Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Week 1 primer: Pac-12 North
By Kevin Gemmell
Week 1 can't get here soon enough. Every team plays an out-of-conference opponent in the first two weeks of the season, so we thought we'd take a quick look at who is coming up in Week 1. We'll go into greater detail as the start of the season draws closer. This is just a primer for those who need their beaks moistened and whistles whet. Earlier today we looked at the South.
Game: at Cal, Saturday, Sept. 1
Coach: Chris Ault (226-103-1, 28th year)
2011 record: 7-6 (5-2, WAC)
Did you know: Another team new to the Mountain West, Nevada returns six starters on offense and seven on defense. The Wolf Pack has been to seven straight bowl games, but also had a significant amount of turnover in the coaching staff this past season. Plus they've lost a lot of defensive linemen from a group that was only 101st in tackles for a loss last year. Dual threat quarterback Cody Fajardo is the one to keep an eye on.
Game: at Oregon, Saturday, Sept. 1
Coach: Gus Malzahn (first year)
2011 record: 10-3 (8-0, Sun Belt)
Did you know: Malzahn won the Broyles Award -- which goes to the nation's top assistant coach -- for his work with Auburn and their title run in 2010-2011. Not that a win would make Oregon feel better for what happened in the title game, but hey, it can't hurt. Returning quarterback Ryan Aplin, who is a three-year starter and has some NFL buzz, owns 16 school records and is the reigning conference player of the year.
Game: at Oregon State, Saturday, Sept. 1
Coach: Charlie Stubbs (5-17, third year)
2011 record: (1-10, 0-7 Southland)
Did you know: The Colonels have lost 10 straight after opening last season with a win over Evangel University. Nicholls State posted a 42-0 victory, but has been outscored 16-38 in its last 10 contests. Stubbs' first full-time coaching gig was at Oregon State, where he started as a receivers and tight ends coach before becoming the Beavers offensive coordinator in 1987.
SAN JOSE STATE
Game: at Stanford, Friday, Aug. 31
Coach: Mike MacIntyre (6-19, third season)
2011 record: 5-7 (3-4, WAC)
Did you know: This will be the 21st time Stanford has opened its season against the Spartans. The Cardinal are 19-1 in those other meetings and hold a 50-14-1 record in what has now been dubbed the Bill Walsh Legacy Game.
SAN DIEGO STATE
Game: at Washington, Saturday, Sept. 1
Coach: Rocky Long (8-5, second season)
2011 record: 8-5 (4-3, MWC)
Did you know: The Aztecs lost three stars -- QB Ryan Lindley, RB Ronnie Hillman and LB Miles Burris -- to the NFL, but the addition of Pac-12 transfers Ryan Katz (QB, Oregon State) and Brice Butler (WR, USC) give offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig (formerly of Cal) some new firepower. After being bowl-less since 1998 the Aztecs have gone to the postseason in back-to-back years.
Game: Washington State, Thursday, Aug. 30.
Coach: Bronco Mendenhall (66-24, eighth season)
2011 record: 10-3 (independent)
Did you know: Of FBS coaches with at least five years experience, Mendenhall's .733 winning percentage ranks eighth among all coaches -- ahead of names such as Nick Saban and Les Miles. This isn't the only time we'll see BYU this year. They'll renew their rivalry at Utah in Week 3. Mike Leach has also talked extensively about how his time as a BYU student shaped the philosophies he would embrace as a head coach.