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CFB Roundtable #6: A Pink Slip at the Airport (with Kevin Noon)

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This week Jeff and Damien welcome Kevin from BuckeyeGrove.com, part of the Yahoo! Rivals Network, and talk Northern Illinois, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Arizona State, USC (sans Lane Kiffin). They’ll touch on this weeks hot games including Arizona State vs. Notre Dame, Ohio State vs. Northwestern, and Washington vs. Stanford.

The Players

  • Damien Bowman (@damiEnbowman) – Managing Editor, More Than a Fan
  • Jeff Rich (@JRichTCF) – College Football Analyst, More Than a Fan; Columnist – The Cleveland F
  • Kevin Noon (@Kevin_Noon) – Publisher & Managing Editor, BuckeyeGrove.com; part of the Yahoo! Rivals Network

Week 5: Triumph

When the bosses at MoreThanAFan and I discussed my role in covering College Football for the site, I volunteered to wax Pac-12 football for the purposes of geography, and nothing else.  I didn’t think this westerly faction was going to make a big splash on the scene this season; it was as if Larry Scott put all his egg in one basket and handed that basket to Oregon…or Stanford, maybe he had two baskets, I don’t know.

The weekend was insulting to some, but it was looked at as high comedy to those who experienced “Triumph”.

Here we are at the quarter-mark of the season, maybe a little further than that, and the conference looks good on the whole.  After league-play, the contenders were all unscathed, and those with blemishes out of conference, probably should not have been considered contenders in the first place.
We started this gimmick with Rapper’s Delight (Let’s take it back to seventy-nine), but let’s move up the timeline to ’97 for the first single off the smash sophomore double-album from the Wu-Tang Clan, Triumph.  The title is certainly fitting for the contenders that separated themselves from the pretender in September’s final weekend; they might be the Osiris of this (thing) we call the BCS.
The clothing line and silver screen dreams of some of its members notwithstanding, these men were all about knowledge and it shows in their words.

Washington 31 Arizona 13

Heads by the score take flight incite a war
Chicks hit the floor, die hard fans demand more

Shhh.  Don’t tell the hipsters, but the Huskies could be all the rage.  Maybe they aren’t literally lopping off domes, like the heroes of the old Shogun flicks that this incredible, knowledge-spitting rap ensemble from Brooklyn gets their inspiration from, but undefeated tends to die when this Washington pops up on the schedule.  Yielding nearly 200 rushing yards is far from a victory in most cases, but when Ka’Deem Carey and BJ Denker are involved, 4.3 yards per and just 2 scores, the Husky faithful should be hitting the dance floor looking for those chicks…

Bishop Sankey hopes to help the Huskies cut the head off of the Tree in Northern California this weekend.

Heavy rain marred the first half that included two touchdowns, a safety, and a field goal, but strangely no extra points.  It kept Keith Price at bay as well, and the Huskies took an 11-6 lead into the intermission.  Washington won this game in the third quarter, mostly on the legs of Bishop Sankey.  Staring their first possession of the second half from their own 5, Steve Sarkisan turned to his workhorse and Sankey picked up 37 yards on 6 carries, doing the lion’s share of the work on a 14 play, 95-yard scoring drive that ended with Austin Sefarian-Jenkins catching a 1 yard touchdown pass from Price.
The Wildcats countered with a 72-yard scoring drive of their own to make it 18-13, but once Price brought the Washington offense back on the field in the third quarter, this one just about over.  Sankey only ran the ball for 10 yards on six carries on this drive, but the 6th was for paydirt and a  25-13 lead.  The score was set up by Price, who went 2-for-2 for 63 yards and ran for 13 on the drive, when he hit Kevin Smith for 49 yards to the Arizona 22.  Facing 3rd and goal from the 6, Coach Sark went to Sankey 3 times, and he punched it in from the 1 on 3rd down.  Arizona couldn’t get anything going after that, and a Jesse Callier TD run with under 4 minutes to play put it away for good.

Oregon 55 California 16

As the world turns, I spread like germs
Bless the globe with the pestilence
The hard-headed never learn

The University of Nike has developed a style that seems to be taking over the football world, despite the struggles of said-style in Eastern Pennsylvania on Sundays.  For the SEC-fatigued, Oregon is the top suitor, as they were just a few seasons ago against Cameron Newton, to bless the globe college football fan from the pestilent SEC (so to speak).  On Saturday, the show went on as planned.
Well, things didn’t go exactly as planned.  D’Anthony Thomas was injured on the opening kickoff, putting the burden of the Ducks’ rushing attack on Byron Marshall.  Ninety-three seconds later, Oregon had their first touchdown of the game without completing a pass.  Super-Frosh Thomas Tyner had 94 yards on the ground, and quarterback Marcus Mariota added 33 yards on six carries.  The only thing that would slow down the Ducks on Saturday night was the storm that punished the Pacific Northwest.  Mariota completed just 11-of-25 passes on the night, but still took a 41-3 lead into the half.

The deal has been all about the SEC of late, but Oregon wishes to alter the deal.

Cal, on the other hand, was in no mood for the weather, and it showed in Jared Goff’s stat-line, or his lack of one.  Sonny Dykes installed Zach Kline under center, and the freshman from Danville, California completed 18 passes for 165 yards.  Kline even threw a touchdown pass, albeit a garbage time touchdown, which is par for the course when the Ducks take their foot off the gas pedal.  Somebody may beat the Ducks, but not the hard-headed bunch from Berkeley, not this year.

Arizona State 62 USC 41

Certified chatterbox, vocabulary ‘Donna talking
Tell your story walking

Okay, USC.  Here’s your chance for Lane Kiffin to plea for his coaching life, but Arizona State wasn’t about to let him do it while they stood still.  After a tremendous or awful start, depending on whether you call your variation of red Cardinal or Maroon, this game evened out at the half.  For the second straight home game, we are left to question the words of Todd Graham in the bowels of Sun Devil Stadium, as the away team struck quickly on their first possession of the 3rd quarter…
It appeared as though the Sun Devils had set the tone early, taking the opening kickoff and going 75 yards on 10 plays, the 10th being a Michael Eubank 1-yard scoring plunge.  Eubank is a physically large quarterback that gets used in short-yardage situations, a la Tim Tebow (circa 2006).  On the ensuing possession, the Trojans went 3 and out.  Then, they scored, and scored again.  Groans could be heard throughout Sun Devil Stadium from the time USC took a 14-7 lead, all the way through taking the lead back at 17-14, and going into the locker room with 20-14 ASU advantage.
Kickoff at Sun Devil StadiumThe Sun Devil offense couldn’t do much with two Trojan turnovers, and stalled in the red-zone, for Zane Gonzalez to add a couple of 3-pointers from inside 30 yards.  Since they deferred, USC received the 2nd half kickoff and on the second play of the half, Cody Kessler hit Marqise Lee for 51 yards to the ASU 24.  On the next play, Tre Madden ran it in from 24 yards out, and Lane Kiffin’s seat began to cool with a 21-20 lead.  Now, don’t get up to go to the bathroom or refill your soft drink, because this one turned in a hurry.
Taylor Kelly hit DJ Foster for 74 yards on the Sun Devils second play from scrimmage after the score to go up 27-21, and seconds later Alden Darby picked off Kessler, his first of two picks and second takeaway of the night, and went 46 yards for the score.  Kelly would find his running back Marion Grice in the end zone, twice before the end of the 3rd quarter and the home team led 48-21 with 15 minutes to play.  In all, 69 points were scored in the second half, but it was a bad enough night that USC Head Coach was not gainfully employed long after the Trojans flight arrived at LAX on Saturday night.

Ask and you shall receive…

Stanford 55 Washington State 17

My beats travel like a vortex through your spine
To the top of your cerebral cortex

We all know how good Stanford is, Washington State couldn’t do anything to disprove it in Seattle on Saturday night…
Stanford played so well in all aspects of the game, with very few exceptions, that no one had numbers that particularly jump off the page. Devin Cajuste ended up with 4 catches for 115 yards, but Kevin Hogan ended up below the 300-yard mark. That’s pretty much Stanford’s style. The defense was punishing, to the point you worried about the Cougars getting out of there alive. Connor Halliday weathered the storm as best he could, the Washington State quarterback was only sacked twice but threw two interceptions early in the 3 quarter, which Stanford returned for touchdowns in both cases, and a 17-3 halftime deficit quickly grew to 38-3.
Really, this one was over before it even began. Playing at the neutral site (CenturyLink Field), Cougars fans, the ones who stayed in the rain, had to find ways to entertain themselves in the end.

Oregon State 44 Colorado 17

War of the masses, the outcome disastrous
Many of the victim family save they ashes
A million names on walls engraved in plaques
Those who went back received penalties for their acts

The Beavers must continue to battle to avoid penalty for their act (of losing to an FCS).

How long do we hold our grudge against these two school?  For Oregon State, the disastrous outcome came in their very first game against FCS Eastern Washington, but they put that in the rear-view since.  For Colorado, it isn’t that easy.
Another day, another 400 yard day for Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion. The junior from Pleasanton, California has over 2000 yards and 21 touchdowns through the air, compared to just two interceptions. Saturday, his touchdown count was a little higher than pedestrian, at 6. He found Brandin Cooks 9 times, and connected with Terron Ward 7 times; the tandem combined for 3 touchdowns, while Caleb Smith caught just three passes for 30 yards, but two of those were worth six points.
The only reason to watch Colorado is to see Paul Richardson play receiver, but Oregon State stepped and played defense at a level that we’ve yet to see through their first four games. Richardson was held to 5 catches for 70 yards after surpassing the 200 yard mark against Colorado State and Central Arkansas.


Big test for these South Division opponents in Deseret this weekend.

Max mostly, undivided then slide in sickening
Guaranteed made em jump like Rod Strickland

Raekwon closes nicely, praising Ghostface’s verse before his, hammering home the point that the Wu is on an entirely different level, and reminding the listener that they go from relaxed to off the chain (like the former New York Knick) in the blink of an eye.  I don’t know if there’s a better way to describe UCLA in 2013; they aren’t an easy game on anyone’s schedule.
Utah has a little bit of that surprise factor in them too.  Sure, everyone that wasn’t a Pac-12 apologist had them losing to Utah State on opening night, and the loss to Oregon State might have them questioning their defensive abilities, but the Utes are slowly becoming official as a Pac-12 foe, instead of just being one of the new kids on the block.  Keeping it real in Salt Lake, like Raekwon says, “Swift notarizer“.
The idles of Week 5 will kick off our Week 6 Pac-12 action, with the Bruins traveling to Rice-Eccles for a Thursday tilt against the Utes that will air on Fox Sports 1.
Apologies to U-God, Masta Killa, and Ghostface Killah for the snub; they put out great verses, but I only had five games to recap.  Enjoy the video, and we’ll see you next week.

Week 4: It Was a Good Day

This is supposed to run on Sunday, but the circumstances of life have gotten in the way these last couple of weekends, so these quick-hitter game recaps have been tardy.  But, I haven’t been out sailing or even golfing, while failing to meet my obligation of telling you what’s what with these West Coast games, rather saying good-bye to a friend I’ve known since I’ve known since starting a new life in Arizona twelve years ago.

My friend might have laughed at the cat being captioned with this famous Ice Cube lyric.

I found out last Saturday morning, while mowing the lawn, before a potentially fun day of watching college football, meeting up with some of my Wisconsin-ite friends, and taking in the atmosphere of Saturday night football down in Tempe.  It starts out like a nightmare, except it’s the same thing every day; reality hits you in the face, and you don’t like it.  Somehow the games are supposed to be an escape, but there’s no real escape from something so real.  So, it weighs you down every minute of every day, even if you avoid the people involved and seek distraction.  The clock was set to run out on that on Saturday, a few hours before the Sun Devils and Cardinal were set to kickoff in Palo Alto, as if that was an important thing.  I didn’t expect it to be a day I would describe as good, or anything else nearing the positive.
While it wasn’t day of shooting hoops, gambling, dating, or even a late-night run to the Fatburger, such as it was for Ice Cube, it was a good day.  It was the best of the eight days that I knew he was gone.  We gathered, we loved him, and we loved each other.  We channeled our pain into joy, traveling down memory lane (not quite back to the 12th grade) to recall the joy that was source of what ignited our anguish on this otherwise beautiful Saturday.  While a four minute, twenty second (yeah, 4:20) ditty about having a good day in Southern California doesn’t exactly sum up a celebration of life, it might do the weekend of Pac-12 football some justice.


Stanford 42 Arizona State 28

Hooked it up for later as I hit the door
Thinking will I live another 24

National Championship dreams can die so easily, on just one bad Saturday in September.  That’s a thought for Stanford, with two wins in their back pockets, hosting a 2-0 Arizona State.  For the Sun Devils, National Championships aren’t much more than pipe dreams these days, but they weren’t planning on doing Stanford any favors by going up to Palo Alto and shooting themselves.  Unfortunately, that’s what happened…for a while.

Stanford gave ASU all the Stanford they could handle.

I think you have to hand it to Todd Graham for not letting ASU lie down and just die, after going into the half down 29-0.  A Marion Grice TD got the Sun Devils on the board early in the 3rd quarter, but they still trailed 39-7 at the end of 3.  While the result itself was a foregone conclusion, the visiting team played for the full 60 minutes, with three 4th quarter touchdown passes for Taylor Kelly, which brought the Devils within 11 with 6 minutes to play, but while everything else was too much, remaining time was not enough.  It was too much of Stanford’s defense, that kept Kelly and his offense off the field when it mattered; it was too much Tyler Gaffney and Anthony Wilkerson running the football.  Too much Stanford on Saturday, meant undefeated no longer live in Tempe on Sunday morning.

UCLA 59 New Mexico State 13

Had to stop at a red light
Looking in my mirror and not a jacker in sight

Before we go handing the Pac-12 Championship to one of those schools up in the conference’s North Division, we might need to smell the roses in L.A., or at least the team that plays in the Rose Bowl.  We forgot to mention, while offering up our California Love, that they’re always up to no good in Inglewood, but the Bruins are just fine in Pasadena.  Meanwhile, a team from Las Cruces, New Mexico may have some interest in “Breaking Bad”, but no one was jacking the Bruins on Saturday, not on the day of the team’s first home game since Nick Pasquale was killed.  Obviously, I understand the context of functioning with a heavy heart right now.

For you, Nick. The Bruins ran their first play with 10 men on the field.

Brett Hundley continued to do his thing from the quarterback position, going 23-of-35 fro 280 yards and three touchdowns in the air.  He did throw two picks, but the detriment caused was so negligible that they were merely mentioned in the same breath that we’re begging everyone east of the Rockies to consider him a Heisman candidate.  Hundley usually does some things with his legs, and he did to the effect of 33 yards on 6 carries, but Jordon James did the lion’s share of the work in the ground game, picking up 164 yards on 19 carries and hitting pay-dirt twice.  The visiting Lobos found their way on to the scoreboard against UCLA’s reserves, twice in the fourth quarter.

Utah 20 BYU 13

Cause just yesterday them fools tried to blast me
Saw the police and they rolled right past me

It wasn’t yesterday, but it was last year.  BYU, in all of their independence, rolled into Rice-Eccles with thoughts of winning the Holy War, but were sent back to Provo in defeat, after two attempts at game-typing field goals.  There would be no such drama in this year’s chapter of the rivalry, a defensive struggle from the word “go”.  Travis Wilson hit Anthony Denham from a yard out for the only touchdown of the first half, with 1:17 left in the second quarter.  BYU managed to field goals in the third quarter to make it 13-6, but Wilson hooked up with Karl Williams from short-range in the 4th quarter to put the Utes up 20-6, and they hung on for 20-13.
Though it has nothing to do with the game, this ridiculous song ended up being the musical score in the 4th quarter of the game, blasting from the iPad with the television muted.  In a Pink Floyd’s Darkside of the Moon/Wizard of Oz way, it kind of worked with the fans clad in red or blue from head-to-toe making the theoretical fox sounds.

USC 17 Utah State 14

Plus nobody I know got killed in South Central LA
Today was a good day

There was a time that USC kept their foot on your throat, or at least Ohio State’s proverbial throat, but lately, it’s been all about the Trojans playing not to lose.  Play not to lose, they did against the nagging Aggies from Logan, Utah.  The home team never trailed in this one, but Chuckie Keeton couldn’t produce the big play for Utah State, who was pinned in the shadow of their own goalposts for much of the 4th quarter, down 17-14.  USC won the field position battle, but never really put the game away.  Tre Madden was the offensive star of this defensive struggle, picking up 93 yards and a score on 24 carries.  We even had a small Marqise Lee sighting; the receiver pulled in 6 passes for 72 yards.

Oregon State 34 San Diego State 30

Drove her to the pad and I’m coasting
Took another sip of the potion, hit the 3-wheel motion

No one at MoreThanAFan dot net encourages drinking and driving, let alone drinking while driving, but they have to feel they’re riding on switches in Corvallis in the weeks since that dreadful loss to the ranks of the FCS in their opener.  For Oregon State, losing to Eastern Washington puts things in perspective.  You don’t worry about style points, just wins and losses.  If you think a 13-point deficit to winless San Deigo State in the 3rd quarter scares Mike Riley’s team, you’d be thinking incorrectly.  After a back and forth 1st half that saw Aztec quarterback Quinn Kaehler upstage Sean Mannion, the game slowed down in the third quarter and we entered the final fifteen minutes of play with San Diego State playing the role of rude hosts, leading 27-13.  The Beavers outscored San Diego State 20-3 in the 4th quarter, taking their first lead since the first quarter on Steven Nelson’s 16-yard pick-six with 2:31 to play.  Nine seconds earlier, OSU closed the gap to 30-28 on a 10-yard scoring strike from Mannion, who finished with 367 yards and three passing TDs, to Terron Ward.  Brandin Cooks was again outstanding, hauling in 14 passes for 141 yards on the day.

Oregon State celebrates a close one in San Diego

Washington 56 Idaho State 0
Washington State 42 Idaho 0

Keith Price didn’t need to play much to make his statement against Idaho State on Saturday

Today was like one of those fly dreams
Didn’t even see a berry flashing those high beams

The Evergreen State had no issues with the Gem State on Saturday, as the 98-0 combined result might suggest.  None of the numbers jump off the page in the game in the Emerald City, where Steve Sarkisian emptied his bench for the second half, but Keith Price and Bishop Sankey were impressive against the inferior Bengals of Idaho State, even in very limited action.
Connor Halliday led the Cougars to an easy victory in Pullman, completing 31-of-43 passes fro 346 yards and 4 scores.  It was Halliday’s eighth career 300-yard game and his third in a row.  This was a win for Mike Leach’s defense, needing and getting a goal-line stand at the end of the game to preserve to goose-egg in the Vandals scoring column.  It was Wazzu’s first shutout since shutting Idaho out 25-0 back in 2003, the year they won the Pac-10.  Though less than 10 miles separate the two schools on the Washington-Idaho border, they had not played each other since 2007.

Oregon, Arizona, Cal, Colorado (IDLE)

Today I didn’t even have to use my AK
I got to say it was a good day
So, the only loss for the conference came in the game where a team from the conference had to lose, so they had a good day on the whole.  Arizona State will look to re-group with USC coming to Tempe next Saturday, and I’ll be there too, for a 7:30 (AZ time) kickoff.  During that battle of 1-loss teams, Cal will be this week’s sacrifical lamb in Eugene, after taking the week off, facing fellow bye-having Oregon at the same time on Pac-12 Network.  Colorado hasn’t played since September 7th, but puts their undefeated record on the line in Corvallis against Oregon State.  BJ Denker, Ka’Deem Carey, and the rest of Rich Rodriguez’s Arizona Wildcats will encounter their first road test of the season, taking on Washington in Seattle, in a battle of 3-0 teams.

Some questions will be answered this Saturday? Which 3-0 is more real, Arizona’s or Washington’s?

Speaking of Seattle, look how much has changed since Ice Cube’s Predator album was released; there are no Supersonics and the only ones with pagers blowing up these days are doctors.  Anyway, enjoy these classic lyrics from Ice Cube and the beat from the Isley Brothers’ “Footsteps in the Dark”.

Week 3: California Love

A few months before Auld Lang Syne and the Tournament of Roses on a hungover first of January, some teams from the Pacific-12 Conference got together with some, arguably some of the best, Big Ten teams for a little non-conference action before the teams of both leagues starting beating the tar out of their own.  All of them carried weight, more weight than the team with the SEC patches on their jerseys that visited Autzen Stadium, but none of them were exactly what anyone could consider Rose Bowl previews.  In the end, the league from the Left Coast probably got the three they were supposed to, and the Big Ten made sure Akron’s near-miss in the Big House was Jim Delany’s biggest scare of the day.

Seriously, try finding lyrics that work for this gimmick in this song

As far as this week’s song selection is concerned, Outkast’s Roses was given serious consideration, with how USC was shown “that roses really smell like poo-oo-ooo” by Washington State last week, or that Ohio State would ruin an otherwise perfect day against out-of-conference foes, thus being the reason for word that rhymes with “itch”, at least out in California, the part of the state that wins in life.  But, let’s pay homage to the whole state, even if there’s eight schools full of students that wouldn’t piss on California, if it were on fire.
Things were different, 17 years ago last week, 2Pac was alive.  So, on this, the week of the anniversary of his murder in Las Vegas, we celebrate his introduction to Suge Knight’s Death Row in this collaboration with Dr. Dre, from the double-album All Eyez On Me.  Here’s Week 3’s slate of Pac-12 Games, inspired by the lyrics of 1995’s California Love.
Beyond Thunderdome

Arizona State 32 Wisconsin 30

Now let me welcome everybody to the wild, wild west

Sun Devil Stadium is a lot more than a stone’s throw from the Okay Corral, it’s more Wildcat Country than anything else around those parts of the state, in and near Tombstone, but it doesn’t mean lawlessness doesn’t go down in Tempe.  In the first half, this looked a battle between two pretty good team, and the visiting Badgers led by a point at the half.  Running lanes opened up in the second half, so ASU’s Marion Grice and Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon spent the early hours of Sunday morning in the east trading rushing touchdowns.  Gordon took the first play from scrimmage in the second half for 80 yards on his way to a 193 yard day on the ground, but the Badgers couldn’t convert a 2-point conversion after his second touchdown of the half cut the ASU lead to 32-30 with under 4 minutes to play.
That set things up for the bizarre ending that everyone was talking about all day Sunday and Monday.  Given a chance, with the ball at their own 17 and about 90 seconds to play, Wisconsin quarterback Joel Stave was 4-of-6 for 70 yards, highlighted by a Jeff Duckworth catch-and-run that put the Badgers into Craig French field goal range.  Then, they got cute with the placement of their potential game-winning field goal.  It was too cute for the Pac-12 officiating crew, who prevented Wisconsin from getting another snap after Joel Stave’s “neighborhood” kneel-down, which I accepted as him giving up on the play.  Anyway, the clock runs out, whether Wisconsin or the viewers at home care to agree or not, and the Sun Devils get their signature win, but a trip to Palo Alto might put a limit on the celebration.  Wisconsin and first-year Head Coach Gary Anderson got an apology from the conference…like that means anything.

Washington 34 Illinois 24

A state that’s untouchable like Eliot Ness

More to Ness than Capone

Nice use of the simile here, but Ness was a midwest guy; he’s got history in Cleveland, but pop-culture and Kevin Costner would have us remember him as the guy who took down Robert DiNero’s Al Capone in Chicago.  The University of Illinois isn’t located in the Second City, but this one was played at Soldier Field.  It stinks to take these games off campus, but Soldier Field home games are a good recruiting tool for Tim Beckman’s Illini.  It was a big stage for Husky quarterback Keith Price, who had a “pedestrian” 328-yard, 2 TD day, but Bishop Sankey stole the show.  35 carries for 208 yards was enough to prevent the Illini from every really being “in” this game.

Colorado vs Fresno State (Postponed)

We in that sunshine state where that bomb ass hemp be
A drunken Luke Wilson and a clueless Jim Carey have inferred that Denver and Aspen were part of the “Sunshine State”, but those were just movies.  The rain in Boulder offered no love for the California-based Bulldogs of Fresno State or their quarterback Derek Carr, who we point out because he’s David Carr’s brother, and we legally need to acknowledge that.  Speaking of legal and bomb-ass hemp, there’s something about the state of Colorado I suspect I’m forgetting.

Denver, the sunshine state

UCLA 41 Nebraska 21

Now it’s ’95 and they clock me and watch me
Does the realization that the 20-year anniversary of California Love is right around the corner make you feel old?  How about the appearance of former Nebraska quarterback Tommy Frazier?  Nebraska fans would just as soon try to believe that ’95 was just yesterday, but the times have changed.  The visit from UCLA, given the 9 AM California-time kickoff, was really Bo Pelini’s chance to put his program back on the map.  A 21-3 lead was answered by 38 unanswered points, you know, after the Bruins finally woke up. The destination, UCLA winning big, was expected, but the route was a little unorthodox.

Tommie Frazier

Arizona 38 UT-San Antonio 13

Your city is tha bomb if your city makin pay
Give it up for San Antonio, the city, for making noise in the FBS. They actually hosted Oklahoma State a week ago, and now they’re taking on Arizona in Tucson, the Stillwater of Arizona. They aren’t losing these games 70-0 with a running clock in the second half, even if they’re not really doing anything but potentially covering Vegas lines in these games. The Arizona side of the story is all about BJ Denker owning the QB position with his legs for Rich Rodriguez, even if the offense is heavily predicated on Ka’Deem Carey picking up 150 yards from scrimmage, which he did on Saturday.

USC 35 Boston College 7

Out on bail fresh outta jail, California dreamin

Memories, make me want to go back there, back there

USC is off probation and the scholarships are coming back. They’ve shown they can beat Hawaii and Boston College, but don’t expect them to be a national power again anytime soon. Cody Kessler played better in this feel-good game for the Trojans, but the answers came from Tre Madden (16 carries, 102 yards), Justin Davis (10 carries, 96 yards), and the running game on Saturday. The Lane Kiffin Hot Seat Watch will continue next week, when Utah State visits the Coliseum. We might just get a Marqise Lee sighting then. Though he did have 90 receiving yards against the Golden Eagles, he was limited to just two catches, with 80 of those yards coming on one big play. They apparently can’t spell Biletnikoff in Southern California this year.

Washington State 48 Southern Utah 10

Fiendin for money and alcohol
So, Mike Leach likes pirates, but it’s hard to get down with the whole raping and pillaging when you start your coaching 4-10, but a visit from the Thunderbirds of Southern Utah made for a good Saturday at Martin Stadium. Connor Halliday, once again, was north of 300 yards with 5 TD passes, but this game wasn’t as comfortable as Leach or any of the Cougar faithful cared for it to be in the first half. They were up just 14-10 in the 2nd quarter when Halliday hooked up with Dominique Williams for 55 yards, then stretched the lead to 28-10 on Damante Horton’s second pick-six in as many weeks, this one going for 72 yards. Perhaps, Leach deserves some rum after this one.

Stanford 38 Army 20

Flossin but have caution we collide with other crews
The Cardinal aren’t exactly the types to “floss” in the context that Shakur sold it, but they’ve got the talent to flaunt. Have caution because the “collide”, meaning they aren’t shy about pushing you around in the trenches. Part of me was worried about a 70-0 shellacking of a service academy on the anniversary weekend of 9/11, but David Shaw kept it classy. It was a big day for Tyler Gaffney on the ground, but the big test is ahead for Stanford, who will host Arizona State on Saturday at “The Farm”.

Oregon 59 Tennessee 14

Famous cause we throw grands
Oregon is new money, Nike money to be exact, but they spend it wisely. Virginia and Tennessee aren’t exactly Clemson and Alabama, as far as ACC and SEC foes go, but these are the teams on their schedule, and when they take the field against the Ducks, be it in Charlottesville or Eugene, they all just look like Nicholls State. There’s a Heisman candidate on this team, but it’s difficult to figure out if it’s Marcus Mariota or D’Anthony Thomas. In the battle of Duck vs. Duck, Mariota’s 456 yards and 4 TD’s trump DAT’s 13 carries for 86 yards and a score. The Ducks next game is on September 28th, with Cal coming to Eugene in a game that is expected to be as competitive as these first three games against Nicholls State-type programs.

Team Nike

Ohio State 52 California 34

The Bay Area and back down
Cali is where they put they mack down

Kevin Costner said he went to Berkeley to get as far away from his father in Iowa as he could. Cal is even farther from Columbus, Ohio, but there was no home-field advantage to be had in the Bay Area.

The last time Ohio State traveled to California for a true road game, they were doing so with their offensive playmaker, Beanie Wells. This time, it was Braxton Miller that was not given the go, but Kenny Guiton was more adept for the understudy role than one Daniel Boom Herron. All he did on the first drive, was account for the longest scoring play from scrimmage in Ohio State history, hitting Devin Smith for 90 yards on the Buckeyes second snap of the game. Guiton threw four touchdowns in all, but Jared Goff has a pretty impressive day for the Golden Bears, throwing for 371 yards, but only 3 for scores, on a night when Cal was out-done on the field of play and in the stands, that were just a giant sea of red. Brendan Bigelow was a little more contained this year, 11 carries for 39 yards, after his big day on four touches in the Horseshoe last year.

Oregon State 51 Utah 48

Throw it up y’all, throw it up, Throw it up
Let’s show these fools how we do this on that west side

Travis Wilson got the Utes to OT with a 9 yard TD run with 21 seconds in regulation, but stalled on their opening drive and settled for an Andy Phillips 41-yard field goal. The Beavers took advantage when Sean Mannion threw it up, one last time, for Brandin Cooks for a 6-yard walk-off TD on the road. It was Cooks’s 9th reception of the day, his 3rd touchdown, and the last 6 of his 210 yards. Richard Mullaney caught 7 passes for 142 yards from Mannion, who himself had 443 passing yards. Wilson did more of his work on the ground, gaining 142 yards and scoring 3 times, besting his own running back James Poole, who ran for 117 yards. Give it up for Utah, just for getting the game to this point; Oregon State led 27-10 early in the second half when Sean Martin took Wilson’s errant pass 73 yards to the house. The Utes took their first lead of the game, 38-37 on Murray’s extra point after Wilson’s 24 yard TD with 4:45 left in the game, but Mannion and Cooks bounced right back to take a 45-38 lead with two and a half minutes to play. 51-48 doesn’t come with any type of “Wow Factor”, it’s just how it gets done out here.

Sean Mannion and Brandin Cooks are making the summer’s quarterback competition a distant memory. Now, to purge that Eastern Washington loss from the memory banks…

Cause you and I know it’s tha best side
Yeah, That’s riight
West coast, west coast
Uh, California Love
California Love

CFB Roundtable #3: Poking the Pokes

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This week Jeff and Damien go 1:1. They talk about all the games from this weekend with a special focus on Texas, USC, and Alabama. They preview this week’s upcoming games and talk Oklahoma State allegations.
Damien Bowman (@damiEnbowman) – Managing Editor; More Than a Fan
Jeff Rich (@JRichTCF) – College football analyst; More than a Fan, Writer – The Cleveland Fan

Week 2: Gettin It

Despite having a conference game on the slate, Week 2 didn’t offer the Pac-12 fans or the national audience much in the way of marquee match-ups out west. We did finally get to see Arizona State and Stanford, provided we weren’t relying on DirecTV to give them to us, but we also had to see 4 Pac-12 teams battle with capable schools from the ranks of College Football’s Championship Subdivision, which is rarely fun. San Jose State, UNLV, And Hawaii joined the party from the non-automatic-qualifying ranks, while Virginia is still technically one of the big boys, not that it made the field in Charlottesville any more level with Oregon making the cross-country trip.
Whether the teams from Larry Scott’s rather large corner of the NCAA’s cartel were making their debut, bouncing back from defeat, or building on a Week 1 victory, all were presented with the winnable games. Basically, everyone in the conference was a double-digit favorite(apologies to Washington State) and almost every team that took the field came away victorious (sorry Trojans). Of course, the conference couldn’t go undefeated as USC hosted Washington State to open up league play. It was a weekend to go out and get; and they were all out “Gettin’ It” like Too $hort told them to on his tenth album.

He was going to kick it like this on his last album…but, there were more albums after this.

Washington State 10 USC 7

Quit complaining
Bout how you can’t spend it cause you ain’t got it
You got what it takes but not enough to get started

To open up the Pac-12 season, we had two programs that have really struggled since their most recent Pac-12 title.  For Mike Leach’s Washington State program, it’s been more than a decade since Jason Gesser led them to the Rose Bowl in 2002, but it hasn’t been nearly as long for Los Angeles’s de facto professional football team, who have been without trophy since only 2008.  That might as well be a half a century for Lane Kiffin, who has struggled through probation and otherwise underwhelming football since Pete Carroll made a mad dash for the state of Washington.  Andrew Furney’s 41-yard boot with 3:03 left in the game gave Leach and the Cougars a 10-7 lead that would hold in a game that was either all about defensive play-making or offensive incompetence.  Connor Halliday was picked off twice, but totaled 215 yards in the air, a Beldsoe-like effort in comparison to the tandem of Cody Kessler and Max Wittek, who combined for 11-of-21 passing with two interceptions of their own.  The only pass that resulted in a touchdown in this one came on Damante Horton’s 70-yard pick-six at the end of the first half, which tied the game at 7.

A good son wouldn’t lose to Washington State at home after terminating his flesh ‘n blood.

Arizona 58 UNLV 13

I hope you get the message, no it’s not a test it’s
Just me ridin legit, they can’t arrest me or bust me

Rich Rodriguez’s squad hasn’t really been able to make a statement, with wins against Northern Arizona and UNLV, but they are sending the message that they can beat up on the little sister’s of the poor.  On Saturday, in front of 26,950 and the tens of fans tuned into the CBS Sports Network, the Wildcats kept their foot on the gas early.  Arizona got it done in the first half with four touchdowns on the ground and two defensive touchdowns in Ka’deem Carey’s return from suspension.  Carey upstaged his quarterback BJ Denker, who ran in scores from distances of 35 and 4 yards in the first quarter, by showcasing his game-breaking speed to the tune of a 58 yard score and another from 12 yards out, for a final line of 16 carries for 171 yards.  Last week’s hero in the backfield, Daniel Jenkins added 17 carries for 73 yards, while Denker had 63 yards of his own.  The senior quarterback didn’t need to throw the ball well, and he sure did not, completing 8-of-21 for 81 yards.  The Rebels scored twice on big plays, but this was as one-sided as the 45-6 halftime score would suggest.

Utah 70 Weber State 7

I’m still hungry, I want some more stuff
Get fat and watch my whole crew blow up

Travis Wilson and the Utes were big in their opener with Utah State, and continued to feast on their Deseret foes with good ole “behind the woodshed” beating of Weber State.  The Utah quarterback ran for 2 touchdowns and threw for another 3 to total 357 yards of total offense in a game they led 49-0 at halftime.  Lucky Radley ran for 111 on 13 carries, two of them were good for touchdowns.  Kyle Whittingham’s squad will host Oregon State to kickoff their Pac-12 slate next week, but travels to Provo in two weeks to complete their All-Utah non-conference schedule.

Arizona State 55 Sacramento State 0

You should be gettin it, everything you want
Everything you dreamed of, never have to front

The Sun Devils had to wait longer than most to start their season, and a 10:30 kickoff on the Pac-12 Networks didn’t exactly make for appointment viewing.  Some, like myself, braved Tempe’s 106 degree heat at kickoff to take this one in at Sun Devils Stadium.  If you came to see anything from the visiting Hornets from California’s state capitol, you best not have been late.  Sacramento State took the opening kickoff down the ASU 16 on a 15-play 59-yard drive, where the Hornets converted four 3rd Down plays before Jesse Aguilar’s 33-yard field was blocked.  From there on out, it was Devils.  The visitors managed just more first downs the rest of the game, but did limit Arizona State on the ground.  Marion Grice led the running game with 59 yards, but CSUS (Cal State University-Sacrmento) stacked the box, so Taylor Kelly took advantage, hitting 5 wide-open receivers for touchdowns.

ASU faces Wisconsin at Sun Devil Stadium next Saturday. The first score of that game will be the first point that either team will allow all season.

Stanford 34 San Jose 13

Get your kids in school, so they can get an education
Get a degree, and take a vacation

The long-awaited debut of 2103 Stanford football came just before midnight in the east on Saturday, and the Cardinal were the last team to kickoff their season under back-to-back Pac-12 Coach of the Year David Shaw.  Stanford has spent the past few seasons proving that being an established member of Academia does not mean that football goes on the back-burner in Palo Alto, and that was the case with San Jose State visiting “The Farm” on Saturday evening.  As far as the game itself was concerned, there was nothing spectacular in this convincing win.  The Cardinal held the Spartans and 2012’s most accurate passer to 251 yards of total offense, while quietly dominating on both sides of the ball.  Kevin Hogan threw two touchdown passes, one to Ty Montgomery, who led all receivers with 81 yards on 4 catches.  Tyler Gaffney carried the load for the Cardinal offense, running it 20 times for 104 yards.  The defense, led by Trent Murphy, came as advertised.

The Defense never rests at “The Farm”

Oregon 59 Virginia 10

You see I got all my game from the streets of California
Oregon looked fantastic against inferior competition, per usual, and the stars of the show don’t necessarily come from Hollwood.  Sure, D’Anthony Thomas, who picked up 124 yards on 11 carries, three that ended beyond the goal-line, is from the city of angels, and his recently departed counterpart Kenjon Barner is also from Southern California, but Mark Helfrich is finding talent outside of the traditional hot-spots.  His quarterback is from Hawaii, and contributed just 199 yards with his arm, but nearly matched Thomas with 122 yards on the ground.  Cavalier quarterback David Watford did his part to make sure this ACC-Pac12 clash wasn’t competitive with three interceptions, but Khalek Shepherd injected some life into this game for Virginia with a 45-yard dash at the end of the first quarter to close the gap to 21-7.  The Cavaliers held the Ducks without a first down on consecutive possessions in the second quarter, but couldn’t get anything going, so 21-7 they went to the intermission down 28-10.  The second half was 31 unanswered points from the visiting Ducks, and an introduction to the freshman Thomas Tyner, an Oregon native and the school in Eugene’s next big thing.

California 37 Portland State 30

Stop looking for what you never seem to find
It ain’t what you think you got to read between the lines

Just lower your expectations for Cal.  This is a development year, and Sonny Dykes seat is ice cold.  It’s just time to let freshman Jared Goff get a feel for the college game, and hopefully they do enough winning, as to not scare away potential recruits.  That said, after Oregon State’s Week 1 loss, everyone had to be on edge when Portland State gave the Golden Bears all they could handle.  We like to see the kid do work as much as the next guy, but he shouldn’t be throwing 51 times against Portland State, even if the 485 yards are impressive in any context.  Trailing in the second half to the Vikings, as they were in the third quarter is not acceptable.  Credit needs to be offered where credit is due; DJ Adams ran for 139 yards and three scores, while Kasey Closs hauled in 5 passes for 160 yards and a score for Portland State.  Cal did a good job playing keep-away, running out the clock after a punt into the end zone with 4:41 to play.

Cal over Portland State, not pretty in Berkeley

Oregon State 33 Hawaii 13

The first thing you need to do is set your self some goals
Think positive, everything else is old

Oregon State is on a 1-game winning streak.
Sean Mannion put up another gaudy performance with 372 yards and 4 touchdowns, mostly targeting Storm Woods out of the backfield and Brandin Cooks, who each hauled in 7 passes for just under 100 yards.  After their Week 1 loss to Eastern Washington, the 38,179 in attendance at Reser Stadium may have been on edge after 30 minutes were in the books, with the game tied at 14.  Mannion hit Cooks for two scoring strikes in third quarter, and the Beavers controlled the clock, coming up just ten seconds short of doubling up the Rainbow Warriors in time of possession.

Colorado 38 Central Arkansas 24

When I was broke, I couldn’t afford a meal
But now I’m now rich I can’t be fake I gots to keep it real

Paul Richardson had 11 catches for 209 yards and two TDs.  This game featured 8 turnovers, but Connor Wood’s two INTs essentially negate a 300 yard/2 TD game.  Take Mike MacIntyre’s Buffs at face value at this point; they’re 2-0 against teams they should have beaten in 2013, nothing less and nothing more.  UCA led this game at the start of the fourth quarter, but three unanswered scores put Colorado two games over .500 for the first time in ages.  Since there’s little else I care to say about this ugly game, please enjoy this ugly field that the Bears of Central Arkansas call home.

Boise State and Eastern Washington left their non-traditionally colored turf to upset Pac-12 competition in the past days and years, but no such luck for UCA in Boulder.

UCLA, Washington IDLE

It’s been a long time baby since I first got down
But it still keep making these funky sounds

The Bruins and the Huskies both took the week off after impressive Week 1 wins over Nevada and Boise State from the Mountain West.  The brand names get a little bigger for Jim Mora and Steve Sarkisian next week, with a trip to Big Ten country on the docket.  UCLA looks to get a signature win in Lincoln, taking on the #23 Cornhuskers of Nebraska.  Keith Price and Washington travel to Champagne-Urbana to take on the 2-0 Fighting Illini.  These are just two of the four quasi-Rose Bowl pairing on the schedule in Week 3, which also features an SEC team at Autzen Stadium in Eugene.  We’ll see if the Pac-12
I know it’s all good
And you should do the same, I told you peep the game

Week 1: Rappers Delight

So, this is how we’re going to do this. Every Sunday, this is your one-stop shop to get caught up on the weekend’s Pac-12 action. We all know that it’s all about getting the W’s in this game, but style points are important. Well, if I’m doing a wrap-up and I miss out on the “W”, just consider it to be my attempt at some style. I hope with a little ode to the art of rap music, rap music from my time and before, to be specific, I can offer something a little more interesting than the dry blurbs you’ll find in USA Today, when it doesn’t use the “late” excuse to not recap the late night West Coast action.
Besides, you have an “East Coast guy” (fine, I’m a Midwest guy) with a West Coast zip code (so, Arizona isn’t on the coast at all; what are you, a cop?). Hmmm, East Coast-West Coast, you say? I’m sensing there’s a certain genre of music that we can tie around that theme, but we need to go back a few years prior to the ongoing disagreement of Mr. Shakur and Mr. Wallace.

It’s mostly a West Coast thing.

The year was 1979, and like we see in College Football, the song’s position in the rankings (the charts) varied, based on the poll. While it was only #36 on US Pop Charts, it did peak at #1 in Canada and the Netherlands. To this day, it is known all over the world, and thought of as the beginning of rap music (just my opinion, facts would disprove this on a literal level). Seeing as how this is the first “Pac-Raps”, I thought the 14 and a 1/2 minute diddy Rapper’s Delight would be a good place to start. Each week, snippets from a single song will accompany a brief recap of each game.

Oregon 66 Nicholls State 3

You see, I’m six foot one, and I’m tons of fun
When I dress to a T,
You see, I got more clothes than Muhammad Ali
and I dress so viciously.

What ever will they wear next week? They went Paul Brown Style with the white-on-white in Week 1.

Oregon let the visiting Colonels from Thibodaux, Louisiana wear the dark jerseys for the 57,769 at Autzen Stadium, while the host chose to go with the white-on-white look, but that’s about all they would let Nicholls State do on Saturday. The Ducks dominate their foe from the Southland Conference, as expected, from start to finish. Marcus Mariota led the way for the Ducks’ record-setting 772 yard offensive day with 234 yards in the air and a passing touchdown, but he was just one of three 100-yard backs for Mark Helfich in his head coaching debut. D’Anthony Thomas was responsible for two of the four 1st quarter scores, with touchdowns of 4 and 22 yards, gaining 106 of his 118 rushing yards in the first 15 minutes of the game. The first quarter also saw Oregon corner Terrance Mitchell become the school’s first victim of the new targeting rule, being ejected after a head-to-head hit on quarterback Beaux Hebert, who did not return after the hit. The Colonels did manage to muster their only 3 points of the game on Andrew Dolan’s 35-yard field goal on the second play of the 2nd quarter, but there would be no more soup for them and Oregon would take a 38-3 lead into the half before letting the backups work the 2nd half.

UCLA 58 Nevada 20

So after school I take a dip in the pool,
Which is really on the wall,
I got a colour TV, so I can see
The Knicks play basketball.

Pac-12 Network causes DirecTV subscribers to watch dots.

Well, color TV is great, but if your provider doesn’t work out a deal with the local big-time college football league, you find yourself following dots on the interwebs at the end of a long Saturday, and those dots told me that UCLA played a school from Reno, just to watch them lose. If you expected Brett Hundley to be spectacular, the dots gave you exactly what you thought they would; considering the opponent, Hundley’s 274 yards and two 6-pointers were a bit pedestrian, but the 61 yards of work he did with his legs put Hundley into the superstar class. Hundley’s counterpart wasn’t too shabby either; Nevada’s Cody Fajardo threw for 164 yards, but scored twice on the ground en route to a 106 yard rushing performance of his own. If the Bruins were mourning the departure of James Franklin, they sure didn’t let the Wolf Pack in on their sorrows. James “Joystick” Jordon led the ground assault with 21 carries for 155 yards, one of six Bruins to average over 6 yards a carry in a game that they accumulated 345 yards on the ground. This game wasn’t as laughable as the final score might indicate, Coach Mora’s squad only led 17-13 at half, thanks to a defense that looked ill-prepared for Nevada’s Pistol attack and questionable play on special teams. They were able to adjust at halftime, even make a special teams play of their own on a Kenny Orjioke punt block that Phillip Ruhl scooped and scored to run away with the 58-20 victory.

Arizona 35 Northern Arizona 0

Hear me talk about
Checkbooks, credit cards, mo’ money
Than a sucker could ever spend,
But I wouldn’t give a sucker or a bum from the Rucker
Not a dime ’til I made it again.

Ka’Deem who? Daniel Jenkins picks up the slack for Rich Rodriguez in the running game.

Arizona showed us something on Friday, well, they showed non-DirecTV customers that they can feast on FCS competition. The rest of us had to either be in Tucson or read about what happened in the premiere of BJ Denker starting at quarterback for a Wildcats team that Rich Rodriguez insists does not have an official starter at the position. Denker kept things close to the vest against Arizona’s in-state Big Sky conference rivals, with only 13 pass attempts, but the team from Tucson got all they needed out of the ground game, even without the services of suspended back Ka’Deem Carey. Daniel Jenkins stepped up nicely for Rodriguez, going for 91 yards and a score in the second quarter; the length of the run was good for third all-time, with the two longer runs also occurring on Northern Arizona’s watch. That made it 14-0, which essentially put the game out of reach, considering the ‘Jacks couldn’t make anything of QB Kyren Poe’s perfect 7-for-7 start. Poe would end the day with 176 yards and three passes that landed in the hands of the guys with the blue jerseys. I’m not ready to give Rodriguz or DC Jeff Casteel any credit for a defensive improvement, though they held the outstanding Zach Bauman to just 71 yards on the ground, because history reminds me that the Wildcats did shutout South Carolina State of the FCS 56-0 before the FBS portion of the schedule cut through the 3-3-5 defense like tin foil. UNLV and Texas-San Antonio should present bigger challenges, a better gauge to measure the actual progress of this defense, in the coming weeks.

Utah 30 Utah State 26

I guess by now you can take a hunch
And find that I am the baby of the bunch
But that’s okay, I still keep in stride,
‘Cos all I’m here to do is just wiggle your behind

Travis Wilson got the W for the Utes, over Chuckie Keeton’s Utah State team.

If it weren’t for the brilliant courtroom exchange between Fred Glynne and Joe Pesci in My Cousin Vinnie, I could honestly tell you that I’d never heard so much as a mention of the word “Ute” before Keith Van Horn and Rick Majerus made them relevant one March over a decade ago. We don’t need to re-hash anything about Urban Meyer and the evolution of a mid-major, especially because the premiere college football game on Fox Sports 1 in Salt Lake City was such a gem. Even without Gary Anderson leading Utah State, QB Chuckie Keeton and his Aggies put on a show. However, in the end, it was Travis Wilson that got to be the hero for one of the Pac-12’s newest members. Utah got off to a fast start, with Wilson’s two TD passes putting the Utes up 14-3 after the first quarter, but Keeton was determined to turn this one into a track meet. A couple of second quarter scoring strikes from Keeton to Brandon Swindall brought the Aggies to within 3 at the half, and they went up 23-17 when Keeton picked up six point on 15 of his 85 rushing yards on the day, but Nick Diaz would miss the extra point. That one point would prove costly, as Utes kicker hit a 38-yard field goal to put the home team up by 30-26, thus forcing Keeton to go to 72 yards in 11 seconds, which did not happen, and Utah walked off the field 1-0 on the year.

Washington 38 Boise State 6

I said, “By the way, baby, what’s your name?”
Said, “I go by name of Lois Lane
And you could be my boyfriend, you surely can,
Just let me quit my boyfriend called Superman.”

Keith Price bullies the one-time Cinderella, who looked mortal in Week 1, for a change.

Ever since the media declared them as special after a Hook & Ladder, a halfback pass, a Statue of Liberty play, and a spontaneous-yet-cliche football player proposes to cheerleader girlfriend night in Glendale, Arizona, Boise State has gotten a lot of mileage on that reputation alone. Look, some of it carries merit; they did win that Fiesta Bowl, defeat Oregon in back-to-back seasons, and seriously show up every time they were invited to the big stage, but the substance has been reduced to sizzle since Kellen Moore left the Gem State. Even with Joe Southwick taking over Coach Chris Peterson’s offense, they’ve maintained the reputation that they can hang with the big boys, even defeating their Week 1 opponent, Washington, in the MAACO Las Vegas Bowl last December. Steve Sarkisian and QB Keith Price were in no mood for any of it on Saturday night in Seattle. Price returned to his great 2011 self, after a rocky 2012 season, doing it mostly with his arm against the visiting Broncos on Husky Stadium green grass. He escaped when he had to, 6 carries for 25 yards, but did it mostly with his arm on a night he’d be without the services of star tight end Austin Sefarian-Jenkins. While Price was 23-of-31 for 324 yards in the air, it was running back Bishop Sankey that carried the load for Washington in a game that they only led 10-3 at the half. Sankey put the Huskies on the board from a yard out in the first quarter, then eliminated all doubt with a 23-yard scamper, his longest run of the day, which put Washington up 31-6 over the former juggernaut from the Mountain West. It might be time for the networks to find a new mid-major to worship.

USC 30 Hawaii 13

And while you’re sleepin’, you start to dream,
And thinkin’ how you danced on the disco scene
My name appears in your mind,
Yeah, a name you know that was right on time

The Ohio State-transfer just didn’t have a chance, with Trojans in his face all night.

It wasn’t long ago that some in Ohio anticipated the Kent Graham bloodlines taking over for the disgracefully exiled Terrelle Pryor, but Taylor Graham and Ohio State were too star-crossed for such a series of events to culminate and the traditional quarterback ended up playing for Norm Chow on the islands. This won’t prove to be the biggest test for USC’s young defense, but they fared very well, sacking Graham 7 times and catching 4 of his passes. The offense looked questionable for what is perhaps the most recognizable brand-name in the Pac-12, USC. They have two quarterbacks, a number that conventional wisdom dictates to mean you have zero quarterbacks, but Cody Kessler wasn’t up to the task. With all-world receiver Marqise Lee on the field, Kessler didn’t get him the ball at all in the first quarter. Max Wittek took over in the second half, as the Trojans ran away with the game in the second half against an exhausted Rainbow Warrior defense for a 30-13 victory. Lee ended the night with 8 catches for 104 yards, but was kept out of the endzone. While the two quarterbacks combined for a rather underwhelming night in the tune-up versus a “cupcake”, 15-22 for 139 yards, a touchdown, and a pick, Tre Madden picked up the slack on the ground. Starting in place of the injured Silas Redd, Madden picked up 109 on 18 carries in this acceptable, yet sloppy performance off the mainland.

Auburn 31 Washington State 24

I say a can of beer that’s sweeter than honey,
Like a millionaire that has no money
Like a rainy day that is not wet,
Like a gamblin’ fiend that does not bet

Halliday put on a show for Mike Leach, but he couldn’t play defense for the Cougars on Saturday night.

It was an SEC school and Gus Malzahn. It was Mike Leach, with “his guy” at quarterback, but this wasn’t Texas Tech, and it wasn’t an Auburn team that featured Cam Newton or Nick Fairley, so it would be a bit of a mistake to attach tendencies of these coaches that we think we know to their current programs. There’s a reason that Auburn no longer employs the Head Coach that was part of their 2010 National Championship, and a reason that Malzahn went to Arkansas State for a crash course in being a head coach, not just a brilliant coordinator. For Leach, the program wasn’t there with Jeff Tuel at quarterback, but hope springs eternal for Connor Halliday in the 2013 season. The Cougars hung with the Tigers for four quarters, but couldn’t prevent Auburn from breaking the big play on Saturday night in Alabama. Jeremiah Laufasa’s short touchdown runs put Wazzu up twice in the first half, 7-0 and 21-15, but every time Leach’s squad struck, Auburn struck back. After Halliday found Conor Ratliff for 7 yards, to put the Cougars up 14-8, Tre Mason returned the kickoff 100 yards to give the Tigers a 15-14 lead. After Laufasa’s second scoring run, it was Corey Grant that went 75 yards on the first play from scrimmage after a touchback on the kickoff to put the home team up at the half, 25-21. Halliday threw for 323 yards, but also threw 3 picks to 1 touchdown, targeting Gabe Marks most often, 9 times for 81 yards. It’s safe to say Leach’s offense has improved, but is still a far cry from the days of Harrell to Crabtree, at least for now.

Eastern Washington 46 Oregon State 43

Have you ever went over a friends house to eat
And the food just ain’t no good?
The macaroni’s soggy, the peas are mushed,
And the chicken tastes like wood

Eastern Washington’s Vernon Adams came up big in a big win in Corvallis.

What can you say? The Eagles of Eastern Washington and quarterback Vernon Adams came to play. The Beavers just got beat; down 29-17 at the half, they simply couldn’t get scores after defensive stops. You want to talk about offensive numbers? Fine, the usual suspects for Mike Riley’s squad did what they had to do to make this a game; Sean Mannion was 37 of 43 for 422 yards in the air, Storm Woods ran the ball well and found the endzone twice, and Brandin Cooks was just short of 200 receiving yards on 13 receptions, so the blame goes elsewhere. DC Mark Banker’s defense just laid an egg, and the fingers ought to be pointed in his direction after Trevor Romaine’s 52-yard attempt to tie the game as time ran out sailed wide right. For those expecting the Beavers to be a sleeper team in the Pac-12 North, they were right about one thing; the OSU defense was essentially asleep all day on Saturday in Corvallis.
This was Mike Riley’s second loss to a Big Sky opponent in three years; Sacramento State defeated them in 2011.

Northwestern 44 Cal 30

So you try to play it off like you think you can
By saying that you’re full
And then your friend says, “Mama, he’s just being polite
He ain’t finished, uh-uh, that’s bull!”

Let’s just say, Sonny might have been happier if he were pulling up to a suspicious looking toll booth.

Northwestern was ranked, hence the favorite at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley on Saturday night. In Sonny Dykes debut as Cal’s Head Coach, he put his faith in freshman quarterback Jared Goff, and the gifted frosh was brilliant, even if he was cursed with some tough luck. Northwestern defensive end Collin Ellis was the beneficiary of two tipped passes that he was able to return for two Wildcat not-so-fat-guy-touchdowns, spoiling an outstanding stat line for Goff. He completed 38 of 63 passes for 445 yards in defeat; four of them resulted in scores, but unfortunately only two of them were scores for his own offense. On the other side of the ball, Pat Fitzgerald lost his starting quarterback, Kain Colter, who is 1A on the Northwestern depth chart, on the Wildcats second play from scrimmage. His 1B stepped up nicely, was satisfactory in relief, going 18 of 29 for 276 yards and a score. There was a bit of controversy in this one, as Dykes didn’t conceal his dismay with Fitzgerald’s defense and their abundance of injuries on the defensive side of the ball, which seemed to take the Golden Bears out of their offensive rhythm. A Vincenzo D’Amato 37-yard field goal close the gap to 37-30 with under five minutes to go, but Treyvon Green, who ran for 129 yards in place of Venric Mark on Saturday, iced the game with a 6-run to give Northwestern a 2 possession advantage inside of two minutes.

“It affected it a lot,” Dykes said. “You know it was just unusual, it seemed like every time we had a first down they would have an injury. I hadn’t seen that, didn’t expect to see that, was disappointed that I saw that but that’s the way it goes sometimes.”
-Sonny Dykes (on the timeliness of N’Western’s defensive injuries)

Colorado vs Colorado State
Stanford (Idle)
Arizona State (Idle)

Going on’n’n’on’n’ on on’n’on
The beat don’t stop until the break of dawn
A sayin’ on’n’n’on’n’ on on’n’on

Colorado, and 1st-year Head Coach Mike MacIntyre’s staff, take on in-state rival Colorado State at Mile High Stadium at 6:00 PM Eastern on Sunday. MacIntyre’s staff was able to defeat the Rams, while at San Jose State, a year ago, so that should inspire the Buffaloes and quarterback Connor Wood, desperately seeking a win in their season opener.

This might be the biggest game of the year for both schools.

Speaking of San Jose State, they’ll visit David Shaw’s Stanford Cardinal in Palo Alto next Saturday. MacIntyre’s Spartans played Stanford really well in last season’s opener; Shaw would prefer that contest not be that close this year.
Like Stanford, Arizona State was idle in Week 1, but they’ll open their season with Sacramento State on Thursday at Sun Devil Stadium. Todd Graham’s Sun Devils generally have an easy time with FCS competition, but the Hornets have defeated Pac-12 members Oregon State and Colorado in consecutive seasons, so you never now. I’ll be back with more on Arizona State this Thursday, have a safe holiday and a great week.