The college football season is finally here and interestingly enough, if you're a fan of the Pac-12, you will get your fill of football before Saturday is even here. Five games will be played during the work week and four of them are Thursday evening contests. Here's a brief look at week one.
Northern Colorado Bears at the Utah Utes
Some are expecting a big year for the Utes and this game against an FCS team should be a breeze before they head into a set of relatively tough games the first half of the season. The first Pac-12 game of the year will be played Thursday night (August 30) and is available on the Pac-12 Network (not accessible in every area).
UCLA Bruins at the Rice Owls
The Bruins with new head coach Jim Mora visit Houston to play a Conference USA Owl team that hasn't been very good in recent years. Rice has questions marks up front on both sides of the line of scrimmage so although they're on the road, UCLA should prevail by a couple of touchdowns. The game will be played Thursday night and is available on CBS Sports.
Washington State Cougars at the BYU Cougars
This is a heck of a way for new head coach Mike Leach to start the year but that's what the schedule demands with this road game at Provo. A Cougar team will win and that's probably the home team (BYU), which has a good squad heading into 2012. The game will be played Thursday night and is available on ESPN.
Now this is a good way to start the season as a new head coach. Todd Graham's debut should be a good one although the FCS Lumberjacks always put a decent team on the field. The Sun Devils will win easily. The game will be played Thursday night and is available on the Pac-12 Network (not accessible in every area).
The schools are roughly half an hour from each other and the series is a bit of a rivalry game although it's been one-sided (favoring the Stanford Cardinal). The WAC's Spartans will be iffy on defense but this isn't a team the Cardinal can overlook so in the end, Stanford should triumph going away without a problem. The game will be played Friday night and is available on the Pac-12 Network (not accessible in every area).
Nevada Wolf Pack at the California Golden Bears
The Wolf Pack from the Mountain West will visit a shiny new Memorial Coliseum, which was completely renovated this past year. The Bears have more talent and should be jacked up in front of their fans. When this battle is over, Cal will have won by at least a couple touchdowns or more. The game will be played Saturday afternoon and is available on the Pac-12 Network (not accessible in every area).
Nicholls State Colonels at the Oregon State Beavers
Beaver head coach Mike Riley will be on the hot seat this season and this first game against a bad FCS school should give them a nice shot in the arm - well it better because the following week, they get Wisconsin. The game will be played Saturday afternoon and is available on the Pac-12 Network (not accessible in every area).
Colorado State Rams versus the Colorado Buffaloes
The 'Rocky Mountain Showdown' is a rivalry game played at a neutral site (Mile High in Denver). The Mountain West's Rams have a new head coach and a rebuilding program started after going 3-9 the past three seasons. The Buffaloes should win a close game. The game will be played Saturday afternoon and is available on FX.
Hawaii Warriors at the USC Trojans
The Warriors have moved into the Mountain West from the WAC, which should offer a somewhat tougher schedule overall but starting on the road with a new head coach against the #1 team in the nation is brutal for Norm Chow and his Hawaii football squad. This should be a Trojans blowout. The game will be played Saturday afternoon/evening and is available on FOX.
San Diego State Aztecs at the Washington Huskies
This is yet another Mountain West team playing a Pac-12 school. The Aztecs have a decent club but the Huskies are looking to move to the next level and should dispatch San Diego State without much problem. The game will be played Saturday night and is available on the Pac-12 Network (not accessible in every area).
Arkansas State Red Wolves at the Oregon Ducks
The Red Wolves are the Sun Belt Conference champions from last season and aren't a team to be taken lightly. But they lost most of their defense plus they've never played in Eugene before. The Ducks may stutter a bit in this game but eventually will roll up a big score. The game will be played Saturday night and is available on ESPN.
Toledo Rockets at the Arizona Wildcats
New head coach Rich Rodriguez gets a home game to start things off … but it's against the high-scoring Rockets. The good news for Wildcat fans is Toledo has a new coach too. This could be an interesting game to watch but in the end, Arizona somehow overcomes. The game will be played Saturday night and is available on ESPNU.
Is it possible the Pac-12 Conference can sweep the first weeks games? The Thursday matchup with Washington State at BYU could be telling.
On a side note: it's too bad many fans won't be able to watch Pac-12 games this year because the conference has not made agreements with major cable (i.e. AT&T, Verizon or Charter Cable) or the major satellite providers. This needs to be corrected or they will lose their reason for being a cable station network. Hopefully, this wasn't a huge mistake made by the Pac-12 Conference. Fans are waiting.
Sources - Pac-12 Conference
Daryle lived in Los Angeles Ca. most of his life and has been a longtime fan of USC and the Pac-12, having closely followed the Trojans since he was just a youngster. Fight On!