What we learned in the Pac-10

September, 6, 2009
9/06/09
11:11
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller


What did we learn about the Pac-10 after the first week of action?
  1. The transition won't be seamless at Oregon: Oregon's trip to Boise State was a disaster, from the way the Ducks played to the behavior of running back LeGarrette Blount afterward, which earned the program lots of unwanted publicity. While some of us thought Chip Kelly would take a hand-off from Mike Bellotti and the Ducks would roll -- guilty as charged -- there are obviously going to be hiccups along the way. The next step for Kelly and the Ducks is how they react to the Boise downer against Purdue.
  2. Washington is different under Steve Sarkisian: LSU was athletically superior to Washington, but the Huskies rolled up better numbers against the Tigers because they were better prepared, had better schemes and made better adjustments. None of that would have happened last year. But the biggest difference was the Huskies played with fire for the entire game. Think that last TD was a throw-away? Absolutely not. That was a gut check, and the Huskies passed. Lots of recruits were on the sideline watching, by the way.
  3. Kevin Riley is good enough: Entering the season, California looked like it had all the pieces to challenge for the Pac-10 title. The only issue was at quarterback, where Riley had experience but not consistency. He might have turned in his best work against Maryland, completing 17 of 26 passes for 298 yards with four touchdowns. And this wasn't dink and dunk. Riley was throwing downfield. Now, how will the Bears handle a trip to Minnesota in two weeks?
  4. USC is not rebuilding: It might sound like we are writing too much into a domination of San Jose State, but it was clear from watching the Trojans that they are again overflowing with the talent that makes them an annual contender. Despite numerous preseason injuries, USC ran wave after wave of players at the Spartans on both sides of the ball, and quarterback Matt Barkley lived up to his advanced billing with a flawless debut. Of course, the real test is Saturday at Ohio State.
  5. The young and/or maligned were solid: While Thursday was dismal for the conference, Saturday was almost entirely positive. Washington and Washington State looked much improved. Arizona State and UCLA flashed some offensive promise. Young quarterbacks like Stanford's Andrew Luck, UCLA's Kevin Prince and Arizona Matt Scott handled their business fairly well. There were no more embarrassments. Hey, and Duck fans -- look to Oklahoma for solace. The Sooners probably feel even worse than you do.

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