Summer is almost over. School is back in session and college football is, finally here. Upsets, glory, sweat, everything is on the line the Conference of Champions, as coaching change-ups are bringing home in Southern California with Chip Kelly returning to the Pac while both Arizona schools are going through changes.
Here’s the Week 1 Look-Ahead!
#6 Washington @ #9 Auburn
Alright, so this is technically a “neutral” game in the grand scheme of things, however, they won’t have to travel far to Atlanta for a Top-10 showdown in the first week of the season, with both sides looking to give their aspirations for a playoff spot an early boost.
If you like defense, this is the match-up for you as the Tigers & Huskies are projected to be among the nation’s elite, the Huskies of which return nine starters on that side of the ball. If those nine ca get through the Tigers rejuvenated front line, Washington will definitely have the upper hand.
Prediction: Washington takes the game 21-17, coming in at +2.5.
#13 Stanford vs San Diego St
Both the Cardinal and Aztecs have rosters capable of winning their respective conferences, while the Cardinal look to avenge last seasons 20-17 defeat against San Diego St. A similar result will be damaging, once again, to Stanford’s apsirations of cracking the final four.
An absolute battle in the trenches is expected, once again, as both sides utilize run heavy offenses, with a physical defense that isn’t afraid to punch you in the mouth. And they will.
Prediction: Stanford wins 34-17, covering the 14-point spread.
#15 USC vs UNLV
Looking to defend their conference championship, the Men of Troy will be throwing JT Daniels, a true freshman that could have been playing his senior year of high school ball, right into the fire as they take on the Runnin’ Rebels. A nice opportunity for Daniels to take his chops as UNLV isn’t projected to be on the same level as USC.
Outside of Daniels, can the Trojans get a running game going after the departure of Ronald Jones II, who eclipsed the 1,200 mark last season. Plenty of options to replace him and give Daniels a capable partner right behind him.
Prediction: USC wins 44-14, covering the 26.5-point spread.
#24 Oregon vs Bowling Green
It’s official. The Ducks will be wearing all yellow for their opener as they aim to climb the rankings and back into the discussion of the CFP. A cupcake game like this won’t move the needle much as far as climbing goes, however, gives the Ducks a great opportunity to build some momentum.
Prediction: Oregon wins 55-27, not covering the 32-point spread.
Utah vs Weber St (Friday Kick-Off!)
Game has just kicked off, and Utah should run away as they hope to win the Pac-12 South.
Prediction: 48-10 Utah, well covering the 28-point spread.
UCLA vs Cincinnati
Chip Kelly’s tenure as the head man in Westwood finally begins on Saturday, with graduate transfer Wilton Speight leading the charge, just ahead of Devon Modster and Dorian Thomas-Robinson, the freshman phenom.
While a win over the Bearcats may not be earth shattering, it’s a start to see what Kelly has ready for his team before a tough visit in Oklahoma.
Prediction: UCLA wins 31-14, just covering the 14.5-point spread.
Arizona vs Brigham Young
Kevin Sumlin looks to get his tenure in the Old Pueblo off with a bang, as the WIldcats host the Cougars on Saturday evening. Coming with Sumlin is Noel Mazzone back into the Pac-12.
With all the debuts, Arizona and the nation will have their eyes zereod in on Khalil Tate, the electric Wildcats quarterback that could see himself sneaking into the Heisman discussion as the season wears on.
Prediction: Arizona wins 34-20, covering the 11.5-point spread.
Arizona State vs UT-San Antonio
Just like the Wildcats, Arizona State is looking towards building under Herm Edwards. And build they’ll need to do as Manny Wilkins will play his last year in Tempe. A win against the Roadrunners is expected for Edwards, however, it won’t be as easy as expected as UTSA brings back six defensive starters and have a formidable unit.
Prediction: Arizona State wins 21-10, failing to cover the -18.5-point spread.
California vs North Carolina
Prediction: Cal wins 35-24 covering the 7.5-point spread.
Washington State vs Wyoming
Prediction: Wyoming wins 21-17 despite being a 1-point dog.
Colorado vs Colorado St
Prediction: Colorado takes it 30-17 covering a 7.5-point spread.
Oregon State vs Ohio State
Prediction: Ohio State wins 51-14 covering the 38.5-point dog.