3 Quick Thoughts about the Pac-12 after Week 1

3 Quick Thoughts about the Pac-12 after Week 1: Stanford’s offense, the Arizona schools, and the New Kids on the Block at USC.

Posted on September 4, 2018 by: Tony Krikorian

After waiting months for the return of college football, Week 1 came and went in the blink of an eye. The Pac-12 went 8-4 and there was some good, some bad, and then UCLA and Arizona. Here are three quick thoughts about Week 1.

1. Bryce Love is in for a long season…and therefore so is Stanford: Look, don’t get me wrong, Stanford had a nice 31-10 win against a decent San Diego State team. It’s how they won that brings up some concerns. SDSU did what every team is going to do: they stacked the box, most of the time with 8 or even 9 defenders. Their gameplan was very clear- Bryce Love wouldn’t be the one to beat them.

And that’s exactly what happened. Love was held to 29 yards rushing on 18 carriers-a significant drop from his 162.9 yards-per-game and 8.0 yards-per-attempt average from last year. Stanford had to turn to playing Three-Flies-Up with K.J. Costello and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside– and lucky for them, it worked. Costello and Arcega-Whiteside connected 6 times for 226 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Which begs the question: Does this make Stanford scarier or is it cause for concern?

I think the latter. The problem is, SDSU’s defensive backs are not the same caliber as those from Washington, USC, Utah, or Oregon. If teams are going to dare Stanford to throw the ball,  they become beatable. Stanford has to figure out how to get Bryce Love going-even when teams stack the box- because things won’t be so pretty when they play against stronger secondaries or pass rushers.

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2. Were we wrong about the Arizona schools?: I hate to jump to conclusions after one game, but Arizona did not look like a threat to win the South. Khalil Tate and the offense sputtered and the defense couldn’t get stops when they needed to, ultimately leading to a 28-23 loss to BYU.

Arizona State, on the other hand, looked pretty impressive. For all the “dumpster fire” comments directed at Herm Edwards and his program, they looked like anything but that.

I know, I get it. They played UTSA who is definitely not a powerhouse, but they did exactly what you’re supposed to do when you’re the better team- dominate. It was 42-0 after three quarters and the starters got to take the rest of the night off. Not to mention, N’Keal Harry looked like his nick name suggests- the Real Deal– especially when you pair him with the seasoned and smart Manny Wilkins. The two connected 6 times for 140 yards and 2 touchdowns.

I’m not counting Arizona out of contention nor am I going all in on ASU. It just seems that the gap between the two programs isn’t as wide as we all thought.

3. JT Daniels and Amon-Ra St. Brown are going to be special: My thoughts on Daniels and St. Brown are well documented and after shaking off a slow start, they performed in a way that support those claims. The two true freshman connected 7 times for 98 yards and a touchdown. They had good timing. They had good chemistry. They looked comfortable.

The scary part is that they are only going to get better. This is going to be the next great USC tandem.

*Bonus Thought: the Huskies are going to be fine: Like Jake Browning, I am also not one for moral victories; however, the truth is that Washington went on the road, against a top 10 SEC team, and had a serious chance to win. The Huskies dominated long stretches of the game, but red zone success and stopping Auburn on 3rd down hurt them. Overall, Washington played a good game.

Auburn just played a little better.

The Huskies’ performance proved that they are a College Football Playoff caliber team-and it gave the Pac-12 hope. The loss does not eliminate Washington or the rest of the Pac-12 from playoff contention, but it does put a tremendous amount of pressure on the Huskies to win out.

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