Week 2 was a wild one. There were some very sad upsets (no one is crying with you, Baylor) and some very strong performances (Texas is back again, baby!). However, any national site will tell you about those games. Those are the gimmes. This article is meant strictly for the Conference of Champions and all of its wacky, emotionally exhausting glory. I will usually try to complete this list chronologically, but this week there were multiple overlapping games, so bear with me. Here we go!
Oregon 42, Nebraska 35
This game was a tale of two halves. In the first, Oregon was unstoppable on offense. I continue to think that Royce Freeman is the most underrated player in the country. He is a Bentley out there. Justin Herbert was hitting the long throws, which really opened up everything. Nebraska’s young secondary had to respect the deep ball, which allowed Willie Taggart to stretch them out horizontally. On offense, The Huskers were awful. Tre Bryant ran decently well, but their O-line was getting pushed around and Tanner Lee was not on the same page as his receivers.
That changed in the second. Suddenly, Tanner Lee was pinpoint accurate and the receivers won every 50-50 ball. The Oregon offense got conservative and stale, and Herbert was not nearly as dynamic. Like everyone expected, the Oregon D was the hero of the game, making plays when it counts.
UCLA 56, Hawaii 23
Not much to take away from this game. UCLA’s run defense is still very much suspect and Josh Rosen is still very good. Keep an eye on Nick Rolovich as a young coach in the West. He made Hawaii fun again for a bit.
California 33, Weber State 20
Weber State actually led at halftime. After an impressive road win against North Carolina in week 1, Cal looked stale and uninterested at home in week 2. Demetris Robertson is still an electrifying athlete and Patrick Laird may have separated himself form the crowded backfield in Berkeley.
#7 Washington 63, Montana 7
Not much to see here. The Fighting Bob Stitts of Montana might be in trouble in the Big Sky this year, which is too bad, because it’s wide open. Washington’s special teams are seriously impressive and they remain loaded on offense.
#6 USC 42, #14 Stanford 24
This game obviously had the most conference wide implications of the bunch and it was really fun for a quarter and a half. Sam Darnold, and more surprisingly, the USC run game, were dominant against the Stanford defensive front. USC’s athletes were making plays. However, it was tit for tat for about 25 minutes. Bryce Love is a top 10 back in the country, and I love the balance that he plays with. Keller Chryst had great success hitting the tight ends, and the ball was moving.
Then the talent took over. USC found it that it could run the ball with the two Clydesdales disguised as running backs (Ronald Jones and Stephen Carr) and Darnold was on the money. It was 28-17 at halftime, and the only reason that it was that close was thanks to a great individual play by Justin Reid at CB. From then on, it was USC’s game. Darnold is great, the RB’s are great, and the defensive front bounced back from a disappointing WMU game.
Oregon State 14, Minnesota 48
Poor Oregon State. It’ll be a long year.
Utah 19, BYU 13
This game was extremely boring, so I’ll be quick. Both offenses were stagnant at best (though Tyler Huntley looks like a good QB for Utah), and both defenses weren’t that great. The biggest stopping force against Utah was holding penalties. Just an ugly game all around, as it has been for the last few Holy Wars. Tanner Mangum has regressed as a 16th year senior.
#20 Washington State 47, Boise State 44 (3 OT)
This game was extremely insane. Wazzu had almost as many defensive touchdowns as offensive touchdowns. Luke Falk was benched! Luke Falk! Washington State scored 21 points in 10 minutes to tie in regulation. The true definition of #Pac12AfterDark. The biggest thing to take away from this game? Boise State shut down Luke Falk. For some reason, Tyler Hilsinki had much more success against this defense. Has Falk regressed or did BSU just have a good gameplan? I love the fact that Leach wasn’t afraid to pull his captain to win the game.
Houston 19, Arizona 16
This game was also ugly. Arizona’s defense held the Cougars in check, but they shot themselves in the foot with turnovers on multiple drives. Khalil Tate seems to have won the QB carousel (can you win a carousel?), but he needs to hold on the ball. The talent is there and I love the Wildcats’ backfield. Nick Wilson is a stud and J.J. Taylor is extremely shifty.
San Diego State 30, Arizona State 20
This game was no as close as the score indicates. SDSU had two touchdown drives stalled by penalties and ASU got lucked out a few times with flags as well. The main to take away from this game is how good Rashad Penny is. The replacement for Donnell Pumphrey at SDSU could be even better than the legend. He is shifty, fast, tough, and smart. Penny will run the Mountain West.
So, in summation:
Good Weeks: CU, Oregon, UCLA, Washington, USC
Okay Weeks: Stanford, Utah, Arizona, WSU
Concerning Weeks: Oregon State, ASU, Cal