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The PAC Twelver - Week 1

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

San Diego State v Stanford Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

First: #9 Washington (0-1) seemingly snatched defeat from the hands of victory against #7 Auburn (1-0) this past Saturday, 21-16, in a game that showcased two elite defenses. The Huskies D in particular held their own at the line of scrimmage, but their secondary got picked apart early and often in clear passing situations. Equally detrimental, their offense led by senior QB Jake Browning simply could not find any rhythm all night against the Tigers. Still, U Dub was in the game throughout, and have to feel ‘Au-burned’ by the final result.

Second: #10 Stanford (1-0) aired it out against SDSU (0-1) in the 2018 opener on The Farm, running away in the 2nd half to the tune of 31-10. The physical Aztec defense stacked the box all night, and while they were able to keep Bryce “Dr.” Love in check, they left their cornerbacks vulnerable in one-on-one coverage outside. By that measure, Cardinal senior co-captain wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside stole the show, going for 226 yards and 3 touchdowns on just 6 receptions (37.7 YPR). That, is the definition of ‘baller status’.

Third: #15 U$C (1-0) rolled over UNLV (0-1) 43-21 at The Coliseum this past weekend, controlling the game on the ground from the outset. Trojan senior running back Aca’Cedric Ware had a cool 100 yards on 10 carries (10.0 YPC), and also managed to punch one in the endzone. No matter the state of the Runnin’ Rebel defense, averaging a first down every time you touch the ball is ideal.

Fourth: #24 Oregon (1-0) “beat the Duck” out of Bowling Green (0-1) 58-24 at Autzen Stadium on Saturday, and I think their junior quarterback Justin Herbert may read ‘The Twelver’. The week after I called him out for being overhyped, the young man throws for 5 TD’s and carries a QBR of 93.3 in his ’18 debut. My bad Herby. My bad.

Fifth: The Buffaloes (1-0) won the battle for Colorado 45-13, kicking off the year on the road at inter-state rival Colorado State (0-2). CU junior QB Steven Montez had a great day at the office, completing 22 of 25 passes for 338 yards, 4 touchdowns, and a 98.8 QBR. On that same level, sophomore Laviska Shenault Jr. was a quality co-worker to say the very least, catching 11 passes for 211 yards (19.2 YPR) and a TD. #Buff

Sixth: Utah (1-0) brought the Weber State Wildcats (0-1) to the Rocky Mountains for the actual PAC-12 opener Thursday night 8/30, but were not very friendly hosts in the 41-10 victory. Utes junior tailback Zack Moss ran for 150 yards on 16 carries, had 3 receptions for 24 yards, and added 2 TD’s. In 2018, look for this Moss to gather no rolling stone when seeking the endzone. Wait, that’s not how that goes at all. Moving on.

Seventh: Oregon State (0-1) traveled to scorned #5 Ohio State (1-0) in their opener on Saturday, for reasons I nor you will ever understand. Besides the OSU vs. OSU branding, I cannot think one aspect of this matchup that is unique. The Beavers actually put up 31 points against the much maligned Buckeyes, which is not bad at all against an incredibly talented defense. Unfortunately ‘The Ohio State’ put up 42 in the 1st half, and 77 on the game. I imagine this bold flanking maneuver would have made more sense to me had had Oregon State been a program on the rise in recent years, but they have been the opposite of that, and this just seemed like poor decision making by the powers that be in Corvallis.

Eighth: Washington State (1-0) gave the Wyoming Cowboys (1-1) a rough ride in Laramie this past weekend, 41-19. Cougars senior quarterback Gardner Minshew is likely fighting a soar throwing shoulder this week, having gone 38 for 57, yes 57 passing. Minshew finished with 319 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 happy pirate (WSU head coach Mike Leach) on his sideline.

Ninth: CAL (1-0) held on at home to beat North Carolina (0-1) 24-17 on Saturday, though they were up a clean 17-0 at the half. Bears junior linebacker Evan Weaver was grizzly against the Tar Heels, piling up 13 tackles, 2 QBR, and 2 PD on the day.

Tenth: Chip Kelly’s debut at home in The Rose Bowl did not go according to plan, and UCLA (0-1) fell to Cincinnati (1-0) 26-17. Bearcats sophomore running back Michael Warren II carried the weight for Cincy, rushing for 142 yards on 35 touches, and more importantly helping his side to control the clock throughout. These #BabyBlueChipBruins have a lot of work to do, and though I predicted just last week that they would go 7-5 in ’18, I am already pushing that back to 6-6 based on having counted this opening game as a W.

Eleventh: Because there were no inter PAC-12 matchups this past weekend, I am forced to condense both Arizona reports in to our eleventh beer of the twelver. My sincere apologizes go out to the ‘Zoni nation. That being said, 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. The Sun Devils (1-0) clobbered UT San Antonio (0-1) 49-7 in front of the ASU faithful this past weekend, and my dude N’Keal Harry went off for 140 yards and 2 TD’s on 6 receptions (23.3 YPR). As I wrote last week in the Season Preview, you are going to be seeing this young man on a lot of highlight reels this season and in the future. As far as the Arizona Wildcats go, well, their stock is currently trending the other direction. BYU (1-0) was able to go in to Tucson in the 2018 opener and take down U of A (0-1) 28-23, despite a late rally from the Wildcats. Cougars senior RB Squally Canada, from America, set the physical tone in this one on his 24 carries for 98 yards and 3 touchdowns. While BYU deserves credit for playing a nearly flawless game, Arizona better figure out how to block someone quick, fast, and in a hurry, or their star QB Khalil Tate’s draft stock is going to plummet all the way to the CFL.

Twelfth: So, I put down a ‘twelver’ of Ballast Point Sculpin Friday night, watching Stanford v. SDSU and other assorted college football games. It was glorious. In that same capacity, I will be conducting ‘The Sculpin Train’ again this weekend as #17 USC travels to Silicon Valley for a critical PAC-12 rumble with #10 Stanford. The way I see it, there are four other quality conference matchups to keep an eye on, if you like watching hard nosed football of course. #15 Michigan State at ASU, CAL at BYU, Colorado at Nebraska, and Arizona at Houston should all be well worth a mean beer buzz and a few hours away from the crazy world. As always, please drop a line here on your favorite teams and adult beverages for game days. Cheers y’all.