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Pac-12 TV Guide Week 1: Arizona State vs. Texas A&M must-see TV

Avinash Kunnath & Jack Follman rank this weeks' Pac-12 games.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

1. Arizona State vs. Texas A&M (Houston) - Saturday 4 PM ESPN

AK: Is this the equivalent of a playoff elimination game? You have to think so given that these two teams will then return to the toughest and deepest divisions in college football. The stakes will be huge in Houston.

JF: Talk about an opener. These two teams are hovering in that same Top 15-30 range and have formed a little bit of a rivalry as A&M has recruited the Phoenix area hard in recent years. The winner probably stakes a Top 15 claim heading into conference play while the loser falls out of the Top 25 area. A lot at stake here.

2. Michigan at Utah - Thursday 5:30 PM FOX Sports 1

AK: Jim Harbaugh returns and the Wolverines have a lot to prove, but this is as much about what the Utes are capable of. Utah wants to show last year's resurgence isn't a one time thing. Can they issue a statement on Thursday night against a rebuilding Michigan squad?

JF: Jim Harbaugh returns to the Pac-12 for one of the biggest non-conference home games Utah has ever played on the opening night of college football. This will be a winnable, but major test for the Utes and a chance for them to prove that last year wasn't a fluke. I will also be watching to see how Harbaugh's team looks out the gate.

3. Washington at Boise State - Friday 7:15 PM ESPN

AK: The Huskies are in rebuild mode, but they should still give a talented Broncos squad a run for their money. Washington wants to show that they will not fall all the way off the track, so going on the road and winning in Boise would be huge. And yeah. Chris Petersen.

JF: I (and a lot of people) have been anticipating this game since the second Petersen took the Washington job. The game on the field could be better than anticipated (I think Washington is average at best but Boise State very overrated), but the simple intrigue of the Boise savior returning with his big conference team is more than enough to hook me in even if the game isn't a thriller.

4. Stanford at Northwestern - Saturday 9 AM ESPN

AK: The Cardinal could go any way this season, so this is a game to watch to see how well they perform in a hostile road environment. Win comfortably here and they can feel pretty good about their Pac-12 North chances.

JF: This match-up of academic powers who love to play good ol' fashioned football isn't a bad one for the opening week when the schedule is full of FCS snoozers. I am very interested to see how Stanford performs to get an early read on if they might get back to their upper echelon days or if they look like they are remaining back on Earth as they did in 2014.

5. Colorado at Hawaii - Friday 10 PM CBS Sports Network

AK: This is the game the Buffs have to use to prove that they have gotten better. They have been very up and down on that front for a long time. Who doesn't love a late night on the isles?

JF: 10 PM! 10 PM! 10 PM! 11 PM Colorado time!?!?!? Are they crazy? CBS Sports Network was hot garbage last time I saw it, but this is a great ruler game for Colorado to see if they are ready to truly step up in 2015.

6. Virginia at UCLA - Saturday 12:30 PM FOX

AK: UCLA struggled in the Virginia humidity last season, but at home this game shouldn't be that much trouble. The biggest thing to watch is how Josh Rosen performs in his debut.

JF: This is all about seeing the debut of Josh Rosen and seeing how well the Bruin offense will roll with a true freshman starting at quarterback. I don't expect Virginia to do much, especially on offense.

7. Arkansas State at USC - Saturday 8 PM Pac-12 Networks

AK: I cannot remember the last time USC was seriously challenged by a non-conference non-Notre Dame squad. It's been awhile. Shouldn't change this year.

JF: Uh, Avinash, Boston College... Any who... this game is a little bit more interesting with all of the sudden controversy surrounding USC and Coach Sark right now. If they come out poorly against the perennial second-best team from the Sun Belt, I might be a little bit worried about the program. I want to watch and see if that happens.

8. UTSA at Arizona - Thursday 7 PM Pac-12 Networks

AK: UTSA actually gave the Wildcats a fight in San Antonio last year, but the dynamics certainly flip with Arizona at home.  The Wildcats will be looking to prove that last season was no fluke.

JF: UTSA nearly shocked Arizona in San Antonio last year, but I don't expect that to happen in Tucson. Still, the Wildcats came out rusty last year and finished 2014 looking rusty as well.

9. Eastern Washington at Oregon - Saturday 5 PM Pac-12 Networks

AK: Vernon Adams is on the wrong sideline for this to be a great game. This is the first chance we'll get to see the Ducks in action post-Marcus Mariota. Could get bumpy.

JF: The Vernon Adams saga continues. This game might be a lot more interesting if Adams had stayed at Eastern Washington, but this instead will be very intriguing to simply see what Oregon does at quarterback. Does Adams or Lockie start and go the whole way and how do they perform?

10. Grambling State at Cal - Saturday 2 PM Pac-12 Networks

AK: At least Grambling has a band.

JF: I am sure Cal's offense will pass for a zillion yards but I want to see if their defense has improved and can hold down an FCS offense.

11. Portland State at Washington State - Saturday 11 AM Pac-12 Networks

AK: It's one thing to play an FCS team. It's another thing to play a BAD FCS team. Both Weber State and Portland State are really bad. These are essentially extra scrimmages for the Beavers and the Cougars.

JF: The Cougars are vulnerable, but Portland State has yet to show even the slightest pulse against Pac-12 competition. Watch this one to see how many yards Luke Falk can pass for.

12. Weber State at Oregon State - Friday 5 PM Pac-12 Networks

JF: The Beavers aren't expected to be anything but bad in 2015. Let's see how they do against a struggling FCS program.