Michigan State Spartans

Pac-12 preview: for some reason, Oregon’s playing before lunch

The official Pac-12 football press release for the week proudly states the conference is undefeated in non-conference play “on Saturdays” this season. That neatly sidesteps the 0-2 Washington State Cougars, who opened the season losing on a Thursday, and followed it up by losing on a Friday. Colorado won last Saturday after losing on a Friday as well. With that in mind, thoughts on each of the ranked conference teams (which does not include Wazzu) playing this weekend, in order of kickoff.

#2 Oregon (2-0) vs Wyoming (2-0) — 11 am PDT Saturday, Pac-12 Network

No, this game is not in Wyoming with a noon kickoff Mountain Time and thus an 11 am Pacific time kickoff. This game is being played in Eugene, and is the earliest kickoff at Autzen Stadium that I can ever remember. The Ducks were guaranteed to be a ranked team this week no matter what happened against Michigan State last week, and the schedule-makers decided to give them a start time earlier than most of these guys have class during the week.

Of course, it’s just Wyoming, so it shouldn’t matter if they accidentally read the back of a cereal box instead of the actual play-calling sheets. A side bonus is that with a 2 pm Eastern kickoff, people on the Eastern Seaboard might actually be able to see the Ducks live, and not on the highlight reels. Oh, I forgot, it’s on the Pac-12 Network, which really isn’t seen much past Denver. Good job, good effort.

#9 USC (2-0) at Boston College (1-1) — 5 pm PDT Saturday, ESPN

After beating Stanford last week, the last thing you’d expect for USC to do is roll over and play dead against the Terriers of Boston College, would you? Uh, you would? Actually, me too. Okay, so they should mop up BC, but which USC offense will show up? Clearly BC’s D won’t be as good as Stanford’s (the Cardinal became the first team in a year to hold the Trojans under 300 yards). A good week-after check to see if USC is a player or a pretender. If they win by less than 20, they’re pretenders.

#12 UCLA (2-0) vs Texas (1-1) in Arlington —  5 pm PDT Saturday, Fox

Many people think the Bruins shouldn’t even be in the top 25 after nearly losing to Memphis at home last week (again: this isn’t basketball). I wouldn’t go that far, but they certainly shouldn’t be 12th. Texas is 1-1 on the year after getting mauled by BYU last week as well as losing their starting QB to a concussion (David Ash, who’s had concussion issues before). Texas is not looking good, but neither are the Bruins. Do you realize UCLA is 2-0 and has dropped in the polls the last two weeks?

#15 Stanford (1-1) vs Army (1-1) — 2 pm PDT Saturday, Pac-12 Network

Covered separately on this site. Short version: Stanford had eight drives inside the USC 20 and had 10 points last week. One USC rusher outgained the entire Cardinal team by 30 yards. The offense has got to pick it up if they want to avoid losing to the Black Knights (insert Monty Python reference here).

#16 Arizona State (2-0) at Colorado (1-1) — 7 pm PDT Saturday, ESPNU

The lone conference game of the weekend. The Buffs are 1-1 after needing a comeback to beat UMass by three points. Should be an easy ride for the Sun Devils, but as I continue to say, I just don’t trust these guys. They won’t likely get exposed this week, and ASU may be riding high into October and a date at USC on the 4th. Or, the entire Southern Division could collapse. Which is also possible.

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