Published on September 10, 2018 by: Tony Krikorian
Week 2 brought us a top 25 conference matchup, two showdowns with the Big 10, and a 9-3 record overall. Here are three quick thoughts after Week 2:
1. Colorado’s win over Nebraska was spectacular: The Buffs beat the Nebraska Cornhuskers 33-28 in Scott Frost’s debut. There were multiple lead changes, swings in momentum, and moments that I found myself literally biting my nails.
While the game had a tremendous amount of entertainment (and provided the Pac-12 with some much needed positive air time) it also brought national attention to the unique stories surrounding the Buffs. First, this was a good reminder that Colorado is only two years removed from winning the Pac-12 South. In 2016, Colorado went 10-4 overall and 8-1 in conference. Their season did not end particularly well as they lost to Washington in the Pac-12 Championship game and then to Oklahoma State in the Alamo Bowl; however, with the Pac-12 South up for grabs and what looks to be a potent passing attack, Colorado just put themselves back in the conversation as a legitimate Pac-12 South contender.
Second, Laviska Shenault Jr is an absolute stud. He had 10 catches for 177 yards and the go-ahead touchdown (plus 1 rushing touchdown). That’s in addition to the 11 catches for 211 yards and one touchdown he had in Week 1 against Colorado State. Combine him with Steven Montez, one of the premier quarterbacks in the Pac-12 (and one of Colorado’s all time greats), and this is a duo the nation needs to keep their eye on.
Third, Nate Landman. He’s the middle linebacker for the Buffs and has had two incredible games to start the season. Against Nebraska, he had 13 tackles and an interception, plus a 4th down stop at a crucial part of the game. But, his back story is even cooler. He grew up in Zimbabwe while his father, Shaun, played professional rugby. Even though he moved to the US when he was young, he got his US citizenship just last year. Pretty neat stuff.
Finally, Jay MacIntyre had a great game against the Cornhuskers as he had 8 catches for 45 yards and 2 touchdowns. I’m sure his dad is very proud. Actually, I KNOW his dad is proud because he is the head coach. That’s right – Colorado’s father-son duo of Mike and Jay is one of the feel good stories from around the nation.
2. We were definitely wrong about the Arizona schools: Last week I said that the gap between Arizona and ASU maybe wasn’t as big as we had all thought. But, I was wrong. The gap is wide.
It’s just that we had the teams switched.
ASU continued to prove the Herm Edwards doubters wrong after taking down #15 Michigan State. The Sun Devils overcame a late 10 point deficit as Manny Wilkins dissected the Spartans defense to score 13 unanswered points, connecting multiple times with N’Keal Harry and Kyle Williams. This was a great win against a Top 25, Big 10 opponent that catapulted them into the discussion as a contender for the Pac-12 South.
Arizona, on the other hand, seems more like the “dumpster fire” that everyone thought ASU would be. After losing last week to BYU, the Wildcats were blown out by Houston 45-18, and trailed 31-0 at halftime. Although he passed for 341 yards, Khalil Tate threw two interceptions and never really got going. The defense looked lost at times, giving up multiple big plays. Considering the optimism and high expectations coming into the year, Arizona has been incredibly disappointing. Sumlin has got to figure things out quickly.
3. Stanford is a Playoff caliber team, but they won’t make it there: I know what you’re thinking: “Tony, last week you said Stanford was in trouble!” I did say that, and I still believe it.
After the SDSU game, I had my doubts because of their slow start and inability to generate anything on the ground. But, against USC, it was a different story. The Cardinal demonstrated a balanced offensive attack, a solid pass rush, and athleticism that matched the Trojans’. Costello passed for almost 200 yards and was efficient. Love rushed for 136 and showed moments of explosiveness. The defense produced four sacks and three turnovers. David Shaw is a great coach.
By all accounts, Stanford is a very good team.
The problem is, Stanford still has one of the toughest schedules left in the country- most of which are away and against offenses that will be much more potent than USC’s underwhelming performance. They still have to go to #20 Oregon, to #8 Notre Dame, to #23 ASU, and to #10 Washington. That’s quite the gauntlet and I don’t think Stanford makes it out unscathed.