Best Pac-12 Football Games to Watch of Week One

Best Pac-12 Football Games to Watch of Week One

Meaningful college football returned to the stage in the always fun ‘Week 0’. But now the real party begins. With so much speculation and rumors this time of year, it’s about time teams across the nation take the field to prove their worth. And while week one this year offers quite a few treats from all conferences, Pac-12 teams feature heavy. There are, however, some duds. To help you decide which games are critical and which ones you can pass on, here are the best — and worst — Pac-12 Football games to watch of week one.

11. UC Davis vs. California (Saturday, August 31 – 4:30 pm PT, Pac-12)

The California Golden Bears will be an interesting team to watch this year. Head coach Justin Wilcox has them trending in the right direction, their defense is improving, and if they can find some semblance of an offense they could make waves in the Pac-12 North. They’ll be a competitive squad but their opener against UC Davis isn’t worth a watch. Fortunately for them it will serve as great preparation for a huge, early conference matchup against the Washington Huskies in week two.

Pac-12 Football Game to Watch Rating? DUD

10. Kent State vs. Arizona State (Thursday, August 29 – 7:00 pm PT, Pac-12)

Arizona State is another team who could challenge for the conference crown. Hell, under Herm Edwards who knows what’s possible. Their schedule will ramp up this season and it’ll be fun to watch true freshman quarterback Jayden Daniels, but their matchup against Kent State leaves a lot to be desired. Tune in to watch Daniels play but don’t expect it to be competitive.

Pac-12 Football Game to Watch Rating? DUD

9. New Mexico State vs. Washington State (Saturday, August 31 – 7:00 pm PT, Pac-12)

The problem with Washington State is you never know what you’re going to get. On the one hand you could get the Cougars who consistently pull the big upset and play impressively well. On the other, you can get the Cougars who lose to Eastern Washington. You simply never know.

Coming off their best season in some time, there is plenty of uncertainty surrounding Mike Leach’s Cougars. Some question marks will be answered when they play New Mexico State, but even more may arise, as you never know which Wazzu squad you’re going to get. Don’t be surprised if the Lobos put up a decent fight or if the Cougars take complete control. Anybody got a coin?

Pac-12 Football Game to Watch Rating? DUD

8. Colorado State vs. Colorado (Friday, August 30 – 7:00 pm PT, ESPN)

The Buffaloes are a tough team to figure out heading into the 2019 season. With a first-year head coach you’d expect them to be in rebuild mode, but that’s not entirely the case. Led by a senior quarterback and a quality receiver corps anchored by the best receiver in the nation (Laviska Shenault Jr.), Colorado’s offense could light up the scoreboard this year. If they can manage to give their defense enough rest, the Buffaloes could be a surprise contender.

Colorado opens the season with the Rocky Mountain Showdown, their rivalry with Colorado State. While the Rams have contended with the Buffaloes in the past, their defense lost a few key players and will not be able to keep up with Shenault Jr. This game could get ugly fast and may prove one of the least exciting Pac-12 football games to watch in week one. Tune-in to see Shenault Jr. but tune-out when things get ugly.

Pac-12 Football Game to Watch Rating? Meh..catch a few quarters

7. Eastern Washington vs. Washington (Saturday, August 31 – 12:00pm PT, Pac-12)

The Washington Huskies are not ready to let go of the Pac-12 North. With Oregon and Stanford predicted to be heavy challengers to the Dawgs, don’t think Washington isn’t ready for the task. While they have yet to announce a starting QB (the competition raging between Georgia transfer Jacob Eason and sophomore Jake Haener), the Huskies bring a veteran offense to the field that will allow for either to thrive.

Opening with the Eastern Washington Eagles at home, UW better be careful as the Eagles are no standard FCS opponent. Coming off a loss in the FCS National Championship, Eastern Washington has nearly upset the Dawgs twice in Seattle, once in 2011 and once in 2014. Though the Huskies are much-improved since those years, they better be careful not to underestimate the Eagles.

Pac-12 Football Game to Watch Rating? Could be fun

6. Oklahoma State vs. Oregon State (Friday, August 30 – 7:30 pm PT, FS1)

Rumors out of Corvallis is that things are trending up, and it’s hard no to imagine why. Coming off a 2-10 season that saw Oregon State win just one conference game, up is really the only direction the Beavers can go in head coach Jonathan Smith’s second year. Quarterback Jake Luton was impressive in five starts last season and will look to make his final year with the Beavers a memorable one.

Oregon State has a tough opener against another team looking to turn things around in Oklahoma State. The always potent Cowboys had an off-year in 2018 and are looking to get back to their impressive ways in 2019. And while there is the potential for this game to get ugly for the Beavers and Pac-12, it could also prove one of the more interesting Pac-12 football games to watch in week one, with a potential shootout on deck.

Pac-12 Football Game to Watch Rating? Pray for a shootout

5. UCLA vs. Cincinnati (Thursday, August 29 – 4:00 pm PT, ESPN)

Don’t sleep on the UCLA Bruins in the Pac-12 South. I repeat: don’t sleep on the Bruins in the Pac-12 South. Now in Chip Kelly’s second season as head coach, the Bruins will look to be the surprise team in the conference and turn heads as they grasp hold of Kelly’s offense. Sophomore quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson will be much-improved in his second year and should he utilize his legs a little more, the Bruins could prove a potent offense.

UCLA opens its brutal 2019 schedule against a Cincinnati team that went 11-2 in 2018, one of the wins being a 26-17 win over the Bruins in the opener. Revenge is always nice but could be even better this year, as the Bruins would make a statement on the road and across the nation. This one is definitely one of the better Pac-12 football games to watch in week one, especially with it being a Thursday night special.

Pac-12 Football Game to Watch Rating? Could get interesting.

4. Fresno State vs. USC (Saturday, August 31 – 7:30 pm PT, ESPN)

The hottest season in the Pac-12 is at USC and head coach Clay Helton is feeling the pressure. After USC’s first losing season since 2000, the Trojans are looking to finally — and once again — live up to the potential that fills their roster. The problem becomes whether or not they’re able to do so, as they’ve struggled with converting talent into wins.

Fortunately the Trojans’ past, top-ranked recruiting classes are entering their sophomore and junior years and there is the potential for the Trojans to have a HUGE year in 2019. Quarterback JT Daniels enters his sophomore season as the starter and will look to disperse the ball to his talented receivers.

With a lot of potential — and a lot of uncertainty — surrounding USC, seeing how they perform against Fresno State at home will be a good gauge for the rest of their season. Bulldogs head coach Jeff Tedford has a Pac-12 pedigree and Fresno State is coming off a 12-2 season that saw them down Arizona State in the Las Vegas Bowl. This should be a fun opener to watch in the Pac-12.

Pac-12 Football Game to Watch Rating? Now we’re talking.

3. Utah vs. BYU (Thursday, August 29 – 7:15 pm PT, ESPN)

After UCLA’s opener at Cincinnati, Pac-12 fans will be treated to another outstanding game Thursday night: Utah vs. BYU. Predicted to win the Pac-12 South and the Pac-12 Conference, expectations for the Utes are high in 2019. Anchored by a terrific defense (with headliners defensive end Bradlee Anae and defensive tackle Leki Fotu), the Utes will be a formidable force this season. Add running back Zack Moss into the mix and Utah is well-equipped on both offense and defense, providing justification for their lofty expectations.

Utah opens their 2019 campaign with a road test against the BYU Cougars in the Holy War, a contest the Utes have won eight consecutive times. BYU isn’t the toughest opponent Utah will face in 2019 but they aren’t some cake walk either. Especially in the confines of the Cougars’ home stadium, expect this one to be closer than expected and a treat for Pac-12 fans in week one.

Pac-12 Football Game to Watch Rating? Must watch.

2. Northwestern vs. Stanford (Saturday, August 31 – 1:00 pm PT, FOX)

Stanford has been a force in the Pac-12 for the past decade and it’s not hard to see why. Focusing on old school fundamentals, smart football and power, the Cardinal have become known for always being a contender in the Pac-12 North and conference, this despite a less-than-passionate fan base. Championships, however, are not won in the stands but rather on the field, and Stanford is once again equipped to challenge for the conference title in 2019. Led by the outstanding K.J. Costello, the Cardinal have a brutal schedule but the talent necessary to make a run.

Opening the season against Northwestern, this game is a hidden gem in college football’s week one matchups. It’s also one of the best.

Pac-12 Football Game to Watch Rating? Must watch.

1. Auburn vs. Oregon (Saturday, August 31 – 4:30 pm PT, ABC)

There should be no surprise that Auburn vs. Oregon is the best Pac-12 football game to watch in week one. The national game of the week and game to be featured on College Gameday, this rematch of the 2011 BCS National Championship is filled with storylines. The Ducks, under second year head coach Mario Cristobal, are expected to content for the Pac-12 Conference and are led by Heisman candidate quarterback Justin Herbert. While they are filled with youth at wide receiver and are looking to improve on defense under first year coordinator Andy Avalos, the Ducks have the talent to thrive in 2019.

Auburn, meanwhile, will be a tough hurdle for Oregon, even with the Tigers starting freshman quarterback Bo Nix. Auburn is outstanding on the defensive front and the matchup between their line and Oregon’s will be something to watch. Expect this game to be a close, thrilling exclamation mark on Pac-12’s week one.

Pac-12 Football Game to Watch Rating? Must watch. Game of the week.

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