Sept. 6, 2006
New NCAA rules to shorten football games brought mixed reaction in the Pacific-10, but the consensus was that the changes were no big deal.
Clocks start on kickoffs rather than when the receiving team touches the ball. After a change in possession, the clock restarts when the ball is marked ready for play and not on the ensuing snap.
Kicking tees were shortened by an inch to limit the number of clock-stopping touchbacks.
"I didn't think it was a big deal," Arizona coach Mike Stoops said. "I know some people were up in arms about it."
Said USC coach Pete Carroll: "It's really no big deal."
"It sped up our whole game, sure. But that shouldn't affect you at all," he added. "You just have to start a few seconds earlier, that's all."
Nationwide, there was debate over whether the rule changes were necessary.
Carroll said USC still got off about 80 plays on offense in its 50-14 season-opening victory over Arkansas, so there wasn't any change for the Trojans there.
Arizona State coach Dirk Koetter said the Sun Devils had 58 plays on offense in their 35-14 victory over Northern Arizona, down from about an average of 77. But he was uncertain that the changes had any impact on the game itself.
"It looks like everybody's down. So it looks like whoever wanted games down got their wish," he said.
Oregon State coach Mike Riley said the changes really had no bearing on the Beavers' 56-17 victory over Eastern Washington last Thursday.
"They (the officials) were warning us to get on the field very fast. I thought that was kind of strange," he said.
CHANGES IN THE RANKINGS: The first week of football shifted the Pac-10's presence in the Top 25.
USC moved up from No. 6 to No. 3 after quarterback John David Booty's solid debut in the 50-14 victory over Arkansas. Oregon moved up a spot from No. 21 to No. 20 by beating Stanford 48-10 in a rare conference opener.
Arizona State hung in at No. 25, falling from No. 24 after a 34-14 victory over Northern Arizona.
Cal dropped all the way from No. 9 to No. 22, and is the only team besides Miami in the weekly poll that is 0-1. Tennessee beat the Bears 35-18.
"It wasn't so much who we played but how we played - and we can play much better," said Cal coach Jeff Tedford.
BEAT-UP BLUES: Washington State left Auburn with not only a 40-14 loss, but also a handful of key injuries.
Starting running back DeMaundray Woolridge has a deep thigh bruise, and is doubtful for the Cougars' game Saturday against Idaho.
Cornerback Donnie Turner could barely get off the plane with a hip pointer, coach Bill Doba said. Fellow corner Markus Dawes has a high ankle sprain.
Corner Courtney Williams has a hand injury and backup safety Michael Willis has a sore shoulder. Both are uncertain for Saturday.
"We had a long line at the hospital yesterday getting X-rays," Doba said.
Deep-snapper Tony Thompson, who had a concussion, will likely play.
The coach said there's not much he can do about the situation except wait for everybody to heal.
"I'm more worried about the guys who are playing than the guys who aren't," he said.
SUSPENSION CONTINUES: Arizona State wide receiver Jamaal Lewis will remain suspended Saturday when Nevada visits Sun Devil Stadium.
Lewis, a senior, was arrested last week on a charge of criminal speeding.
"As you can imagine with the holiday weekend it is difficult for us to get the details. We are pursuing the details. It's difficult to get the information we need," Arizona State coach Dirk Koetter said. "In the meantime, Jamaal will continue to be suspended. He will not play in this game. He will be limited to scout team play until we can get further information and find out where we are at."
Lewis was reportedly driving at 115 miles per hour in the Phoenix area about 2:40 a.m. last Wednesday.
Lewis was switching to wide receiver after playing tight end last season. He had 23 catches for 446 yards and five touchdowns in nine games.
HONORS: UCLA quarterback Ben Olson, USC linebacker Keith Rivers and Arizona kicker Nick Folk of Arizona were the Pac-10's players of the week.
Olson completed 25 of 33 passes for 318 yards and three touchdowns in the Bruins' 31-10 victory over Utah. He did not throw an interception in his debut.
Rivers had eight tackles, five solo, forced a fumble and recovered another in the Trojans' 50-14 win at Arkansas.
Folk hit three of four field goal attempts, including a 48-yard game winner with one second left in Arizona's 16-13 victory over BYU.