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Pac-12 the good, the bad & the unknown week three: Cal saves the day

Cal finally got a big non-conference win for the Pac-12

NCAA Football: Texas at California John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

The Good

Christian McCaffrey - This sure looks like it is going to be a victory lap for last year’s Heisman “snubee.” He once again was the difference for Stanford against an opponent who they beat, but couldn’t do much against offensively unless it was centered around McCaffrey.

Cal! The Bears grabbed a big non-conference win in a non-conference season where the Pac-12 wasn’t taking care of business. Did they give up a lot of points? Sure, but that’s just Cal.

The Bear Raid & Davis Webb - The Bears don’t appear to have lost a step when it comes to putting up yards and points through the air. Cal has a good chance at being a bowl team again in a season where many thought they might only win a few games because their offense is very difficult to stop.

Pac-12 defenses against BYU - The Pac-12 narrowly went 2-1 against an average BYU squad in the non-conference slate because the defenses held the Cougars to less than 55 points in three games.

Colorado’s start - For an hour or so, it looked like Colorado had arrived. Sadly, the Buffs couldn’t hold the tide against a very good Michigan team, but that excitement they created early is huge for the program as they try to claw up the ladder to becoming a player in the Pac-12.

Oregon’s run game without Royce Freeman - The Ducks didn’t get the win in Lincoln, but their run game still looked deadly as ever against a Big Ten defense without their All American running back. They averaged seven yards per-crack and the combo of Dakota Prukop, Kani Benoit, Tony Brooks-James, and Taj Griffin looked terrifying for Pac-12 defenses.

Brandon Dawkins - Yes, it was against Hawaii, but Dawkins made the most of his opportunity and had a Marcus Mariota game with 200 plus passing on 16-21 and 100 plus running with four touchdowns.

Washington State got a win - It was nice to see the best 0-2 team I have seen in the Pac-12 in quite a while get a win. The Cougars have had a tough start, but they did what they needed to do to start picking themselves up and contend in the Pac-12 again this season. Don’t write them off yet.

Oregon State got a win - Another team that really needed a win, got a gimme, but still a win over an Idaho school. This was Oregon State’s first win in a calendar year.

Washington - I haven’t talked about Washington much because they haven’t played anyone, but I need to give them credit for executing their ultra soft non-conference slate about as well as possible. The Huskies did everything they could to show they are in-fact a contender this year.

The Bad

Oregon’s two-point song and dance - I’ve admittedly hated Oregon’s opening two-point conversion attempts since they started doing them so I hope the pointless loss in Lincoln marks the death of them. Going for one after the first score is one thing, but going again and again was strange and the whole thing reeks of a hubris which could get dangerous for Oregon if they can’t keep being the team they used to be.

Sefo Liufau injury - Liufau was electric in Ann Arbor before his injury so it would be a tragedy to see him miss anymore time, especially in Pac-12 play. His health could be the difference between a bowl and not going to a bowl for the Buffs.

USC’s offense - Yes, they were against two Top 5-10 teams, but the Trojans have way too much talent to have one touchdown combined in their first two games against power five teams.

Cal’s defense - The Bears still can’t stop anybody.

Playing at UTSA - Message to Pac-12 teams...stop scheduling Eastern Washington, don’t schedule North Dakota State and don’t play on the road at UTSA.

The Unknown

Sefo Liufau injury? How long will Liufau be out and will he be the same when he comes back?

Royce Freeman injury? Freeman also went down and it is unclear how serious the injury was. How long will Freeman be out and how much will it affect Oregon?

Stanford offense outside of McCaffrey? The Cardinal have looked incredibly limited on offense outside of McCaffrey creating big plays. Is this a product of Stanford just sticking to their system or are the Cardinal sluggish on offense outside of their world-class playmaker?

Is Washington for real? The Huskies looked every bit the part of a Top 10 team in non-conference play but they played one of the worst power five programs, a program which is dropping to FCS next year, and an FCS team. Are the Huskies ready for prime time, or did they just beat up on bad teams?

What is Oregon? It might seem like the sky is falling right now in Eugene, but keep in mind the Ducks lost at the last minute, on the road, against a power program which looks to be Top 25-level this season. It’s not the end of the world. Still, Oregon’s defense looks bad again, Prukop looks like another step down the Mariota-Adams ladder and you have to wonder if the Ducks are taking another step back this season?

What is USC? Hard to judge a team too much from two basically road games against Top 5 teams, but the Trojans sure look like the team they have been in recent disappointing seasons, but even less dynamic at quarterback. Are the Trojans a team struggling against elite competition right now, or have they officially become just an average team?

Arizona QB? Did Brandon Dawkins officially end the Anu Solomon saga in Tucson? It will be very interesting to see what Arizona does at quarterback from here.