Finally, real college football has arrived. After two days of appetizers, the first college football Saturday is set to begin in style, if said style involves lots of cupcakes and balloons. With Oregon and LSU on the schedule, at least there's some form of entertainment in the Pac-12 this week. But outside of the marquee game, it's slim pickings across the conference this weekend.
Without further ado, let's look at the card.
The Main Event
Oregon vs. LSU (5 p.m. on ABC): There's no question Oregon and LSU deserve all the attention this weekend. It's the game of the week for a reason, and an early-season matchup between national championship contenders is a treat we should all cherish. Both teams suffered through a painful offseason marred by trouble, both legal and NCAA, and the beginning of the season can't come soon enough.
And this ... well, this is one hell of a beginning. Drop whatever you're doing and find a TV. This has must-see written all over it in big bold letters.
USC vs. Minnesota (12:30 p.m. on ABC): A matchup between two power conference teams lands here by default. This is the first week and cupcakes are the rule of thumb. Still, let's not act like Minnesota is the bees knees. If USC struggles here, Trojan fans will immediately reach for the bottle. It won't happen, and USC should win this in a romp.
UCLA vs. Houston (12:30 p.m.): The other LA team earns a spot on the undercard thanks to a Houston team that is never not fun to watch. Case Keenum is back from an ACL injury and boy does he love to wing it. On the other side of the ball, we have no idea whether Kevin Prince or Richard Brehaut will receive the most snaps, but both will be splitting time. SPOILER ALERT: They both suck.
The Rick Neuheisal hot seat watch begins on Saturday. Tune-in for the schadenfreude, Washington fans.
Washington vs. Eastern Washington (4 p.m.): This game may be closer than many expect, but the Huskies should still win it easily. Nevertheless, a matchup between the FCS champion and a program with the prestige of Washington demands attention. This will be the first time the Huskies face an FCS team and they should keep their undefeated streak against the lower division alive.
The Non-Televised Portion
Washington State vs. Idaho State (2 p.m.): Good news! The Cougars have a chance to begin the season with a convincing win for what seems to be the first time in forever. Bad news! This game will tell us nothing, unless Washington State struggles.
Stanford vs. San Jose State (2 p.m.): I guess we can call this a rivalry game, so that's something. The Andrew Luck for Heisman campaign begins now, and the Stanford quarterback should start it in style.
California vs. Fresno State (4 p.m.): Sure, this counts as a rivalry game, too, I guess.
Colorado vs. Hawaii (7:15 p.m. on ESPN2): Come to see the new Pac-12 member, stay for Hawaii's offense.
We're Just Desperate For Something
Oregon State vs. Sacramento State (1 p.m.): If you've sunk this far, I don't even know what to tell you.
Arizona vs. Northern Arizona (7 p.m.): I guess if you'd like to find something to fall asleep to, this would be a fine choice.
Local Player To Watch (Courtesy Of Kevin Cacabelos)
OG David DeCastro (Jr.), Stanford, Bellevue HS '08
DeCastro is one of the top lineman in the country and one of the reasons why his quarterback Andrew Luck is so confident in the pocket. DeCastro and his teammate LT Jonathan Martin (Jr.) were the main reasons the Cardinal only allowed six sacks last season.