SoCal Trojan Horse
For the second straight September, No. 2 LSU dismantled an explosive Pac-12 offense. In two games against North Texas and Washington, LSU's defense has allowed just 17 points. Meanwhile, No. 1-ranked Alabama shutout Western Kentucky one week after Denard Robinson filed assault and battery charges against the 'Bama defense.
What does this have to do with USC? The No. 2 Trojans allowed 0-2 Syracuse to roll up 39 points against their 55th ranked total defense. Barkley threw for six touchdowns to lead the Trojans 42-point effort but that's nothing to brag about. The Orangemen defense also gave up 42 to Northwestern's intramural squad in week 1.
Thirty-five first half points by Oregon against Fresno State also established the dichotomy between the SEC's best and the Pac-12's elite but in the second half, the Ducks allowed 25 points.
Over the past six years, the SEC's physicality has reminded teams of the old adage that defense wins championships. Arkansas, plummeted from the top 10 to unranked after getting toppled by Louisiana Monroe in overtime but it's no accident that the first top-10 SEC program to falter is also the one that never fully appreciated the art of defense.
Jarvis Jones: USC's Loss Is UGA's Gain
Quarterback Aaron Murray is the cover boy for the No. 7 ranked Bulldogs but the conductor for Saturday night's win was ex-USC transfer Jarvis Jones. After Mizzou defensive tackle, Sheldon Richardson popped off about the Bulldogs' old-man football style of play, Mark Richt's boys slapped some Bengay on their (presumably) ashy knees, strapped up their kneepads, trotted out onto Mizzou's claustrophobic home field and performed like that cat who's been ballin' at the same park since the rim was a peach basket.
With UGA's defense nursing a 27-20 lead, the 6-3, 241-pound missile-seeking outside linebacker forced two turnovers in a 49 second span during the fourth quarter.
The first was an interception, which he returned to the Missouri 1. The ensuing turnover was the result of Jones crept up on a completely oblivious James Franklin. Jones nearly amputated the quarterback's hand with a thunderous karate chop, which lodged the ball loose allowed the Bulldogs to recover at the Mizzou 5.
Jones' forced turnovers stretched the Jones' barrage stretched a one possession lead into a 21-point blowout. Given the Trojans current defensive woes, Monte Kiffin must be fuming not having arguably the best defensive player in the nation on his sideline.
If Richardson has seen 50-year-old Herschel Walker recently, he would have hesitated before knocking old man football because Jarvis Jones isn't the only 'old man' that hits back.
Are the Arizona Wildcats A Rising Pac-12 Force?
Before Chip Kelly's brought his frantic, no-huddle tempo to Oregon, Rich Rodriguez was being touted as the brightest offensive mind in college football. After flaming out in Ann Arbor, Rodriguez took his spread option, no huddle attack to the Arizona Wildcats. In his second game as head coach, Rodriguez sent a message to the nation in the form of a 59-38 win over No. 18 Oklahoma State.
Pat White and Steve Slaton aren't walking out that tunnel but sophomore tailback Ka'Deem Carey and senior quarterback Matt Scott are emerging as an impressive pair of multipurpose threats. Carey is averaging over 135 rushing yards per game while Mat Scott has thrown for 353.5 yards and rushing for an average of 65 yards per game over the Wildcats first two games.
If anything, Arizona's 2-0 start is a positive indicator that his tenure at Arizona will fare better than his inauspicious start in Ann Arbor where he was ousted after three seasons and was unable to execute the core philosophy he inherited when he was a young assistant under Bobby Bowden.