College Football: Predicting the Pac-12 Teams' First Games
Pac-12 teams will be looking to jump-start their inaugural season with an opening game victory.
For some of them, they shouldn't break much of a sweat in doing so; for others, they will actually have to use their first stringers for most, if not all, of the game.
So with high hopes and rocking stadiums, let the 2011 season begin!
Washington State University vs. Idaho State
When the Cougars and Bengals get together throw out the record book... just kidding.
After a 2-10 record last year WSU will be looking to get off to a fast start this season, and should be able to handle a bad (1-10 last year) Idaho State squad.
Look for Jeff Tuel, back from injury, to have a big game.
Oregon State University vs. Sacramento State
Oregon State has won its last nine straight home openers, and this should be no different.
QB Ryan Katz should have fun exploiting the Hornets secondary which got torched last year in a 52-17 loss at Stanford.
Stanford vs. San Jose State
The 65th meeting between these two schools, with Stanford dominating the last three by a collective score of 102-27, the Cardinals will be motivated to validate their Top 10 pre-season ranking, and QB Andrew Luck will make sure this happens.
Arizona State vs. UC Davis
The Sun Devils have high hopes for the 2011 campaign, realistically eyeing the Pac-12 South title.
UC Davis will enter Sun Devil Stadium as, unfortunately, a sacrificial lamb.
Look for ASU's defense to throttle the Aggies.
Utah vs. Montana State
The Utes will be looking to make an early splash in their new league, but the Bobcats might not be the expected pushover.
They went 9-3 last year in the SCS and almost beat Washington State.
Look for QB Jordan Wynn to lead Utah to a hard-fought win.
Washington vs. Eastern Washington
The first meeting ever for these in-state rivals.
While Washington will be looking to establish their new QB for a possible bowl chase, Eastern Washington is no pushover.
The Eagles went 13-2 last year and won the FCS National Championship.
Not playing on their red turf, might just leave THEM seeing red.
Washington Huskies: WIN
USC vs. Minnesota
Being on probation this year might just make the Trojans more dangerous.
They have won their last 13 home openers by and average score of 35-11, and they beat the Gophers last season.
QB Matt Barkley has improved every year and is looking for a fast start to establish his All-American credentials.
Cal vs. Fresno State
A home coming of sorts for Cal coach Jeff Tedford, who played at Fresno State and later was their offensive coordinator.
The Bulldogs will have no problem getting up to play their "big brothers" from the Pac-12.
But Cal's overall depth and athleticism should prevail.
Colorado vs. Hawaii
Colorado has dropped six straight true road openers, and this won't be easy.
Road teams always struggle on this road trip – after all, who wouldn't be distracted by the sights and sounds from the islands?
Plus, Hawaii is coming off a 10-4 season.
Arizona vs. Northern Arizona
Arizona has high hopes for the upcoming Pac-12 season and will be looking to chop down the Lumberjacks in the season opener.
QB Nick Foles will be tossing the ball all over the field against the outmatched team from Flagstaff.
Arizona Wildcats: WIN
UCLA vs. Houston
UCLA is doing themselves no favors by playing Houston for their opening game.
The Cougars should be favored for the Conference – USA title, led by gun-slinging QB Case Keenum (if healthy).
The Bruins could be one of the more improved teams in the nation, and will be looking to reenforce this by playing their brand of smashmouth football.
Oregon vs. LSU
Easily the most highly anticipated college opener on the 2011 slate, both teams have BCS aspirations.
Oregon will be eager to put their NCAA attention behind them and who knows what Tiger coach Les Miles will pull out of his Mad Hat.
This might be the most entertaining game of the college football season.