Another prime time match-up with a top-10 opponent brought another chapter to the saga that is Arizona's offensive line: The Young and the Blockless. With his team having surrendered 12 sacks already this year and sporting no ground game to speak of, it is staggering that Nick Foles has been able to throw for so many yards, with 10 touchdowns and no picks to boot. After the trio of games the bewildered cats have just endured, they are probably looking forward to their Compton trip for a downgrade in opposition.
Those of you who had Dennis Erickson in the "First to Get a Gatorade Shower" pool, collect your winnings. After wandering the desert for 11 years with no oasis in sight, ASU finally emerged victorious from their battle with the Trojenz, ending the game on a 22-0 run. Cameron Marshall played the role of the gimp during the week leading up to Saturday and then made a miraculous recovery to scamper for 140 yards and three touchdowns. Despite being called out for dirty play by Matt Barkley, Vontaze Burfict was a perfect gentleman all evening, even helping Matt up off the dance floor.
If Teddy's bears never face a fourth-and-goal situation against Washington again, it will be too soon. They must not have taken notes when the Huskies punched it in last year because kal opted to let Maynard throw an awkward lob to the corner, just moments after that play had failed. Adding to that bit of bad news, the defense continues to be left behind on road trips, and headman Jeff passed another career milestone as he tied his predecessor with 43 losses. Will Holmoe be there to shake his hand when number 44 comes calling?
The Buffs has a chance to make a national splash in Columbus, but instead they opted for the belly flop. No one should be surprised as CU hasn't tasted the fruit of a road win since 2007, which is probably why they were unanimously voted in when the Pac-10 expanded last year. Returning home for the conference opener against Wazzu could be cathartic, or it may be the first step taken on the stairs to the cellar.
The quacks seemed grateful to take advantage of Stanford's sloppy seconds as they put the hurt song on repeat in Tucson. The green defenders are still causing heartburn for Nick Aliotti, but thanks to a case of the dropsies by ‘Zona receivers, he wasn't forced to exhaust his supply of Maalox again. Feathered fans should be concerned with Darron Thomas' pocket presence, as he has clearly demonstrated he feels more comfortable riding shotgun than passing from it.
Lovingly referred to as "OS Ewe" ever since a fraternity prank went awry, the nickname fits better these days for the Beaver offense, as they routinely put fans to sleep with their lackluster play. Though they haven't had many positives lately, they did return their only playmaker in James Rodgers and were coming off a non-loss the week prior. This, coupled with an extra week to prepare and a weak opponent, was still not enough to gnaw out a win. I think their website admins can safely remove the Pac-12 Championship place holder from the official schedule now.
The preseason is over and classes have started in Palo Alto, and the incoming freshmen have inherited the only undefeated team in the Pac-12. The coaches who vote in the USA Today poll agreed that this was not a bye week but an improvement week for the Cardinal, bumping them to No. 4. The media wasn't so kind, perhaps because they were denied their Luck fix, dropping the boys down to No. 6 in the rankings.
Their game in Corvallis was billed as the scalpers' day off going into the weekend, and it certainly met expectations. Sportswriters and bloggers across the country had been backhand-complimenting UCLA on its strong special teams play, but allowing an 80-yard punt return right before halftime and getting a field goal and extra point blocked has taken the wind out of that sail. No matter, the 'ruins press on with a 2-2 record and pie-in-the-sky dreams of upsetting consecutive opponents off bye weeks when they travel to the Farm. Any points scored in this game will be an improvement over last year, so they have that going for them, which is nice.
One of the drawbacks of having a limited squad is not being able to go full bore in practice to avoid injuries. The problem for $C is that they seem to have trouble "flipping the switch" when it is time to hit someone, and sometimes Barkley acts like he has never been hit before when he tries to avoid a sack by throwing an ill-advised pass. All was not lost in Tempe however, as the baby blockers appear to be moving in the right direction with their run game, and a Trevin Wade-Robert Woods clash should provide some highlights as they try to rebound against Arizona.
The Utes joined Stanford on the couch as spectators last Saturday, still glowing from a romp over their in-state rival. Hopefully they have shaken off the one that got away in Los Angeles, possibly comforted by the fact that it was against an ineligible opponent. Back to business this week as they welcome Washington to town in a game that should let both teams know where they fit in the conference pecking order.
Now that Jake Locker isn't holding their offense back, the purple people eaters are quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with. The downfield passing of Keith Price, in conjunction with the steady running of Chris Polk-omotive, has been just enough to overcome the usual defensive shortcomings we have come to expect from the most overpaid assistant coach in the country. All of the momentum of a 3-1 start will be lost if they can't get a win in Salt Lake, as the heavy hitters in the conference still loom on the horizon.
The Cougars were cheering on the Aztecs during their week off, hoping that a win in Ann Arbor would take some of the sting off their defeat in San Diego. It didn't come to pass though, and Paul Wulff will see if his staff capitalized on the extra game-planning time in hopes of moving to 3-1 on this young season. After his receivers were called for three chop-block penalties in their last game, Wulff suddenly realized that the pointers Chip Kelly gave him at the Pac-12 Media Day were bogus, and has scratched Kelly from his Christmas card list.
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