PAC-12 teams set to kick-off college football opening weekend

The Golden Bears started off their season a week early by beating Hawaii 51-31 in Sydney. (Photo by Mark Nolan)

By Connor Buestad |

Thursday, September 1st:

Southern Utah at Utah

The Utes had an impressive start to last year's season, before sputtering toward the finish. Kyle Whittingham has himself a bona-fide program up in Salt Lake these days. It will be interesting to see if he can replace his starting QB, running back and core wideouts in 2016. If anything, they will fall back on their stout defense that shut down Jared Goff in last season's College Gameday showdown in Utah. 

Oregon State at Minnesota

The Beavers went 2-10 last year under the leadership of new coach Gary Anderson, who came to Corvallis from Wisconsin. This season might not be much easier as they start on the road as 13 point underdogs. 

Friday, September 2nd: 

Colorado State at Colorado

Unfortunately for the Buffs, Kordell Stewart isn't walking through that door. Expect another rough go of it in Boulder this year. Too bad Cal doesn't get to play them this year. 

Kansas State at #8 Stanford

The Cardinal start the season at home with perhaps the best player in the country running the ball for them in Christian McCaffrey. If they can replace Kevin Hogan with a consistent signal caller, you can bet Stanford will be in the hunt for a Final Four birth by season's end. They will give 15 points to K-State on Friday night.

Saturday, September 3rd: 

Rutgers at #14 Washington

Lots of hoopla surrounding the Washington Huskies this year, as no one can seem to decide to long or short their stock. Because of Jake Browning's natural arm and Myles Gaskin's speed, many talking heads are picking Washington to overtake Oregon in the northwest. We'll see. They start vs. Rutgers as 26 point favorites. 

#16 UCLA at Texas A&M

The Bruins find themselves as three point underdogs in Game 1, even though A&M isn't even ranked. It certainly points to the respect people have for the SEC, the 12th Man, and summer heat in College Station. Josh Rosen will lead UCLA at QB, a kid who has received more than his fair share of hype this offseason. 

UC Davis at #24 Oregon

Once the darlings of the PAC-12, the Ducks will start the year barely in the Top-25. They'll try to get their speed offense rolling vs. upset minded UC Davis at Autzen in their opener. 

#20 USC vs. #1 Alabama (Cowboys' Stadium)

The Trojans will take a crack at current college football royalty when they roll into Jerry's World to face 'Bama in the weekend's marquee game. No doubt, many folks will use this as a barometer in the never ending SEC vs. PAC-12 debate.

Eastern Washington at Washington State

Mike Leach is back in Pullman for what should be another year of "PAC-12 After Dark" shootouts in the great northwest. 

BYU at Arizona

Expect a barn-burner in this one as Rich Rod leads his troops against a traditionally solid BYU team. The over/under on this one is hovering around 60 and 'Zona is favored by a point. Keep in mind Arizona won't be technically at home, as the game will be played at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.  

Northern Arizona at Arizona State

A-State expects to finish in the middle of the PAC this year, well-heeled by a stout defense, in particular at linebacker. They start things off with a cupcake matchup at home vs. Northern Arizona.