Gas up the family station wagon and hit the Holiday Road. Now that that song is stuck in your head (you're welcome) it's time once again for the Ultimate Road Trip! Over the next couple of weeks we’re going to look at each week during the 2014 season and pick the can’t-miss game (and maybe for Thursday/Friday games, we’ll work in two).
Start planning accordingly. The Ultimate Pac-12 Road Trip begins.
Welcome to Week 1
Thursday, Aug. 28
Idaho State at Utah
Rutgers vs. Washington State (at CenturyLink Field, Seattle)
Weber State at Arizona State
Friday, Aug. 29
Colorado State vs. Colorado (at Sports Authority Field, Denver)
UNLV at Arizona
Saturday, Aug. 30
UCLA at Virginia
Portland State at Oregon State
UC Davis at Stanford
Fresno State at USC
Washington at Hawaii
South Dakota at Oregon
California at Northwestern
My choice: Colorado State vs. Colorado
Why: Let’s be honest … Week 1 is a bit of a dud (except for when Cal goes into Northwestern and pulls off a shocker, make me a believer, Bears). Lots of expected blowouts on the docket. Lots of FCS teams cashing checks. Lots of wins for the Pac-12. In fact, I’d be shocked if the conference didn’t win at least 10 games in Week 1.
The only games matching power conferences are UCLA’s trip to Virginia, an ACC team currently riding a 10-game losing streak to FBS teams, Cal’s trip to the Big Ten’s Northwestern (the Bears have lost 16 straight to FBS teams) and new Big Ten team Rutgers coming to Seattle to face Washington State. That might actually prove to be an entertaining game. If you want to make a case for that one, I’ll listen.
Fresno State at USC has a little drama, but only because the teams just played in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl (which USC won in a blowout, and the Bulldogs are sans the prolific pass-catch team of Derek Carr and Davante Adams).
So why not spend the first week checking out a rivalry game? The gauntlet was thrown down last year by then-new Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre when his Buffs won 41-27, avenging a 22-17 loss from the year before when Jim McElwain made his debut with the Rams.
A lot of people are curious to see what strides the Buffs are going to make in Year 2 of the MacIntyre era -- the Pac-12 blog included -- and we’ll get a look at Sefo Liufau, who comes in as the unquestioned starter and with some experience under his belt.
Is this the highest profile game of the week? No. But I think we all know what Oregon is going to do to South Dakota or Stanford to UC Davis.
This one might turn out to be the highest entertainment value. Lest we forget what the Rams did to Washington State last year in the New Mexico Bowl?