Southern Utah at Oregon, 5:15 p.m., (PAC-12 Network)
The Willie Taggart era at Oregon could open up with a win and confidence boost but going to the FCS level to get one has always rubbed me the wrong way. Especially when that FCS team was as depleted as Southern Utah was by graduation. Still the Thunderbirds aren’t without a few aces up their sleeve. They return a young offensive line that took their lumps last season and have a young upstart back in James Felila who is ready for a monster season. Still the Oregon Ducks have talent across the board that should overwhelm SUU before game’s end. The Ducks won’t win the North this year and might not actually be that good but behind QB Justin Herbert and RB Royce Freeman they’ll be too good in week 1.
Montana State at #24 Washington State, 7:30 p.m., (FS1)
Like I mentioned before I’m not a huge fan of heading down to the FCS level to get some early season wins. The Bobcats are building a stronger team but Cougars QB Luke Falk and company might have something to say about that. WSU head coach Mike Leach loves to stretch teams with his wide open attack and will certainly do that on Saturday. This WSU offensive line is also studded with talent and should have little to no trouble running the ball if they so choose. If there’s one hope for the Bobcats its that their own QB Chris Murray is a dual threat signal caller that may allow the offense to keep WSU on their heels early.
Northern Arizona at Arizona, 8 p.m., (PAC-12)
Sometimes late west coast games can be a chance for some really good PAC-12 Football. Other times its the exact opposite. Remember what I said about me not liking when FBS teams take on FCS teams? I should have clarified, I don’t like it when the FCS team is undermanned against a clearly superior team. That’s not the case here. The Wildcats will be in the cellar of the division and the conference this year. That plus NAU actually being a good team could spell disaster for this Rich Rodriguez led team. His seat is already hot. A loss to this team, although not shocking, might see him axed. NAU’s QB Case Cookus had a shoulder injury end his 2016 prematurely but all indications from spring and fall camp are that he’s ready to carry this team.
Texas A&M at UCLA, Sunday, 4:30 p.m., (FOX)
The one you’ve all be waiting for. The Aggies come to town but have they settled on a QB? According to head coach Kevin Sumlin that decision will not be made before kickoff although I’m sure he knows who he’s going to trot out onto the field already. No matter who it is they’ll have a stable of capable backs and a game breaker at WR in Christian Kirk. UCLA has to answer questions about their offense but leave the keys in the hands of stud QB Josh Rosen. Can the offensive line handle an Aggie DL that ate them alive last year? A new scheme should allow the Bruins to find ways to protect Rosen but all that will be for naught if they can’t run the ball. On defense the Bruins are talented and have some depth but the defensive line is young. This one should come down to QB play and at this point the Bruins have the better one.
Other notable games in week 1
Louisana Monroe at Memphis, Thursday, 6 p.m., CBSSN-Although the Bruins shouldn’t look past Hawaii in week 2, they’ll get their first chance to see the Memphis Tigers this season and they’ll actually be facing a solid opponent.
#3 Florida State vs. #1 Alamaba, Saturday, 5 p.m., ABC- The biggest match up of the early season this is a game for college football lovers. While a loss won’t knock either team out of playoff contention, this game, at it’s core, is a major treat.
Upcoming Pac-12 Football Games (Week 2):
- Texas State at Colorado (Saturday, Sept. 9) 11 a.m., (PAC-12)
- Nebraska at Oregon, 1:30 p.m., (FOX)
- Hawaii at UCLA, 2 p.m., (PAC-12)
- Weber State at Cal, 2 p.m., (PAC-12)
- Montana at #8 Washington, 5 p.m., (PAC-12)
- #14 Stanford at #4 USC, 5:30 p.m., (FOX)
- Minnesota at Oregon State, 7 p.m., (FS1)
- Utah at BYU, 7:15 p.m.
- Boise State at #24 Washington State, 7:30 p.m.
- Houston at Arizona, 7:30 p.m.
- San Diego State at Arizona State, 8 p.m., (PAC-12)