There are 10 games on the schedule this week, with everyone but Oregon St. in action. It's a great opportunity to do some scouting for the upcoming Pac-12 season.
A pair of contests between conference teams and ranked opponents from the heartland headline the day, and unfortunately will compete with each other for conference viewers. ABC will carry both games on a regional basis, with ESPN carrying the game not carried on ABC in a given local market.
Its the rubber match between the Huskies and Cornhuskers in a series that started with Nebraska's victorious 56-21 visit to Seattle last season, and continued in the Holiday Bowl, where Washington turned the tables, with a 19-7 upset win.
The Huskies hope their offense, already in high gear, and averaging 35 points per game, can put up enough points to out-distance Nebraska.
They will need plenty of points to keep up with the Huskers, who are averaging 41 points per game, after backing up an opening weekend 40-7 win over FCS foe Chattanooga with a 42-29 win over Fresno St.
This is another rematch, as UCLA upset Texas 34-12 in Austin last year, a win that ultimately cost the Longhorns a bowl game, and possibly earned Bruin coach Rick Neuheisel another year. Can he do it again?
The Longhorns are making their first trip out of town this season, after beating Rice 34-9, and last week barely surviving BYU 17-16.
The Bruins had a hard time getting a 27-17 win over San Jose St. last week in their home opener, but their rushing game does seem to be in good shape, as Derrick Coleman's 135 yard night led UCLA to 272 yards on the ground.
Some FSN regional networks will carry the Kansas-Georgia Tech game, so viewers in some parts of the midwest, southeast, and east will need a premium package that provides more than just their local FSN channel to see the Rocky Mountain Showdown, which actually kicks off the day for the Pac-12.
The Buffs played much better in their second game, and took California into overtime in their non-conference conference contest, but the Bears had the ball last, and scored last as a result, taking a 36-33 win.
The Rams are off to a good start, and the Mt. West early leaders tuned up for their rivalry game with a 33-14 win over FCS Northern Colorado.
Missouri St. (0-2) at #12 Oregon (1-1) 12:30 PDT locally only on Comcast. There's no generally distributed tv for this one, though goducks.com will have an internet stream available only to their paid boosters.
The Bears, a member of the FCS Missouri Valley Conference, are playing their third of four road games to open the season. So far, its been a rough road. Missouri St. got run out of Fayetteville, losing to Arkansas 51-7 in their opener, and last week, were beaten 28-24 by Eastern Kentucky of the FCS Ohio Valley Conference.
The Ducks rebounded from their second consecutive loss to an SEC opponent by blasting Nevada 69-20, behind 3 La Michael James touchdowns, scored in three different aspects of the game (rushing, catching, and on a punt return), and 6 touchdown passes by Darron Thomas. Not only could Oregon put up similar video game numbers against Missouri St., they could do it by halftime.
Presbyterian (1-1) at California (2-0) at 2:30 PDT at AT&T Park in San Francisco. Fortunately, there will be no tv for this intersectional showdown, either. CalBears.com will also have an internet stream available, again only to paying subscribers, not on a pay per view basis.
The Blue Hose (apparently not Hoes) out of the FCS Big South Conference beat North Greenville (apparently not the high school) 38-21, leveling their record after an opening weekend 35-28 loss to Wofford.
The Bears were Golden in overcoming the pesky Buffs, and have clearly settled on Zach Maynard as their quarterback. Maynard completed only 51% of his passes, but threw for 4 touchdowns, including the game winner. The Bears' defense gave up 582 yards, including 474, and 3 touchdowns, in the air. Cal will want to work on improving a number of those numbers in this one.
The Cougars leave Pullman for the first time this season, and will only be back once in the next two months, on Oct. 15 against Stanford, until Nov. 12. They hope to be able to take their air show on the road with the same results they have had in their two home blowout wins. Marshall Lobbestael, filling in for the injured Jeff Tuel, has thrown for 591 yards and 7 touchdowns in less than full time duty in those wins, including 4 scores and 361 yards in Washington St.'s 59-7 win over UNLV.
The Aztecs will provide a considerably stiffer test than Idaho St., or their fellow Mt. West Rebels did. Whether it will be enough offensively remains to be seen; San Diego St. only narrowly defeated Army 23-20. Their defense has allowed only 21 and 20 points in their first two games, so the Cougars will have accomplished something if they come close to their 61.5 points per game average.
The Orangemen pulled out their second consecutive close win, using a 4th quarter touchdown to edge FCS Rhode Island 21-14 in the Rams' season opener. The week before, Syracuse needed overtime to defeat Wake Forest 36-29.
The Trojans have needed the entire game to get both of their wins as well. It took a blocked field goal on the game's last play for USC to take a 23-14 win over Utah, instead of having the Utes take them to overtime. The Trojan defense had to save their opener as well, with a last minute interception that quelled Minnesota.
The good news for USC fans, and bad for everyone else, though, is that the Trojan defense has been solid. If the offense finds consistency, it could be a blowout breakout at Syracuse's expense.
The Illini beat up FBS South Dakota St., outrunning the Jackrabbits 56-3. Illinois scored on their first 7 possessions, and got a pair of rushing touchdowns from both Donovonn Young and Nathan Scheelhaas, plus over 100 yards rushing by Troy Pollard.
The Sun Devils lost a 2 touchdown 4th. quarter lead, but pulled out a 37-30 overtime win over then ranked Missouri, as Brock Osweiler threw his third touchdown pass of the game. It was the first Arizona St. scoring pass that didn't go to WR Aaron Pflugrad, who had 8 catches for 180 yards, and 2 scores.
Arizona St., making their first venture outside of Tempe this season, will look to make (Illini coach Ron) Zook fear the fork.
Utah (1-1, 0-1) at BYU (1-1) 7:15 PM MDT (6:15 PM PDT) on ESPN2. The Holy War, long reserved for the end of the season, moves up on the calendar now that the Utes and the Cougars have both bolted from the Mt. West Conference.
The Utes' defense used 3 forced turnovers to keep themselves with the Trojans, and might well have won the game had it not been for a first half fumble of their own that cost them 7 points. Their task now is to bounce back quickly from a very draining effort, and loss, both physically and mentally, and go on the road into another hostile venue.
The Cougars have to pull it back together quickly after a tough road loss as well. BYU led for more than three quarters of the game, and built a 13-0 lead, only to see Texas outscore them 17-3 the rest of the way.
In an ironic twist, last year, it was Utah, losers last week in the Coliseum due to a blocked field goal, who blocked an end of the game field goal, in order to preserve a 17-16 win over BYU.
Oregon St. fans will be particularly interested in this one, with both the teams on the Beavers' schedule in a span of 15 days in October.
Andrew Luck completed 71% of his passes, for 290 yards and 4 touchdowns, as the Cardinal led wire to wire in their 44-14 road win over Duke. Stanford also spread 205 rushing yards out over 8 players.
The Wildcats were walloped 37-14 in Stillwater by Oklahoma St. Arizona quarterback Nick Foles threw for just shy of 400 yards, but got almost no help. The 'Cats only ran for 41 yards, and the Dessert Swarm defense allowed the Cowboys to ride roughshod over them for just under 600 yards, including 377 in the air.
Luck will be licking is chops, but the fact remains that even with all their injuries, their inexperienced offensive line, and a non-existent defense, the 'Cats, reinforced by the 'Zona Zoo and the Tucson heat, still represent a far more difficult opponent than the Cardinal have faced yet this season. And Foles has completed more passes than anyone in the country, a big concern for the Stanford secondary.
Here's the national schedule, complete with eastern times so you can remember to subtract 3 hours.
Here's a list of available live streams of games.
Once again, with 10 games, the lack of the Pac-12 network means the inventory over-taxes the available television slots, especially with FX not choosing to involve themselves with the Pac this week. Another pair of FCS opponents, and not ones relevant to the west, doesn't help matters any either. The cool interest in the conference shown by FSN continues to illustrate the consequences of their being excluded from the next contract, and what happens when the contract doesn't require the games the carriers have the option of carrying to actually be shown.