This year, the marquee game for the first week is clearly Oregon vs. LSU, so that's where we will start our predictions off this week.
|Oregon RB LaMichael James|
Prediction: Oregon 24, LSU 17
I expect a close game early with LSU taking the halftime lead and Lee playing better than anticipated. However, I feel like Lee is going to falter at least once in the second half. That mistake will lead to an easy Oregon score, and with the game close going down the stretch I just don't think Lee is going to be able to cut it against a talented Oregon defense.
Utah vs. Montana State
Prediction: Utah 42, MS 7
Utah will get its first victory under their new Pac 12 banner. Remember when I said teams schedule cupcake games early on?
Arizona State vs. UC Davis
Prediction: ASU 49, UC Davis 10
Another Division 1-Division 2 match up. For a team that is considered a favorite to win the Pac 12 South this game shouldn't be close after the first quarter.
USC vs. Minnesota
Prediction: USC 35, Minnesota 17
Hey, at least it's a Division 1 match up again. Minnesota is nothing special, and USC will be looking to disprove some of the doubt that has surrounded them for well over a year. The game will stay close at halftime, but the Trojans will pull away early in the third quarter.
UCLA @ Houston
Prediction: UCLA 21, Houston 35
UCLA will fire Rick Neuheisel after this season. This will be a year to forget for the Bruins, and it will start off with a road loss against a Houston team who always seems to have a potent offense.
Oregon State vs. Sacramento State
Prediction: Oregon State 35, Sacramento State 24
Another Division 1-Division 2 match up but at least this one will be close. Oregon State is plagued with some season-threatening injuries and will be lax to start the game. Sacramento State won't lead past the first quarter, but they do manage to keep it interesting.
Stanford vs. San Jose State
Prediction: Stanford 49, SJS 3
Stanford is simply too good to let a WAC team jump on them early or late. They will pummel SJS right out of the gate and have the game in hand by halftime. This should be the start of a big season for the Cardinal.
Washington State vs. Idaho State
Prediction: WSU 17, ISU 10
Washington State may not be the worst team in the Pac 12 anymore (thanks Colorado!), but they certainly aren't good. They may win 3 games this year, and for their sake we had better hope Idaho State is one of them.
California vs. Fresno State
Prediction: California 35, Fresno State 28
This should be the most exciting game in the Pac 12 besides Oregon-LSU. Fresno State is the type of team you don't want to play in the first week because they can jump out and take you down before you know it. Still, I expect the consistently underachieving California Bears team to scratch past Fresno. It's almost certainly going to be a toss-up game decided by 7 points or less.
Washington vs. Eastern Washington
Prediction: Washington 35, EWU 7
No red turf? That might have made me watch the game. Sadly, I don't think Eastern Washington has much of a chance against the potential third place team in the Pac 12 North.
Arizona vs. Northern Arizona
Prediction: Arizona 28, NA 10
Arizona is the only team in the Pac 12 that can say they have more injuries than Oregon State (and that's a whole freaking lot). They will make it past Northern Arizona, but don't expect the usual competitive Arizona Wildcats team this year.
Colorado vs. Hawaii
Prediction: Colorado 17, Hawaii 24
Hawaii could win the WAC this year, it probably will with Boise State out of the way, and they will also defeat Colorado in their opener. The inaugural Pac 12 season will be one to forget for the buffalo.
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