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This Week In The Pac-12: Oh, Oregon State

In an otherwise successful week for the Conference of Champions, a ranked Pac-12 team suffers a shocking upset.

No, YOU da man.
No, YOU da man.
Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Eastern Washington 49, Oregon State 46

Last year, Oregon St. finished 21st in the country in yards allowed per pass attempt. On Saturday, Eastern Washington threw for 13.2 yards per pass attempt. That is an absurd, absurd number. Was all-everything cornerback Jordan Poyer the difference between a top-25 caliber secondary and a secondary that wouldn't fly in the FCS? Because My God. This might be the single worst defensive performance I can recall since I started writing this column. I mean, at least Washington was up against RGIII when they imploded.

Sean Mannion and the OSU offense did exactly what you would expect them to do against an FCS team. The defense did not. The bad news is that OSU has an actual FBS team on the schedule next. The good news is that Hawaii is almost certainly not as good as a top 5 FCS team like Eastern Washington.

Still though, WTF Beavs?

Building the Dam tries to figure out just what in the hell happened in the secondary:

Yesterday's in-game and post game commentary, both in the media and the fan base, contained a lot of comments about the Oregon St. defense being out of position. Radio analyst Jim Wilson even went as far as saying the highly athletic Beaver secondary looked slow.

One thing watching from the end zone instead of the side lines most observe from revealed was that Oregon St. often over-rotated. This was especially a problem in the 3-2-6 dime package the Beavers broke out for the first time with regularity yesterday. Think back about how many times you saw Poyer running around pre-plan pointing and yelling. What he was doing was making subtle assignment adjustments, and so far, there is no one who has assumed that role, able to understand the whole field.

Do the Beavers recover from this shock to manage a respectable season?

Washington 38, Boise St. 6

Wow. Didn't see that coming. When was the last time Boise St. just simply wasn't competitive? Washington nearly doubled up the Broncos in terms of total yardage, running away with the game in the 2nd half. Keith Price is evidently only good in odd years, or perhaps is just plain odd.

There's not much to say about this game, other than to note that Washington dominated in every facet, and the score certainly reflects that.

UWDawgPound is all smiles thanks to Mr. Price:

No player on this team faced more pressure heading into this season than Keith Price. His final play of 2012 was an interception that clinched a close, frustrating loss against Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl. And wouldn't you know it - his first pass of 2013, against these same Broncos, was another interception. Here we go again? Nope. Price didn't let the pick rattle him, and he quickly bounced back with a TD drive that saw him complete 7 of 8 passes as the Huskies took a lead they'd never relinquish.

How much does dominating Boise St. increase your esteem of the Huskies?

UCLA 58, Nevada 20

UCLA did to Nevada what Cal should have been able to do last year, which is run away by scoring a ton of points, even if the Wolfpack were able to make some headway on offense. Brett Hundley is enough to torch any bad defense, but we'll learn a bit more about the 2nd year of the Mora era in two weeks when the Bruins visit Nebraska.

Bruins Nation is pleased that UCLA overcame a slow start:

While the Bruins didn't explode out of the gate, they went up early in the first half thanks to the exploits of our super star QB Brett Hundley. Due to some sloppiness on special teams and a so so performance from the defense (as Lou Spanos appeared to be out-schemed in the first half by his Nevada counterpart) Bruins were barely up by a score of 17-13 at the end of the first half.

But then the Bruins shifted to a whole different gear in third quarter.

Auburn 28, Washington St. 24

Special teams and turnovers. This is a game the Cougars could have taken, but Auburn got a kick-off return touchdown, and three Connor Halliday interceptions prevented Wazzu from fully capitalizing on 464 yards of total offense. The good news is that Washington St. is at least playing well enough that you can now bemoan individual mistakes for losses, rather than bemoaning a general lack of talent across the entire roster.

Still, Auburn was very very bad last year and still made the Cougars look bad on a few long touchdown plays. One game does not a season make, but it's hard to do anything but assume that the talent level isn't high enough for Leach to compete in a BCS conference yet.

CougCenter grades the WSU performance based on three benchmarks:

Over the past few years, the athletic difference between WSU and its opponents has been obvious. The Cougs just looked smaller and slower across the board -- the worst possible combination in football.

Saturday, the gap didn't look as big as it has in the past, but the gap was still pretty clear. WSU's lack of lateral quickness was exposed on the long touchdowns by Auburn. Yes, you can lay it at the feet of poor lane integrity on the kickoff, or poor contain on the run, but other teams do those things, too -- it's just that they often have the athletes to make up for the breakdown so it's less obvious when it happens. And the results are less disastrous.

Was this loss a step in the right direction for Wazzu, or just a sign that 2013 will be more of the same?

Colorado 41, Colorado St. 27

The final score doesn't actually do justice to how well Colorado played, as they dominated their in-state rivals to mark a successful start to the MacIntyre era. Paul Richardson is back with a bang, he's got a quarterback in Connor Wood who can get him the ball, and just enough defense to make it stand up, at least against lower level MWC teams. It doesn't sound like much now, but we all know that wins are precious commodities in Boulder these days.

Ralphie Report celebrates a rivalry win:

Connor Wood likely was unrecognizable to anyone who saw him play in 2012, as he racked up 400 passing yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Wood was patient, making check downs when he needed to, and he had time to operate in the pocket, thanks to an offensive line that seems to have improved tenfold.

Insert your best Steve Marshall joke here.

USC 30, Hawaii 12

One wonders what might have happened had USC started the season against a team that doesn't arguably have the worst offense in the FBS. Cody Kessler and Max Wittek both showed why Lane Kiffin had such a hard time picking between them, but USC still managed 30 points thanks to four Hawaii interceptions.

So, smug Cal fan, you're thinking to yourself, "Boy did USC look iffy. I can't wait until they play a team that can take advantage of their weaknesses!" I was certainly thinking that later in the game.

USC plays three straight home games against Washington St., Boston College, and Utah St. Just enough time for Wessler (Kittek?) to get comfortable?

Conquest Chronicles questions everything there is to question about quarterback play:

I said it last night and I will say it again...We have TWO QB's who have been in the program for two and a half years but they don't look like they have been here but for five minutes.

Are they just not that good?

Is the scheme too complicated?

Is the coach just not effective at developing his players?

These are all legitimate questions.

Answer Conquest Chronicles' questions, if you dare.

Utah 30, Utah St. 26

Utah St. probably doesn't have a defense quite as good as 2012 under Gary Andersen, but Utah fans should absolutely be encouraged by the performance of Tyler Wilson, who managed to throw for 302 yards on just 17 completions with nary an interception. He may well be hard pressed to duplicate those types of numbers against Pac-12 opposition, but for now his sophomore campaign is off to an excellent start.

The same can't be said for Utah's running game (148 yards on 44 carries) or defense (487 yards allowed), but one year removed from a 5-7 season, those are worries for a different day.

Block U is taking a similar mindset:

Was it a pretty win? No. Should we be concerned over things? Probably. Will I take it? Abso-fucking-lutely.

You should too.

Oregon 66, Nicholls St. 3

Does Oregon get as much crap for playing Nicholls St. as we did for playing Presbyterian? Because they should.

Arizona 35, Northern Arizona 0

When I look at the box score, the main conclusion I reached is that RichRod showed absolutely nothing. Arizona only attempted 13 passes and only ran 47 plays. We won't know a thing about Arizona for another three weeks because they've put together a non-conference schedule that would make Arkansas blush with embarrassment.

Next Week


Sacramento St. at Arizona St. 7:00 pm


Weber St. vs. Utah, 11:00 am
Oregon at Virginia, 12:30 pm
Portland St. at Cal, 2:00 pm
Central Arkansas at Colorado, 5:00 pm
Hawaii at Oregon St., 5:00 pm
Washington St. at USC, 7:30 pm
Arizona at UNLV, 7:30 pm
San Jose St. at Stanford, 8:00 pm

Bar none, the single worst week of Pac-12 football in 2013. Two teams (UCLA and UW) have byes, four teams are playing FCS teams, and two more are playing teams that aren't functionally much different from FCS teams. Unless San Jose St. or Virginia is much better than I expect, the only game that might hold some intrigue is Washington St.'s visit to USC.

Is Leach's Air Raid prepped to make a 2nd year leap? Can either of USC's quarterbacks nail down a first string job? If they aren't, does Wazzu even have enough talent to take advantage? There's a pretty good chance this game ends up being a dud as well, but at least there's a chance for entertainment. That's more than you can say about the rest of the week. If you let your eyes wander over to Georgia/South Carolina or Michigan/Notre Dame I won't get upset.