Week 1 is in the books, and it was one for the book: The Pac-12 finished the first full week of play with more victories without a loss than any conference since at least 1980, according to OptaSTATS.
Including USC’s victory in Week 0, the conference has registered 13 wins to date, beating the previous record of 11 wins and no losses set by the Big Ten in 2006.
Which means an undefeated team will be in last place in the Hotline’s inaugural power ratings of the 2023 season.
Here we go …
1. Washington (1-0)
Result: beat Boise State 56-19
Next up: vs. Tulsa
Comment: The players aren’t supposed to peak ahead, but there’s nothing stopping the Hotline from doing so. Here’s what we see: Michigan State opened with a 31-7 win over Central Michigan and plays Richmond this week. The Spartans should be 2-0, but probably unranked, when the Huskies visit on Sept. 16.
2. USC (2-0)
Result: beat Nevada 66-14
Next up: vs Stanford
Comment: How about we stop comparing a freshman receiver with two games on his resume (Zachariah Branch) to the greatest playmaker the Pac-12 has produced in the past half century (Reggie Bush).
3. Utah (1-0)
Result: beat Florida 24-11
Next up: at Baylor
Comment: Utah was very Utah in demolishing Florida, and the fact that everyone knows exactly what being Utah means speaks volumes about the lofty state of Kyle Whittingham’s program.
4. Oregon (1-0)
Result: beat Portland State 81-7
Next up: at Texas Tech
Comment: In case you missed it, Texas Tech blew a 17-0 lead Saturday at Wyoming and lost in overtime. So if you’re looking for the suddenly missing luster from Oregon’s Week 2 matchup, it’s back in Laramie.
5. Oregon State (1-0)
Result: won at San Jose State 42-17
Next up: vs. UC Davis
Comment: Possibly meaningless observation: San Jose State scored 28 points and gained 396 yards at USC in Week 0 but scored just 17 points and gained 279 yards at home against Oregon State on Sunday.
6. Colorado (1-0)
Result: won at TCU 45-42
Next up: vs. Nebraska
Comment: The Buffaloes aren’t slotted on the top tier because we don’t believe TCU is very good. In fact, we aren’t sure the Horned Frogs are any good. That said, the Buffaloes are ranked four or five spots higher than we expected at this point (and should crack the AP top-25 poll).
7. Washington State (1-0)
Result: won at Colorado State 50-24
Next up: vs. Wisconsin
Comment: Admittedly, 50 points from the Cougars in the opener in Fort Collins was not on our Week 1 bingo card. The season hinges on the offensive line. And one week in, it looks better. Not good, but better.
8. Cal (1-0)
Result: won at North Texas 58-21
Next up: vs. Auburn
Comment: It’s entirely possible that the injury to starting quarterback Sam Jackson enabled the Bears to identify their best quarterback: backup Ben Finley, who spent three seasons at N.C. State and was superb in relief Saturday afternoon.
9. UCLA (1-0)
Result: beat Coastal Carolina 27-14
Next up: at San Diego State
Comment: Consider us unimpressed with the Bruins, who obviously spent their summer attending the Herm Edwards School of Five-Yard Motion Penalties (which is based in Provo, if you’re wondering). We counted six offsides infractions alone.
10. Arizona (1-0)
Result: beat NAU 38-3
Next up: at Mississippi State
Comment: The first 3 in the final score isn’t what caught our attention. The second 3 makes us wonder if a turnaround is, in fact, underway. The defense merely needs to be solid in order for the Wildcats to reach the postseason.
11. Stanford (1-0)
Result: won at Hawaii 37-24
Next up: at USC
Comment: The only thing more jarring than watching Stanford’s quarterback (Ashton Daniels) carry the ball 11 times was realizing that many of the attempts were by design — and not just Daniels running for his life behind a leaky line.
12. Arizona State (1-0)
Result: beat Southern Utah 24-21
Next up: vs. Oklahoma State
Comment: The Sun Devils get a pass on their wobbly performance after being blindsided by the bowl ban. But a repeat performance this week won’t cut it for the fightin’ Dillinghams.
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