There are plenty of big games to watch this season concerning the Pac-12. Unfortunately for us, not many come in Week 1 of the regular season. Let’s take an early look at the upcoming schedule.
Cupcakes: If you’re not a fan of this team, skip.
Weber State at Arizona State
Idaho State at Utah
Portland State at Oregon State
South Dakota at Oregon
UC Davis at Stanford
The only game that’s probably interesting on this list is Portland State taking on Oregon State, just because the Beavers have had their issues with strong FCS opponents. Idaho State (3-9 last season in the FCS) should not be an issue for Utah and ASU, Oregon and Stanford lay waste to the poorest among us.
It’s an FBS game, but it’s probably not a good one.
UCLA at Virginia. The Bruins have to be thrilled that their non-Texas big conference matchup comes up against a 2-10 Cavaliers team who got wiped by Oregon last season. UCLA should be just as talented and should have their pick of the litter.
UNLV at Arizona. UNLV went 7-6 in the MWC last year and seemed to be improving near the end of the season, but they hardly beat anyone good so it’s hard to take anything away from their performance. Also, Arizona wiped them on their own field last season.
Cal at Northwestern. Cal has a lot to prove this season. Thankfully, one of their best efforts of the season came against a plucky Northwestern squad that was far more capable than their record suggested. This will be a big test for Sonny Dykes—can he prove that he’s better than he showed this session?
Washington at Hawaii. Hawaii should be better—they certainly won’t be bad as their 1-11 record. Hell, this team gave USC and Oregon State a decent bit of trouble. The good news for them is that Chris Petersen is bringing a really unproven bunch of Huskies to Oahu, and this could be a game to watch to at least see how the new Husky coach is adjusting.
Colorado State vs. Colorado. This rivalry is always a plucky one, and the Rams will be looking to get the crown back. Can Mike MacIntyre keep the momentum moving upward and onward?
Cream of the crop
Fresno State at USC. Fresno will be plucky this first game, but there will be no Derek Carr and the Bulldogs got rolled over in their bowl game against a Trojan team returning many of their key pieces. However, Steve Sarkisian is on his first day on the job, so there is a bit of a hint of uncertainty as to how he’ll do. Big one to watch in determining how ready Sark is for the job.
Rutgers at Washington State. Not a good sign when two 6-7 teams provide your premium matchup. But Mike Leach has a lot to prove this season and Washington State feels like they could field a competitive Pac-12 North squad. This is the litmus test.