Pac-12: Washington vs. Boise State tops Saturday schedule
The Pac-12's Utah and USC were hardly overwhelming Thursday, but each team won as expected. A look at Saturday's games - plus one Sunday contest to complete the season-opening weekend for the conference.
Nicholls State at Oregon, 2 p.m. MDT, Fox Sports 1
Oh, boy. Nicholls State, a Football Championship Subdivision team from Louisiana, lost 77-3 at Oregon State to conclude the 2012 season. And now the Colonels, coached by former BYU graduate assistant Charlie Stubbs, have to meet the more potent Ducks, who may not stop at 77. But I'll be conservative. Oregon 65, Nicholls State 7.
Eastern Washington at Oregon State, 4 p.m. MDT, Pac-12 Networks
In contrast to Nicholls State, Eastern Washington is a very good FCS program that's capable of sticking with Oregon State for a while. OSU coach Mike Riley needs a solid showing from quarterback Sean Mannion to prove he made the right choice. Oregon State 35, Eastern Washington 17.
Washington State at Auburn, 5 p.m. MDT, ESPNU
Based on their own ability, the Cougars face the Pac-12's toughest challenge this weekend. Auburn is rebuilding under new coach Gus Malzahn, who's an offensive guru like WSU's Mike Leach. This could be a decent game, if the Cougars' offensive line has improved, but winning in an SEC venue is asking a lot. Auburn 31, Washington State 21.
Boise State at Washington, 8 p.m. MDT, Fox Sports 1.
Utah's 30-26 victory over Utah State was worth watching, but this matchup should be best the of the weekend for Pac-12 viewers. Boise State is always intriguing and Washington wants to make a good impression in the renovated Husky Stadium. I rarely pick against Boise State, but I like the Huskies in this rematch of the 2012 Las Vegas Bowl. Washington 24, Boise State 21.
Nevada at UCLA, 8 p.m. MDT, Pac-12 Networks
If the Bruins are good enough to successfully defend their Pac-12 South title, they should be able to handle Nevada. The Wolf Pack beat Cal in a 2012 opener, but this is a tougher test for new coach Brian Polian. UCLA 35, Nevada 24.
Northwestern at California, 8:30 p.m. ESPN2
Northwestern has built a very solid program and Cal is just getting started with coach Sonny Dykes and a true freshman quarterback, Jared Goff. Northwestern 28, Cal 17.
Colorado vs. Colorado State, Denver, 4 p.m. MDT Sunday, CBS Sports Network
All of the talk in Colorado is about lackluster ticket sales for the rivalry game. It's the debut for Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre, with the Buffaloes having a lot to prove after losing last year to a Colorado State team that didn't do much after that. Colorado 24, Colorado State 21.