Week 2 in the Pac-12: What to watch for

It was a rough weekend for Clay Helton's Trojans and Jim Mora's Bruins, who look to rebound from 0-1 starts in Week 2. Getty Images

Here are five things to keep an eye for Week 2 in the Pac-12.

Escape to Los Angeles: The road was not kind to either USC or UCLA in Week 1. The good news is that whether it's a loss in overtime, or one of the worst defeats in school history, they both count the same in the standings. The Trojans limp back to the Coliseum licking their wounds in the wake of a 52-6 thrashing at the hands of Alabama, the No. 1 team in the country and defending national champs. But they shouldn't get too comfortable at home after hosting Utah State this weekend. They won't be there again until Oct. 1 against Arizona State as road trips to Stanford and Utah loom.

The Bruins will also face a Mountain West team at home when UNLV comes to town. The Bruins are fresh off of a mistake-riddled overtime loss to Texas A&M, where turnovers by quarterback Josh Rosen, and drops from his wide receivers put UCLA in an 0-1 hole. That was the first nonconference loss in the regular season for the Bruins under head coach Jim Mora -- who had been 12-0 (not counting bowls) in games outside of the Pac-12.

Holy War resumed: This was the year the Holy War was supposed to be reignited after it took a two-year break after 2013. But things were unexpectedly jumpstarted sooner when Utah and BYU met at the end of last season in the Las Vegas Bowl -- a 35-28 win for the Utes. You have to go back to 2009 to find a win for the Cougars, who have dropped six of the past seven against their rivals. However, during Utah's winning streak, four of those games came down to one possession. Since joining the Pac-12 in 2011, Utah is 18-1 in nonconference games, with the lone loss coming in 2012 to Utah State.

This year's game might have a softer edge than previous editions. New BYU head coach Kalani Sitake was a longtime staple on the Utah defensive staff under head coach Kyle Whittingham. In total, BYU has three former Utah assistant coaches. Conversely, Utah has four former BYU players on its coaching staff -- including Whittingham.

Mountain West week: UCLA and USC aren't the only teams facing Mountain West squads in Week 2. Washington State travels to Boise State to take on the preseason favorites to win the Mountain Division. California heads south to San Diego State to face the Aztecs, who were picked in the preseason to win the West Division.

The Cougars -- who were receiving votes in the preseason AP Top 25 -- are looking to rebound off of their second-straight season-opening loss to an FCS squad when they fell to Eastern Washington, 45-42. Offense wasn't the problem as quarterback Luke Falk threw for 418 yards and four touchdowns. The much-improved defense of 2015 was nowhere to be found as Eastern Washington tallied 606 yards of offense.

Cal, rested and back in this hemisphere after its Aug. 26 trip to Australia, will look to fix a leaky rush defense against one of the better running backs in the country. SDSU's Donnel Pumphrey is approaching mythical status on Montezuma Mesa where he's set to surpass the great Marshall Faulk as the school's all-time rushing leader.

FCS curse? As noted above, Washington State lost its season opener to an FCS squad. This is getting to be an unsettling trend. It was the fourth time in six seasons a Pac-12 team has fallen to a lower-division team (Oregon State lost to Eastern Washington in 2013 and Sacramento State in overtime in 2011). Two more FCS teams meet the Pac-12 in Week 2, with Colorado hosting Idaho State and Grambling State traveling to Arizona.

Rounding out the schedule: Speaking of FCS teams, the Oregon Ducks get a Virginia team that was one of four FBS squads to lose to an FCS opponent in Week 1 as Richmond spoiled Bronco Mendenhall's debut. The Ducks look to start 2-0 for the fifth consecutive season after last week's win over UC Davis. The Ducks have nothing but Power 5 programs the rest of the way.

Arizona State has a Power 5 matchup when it hosts Texas Tech. The Sun Devils took a while to get the offense going in a Week 1 win over Northern Arizona. That's to be expected with a new quarterback, coordinator and four new offensive linemen. In his debut, quarterback Manny Wilkins was 20 of 27 with one rushing touchdown and an interception.

Washington earned the top spot in the Pac-12 blog's Power Rankings this week after a strong showing against Rutgers. Washington hosts Idaho this week and FCS Portland State in Week 3 so expect a 3-0 start for the Huskies heading into conference play.

Stanford and Oregon State are on bye this week. The Cardinal return in Week 3 with their conference opener against USC, and Oregon State hosts Idaho State.