Sunday, September 15, 2019

Boxing Challenge: Fury slashes by Wallin

In a surprisingly strong battle, Tyson Fury survived a very ugly cut over his right eye and won a unanimous decision over little-known Otto Wallin in Las Vegas.

The cut pumped blood constantly throughout the bout after Wallin landed a looping left that ripped open the face of Fury in the fifth round and several times Fury's eye was checked and the bout was in danger of potentially given to Wallin via TKO.
Fury managed to continue and eventually would wear down Wallin with his superior size and strength to win most of the second half of the fight other than Wallin's desperate attempt to knock Fury out in the final round.
I agreed with the closest of the three cards scored for Fury at 116-112 on my personal card.

Some notes on this fight.
First, I'm not sure how comfortable I am with the ESPN crew telling the Fury corner that the cut had been ruled (rightfully so) from a punch and not from a headbutt as Fury's team believed at the time.
ESPN is walking a very dangerous line between making news and reporting news as it felt to me that the network was making sure that the fighter that they have the investment with had every possible edge.
It's not illegal, mind you and no rules were broken, but I'm not sure that I like the look and especially with how it occurred.
From my perspective, it appeared that blow by blow commentator Joe Tessitore was coaching reporter Bernardo Osuna (who I really like) to give Fury's corner information which could have swung the fight result.
Here's how- Fury's cut was very serious and the doctor checked the cut several times to observe Fury's vision.
Almost in every occasion, if the fighter says I'm having trouble seeing- the doctor will stop the fight then and there.
If Fury's corner thinks that it was caused by a headbutt, the fight would then be decided with the scorecards, on which Fury would have been well ahead and could have conceivably said "I can't see" knowing they would win.
By giving them that information, they knew they couldn't play that card and knew that their fighter needed to say he could see, even if he couldn't.
I would not have had a problem telling the corner the truth had they asked, but it felt to me that ESPN was trying to protect their guy.

Second- it showed the dangers of fighting squash matches instead of "marinating" fights.
This isn't on Fury, it's on Deontay Wilder, who insisted on fighting a Luis Ortiz rematch before the agreed-to Fury rematch (BTW, I still haven't seen a date for Wilder-Ortiz II), but no matter the blame, it shows just how quickly a big check can go away no matter the opponent.
It should have been Deontay Wilder in the ring with Tyson Fury this fall, not Otto Wallin.

Third- It'll be interesting to see just how the career of Otto Wallin develops.
Will he be this generation's Axel Schulz, who was equally as unknown as Wallin when he was robbed of a decision that he won against George Foreman and other than losing to Michael Moorer for a title vacated by Foreman was rarely seen on the world stage again?
Or will this be a jumping-on point for the Swede, who will build off his first fight against world-class competition and stick around as a viable contender?

In the co-feature, Emanuel Navarrete stopped Juan Miguel Elorde after Elorde's corner refused to allow their man out of the corner for the fifth round.
Navarrete knocked Elorde into the ropes in the fourth for a technical knockdown as only the ropes allowed him to stand and the corner's decision was the right one as it seemed their fighter had nothing left with a hard-punching champion waiting for him.
Navarrete retained his WBO junior featherweight title with the victory and with the other three titles at DAZN with WBA/IBF champion Daniel Roman (Matchroom) and WBC beltholder Rey Vargas (Golden Boy) building towards a fight with each other, would appear to be on the outside looking in.
However, a recent shoulder injury could sideline Roman for a while, and Top Rank and Golden Boy recently agreed to a deal for the vacant WBO featherweight crown between Shakur Stevenson and Joet Gonzalez, so could it be possible that a Navarrete-Vargas all-Mexican unification bout could be agreed on?
Steve Kim reports that Vargas was seen at the fight rather than the Golden Boy card on DAZN, so that does make me think something is possible in the future

The opener saw Jose Zepeda win a unanimous decision over Jose Pedraza in a junior welterweight fight.
Zepeda won the first six rounds on my card before allowing Pedraza to get back into the fight a little bit but never hurt Zepeda enough to challenge seriously for the duke.
I scored Zepeda a 97-93 winner and he could receive a rematch next year with WBC/WBO champion Jose Ramirez.
Zepeda gave Ramirez all he wanted in losing a majority decision in February and I wouldn't mind seeing the pair against each other again.
As for Pedraza, who has won titles briefly in two divisions, I'm not sure where he goes from here.
I don't think he seems strong enough at 140 and if making 135 is not an issue for him, he might be best served to drop back and hope that Vasyl Lomachenko gives up his titles sometime next year to be in the mix.

Update: Jaime Munguia stopped Patrick Allotey in the fourth round after knocking Allotey down twice in the third round and again in the fourth when referee Jack Reiss, nearing ten in his count, saw the Allotey corner signaling for the fight to end.
Considering the opposition (Allotey is a natural welterweight and had lost in two rounds in his only fight against notable opposition in Patrick Teixeira), Munguia looked strong in his first fight after his controversial majority decision win over Dennis Hogan but considering the quality of his challenger, I'm not going to give him too much credit, other than ending the fight early as he should against such an overwhelmed opponent.
After the Hogan debacle and it is Mexican Independence Day weekend, this was a showcase for Munguia and he took advantage of being showcased, which isn't a bad thing. but it didn't prove anything either.
Having apparently reached a dead end in the 154-pound division with the other three champions (WBA/IBF champion Julian Williams and WBC titleholder Tony Harrison) fighting with the PBC, unification is very unlikely, so Munguia is expected to vacate his title and move to the middleweight division, a division that is more friendly at this to the Golden Boy promoted boxer.

In the boxing challenge- I scored four points to Ramon Malpica's two to move my lead to 224-193.
The point difference between us was caused by Navarrete's KO win and the win by Jose Zepeda.

Buckeyes take the bloom off Hoosiers 51-10

The Ohio State ground game chewed up and spit out the Indian Hoosiers to the tune of 306 yards, 190 of them by J.K. Dobbins as the Buckeyes grabbed their Big Ten opener 51-10 in front of Hep's Rock in Bloomington.

Justin Fields threw for three touchdowns with J.K. Dobbins running for one and catching a Fields pass for another for Ohio State.
The Buckeyes improve to 3-0 overall and 1-0 in the Big Ten.
Ohio State will host Miami, Ohio next Saturday.

Olentangy Offerings

1) The Buckeye ground game never allowed the Hoosiers a chance to settle in and make this one close.
J.K. Dobbins showed some of the running ability that made him such an impact back as a freshman,
averaging almost nine yards a carry with a touchdown run of 26 yards.
Against this level of competition this season, Dobbins is breaking tackles as he runs between the tackles and seems a cut above his sophomore season.

2) However, the back that I really like is sophomore Master Teague, who isn't afraid to put his shoulder down and run over someone and yet his speed is more than enough to avoid tacklers as well.
Teague ran ten times over one hundred yards and ripped off a forty-yard touchdown run.
If Dobbins goes pro next season, Teague is going to be more than replacement level at running back.

3) Justin Fields impresses me more each week as he shows the discipline to not run.
Fields has seen many opportunities to put the ball down and run and yet he doesn't, which makes me think that he's been coached well enough and is smart enough to not take chances of injury in games that are decided.

4) Ohio State locked everything down in the final quarter, being happy to just run the clock out and avoid injury which is why they didn't score any added points.
Content to allow things to play out can be the smart decision over the long season.

5) Of all the plays in the victory, the play of the day was the final touchdown as Damon Arnette grabbed a Peyton Ramsey pass and took it 96 yards for the score.
Arnette broke up passes earlier in the drive and showed the ability to be a high draft pick next season.
Consistency has always been the issue with Arnette, never his talent.

6) Chris Olave continues to be a breakout level player on several levels.
Olave caught a 37-yard pass from Justin Fields for a score and blocked a punt that bounced through the end zone for a safety,
Combine that with Olave's return ability and you have someone with the skills to influence the game in several manners.

7) The Buckeyes did receive some bad news when Tyreke Smith left the game after the first half.
Smith was getting his first career start after a terrific game against Cincinnati and spent the second half in street clothes.
No word on how much time Smith could miss.

8) One takeaway from the defense was this- when teams can only score using gimmick plays, you could have a very good defense.
The only Indiana touchdown was scored on a 49-yard option pass from Donovan Hale to Peyton Hendershot and the other threats were snuffed out.
When teams have to go to that measure to be able to score, that shows that opponents have begun to believe that they are going to have severe issues scoring straight up.

9) One mild surprise to me has been the naming of Chris Chugunov over Gunnar Hoak.
I would have figured the depth chart would be the other way around, but Chugunov's system familiarity is the likely edge for him over Hoak.
I still think in the event of a Justin Fields injury, it would be Hoak getting the nod.

10)  When the worst thing that you can say about a game is that you got caught by an option pass once and your kicker (Blake Haubeil) missed a field goal, it is a solid outing.
Granted it's Indiana, who has defeated Ohio State twice in MY lifetime, but still, it's the type of performance that you like to see against teams like this for the future, but the competition will be tougher as we progress- but I'm hopeful.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Boxing Challenge;Haney's the one?

On a wacky Friday night in boxing that featured one fight canceled in one of the more bizarre manners even for a sport that often specializes in the bizarre, there was a star in the ring to allow thoughts of bigger things down the road rather than the absurdity of today.

DAZN and Matchroom presented the dazzling Devin Haney in another spectacular performance.
Haney did some serious damage to the face of Zaur Abdullaev in the fourth round and forced the corner of Abdullaev to halt the fight by not allowing their fighter to come out for the fifth round.
Haney wins one of those ridiculous "titles", but more importantly positions himself for either a future title shot for the unified lightweight title that will be held by Vasyl Lomachenko or the winner of the Richard Commey-Teofimo Lopez fight after their fight next winter/spring.
Haney was impressive with both his speed and power against the overmatched Abdullaev, who took a pounding without falling and was only going to continue to be battered had the bout continued.

Devin Haney continues to impress me and every time Haney fights, he makes me think that he will be the next dominant fighter in boxing.
Haney's done nothing to make me think otherwise and until I see a hiccup, I give him a small edge over Teofimo Lopez as the best prospect at 135 pounds under (I give that restriction to exclude the devastating Vergil Ortiz at welterweight).
Many compare Haney to Floyd Mayweather, but there is another fighter that he reminds me of as well.
Haney reminds me of prime Meldrick Taylor with power that can get an opponent out and speed that is dazzling and to date, Haney gets hit less than Taylor too.
For those of you that don't remember prime Meldrick Taylor, it was Taylor that was two seconds and a bad decision by a referee from handing the great Julio Cesar Chavez his first loss- Taylor was that good.

The problem for Haney might be getting fights after his last two performances and even if Lomachenko wins to unify the four lightweight titles ( he currently holds three), the naturally larger Haney just might be the impetus for Lomachenko to drop back to 130 pounds and not give away the edge in size to Haney.
Haney could be that good and should Lomachenko decide to make the return to junior lightweight, Haney's biggest problem could be finding a way to be involved with picking up a vacant title or two.

The co-feature saw heavyweight Michael Hunter add another minor title with a unanimous decision over Sergey Kuzmin.
Kuzmin basically plodded around the ring as Hunter controlled the distance and didn't allow Kuzmin to do anything on the inside and use his strength.
Hunter dropped Kuzmin in round five and although Kuzmin was not seriously dazed, he didn't seem overly interested in taking counterpunches to get anything done on the inside.
I scored Hunter a 118-109 winner (10-2 in rounds with a knockdown)
Hunter has an excellent chance of being a possible title challenger, should Anthony Joshua regain his three championships from Andy Ruiz with both fighters promotional connections being with Matchroom.

In the boxing challenge, Ramon Malpica scored three points (Two for Haney, One for Hunter) to my one for Haney's win.
Ramon cut into the overall margin to 220-191.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Boxing Challenge

The boxing challenge returns after a week off and despite DAZN hosting events on Friday and Saturday, it's ESPN plus with the biggest fight of the weekend.

DAZN's Friday night card comes to you from Matchroom from New York City with the main event being interesting as one of the top prospects in the sport takes a step forward in his maturation towards the elite of his division.
Lightweight Devin Haney fights for one of those ridiculous "interim" titles that basically means that sooner or later, the winner will be a mandatory challenger for the real champion-Vasyl Lomachenko.
Haney meets Zaur Abdullaev, who was a decorated amateur but will be fighting outside his native Russia for the first time.
Haney dazzled in his last fight with a spectacular seventh-round knockout of then-undefeated Antonio Moran and ranks with lightweight Teofimo Lopez and welterweight Vergil Ortiz at the top of the prospect list, while we don't really know what Abdullaev will bring to the ring, the amateur record at least shows that he has a strong background.

A crossroads fight at heavyweight is the co-main event as Michael Hunter faces Sergey Kuzmin.
Hunter has looked impressive in his four heavyweight fights (all knockouts) since moving up from cruiserweight after taking his only career loss to Oleksandr Usyk in a title challenge.
Kuzmin is undefeated but was pushed in his last fight against trialhorse Joey Dawejko in a majority decision victory.
The winner could be in line for a possible title shot sometime in 2020 if Anthony Joshua defeats Andy Ruiz in their rematch.

DAZN's Saturday card will be a Golden Boy promotion with their main event showcasing WBO junior middleweight champion Jaimie Munguia defending that championship against Patrick Allotey of Ghana.
Munguia looked like a destroyer in the making after winning his title from Sadam Ali and defending it against Liam Smith but hasn't looked the same in his last two fights, especially in a controversial majority decision win over Australian journeyman Dennis Hogan that I thought he lost.
Allotey has fought one person that you have ever heard in Patrick Teixeira and he lost to him in two rounds, so this looks like a chance for Munguia to get back on course.

In the other challenge matchup, social media star Ryan Garcia faces Avery Sparrow,
Garcia will try to continue to develop as he moves up the ladder against better competition after a close decision win a year ago against Carlos Morales.
Sparrow is 10-1, but his last two wins were against Jose Lopez (who Garcia defeated in his last bout) and durable veteran Hank Lundy, so Sparrow has a chance but will have to outbox Garcia as Sparrow has knocked just three opponents in his ten wins.

The biggest fight of the weekend will be held in Las Vegas on ESPN plus as "Lineal" heavyweight champion Tyson Fury faces Otto Wallin of Sweden.
Fury blasted out Tom Schwartz in two rounds in his last fight in June and Wallin like Schwartz was, is undefeated but has never faced even fringe contender level opposition.
Wallin is better thought of by European observers than Schwartz was, but who really knows the quality of Wallin entering this fight?

A side note on ESPN/Top Rank's and their relentless pushing of the "lineal" heavyweight title.
I don't really have an issue with the lineal title with the 'man that beat the man etc", but I do find it suspicious that only the heavyweight title is being treated in this manner because ESPN/Top Rank currently has a television relationship with Tyson Fury.
Would the lineal title be mentioned if it was WBC champion Deontay Wilder or WBA/IBF/WBO champion Andy Ruiz that ESPN was the home for their fights?
My guess is that it might come up from time to time, but not nearly as often as now.
I don't have a problem pushing it, but have the lineal records ready for other divisions as well and make sure you talk about them when needed.

The other two ESPN fights will match Emanuel Navarrete defending his WBO junior bantamweight title against Juan Manuel Elorde of the Philippines and another crossroads fight as Jose Pedraza faces Jose Zepeda in a junior welterweight bout.
Navarrete returns less than a month after his third-round knockout of Francisco DeVaca against Elorde, who is the grandson of all-time great junior lightweight Flash Elorde.
Pedraza, who has held titles in short reigns in two divisions, moves up to junior welterweight for the first time against Zepeda, who lost a close majority decision to Jose Ramirez for Ramirez's WBC title.
Ramirez has since added the WBO title belt as well.
This should be the best fight of the weekend and is a fight that could go either way.

I lead the challenge over Ramon Malpica 219-188.

Lightweights. 12 Rds
Devin Haney vs Zaur Abdullaev
R.L: Haney KO 6
TRS: Haney Unanimous Decision

Heavyweights. 12 Rds
Michael Hunter vs Sergey Kuzmin
R.L: Hunter KO 4
TRS: Kuzmin Unanimous Decision

Heavyweights 12 Rds
Tyson Fury vs Otto Wallin
R.L: Fury KO 7
TRS: Fury KO 10

WBO Junior Featherweight Title 12 Rds
Emanuel Navarrete vs Juan Miguel Elorde
R.L: Navarrete Unanimous Decision
TRS: Navarrete KO 9

Junior Welterweights.10 Rds
Jose Pedraza vs Jose Zepeda
R.L: Pedraza Unanimous Decision
TRS: Zepeda Split Decision

WBO Junior Middleweight Title. 12 Rds
Jaime Munguia vs Patrick Allotey
R.L: Munguia KO 7
TRS: Munguia KO 3

Junior Welterweights. 10 Rds
Ryan Garcia vs Avery Sparrow
R.L: Garcia KO 5
TRS: Garcia Unanimous Decision


The PPM slate is back with plenty of good games this weekend.

Last Week: 11-3
Overall: 21-3

Ohio State over Indiana 38-13
Texas Tech over Arizona 30-27
Houston over Washington State 50-46
N.C State over West Virginia 23-21
Minnesota over Georgia Southern 38-24
Louisiana Tech over Bowling Green 40-17
Duke over Middle Tennessee State 30-24
LSU over Northwestern State 66-3
Washington over Hawaii 32-27
Boise State over Portland State 42-14

Game of the Week
Central Florida over Stanford 32-21

Browns over Jets 27-10
Saints over Rams 37-31

Game of the Week
Falcons over Eagles 35-27

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Buddy Rose vs Curt Hennig

I've seen thousands of pro wrestling matches in my day.
I've also seen more in the last few years than I've ever seen, simply because of the amount of footage that is more and more available from the WWE network and even more from YouTube with lots of matches from places that I had only been able to read about when they actually happened, but one match I saw when it was televised and never again was a memorable match between Playboy Buddy Rose and Curt Hennig from 1983.
I remembered Rose somehow rolling Hennig up for the win and Rose barely able to crawl out of the ring as the show went off the air.

The pair entered the WWF in 1983 from two different perspectives, yet both were arriving from the same territory in Portland, where Rose was the top heel and Hennig arrived as a young babyface moving to his first territory after his debut in his hometown territory in the AWA.
Rose and Hennig wrestled often in the Portland area, including Rose and various partners against Curt and his father Larry "The Axe" Hennig,
In WWF action though, it was different as Rose wasn't going to be the top heel, but a heel to be fed to Bob Backlund in title matches around the circuit, managed by the Grand Wizard before being lowered down the card.
Hennig was brought in to gain experience as he would occasionally win matches on television and in the arenas against similar level opponents, but would lose to the bigger names although he was given his share of moments to shine on offense before losing the fall.
Hennig, like S.D.Jones and Eddie Gilbert on the "good guy" side and Johnny Rodz and Charlie Fulton on the "bad guy" side,  would have a few glimpses of glory, which was far more than the Steve King's and Jeff Craney types that would never be given that much before the glorified tackling dummy was pounded into submission or pinfall.
That was how things were done in the WWF and with the very rare exception of an angle to be developed, things didn't vary from the gameplan.
Buddy Rose didn't care for that plan and when matched with Hennig, he had other ideas to make a competitive match from start to finish and would lead to this terrific battle that I remembered.

Watching this match after 37 years, I was struck by two different things that I didn't really recall properly.
The first was that I remembered Hennig dominating almost the entire match, which wasn't quite true although he clearly controlled more than Rose and the other was just how good Buddy Rose was and could have been in a later time.
Buddy Rose bumped around the ring, made Hennig look like a million bucks, had everyone thinking that this was the day a big star got knocked off and after giving the fans such a memorable bout, what did Rose receive?

By doing something different, Rose was looked at as a lesser challenger to Bob Backlund because he didn't dominate the opponents that the other heels did and the fans didn't buy into Rose's challenge.
Rose also became notable for his challenges of Backlund for different reasons- to the best of my knowledge, it was Rose who was the first foe to showcase Backlund's new finisher- the chicken wing submission rather than his "atomic spine crusher" which saw Backlund pick up his opponent, run across the ring and drop the challenger onto Backlund's knee and led to a pin.
Considering the time in which a submission was shown as a sign of cowardice, Rose's submission again indicated that he was a lesser contender and not one to be taken as seriously as the usual challenger.
As a result, Rose's WWF stint was shorter than the usual heel and he returned to the Northwest as the big fish in the small pond.
Rose would return later and looked to be positioned to be at least somewhat highly thought of as he was given Bobby Heenan as a manager, but something must have happened out of the ring as Rose lasted only a month or so, before losing Heenan and moving to the dying AWA, where he would win their tag team championship with partner Doug Somers and having great matches with the Midnight Rockers (Marty Jannetty and Shawn Michaels in their first national exposure).
Rose would finish his career badly overweight and used in the role that Hennig started in this match- a guy that would give enough of a battle to a star on television, but usually lost for the WWF.
Rose died in 2009 at the age of 56.

As for Hennig, you likely know more about the future Mr. Perfect.
After leaving the WWF to return home to the AWA, Hennig would be one of the company's better tag team wrestlers, winning the tag team titles with Scott Hall on ESPN when the AWA was televised on the network and still had some big names in the company.
Hennig would turn heel and win the AWA world title from Nick Bockwinkel before losing it to Jerry Lawler to end his reign of just over one year.
Hennig moved to the WWF after finishing up in the AWA and would earn his lasting fame as "Mr.Perfect", holding the Inter-Continental championship, managing Ric Flair and commentating at various times and would work for both the WWF and WCW in various stints.

Now here it is Playboy Buddy Rose vs Curt Hennig in a match as good as I remembered after 37 years.
The Rose-Henning match starts at the 40 minutes, 30-second mark and lasts about five minutes.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Things I think: College Football

Time for things I think from the college football world.
BTW- Very open to someone coming up with a name for this, preferably college football oriented, especially if I decide (time permitting) to start an NFL version.

The winner will receive the TRS version of the Marvel No-Prize.

1) As bad as Tennessee football seems to have fallen after a loss to BYU that looked to have had a win in the bag followed by a blown coverage, I'm not sure if bringing Phil Fulmer in from the AD"s chair is a winning strategy.
I might buy Fulmer finishing the season if Jeremy Pruitt has to be fired (and that's not an easy thing to do when you consider the buyout), but giving the job back to Fulmer has its downside with Fulmer's age, time away from a changing game and wonders about his ability to recruit, and that's putting aside the point that Fulmer was let go eleven years ago for a losing record of 5-7.
The bigger question could be that with seemingly every national college football writer banging out notes about this topic this week is this-If Fulmer is actually considering this, could he be scared off by some of the negativity towards that idea?

2) The Mountain West continued to grab some power five scalps this week as San Diego State took out UCLA in Los Angeles and Hawaii dropped Oregon State at home.
Add to that Boise State's win on Friday over Marshall, who is one of the two favorites to win Conference USA and Fresno State's near-miss against Minnesota and I think it's pretty clear that the Mountain West might have a say this year against the American for the best conference in the group of five.

3) The LSU-Texas game was a good battle and two notes on that.
Texas may or may not be "back" but with Sam Ehlinger at quarterback, the Horns are going to score a lot of points and I'm awfully excited about Texas-Oklahoma from the Cotton Bowl on October 12th.
As for the Tigers, who grabbed a huge win on the road, this might be the first LSU team in a while that just might do more than give Alabama all they wanted on the defensive end.
LSU's defenses have battled on close terms against Bama, but haven't been able to produce on the offensive end, but with Joe Burrow maturing and a passing game that hasn't been seen in Baton Rouge since Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry were running patterns there, this could be the type of Tiger team to perhaps defeat the Crimson Tide.

4) It's only been two games, but you cannot help but be impressed by the Maryland Terrapins whipping over Syracuse.
I had questions about the hiring of Mike Locksley as their head coach after his terrible stint as head coach at New Mexico, but their squeezing of the Orangemen was not only unexpected but perhaps showed the Terrapins to be a surprise team in the making.
Maryland has scored 79 points against and 63 against Syracuse this season along with a memorable near-miss late last season against Ohio State where they scored 51 in a loss that wasn't decided until the final play in overtime.
Maryland plays at Temple this Saturday and then gets a week before a visit from Penn State in a game that might be the biggest game in College Park that's meaningful for both teams in a long time.

5) The shocker of the week would have easily been Army over Michigan, had the Cadets kicked a long field goal at the end of the game before losing in double overtime and tell me why teams decide to get cute with plays when they are dominating doing one particular thing?
Army threw a pass at Michigan's five with a chance to go up 14 in the third quarter, which of course was intercepted.
Sometimes coaches outsmart themselves.

6) SO we need a shocker of the week and let's go to Seattle, Washington as Greg Thomas hit a short field goal with eight seconds to go to give unranked California a 20-19 win over number 14 Washington.
The Cal defense looks very legitimate for a Pac 12 conference that usually isn't loaded with strong defensive clubs and they could be the surprise team in the West.
As for Washington, highly touted Georgia transfer Jacob Eason didn't set the world on fire with just 162 yards and an interception in a one-point loss and didn't look like the quarterback that had been so heralded at Georgia.

7) Since I repeated a Mountain West point from last week, here's a bonus item.
The ACC looks pretty bad.
Syracuse was thumped by Maryland, Florida State lost to Boise State and defeated UL-Monroe in overtime by a Warhawk missed extra point that would have forced a second OT, Miami is 0-2 after a loss to North Carolina and there is only one non-Clemson ranked team with Virginia at number twenty-five.
Other than the surprising 2-0 start by Mack Brown at North Carolina, the ACC doesn't have any interesting positive notes.
Could it be that Clemson's 24-10 win over Texas A&M might be their closest test of the season until the playoffs?
There is usually someone that will step up for one game, but looking at this schedule and Syracuse's, who plays Clemson this week and was thought to be the toughest opponent before being crushed by Maryland, woes- that could be the case!