Arizona 63, UTEP 16 (Friday Night)
I did not watch this game, but based on what I see in the stat line, it seems like Brandon Dawkins has now learned that a forward pass is legal. Dawkins was 18/21 for 155 yards through the air and he was also the leading rusher. UTEP is not great, and this is what P5 teams are supposed to do to not-great schools. Arizona dominated every phase of the game, which is more than I can say for a lot of the conference. Also of note, Nick Wilson is back at RB. Watch out for him as ramps up to speed.
UCLA 45, Memphis 48
I did get to see most of this game, and what I saw did not change much of my opinion of UCLA. I did, however, come away impressed with Memphis, specifically their offense. Mike Norvell is gonna get a bigger job soon. Anyway, the Bruins still couldn’t run the ball like they should and they still can’t defend the run like they should. The offense has unlocked something with Caleb Wilson at tight end that opens up the rest of the field, which masks some of the rushing troubles, but teams that can get pressure with four guys (USC, UW, and Utah) will have a field day with this offense. I still have no idea what’s going on with the defense. All that talent with salty Tom Bradley at DC should not be this soft. UCLA lost while playing with fire.
Washington State 52, Oregon State 23
This game was deceptively close, even with the score. Washington State confirmed who they are this year, a team with a surprisingly decent defense and a less prolific than usual offense. Luke Falk looked good in the game after his benching, and the Cougars can run the ball. Oregon State is rudderless right now. The offense can’t quite pull off the scheme they want, and the defense, specifically the secondary, has taken an unexpected step back. Full time conference play will be a struggle.
Oregon 49, Wyoming 13
It is very fortunate that the Buffs miss Oregon from the Pac-12 this year. They are freaky. A popular upset pick, this game was anything but even right from the outset. The Ducks were just faster and stronger than the Cowboys. Royce Freeman continues to be the most underrated running back in the country, pacing UO with 30 carries fro 157 yards and three trips to paydirt. He just knows how to get yards and touchdowns. Wyoming has been a very disappointing team so far this year, but they will mess up someone’s year in the Mountain West.
Washington 48, Fresno State 16
Ho hum, another 30+ point beatdown for Washington. Dante Pettis is the best returner and the country and CU should be very focused on the Huskies’ trip to Boulder. They are way better than I expected.
Arizona State 45, Texas Tech 52
This game followed the predictions to a tee. Not a lot of defense, not a lot clean good play, and Texas Tech came out on top. The leading passer in this game, TTU’s Nic Shimonek, passed for 543 yards and 6 touchdowns, while the leading rusher, ASU’s Kalen Ballage, averaged 3.5 a carry for 56 yards and one touchdown. This was an aerial battle, which Texas Tech will win 90% of the time. ASU’s secondary has been consistently bad for three seasons now, which is hard to do. The Sun Devil schedule is brutal this year, with a home game against CU acting as the easiest game in 2 month of October/November that includes @Stanford, vs. Washington, @ Utah and vs. USC. Woof.
USC 27, Texas 24 (2OT)
An absolute thriller. Both teams had ridiculous athletes and it showed. Texas’s D slowed down Darnold and the rushing attack for three quarters, but it wasn’t enough to overcome some lackluster offensive play. The stars of this game were the two leading receivers. Both Deontay Burnett (USC) and Colin Johnson (UT) did everything possible to keep their teams in the game, with Burnett getting the final word in the form of an amazing touchdown and an even better celebration.
Utah 54, San Jose State 16
The main thing to take away from this game is that Tyler Huntley is very good.
California 27, Ole Miss 16
Another fun game to watch. This is a completely different Cal team. They went from active disinterest in the concept of defense to shutting down an explosive SEC team. Tim DeRuyter was one of the best hires of the offseason, and it showed. Cal’s front seven can do a lot of damage. Ole Miss was able to get behind the defense with Shea Patterson, but they really couldn’t get the run game going. The Golden Bears, on the other hand, rode Vic Enwere and Patrick Laird to victory. This game was closer than the final score, as a late pick-6 sealed it for Cal, but they look much better than expected regardless. Cal is going to surprise some teams this year, including a certain team in the Rockies that hosts them in October.
Stanford 17, San Diego State 20
Pac-12 In the Dark (Qualcomm Stadium had a power outage) was not a success for the conference. Bryce Love did all he could for the Cardinal, but Keller Chryst had no success through the air and turnovers killed this team. Stanford’s defense was actually solid, Rashard Penny for SDSU was so damn good that it didn’t matter. Most of Stanford’s problems stem from offensive inconsistency, even on the offensive line, which is weird for Stanford. They need to figure out how to move the ball through the air and get consistent yards on 2nd and 3rd down. They have 1st down figured out.
#Stanford is off to a slow start at 1-2 but don't blame Bryce Love. He is AVERAGING 15 yards per carry on 1st down.— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) September 17, 2017
Good Weeks: Utah, Oregon, Cal, Washington, Arizona
Mediocre Weeks: Washington State, USC, Arizona State
Bad Weeks: CU, Stanford, UCLA, Oregon State