Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Hot and not in the Pac-12
By Ted Miller
Who's hot and who's not in the Pac-12?
Here's a random sampling.
Hot: Pac-12 passing
Five Pac-12 teams rank in the nation's top 25 in passing: Arizona, Washington State, Colorado, Arizona State and Oregon.
Not: Pac-12 rushing
Just one Pac-12 team ranks among the the nation's top 25 in rushing: No. 16 UCLA. Seven rank 63rd or worse.
Hot: Osweiler to Pflugrad
When T.J. Simpson went down with a knee injury, the big question for the Arizona State passing game was who would become the No. 1 receiver. Well, after QB Brock Osweiler and receiver Aaron Pflugrad hooked up eight times for 180 yards and two TDs (yes, one of those TD passes came on a pass from Jamal Miles), it appears the Sun Devils have found a go-to guy.
Not: Arizona State tackling
The Sun Devils defense tackled poorly against Missouri. Missed tackles ruined potential big-play opportunities and also allowed the Tigers to break away for big gains.
Hot: Colorado passing
The Buffaloes passed for 474 yards against a good California defense, the second most passing yards in school history. Quarterback Tyler Hansen and receiver Paul Richardson (11 catches, 284 yards,two TDs) made beautiful music together.
Not: Colorado rushing
The Buffs are averaging just 62.5 yards rushing per game, which ranks 11th in the conference.
Hot: Touchdown passes.
Three QBs have thrown seven TD passes in two games: Oregon's Darron Thomas, Washington's Keith Price and Washington State's Marshall Lobbestael. If they keep up this pace, each will toss 42 TD passes this regular season. The conference record is 38, set by Matt Leinart in 2003.
Six teams already have missed PATs this year. California's Giorgio Tavecchio is 6 of 9 on extra points. If he keeps that up, coach Jeff Tedford might lose his hair. Oh, wait. Sorry.
Hot: USC's pass defense.
The Trojans yielded a conference-high 30 touchdown passes last year and ranked seventh in pass efficiency defense. This year, they ranked second in pass-efficiency defense and have yielded just two TD passes.
Not: Oregon State pass defense
The Beavers rank 116th in the nation in pass-efficiency defense, and they've yet to face a good passing team. The Beavers have yielded seven touchdown passes and a 69 percent completion rate.
Hot: Ball security
Six conference teams have turned the ball over just once in two games: Washington, Utah, Stanford, Washington State, Colorado and Arizona.
Seven Pac-12 teams rank 92nd or below in penalty yards per game: Oregon State (92), USC (94), UCLA (97), California (99), Arizona (100), Arizona State (107) and Colorado (110).
The Pac-12 is doing a lot to end its reputation for poor officiating, and effort and good intentions will yield results. But last weekend's scoring debacle at USC was embarrassing, and the above numbers suggest the officials are too eager with their yellow hankies, particularly on judgment calls. If there is any doubt, don't throw the flag, guys. No offense, but your over-involvement is boring.