Biggest Concern: Oregon State, USC and ASU
There is a lot of concern for Oregon State, as the Beavers struggled mightily against Portland State - an FCS school - on Saturday. OSU edged the Vikings 35-32 on Saturday which left plenty of question marks about head coach 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 hasn’t been relevant in the Pac-12 since 2000 when there was a three-way tie for first place along with Oregon and Washington. The Beavers 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. WMU 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 quarterback Sam Darnold, who was hyped up throughout the offseason as the man who might lead USC to a National Championship, underperformed 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 1. ASU played New Mexico State on Thursday night and it did not go exactly as planned. The Devils got off to a hot start, but then nearly let NMSU tie the game. Arizona State took a 14-13 lead heading into halftime after the Aggies missed an extra point right before the half. ASU then 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. The last two touchdowns may have come when some of the backups were in, but it’s still reason for concern that the Devils second unit couldn’t get it done and that Graham clearly pulled them too early.
Biggest Surprise and Game of the Week: UCLA’s comeback victory against 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 during the final period 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. The Bruins scored 28 unanswered points in the fourth quarter and won the game 45-44.