Saturday Night Five: Utah, Oregon road wins highlight another stellar week (on the field) for the Pac-12

Which Power Five conference has been the most impressive? The one going out of business

Instant reaction to Pac-12 Week 2 developments…

  1. moving forward

Only a hot start to the regular season will allow the Pac-12 to live up to the preseason hype.

It has managed to clear the bar in two weeks.

The conference won seven more out-of-league games on Saturday and now has the following records:

— The best non-conference record in the country at 20-3.

— A record of 4-3 against Power Five opponents.

— 3-1 against Power Five opponents on the road.

Furthermore, it is likely that seven teams will begin Week 3 in the AP top-25 poll. The current top six should hold their positions, while UCLA, which dominated San Diego State, creeps into the poll from a spot just below the cut.

(Or, after a convincing win over No. 19 Wisconsin, could Washington State enter the poll?)

To date, the following non-conference records have been set:

Pac-12 record: 20-3 (86.9%). 23-6 (79.3 percent) in the SEC 18-6 (75 percent) ACC 21-7 (75 percent) in the Big Ten 20-8 (71.4 percent) in the Big 12.

The remaining non-league games, as well as the bowl season, will provide complete clarity. However, after two weeks, we cannot rule out the possibility that the Pac-12 will be the best league in the country, even better than the SEC.

And who could have predicted where that scenario would fall on the scale of possibilities?

  1. Both ways, it was a close call.

The non-conference record of 7-3 on Saturday would have been much worse if not for two thrilling comebacks in Big 12 territory.

Utah trailed Baylor 13-3 in the third quarter before scoring the final 17 points on several clutch plays by freshman quarterback Nate Johnson. (The Utes are 2-0 without Cam Rising, and they won’t need him for their Week 3 game against Weber State.)

Oregon led Texas Tech 27-18 early in the fourth quarter before scoring 20 of the game’s final 23 points. The Ducks won the game at the line of scrimmage (on both sides of the ball), despite the fact that quarterback Bo Nix was steady.

Nonetheless, the Pac-12 was on the verge of a 9-1 record on Saturday.

Despite five turnovers, including four interceptions by quarterback Jayden de Laura, Arizona lost in overtime to Mississippi State (31-24). (In sudden-change situations, the defense was outstanding.)

And, in a 14-10 loss to Auburn at home, Cal was unable to hold a late lead. The Bears were ineffective offensively, scoring only three points on four drives that began in Auburn territory.

The Pac-12’s other non-conference defeat came in Tempe, where Arizona State lacked the depth to compete with Oklahoma State.

  1. A look at the big picture

It’s never too early to think about College Football Playoff scenarios because non-conference performance establishes the foundation.

Since the Pac-12 expanded in 2011, no team with two losses has been invited to the event, nor has any team gone undefeated in conference play.

In other words, if you lose outside of the league, you must be perfect during the conference season.

The Hotline is especially interested in 2-0 teams with favorable matchups in their third and final non-conference game.

So let us disregard Washington. The Huskies have looked strong so far, but they will face a difficult trip to Michigan State in Week 3.

Instead, we’re looking at Utah (next game: Weber State), Oregon State (San Diego State), UCLA (UNC Central), Washington State (Northern Colorado), Oregon (Hawaii), and Colorado (Colorado State).

Unless something unexpected happens, at least six teams will enter conference play with a 3-0 record.

This does not guarantee the Pac-12 a spot in the playoffs, but it does pave the way for the conference to end its seven-year drought.

  1. QB monitoring

We’re tracking quarterback performance across the Pac-12 on a weekly basis to see if it’s ever been better.

Oregon State’s DJ Uiagalelei, UCLA’s Dante Moore, and ASU’s Jaden Rashada do not make the Hotline’s cut for the top group, either due to poor performance, weak opponents, or a small sample size, and Utah’s Rising has yet to play.

But the Big Five, as we’ll refer to them, delivered once more:

Caleb Williams of USC, Cam Ward of Washington State, Michael Penix of Washington, Bo Nix of Oregon, and Shedeur Sanders of Colorado combined for 12 touchdowns and one interception on Saturday, completing 73.4 percent of their passes.

All but Ward are among the early Heisman Trophy contenders, as is Colorado’s two-way star, Travis Hunter.

He said it.

After his Cougars defeated Wisconsin, Washington State coach Jake Dickert received our vote for quote of the day — no, quote of the month.

“This moment, it’s everything,” Dickert said on ABC. “We deserve to be in the Power 5!” These kids have put in a lot of effort.”

If you’re looking to score at home, the ‘Pac-2’ schools are 4-0 so far.

Colorado State and Wisconsin have been defeated by the Cougars, while Oregon State has annihilated San Jose State and UC Davis.

When it comes to the only schools not headed to a Power Five conference next season, the Hotline is definitely scoring at home.

This week’s significant development only served to highlight the conference’s schism: WSU and OSU sued the Pac-12 to determine which schools have governing authority.

We have no idea how the legal process will unfold or whether WSU and OSU will rebuild the Pac-12.

But it’ll be interesting to see what effect, if any, their off-field fate has on their on-field performance.

It’s an intriguing season subplot.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply