The first week of the college football season usually turns out to be an easy game for the power house teams, something of a prerequisite to the more competitive teams within their respective conferences. Oregon, UCLA, Stanford, USC, Arizona State and Washington are all teams which would be considered “cupcake” teams; granted all six of these PAC-12 teams are in the Top 25 so they should get through the weekend 1-0, but anything is possible.
There’s no doubt that the expectations for the Oregon Ducks to be one of the semifinalist in the inaugural College Football Playoffs is very high. They have a few obstacles that they will have to go through to meet their and their fans expectations, including an early season Top 10 showdown with Michigan State. But first they have what appears to be a warm up game against South Dakota. But Head Coach Joe Glenn will not bow down to a more talented Ducks team. The Ducks will need to have the same focus against the Coyotes that they would have against Stanford, or they can have the same mishap which blew up Michigan’s season in 2007 when Appalachian State went into the “Big House” and upset the Wolverines. But that shouldn’t happen; the Ducks will win big in Autzen Stadium.
The start of the Sarkisian era is about to take sail and Steve Sarkisian will be looking to bring the men of “Troy” back to dominance starting with the Bulldogs of Fresno State. Junior quarterback Brian Burrell is looking to redeem the Bulldogs lose in the Las Vegas Bowl. USC doesn’t have any room to play around. They are 17 point favorites and with a somewhat inexperienced starting quarterback on the opposite side, they will have to get all their ducks in a row and come out strong. Much like Oregon the season opener against Fresno State is just a prelude to the show down they have with Stanford the following week.
Now, a Heisman candidate, now a premier quarterback, and with talks of being on the same level with Jameis Winston, Brett Hundley will have to show how good a field general he is, and what a better way to do that than against Virginia. Coming off a 2-10 season a year ago, the Cavaliers’ defense allowed over 400 yards and 33.2 points per game last year which was 99th in the country. They shouldn’t give the Bruin offense any trouble. A route in Charlottesville is a brewin’ (no pun intended).
If you’re not part of the two institutions (Colorado and Colorado State) you might not be familiar with the “Rocky Mountain Showdown”. It’s another year and the rivalry renews. In-state bragging rights are up for grabs. Colorado and Head Coach Mike Macintyre are looking to improve on a 4-8 season from a year ago. A chance to do that against your in-state rival even though it’s at a neutral site, it can bold well for their confidence, especially sophomore quarterback Sefo Liufau.
Much like the other Top 25 teams (Oregon, USC and UCLA) mentioned Arizona State, Stanford and Washington have relatively easy games this week against teams that they have superior advantages over, where they should win easily. Even though between the three of them, Washington does have to go on the road, but they are playing a Hawaii team, whose program has really gone down in recent years. And there has been talk of discontinuing the football program. Spirits may be down across the Pacific, and Washington can and should take advantage. This will Jeff Lindquist a chance to preform well without looking over his shoulder, since Cyler Miles is suspended for the season opener.