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Pac-12 TV guide week one: the LA schools take center stage

Jack Follman and Jeremy Baird break down how to watch Pac-12 football this week

NCAA Football: Pac-12 Media Day Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

We are going to change up our weekly Pac-12 TV Guide this year. We are presenting our guide in two ways in 2016.

  1. Jack Follman will provide a straight forward breakdown of which games you should make sure to watch.
  2. Jeremy Baird will lay out the weekend for those dads out there who are trying to raise kids the right way and still watch as much as possible.

Let’s get started with Jack’s rankings...

Game of the Week - USC vs. Alabama - ABC 5pm

This is one of the better opening weeks I can remember in recent history and this gem is the star of it. Two of college football’s greatest programs breaking in new quarterbacks and taking on sky high expectations in the Jerry Dome on the opening Saturday night. It doesn’t get much better than this.

2. UCLA at Texas A&M - CBS 12:30pm

I really like this match-up. Both of these teams are ultra-talented and should be ranked in the 15-25 range, but just seem to not be able to put it all together in the past few years. In what should be a wild Kyle Field, this will be an amazing test to see if Josh Rosen is ready to take the next step and become a Heisman candidate and if the Bruins as a whole are ready for prime time, or ready to coast back to 7-9 wins.

3. BYU vs. Arizona - FOX Sports 1 7:30pm

These teams are evenly matched, have a lot to prove and fighting it out under the lights in Phoenix. This is Arizona’s only chance to make a statement before Pac-12 play so I think they will come out on fire and ready to score a lot of points. The Cougars are no slouch though and I think they can trade punches in what should be a high-scoring, competitive game to cap off a very nice day of college football.

4. Colorado State vs. Colorado - ESPN - Friday 5pm

One of the nation’s most underrated rivalries pushes on again in Mile High. Both these teams look to be right on the razor’s edge of making a bowl in 2016, so getting a win here is of the utmost importance and these teams are going to compete like it is. I expect this one to go down to the very last play.

5. Kansas State at Stanford - FOX Sports 1 - Friday 6pm

This might seem like a warm-up game for the Cardinal against a lower-middle power conference foe, but remember what happened in their opener last year at Northwestern, and that was without the Cardinal breaking in a new starter at quarterback. The Cardinal have the pieces to make this a comfortable win, but the Wildcats are still a solid Big 12 program capable of taking them down to the wire, especially in Ryan Burns’ first start.

6. Oregon State at Minnesota - Big Ten Network - Thursday 6pm

Gary Andersen is going back to Big Ten country again and is facing a steep challenge for a Beaver team that is trying to pick itself up out of the gutter. The Gophers are rightfully favored in this game, but are far from 10 feet tall and the Beavers have a great chance to make this one a game. Watch out for Darell Garretson to show why Andersen brought to Corvallis and to show that he can get the Beavers back on their feet.

7. Rutgers at Washington - Pac-12 Networks - 11am

This is sadly Washington’s biggest non-conference test in a year when they could really use a big non-conference game to show they are truly ready to be an elite Pac-12 team. The Scarlet Knights may not be the Crimson Tide, but they are capable of giving the Huskies a test in Husky Stadium is the dawgs overlook them. I am excited to see this one to see if the Huskies can come out and look like the Top 10 team some think they could be or if they look like a 7-8-win squad again.

8. Eastern Washington at Washington State - Pac-12 Networks 5pm

Tough kickoff time here for non-Cougar fans as it gets started right when USC and Alabama do, but there is intrigue here. The Golden Eagles have tested Pac-12 teams (including the Cougars) in recent years and are still a strong program, even if they aren’t quite what they used to be. Remember, a very good Cougar squad lost to FCS Portland State in their opener last season.

9. Northern Arizona at Arizona State - Pac-12 Networks 7:45pm

The Lumberjacks have not fared well against FBS opponents, but maybe this is their year to at least make some noise. The Sun Devils have a lot of questions around them and are breaking in a new starting quarterback. Keep an eye on what should be the last Pac-12 game of the weekend.

10. Southern Utah at Utah - Pac-12 Networks Thursday 5pm

One of Utah’s lesser-known in-state rivalry games is the first Pac-12 game of the week. I want to see how Washington transfer Troy Williams looks as the starter for the Utes here.

11. UCDavis at Oregon - Pac-12 Networks - 2pm

This seems like a snoozer, but remember, an opening FCS opponent (albeit a much better program) exposed Oregon’s defense last season and banged up their FCS grad transfer quarterback. At the very least, this will be our first chance to see Oregon with Dakota Prukop under center.

Now onto Jeremy’s guide for dads.

Traditional gender roles have blurred. Women bring home the bacon. Men do more than take out the trash. What does this mean for football-watching dads? Well, for me, it means I can’t just plop down on the couch and drink beer while my wife takes care of the kids. But it doesn’t mean I can’t watch college football. I just need a plan! As a father of two (2yr & 2mo) here is mine:

Thursday: Leftovers

Between, daycare pick-up, dinner, bath, and bedtime, there’s no time for CFB before 8:00. This Thursday that is fine because this lackluster slate isn’t going to have me rushing to the TV anyway.

8:00 PM: Working Dinner - Heat up Wednesday’s leftovers, and tune in to see if the Beavers can make a game of it in Minnesota while bouncing the baby to sleep.

Friday: Thai Night

Sneaking out of work early is easily accomplished on Fridays, so things are less hectic at home. While I’m intrigued by CU/CSU, I’m not going to sprint through the bedtime routine to watch it. The more important game is K-State @ Stanford starting at 7:00 PM.

7:00 – 8:15 PM: Prep for Success - Wrap up bedtime, order Thai food while checking in on Christian McCaffrey’s Heisman campaign.

8:15 – 8:45* PM: Spouse Time - Siam Bay Tom Yum and a glass of Syrah with my wife. *Adjust for halftime as required.

8:45 – 10:30 PM: My Time - Watch the Sefo Liufau lead CU to a comeback victory followed by Stanford strangling K-State’s inept offense to death in the second half. Avoid rabbit holes. Tomorrow is a long day.

Saturday: Juggling Act

This is where the rubber meets the road. The days of GameDay to #Pac12AfterDark endurance challenges are gone. The sacrifice and patience starts early. I’ll try to build up as much credit in the morning to spend in the afternoon.

6:00 AM: Rise and Shine - Sleeping in isn’t an option anyway. Bounce the baby while and watch GameDay and drink coffee. I’ll avoid BC v. Georgia Tech in Dublin for fear of falling asleep.

8:00 – 12:30 PM: Earn My Keep - Resist the temptation of Oklahoma @ Houston (OU is probably gonna kill them anyway). Take the kids to the park instead.

12:30 - 3:30 PM: NAP TIME! This is free time, and it aligns perfectly with UCLA @ A&M. Hopefully my morning duties buys me through The Rosen One’s game winning drive.. There is also some good secondary watching with LSU v. Wisconsin in Lambeau.

3:30 – 5:30 PM: Mid-Afternoon Slump - The games in this time slot are typically bad. See: Oregon-UC Davis. Time to get back in the saddle and get the toddler out of the house again. Who wants a bike ride?!

5:30 – 7:30 PM: The Hand-Off - Volunteer for baby duty while my wife does the bedtime routine for our toddler. This will allow me to watch 90% of USC v. Alabama in Dallas. I take advantage of halftime to make a quick dinner, in this case tacos.

7:30 – 8:30 PM: Play it by Ear - If USC is within 10 points, I’ll keep the game on ‘til the end. More than that, I’m turning off to eat at the dinner table with my wife. I refuse to eat dinner on the couch to watch a giddy Lane Kiffin.

8:30 – 11:00 PM: Take a Load Off - Arizona v. BYU in Glendale isn’t a tier-one game, but is the perfect methadone for coming down off that Week 1 high.