Conference play begins in earnest this week with three games, but it is the three big non-conference games that will get most of the attention nationally, and on tv.
ESPN Gameday starts every game day, and this week, they are in Boise, and staying around, as ABC's national game at 5PM is 24th. ranked Oregon St. and 3rd. ranked Boise St. Obviously, it's the Broncos that they are traveling so far to see, but they won't be coming for the Utah St. game. The Beavers showed well and traveled well to Dallas, for ESPN, so they get their first appearance ever on Gameday. It's the first time ever for a WAC team on Gameday as well.
Stanford starts the Pac-10 day at noon, as the 16th. ranked Cardinal visit South Bend, and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. And N(otre Dame)BC has the national coverage. A Stanford win sets up a huge showdown the following week in Eugene.
Speaking of the point a minute plus Ducks, 5th. ranked Oregon opens Pac-10 play Saturday night in Tempe at 7:30, against the Arizona St. Sun Devils, and the Fox Sports network of regional channels will carry the game nationally.
An Oregon win coupled with a strong Stanford showing could even persuade the GD crew to stay around for the rematch in Autzen of Oregon's only conference loss last year.
UCLA visits Austin to take on #7/#4 Texas at 12:30, and that's the ABC regional game for the Pac-10 and Big-12 areas, the northeast, and some of the midwest and southeast. The Bruins and Longhorns are on the premium ESPN 3/Game Plan in the rest of the country.
20th. ranked USC visits Pullman at noon as well, to take on the Washington St. Cougars. And in a real rarity, the Trojans are playing a game not readily available nationally. The game will be carried by Fox Sports Northwest, and on Fox Sports Prime Ticket in southern California. The rest of the country can get the game, but only if they subscribe to the plan.
The Cal Golden Bears visit Tucson at 7 to take on the #14/#16 Arizona Wildcats, and this is where the absence of a Pac-12 network really hurts. The game is available in Arizona on Fox Sports Arizona Plus, an extra cost premium option, and the Bay area, and some other areas, on Comcast's CSN Plus premium channel, but only on systems that carry Comcast.
Washington has the week off to prepare for their conference opener at USC.
The #14 Utah Utes are looking ahead to what they hope are better tv days as well when they join the Pac, as their game at 7 against San Jose St. is a rare and embarrassing radio only game.
The Colorado Buffalos, the other future Pac member, also have the week off, in anticipation of a visit in a week from the SEC's Georgia Bulldogs.