Fellow faithful college football fans - it is that time of year again. For the past 233 days we have been patiently waiting for this weekend to arrive. Patiently waiting to see how Leach will fare his second year in the Palouse, if no conference Notre Dame falls 0-3 against the PAC this season, if a Pac 12 team will win the national championship, and if Steve and Chris made the right decision (an $18 million dollar offer would make the transition from Boise to Seattle pretty easy for me).
Work production all over the US slowly decreased the past 4 weeks as we checked stats on team recruits, injuries, opponents, and spreads. As we overanalyze our Pac12 stats and put together the playoff brackets in our head, we all collectively hope that the SEC doesn’t return to claim their eighth consecutive title game.
Here are my recommendations of the top Pac 12 games to watch this weekend:
Rutgers vs. the Cougs: Leach returns for his third season with the Cougs as they take on this Big East contender Thursday night in the Palouse. Unlike Oregon or OSU, the Cougs face a tough opponent in their season opener. The Cougs could struggle on the defensive side of the ball as only 6 returning starters try to fill the holes of the two top tackles they lost last season. Washington State averaged 368 yards in the air last season, so expect the same from Halliday in this season opener. I think this will be a high scoring game with the Cougs capitalizing in the air, and the Scarlet Knights focusing on their rushing game.
Fresno State vs. USC: The Bulldogs travel to the Coliseum to take on SC without star QB Carr and WR Davante Adams; standout Adams finished his college career racking up 24 of the teams 50 total TD’s last season. Coach DeRuyter has yet to decide if Burrell or Connette will be starting Saturday, but whoever is chosen will face Leonard Williams, one of the top defensive lineman in the country. When you throw the recent SC headlines into the mix, Sarkisian has his hands full as he starts his career as the new head coach of the Trojans.
Recommendations to watch for entertainment value or because you’re a fan:
South Dakota vs. Oregon: We can only hope the weather is pleasant for the Duck mascot because he should be closing in on 200 plus pushups by the end of the day. This is a game for Oregon to pad their stats for the rest of the year and fine tune things before they face the Spartans.
Portland State vs. Oregon State: I wouldn’t waste any DVR space on this one, but you never know what can happen when the Beavs face a Big Sky opponent….Eastern Washington stunned the Beavers 49-46 season so anything could happen, but I would put money on the Pac 12 if someone wanted to throw some money on it.
Enjoy your first weekend of the best part of the year!