Pac-12 rewind: The best of a big weekend, from Colorado’s stunner to Washington’s blowout and everything in between

The QBs dazzled and the points soared in Week 1

A quick look back at Week 1 action in the Pac-12. Everything revolved around Colorado…

This week’s theme is “Roaring Success.”

On Sunday, Oregon State defeated San Jose State to cap off a perfect weekend for the Pac-12. According to STATS, all 12 teams won, marking only the third undefeated week since 1980 (with a minimum of four games played). The previous two flawless weeks occurred in 1992 and 2017. The Pac-12 is the only Power Five conference with an undefeated non-conference record. With USC’s win in Week 0, the conference is 13-0. There have only been two games decided by single digits.

Theme of the Week II: Arm Power

The best Pac-12 quarterback lineup in eons lived up to the hype, combining for 37 touchdowns and only five interceptions. (Three of the interceptions were attributed to UCLA.) Add in USC’s Caleb Williams’ Week 0 output, and the Pac-12 totals to date are 41 touchdowns and five interceptions. Not too shabby.

This week’s theme is “Better Bottom.”

The worst teams in the conference last season (Colorado and Stanford) appear to have vastly improved under new coaches, implying that the hunt for new cellar dwellers has begun. What if there aren’t any dregs? Then life at the top became a lot more difficult.

Colorado is this week’s team of the week.

The Buffaloes defeated TCU as a 20-point underdog in one of the biggest season-opening upsets in conference history. The Horned Frogs could be a mediocre team this season, but that is unimportant. Colorado’s performance fueled every aspect of Deion Sanders’ rebuilding project. The sport’s eyes were on CU, and it delivered masterfully.

Washington State and Oregon State are this week’s teams of the week.

The Cougars and Beavers were losers in the realignment game, and their futures are uncertain. But both were intensely focused on the task at hand, easily defeating (likely) future conference opponents on the road: WSU dominated Colorado State, while OSU blitzed San Jose State. One subplot to this season: the size of the chips on WSU and OSU’s shoulders.

Colorado 45, TCU 42 is the game of the week.

This highly anticipated season opener had it all, including an outstanding two-way performance by CU’s Travis Hunter. After an entertaining but mostly routine first half, the pace quickened in the second half with eight touchdowns, a handful of lead changes, and too many big plays to count. The two teams totaled 1,106 yards and 57 first downs.

Utah beats Florida 24-11 this week.

If you only look at the Week 1 results through a playoff lens, Utah’s win stands out: it came against an SEC school and is one of two big non-conference games for a team that wants to make the CFP and cannot afford to lose outside of league play. The Utes’ next major test is a trip to Baylor next weekend.

Arizona 38, NAU 3: Decade victory

A telling comparison can be found within an otherwise routine victory over an FCS opponent. Back in 2021, the Wildcats suffered a humiliating 21-19 loss to Northern Arizona in the third game of coach Jedd Fisch’s first season, highlighting the depths of the program’s regression. The Wildcats defeated NAU 38-3 in the first game of Fisch’s third season on Saturday, and quarterback Jayden de Laura was pulled in the fourth quarter. How’s that for advancement?

Deion Sanders is the first coach of the week.

For one week, his unprecedented and contentious roster overhaul proved a stroke of genius. Following the game, Sanders responded to critics in an unusual postgame news conference. (Which is his right, as long as he is willing to face difficult questions if CU loses.) All of this serves as a reminder that nothing from the Sanders era will become standard fare in college football.

Coach of the Week II: Justin Wilcox of Cal

The Bears traveled to northern Texas and hammered North Texas, scoring 58 points. (That equates to 90 points for everyone else.) They accomplished this with a new offensive coordinator and a new starting quarterback, who was injured early and was replaced by a backup in his first game for the program. This is a pivotal year for Wilcox’s presidency, and it couldn’t have started better.

Travis Hunter, WR/CB for Colorado, was named player of the week.

Hunter had an out-of-this-world two-way performance, taking 129 snaps at receiver and cornerback and excelling at both: he caught 11 passes for 119 yards and had an interception. And he did it in the sweltering heat of Fort Worth. It remains to be seen whether Hunter can keep it up (and avoid injury). But the former No. 1 recruit in the country made it clear that he’s unlike anyone we’ve seen in a long time.

Washington is the offensive player of the week. Penix, Michael QB

We looked at Colorado quarterback Shedeur Sanders, Oregon’s Bo Nix, and USC’s Williams, all of whom were outstanding. Penix, on the other hand, faced a tougher defense (Boise State) and fired missiles all over the field. His Heisman Trophy bid is still alive and well after the 56-19 victory, with a crucial trip to Michigan State coming up in two weeks.

Stanford’s defensive player of the week Bailey, David

Bailey’s name will be mentioned frequently this season as the former blue-chip recruit from prep powerhouse Mater Dei demolishes quarterbacks across the conference. Bailey’s sophomore season began in Honolulu on Friday with three sacks, four tackles for loss, and six total tackles as the Cardinal opened the Troy Taylor era with a 37-24 victory over Hawaii.

Not-to-be-overlooked player of the week: Caleb Williams of USC.

That a five-touchdown, 300-yard performance — and 66 points — would be considered standard fare speaks volumes about the standard Williams set last season. But that was the effort of the reigning Heisman Trophy winner in a rout of Nevada. Except in his universe, it’s spectacular.

Jaden Rashada of ASU is the Freshman QB of the Week I.

The highly touted rookie overcame nerves and a two-hour mid-game weather delay to lead the Sun Devils to a 24-21 victory over Southern Utah in the Kenny Dillingham era debut. ASU had nine penalties and short-circuited several times. But, with Rashada at the controls, the Devils overcame adversity — a self-imposed postseason ban announced by their administration five days before kickoff.

Dante Moore of UCLA is the Freshman QB of the Week II.

The five-star recruit displayed the skills that propelled him to the third-ranked quarterback prospect in the country during the 2022-23 recruiting cycle, according to 247Sports. Moore saw limited action but threw two touchdown passes, including a brilliant 62-yarder to receiver J.Michael Sturdivant, and energized the Bruins in their 27-14 win over Coastal Carolina.

Week 1 stat of the week: Oregon’s offense

With 81 points against Portland State, the Ducks set a modern-era school record. Under new offensive coordinator Will Stein, they scored 50 points in the first half but only 31 in the second. (It was more points than the basketball team of coach Dana Altman scored in all but a few games last season.) The Ducks gained 729 yards on the ground, averaging 10.1 yards per play.

Utah’s defense is this week’s Stat of the Week II.

During the first 50 minutes of the game, the Utes were suffocating, limiting Florida to one third-down conversion in 13 attempts, 13 yards rushing, and three points. We didn’t have high hopes for the Gators’ offense, which fell short of expectations.

Week 3 stat of the week: Washington’s receivers

For our money, the best wideout tandem in the country is found in Columbus, where Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka shine for Ohio State. However, the best receivers in the country can be found on Montlake, where Rome Odunze, Jalen McMillan, Ja’Lynn Polk, and Germie Bernard combined for 21 catches, 375 yards, and four touchdowns in Washington’s rout of Boise State.

Week IV stat of the week: The Pac-12

The conference not only won all 12 games this weekend, but it also went 8-1 against the spread in FBS games. If that isn’t a juggernaut, we don’t know what is.

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