Welcome to the Week 3 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.) UCLA (3-0) LW:2 – The Bruins have finally made it to the top and it comes after struggling against a scrappy BYU team. Some of UCLA's weaknesses were exposed big time in the win. Jim Mora reinstated Ismael Adams to cover his secondary after starting corner Fabian Moreau was lost for the season and the would seem to hinge on the meeting in the desert with Arizona this weekend. Win and the sky is the limit for the young team, but lose and the Pac-12 South will run through the state of Arizona.
2.) Oregon (2-1) LW:3 – It wasn't the prettiest performance for the Ducks, whose defense looked like it couldn't stop a high school team. Oregon's oiffense is going to roll when things are going good, but the defense is a real issue. This isn't the Ducks of old and if things don't start to turn around on that side of the ball, look for the team to be renamed the Ucks, because there is no D.
3.) Arizona (3-0) LW:4 – The Wildcats hung a school record 77 points on Northern Arizona last week and will have a chance to potentially stand atop the Pac-12 South with a win on Saturday. That's a big jump for a team that struggled against UTSA on the opening weekend. Arizona surprised everyone with a conference title last year and could easily be one win away from being the front runner for it again this season.
4.) USC (2-1) LW:1 – If you thought USC was going to run the table, you clearly don't know Steve Sarkisian very well. Play calling and clock management down the stretch was a nightmare. The Trojans looked unmotivated at times and Stanford smacked them in the mouth. USC has its back against the wall now in terms of meeting season expectations and it will be interesting to see how everyone responds to the pressue.
5.) Utah (3-0) LW:5 – Utah is quietly floating through the conference. Through three games, the Utes are undefeated, but haven't been very impressive. They had to pull away from Fresno State late and had just played at the opponents' level across the non-conference schedule. There still isn't much to know about Utah, yet, so at five they stay.
6.) Stanford (2-1) LW:7 – It figures that Stanford would topple Goliath and only jump up one spot. I'm still cautious about the Cardinal because of the massive let downs that have come from David Shaw in the past. Kevin Hogan is hobbled, but could probably sit against Oregon State and still have the team win by three touchdowns. Let's see where Stanford goes in the next few weeks before crowning them a top tier program.
7.) California (3-0) LW:6 – If Texas didn't completely Alex Zendejas the final PAT, we would probably be talking all about how California folds in the fourth quarter with a big lead two years in a row. "Sonny gonna Sonny" could have been a thing, but Cal found a way to pull it out. I still like the Golden Bears as a surprise team in the North, but the defense needs some work to be a real force.
8.) Arizona State (2-1) LW:8 – Beating New Mexico was a good step forward for ASU, but that team looked all out of sorts on Friday. There was a horribly missed intentional grounding that would have given the Lobos all the momentum in the game with a safety. It was missed and ASU scored on a 95-yard touchdown two plays later, as the Sun Devils escaped again.
9.) Washington (2-1) LW: 9 – Even though it was just Utah State, true freshman Jake Browning's 368 yards and three touchdowns is pretty impressive. UW is still a pretty bad team, but things are starting to look up for the Huskies. It will be an interesting team to watch over the next few weeks as the season plays out.
10.) Colorado (2-1) LW:10 – Rivalry week came early to Denver and Colorado narrowly escaped with a win. The Buffs had to fight for every yard and mount a comeback to pull it off, but in overtime, the Pac-12 prevailed. Keep fighting the good fight Colorado.
11.) Washington State (2-1) LW:11 – Mike Leach's job was probably on the line this weekend and his team didn't let him down. The start was slow and a mediocre (by Leach's standards) 300 yards passing didn't help. Wyoming isn't a good team, but it hung with the Cougars for long enough to make everyone in the Palouse nervous. If these performances become the norm, Washington State may only win one conference game all year, against Oregon State.
12.) Oregon State (2-1) LW:12 – The Beavers are a very bad football team. They are a bad football team that happens to be 2-1. I fully expect Stanford to mop the field with them this weekend, but this is the Pac-12, so anything can happen.
Stat of the Week
Four quarterbacks scored for Arizona, a feat that no other team in the country has accomplished in the past 15 years. Anu Solomon led the charge for the Wildcats' scoring early on the ground and was later replaced by Jerrard Randall in the third quarter with the game out of reach. Randall promptly rushed 72 yards for a touchdown. A few drives later, Randall rushed 73 yards for a touchdown, only to be replaced by third string quarterback Brandon Dawkins. The redshirt freshman followed suit, scampering 43 yards to the end zone. With the game well out of reach, Arizona broke the school record for single game scoring when fourth string, walk-on quarterback Zach Werlinger dove past the goal line for the score.
Hogan the Hero
For all the grief I've given Kevin Hogan over the last few weeks about his play, he certainly stepped up his game this week against USC. The senior completed 18 of 23 passes for 279 yards and two touchdowns. Even better is that Hogan didn't throw an interception against a stacked USC defense. Hogan finished with a 208.8 passer rating, his highest of the season, on a bum ankle and led the Cardinal to an upset victory on the road.
Games to Watch Week 4
UCLA at Arizona – I know UCLA is hurting right now defensively, but there is a ton of talent on the Bruins' roster. Myles Jack is a huge loss due to his versatility and fact he has manhandled Arizona the past few years, but there are several solid replacements behind him. Ishmael Adams is back for the secondary and he makes up for some of their injuries there as well. Overall, I think UCLA is still a more talented team.
With that being said, Arizona is a great team at home. ESPN's College GameDay is in town and Rich Rodriguez seems to want this one more than any other game that he has coached since arriving in Tucson. Arizona and UCLA will both have trouble defensively and both will be able to score points. This one could come down to special teams and I have to give the advantage to UCLA there.
USC at Arizona State – I had the Trojans pegged to run through Stanford last week, and boy was I wrong. The Trojans shouldn't falter two weeks in a row and Arizona State has looked absolutely dreadful in the first few weeks of the season. USC can't afford another loss if it expects to be in the hunt for the South title and ASU is desperately looking for a way to get back into the national spotlight after a few poor performances. This should be a fun one to watch. USC 38, Arizona State 28