Pac-12 full of surprises a month into the season
PHOENIX (AP) The college football season is just a month old, but it has had what feels like a season's worth of surprises already.
Three FCS teams beat FBS teams on the opening weekend. Auburn needed overtime to beat Jacksonville State and quickly fell out of the Top 25. BYU won on a couple of last-second heaves from its backup quarterback. Arkansas, ranked No. 18 in the AP preseason poll, has lost three games, including one to Toledo.
But for all that's happened so far, some of the biggest surprises have come in the Pac-12, including several this past weekend.
As a reminder, here's a rundown of some of the Pac-12 surprises early in the season:
ROAD-FIELD ADVANTAGE. It hasn't paid to play at home in the Pac-12 this season. Heading into this weekend's games, home teams are 0-6 in conference games. It started with Stanford's win at Southern California two weeks ago and kept going with road wins by USC, Cal UCLA, Utah and Stanford last weekend. Some team will break the trend eventually - maybe.
UTAH 62, OREGON 20. Ducks fans have become accustomed to witnessing blowouts. The one they saw on Saturday had them shaking their heads. Taking a page from the Oregon run-up-the-score playbook, the Utes scored a touchdown late in the first half to take a 14-point lead and kept going. It was the most points Oregon has allowed in Eugene and the most overall since losing 54-0 to Washington in 1977.
UTES' RISE: Utah has had its share of struggles since joining the Pac-12 in 2011, finishing no higher than a tie for third in the South Division and one winning conference record. The Utes weren't expected to be much better this season either, picked to finish fifth in the South. Utah gained a bit of national attention by ruining Jim Harbaugh's debut with Michigan in the season opener and moved up to No. 10 with a first-place vote in the latest AP Top 25 after improving to 4-0 with the win over Oregon.
FLAILING DUCKS: Oregon lost Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota after playing in the national championship game but was still expected to be a College Football Playoff contender after landing transfer quarterback Vernon Adams. Things have not gone to plan so far. The Ducks opened the season with a win against Eastern Washington, but Adams injured his hand and was bothered by it in a loss to Michigan State the next week. Oregon bounced back with a rout of Georgia State, but Saturday's debacle against Utah left the Ducks reeling. There's some work to do in the Pacific Northwest.
DOUBLE DESERT DISAPPOINTMENTS: UCLA beating Arizona and USC taking down Arizona State was not too much of a surprise. The way in which the Bruins and Trojans did it was a little unexpected. UCLA stomped the Wildcats 56-30 and USC followed with a 42-14 victory over the Sun Devils a few hours later. The 98 combined points were among the most allowed by Arizona and Arizona State in the same day (since 1959) and were even tougher to swallow since both desert teams were playing at home and holding hopes for a Pac-12 South title.
CAL'S RISE: The Bears got the Sonny Dykes Era off to an ugly start, winning one game while going 0-9 in conference in 2013. Cal took a step forward last season by winning five games - three in the Pac-12 - but few expected them to be this good this fast in 2015. Riding the heady play of quarterback Jared Goff, the Bears are 4-0 and ranked 24th after winning a pair of routs to open the season, holding off Texas in a shootout and outlasting Washington in their Pac-12 opener last weekend.
EVERYONE WINS: In most seasons, at least a couple of Pac-12 teams will have losing records at this point. That's not the case this season. Every conference team is at least .500 and three - UCLA, Cal and Utah - are still undefeated. Even Washington State and Colorado, two Pac-12 bottom dwellers in recent years, have had winning ways. The Buffaloes enter this weekend's games 3-1 while the Cougars are 2-1.
AP College Football site: www.collegefootball.ap.org
This version corrects that home teams are 0-6 in conference games this season.