Posted: 9:00 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013
By Jack Follman
1. Arizona State at Stanford 4 pm FOX
JF - This is the first real Pac-12 showdown of the season between two teams that are expected to compete for their division championships. The Sun Devils showed that they are for real in their second season under Todd Graham by (technically) beating Wisconsin last week and the Cardinal are notorious for letting teams hang around. Expect a close one that determines a some of the power balance early in the conference.
AK - ASU had trouble stopping Wisconsin power last week. Is Stanford going to be a similar story or is there an upset brewing with the offensively-struggling Cardinal?
2. Utah at BYU 7:15 pm ESPN2
JF - This one always seems to be entertaining, and early-season rivalry games are especially fun. The Utes are trying to sweep their entirely in-state non-conference slate and this is by far the toughest match-up. The Cougars offense with athletic quarterback Taysom Hill showed that they can put up major numbers in their throttling of Texas, and Utah did the same in their 51-48 loss to Oregon State. This one could end up being a high-scoring affair.
AK - The Holy War is always a great and competitive contest full of fireworks. Can BYU's defense slow down Utah's offense? Can Utah's defense get it together?
3. Oregon State at San Diego State 4:30 pm CBS Sports Network
JF - The Aztecs have looked horrible thus far this season, but so has the Beavers' defense and it's on the road in San Diego. The Beavers should be able to put up a lot of points through the air on the Aztecs, but this could turn into a barnburner if the Aztecs can get their offense together and do the same.
AK - The Beavers might as well be in the Mountain West with their all-offense/no-defense thing. A road trap lures at San Diego.
4. Utah State at USC 12:30 pm ABC/ESPN2
JF - The Trojans showed that they aren't utterly terrible by blowing out Boston College and showed some signs of life in their passing game with Cody Kessler. They now have a chance to do it two weeks in a row against an opponent that should be strong, but very beatable. Still, watch out for the Aggies though, as they took Utah down to the wire and have one of the best non-BCS quarterbacks in the country in Chuckie Keeton.
AK - How will the USC defense handle Chuckie Keeton?
5. Idaho at Washington State 7:30 pm Pac-12 Network
JF - Glad to see that they are rejuvenating the old cross-state rivalry, but I can't imagine the Vandals are with how bad they have looked, and how strong the Cougars have looked thus far this season. Still, it's an interesting rivalry as the schools are literally a 10 minute drive away from each other and there was supposedly bad blood when they called it off a few years ago.
AK - WSU still has plenty of kinks, so any game they play against any opponent can be a competitive affair.
6. New Mexico State at UCLA 7:30 pm Pac-12 Network
JF - This one looks bad on paper, but the Bruins are going to be coming off a very emotional and draining, marquee road game, so maybe there will be a let down.
AK - UCLA has their final warmup test, and it will be brutal.
7. Idaho State at Washington 12 pm Pac-12 Network
JF - Washington's new up-tempo offense has been fun to watch this season so far against good opponents, so there should be some pretty impressive fireworks when they face off against an FCS opponent.
AK - Only thing worth watching is how deep the Huskies can go.