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 lineÂ boasts 89 career starts, which makesÂ 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, andÂ theÂ Trojans don’t do that.Â
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:Â 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 anÂ SEC powerÂ coming to town. TheÂ UCLA defenseÂ and special teams could keep this one close, butÂ the offenseÂ — even with guru Norm Chow calling the shots — figures to struggle mightily against aÂ tough Vols DL.Â Â Â