Christian McCaffrey - The Heisman hopeful and 2015 legend was the difference in an unremarkable win over Kansas State for the defending Pac-12 champs. He had more than 200 all-purpose yards and most-importantly, busted out two long touchdown runs which essentially were the difference in the game.
UCLA’s comeback - The Bruins came up short, but at least they made a game of it in College Station after looking like zombies for three quarters. The Bruins showed resolve by being able to nearly pull out a win on the road against a Top 25-caliber team despite being down for a long time.
Colorado, baby - The Buffs hammered their rival in a way I haven’t seen the Buffs handle a respectable FBS opponent since they joined the Pac-12. Yes, beating a questionable Colorado State team by 37 doesn’t mean they are ready to contend in the South, but it is a great sign for a program that is hoping to turn the corner in 2016 and get back to a bowl game.
John Ross - The Husky speedster showed why Washington’s offense stalled without him in 2015 as he scored a touchdown nearly every time he touched the ball against Rutgers. Ross finished with a hat trick, but easily could have scored more had the game been more competitive. Pac-12 defenses will have to be prepared for him come conference play.
The Bear Raid - It was two weeks, ago, but I will give the Golden Bears a shout out for looking a lot like they did on offense with Jared Goff with Davis Webb in hanging 51 on Hawaii down under.
Darell Garettson - He isn’t a Heisman candidate yet, but Garettson looked to be a big part of why Oregon State nearly won a game they would have lost by 30 points last year at Minnesota. His three touchdowns and zero interceptions were the highlight of their confidence-building performance.
Week one, overall - The Pac-12 as a whole launched with a massive thud. Washington State lost to an FCS opponent. USC got clown stomped by Alabama. UCLA lost their marquee match-up. Arizona lost a heartbreaker to BYU, and Oregon State was not able to pull off an upset against a Big Ten opponent.
USC - That was U.G.L.Y. and I don’t know if the Trojans have an alibi. Yes, no one expected the Trojans to go into Texas and beat Alabama, but the way they got dismantled was hard to watch and understand. This is a talented, talented program that was harshly reminded they are not a national title contender on a huge stage.
Playing Eastern Washington - I don’t know how many times I have said Pac-12 schools, especially northwest ones simply need to stop scheduling Eastern Washington. They are a nightmare. You are better off scheduling Michigan or Alabama.
Washington State against northwest FCS - This is the second-straight year the Cougars have dropped their opening game against an FCS opponent from the northwest. Now the Cougars have to get a huge win at Boise State next week to avoid starting 0-2.
Arizona’s heartbreak - Just when it seemed the Wildcats were going to help ease the pain of a tough day, they left too much time on the clock and dropped a heartbreaking one.
Does this week mean anything? We have seen the Pac-12 start horribly and bounce back as the season goes on too many times to take this one too personally, but that also doesn’t mean this opening week didn’t show that the Pac-12 may lack elite teams to play with the big boys in 2016.
Can USC recover? Saturday night was a depantsing for the Trojans on a national stage. Can the Trojans shake it off and be prepared for a showdown with Stanford in just two weeks?
Can Washington State recover? Everyone thought the Cougars were dead and Mike Leach was on his way out when the Cougars opened up with a loss against an FCS opponent last year, but they turned it around and had their best season in 15 years. Can they do it again?
Is anyone elite? UCLA and USC confirmed they probably aren’t national players this year with their performances and Stanford was efficient, but unremarkable against Kansas State. Washington bashed Rutgers and Oregon beat UCDavis, but neither of those mean anything. Are any of these teams Playoff contenders?
Oregon? The Ducks beat UCDavis by more than 30 points, but their defense still looked highly suspect and the game was still remotely in contention in the fourth quarter. Did this show the Ducks are still similar to the average squad they were without Vernon Adams last year or was it just a weak warm-up?
How much better are Colorado and Oregon State - Colorado’s destruction of Colorado State sadly may have been the Pac-12 highlight of the weekend, but was it more about Colorado State being bad than Colorado improved? The Beavers had a nice loss (albeit a loss) at Minnesota, that suggests they are at least a solid team this season, but does losing, at a lower-level Big Ten program really show anything?