Miss @ California
Not many had the Bears a threat to run the non-conference table in Justin Wilcox’s first year at the helm in Strawberry Canyon; the Bears were a one-trick pony under Sonny Dykes and that pony is now in the NFL. An impressive win in Chapel Hill on opening weekend did lose some luster with a flat performance against Weber State in week two, still here are the Bears with a chance to be 3-0. The Rebels have wins over South Alabama and the University Tennessee-Martin, both in Oxford. The Pac-12 gets a measure of revenge from the SEC – Cal 38-31.