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Martin's Musings: Rough Starts

Martin's Musings takes a closer look at how the Pac-12 fared in the season openers. Who came out ahead, who came out behind, and more.

Welcome to the Week 2 edition of Martin's Musings, where we will take a look at what happened around the Pac-12 the previous week and at the week to come.

Weekly Pecking Order (Record)

1.) Oregon (1-0) LW:1 – The Ducks' offense looks like it hasn't missed a beat with Vernon Adams under center. The defense on the other hand looked especially shaky, giving up 42 points to Eastern Washington. Even though EWU has been known for potent offenses in the past, hanging that kind of number on a Pac-12 title favorite is both impressive and concerning. We'll get our first real look at how good Oregon can be this weekend, but so far the defense has some questions that beg to be answered. 

2.) USC (1-0) LW:2 – I was tempted to move USC past Oregon this week, but it's hard to punish a team for week one struggles in a win. The Trojans beat up on Arkansas State, which isn't that impressive. However, they didn't have too many weaknesses exposed and that is exactly what conference favorites need to do in week one. 

3.) UCLA (1-0) LW:6 – If you want to talk about impressive, talk about Josh Rosen. The true freshman quarterback completed a borderline insane 28 of his first 35 passes of his career with the Bruins for 351 yards and three touchdowns. He looked crisp all around and has so far lived up to the hype. If he can continue this ascent into Pac-12 play, the Bruins could be the new team to beat.  

4.) Arizona (1-0) LW:3 – UTSA is no slouch, but there is no reason for the Wildcats to allow 32 points to that team. Unless, of course the star and leader of the defense goes down with an injury on the second drive of the game. I'm not making excuses for the defense, but I'll let a Scooby-less Arizona team have a mulligan and see how the Nevada game turns out before judging too harshly. 

5.) Utah (1-0) LW:8 – Utah's big rise here is more in part to the teams that lost than what the Utes did. They beat up on a Michigan squad that is going through its new cycle of perpetual change, but didn't do it in any spectaular fashion. Utah was the one team in the conference that came out and did what was expected of them. That may not be such a good thing for the Utes.

6.) California (1-0) LW:7 – As much as I want to move Cal up one more spot, handing it to Grambling State is less impressive than beating Michigan. Jared Goff looked good and the Golden Bears rolled. I still think they surprise a few teams this year and with the egg that Stanford laid, that showdown for second in the Pac-12 North becomes much more interesting. 

7.) Arizona State (0-1) LW:5 – Heading into the season, the Sun Devils had dreams of grandeur. Those hopes and dreams were dashed by Texas A&M over the weekend. The Aggies went into Arizona and took the top recruiting prospect the last two seasons right from under ASU's nose and now has the Sun Devils against the ropes in terms of making the playoff. 

8.) Stanford (0-1) LW:4 – Quite possibly the only team that had a worse weekend than Arizona State is Stanford. Both had disappointing outcomes, but Stanford's stings worse as it came from a Northwestern team that has won just five games in each of the last two seasons. Kevin Hogan looked like he was in the running for worst quarterback in the league and even when he looked to get back on track, Hogan made a mistake that cost his team. If Stanford doesn't have a turnaround type of year, David Shaw could enter the offseason with a warm seat. 

9.) Oregon State (1-0) LW:11 – It's kind of ironic that Gary Anderson won his opener with Oregon State while Mike Riley had his first win at Nebraska stolen from him by the football gods. The Beavers win wasn't incredibly impressive, but it is a win, which is something that may not be seen very often in Corvallis this season. Hats off to Oregon State for opening the season right. 

10.) Colorado (0-1) LW:10 – To be fair, I don't know exactly how good Hawaii is this season. I do know that Colorado did not look very good in the loss to the Rainbow Warriors. The Buffs were hoping to make a breakthrough in the Pac-12 South this season, but from the looks of the game aganst Hawaii, it could be another four win season in Boulder.

11.) Washington (0-1) LW: 12 – The Huskies didn't look terrible against Boise State, but they didn't look good either. Washington is going to struggle offensively in the conference and it looks like it could be a long road for Chris Petersen to get his team back to being a conference contender.

12.) Washington State (0-1) LW:9  – It's no secret that I'm a fan of Mike Leach. That being said, he is doing an incredibly underwhelming job at Washington State. With that half of the conference trending down, the Cougars should be poised to make some noise. Instead, they lost to Portland State at home. 

Trending Down

Two teams not named Oregon and USC were mentioned by many of the talking heads around college football as being potential playoff contenders from the Pac-12. Both Stanford and Arizona State were highly touted heading into the season and both were incredibly disappointing in their openers. Stanford's offense was worse than when forward passes were illegal and ASU just plain got embarassed. The Cardinal and Sun Devils are now against the wall in their hopes of making a playoff run, likely having to win out to come close and with the showing that they had so far, they should both lose at least two more games.


The first weekend of Pac-12 play was marred with injuries. Several key players across the conference came down with injuries or illness. In addition to Scooby Wright's knee injury, UCLA lost its best defensive lineman, Eddie Vanderdoes, to a torn ACL. ASU's second string running back is out indefinitely with mononucleosis, Oregon's Vernon Adams is questionable this week after suffering a concussion from a dirty hit from a former teammate, and USC's star Adoree Jackson is plagued by a hip injury. Just about every team in the conference seemed to lose a player or two and it's only the first week of the season. 

Games to Watch Week 2

Oregon at Michigan State – It's the state of Oregon vs. the state of Michigan this week. The big game is obviously the Ducks at the Spartans and it makes it even more interesting since Adams' concussion could keep him limited in this one. Michigan State is a good team, but I'm not sure that they have turned the corner yet. I'm sticking with Nike U in this one. Oregon 38, Michigan State 28.

Oregon State at Michigan – It's only fitting that Jim Harbaugh will get his first win against a guy who just left the Big Ten. I already gave my predicition, but this one gets exciting because these are two teams who have the capability to be terrible at times and that is often the best time to watch football. I'm expecting a slugfest between two Welterweights. Good luck to all of us. Michigan 23, Oregon State 17.

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