Merry Football Christmas!
You can watch football games today! Pac-12 games, even! Lots of them!
Yes, it’s a heavy exclamation point day. The 100-degree weather feels a little cooler as college football returns. Read on for the Pac-12 TV schedule, a weekend preview and thoughts on Rich Rodriguez’s first game as the Arizona Wildcats’ head coach.
This Week in the Pac-12 (TWit-Pac) is happy to be back. All times Arizona/Pacific:
|Thu Aug 30||N. Colorado||Utah||4:15 p.m.||P12N|
|N. Arizona||ASU||7:30 p.m.||P12N|
|Fri Aug 31||San Jose St.||Stanford||7 p.m.||P12N|
|Sat Sep 1||Nevada||Cal||12 p.m.||P12N|
|Colorado||Colorado St.||1 p.m.||FX|
|Arkansas St.||Oregon||7:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|San Diego St.||Washington||7:30 p.m.||P12N|
P12N = Pac-12 Network
CBSSN = CBS Sports Network
Note that it’s FOX and not Fox Sports Net. Will the first game televised as part of the Pac-12’s new deal with the home of the Simpsons feature the football robot?
And, yes, you’re reading that right: four games on Thursday. So it’s like Football Christmas combined with Football Thanksgiving! To the games…
Northern Colorado at Utah
Utah may be trying to intensify its new rivalry with Colorado by stealing a cupcake from CU’s backyard.
UCLA at Rice
In his first ever game as a college coach Jim Mora will be starting freshman Brett Hundley in his first ever game as a college quarterback.
WSU at BYU
This one will get the most eyeballs of today’s games. It’s on regular ol’ ESPN and, now that Hawaiʻi no longer uses the Run and Shoot, pass-happy fans will be relying on Mike Leach and Wazzu for their late-night aerial-attack snacks. Plus, who can say no to Cougar-on-Cougar action?
Northern Arizona at ASU
Arizona State College-Flagstaff renews its longstanding series with Arizona State College-Tempe. New Sun Devil coach Todd Graham isn’t starting a freshman quarterback but sophomore Taylor Kelly only threw four passes last year.
San Jose State at Stanford
The loss of Jim Harbaugh did not instantly kill the Cardinal program. Will the departure of Andrew Luck do the trick? Junior QB Josh Nunes only has half as many career passes as ASU’s Kelly.
Nevada at Cal
We spent a lot of time last year talking about Pac-12 coaches on the hot seat. Cal’s Jeff Tedford put up a winning season and survived but it’s not surprising to see his name on unpleasant lists again. Tedford and the Bears really need this game with trips to Ohio State and USC coming up in weeks three and four.
Colorado vs. Colorado State
This is the annual rivalry game known as the Rocky Mountain Showdown. Colorado has won seven of the 11 games in the series played in the Denver Broncos’ home stadium.
Hawaiʻi at USC
Norm Chow facing USC in his first game as head coach is an interesting story line but unless Chow gets to bring Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush with him this game won’t be much more than the first entry on Matt Barkley’s Heisman resume.
Toledo at ARIZONA
Do you remember the 41-2 game at Toledo two years ago? Juron Criner certainly looked like an NFL receiver that night (warning: loud music ahead).
Arkansas State at Oregon
The Ducks are taking a break from tough non-conference games this year with Arkansas State, Fresno State and Tennessee Tech, all at home. Bad news if you were hoping Oregon would get knocked around a bit before the Pac-12 opener with the Cats.
San Diego State at Washington
Washington has the Pac-12’s second-best returning quarterback in Keith Price. The last time the junior took the field he was producing 477 total yards and seven TDs in that ludicrous Alamo Bowl game.
Nicholls State at OSU – postponed
The Colonels of Thibodaux, Louisiana aren’t able to travel due to Hurricane Isaac. It’s said the makeup date could be Dec. 1 if Oregon State isn’t in the Pac-12 Championship Game. I think it’s safe to go ahead and book the game, Beavers.
* * *
36, 54, 28, 49, 60, 66, 44, 45, 42.
No, it’s not LOST II, those are the points Toledo put up in winning eight of its final nine games last year, including the Military Bowl. Not what you want to see if you’re an Arizona team with a lot of question marks on defense.
Add in that Rich Rodriguez is 0-4 in his coaching debuts at a new school and there’s a bit of intrigue to Saturday’s game. It certainly won’t be a repeat of the Idaho game from a few years back.
UA quarterback Matt Scott does not want a repeat of the last time he faced Toledo. Two years ago he game into the game backed up on his own 4-yard line and the series ended up with a holding penalty in the end zone for a safety.
Scott has come a long way since then and I expect the combination of Scott and running back Ka’Deem Carey to put on a show at Arizona Stadium this weekend. The trick will be out-showing the Rockets’ potent offense.
There are no head-turning games to open the season in the Pac-12 like last year’s Oregon/LSU tilt. The goal is for the conference to go 12-0 (well, 11-0 now) with much bigger games looming next week.
For Rich Rodriguez and the rest of the new coaches, it’s finally time to make that first impression.
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