USA Today

It's a truly terrible slate of games in week two, but there's plenty to hold the interest of the discerning UCLA fan...

Sep. 11 -- It's a truly terrible slate of games in week two, but there's plenty to hold the interest of the discerning UCLA fan...

Before we get to our week two viewing guide, we wanted to prepare everyone: this is a horrible slate of games. Beyond Oregon vs. Michigan State, and maybe Oregon State vs. Michigan, there isn’t a single Pac-12 game that is really interesting in the slightest. One of the first two weeks is usually a slog to get through, and this year, it’s week two.

On to the games…

FRIDAY

Utah State at No. 24 Utah
6:00 P.M., ESPN2
Utah -12

You can pretty much guarantee a dull game whenever the word “Utah” appears more than once in a listing. Utah is fresh off of a win over Michigan and known crazy person Jim Harbaugh. Utah State is coming off of a riveting 12-9 victory over Southern Utah, which we’re pretty sure is a fake university. Utah, which showed off a strong defense against Michigan, should be able to roll against the Aggies, which would be nice, since the Pac-12 really can’t afford too many more awful losses.

Utah 31
Utah State 10

SATURDAY

Oregon State at Michigan
9:00 A.M., ABC
Michigan -14.5

Michigan sure is getting a lot of respect from Las Vegas considering how truly terrible quarterback Jake Rudock is and the fact that the Wolverines defense somehow managed to make Travis Wilson look like a serviceable Pac-12 quarterback. The Beavers weren’t great in week one, but showed some positive signs against Weber State (i.e. they didn’t lose to Weber State). We’ve got Michigan winning, but 14.5 is too many points for an offense that with no quarterback and no offensive line.

Michigan 21
Oregon State 16

Massachusetts at Colorado
11:00 A.M., Pac-12 Network
Colorado -13.0

Oh, Colorado, this is why you can’t have nice things. Pro tip: when you are gifted an extra game due to playing Hawaii in the non-conference schedule, go ahead and actually beat Hawaii. The Buffaloes and Rainbow Warriors combined to play a truly awful football game last week that, by rule, someone eventually had to win, and unfortunately for the tens of Colorado fans who stayed up late to watch the game, the Buffaloes ended up losing. Luckily, they scheduled an even softer cupcake for week two in Massachusetts, which could have the rare honor of losing to the same terrible FBS team two years in a row.

Colorado 28
Massachusetts 14

Sacramento State at Washington
11:00 A.M., Pac-12 Network
No line yet

This is one of the few obvious wins on the schedule for the Huskies this year, and they should use it as a testing ground for true freshman quarterback Jake Browning. We still think Washington’s season is going to be a grim march to 3-9 or so, but the defense looked a little bit better than we expected against Boise State last week.

Washington 34
Sacramento State 14

Washington State at Rutgers
12:30 P.M., ESPNU
Rutgers -3.5

It’s the Tire Fire Bowl! Who will win? Washington State, fresh off of an ignominious defeat at the hands of Portland State that saw Mike Leach’s high-powered offense score a paltry 17 points? Or will it be the Fighting Brian Dohns of Rutgers, which, between the time of writing and the time this is published, will probably have at least one more player arrested?

Washington State 38
Rutgers 31

No. 9 Notre Dame at Virginia
12:30 P.M., ABC
Notre Dame -12.5

Obviously, the implications are huge for UCLA in this one. Notre Dame is a trendy pick to make the College Football Playoff, and Virginia is a team that lost to UCLA pretty badly and, according to sources, would be a pick ’em on a neutral field against Arkansas State. If the Cavaliers just have a good showing in this game, it would do great work for UCLA’s rep, and if they somehow managed to win the game, that would be a major positive data point for UCLA when the real ranking comes out in a month or two.

Neither of those things will happen.

Notre Dame 36
Virginia 17

San Diego State at California
2:00 P.M., Pac-12 Network
Cal -13.5

The Sturdy Golden Bears nuked Grambling State from orbit last week, but there wasn’t much to take from the game aside from the fact that Sonny Dykes showed restraint in not going for 100. San Diego State should provide a tougher test, as the Aztecs are picked to win the West division of the Mountain West. Cal should be able to beat them pretty badly though, and it’s beginning to look likely that Cal will be 5-1 or 6-0 when the Bears come to Los Angeles in mid-October, which is really obnoxious to think about.

California 42
San Diego State 21

No. 19 Oklahoma at No. 23 Tennessee
3:00 P.M., ESPN
Oklahoma -1

If somehow both teams could lose here, that would be grand for UCLA’s potential playoff hopes (we’re playing the long game, alright?). Oklahoma could win the Big 12 this year, so the Sooners taking a loss here could help to shut that conference out of the playoff yet again. Tennessee has enough talent that it isn’t insane to think the Volunteers could take a great leap forward and be in contention for the SEC East and potentially an SEC crown. If the Volunteers did win the league with one or two losses, coupled with an out of conference loss to Oklahoma, that would also give the SEC some real reason to sweat going into selection day. Since the SEC is really the one true enemy of good-hearted people, root for the Sooners.

Oklahoma 35
Tennessee 31

No. 22 Arizona at Nevada
4:00 P.M., CBS Sports Network
Arizona -11.5

The sixth or seventh best program in Texas came within ten points of Arizona last week, which isn’t a good sign for the Wildcats’ future prospects. After Scooby Wright went down with a knee injury, Arizona’s defense played, in a rough approximation, like a pile of old newspapers. Wright won’t be back until probably October, which means that Arizona’s defense is going to have to be figure something out quickly. Nevada presents an interesting challenge, since the Wolfpack should be able to run the football, like they are able to do against pretty much anyone. We’ve got Arizona in a squeaker, but wouldn’t be stunned with a loss.

Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez, USA Today

Arizona 35
Nevada 33

Idaho at No. 8 USC
5:00 P.M., Pac-12 Network
USC -43

After somehow pulling off the upset over Arkansas State, which would probably be a pick ’em on a neutral field against the 2001 Miami Hurricanes, USC will look to continue its winning ways against another powerhouse from the Sun Belt Conference, Idaho. If the Trojans somehow win, look for USC to claim a Sun Belt Conference title at the end of the year.

This is going to be a bloodbath.

USC 59
Idaho 10

No. 7 Oregon at No. 5 Michigan State
5:00 P.M., ABC
Michigan State -3.5

One of a tiny handful of interesting games on Saturday, Oregon heads on the road to take on Michigan State. The Ducks looked explosive on offense last week, as always, but the defense looked flat-out atrocious against Eastern Washington. The Spartans, on the other hand, handled Western Michigan fairly easily, despite the final score looking fairly close. All these teams playing local directional patsies early in the season — Eastern Washington, Southern Utah, Western Michigan — and UCLA doesn’t even get to play Southern California until the end of the year.

We’ve got the Spartans taking this one. Michigan State was right there with Oregon last year before a fourth quarter blitz from the Ducks, and this year, there’s no Mariota to lead that charge. Connor Cook should also be able to carve up what looks like a pretty bad Oregon secondary. We’d love to be wrong, because this game could mean the difference between a Pac-12 team making the playoff and not.

Michigan State 31
Oregon 28

No. 14 LSU at No. 25 Mississippi State
6:15 P.M., ESPN
LSU -5

This has all the makings of a really terrible SEC football game that will be much-ballyhooed by most of the national media. The Bulldogs aren’t good and LSU might be, so let’s go with the Tigers. They were one of a few teams that didn’t play in week one (lightning cancelled their game with McNeese State after 11 plays), so this will be our first opportunity to see if LSU actually has a quarterback for the first time in about ten years.

LSU 24
Mississippi State 17

No. 20 Boise State at BYU
7:15 P.M.
Boise State -2.5

The big takeaway we had from the Washington vs. Boise State game last week was that Boise State is actually not very good. The Broncos looked pretty inept offensively in the second half, and the defense, while good, was made to look elite by a really awful Washington offense. BYU, on the other hand, showed enough to think that the Cougars are not simply Taysom Hill and a bunch of spare parts. Backup quarterback Tanner Mangum was 7 of 11 for 111 yards and a touchdown in the second half, and with a week of getting comfortable, we think he’ll be more polished against Boise this weekend. We’ve got the Cougars winning outright, setting up a very good early season game with the Bruins next week.

BYU 24
Boise State 21

UCF at Stanford
7:30 P.M., Fox Sports 1
Stanford -19

The most interesting thing about this line is that somehow Vegas thinks that Stanford can score 19 points in a football game. UCF is terrible, having lost to something called FIU last week, which we keep confusing with FIDM. We wouldn’t put it past David Shaw to keep this game close, since he’s a terrible play-caller who should never call plays again but will anyway, but we have to go with our preseason belief that Stanford is simply a whole lot better than what they showed against Northwestern.

Stanford 27
UCF 10

No. 13 UCLA at UNLV
7:30 P.M., CBS Sports Network
UCLA -29

Read about what we think will happen in that molten hellscape here.

UCLA 49
UNLV 17

Cal Poly at Arizona State
8:00 P.M., Pac-12 Network
No line yet

Poor Cal Poly. If ASU had somehow managed to beat Texas A&M last week, this would be prime letdown time, but now, the Sun Devils will likely be playing with righteous anger, which doesn’t bode well for the Mustangs. For an FCS school, Cal Poly is one of the better ones, though, so hanging close for a quarter or two isn’t out of the question.

Arizona State 52
Cal Poly 21


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