PAC-12 Football Fever Starting to Rise
UNDATED (AP) — Michigan's matchup at Notre Dame on Sept. 1 could be one of the biggest games of the 2018 college football season. Other tilts to look forward to include LSU-Miami the following day, plus Auburn-Georgia in November. UCLA coach Chip Kelly takes on his former team when the Bruins visit Oregon on Nov. 3.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Southern California hasn't chosen the successor to quarterback Sam Darnold just two weeks before its Sept. 1 season opener against UNLV. Whoever wins the job will get plenty of support from a deep and talented Trojans roster attempting to defend its first Pac-12 title since 2008. The USC defense also appears to be solid as it heads into the school's usual difficult September schedule.
SEATTLE (AP) — The Washington Huskies are about to embark on a season of high expectations. They are the clear favorites to win the Pac-12 North and to win the Pac-12 title. There's a good chance the Huskies could find themselves in the College Football Playoff for the second time in three years if they accomplish both those things. Washington opens its season against Auburn in Atlanta on Sept. 1.
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Arizona is expecting to contend for the Pac-12 South title in Kevin Sumlin's first season in the desert. The Wildcats have plenty of talent on offense and most of the starting defense back. They also have quarterback Khalil Tate, a top contender for the Heisman Trophy. The Wildcats open the season at home against BYU on Sept. 1.
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Arizona State is looking to break out of a streak of mediocrity in its first season under Herm Edwards. The former NFL coach and ESPN analyst was a surprise choice to lead the Sun Devils following the firing of Todd Graham. The 64-year-old coach says he has shut out the outside noise and kept his focus on football and family as he tries to raise Arizona State to among the Pac-12 elite. Arizona State opens the season at home against UTSA on Sept. 1.
UNDATED (AP) — Oregon has the third head coach in three seasons with Mario Cristobal, who takes over this year after Willie Taggart's one-year tenure. The Ducks' strength will be quarterback Justin Herbert, if he can stay healthy. The junior missed five games last season with a fractured collarbone, and Oregon went 1-4 over the span. The Ducks open the season Sept. 1 at home against Bowling Green.
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) — Bryce Love figures to get plenty of help in 2018 after almost singlehandedly carrying Stanford's offense last season with a breakaway run seemingly every week. The Cardinal enter the season with one of their most potent offenses in years surrounding their record-setting back who passed up a chance at the NFL for one more year on The Farm. The Cardinal open at home on Aug. 31 against San Diego State.
PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) — Washington State players are going into this season still mourning Tyler Hilinski but also drawing strength from his memory. Hilinski was expected to lead the Cougars this year but the young quarterback killed himself in January. So Washington State went into the fall with questions on the field as well as heavy hearts. The Cougars open the season at Wyoming on Sept. 1.
UNDATED (AP) — Former quarterback Jonathan Smith has returned to Oregon State as head coach, but he faces quite a struggle after inheriting a team that won just one game last year. Smith comes to the Beavers from Washington, where he learned under Chris Petersen. He'll have a difficult head coaching debut as the Beavers open at Ohio State on Sept. 1.