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Conference Recap: Pac-10 Week 1

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The Pac-10 had a strong first weekend, going 7-3.  The conference received some bad pub to start the week after the Punch Heard 'Round the World rocked college football Thursday night.  But, the rest of the Pac-10 showed up on Saturday and served notice that the conference is more than U$C and a webbed-footed team with funky jerseys.

Matt Barkley played like anything but a freshman, leading the #4 USC Trojans over the San Jose State Spartans.  Yes, it was San Jose State, but Barkley threw 18 interceptions as a senior in high school last year, and in his first college action he threw for 233 yards, one TD, and no picks.  

Cal stomped Maryland, behind Jahvid Best's 137 yards (on 10 carries!), and two TDs.  Oregon State dispatched Portland State rather easily.  UCLA and Arizona State both won games they were expected to over San Diego State and Idaho State respectfully.  Stanford beat Washington State in a week one conference matchup, and Washington showed some serious fight against LSU at Husky Stadium.  And of course, Arizona played some great defense on its way to beating MAC favorite, Central Michigan.

Overall, despite the Oregon disaster, it was a great week for Pac-10 football teams.

Biggest Surprise:  Washington hanging tough with a good LSU team.  Steve Sarkisian has injected some much-needed life into program that was a shell of its former self.  The Huskies will not go 0-12 this year, that much is obvious.  Are they a bowl team yet?  That remains to be seen.  One non-conference matchup is too early to start talks of Washington being back in the upper echelon of the Pac-10.  But, anyone who watched that game knows that Washington is a program on the rise.

Biggest Disappointment:  Oregon.  The Punch has completely overshadowed how poorly Oregon played for 60 minutes on the Smurf Turf.  Their offensive line looked terrible.  Masoli never got into rhythm.  The famed spread-option attack was stuffed all night.  The defense was better than expected, but Boise State is not USC or Cal, who Oregon was expected to challenge this year for the Pac-10 title.  Oregon has a lot of problems to shore up if they are going to make any noise this year.  

Game of the Week:  Washington vs. LSU.  Easily the best loss Washington has taken the last few years.  A loss is a loss, but a lot of positive things came out of that game.  Arizona's visit to Husky Stadium in October just became a lot more daunting.

Player of the Week:  Joe McKnight - 14 carries for 145 yards and 2 TDs.  McKnight and Nic Grigsby may be the best running backs in the conference, and country, that no one is talking about.

The LeGarrette Blount Bonehead of the Week:  LeGarrette Blount, Oregon.  Punching the player was bad, but following it up by going after your own teammates and a fan on your way off the field?  Yeesh.