So is Arizona any better? Impossible to say. On a positive note, it limited mistakes. The UA won the turnover battle, it committed a small number of penalties, and it held NAU to 60 yards of total offense in the first half.
But after an impressive 16-play, nine-minute drive to start the game, it couldn't move the football, and played the state's only Division I-AA team to a near draw through three and a half quarters.
Oregon State got a lot of attention for its shoulda-won performance at LSU, but senior quarterback Derek Anderson still appears mistake-prone, and any kicker who fails to convert three extra points is going to have psychological issues throughout the remainder of the campaign. It's been suggested to me that Oregon State is a gimme-bet this weekend at Boise State. Must be the reason I don't bet, because I think Boise wins by three touchdowns. OSU's defense appears as though it could be as good as advertised, but there are certainly problem areas on offense and special teams.
USC wasn't exactly the juggernaut everyone anticipated. Virginia Tech did a stellar job through most of the first half, but Troy's patience paid dividends in the end. Still, without Mike Williams, the passing game appears to be a trouble spot. Inexperienced receivers will have to make quick strides if USC hopes to run the table.
To me, Cal was the most impressive team of the opening week. It benefited from a terrible call in the end zone, but then turned on the steam and rolled a solid Air Force team. Along with Oregon State, the Cal is the only longtime league member not to have made a Rose Bowl appearance since the Pac expanded to 10 teams.
It appears Washington State will finally return to earth. Wazzu struggled, and probably should have lost, at New Mexico. The only team in Pac-10 history to record three straight 10-win seasons will probably have a hard time extending that streak.
UCLA yielded well over 400 rushing yards at home to Oklahoma State. The Bruins obviously have talent, and that could keep them in a number of games in this wide-open conference, but they appear to be generally ill-prepared to make the strides necessary to win on a consistent basis.
Oregon opens play this week.
Certainly, some shifting and separation will occur, but outside of USC and Cal, and perhaps OSU by virtue of its defense, the Pac-10 looks like a league in which an uncertain Arizona has a chance to compete.
In the onset of the Stoops reign, that's about all one can ask.