Roundup: So far, so good
Well the Pac-12 is undefeated as a conference through one night of the college football season. It wasn’t supposed to be easy, and it certainly wasn’t, but Travis Wilson led Utah past Utah State 30-26 after the Utes fell behind by nine points in the third quarter. As such, Kurt Kragthorpe of the Salt Lake Tribune writes that the Utes delivered in the face of big-time pressure.
With scores like 3-2, 5-3 and 10-5, it wasn’t always pretty in Honolulu, but at the end of the day, No. 24 USC opened the year with a 30-13 win over Hawai’i. Cody Kessler started the first half, while Max Wittek was the signal-caller for most of the second.
There’s one game on the ledger tonight – Northern Arizona at Arizona in the first Pac-12 Networks football broadcast of the 2013 season – and five UA freshmen are ready for their college debuts. Daniel Berk of the Arizona Daily Star believes Nate Phillips, Scooby Wright, Samajie Grant, Devin Holiday and DeAndre Miller will all get on the field tonight and have the chance to see significant minutes this year.
No. 25 Oregon State begins its season Saturday against Eastern Washington, and whether 2013 turns out more like 2012 or more like 2011, the head honcho in Corvallis will never lose sight of what’s really important in life. Here’s a great story from Lindsay Schnell about how Mike Riley’s faith held family and football together amid the birth of his grandson, the death of his father and two losing seasons.
The No. 3 Oregon Ducks take the field Saturday afternoon against Nicholls State in what will be the first game of the Mark Helfrich Era. How did the new coach get to the top of the food chain at age 39? As it turns out, a lifetime of preparation fueled Helfrich’s meteoric rise.
Episode No. 1 of the Sonny Dykes Show goes down Saturday night in Berkeley against No. 22 Northwestern, and explosive running back Brendan Bigelow is “much more comfortable” in Dykes’ offense. Also, Cal opts against a Big Game at Levi’s Stadium in 2014. Fear not, Golden Bear fan; the game will be at Memorial Stadium.
The first edition of Mike MacIntyre Weekly comes your way Sunday in Denver against Colorado State, and the Buffs are ready for a fresh start as Mac has the Boulder Boys believing in themselves heading into the new campaign.
The Huskies arguably have the toughest opening-week test in the Pac-12 when No. 19 Boise State comes to town Saturday night, and Washington is eager to open the renovated Husky Stadium in style, hoping to get a little comeuppance on the team that beat them in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas last year.
The Cougs are working on a new $61 million football operations building, and while it won’t be even close to done by the time Saturday’s opener against Auburn rolls around, Washington State does have building blocks for success.
No. 21 UCLA is getting ready for its lid-lifter against Nevada, and the Bruins defense will use its familiarity with the pistol offense against the Wolf Pack. UCLA ran the same offense under Rick Neuheisel, so guys who were around in 2010 and 2011 know a thing or two about it.
The biggest position battle on The Farm has been settled now that Khalil Wilkes was named Stanford’s starting center, beating out Conor McFadden for the right to snap it to Kevin Hogan. In other starting news, James Vaughters will be a starting outside linebacker ahead of Blake Lueders, and Wayne Lyons will be starting at CB opposite Alex Carter, while senior Ben Rhyne will be the punter.
No game to be had this weekend for the Forks, but Todd Graham says Arizona State isn’t underestimating Sacramento State, especially since the Hornets knocked off two Pac-12 teams over the last couple of years.