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Pac-12 Week One: What Was Learned?

Heading into the first week of any college football season there is that indomitable sense of optimism. If you’re in a BCS league in particular, with the right breaks, your team may find itself playing for the BCS Championship. Well, at least it could for this final year.

But given that this is a sport where you have to hit the ground running with no chance at playing games that don’t count in some way, shape or form, it can help to be reflective. So, after week one, what did some of the teams in the Pac-12 learn? Let’s find out.

 

Oregon State found out that you can never take an opponent for granted. After getting beaten by Eastern Washington with a last second touchdown, the Beavers season is definitely still salvageable. But losing to EWU had to have been a worst case scenario for Mike Riley. The offense was able to move the ball, but the defense giving up 46 points (even to an FCS playoff semifinalist) has to be huge cause for concern in Corvallis.

USC found out that they still don’t have a quarterback yet. And Lane Kiffin might be running out of time in Los Angeles. For the second straight week, Kiffin is going to play both Cody Kessler and Max Wittek in an extended search for a quarterback. Kiffin might be better off just flipping a coin and committing to one at this point. Washington State is on the slate this week, and while they aren’t Stanford or Oregon, Wazzu showed some life in last week’s road loss to Auburn.

Cal learned that they have a lot of work to do still. Even though they lost to Northwestern 44-30 on Saturday night in Berkeley, the “Bear Raid” offense made quite an impression in its opening salvo. The Bears ran 99 plays against Northwestern’s defense. A couple of interceptions that were returned for touchdowns was the margin of victory for the Wildcats, but if those balls aren’t picked off, it could have been a much different story. Again, the defense needs some work, but if the offense can keep up this breakneck pace, it could be a very interesting year.

Washington may have rediscovered their quarterback. That may not have been the most impressive part of the 38-6 thrashing of Boise State that took place at Husky Stadium. Washington’s no-huddle offense looked good, eventually wearing down the Broncos young defense. But the Washington defense put on an impressive showing, stiffening at the right times and holding the Broncos out of the end zone for the entire night. The North Division of the Pac-12 might be a three team race after all.

Colorado seems to have found, well, something. The program had hit rock bottom last season. After one game this year, they have already matched last year’s win total under new coach Mike MacIntyre. MacIntyre became the second Colorado coach since 1930 (Rick Neuheisel) to open with a win. The special teams need to be shored up, and the running game could use some more life. But quarterback Connor Wood and receiver Paul Richardson have great chemistry and put it on display Sunday.

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