Dirty Dozen: The missing seats edition

USC stole the headlines, but Utah and UCLA also looked in the South. In the North, Chip-fil-A's new quarterback looks every bit the part, Oregon State is still waiting for game film, and David Shaw folded pocket kings. (Folding: "It's what we do.")

Arizona

Despite the departure of Foles and Criner, ‘Zona managed to put up the second most yards in school history in an OT win over Toledo, making Rich Rod's debut successful. Having excised the Stoops demons, Tucson still seems to be haunted by the Zendejas curse as PK John Bonano missed a couple of gimmes that could have been game-changers. No margin for error this weekend when the inadvertent Fiesta Bowl champs come to town. Considering this will be their third game with Okie St. in as many seasons, Wildcat fans must think the Pokes were part of the Pac-10 expansion.

Arizona State

If Coach Graham is looking for things to improve on after a 63-6 drubbing of their tiny neighbors to the north, might I suggest a drill that emphasizes lunging for the goal line? When you have four touchdown "runs" of 1-yard or less, you are just wasting plays and exposing your line to pile injuries. If you haven't gotten a chance to see frosh QB Michael Eubank play yet, just imagine Cam Newton's doppelgänger minus the recruiting controversy. [Ed: And a fortuitous name to boot.] Since I'm showcasing large German words, I should mention that El Diablo's next opponent Illinois is still iffy on the status of their signal caller Nate Scheelhasse.

California

Pistol whipped by Nevada yet again, kal's re-grand opening was as lackluster as the press conference announcing the addition of "Livermorium" to the periodic table of elements. There were plenty of harbingers of doom leading up to the game, from Tedford putting his house on the market to Zach Maynard being suspended for the first quarter, but the best might have been ticket holders frantically searching for seats that didn't exist. Maybe Tosh Lupoi smuggled them up to Seattle?

Colorado

The Buffs took a big step towards extending their bowl drought when they swallowed the beach ball against pseudo rival Colorado St. The offense was miserly with points and yards while their playmaker from last season watched helplessly from the sideline. Though there is nothing they can do about their unfavorable conference slate (missing the weakest teams in the North), Coach Embree's squad needs to smoke Sacramento St. to avenge the honor they took from the Beavers last year. Doing so will require a better effort in the running game, which has been dreadful for quite some time.

Oregon

Entering his fourth year as headman, it would seem Chip-fil-A has developed a little bit of a soft spot for his body bag opponents. On pace to bust through the 100-point barrier, Kelly sent in the ducklings to level the playing field a bit and ended up being outscored 31-7 in the process. No worries for Eugenites though, as The Black Mamba venom is still potent and new kid on the block Mariota was as good as advertised. The only drama the rest of Oregon's OOC schedule will provide is tracking whether they can keep their home sellout streak alive.

Oregon State

Mike Riley is nothing if not succinct. When asked about opening with Wisconsin instead of Nicholls State, Riley responded, "It's not good." Further complicating matters, Big Bad Badger Boss Bret Bielema refused to send game film to Corvallis since he won't be getting any in return. Perhaps Mikey can get a copy of Northern Iowa's game plan as the Panthers nearly pulled off the upset in Madison last Saturday, providing a wake-up call a week sooner than OSU would have liked.

Stanford

They say there are no such things as moral victories, but how about moral losses? Exit polls showed that neither teams' fans were happy leaving Stanford Stadium after a rare Friday evening contest, and the grumbling has not subsided since. Will the return of Skov and Hewitt bring some fire to the Card? Can Josh Nunes increase his passer rating? Will Coach Shaw continue to fold pocket kings? Turn off your dish and tune into the Pac-12 Network to find out.

UCLA

The thing I enjoyed most about El Lay's thrashing of Rice was the studio halftime show, where Neuheisel had to endure repeated comments about how much better coached the team looked. Though they did show flashes of improvement, I'd like to see how they handle Nebraska before I declare the Bruins fit to defend their South Crown. (I couldn't even type that with a straight face.) Also, getting three(!) extra points slapped back toward you has to have some kind of negative effect on a kicker's confidence.

USC

In the storied history of $¢ sanctions and scandals, none have been more amusing (or pointless) than Lane losing his coaches' poll vote. I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that he didn't lie about voting his team No. 1, but rather, that he is just that bad with numbers and didn't even realize he had done so. His end of game clock management and his musical chairs approach to scholarships certainly lend credence to this theory. As to the game against Hawaii, the best thing Matt Barkley can do to further his Heisman chances is to stop throwing to Marqise Lee, who stole the offensive spotlight.

Utah

Quietly going about their business, Utah opened Pac-12 play by pitching a shut-out against a stubborn Northern Colorado squad. Getting to skip Oregon and Stanford for the second straight season means the toughest game left on their schedule is a home clash with the Toejams. Even a loss should not deter them from setting their sights on a trip to the Alamo Bowl, as the conference should send two teams to the BCS again.

Washington

With Nick Holt out of the picture, the Husky "D" was free to show what they were made of and they did quite well, holding the Aztecs to six points. On the flip side, the Husky "O" could only muster up two touchdowns on the night, which doesn't project well for this week's trip to Baton Rouge. Pulling out all the stops, Coach Sark arranged for an actual tiger to be brought onto the practice field for what I'm assuming is some kind of intimidation conquering exercise. Considering the rate at which UW is suffering injuries, they might have to use various parts of the tiger's body to make some healing potions.

Washington State

"Arrrggghhh, she blows." The punch line to the joke about a pirate movie review fits for Mike Leach's plank-walking debut, which probably won't be making the pages of his next book. Most of us knew Wazzu wasn't going to suddenly take the North by storm, but we did expect more fireworks in the passing game. Still, it's nice to have a colorful character back in the Palouse, which has been a little grayer ever since Mike Price left.


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