Holy smokes. The Pac-12 action this weekend was extremely unpredictable. Lets break it down.
Weird game in New Jersey. Less than 40,000 tickets sold and weather delayed the second half by nearly an hour. I won't hold this one against the Trojans, so lets look at the positives: Matt Barkley threw six touchdown passes and Silas Redd picked up 107 yards on the ground.
Most concerning? USC is starting to look like last year's version of Arizona State in regards to penalties. 12 for 82 yards? That cannot continue. Lane Kiffin is going to have a field day in practice this week leading up to the Stanford game.
I almost considered dropping Oregon below UCLA. That's how impressed I am with the Bruins. Oregon played another mediocre team and let the foot off the gas after the first half, scoring only 7 points following the break. Kenjon Barner picked up 201 yards on the ground, but they used him too much against a middling opponent like this.
The Ducks have another easy game next week, and they will likely fall down this list if UCLA beats Houston.
Offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone has brought a competent offense to Pasadena, and Brett Hundley is the perfect quarterback to run his system. With four touchdown passes against the Cornhuskers, Hundley asserted himself among the best new starting QBs in the nation.
But who can forget about Johnathan Franklin? 26 carries, 217 yards. There hasn't been a more exciting running back at UCLA since Maurice Jones-Drew. This is a sleeper squad and they are legitimate contenders in the South. Coaching changes are working out for the conference in 2012.
A 37-point win over an inferior opponent. Much better showing from the Cardinal against the Blue Devils, and Josh Nunes is finding his footing as the replacement for Andrew Luck. In a blowout, Stepfan Taylor only got 14 carries, but keeping him fresh is a big part of the puzzle for Stanford as the regular conference schedule opens for them next weekend against the vaunted USC Trojans.
That game will change these rankings drastically.
We covered this game in detail. The Sun Devils are back in multiple regards: discipline on both sides of the ball and the offense, through a two quarterback system, is clicking on all cylinders. ASU has a ton of work to do on defense if they wish to hang with the top tier in this conference, but these early season games are giving the young players valuable experience and game film to process.
Todd Graham can't be happy with the fumbles on offense and the blown assignments on gap coverage on defense, but everything else is working exactly the way he wanted. After two games, not many new head coaches can claim that.
Cal won by 19, but their win at home does not compare to the rest. It will be interesting to see if Jeff Tedford can get his early game offense rolling, or else they will be playing from behind against high-flying Pac-12 offenses in a few weeks.