This Week in the Pac-10
Oregon State (1-0) at Fresno State (0-1) (Friday)
Oregon State returns to the place where they learned a little humility when the Bulldogs handed them a 44-24 spanking after being pegged the 2001 preseason #1 by Sports Illustrated. After last week's 40-7 drubbing of Sacramento State, the Beavers will now take on a Division I opponent. Bulldog Stadium has been a tough place for the Beavers, as they have been beaten in all five visits there. Fresno State had a pretty good tune up, having to play against a lot of orange, as they traveled to Knoxville and lost to the Volunteers 24-6. FSU came out of that game dinged, as four of their starters, including QB Paul Pinegar, will sit out this week.
Dawgman line: Beavers bounce the Bulldogs by a field goal.
Northern Arizona (1-0) at Arizona State (0-0)
Arizona State kicks off its campaign by hosting Northern Arizona, marking the first time these teams have met in 53 years. The two teams have a long history, having first met in 1915, when the Sun Devils handed the Lumberjacks a 72-3 loss. This year, NAU already has a game under its belt, as they beat St. Mary's 44-3 last week. The Sun Devils might find this year's season opener a little more to their liking than last year's 48-10 loss at Nebraska. The 20th-ranked Devils return 16 starters and QB Andrew Walter will look to start padding his Heisman stats against the Lumberjacks. How can you pick against a coach that's been dubbed the "most organized coach in college football" by SI?
Dawgman line: Sparky will pitchfork the Lumberjacks by four touchdowns.
LSU (1-0) at Arizona (1-0)
Arizona is coming off of a 42-7 win over Texas-El Paso in their season opener. Mike Bell rushed for 119 yards, helping the Wildcats to achieve their highest rushing total (217 yards) since October 6, 2001. Their "new look defense" (they switched to a 3-4) held the Miners to 275 yards. Mackovic survived a player mutiny last year by apologizing for being insensitive, but hopefully won't turn too soft, as his team now faces a tough test against an SEC foe, only the sixth time in Arizona's history. I'll venture that the No. 14 LSU Tigers won't know how to play in front of such well-behaved fans. The only time these two teams have met, LSU edged the Wildcats 27-26 in Baton Rouge in 1984. Last week, LSU quarterback Matt Mauck threw three scoring passes in less than seven minutes as LSU rolled over Louisiana-Monroe 49-7.
Dawgman line: Visitors from Baton Rouge bring some rowdy to Tucson and take it by a touchdown.
Colorado State (0-1) at California (1-1)
The Golden Bears evened their record last week by beating Southern Mississippi 34-2. Cal's offense is coming around after they racked up 419 yards against a respected Golden Eagles' defense. Will be there any bulletin board material from CSU's quarterback Bradlee Van Pelt in these two teams' first-ever meeting? He can criticize Colorado players, but he better watch out for Tedford's crew because they can hang in any offensive shoot-out. Cal had two 100-yard rushing performances last week from Adimchinobe Echemandu and J.J. Arrington. Colorado State racked up 585 yards in their loss to Colorado, but their defense gave up 402 yards passing.
Dawgman line: Hungry Bears feast on tired Rams and outscore CSU by a touchdown.
Nevada (1-0) at Oregon (1-0)
Nevada Head Coach Chris Tormey is thankful to visit Autzen, meaning his team won't have to play while wearing sunglasses to reduce the glare from those Oregon "lightning yellow" roadies. Those poor folk down in Starkville are still trying to recover from burnt retinas. The Ducks will be without DL Haloti Ngata, as he damaged the ligaments in his knee last week. The Wolf Pack are coming off of a come-from-behind 24-23 win over Southern Utah. Linebacker Logan Carter was the defensive star of the game, as he recovered a fumble for a touchdown, intercepted a pass and blocked the potentially game-tying extra point attempt. The nation's leading rusher in 2001, Chance Kretschmer, is back for the Pack after missing last year to a knee injury, and ran for 170 yards last week.
Dawgman line: Air-conditioned jerseys propel Nike U to 2-TD victory.
San Jose State (1-1) at Stanford (0-0)
If you want to show your child how hard-nosed football should be played, this is your chance – all kids 17 and under are admitted free to the contest. This is the 59th meeting between the schools, and even though SJS won three straight from 1998-2000, Stanford owns the series. QB Chris Lewis returns to the starting line-up after having shoulder surgery in the off-season. Last year, he missed playing time due to injuries and an NCAA violation. But give credit where credit is due, SJS is sure willing to play the powerhouses of college football – no, not Stanford – the Spartans returned from Gainesville last week after being handed a 65-3 loss at the hands of Florida. QB Scott Rislov hopes to improve over his 98 yards of passing last week, but faces a Cardinal defense that returns eight starters from last year.
Dawgman line: Timberrrr! Spartans pull the upset and chop down the trees by a late field goal.
BYU (1-0) at USC (1-0)
The Trojan defense stole the show in the 23-0 drubbing of #6 Auburn last week. They didn't allow the Tigers' offense past the USC 33-yard line, and caused three turnovers to help set up 17 points for new QB Matt Leinart. Fourth-ranked USC returns home with the sole task of trying to figure out what kind of Chow-less offense BYU will unveil in the first ever meeting for these two teams. The Cougars are coming off of a home win against Georgia Tech, 24-13, where the defense held GT to 243 yards and the offense hogged the ball for nearly 40 minutes. One streak that could be in jeopardy this week is that BYU hasn't been shut out in its last 351 games. USC has certainly come a long way since they lost to their last Mountain West Conference foe, Utah, in the 2001 Las Vegas Bowl, 10-6, where the managed one yard rushing on 25 attempts.
Dawgman line: Traveler gallops all over the visitors from the Wasatch Mountains by 24 big ones.
UCLA (0-0) at Colorado (1-0)
Isn't something going to be missing if Rick Neuheisel is nowhere to be found in this game? The Karl Dorrell era begins with a trip to Boulder where he once served as Offensive Coordinator under Neuheisel. In last year's meeting, the Buffaloes handed the Bruins a 31-17 loss at the Rose Bowl, marking Colorado's only victory in the series. UCLA returns 13 starters, but will be without WR Tab Perry, who is academically ineligible. Since they haven't played a game this year, UCLA boasts one stat from last year: in their last six games, the Bruins went 18 for 18 in red-zone scoring opportunities. Colorado out-scored their in-state rival, CSU, 42-35 last week. CU quarterback Joel Klatt, in his first career start, racked up 402 passing yards and four touchdowns, which earned him the Big-12's Offensive Player of the Week.
Dawgman line: Neuheisel's former employer takes it by a touchdown over Neuheisel's former employer and alma mater.
Washington State (1-0) at Notre Dame (0-0)
Thankfully, the monkey is off Bill Doba's back. He gets to return to South Bend, the place where he grew up, with his first victory already under his belt. The Cougars downed the Vandals 25-0 in Seattle last week in their tune-up for the Fighting Irish. WSU rushed for 331 yards and will probably need to do so again to beat the Golden Domers this week. Be aware Cougs, "Here Come the Irish" (their 2003 motto). They return 14 starters, including studs Courtney Watson (LB) and Vontez Duff (CB/KR). Last year, the Irish defense was tough, finishing ninth in the nation in scoring defense, allowing 16.69 points per game. Even though this is the first ever meeting between the schools, Head Coach Tyrone Willingham has obviously met the Palouse Posse before, but this will be a more daunting road test for the Cougs since there won't be any wine and cheese being served at the Linebacker Lounge.
Dawgman line: Cougars hang for a while, but the luck of the Irish gives the home team an 11-point victory as yet another backwards pass goes awry.
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