Pac 12’s awful first week; winning will not be enough for Boise St.; and game balls of the week along with big upcoming games.
Tough Week for the Pac-12
With rumors swirling that schools such as Texas and Oklahoma would consider joining the Pac-12 to form a “super conference,” they may want to take a wait-and-see approach after the current dirty dozen’s sub par week.
There’s no shame in Oregon losing a neutral site game to SEC powerhouse LSU. The Tiger’s are a team that will be in the thick of things among national title contenders.
As for Oregon, they returned key players on offense. However, they looked like they had never seen the field with each other.
LSU was missing its starting quarterback, but Jarrett Lee was serviceable in the Tigers’ 40-27 win.
Oregon’s offense repeatedly turned the ball over, and tailback LaMichael James failed to perform in another big game, likely killing any chances at the Heisman.
However, compared to Pac-12 schools like Oregon State and Colorado, Oregon had a banner weekend.
Oregon State embarrassed the league by losing to FCS school Sacramento State while Colorado lost to Hawaii.
USC almost blew a 19-0 lead before beating Minnesota and Washington and Utah eked out wins against inferior opponents.
Both Arizona schools and California took care of business against weak competition while Stanford was the conference’s most impressive squad beating San Jose State, 57-3.
Stanford, ranked No. 6 in the Associated Press poll, has the most to lose if the conference doesn’t perform well.
Oregon looked dreadful. Stanford will need to Ducks to drastically improve before they meet later this season. Strength of schedule is a key component of the BCS rankings formula.
Stanford will likely have to leapfrog several other schools, and aside from Notre Dame, the Cardinal doesn’t have any opportunities to notch any impressive non-conference wins.
If the Pac-12 continues its downward trajectory, Stanford’s shot at playing for a national title will be derailed.
Winning not enough for Boise St., they need chaos
Like a broken record, this tune won’t be changing anytime soon.
After another opening week of college football, Boise State has defeated yet another major-conference opponent, and talk has already begun about the merits of America’s favorite mid-major playing for a national title.
For what it’s worth, the Broncos moved up in the AP from No. 5 to the fourth spot after dominating Georgia, 35-21.
During the prior two seasons, the Broncos beat Oregon and Virginia Tech in their opening games. The win against Georgia was the most impressive.
However, unless Georgia rebounds and becomes a respectable team, Boise State could be on the outside looking in when teams are chosen to play for the title.
Reason being, TCU is the only other ranked opponent on the Broncos’ schedule this season. That game now looks iffy after TCU, which was ranked No. 14, lost to unranked Baylor.
TCU and Georgia both fell from the top 25. Boise State made the switch this season from the WAC to the Mountain West which should help their strength of schedule rating a bit.
The conference switch however won’t help enough. Boise State will be favored in the rest of their games, but wins against opponents such as Toledo, UNLV and Colorado State will hurt more than help.
Even if the Broncos finish undefeated, they’ll be practically running in place while schools ranked behind them pass them and those ahead widen their leads.
So, if Boise State wants to play for a national title is all hope lost?
However, make no mistake about it; they’ll need chaos in the polls.
Under the current system, a one-loss SEC school will get the nod over the Broncos. I would be willing to bet that if Georgia ran the table for the rest of the season, due to strength of schedule, the Bulldogs would play for the title.
It’s still early, but it’s already obvious that Boise State will need a lot of help to prove itself on the ultimate stage.
Game Ball’s of the Week
I mentioned Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III as a possible Heisman Trophy contender last week, but after he led his team to an exciting upset victory against TCU, he’s making me more of a believer.
Of course, I also mentioned that Griffin’s team probably wouldn’t be good enough for him to win the prize, but his teammates didn’t get the memo.
In the most exciting game of the week, Baylor defeated TCU 50-48 on a late-game field goal. Griffin finished 21-of-27 passing for 327 yards with five touchdown passes.
Griffin showed his athletic prowess by catching a key 15-yard pass on the game-winning drive.
USC’s wide receiver Robert Woods set a school-record with 17 catches. Woods added 177 yards and three touchdown catches, leading the Trojans to a 19-17 win against Minnesota.
Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore typically gets most of his team’s recognition, but the defense deserved the helmet sticker this week.
The Broncos physical defense manhandled Georgia all evening. The defensive line finished with six sacks and harassed Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray.
Boise State limited Georgia to just 13 first downs and aside from an 80-yard run, 57 yards on 31 carries.
I was also impressed by Northwestern winning a tough game on the road at Boston College, 24-17.
Northwestern was playing without star quarterback Dan Persa who is still recovering from an Achilles tendon injury. Prior to Persa’s injury late last season, the Wildcats were 7-3.
The Wildcats then lost their remaining three games, but they might be a dark horse in the Big Ten when he returns.
Big Games this Week
If you’re interested in fireworks on the field, Arizona at No. 9 Oklahoma State will be the game for you.
After the Pac 12’s dismal first week, Arizona will try to restore some conference honor by taking on the Cowboys.
Arizona quarterback Nick Foles passed for 412 yards and five touchdowns last week while Cowboys quarterback Bryant Weeden finished with 388 yards and three scores.
The wide receiver match up between Arizona’s Juron Criner and Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon should also be exciting.
Third-ranked Alabama will visit No. 23 Penn State. It will be interesting to see if Penn State’s quarterbacks, Matthew McGloin and Rob Bolden, can cause any problems for the Crimson Tide’s defense.
Notre Dame at Michigan and No. 21 Missouri at Arizona State are other contests to watch.
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