Conferences are just starting to get into conference play a little. Over the next couple of weeks we will get serious about conference play.
In the Pac 12, USC has already played Stanford and Arizona beat Colorado to get the conference races started. This past weekend, Oregon played at Washington State and California played at Arizona.
Both of these games were fantastic which is another reason why I like this conference. For some reason, my area gets the Pac 12 Network and we get to see every school in action. Familiarity brings out my interest as much as anything else.
All of the Pac 12 schools are making major improvements to their facilities and are doing their best to play catch up to the greatest conference in the land. My hat is off to them for making the efforts. All of the schools are beating the bushes in California, Texas, and the deep South trying to bring in the best talent they can find and they are improving their programs.
Look for talented USC, UCLA, Stanford, Oregon and maybe Washington to be able to compete with anybody in the country within the next few years. Oregon and Stanford may be there already. USC did not win the last recruiting race nationally. But, all of those are pretty much Southern based and I am not sure how many freshmen there are out there that are better than JuJu Smith, Adoree Jackson and Damion Mama to name just three of many.
Also, don’t scoff at Cal Berkeley with Sonny Dykes as coach. He did wonders at Louisiana Tech and will do the same at California.
The Pac 12 Conference is going places. The Pac 12 and the Big 10 Conferences made their own network. They didn’t have ESPN do it for them. They also don’t have a garbage program like the Paul Finebaum Show taking up 4 hours of their schedule every day.
I have already posted on this blog that I have a lot of respect for Colorado Head Football Coach Mike MacIntyre. Colorado hired MacIntyre from San Jose State where he coach 3 years improving from 1-10 his first season to 5-7 and then to 10-2. MacIntyre led Colorado to only a 4-8 finish his first season. This is his second season in Boulder and they are off to a 2-2 start. Honestly, MacIntyre and staff do not have the talent level to compete with the top dogs in the Pac 12. But, can you imagine recruiting at Colorado? Shouldn’t be difficult to bring in some Californians and maybe some Texans and some Florida talent.
Colorado beat Hawaii 21-12 to win their second game of the year. The remainder of the season is going to be tough for the Buffaloes because they play USC, UCLA, Oregon, Arizona and Utah.
Sefo Liufau hit 29 out of 45 passes for 287 yards and 2 Touchdowns. On the down side, he also threw 2 interceptions.
Wide Receiver Nelson Spruce had 13 catches for 172 yards and 1 Touchdown.
Oregon State beat San Diego State 28-7 to move to 3-0 on the season. Star Quarterback Sean Mannion only threw for 275 yards and no Touchdowns.
Mannion will have to have the game of his life next week when they visit Los Angeles and play the USC Trojans. This game is a must win for both schools.
Washington beat Georgia State 45-14, but it wasn’t pretty for a while. Georgia State took a 14-0 lead into half time while the Huskies struggled. The second half was an entirely different ball game as the Husky defense shut down the visitors and picked off 3 passes with John Timu taking one back for a pick six.
Not the best of outings for the Huskies’ offense and they have Stanford coming in next week. Possibly, they were thinking ahead to next week.
Utah went up to the Big House and beat Michigan 26-10. Like Washington, no big numbers out of the Ute offense and it’s not really clear from watching the game if Utah is good or if Michigan is just inept. Utah only rushed for 81 yards and threw for 205.
The game was delayed by a thunderstorm, but continued later and allowed Utah to move to 3-0 on the season with always dangerous Washington State coming up next.
Oregon beat Washington State in a really good game, 38-31. This game was a shootout from start to finish. Connor Halliday, as expected, put up 436 yards and 4 Touchdowns. River Cracraft led Cougar receivers with 8 catches for 107 yards and a Touchdown, but Dom Williams was a standout catching 2 Touchdowns against one of the nation’s premier Cornerbacks in Ifo Ekpre-Olomu.
The Ducks countered with Heisman candidate Marcus Mariota hit 21 out of 25 passes for 329 yards and 5 Touchdowns. Mariota also ran for 58 yards.
Catching the passes from Mariota were track star Devon Allen and Keanon Lowe. Allen is the NCAA national champion 110 high hurdler and that speed is incredible to watch. He had 7 catches for 142 yards and 2 Touchdowns, the longest was an 80 yard thing of beauty. The kid can fly.
I am not sure he’s that much faster than Keanon Lowe who had 5 catches for 104 yards and another 2 Touchdowns. Like Allen, Lowe had a really beautiful long 57 yard reception.
Royce Freeman led the Ducks with 75 yards rushing.
Some will see the 38 to 31 score and think that the Ducks had a really hard time and they did, but if you have followed Mike Leach coached teams over the years they always rise up against the better teams and have been known to pull off a few upsets.
The California Golden Bears are a completely different team than last season and came into Tucson, Arizona at 3-0. Last season they didn’t win but 1 game all season. The Arizona Wildcats also came into this game at 3-0.
Coach Sonny Dykes is amazing and he had his Cal Bears ready to play and they went up on the Wildcats 14-0 pretty quickly. They made it 21-3 then 28-6 and finally 45-30 until the Wildcats came storming back.
The Arizona Wildcats won the game with no time left on the clock on a Hail Mary pass from Anu Solomon to Austin Hill. Incredible game.
Jared Goff and his Cal buddies have nothing to be ashamed of and played their hearts out. Goff threw for 380 yards and 3 Touchdowns. Cal Running Back Daniel Lasco ran for 123 yards and a Touchdown. Khalfani Muhammad also had 11 carries for 95 yards and 2 Touchdowns. Bryce Treggs caught 5 passes for 119 yards and another score.
The Wildcats’ Anu Solomon threw for 520 yards on 47 out of 73 passing and 5 Touchdowns including the winning score. Cayleb Jones caught 13 passes for 186 yards and 3 Touchdowns. All American Receiver Austin Hill had 8 catches for 127 yards and another 2 Touchdowns.
On the bad side, the Wildcats lost their true freshman star Running Back Nick Wilson during the game, but he should be back.
Plus, Anu Solomon, for all of his passing numbers continues to over throw wide open receivers time and time again. It almost cost them this game and will cost them some games in the future if he doesn’t make more accurate throws. Arizona has one of the better sets of Wide Receivers in the entire country and he has to hit those open targets. Granted, he is a freshman.
Wildcat Linebacker Scooby Wright had 18 tackles, 4 for losses, and 2 sacks.
This next weekend is all conference play.
#12 UCLA is at #17 Arizona State on Thursday. Arizona State is without signal caller Taylor Kelly.
#7 Stanford is visiting Washington.
Oregon State is going to Los Angeles to play the 19th ranked Trojans.
Colorado is at California.
Washington State is at Utah.
It’s going to be an entertaining weekend.