Doan: PAC 12 Peek
Each Week, Bart Doan takes you around the wild world of the Pac 12 and gives you an idea of what's coming down the pipe.
By Bart Doan
Follow me @Bart_CFN
BIG MAN ON CAMPUS - Jordan Webb, QB, Colorado
So yeah, no more Colorado jokes. Not when you're down 31-14 with seven minutes to go and still win, when Webb stuck the ball in in the waning seconds of their game in Pullman before a stunned crowd on the Palouse. He was 345 through the air with four scores, two in the air and two on the ground. Sure, it's easy to say "why was Mike Leach still throwing the ball?" up that late, but that's who his teams are. It's less easy to understand how Jon Embree and Webb were able to keep the team believing after such a rough start to this season. Kudos to that entire team on all fronts.
TEAM OF THE WEEK - Oregon State Beavers
Ward Cleaver would be proud of the Beav. Leave it to them to start out 2-0 in two games against ranked teams, this one over a much improved UCLA squad where they chewed holes in the mast of the Bruins' comeback ship all day long en route to a seven point road win. The Beaver D held UCLA to nearly 22 yards less than their normal 622 and straight jacketed Johnathan Franklin, holding the Heisman candidate 135 below his average. This was an impressive win for Mike Riley's team, he of one of the most inexplicably overlooked coaches in college football. It was inexcusable that this team wasn't ranked before this game. Now there's no doubt. Film or not, Oregon State is here to stay.
PLEASANT SURPRISE OF THE WEEK - The saltiness of the Oregon D
I think we all knew Oregon's defense has been getting increasingly better over the years, more stout, and more capable of carrying the team in moments, but not many expected them to pole axe Rich Rodriguez' humming Arizona offense the way they did on Saturday deep into the night. Up only 13-0 with a gutty defensive effort by the Cats through two quarters, the Duck D had kept Arizona at bay. The Cats came in averaging 46 points per game, coming off of a week when they ran 102 plays. To win? Not surprising. This is Oregon, one of college football's elite. To shut them out? They just put the rest of the top 5 on blast that they might actually be only getting better this year.
CLUNKER OF THE WEEK - Are you okay, Southern Cal offense?
Clunker might be a bit strong of a term for anything about a squad that won, but if nothing else, they seem to be idling at stop lights. A week after losing a hearbreaker to Stanford, the assumption was they'd be guns blazing to plaster Cal at home. Not so much. Though the offense took on more of a ball control, clock chewing theme, the Trojan O became the first to not bust Cal for over 30 in a contest. Make no mistake, this USC team can get back in the national title race. Right now, the strong Pac 12 has the benefit of another top 5 team that either will cause someone to move up drastically if they beat them, or stay #2 if they keep rolling. SC most certainly can do it. They'll need a tune up on offense though.
1. Oregon: 49-0 over Arizona. End of story.
2. Oregon State: Hard to deny, two games, two ranked teams, two wins.
3. Stanford: Huge game in vitriolic environment on Thursday vs Washington.
4. Southern Cal: I probably expect too much of them to look unbeatable on a weekly basis.
5. UCLA: In an unfair college football awarding world, Franklin probably lost his slim Heisman shot, particularly in a fickle media world. Hope not.
6. Arizona: Rich Rod's teams lost in chunks at Michigan. Avoiding that will be crucial.
7. Arizona State: Nice bounce back pole axing of Utah after loss.
8. Washington: Both passing and rushing are ranked in the 90s; not going to cut it.
9. Utah: They need this week off to get Hays up to speed.
10. Colorado: Buffs got a huge psychological win after brutal start.
11. Washington State: A transition like Leach's O would never be seamless. Keep patient, because he's worth it.
12. Cal: Only team in the conference bereft of a win over an FBS team.
1. Sean Mannion, QB, Oregon State - With 655 yards, three TD's, one pick, and two wins over ranked foes, get to know him.
2. Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA - Though he ran for only 45 of his 180 yard average in the loss, in my world I don't penalize with such an iron gavel. It's just a bad game.
3. De'Anthony Thomas, WR, Oregon - Though he wasn't a statistical factor in Oregon's bludgeoning, it's obvious the nation is taking notice of this team and the biggest star will reap the benefits.
What's on tap is a fresh keg of "prove it" games for the Pac 12 brethren. Arizona can gain some respect back against the other Oregon team, State, when they host the suddenly ranked Beavers. Oregon takes their act to the Palouse as the nation's new number one team, and the week gets kicked off Thursday night with a Stanford-Washington tilt where both teams have had an extra week to prepare. It's the start of five straight Thursday nights for the conference. Southern Cal and Utah rest up for one another in a similar stroke of scheduling genius where foes get that extra time to prepare. For Colorado and Cal, home games against UCLA and Arizona State respectively could keep their seasons from spiraling out of control with upset wins.
Follow me @Bart_CFN