Stanford all the way in new Pac-12
A look at what we might see, week by week, in the first run-through of the Pac-12 football season …
• WEEK 1: With starter Jordan Jefferson sidelined by as suspension from disciplinarian coach Les Miles, backup QB Jarrett Lee leads a second-half rally as LSU overtakes Oregon 38-31 at Cowboys Stadium.
'Careful what you wish for, I guess,' Oregon coach Chip Kelly says. 'We had too little time to prepare for Lee. Had I known, I'd have suspended Darron Thomas, too.'
• WEEK 2: Southern Cal tailback Marc Tyler rushes for 174 yards and three touchdowns in a 34-20 win over Utah at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, then comes clean on the payroll subject in another interview with TMZ.
'I can't tell you for sure we're making more at Southern Cal than the players in the NFL,' Tyler says. 'Except for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.'
• WEEK 3: UCLA uses a couple of defensive touchdowns and a 97-yard kickoff return in the second half to upset Texas 28-24 at the Rose Bowl.
Afterward, Rick Neuheisel takes over the public-address microphone. 'Who says we're going to miss Norm Chow?' the UCLA coach says of his former offensive coordinator, who fled Westwood for Utah during the offseason.
• WEEK 4: Arizona State whips USC 24-17 at Sun Devil Stadium despite four unsportsmanlike conduct penalties by ASU linebacker Vontaze Burfict, who then punches a teammate and is ejected after the final infraction.
'Kid should bring an easel and brush onto the field, he's such a cheap-shot artist,' USC coach Lane Kiffin fumes.
• WEEK 5: Sophomore quarterback Keith Price throws three interceptions as Washington falls 34-13 at Utah.
'If only we still had Jake Locker,' moans UW coach Steve Sarkisian, who looks into the eligibility of several potential replacements, including Tim Lincecum.
• WEEK 6: After an injury to the only surviving tight end - redshirt freshman Connor Hamlett - Oregon State uses flanker James Rodgers at the position. The 5-7, 185-pound Rodgers catches two TD passes and lays out several defenders with crushing blocks in a 31-20 victory over Arizona.
Meanwhile, SC's Kiffin, upset that his Trojans don't get to play Washington State this season, accuses Cougar coach Paul Wulff of 'making illegal phone calls to kids we're recruiting, just like Urban Meyer does.'
WSU Athletic Director Bill Moos demands an apology.
'Paul is too smart to try to recruit any player Southern Cal would go after,' Moos says.
• WEEK 7: Dennis Erickson has to miss Arizona State's 42-28 loss at Oregon because the NCAA sequesters the coach as part of its investigation of Miami football.
'Haven't coached there for 20 years,' Erickson fumes. 'I did tell (investigators) I remember Nevin Shapiro when he was our ballboy. Dwayne Johnson ('The Rock') used to toss him about the practice field.'
• WEEK 8: Lincoln High grad Ethan Johnson sacks quarterback Matt Barkley in the end zone for a safety, lifting Notre Dame past USC 37-35 in South Bend.
'I've hated Trojans ever since our high school rivalry with Wilson,' Johnson says later.
• WEEK 9: Barkley's four touchdown passes lift USC to a 35-27 upset of top-ranked Stanford, sending the Cardinal to its first loss. Afterward, former coach Jim Harbaugh - watching from the Stanford sidelines - refuses to shake Lane Kiffin's hand.
• WEEK 10: After Utah piledrives UCLA 48-10, coach Kyle Whittingham thanks Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott for not scheduling the Utes to play either Oregon or Stanford this season or next.
'It was the only way he'd have gotten us to join the league,' Whittingham admits.
• WEEK 11: A celebration penalty negates a late TD run by Darron Thomas, costing the Ducks victory in a 52-48 shootout at Stanford.
'Darron's still the best leader I've ever been around,' Chip Kelly claims.
Meanwhile, UCLA's Neuheisel addresses the fans after a 38-10 loss at Utah.
'We really miss Norm Chow,' Neuheisel says. 'But we're making progress. Have patience with us.'
• WEEK 12: Jeff Tedford is carried off the field by his players after California's 24-22 victory over Oregon State, snapping a five-game home losing streak to the Beavers. 'Nobody beats the Bears six in a row at Strawberry Canyon,' Tedford tells reporters.
Also, Arizona coach Mike Stoops spends so much time on the field yelling at the referees in the Wildcats' 30-13 win at Colorado, Ralphie the Buffalo comes off the sidelines to head-butt him in the closing minutes.
'At least it wasn't 'The Tree,' ' a woozy Stoops says afterward.
• WEEK 13: Oregon finishes its regular season with a 45-28 Civil War victory over Oregon State at Autzen Stadium despite the absence of four players, including cornerback Cliff Harris, who was suspended after a raid of a Eugene hookah lounge.
The Duck players had been smoking flavored tobacco through a hookah pipe. Nothing illegal there, but coach Kelly had banned his players from using tobacco products. Tipped off that his players were at the lounge, the coach arrived just as the players were leaving. Asked where the flavored tobacco was, Harris answers, 'We smoked it all.'
PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: Junior QB Andrew Luck passes for three touchdowns and runs for two scores in Stanford's 35-23 win over Arizona State. 'I think I'll stay around for another year of college ball,' Luck tells the media.