Pac 12 Stock Report
So in addition to ruining Big Ten football for all our readers, Gamedayr has asked me to provide some Pac 12 insights and ruin another league for our readers. Well, that’s the excuse anyway. I’m convinced the real reason is they are forcing me to relive the Big Ten’s brutal 0-3 performance last week out west. At least no Big Ten school has lost to Sacramento State!
So a little about this column going forward. The above chart is the power rankings of the Pac 12, similar to what I do for the Big Ten. The buying/holding/selling stock in a team is relative to preseason expectations, making a better bowl, or surprising the league and competing for a division title. Just because I’m buying a lot of stock in Arizona doesn’t mean I think they are better than USC or Oregon. Now that we are all in sync, let’s get at it!
Buy Stock - Arizona and Arizona State
New coaches, new quarterbacks, no problems. Both the Wildcats and Sun Devils are off to 2-0 starts and look as hot as the state they reside in. ASU steamrolled the fantastically named Lumberjacks of FCS Northern Arizona and backed it up with a total domination of Illinois. They made Illinois look about as silly as a FCS school.
Arizona shrugged off an exciting, albeit sloppy, game against Toledo in week one, with a huge upset against Oklahoma State. Sure, OSU no longer has Brandon Weeden, but they returned a lot of starters on a ball hawking defense that was supposed to be the best Cowboy defense in Mike Gundy’s tenure. 59 points later has Arizona fans pumped and Michigan fans wondering where the upsets were early in Rich Rod’s tenure.
Buy Stock - Oregon
While 42-25 doesn’t look as impressive as some of the Duck’s non-conference blowouts in recent years, the splits were. It was 35-6 at halftime. UO put up over 500 yards again and had a great day on the ground. This team is always about offensive results, scoring early, often and fast. As a consequence, they leave the defense out to dry sometimes statistically. The fact that Marcus Mariota only has twelve incomplete passes in two games also tells me that this team is ready to roll through the north again and possibly play for a little crystal ball.
Buy Stock - UCLA
New coach, new quarterback, no problems. It is amazing how well these three schools (the Arizona teams and the Burins) are playing, considering how poorly they finished a season ago. UCLA always had better talent on paper than the results they had to show for, but the way Jim Mora has gotten them to play thus far has been pretty fun to watch. What is crazy is how well the schedule shapes up. Two more in Pasadena, followed by two manageable road games, followed by a banged up Utah team. There is a real possibility of the Bruins starting 7-0 before a trip to Tempe.
Holding - Oregon State
Did the Beaver’s upset win over Wisconsin tell us more about OSU, or expose flaws in the Badgers? What we do know is, OSU couldn’t run a lick against Wisconsin and only put up ten points. In fact, they were a matter of inches away from letting Wisconsin recover an onside kick and then…who knows? Oregon State’s opener with Nicholls State has been postponed and they have a bye week next week before going to UCLA on the 22nd. If they can hang with, or stun the suddenly surging Bruins, I’ll believe this team is capable of making a bowl, but right now I’ll stay away – after all, they mustered just three wins a year ago.
Holding - Stanford
They looked awful against San Jose State, then dominated Duke. Thankfully they host USC next week in a game that will give a much clearer picture to Josh Nunes’ game, and by extension, the entire Cardinal team. Until next week’s tilt is done, I’m holding.
Holding - USC
Sure, it’s tempting to sell after a lackluster game against Syracuse and the fact that depth is a major issue for the scholarship-depleted Trojans, but I look at last week’s game as too unusual to get a read on. It was in a very non-”collegy” atmosphere in East Rutherford at an NFL stadium. It also had a lengthy weather delay. Let’s see how the Men of Troy look next week on The Farm when they take on a Stanford team that is equally difficult to get a read on in the early going.
Holding - Washington
Selling - California
Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. That is how I feel about the Bears. After an extremely disappointing performance week one against Nevada, Cal followed it up with yet another sluggish performance, this time against an FCS team. 50-31 certainly looks impressive, but considering it was a 20-17 ballgame heading into the fourth shows this thing was nip and tuck the majority of the time. Cal is supposed to have one of the most talented squads in the league, but has yet to show it in the results. With road trips to Ohio State and USC in the next two weeks, they better show they are one of those teams that play down to the competition and rise to the occasion; otherwise, they will be 1-3 with ASU, UCLA, Stanford and Oregon left on the schedule.
Selling - Utah
The Utes were not the sexiest Pac 12 team to start the year. A handful of defensive miscues and losing starting quarterback Jordan Wynn to another injury (and his retirement from the game) makes it hard to be too pumped about this team’s chances. They will probably make a bowl, but I don’t see them contending for a division title.
Selling - Washington State
The Cougars looked horrid against BYU and barely beat Eastern Washington. I know EWU is the defending FCS champion, but it was how WSU looked, not necessarily the tightness of the score or the level of competition. EWU held them to 24 points (none in the second half) and 355 yards. That is not Mike Leach offense. WSU has picked up Mike Leach defense though. The Cougars let the Eagles rack up 469 total yards. Welp, guess this is what is called baby steps, folks.
Trash Bin - Colorado
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