Look for an in-depth review in the Weekend Wrap, which will be published Monday morning.
For now, five quick lessons …
1. Road games against top-tier Group of Five opponents are precarious.
Actually, we already knew that. It’s just that seeing Pac-12 teams unravel against G5s pack a certain wallop.
Of note: Both Stanford and UCLA gave away fourth-quarter leads.
Memphis scored the go-ahead touchdown early in the fourth quarter and made it stand, while Stanford allowed a 75-yard touchdown drive in the final minutes.
San Diego State looks like the fourth- or fifth-best team in the Pac-12.
2. We still don’t know what to make of Colorado and Utah because their non-conference schedules have yet to produce a significant challenge.
I’d add Washington to the list for the same reason — are the Huskies elite, or merely very good? — and probably Oregon, as well.
The Ducks are markedly better this season. But Nebraska’s loss to Northern Illinois strips their Week Two win of all significance.
In fact, you could make that case for the conference as a whole. Through three weeks, the Pac-12’s best non-conference win is …
Cal over Ole Miss, or
USC over Texas, or
UCLA over Texas A&M
Not an impressive group.
3. USC’s offense can be held in check … you just need Texas’ athletes to do it.
The Longhorns are loaded with NFL talent on defense, especially heat-seeking linebacker Malik Jefferson.
The question remains: Does anyone in the Pac-12 have the manpower to contain Sam Darnold and Co.? And to stop Darnold when the game is on the line, which is a different proposition entirely.
4. Stanford has lost its edge on the lines of scrimmage.
Suspicions that surfaced at USC were confirmed by San Diego State, which more than held its own.
Even a reshuffling of the offensive line did little to help Stanford, which is completely dependent on big plays by Bryce Love.
He might be good for one or two per game, but that’s not a sustainable model against the best in the Pac-12.
5. Cal is not the worst team in the North — and might not be the second-worst team in the North.
I’m not sure how that division will shake out, but the Bears look ready to compete for a mid-level finish.
They are competent in areas that have been woefully lacking for most of the past decade.
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