If it appears Washington's season-opening schedule mapped out favorably, it's because it was done by design.
"It's something I was used back at USC with [former head coach] Pete [Carroll]," Husky head coach Steve Sarkisian said on Tuesday's Pac-12 Conference coaches teleconference call. "It was common we'd have an early big ball game, then an early bye, then assess.
"There's a lot of value in doing it this way," he added.
No. 20 Washington (1-0) opened 2013 with an impressive 38-6 win over then-No. 19 Boise State, and faces a suddenly revitalized Illinois (2-0). The two games book-end a Week 2 bye.
Indeed, every season Sarkisian was an assistant under Carroll (from 2005 through 2008), the Trojans were idle between the opener and a high-profile, non-conference clash.
Sarkisian's bunch looks for the same kind of success USC enjoyed in that stretch, as well. The Trojans rolled off an impressive collection of Week 3 victories: Arkansas in 2005, Nebraska in 2006 and 2007 and Ohio State in 2008.
Washington was one of two Pac-12 teams idle on Week 2. The other was UCLA. The Bruins' Week 3 opponent? Nebraska.
"So far, so good" for Utah quarterback Travis Wilson
Around the time sophomore quarterback Travis Wilson uncorked a 48-yard ball in flight to Sean Fitzgerald in the first quarter of Utah's 70-7 rout of Weber State, it was readily apparent the Utes (2-0) would not be hindered by concerns over their passer's arm strength.
That throw hit Fitzgerald in stride along the sideline and went 80 yards to the end zone. It was the first of Wilson's three touchdown passes and second of five scores overall.
Wilson also showed off his wheels on his two rushing touchdowns, breaking off runs of 51 and 38 yards.
"He's not any more mobile [than as a freshman], but he's more confident and has a better command of the offense," Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham said.
Wilson has flourished since Whittingham brought Dennis Erickson on staff to co-coordinate the offense alongside Brian Johnson. The head coach touted Wilson's immediate strides in spring practices, which have manifested in a strong start to 2013.
He has seven total touchdowns and has yet to throw an interception.
"There's going to be more of a learning curve," Whittingham said, noting Wilson is still just a sophomore. "But so far, so good."
Confidence scored wins, and wins turn into more confidence for Colorado
First-year Colorado (2-0) head coach Mike MacIntyre compared eliciting reaction from his new team in the early phases of spring practices to "pulling teeth."
But MacIntyre said after the team's first emotional breakthrough that a sense of enthusiasm has buoyed the Buffaloes into the start of 2013.
MacIntyre touted the Buffs "enjoying what they're doing."
"You've got to have passion," he said.
Though the Buffs are just 2-0 with wins against Colorado State and Central Arkansas, these are good times in Boulder. The win streak is the program's first since 2010, and MacIntyre said the team's confidence is high.
"[The players] are believing they're going to win every game they're in," he said.
Just how much the program's collective mindset has changed in the past year may not be any more evident than in Week 3, when the Buffs host a Fresno State (2-0) team that beat CU 69-14 last season.
The weekly recruiting battle in the Pac-12
Recruiting is a 24-hour a day, 365-day per year endeavor, of which the aftermath of USC's 10-7 Week 2 loss is a reminder. USC lost a verbal commitment from 4-star defensive tackle Tashon Smallwood immediately after Saturday's loss, ESPN.com's Blair Angulo reports.
Conversely, Washington State (1-1) may have planted its pirate flag a little bit deeper into the already well-tilled earth of Southern California.
"I'm sure [the program's first defeat of USC since 2008] will help with recruiting," Washington State head coach Mike Leach said. "Any level of success helps a program with recruiting."
The Los Angeles area has been especially fertile recruiting ground for the Cougars, with 16 players from Los Angeles and Orange Counties on the current roster.
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