Colorado State at Colorado Buffaloes, Fri., 5 p.m., (PAC-12 Network)
Colorado was the upstart PAC-12 Football team of the year in 2016. They surprised everyone with their solid offense and very strong defense. 2017 could be very different. The defense has to be overhauled and the offense will have a new signal caller in Steven Montez. Luckily the Buffaloes return some talent especially in the backfield. Colorado State on the other hand displayed their offensive power last week with a 58-27 beatdown over Oregon State last week. Senior CSU QB Nick Stevens shredded the Beavers for 334 yards and three scores and could have another big day against an inexperienced defense.
Cal Golden Bears at North Carolina, Sat., 9:20 a.m., (ACC Network)
Cal is going to have a new man at the helm of the team and a new QB. Justin Wilcox scores his first starting gig but who will be the man slinging the ball? Ross Bowers has been named the starter for this game but has yet to see any real game action. Defensively Cal was atrocious last year and there’s nowhere to go but up although a shift in base defense could take an adjustment period. The Tar Heels on the other hand have a QB but Brandon Harris the LSU transfer wasn’t great in his first stop. How much better can he be is a serious question. Head coach Larry Fedora will have a number of offensive pieces to replace but Cal shouldn’t pose a significant threat as he tries to put the pieces together.
Portland State at Oregon State, 11 a.m., (PAC-12 Network)
Oregon State and the Portland State Vikings both took losses in their season openers last week. Come Saturday someone will be 0-2. The Vikings faced off against an always tough BYU team last week and while they struggled to muster very many points they did hold BYU QB Tanner Mangum to 194 yards and one score. Defense was an issue for the Beavers as they allowed Colorado State to run all over them and didn’t do much against the pass. OSU RB Ryan Nall will be a major key to this game. He is secretly one of the better PAC-12 Football runners and if the Beavers can play keep away they might have a fighting chance in a few more games this season.
Western Michigan at #4 USC Trojans, 2:15 p.m., (PAC-12 Network)
In another game hardly anyone at home will be able to watch (thanks DIRECTV) the Mustangs travel south to take on the much hyped Trojans. Former head coach PJ Fleck is no longer leading the program and this season could be a transition period that I fully expect the Trojans to take advantage of. It will also be the first opportunity of 2017 for the media to talk about how good the Trojans look should they win. In the smallest chance that they lose however the Trojans could kiss their shot at the college football playoff goodbye. Undoubtedly this game will produce a number of hot takes about QB Sam Darnold basically being a shoe-in to win the Heisman or how this USC defense will be the best in the country. Prepare yourselves folks.