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The PAC Twelver - Week 2

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A twelve-pack of observations on The Conference of Champions.

NCAA Football: Southern California at Stanford Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

First: #9 Stanford (2-0) shut down #22 USC (1-1) on The Farm this past weekend 17-3, in what can only be described as a ‘throwback’ football game. In that regard, the battle in the trenches to establish the running game, the defense, and quality special teams highlighted this one. All-World running back Bryce Love (22 carries / 136 yards / 1 TD / 6.2 YPC) broke out against the Trojans, but had to leave the game late in the 4th quarter due to concussion protocol.

Second: #10 Washington (1-1) walloped the University of North Dakota (1-1) in Seattle on Saturday, 45-3. The Huskies were quite simply the better team in this one, and hopefully the definitive win allows for a phycological rebound from the devastating loss to Auburn a week prior. U Dub senior linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven (10 tackles / 1 QBH / 1 PD) is one of the best in the conference, and he overwhelmed UND throughout in this one.

Third: As I wrote last week, “first year Arizona State head coach Herm Edwards is a tough guy not to like, and I think the fans in Tempe are going to love him.” As this week I am writing about an unranked Arizona State team taking down powerhouse #13 Michigan State 16-13 on a game winning field goal as time expired, rallying from 10 down in the 4th quarter in front of the Sun Devil faithful, I would say this relationship in the desert is already moving very, very fast. Henceforth, yes I said henceforth, #23 ASU (2-0) is a real threat in the PAC-12 South. Watch out U$C, ‘The Devils’ are right behind you. The deep irony there of course, to all who know the man, is that Herm Edwards is a devout Christian.

Fourth: #20 Oregon (2-0) “Duck-ed up” inter-state foe Portland State (0-2) 62-14 in Autzen Stadium this past weekend, and I think junior QB Justin Herbert (20 for 26 passing / 250 yards / 4 TD’s / 96.6 QBR) has continued to read my memoirs. In The Twelver’s Season Preview I basically said that he was basic, and though they have not played anyone of significance thus far, his line on the year (30 for 47 passing / 531 yards / 9 TD’s / 95.5 QBR) is bonkers. We won’t really know anything about these Ducks until they host #9 Stanford on 9/22, but they are fun as hell to watch. Sorry again Coach Edwards.

Fifth: In other news, UCLA (0-2) took a field trip to #5 Oklahoma (2-0), and it was a perfect disaster in all capacities for the baby blue chippers. The Sooners put it on the Bruins 49-21, and somehow that score makes it seem closer than it actually was. I think Chip Kelly is really wishing he would have kept his cushy broadcasting job right about now, or even simply stayed on the couch with unlimited cold beer (NFL $).

Sixth: Utah (2-0) went on the road to beat Northern Illinois (0-2) last Saturday 17-6, in another defensive battle that was close the entire way. Utes senior linebackers Chase Hansen (12 tackles / 2 sacks / 2.5 TFL / 2 QBH / 1 INT / 1 fumble recovered / 1 TD -defensive-) and Cody Barton (14 tackles / 2 TFL / 1 QBH / 1 PD) were a two man wrecking crew, and it was Hansen’s “Pick 6” late in the 4th quarter that sealed this game for Utah.

Seventh: Arizona State has legitimate competition for the best PAC-12 game of the week, and it comes from the Colorado (2-0) v. Nebraska (0-1) matchup in Lincoln. In new Head Coach Scott Frost’s much anticipated return to the Cornhuskers sideline, Buffaloes junior QB Steven Montez (33 for 50 passing / 351 yards / 3 TD) broke the Huskers’ hearts on a game winning 40-yard touchdown pass with just over a minute left to play in the 4th.

Eighth: I am not sure what is going on with the Arizona football program, but it is not good. The Wildcats (0-2) lost 45-18 at Houston (2-0) this past weekend, and while the Cougars are an unquestionably quality team, the Cats seem to have lost their identity. Their junior quarterback Khalil Tate (24 for 45 passing / 341 yards / 2 INT / 39.3 QBR) was the best running QB in college football last year, but in this contest he had just 7 carries, for a total of 8 yards (1.1 YPC).

Ninth: ‘The Pirate’, Washington State head coach Mike Leach, has found yet another capable first mate in senior quarterback Gardner Minshew (34 for 51 passing / 414 yards / 3 TD’s / 77.9 QBR vs. SJSU). The Cougars (2-0) hosted San Jose State (0-2) in Pullman last Saturday, and were not very gracious hosts, blanking the Spartans 31-0.

Tenth: CAL (2-0) earned a hard fought 21-18 win on the road against a tough BYU squad, and the Bears have to be feeling good about their start to the ’18 campaign. CAL linebackers senior Jordan Kunaszyk (12 tackles / 1 QBH) and junior Evan Weaver (12 tackles / 3 PD) were everywhere against the Cougars, and the Bears defense as a whole deserves credit for the win.

Eleventh: In a game that not many people watched, and even fewer saw, Oregon State (1-1) beat Southern Utah (0-2) 48-25 in Corvallis last weekend. Beavers freshman tailback Jermar Jefferson (22 carries / 238 yards / 10.8 YPC / 4 TD’s) had a ‘dam’ fine game. ‘Dam’ fine.

Twelfth: I was on the Pineapple Sculpin Train for the Stanford vs. SC game this past weekend, and it was a tropical trip at that. Not like ‘Jackie Moon’ tropical, more like Panamanian beach buzz tropical. Anyhow, the way I see it, the best PAC-12 matchups to be tipping adult beverages for this coming weekend are #10 Washington at Utah, #22 USC at Texas, and #23 Arizona State at SDSU. As always, please drop a line here on your favorite beers and cocktails for game days. Cheers y’all.