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Of the six BCS conferences, the Pac 12 arguably had the worst opening week. After finishing second last season in the conference power rankings behind the SEC, the Pac 12 will be nowhere near that once the first rankings come out Tuesday.
Overall the 12 teams went a combined 8-4 on opening weekend but even that positive record is skewed. Washington St., Washington, Arizona St., Arizona and Utah all defeated FCS teams with the Huskies barely surviving against Eastern Washington 30-27. Making matters worse, Oregon St. lost to FCS Sacramento St. at home in overtime.
Stanford and California had the two most impressive performances as they both rolled while USC snuck by Minnesota by just two points at home. Oregon outgained LSU 335-273 but it committed four turnovers, three that LSU converted into 20 points while building a 17-point lead.
UCLA played admirably in Houston but lost to the Cougars by four points which dropped head coach Rick Neuheisel to 15-23 in his fourth year at UCLA, making the hot seat even hotter. Colorado did not fare well in its first game as a Pac 12 member at it was manhandled at Hawaii, losing by 17 points.
There are three weeknight games this week and two feature Pac 12 teams.
Thursday night Arizona travels to ninth-ranked Oklahoma St. in what has the makings of a track meet. The Wildcats are using a faster-paced no-huddle attack and head coach Mike Stoops wasn't hesitant in saying they will be throwing 50 times per game. In their win over Northern Arizona, quarterback Nick Foles completed 34-42 passes for 412 yards, with a career-high five touchdowns and no interceptions.
Oklahoma St. brings back seven starters from an offense that finished third in the nation a year ago in both total offense and scoring offense. The Cowboys racked up 666 total yards in their opener against Louisiana.
Friday night, Arizona St. hosts 21st-ranked Missouri. The Sun Devils cruised over UC-Davis Thursday but head coach Dennis Erickson was far from pleased. "We are going to have to play a lot better in that game than we did tonight, but I’m excited for next Friday," Erickson said.
Missouri is coming off a lackluster win over Miami-Ohio on Saturday as the offense sputtered by gaining just 291 total yards. The defense played well but it will take a big step up in class Friday night.
Ducks big game busts
Oregon came close to a National Championship last year but the Ducks cannot get it done in the big games under head coach Chip Kelly. They are 0-4 under Kelly in non-conference games against teams ranked in the top 25 the past three seasons.
"Obviously, on the offensive side of the ball we made too many mistakes," Kelly said Sunday. "Penalties, drops, and we had one fumble on offense, two on special teams that obviously hurt us, put us in a negative situation." Not only that, the Ducks had 12 penalties for 95 yards, many of them coming from the offensive line.
The suspension of Cliff Harris turned out to be a lot bigger than expected. Not only is he a First Team All-Pac 12 cornerback, he is a First Team All-Pac 12 punt returner. Kenjon Barner, who replaced Harris on special teams, fumbled one punt and Terrance Mitchell, who replaced Harris on defense, gave up one touchdown and was called for pass interference in the endzone.
The biggest injury came from Pullman as Washington St. starting quarterback Jeff Tuel suffered a broken clavicle in the first quarter of its 64-21 win over Idaho St. He is expected to miss at least six weeks. Senior backup Marshall Loebbestael played very well though and he has made six career starts and his leadership will be important.
UCLA quarterback Kevin Prince suffered a second-quarter concussion against Houston and is doubtful this coming Saturday. Richard Brehaut will likely start against San Jose St.
Oregon running backs LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner both suffered leg injuries against LSU. James is probable while Barner is questionable next week against Nevada.