Where do the Pac-12 Programs stand after surprising results in Week 2?
Photo: Dustin Bradford/Getty Images
Article By Nick Battey
How do you lose an NFL Rookie of the Year candidate at QB and lose all five starting OL and come back with an even more efficient offense? You hire Joe Moorhead as your Offensive Coordinator. The Ducks offense haven’t been stopped in the first two games averaging more than eight yards per play. The team does have a -5 turnover margin and to continue the hot start against UCLA they will need to better that trend.
Two weeks and two wins for the Trojans. A great start right? Well, there hasn’t been anything to show that USC has improved much, if at all, from the past couple of seasons. Kedon Slovis is still great and the offense can score points but the defense and especially the secondary has looked bad so far. Unless the Trojans improve, they could be in for a rude awakening this week against Utah.
After a long offseason of wondering who would be the Huskies starting QB, we finally got our answer with R-Fr Dylan Morris taking the reins. His numbers weren’t eye popping but for his first start he ran the offense well and showed promise that he can be the Huskies guy for the future. The Husky defense showed well and the secondary may be the best in the country. Arizona should prove to be a tough matchup for the Huskies this week with Grant Gunnell and Gary Brightwell leading the offense.
For a fifth straight year the Buffaloes are 2-0. The past few years they have tailed off after hot starts but things look to be different in 2020. Karl Dorrell has done an amazing job in in year one and is the leading candidate for Pac-12 Coach of the Year. He had no spring practices, didn’t even know all of his players names over the Summer and now has the Buffs tied at the top of the Pac-12 South. The Buffs are a feel good story that everyone can root for after the early exit of Mel Tucker.
To win any game on 43 hours notice at 9:00am local time is impressive, let alone vs one of the preseason top teams in the conference in Cal. Not only did they win, it was dominant in all facets of the game. Dorian Thompson-Robinson was running and throwing all over the place with four total touchdowns. We will find out just how good UCLA is when they take on Oregon this Saturday.
6. Arizona State
Arizona State was idle this week and they will be again next week due to a major COVID outbreak that has decimated an entire side of the ball. We all hope everyone is feeling well and they can return to the field to rebound after the brutal ending to their first game against USC.
7. Washington State
After beating Oregon State with an impressive debut by Jayden De Laura, we were going to find out just how good the Cougars were vs Oregon. While WSU hung with the Ducks for three quarters, the WSU defense couldn’t stop the Moorhead attack. Even still, De Laura had over 300 yards passing and two touchdowns. The Cougars are still in great position for a bowl game and will be a threat to win each week with their offense. Stanford will be the next test for WSU this Saturday.
The Utes remain a mystery as the only Pac-12 team to not play yet but they are expected to open their season in a pivotal Pac-12 South matchup against USC this weekend. Until the Utes play we are keeping them in the middle of the Pac-12 power rankings but expect the Utes to rise quickly up this list if healthy.
Arizona finally got on the field this week vs USC and they put on a great show to almost pull the upset. For a team that was widely projected to be near the bottom of the Pac-12 South, they looked much more like a contender than a bottom feeder. Grant Gunnell was very impressive, throwing for 286 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Wildcats have another tough test upcoming when they face Washington in Seattle.
You can’t take too much stock into how Cal played against UCLA due to the absolutely unprecedented circumstances of playing on 43 hours notice on the road as your first game. Hopefully with some actual practice time they will improve to the form we expected out of Cal this year, because what we were able to see on Sunday morning was not pretty no matter how you slice it.
11. Oregon St.
For fans thinking this would be the year for Jonathan Smith to turn the program around and give Oregon State a bowl berth, an 0-2 start will always put a damper on that. But things could be different if the Pac-12 refs had correctly spotted the ball for a 1st down against Washington. On the bright side RB Jermar Jefferson has become one of the best backs in the conference and as long as he is out there, OSU will be in more close games with a chance to win in the 4th quarter.
Stanford got dealt a brutal hand when starting QB Davis Mills and top WR Connor Wedington were not able to play in their first game against Oregon due to a false positive/contact tracing. Based on what we’ve seen so far it is a bleak outlook for the Cardinal who outside of a late comeback falling short to Colorado haven’t shown much life through the first two games. This week against WSU will be a more manageable matchup and will determine the direction of the season for the Cardinal.