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Pac-12 Games to Watch: Week One

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Tostitos BCS National Championship Game - Oregon v Auburn Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Pac-12 only has a handful of games today, with multiple games already happening on Thursday and Friday. The Pac-12 is involved in the best game of week one, and a few other decent matchups today. The overall week one slate for both the Pac-12 and nationally has been weaker this year than in years past it seems, but at least football is here. The Utah Utes took care of business already on Thursday night/Friday morning, getting their ninth-straight win over the BYU Cougars, so Utah fans can kick back and relax to take in some Pac-12 games today.

Northwestern Wildcats at #25 Stanford Cardinal - 2:00 p.m. MT FOX

One of the few Power Five matchups for the Pac-12 in week one. A win over the reigning Big Ten West Champions would be nice for the Pac-12’s national reputation. Stanford is ranked in the preseason, so hopefully they can live up to that and get the win. The more ranked teams the Pac-12 has, the better. It will be interesting to see if Stanford can get their rushing attack working after struggling on the ground in 2018.

#11 Oregon Ducks vs #16 Auburn Tigers - 5:30 p.m. MT ABC

ESPN’s College Gameday is in Arlington, Texas for this matchup at Jerry World. This is a must win game for the Pac-12. Oregon is one of the favorites in the conference, while Auburn is not likely to win the SEC West, ranked behind three teams in that division. It would not look good for one of the best Pac-12 teams to fall to a middle tier SEC team. An Oregon win would basically cancel out any negative perception the Pac-12 has with the losses to Group of Five teams by others in the conference. Bragging rights over the SEC would be huge for the Pac-12, and this could end up helping the conference come Playoff/New Years Six selection time if Oregon can win. No pressure Ducks, you only are basically carrying the entire conference today.

Fresno State Bulldogs at USC Trojans - 8:30 p.m. MT ESPN

USC is not a favorite to win the Pac-12 this year nor were they good last year, but they are still the brand name program in the West (despite the rise of the Washington Huskies). The conference needs USC to be at least respectable (though for Utah not so good that they mess up Utah repeating as Pac-12 South Champions). The Pac-12 cannot have USC suffer a loss to a Group of Five team. This is also Utah fans’ first chance to see Utah’s Pac-12 opening opponent. Will USC improve from their 5-7 season last year?