Utah State at Utah: Utah State returns 16 starters this season, from their 11-2 (6-0 in the WAC) team last year. They have a promising young QB in Chuckie Keeton, who passed for 3,373 yards and 27 touchdowns last season, while rushing for 619 yards and eight more touchdowns. He should be a handful for a Utah defense who is replacing virtually all their secondary, excluding their junior free safety Eric Rowe. Utah State also returns seven defensive starters from last season, which ranked seventh in the nation in points against last year.
My Pick: Utah State 28 – Utah 17
USC at Hawaii: Norm Chow’s first year at Hawaii didn’t go exactly in plan, going 3-9 last season. However, there is some good news heading into the season; the team returns 17 starters, eight on offense, eight on defense, and their kicker. Along with those starters they have Ohio State transfer Taylor Graham, who will be taking snaps this year for the Warriors, who haven’t had a great QB since the Colt Brennan days. With that being said, they will be improved, but wont be able to match up with the Trojans, even if they are going to be playing two QB’s (Max Wittek and Cody Kessler). Virtually a preseason game for them.
My Pick: USC 49 – Hawaii 21
Northern Arizona at Arizona: From the FCS, Northern Arizona always has a pretty good team, but in the FCS; they haven’t fared to well when playing Pac 12 teams, they lost to Arizona State lat year 63 to 6. Arizona has All American running back Ka’Deem Carey, that is looking to pad his Heisman stats as well. Look for Arizona to have some fun this game.
My Pick: Arizona 63 – Northern Arizona 7 (One point improvement for NAU!)
Nicholls State at Oregon: Oregon is very good. Enough said.
Oregon 100 – Nicholls State 3
Eastern Washington at Oregon State: Oregon State returns 17 starters from their 9 and 4 team of last year. Eastern Washington always puts up a fight to the Pac 12 teams, giving both Washington, and Washington State fits the past two seasons. They’ll continue to give Pac 12 teams fits, but I don’t see them beating a very good Pac 12 team in Oregon State.
My Pick: Oregon State 31 – Eastern Washington 24
Nevada at UCLA: Back to Back Pac 12 south champs, UCLA shows no signs of a let off. They have a Heisman hopeful in Quarterback, Brett Hundley. They will have to look for a replacement of former star running back Johnathan Franklin. Junior Jordan James, looks to fill those very big shoes. Nevada will still be doing the same old pistol offense they have always done, but have a new guy calling the plays. The future Hall of Fame coach, Chris Ault, the inventor of the Pistol offense, stepped down after last season. He is being replaced by first year head coach, Brian Polian, son of former NFL executive Bill Polian. I think Nevada takes awhile to adjust to the new coach, and has their fair share of struggles, especially in game number one.
My Pick: UCLA 42 – Nevada 21
Boise State at Washington: What might of been the best bowl game of last years bowl season, which had Boise State winning a nail-biter, 28 to 26 over those poor Pups of Washington. You can be sure that UW will be looking for revenge, when the Broncos travel to Seattle to play in the inaugural game of the newly renovated Husky Stadium, which even for a die hard Coug fan, it looks quite nice…I guess. Boise State has always had an elite defense capable of stopping the best of offenses, but that will be tested this year when they are only returning four starters from last year. That D will really be tested by the Huskies, who have quite the potent attack this year with the combination of, QB Keith Price, RB Bishop Sankey, WR Kasen Williams, and TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins. That combo should be able to exploit the inexperienced Broncos D and lead them to a win in their fancy new stadium.
My Pick: Washington 28 – Boise State 17
Colorado at Colorado State: Colorado State is bad, but so is Colorado; so the battle for Colorado will be a very competitive match up. The Rams won last years match up 22 to 17 over the Buffs. I think it will be the same this year. Colorado has a new Coach in Mike Macintyre, there for it might take a few weeks to see what Colorado really has.
My Pick: Colorado 14 – Colorado State 24
Washington State at Auburn: ALERT! OPTIMISTIC COUG FAN! ALERT! Yes I do believe we will beat Auburn. I think the Cougs rode the Apple Cup victory into the off season, and had a very productive off season in all aspects. This team is hungrier than ever, and has a whole year under Mike Leach now. Connor Halliday will prove that he has mastered the Air Raid, and with virtually all his weapons back, along with a very deep, and talented receiving core; I believe we see this offense click, and put up a lot of points. Auburn has a talented team though and it will be no cake walk, despite their poor record last year (3 and 9). Gus Malzahn will be starting Nick Marshall, a junior college transfer who has a very similar story to Cam Newton, a Malzahn disciple. We catch a break that it’s week one, and it could take a couple weeks before Marshall really learns the offense, we can only hope. Upset Alert!
My Pick: COUGS 28 – Auburn 24