We take an inside look at the state of the Pac-12. What were the biggest concerns and surprises after week one?
Biggest Concerns: Oregon State
There is tons of concern for the Oregon State Beavers struggled against Portland State, an FCS school, on Saturday. The Beavers edged the Vikings 35-32 on Saturday which left plenty of question marks surrounding Gary Anderson. Yes, a win is a win, but there comes a point where a win almost feels like a loss because it was against a team that Oregon State should have blown out.
Oregon State rule the the Pac-12 since 2000 when they were in a three-way tie for first place along with Oregon and Washington. Oregon State made it to the Fiesta Bowl that year and defeated Notre Dame, 41-9.
USC survived Western Michigan, 49-31. The Trojans let the Broncos hang around for four quarters before USC finally took an 11-point lead with 3:49 left in the game. Western Michigan had a phenomenal season in 2016, but this was a game that USC should have won handily as the No. 4 ranked team in the country. Not to mention that Sam Darnold, who was hyped up throughout the offseason as the man who might lead USC to a National Championship, under performed tremendously as he threw two interceptions and no touchdowns.
Lastly, the Arizona State Sun Devils. Arizona State may be the biggest concern of all the teams in the Pac-12 from Week one. ASU played New Mexico State on Thursday night, and it was not pretty. The Sun Devils got off to a hot start, but then nearly let NMSU tie the game when ASU was leading 14-13 heading into halftime because of an Aggies missed extra point. The Sun Devils took a commanding 37-13 lead in the fourth quarter, but then the Aggies scored 18 unanswered points to make it 37-31 which would be the final score. Yes, the last two touchdowns may have come when some of the backups were in, but people who didn’t watch the game don’t know that. All they know is the score and that ASU barely beat New Mexico State.
Biggest Surprise and Game of the Week: UCLA’s Comeback win over Texas A&M
The last game of the week was definitely the biggest surprise and arguably the most entertaining. Most people had turned off this game by the third quarter. But then Josh Rosen finally showed up to play and threw four touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Texas A&M’s defense was almost nonexistent in the fourth quarter and Rosen took full advantage of that.
With the score 44-17 heading into the fourth quarter the game seemed almost out of reach for the Bruins, but Rosen decided to shake things up a little bit. The Bruins scored 28 unanswered points in the fourth quarter and won the game 45-44.