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Our observations with news and notes from around the Pac 12 this past week

Here are some observations, news and notes from around the Pac 12 conference after week two of the college football season...

-- After we finished up the postgame from the UW/Sac State game, the Dawgman crew met up with a couple of friends at a local establishment and we watched the Oregon/Michigan State game. I harkened back to the days of yore when UW games used to be hyped like this one. When the Huskies went into the lions den of a top 10 program and they played them tough. Ah...the good old days.

-- Vernon Adams was gutty during the game against Michigan State, but you can see why many of us questioned whether he would make it through a season in the Duck offense. Adams is very small, slight actually, and while he's a great athlete with some escapeability, he's not that elusive in the pocket, especially with Power Five talent coming at him on a weekly basis.

-- Oregon State gave Michigan all it could handle early on, but eventually, Harbaugh started to call a more direct, power-running game and eventually the Wolverines just wore down the Beavers.
-- OSU’s lack of playmakers on offense and the struggle to find a quarterback will hurt them all season. 138 yards of offense just isn’t going to get it done in conference play, much less on the road against a mid-level Power Five program.
-- Husky fans shouldn’t expect a walk-over on Utah State this coming weekend. The Aggies gave their in-state rivals all they could handle and Chuckie Keeton gives defenses headaches with his ability to extend plays with his legs.
-- I’ve never been a big Travis Wilson fan. I believe he’s limited as a thrower, but his leadership was a huge key for the Utes to possibly challenge for the Pac 12 South. With him possibly lost for at least a few weeks with a non-throwing shoulder injury, that could hurt them as they get into conference play.
-- Virginia held their own against Notre Dame. I think we are starting to see just how talented/good UCLA is going to be. Brigham Young will be a decent test next weekend, but the Bruins’ first real test comes against Arizona on the road the final week of September.
-- Washington State definitely came out with something to prove. Granted, it was against a depleted Rutgers squad (the Scarlet Knights lost at least five starters to suspensions/transfers) and they almost lost the game, but hand it to the Cougars, bouncing back after their dreadful performance vs. Portland State definitely has to bouy some of the Cougar faithful.

-- Honestly, watching that game, it really felt like Rutgers "out Couged the Cougs".

-- For those that follow recruiting, it's pretty well known that Washington State prefers to bring their recruits in for game weekends. However, with the way they have lost commits later in the process, specifically in the final weeks of January, the Cougar coaches have changed things up and they are now focused on getting players to Pullman later in the process, specifically in the final three weeks of January. Cougfan has an article explaining the thinking behind the strategy. I'll be shocked if this works, but with their dismal fan turnout and the fact that they have struggled to hold on to coveted players, they had to try something different.

-- San Diego State held tough with Cal for a couple of quarters, but that Golden Bears offense started to get things going late in the first half and never looked back. While that was expected, the Cal defense looks to be much faster than they have been in recent years. They were flying to the ball and that can only bode well for them as the season progresses.

-- Who are the top Heisman candidates from the Pac 12 this season? QB Jared Goff (Cal), QB Cody Kessler (USC) and RB Royce Freeman (Oregon) are the players that come to mind, but one that didn't who might be sneaking into the conversation is RB Nick Wilson (Arizona). The sophomore rushed for nearly 1,400 yards and 16 TDs as a freshman last fall and so far this season, he's rushed for nearly 300 yards and three scores in two games. Now, the first game vs. UTSA (22 carries for 97 yards and no touchdowns) definitely hurts him, but with his abilities as a tailback and if they use him more as a receiver out of the backfield, he could keep his name in the discussion going forward.

-- Some really intriguing games in the conference this weekend. Stanford travels to USC; Colorado and CSU battle it out for state supremacy; UCLA hosts upstart BYU who beat Boise State last weekend; Cal heads to Texas; Utah travels to Fresno State; Utah State comes to Montlake to take on UW. If I had to pick one, just against the spread, one that really piques my interest is San Jose State at Oregon State. OSU is getting 7.5 points at home, but the Beavers haven't been able to score and their QB situation is tenuous at best. I know SJSU just lost to an average Air Force squad last weekend, but for some reason, I get the feeling they will play the Beavers tough. Top Stories