The Pac-12 Had A Rough First Week Of The Season


After years of building its résumé to be mentioned among the likes of the top conferences in college football, the Pac-12 finally had the respect and legitimacy it once craved.

SEC or Pac-12, which is the best conference in college football? That was one of the most widespread questions that circulated this offseason among experts and pundits.

In week 1 of the 2015 college football season, the Pac-12 fell flat on its face trying to meet this hype.

On Thursday, Arizona, a team many consider a National Title contender, struggled against lowly FCS side UTSA at home. The Wildcats went into halftime with a measly one-point lead and won by a modest ten point margin. Later that night, perennial conference doormat Colorado fell to FCS Hawaii on the road. Still, the worst was yet to come.

On Friday, the revamped Oregon State Beavers failed to overpower FCS Weber State at home. The Beavers went to the half managing only six points worth of offense. Despite the Beavers offensive struggles against the stout Weber State defense, they still won. The same couldn’t be said for Washington.

The Washington Huskies fell to head coach Chris Petersen’s former Boise State Broncos on the road later that evening. Most notable however is how horrendous the Huskies’ offense looked in the first half with true freshman quarterback Jake Browning. Washington went into the tunnel at intermission down 16-0. The Huskies late push fell just short, and once again a Pac-12 team lost to a Mountain West opponent.

Thursday and Friday’s mishaps are tiny matters compared to what unfolded on Saturday. In the early slot, #21 ranked Stanford was upset by Northwestern in arguably the Pac-12’s biggest flop of week 1. Statistically, the next Pac-12 team to be unseated would lay claim to that title. Washington State was shocked by FCS Portland State at home, 24-17. Just when the Pac-12’s week 1 collapse was thought to be over, one more crucial blow was in store.

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#15 ranked Arizona State pitted against unranked SEC side Texas A&M. The matchup set the stage for the perceived two best conferences in college football. Arizona State wasn’t just playing for its sake any longer. After a catastrophic week 1, the Sun Devils carried the reputation of the Pac-12 on its shoulders as they took the field in Houston.

In short, the Sun Devils were no match for the Aggies as they were blown out, 38-17. The disaster was complete. And while no more Pac-12 teams would endure losses in the first week of the season, even its flagship program would struggle in its opener.

The defending Pac-12 and Rose Bowl champion Oregon Ducks conceded 42-points to FCS school Eastern Washington. The Eagles seemingly scored at will while wide receiver Cooper Kupp broke an Autzen Stadium record on his 3-touchdown, 15 catch outing. The Pride of the Pac-12 suddenly looked so mortal against an inferior opponent.

In the aftermath of week 1, the Pac 12’s credibility took a hit. Now the rest of the college football world laughs in unison at the Pac-12 because it’s what happens when something billed to be so great, fails miserably to prove it’s worthy of its praise. Perhaps the Pac-12 will rebound in the coming weeks. It could also get much, much worse.

Next week, Oregon State pays a visit to Jim Harbaugh and the Maize and Blue at the Big House. Washington State heads to New Jersey to face Rutgers. Colorado hosts UMass, and #7 Oregon travels to East Lansing to take on the #5 ranked Michigan State Spartans in prime time.

The Pac-12’s name could be tarnished once again in week 2. However, the implications of this mean very little for Oregon. Because as Ohio State proved last season, belonging to a dismal conference shouldn’t hinder National Championship aspirations in the least bit.