San Jose State
This week, the Spartans (2-1) gained 568 yards, 429 through the air, to beat Colorado State, 40-20. They lost at Stanford, 20-17, in the season opener before beating UC-Davis 45-13 in week two. The Spartans now visit San Diego State and Navy before kicking off conference play by hosting Utah State in what could be the de facto WAC title game.
The Blue Devils (2-1) beat FIU, 46-26, in week one before losing 50-13 at Stanford. This week, they beat North Carolina Central, 54-17, with touchdowns coming from the offense, defense and special teams. If the offense keeps it up, the Devils could find themselves 5-1 or 4-2 with Memphis, Wake Forest and Virginia next up. The Devils’ final six games, however, include three ranked opponents, plus Georgia Tech and Miami, so bowl eligibility is still an uphill battle.
Yesterday, Stanford beat the No. 13 Trojans, 21-14, in a game some readers may remember. USC is now 2-1 after blowout wins of Syracuse and Hawaii. Oregon, UCLA and Notre Dame are all in November, so the call here is that the Trojans win their next five before hosting the Ducks Nov. 3. First up is a visit from Cal this upcoming week.
The Cardinal and Huskies will square off next Thursday; both teams have byes this Saturday. Washington had a virtual bye this week, leading 45-0 in a 52-13 pasting of Portland State. Week one, Washington beat San Diego State, 21-12, after outgaining the Aztecs by only one yard. Week two, LSU smoked Washington, 41-3, with 437 yards to Washington’s 183. It won’t get any easier after Stanford: Washington next visits Oregon before hosting USC. That’s four top-15 teams in the first six games.
The No. 22 Wildcats (3-0) did what they were supposed to, beating South Carolina State, 56-0. Even given the opponent, it was a ridiculously impressive showing for Rich Rodriguez’s spread offense. The Wildcats gained 689 total yards, including 323 on the ground, as quarterback Matt Scott was 30-of-36. Arizona’s season has paralleled Stanford’s in that they beat an overmatched opponent ugly week one, 24-17 in overtime over Toledo, but played much better against their toughest competition – taking down then-No. 18 Oklahoma State 59-38 in week two. The Wildcats take their first trip of the season next weekend to Oregon, then host Oregon State in advance of their Oct. 6 visit to the Farm.
Stanford will grab the national headlines, but No. 11 Notre Dame (3-0) had as impressive of a win this weekend, shutting down No. 10 Michigan State, 20-3, in East Lansing. The Irish gained only 300 yards on the day and could convert only 1-of-14 third downs, but held Michigan State to 237 yards, including 50 rush yards on 25 carries. The Irish pasted Navy 50-10 in Dublin, Ireland to open the season, but then squeaked past Purdue 20-17 week two. Notre Dame now hosts Michigan, has a bye, and hosts Miami before hosting No. 21 Stanford. It’s too bad South Carolina/LSU and Texas/Oklahoma are also scheduled for October 13, because Stanford and Notre Dame could well be a combined 10-0 and make a compelling case for a College GameDay visit.
The Bears are 1-2 after a 31-24 loss to Nevada, an underwhelming 50-31 win over Southern Utah and, this week, a 35-28 loss to Ohio State, in their best showing of the season. The Bears gained 512 yards on the day, 100 more than the host Buckeyes, but Ohio State took advantage of a Cal defensive breakdown to throw a 72-yard game-winning touchdown with 3:26 to play. A visit to USC is next in a season that will see the Bears play 12 straight games without a bye.
Week one, the Cougars lost 30-6 at BYU (who, in turn, just lost to a floundering Utah team). Week two, Wazzu was lucky to escape with a 24-20 win over Eartern Washington. Week three, the Cougars continue their escape act in Las Vegas, outgaining winless UNLV by one yard in a 35-27 win. Connor Halliday threw four first-half touchdowns in the W, setting up a potential quarterback controversy when injured starter Jeff Tuel returns.
If the BCS computers end up screwing some Pac-12 team out of the title game, look no further for the culprit. The Buffs (0-3) started their march toward 0-12 with two heartbreakers – 22-17 to Colorado State week one, and 30-28 on a last-second field goal vs. Sacramento State week two. Now, the wheels have come off, with Colorado falling behind Fresno State 48-0 after just 22 minutes in yesterday’s 69-14 loss. (Yardage was similarly lopsided at 665 to 278.) Colorado goes to Pullman this weekend for their last real shot at a W – ranked opponents are on deck in five of the six subsequent weeks.
Here’s the team in the country, let alone the Pac-12, that we know the least about. Oregon State has played just one game this season, downing Wisconsin, 10-7. (Hurricane Isaac postponed the Beavers’ week one visit from Nicholls State to Dec. 1, and OSU had a more traditional bye this past weekend.) Not much was expected from the Beavers this season, but then OSU allowed only 207 total yards, including just 35 rushing yards, to a school that has run it better than just about anyone these past 10 years. We will learn a lot as the Beavers visit UCLA and Arizona, both ranked, these next two weeks.
Yet another team we don’t know much about. The No. 3 Ducks (3-0) have played no one, but they’ve looked mighty good doing it, downing Arkansas State, 57-34, Fresno State, 42-25, and, this past week, Tennessee Tech, 63-14. Arizona visits this Saturday night in an ESPN-televised ode to the spread. Then, the schedule gets easier until the USC visit Nov. 3 and the visit from Stanford Nov. 17.
The No. 19 Bruins don’t play Oregon and closes their season with USC and Stanford, so there’s no reason they couldn’t start 10-0. (That USC plays Oregon while UCLA does not could end up putting the Bruins back in the Pac-12 Title Game.) Right now, the Bruins are 3-0 with wins, in order, 49-24 over Rice, 36-30 over No. 16 Nebraska, and 37-6 over Houston. Offense has finally arrived at Westwood, as the Bruins are running for 311 yards per game, while redshirt frosh QB Brett Hundley is 69-of-103 for eight touchdowns. They host Oregon State this week.
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