The Pac-12 football TV schedule gets started Thursday night with Arizona-USC, and the Trojans working to pick up the pieces in the post-Lane Kiffin era. When Saturday arrives, there’s a good card of conference games. Here’s a look at what’s on tap in the games getting national exposure…
Oregon-Washington (4 PM ET, Fox Sports 1): I’m not sure how many of you get Fox Sports 1 on a standard cable/satellite package, so I don’t automatically include their games on these weekly TV reports. But this game is too good to pass up.
Washington gave Stanford all it could handle last week and now takes a shot at the Pac-12 North’s other behemoth. In my own BCS bowl projections, I vaulted Oregon over Stanford into the national championship game based on the Cardinal struggles, but now the Ducks have to demonstrate they can really take care of a good opponent.
This game will be in Washington, and as important as it’s going to be for Bishop Sankey to control tempo with his running, it’s going to be even more important for Huskie quarterback Keith Price to have a big game. I really don’t think Washington’s defense can stop Marcus Mariota and that Oregon offense no matter how much they keep the Ducks off the field. It likely takes 40-45 points for Washington to win.
I can’t see it, and though (-13) is a high number on the line, there will likely be enough points scored for Oregon to cover that in a competitive game.
Cal-UCLA (10:30 PM ET, ESPN2): Cal was blown out by Washington State last week, in addition to more predictable defeats at the hands of Ohio State and Oregon. The only hope for the Golden Bears is that UCLA gets caught peeking ahead to its next two games, against Stanford and Oregon. But that’s still a consideration only for handicappers who have to decide whether to give (-24). UCLA is unbeaten and not going to lose to a bad team at home.
Oregon State-Washington State (10:30 PM ET, ESPNU): This is the classic game that won’t draw national interest, since the most either team can hope for is take third in the Pac-12 North, and more likely settle for fourth, but has strong interest for college football buffs. Both are solid bowl teams, both have good quarterback and both also have question marks.
Oregon State started the year with a terrible loss to Eastern Washington and it’s wins over Hawaii and San Diego State were less than inspiring. They don’t run the ball at all–the leading rusher has 152 yards after five game. But they can throw with Sean Mannion, they have a good coach in Mike Riley and at 4-1, there’s plenty of time to put together a nice eight-win season.
Washington State is clearly on the rise under Mike Price, with its win over USC, near-miss against Auburn and the play of quarterback Connor Halliday. They’ve got two losses, but have got the Stanford game behind them. The Coogs look ready to get back into bowl play this season and a home win here goes a long way towards securing that goal.
Either way, look for a good game and the ball to be in the air constantly.
In non-national games, the Pac-12 Network will have Stanford-Utah at 6 PM ET and Colorado-Arizona State at 10 PM ET.