Pac-12 football: Week 1 was hard but no need to overreact
There are five stages of grief.
All according to grief.com, the foremost resource for all things grief.
Five Pac-12 teams lost in Week 1 of the college football season. One of them, Washington State, fell to an FCS school. Another, Stanford, lost its opener -- and its national ranking -- to unranked Northwestern.
The biggest story of Arizona's much-too-stressful win against UTSA was star linebacker Scooby Wright's knee injury. The All-American spent the second half on the sideline, cane in hand. He won't return for another month or so.
Eddie Vanderdoes' season ended in celebration, quickly followed by pain. UCLA's standout defensive lineman tore his ACL while lifting 310-pound defensive lineman Kenny Clark in the air. After Clark scored a touchdown, Vanderdoes tore his knee.
He's done for the year.
For USC, do-everything super-man corner-receiver-returner extraordinare Adoree' Jackson went down in the first quarter against Arkansas State with a hip injury. He'll be fine, it seems -- USC coach Steve Sarkisian said he expects him to play Saturday against Idaho -- but the scare was still there.
"It's the unfortunate part of our game," Sarkisian said in Tuesday's Pac-12 coaches' conference call. "All of our kids at all of our programs, and the players within the programs, work extremely hard all offseason long to try to get themselves prepared for a great season, and for a player to get lost for the season in Week 1 is unfortunate."
The denial comes now.
(Insert injured player) is gone, but we're not worried, because the next man will step up.
The anger comes when, or if, the replacement just isn't quite up to snuff.
For Arizona, that's Haden Gregory, a former walk-on junior college transfer who was third string a few weeks ago before both Wright and backup Cody Ippolito went down.
For UCLA, that'll be some combination of Eli Ankou and Matt Dickerson, they of eight combined career tackles.
"I know coaches sometimes say, 'Well, the next guy will step in,'" UCLA coach Jim Mora said, "but when a great player gets hurt, you'll miss him."
It's easy for Mora to say that, given the way the Bruins' week went otherwise. True freshman quarterback Josh Rosen passed for 351 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in a win over Virginia and has launched himself into early Heisman Trophy prognostications.
That's premature. That comes from the opposite end of the sky-is-falling-spectrum. This grief comes when, or if, Rosen comes back down to earth.
The bargaining comes next. So what happens now?
Is Mike Leach's seat about to light on fire after losing to Portland State?
Will Stanford recover from an ugly loss?
Experts pegged Arizona State as a dark-horse contender for the College Football Playoff. Instead, the Sun Devils lost by three touchdowns to Texas A&M. Where does ASU go from here?
Can Arizona, already banged-up after just one game, survive its brutal 12-games-in-12-weeks-schedule?
Coach Rich Rodriguez said losing Wright was "a blow."
"We had several guys already out," he said, "and it was kind of like a M.A.S.H. unit anyway."
Right now, for half the conference, the world is ending. It's all over.
The sky was falling, the apocalypse starting.
Your team is either in great shape, or it's screwed. No in-between. Josh Rosen will win the Heisman, Stanford will never win another game.
Todd Graham? Might as well fire him now.
That's just the depression talking.
It's all going to be OK.
"It's Week 1," said Cal coach Sonny Dykes.
"Sometimes guys play really well, sometimes guys play poorly, sometimes teams play poorly. Sometimes you catch a bad match-up. There's so much in college football now where match-ups are important. You match up great with some teams, and not well with others. There's all that stuff.
"It's kind of mirrors society, in how people have a tendency to overreact, and I wouldn't except anything different in the sports world."
Look, it's a long season.
This article was written by Zack Rosenblatt from The Arizona Daily Star, Tucson and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.