Athlon recaps all of the action from weekend in the Pac-12.
Saturday was a celebration of Pac-12 football. Its electric, powerful high-flying offenses are clearly impossible to stop. The league went 6-0 against the Big Ten, Big 12, ACC and Big East over the weekend as defense was, once again, an after thought for the West Coast league. Five teams cracked the 40-point mark and UCLA was four points from being the sixth. The quarterback position is alive and well even after losing names like Luck, Thomas, Foles and Oswieler to the NFL. Sean Mannion, Brett Hundley and Matt Scott all led their teams to major upsets while Matt Barkley, Marcus Mariota, Jeff Tuel and Taylor Kelly each earned key victories as well.
Post-Week 2 Offensive Player of the Year Standings
1. Matt Barkley, QB, USC - The Heisman front-runner didn't have big yardage numbers this weekend (187) but he did tie a school and personal best with six touchdown strikes. It was the third time he has thrown six touchdown passes in the last six games.
2. Matt Scott, QB, Arizona - As a two-touchdown underdog to a team that scored 84 points last week, Scott was a monster. He posted his second straight 300-yard passing effort to go with 55 yards rushing, three total touchdowns and nary a turnover in the upset win over Oklahoma State. He is second nationally in total offense (418.0 ypg).
3. Brett Hundley and Johnathan Franklin, UCLA - For the second straight week, it is virtually impossible to pick between the Bruins uber-talented dual-threat freshman quarterback and veteran workhorse tailback. Franklin topped 200 yards again and Hundley added 358 yards of total offense and four touchdowns.
Post-Week 2 Defensive Player of the Year Standings
1. Jake Fischer, Arizona - The leader of the Arizona defense added 14 total tackles and a forced fumble in the upset win over one of the most powerful offenses in all of the nation. He is leading the Pac-12 in tackles at 13.5 per game through two weeks.
2. Dion Bailey, LB, USC - The sophomore All-American candidate had a big day in New Jersey. Bailey posted eight total tackles, one for a loss and intercepted two passes. He is USC's leading tackler with 15 total tackles in two wins for the Trojans.
3. J.P. Hurrell, LB, Cal - Some bigger names (Datone Jones for example) might have played just as well against bigger competition, but few players will ever have a statistical performance like Hurrell did. He posted six total tackles, 3.0 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks in a must-win situation for Jeff Tedford. He leads the league in sacks after two weeks.
Post-Week 2 Coach of the Year Standings
1. Lane Kiffin, USC - It was not nearly as smooth as the USC head man would have liked but his team stayed undefeated, scored at least 38 points in its seventh straight games and found a power running game. All of which is a scary thought for the rest of the Pac-12.
2. Chip Kelly, Oregon - The Ducks rushed for 366 yards and five touchdowns in the relatively easy win over Mountain West contender Fresno State. The four fumbles — three lost — will likely make for a tense film session, however.
3. Jim Mora Jr., UCLA and Rich Rodriguez, Arizona - Both have started their new careers 2-0 with major upset victories over BCS powerhouses. Both have dual-threat quarterbacks who seem to fit their schemes perfectly. Both have workhorse tailbacks in the backfield. And both have defenses that appear to be greatly improved.
Post-Week 2 Power Rankings
1. USC (2-0)
Previous rank: 1
Week 2 result: Beat Syracuse 42-29
It was a sluggish, neutral-field performance for the Trojans, but USC emerged unscathed. And that is all Lane Kiffin cares about. Matt Barkley celebrated his 22nd birthday by tossing six touchdown passes and leading his offense to at least 40 points in six of the last seven games. As good as the USC quarterback was, Robert Woods was better. The junior wideout caught 10 passes, totaled 200 all-purpose yards, scored two touchdowns and gifted USC two others via punt return and on an end around. Woods was so good that a guy who caught 11 passes and three touchdowns of his, Marqise Lee, was totally overshadowed. Kiffin also found a power running game as his balanced attacked rushed for nearly eight yards per carry on 33 attempts (7.8 ypc, 258 yards). This defense will need to improve to win the Pac-12, but it doesn't appear any defense, not even Stanford's this weekend, will be able to slow this Trojan offense.
This week: at Stanford (2-0)
2. Oregon (2-0)
Previous rank: 2
Week 2 result: Beat Fresno State 45-25
The Ducks have looked national championship good in the early going and will give USC everything they can handle come November 3. But this team cannot afford any more key injuries. Safety John Boyett is lost for the year with potential knee surgery and will be a huge loss to the Oregon secondary. On the offensive line, guard Carson York (knee) and tackle Kyle Long (leg) both are banged-up as well as wideout Josh Huff. This team has proven to be as deep as any in the nation, but a few more key injuries could lower this team's national upside. In other news, De'Anthony Thomas and Kenjon Barner are unstoppable. Thomas touched the ball 11 times on offense, scoring twice and piling-up 128 yards from scrimmage. That gives him five touchdowns in two games. Barner was the workhorse, carrying 34 times for 201 yards and three rushing touchdowns.
This week: Tennessee Tech (2-0)
3. UCLA (2-0)
Previous rank: 6
Week 2 result: Beat Nebraska 36-30
The UCLA Bruins are one of college football's best surprises through two weeks of action. The talent has always been there for the Bruins but unlucky quarterback injuries and a lack of leadership have led to overwhelming underachievement for the better part of a decade. Names like Datone Jones, Joseph Fauria and Anthony Barr are beginning to realize some of their always apparent potential. The credit has to go to Jim Mora Jr and his deep coaching staff. They have instilled toughness and work ethic that is obvious in the way UCLA has played this year. To top it all off, Brett Hundley has the makings of the best thing to happen under center at Westwood since Cade McNown of the late 90s. He has been dynamic, efficient and protective of the football - all of which has opened up gashes for senior tailback Johnathan Franklin to run through. Last fall, this team ranked 10th in the Pac-12 in total offense (376.6 ypg) and scoring (23.1 ppg). After two games, this offense is ranked No. 1 in a league that also boasts Oregon and USC.
This week: Houston (0-2)
4. Stanford (2-0)
Previous rank: 4
Week 2 result: Beat Duke 50-13
This is how the Stanford defense should look in 2012. Shayne Skov returned to the line-up with authority after a one-game suspension with five tackles. Safety Ed Reynolds intercepted his second and third passes of the season to go with his four stops. And Duke was held to 27 yards rushing on 23 carries, while quarterback Sean Renfree was kept in check (0 TD, 2 INT). More importantly, however, quarterback Josh Nunes was dramatically more comfortable in the pocket, throwing for 275 yards and three touchdowns in the blowout. This team showed considerable improvement from Week 1 to Week 2 but will need to continue its development if it expects to compete with the Men of Troy this Saturday.
This week: USC (2-0)
5. Arizona (2-0)
Previous rank: 8
Week 2 result: Beat Oklahoma State 59-38
The offenses were expecting to be the star of this bout in the desert, but most believed it would be the Cowboys of Oklahoma State putting up nearly 60 points and over 500 yards of offense. But Matt Scott and Ka'Deem Carey continued their electric start to the Rich Rodriguez tenure in Tucson by dominating the boxscore. Scott finished with 375 yards of total offense and three total touchdowns without a single turnover and is No. 2 nationally in total offense after two weeks. Carey did his best Steve Slaton impersonation by touching the ball 30 times for 154 yards and four of his own trips to paydirt. The defense still has issues but appears to be improved enough to give the offense a chance to outscore the opponent each and every week. Both UCLA and Arizona are in a heated race in the South and have gotten off to great starts. Both should start the year 3-0.
This week: South Carolina State (1-1)
6. Washington (1-1)
Previous rank: 3
Week 2 result: Lost to LSU 41-3
The Washington Huskies are getting better. They have improved their coaching staff and upgraded the level of talented across the roster in Seattle. But Steve Sarkisian's group is not prepared for the national spotlight just yet. LSU's powerful offensive line, with the help of one of the deepest and nastiest defensive lines in the nation, out-rushed Washington 242-26. The twitter-sphere started feeling bad for Keith Price, who ran for his life most of the game, completing less than 50% of his passes, got sacked four times and was unable to get his team into the endzoe. Washington will have time to lick its wounds with Portland State and the bye week coming up, but this barometer test clearly indicates the Huskies aren't ready to content with Oregon or USC just yet. After the off week, U of W will face Stanford, Oregon and USC in consecutive weeks.
This week: Portland State (1-1)
7. Oregon State (1-0)
Previous rank: 10
Week 2 result: Beat Wisconsin 10-7
Mike Riley knew how big this game was and he coached for his life in one of the biggest wins in program history. While this Wisconsin team isn't an elite Badger unit, the Beavers still knocked off a top 15 non-conference opponent in dominating fashion. The offense wasn't perfect by any means, but Sean Mannion connected with Markus Wheaton and the speedy Brandin Cooks time and time again in key situations throughout the second half. Meanwhile, defensive coordinator Mark Banker should get DC of the Week nationally for the job he did against the Badgers offense. Montee Ball was completely ineffective, Jared Abbrederis was knocked out of the game and Danny O'Brien had no where to go with the football. The ceiling for this team may still be an unknown, but 3-9 should be a distant memory in Corvallis.
This week: Open Date
8. Arizona State (2-0)
Previous rank: 9
Week 2 result: Beat Illinois 45-14
The Sun Devils have put 108 points on the board in two wins under Todd Graham, and what is scary is that it could have been better if not for some miscues in the redzone. Taylor Kelly won his second start and was efficient once again throwing the football. He was 18-of-24 for 249 yards and a touchdown and has yet to throw an interception this fall. The deep and talented backfield did the rest. Cameron Marshall got 12 carries and scored his 21st rushing touchdown in his last 15 games. Freshman D.J. Foster continues to show his versatility by leading the team in receiving (72 yards) as well as scoring for the second time in as many career games on nine rushing attempts. Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase didn't play and the Illini put up little opposition without their leader under center. That said, the Sun Devils have been impressive thus far and will be facing their toughest test of the young year this weekend in Columbia.
This week: at Missouri (1-1)
9. California (1-1)
Previous rank: 7
Week 2 result: Beat Southern Utah 50-31
The Golden Bears rushed for 176 more yards this week (289) than it did in the opening loss to Nevada (113). Still, consistency will be the lesson from the embattled Jeff Tedford this week. Cal was sluggish once again out of the gate, being outscored 3-0 in the first quarter. Then again coming out of halftime, Southern Utah won the third quarter 7-0. It meant that SUU took a lead into the second quarter and trailed only by three when the final frame began. Explosive second and fourth periods in which Cal outscored Southern Utah 20-7 and 30-14 respectively gave Tedford the much-needed win. But inconsistent play from both side of the ball will be an issue against Pac-12 foes. Also concerning is allowing exactly 31 points in each game - good for dead last in the league in scoring defense. And now they have to stop Braxton Miller.
This week: at Ohio State (2-0)
10. Utah (1-1)
Previous rank: 5
Week 2 result: Lost to Utah State 27-20 (OT)
The Battle of the Brothers went the way of the little brother this time around. Utah State is a developing into one of the better mid-major programs out west and a signature win over an in-state rival on national TV cannot be undervalued. So the intense overtime battle shouldn't have come as a huge shock. However, Utes fans had to have a sense of deja vu when they watched starting quarterback Jordan Wynn leave the game with a shoulder injury and Jon Hays step under center. Wynn's X-rays were negative but Kyle Whittingham hasn't made any official statements about the future of his starting quarterback. Hays was terrible last fall but showed some growth in the second half against the Aggies. He threw for 154 yards and led the Utah offense to 17 second-half points to get the game into overtime. Either way, having quarterback issues getting ready for BYU's defense in what could be the last Holy War for the foreseeable future makes a 1-2 start very possible for Utah.
This week: BYU (2-0)
11. Washington State (1-1)
Previous rank: 11
Week 2 result: Beat Eastern Washington 24-20
On the surface, it looks like Washington State played cupcake and struggled to win Mike Leach's first game of the year. However, Eastern Washington already has one FBS win this season in impressive fashion, is one of the top west coast FCS programs, boasts a former June Jones SMU disciple at quarterback and likely sports an entire roster of players who dreamed of playing football in the Pac-12. The defense gave up a lot of yards (469) and will struggle all season but the offense scored 24 first-half points and the defense made it stand up. Jeff Tuel was much more effective than he was against BYU throwing two touchdowns, but a twisted knee forced the oft-injured starting quarterback to the bench. Connor Halliday finished the game and would be the starter should Tuel miss any extended time.
This week: at UNLV (0-2)
12. Colorado (0-2)
Previous rank: 12
Week 2 result: Lost to Sacramento State 28-20
Where to start? Colorado is one of only six BCS conference teams to begin the year 0-2. Pitt, Vanderbilt, Auburn, Penn State and Syracuse are the others. Only PItt, however, joins the Buffs with a loss to an FCS opponent. What's worse is Sacramento State didn't look overmatched. It out-passed Colorado nearly 2-to-1, it out-rushed Colorado and held the Buffaloes to seven second-half points in the upset win. With nine conference games and a trip to Fresno State this weekend left on the slate, Jon Embree's team won't be favored the rest of the 2012 season, meaning they will have to pull an upset to win a single game this fall.
This week: Fresno State (1-1)
by Braden Gall
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