We continue with our series looking at each Pac-12 team's nonconference opponents in 2014.
at Hawaii, Saturday, Aug. 30
Coach: Norm Chow (4-20), third season
2013 record: 1-11, 0-8 Mountain West
Returning starters: 7 on offense, 6 on defense
Offensive headliner: running back Joey Iosefa is featured here, so wide receiver Scott Harding is the next pick. If he played somewhere in the continental United States (or maybe for a better team) Harding would be a much more well-known name. Not only is he a dangerous slot receiver (56 catches for 631 yards last season), but he serves as the Warriors’ punter and punt returner.
Defensive headliner: defensive lineman Beau Yap. Yap was Hawaii’s lone second-team All-Mountain West selection last season after he made 37 tackles, include 12 for loss. His 5.5 sacks (for a loss of 51 yards) were the most on the team.
The skinny: Washington’s projected starting quarterback, Cyler Miles, will sit out this game as punishment for his role in a fight following the Super Bowl, but his absence shouldn’t make much of a difference. The Warriors are 0-3 against Pac-12 teams under Chow and started 0-11 last season before winning their season finale against Army. This is the first of three games the Warriors will play against Pac-12 teams with Oregon State and Colorado also lined up.
Eastern Washington, Saturday, Sept. 6
Coach: Beau Baldwin (56-22), seventh season
2013 record: 12-3, 8-0 Big Sky
Returning starters: 6 on offense, 5 on defense
Offensive headliner: quarterback Vernon Adams. The frontrunner for the Walter Payton Award, given to the FCS player of the year, Adams led FCS in passing efficiency as a sophomore last season and is 20-4 as a starter. Against Oregon State in Corvallis last season, Adams completed 23-of-30 passes for 411 yards, four touchdowns and no picks as EWU shocked the Beavers, 49-46.
Defensive headliner: linebacker Ronnie Hamlin. Hamlin was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA because a knee injury wiped out two seasons earlier in his career. With Hamlin back, the Eagles have a potential FCS All-American and the leader of their defense.
The skinny: Eastern Washington isn’t just some run-of-the-mill FCS team. The Eagles are widely expected to compete for a national title and proved last year against Oregon State -- which entered that game ranked No. 25 -- they can get up to play a big-time opponent. It’d be easy to make a case for this game, and not Illinois, being the most likely trip-up game for the Huskies. And while we’re still anticipating a Washington win (and probably by two-plus scores), the game actually carries some intrigue.
Illinois, Saturday, Sept. 13
Coach: Tim Beckman (6-18), third season
2013 record: 4-8, 1-7 Big Ten
Returning starters: 7 on offense, 8 on defense
Offensive headliner: quarterback Wes Lunt. Lunt sat out last season after transferring from Oklahoma State, where he opened the 2012 season as the Cowboys’ starter as a true freshman. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound Illinois native twice led his high school team to state titles and now is charged with leading a Fighting Illini turnaround.
Defensive headliner: linebacker Mason Monheim. A fixture at middle linebacker the past two seasons, Monheim is the Illini’s leading returning tackler after registering 97 tackles with 6.5 for loss in 2013.
The skinny: Illinois doubled its win total over Beckman’s debut season last year, but still dropped seven of its final eight games -- and the win came by four points against Purdue, which didn’t beat a FBS opponent. Keith Price threw for 342 yards and Bishop Sankey ran for what was then a career-best 208 yards in the Huskies’ win over Illinois in Chicago last season, and the Huskies will be heavy favorites when the Illini make the return trip to Seattle.
Georgia State, Saturday, Sept. 20
Coach: Trent Miles (0-12), second season
2013 record: 0-12, 0-7 Sun Belt
Returning starters: 5 on offense, 5 on defense
Offensive headliner: quarterback Ronnie Bell. Bell threw for 2,573 yards last season with 15 touchdowns and three rushing scores. He threw for a season-high 291 yards against Samford.
Defensive headliner: linebacker Joseph Peterson. An All-Sun Belt honorable mention selection as a sophomore last year, Peterson has been the Panthers’ leading tackler the past two seasons. He finished 2013 with 103 stops, a school record.
The skinny: Georgia State’s foray into FBS football featured a winless season in the worst conference to lay claim as the worst team in the country. It would have been hard to expect anything different considering the Panthers first fielded a football team in 2010. Miles spent the 2005-07 seasons coaching running backs at UW, which is allowed to schedule four nonconference games because of the trip to Hawaii.