Saturday, August 26th
#6 USC vs. San Jose State (5:00 PM PT, Pac-12 Network)
John: USC - As much as I’d like to see an amazing San Jose State upset, I think a Spartan team that’s replacing a lot of its defense is going to be ripe picking for the USC offense. This is probably a blowout Trojan win.
The_Coach: USC - This will give Beavers fans a solid chance to look at San Jose State, who Oregon State will be ready to line-up against in Week One. Not only do I think USC breaks open the game in the second half, but I think Trojans’ head coach Lincoln Riley throws in some fun wrinkles he’s been working on all summer. USC by a country mile.
Tucker: USC - It’s hard to see the Trojan’s stumbling out of the gate this quickly. The Spartans have as much experience as you can get in sixth year QB Chevan Cordeiro, but not much in the way of proven receiving options. Even if they did, it would not be enough to overcome the firepower USC has on the offensive side of the ball. The Trojans win and cover the 30 point spread.
Saturday, August 26th
Bonus Pick: Navy vs. #13 Notre Dame (11:30 AM PT, NBC)
John: Notre Dame - Should be a fun atmosphere for this game, with the Fighting Irish taking the Midshipmen all the way to Ireland for their season opener. Navy is breaking in a new head coach, and Notre Dame will take advantage of that. Hope the Dublin crowd doesn’t mind a blowout.
The_Coach: Notre Dame - Our first “Bonus Pick” of the season comes all the way from Dublin, where this type of shenanigans is now an annual staple of college football. I don’t know what to expect from new Navy head coach Brian Newberry, but it’s probably not an upset from the get-go. Notre Dame 38, Navy 17.
Tucker: Navy - If you are looking for variance a good place to find it would be in a week 0 cross-ocean trip to Ireland. For the first time since 2002 Navy will not have either Paul Johnson or his protege Ken Niumatalolo calling plays. New offensive coordinator Grant Chesnut has a similar scheme (he did play high school football for none other than Paul Johnson), but will throw in enough new wrinkles that the Irish have not seen before. Notre Dame is a justifiably heavy favorite, but add in a new playcaller and transfer QB for some uncertainty on that side of the ball. Navy has kept the game to within a touchdown or less in three of the last six matchups and will take down Notre Dame for the first time since 2016. Anchors Aweigh!
(Note: Anytime there is under three Pac-12 games played in one week, a Bonus Pick is added to that week’s game picks.)