NCF Nation: Dan Rowlands
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
For entertainment purposes only. And if I'm wrong, I'm guessing you'll be entertained.
Oregon State 24, Stanford 20: This smelled like a potential Stanford upset, but then the Cardinal got hit with a couple of injuries on the OL and at WR, so the Beavers get the nod in a game that figures to be low scoring. Oregon State's biggest edge is at the skill positions, and here's a guess that QB Lyle Moevao will be much smoother this season distributing the ball.
Oklahoma State 38, Washington State 24: The Cougars were hit hard by bad news this week with DT Andy Roof being kicked out of school and OT Dan Rowlands retiring due to recurring shoulder problems. The Cougars are thin on both lines. Meanwhile, the Cowboys' offensive line boasts 89 career starts, which makes this a mismatch up front.
USC 42, Virginia 10: The biggest point of interest here is how well USC QB Mark Sanchez plays after his rapid recovery from a dislocated knee. It's also worth watching to see how Pete Carroll distributes the ball among his six tailbacks. And you might want to catch the nation's best defense. Virginia is rebuilding, with just 11 starters back, and the Trojans don't do that.
California 28, Michigan State 24: This might be the best matchup of the weekend. Kevin Riley surged late to win the Bears QB job over Nate Longshore, but Longshore is expected to see some action. Will TB Jahvid Best put on a show? Speaking of shows, Spartans tailback Javon Ringer and a huge OL will test the Bears' new 3-4 look.
Oregon 35, Washington 24: Justin Roper takes over Oregon's spread-option offense after Nate Costa went down with a knee injury, and his strong performance in the Sun Bowl suggests he is fully capable. He'll get a lot of help from Jeremiah Johnson and LeGarrette Blount in the backfield and an offensive line that should have its way with the young Huskies front. A Washington upset will require a spectacular performance from QB Jake Locker, which is not beyond the realm of possibility.
Arizona 44, Idaho 20: Arizona needs a fast start and it will get it here. The veteran Wildcats offense should look good out of the gate, even without outstanding TE Rob Gronkowski. Moreover, the young defense probably will build up its confidence against an overmatched Idaho offense.
Arizona State 48, Northern Arizona 17: The Sun Devils get a preseason game. They might want to recall Appalachian State at Michigan a year ago and remember to show up.
Tennessee 27, UCLA 17: New UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel's debut is a tough one, with an SEC power coming to town. The UCLA defense and special teams could keep this one close, but the offense -- even with guru Norm Chow calling the shots -- figures to struggle mightily against a tough Vols DL.
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
Happy College Football Eve!
- Judge rules for California: Is the Memorial Stadium showdown coming to a close? Hopefully the Tree Sitters will find a new valuable cause -- like maybe helping a human being.
- "Six or seven" true freshmen will make their Arizona debuts against Idaho. Good news for the punt team: All-Pac-10 pick Keenyn Crier is back after missing much of camp.
- An Arizona State walk-on may win a starting job at CB opposite Omar Bolden, who, by the way, wants to return kicks. Ryan McFoy adds speed to the Sun Devils LB corps. Here's a look at Northern Arizona.
- California coach Jeff Tedford praises how QB Nate Longshore has handled not winning the starting job as a senior. The Bears speak, and Tedford probably is there to listen because he's taking a more active role. Noting Tedford's press conference.
- Oregon's new backup QB, Jeremiah Masoli, will play against Washington, coming in as a counter-punch for starter Justin Roper. Story also updates the depth chart winners, including Spencer Paysinger at weakside LB. Making Bacon at inside LB. Expect the Ducks to try to run against the Huskies, considering they piled up a school-record 465 yards on the ground a year ago. Oregon notes include a suspended WR, and is touted JC DT Justin Thompson really on his way to Eugene?
- Your complete guide to Oregon State football, courtesy of The Oregonian. How about this rooting dilemma -- Booooo Dad! Got a feeling these Rodgers Brothers are going to be fun to watch. Beavers need a fast start to make a statement. Some further thoughts.
- Stanford is optimistic, but the injury bug has caught on of late. LB Clinton Snyder talks about the Cardinal D, and here's something on OL chemistry.
- The Rose Bowl will not be full Monday night, with only 65,000 expected for the UCLA-Tennessee tilt. More on the UCLA advertisement that touted the end of the LA football monopoly. What about this version? Can't we just realize that Neuheisel-Carroll is going to be fun? About that O-line. How the Bruins can beat Tennessee. Or is Neuheisel's optimism giving way to harsh reality? Vols coach Phil Fulmer on the UCLA game.
- USC QB Mark Sanchez struggles a bit in practice but then is cleared to play at Virginia. Aaron Corp has won the backup job over Mitch Mustain -- for now. It's national championship or bust, according to some.
- The Seattle Times looks at all things Washington. Nice story here about the return of Jordan White-
Frisbee, now an offensive guard. The Huskies are young in many spots, so why not at kick returner? Wonder what Jake Locker 2.0 will look like. No cupcakes on UW schedule.
- More on the departures of DT Andy Roof and OL Dan Rowlands at Washington State, the latter by choice, the former, not. Not a great day for the Cougars.
- Half-empty or half-full? Only one Pac-10 QB -- Washington State's Gary Rogers -- will be making his first start this week, and Rogers is a fifth-year senior who's seen significant action. On the other hand, only four have started seven or more games.
- There's a lot of money in college football. Dan Raley's first batch of Pac-10 notes. The Oregonian looks at the Pac-10. As does the LA Times.