Here's your week two Pac-10 preview. Enjoy!
Stanford @ Wake Forest, 9:00 AM
With 17 starters back, Jim Harbaugh's Cardinal figures to make a bowl for the 1st time since 2001. The long trip to Winston-Salem is just Stanford's third East Coast game this decade, and it will be a tough one as Wake Forest really needs a win after dropping the opener to upstart Baylor thanks to an uncharacteristic four turnovers.
The Deacons have had three postseason meetings against Pac-10 opponents, all of them wins, with the most recent one coming in the 2002 Seattle Bowl where Wake defeated Oregon 38-17.
"Stanford is a new team to us," said linebacker Matt Woodlief. "It's going to be a different set of players from out West. I like that because I love new challenges."
Prediction Wake Forest-20, Stanford-13
Idaho @ Washington, 12:30 PM
(From UW Dawg Pound, John Berkowitz) "The Dawgs meet Idaho in a matchup between two of the worst teams in the country in 2008. Both teams are improved in 2009 and the Vandals are sky high after winning its opener against New Mexico State on the road last weekend.
Washington gave LSU all it could handle last week keeping with the Tigers late into the fourth quarter till the game was ultimately decided by a long LSU drive.
Idaho is a 21 point underdog and as you can see below are inferior on paper in every area to Washington. As we saw last week in the UW game, paper is one thing and the playing field is quite another if you don't take your opponent seriously."
Prediction Washington-33, Idaho-10
UCLA @ Tennessee, 1:00 PM, ESPN
The Bruins looked lost in the first half of last year's opener against Tennessee, but stormed back to upset the Vols in OT. This year's UCLA squad is lacking at the skill positions, but has the defense to compete at Rocky Top and get Rick Neuheisel's squad back to the postseason.
The Bruins were outscored 14-10 in the first quarter but then scored 23 straight unanswered points to get the 33-14 win against San Diego State last Saturday. Bruin Quarterback Kevin Prince had an alright game, throwing for 176 yards and one touchdown.
In Knoxville on Saturday, the Volunteers demolished Western Kentucky 63-7. UT QB Jonathan Crompton threw for 5 touchdown passes in the rout.
Prediction Tennessee-30, UCLA-23
Eastern Washington @ California, 2:30 PM
Jahvid Best and California entered this season with high expectations. After a dominant opener, they seem to be prepared to meet those very lofty goals.
The Heisman Trophy hopeful and 10th ranked Golden Bears look to take advantage of their first meeting with Eastern Washington on Saturday.
Best, who had 1,580 rushing yards and averaged a team record 8.1 per carry last season, is considered a Heisman candidate this year. The junior running back lived up to those expectations last Saturday, rushing for 137 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries to help power a 52-13 win over the Maryland Terripans.
Best has 950 yards and eleven touchdowns on 85 rushes over the last five meetings with unranked opponents -- all wins.
Prediction California-40, Eastern Washington-3
Hawaii vs Washington State, 4:00 PM
The Hawaii Warriors make their first trip to the mainland this weekend as they challenge the Washington State Cougars in a non conference bout at Qwest Field in Seattle.
The Warriors took their time warming up in their season opener last Friday night versus little Central Arkansas, waiting until the final minutes to capture the 25-20 win over the Bears, a team from the Southland Conference. Hawaii, which is part of the WAC, doesn't play back on the island until October 10th when it challenges league foe Fresno State. In between, there are stops at UNLV and Louisiana Tech, in addition to a bye week dividing both of those contests.
As for the Cougars, a team that finished a mere 2-11 last season and won just one game against the rest of the Pac-10, they were easily handled by Stanford in the opener in Pullman, 39-13, putting the team in an early hole when it comes to the conference standings. Last year, the only conference win for WSU came against Washington, a program that was winless overall, and it took the Cougars two overtimes to get the job done.
Prediction Washington State-20, Hawaii-17
Rest of the preview after the break
USC @ Ohio State, 5:00 PM, ESPN
The final score was a lopsided 35-3, so it's easy to forget that Ohio State largely controlled this game last year until a second quarter pick-six sent the Buckeyes into the tank. This season's rematch is at the Horseshoe, but the lackluster Week 1 performances of Ohio State and most of the Big Ten brethren don't inspire much confidence that the Bucks truly belong on the field with the seven-time defending Pac 10 champ.
Dan "Boom" Herron can't remember much about his first career start at tailback for Ohio State in the huge showdown at SC last year.
He can't recall specific plays, but he does remember the score: a 35-3 bruise on the Buckeyes' national reputation.
"The score was ugly and that's something that we need to fix this year," he said.
A year of waiting for the rematch comes down to Saturday night when the third ranked Trojans visit the No. 8 Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium before what surely will be a rocking, revenge-minded crowd of more than 106,000.
Prediction Ohio State-20, USC-17
Northern Arizona @ Arizona, 7:00 PM
The NAU Lumberjacks come into Tucson in a game that should have no reason being played. You thought Portland State was bad, imagine ten times worse. Northern Arizona competes in the FCS (the old I-AA), in the Big Sky Conference.
The Lumberjacks are coming off of a 6-5 season in 2008. NAU returns 14 starters (7 offense, 7 defense) from the 2008 team.
Prediction Arizona-38, Northern Arizona-6
Purdue @ Oregon, 7:15 PM, FSN
Purdue shouldn't be fast enough to keep up with Oregon, but it made things quite difficult for the Ducks last year. Moreover, this game is sandwiched between the marquee season opener at Boise State and a visit from the Utah Utes. Even though Purdue has been sliding of late and changed coaches, the Boilermakers are still a Big Ten team worthy of some respect.
The Ducks are coming off a 19-8 loss to Boise State, in the punch heard 'round the world game. While Purdue is coming off of a 52-31 win against Toledo.
After a tight first half, I expect the Ducks to pull away in the final two quarters.
Prediction Oregon-30, Purdue-17
Oregon State @ UNLV, 8:00 PM, CSTV
Las Vegas, baby! This week Oregon State travels down to the high desert to take on the UNLV Runnin' Rebels. This football match up pits the MWC against the Pac-10.
If you remember last year, these two conferences matched up early in the season for a 1-6 trouncing of the Pac-10 teams by the MWC. During bowl season Arizona was able to bring the series to 2-6. This can be a little misleading though, because position for position match ups between the conferences were one-sidedly weighted favoring the MWC team.
Prediction Oregon State-45, UNLV-23
Anyways, some pretty good games to watch and and some not so good games. Enjoy your College Football Saturday and good luck to all of your teams.