The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

Pac-12 opening weekend packs a punch

Heavy slate of ranked matchups has all eyes on the conference in week four
WSU+linebacker+Kyle+Thornton+%2852%29+tackles+Utah+running+back+Jaylon+Glover+during+an+NCAA+football+match%2C+Oct.+27.
COLE QUINN
WSU linebacker Kyle Thornton (52) tackles Utah running back Jaylon Glover during an NCAA football match, Oct. 27.

The Pac-12 may be falling apart, but that does not mean it will not be a fun season. Pac-12 action kicks off in week four with three matchups between ranked teams, and two more top-ten ranked teams kicking off conference play.

No. 21 Washington State vs. No. 14 Oregon State

The big one on the Palouse. The battle of the final two Pac-12 teams. The two squads face off in a season-shifting game between teams looking to make a statement to the whole country.

It is sure to be a fun matchup and takes place at 4 p.m. Saturday at Martin Stadium. Check out the WSU vs. OSU preview for more. 

No. 19 Colorado at No. 10 Oregon

The Colorado hype train keeps on rolling, and could potentially run into a buzzsaw this week in Eugene. The Buffaloes, coached by Primetime Deion Sanders, will be missing their star utility man Travis Hunter, who has shown his elite talent at wide receiver and cornerback this season.

The loss alone puts CU at a major disadvantage in trying to stop the Ducks’ passing attack, which is currently seventh in the country. UO is also third in total yards per game and second in the country averaging 58 points per game.

CU is no slouch either when it comes to throwing the football, as quarterback Shedeur Sanders son of Deion and the Buffaloes offense rank second in the country in pass yards per game. They are also the No. 21 team in the country in points per game at 41.3.

The big discrepancy in the game is the rushing attack. UO averages 229.3 yards per game on the ground, and CU just 61. Unfortunately for the Buffaloes, their defense has yet to stand their ground this year, allowing 262, 222 and 102 rushing yards in their first three games, respectively.

Colorado has a ranked win this year over then No. 19 TCU, as well as beating Nebraska before their double-overtime nailbiter over Colorado State last week. Oregon on the other hand struggled with Texas Tech in week two but rolled their other two opponents.

Despite Hunter being out, and the ‘Coach Prime’ effect, the most interesting storyline is the quarterback battle, which will be a common theme in the Pac-12 this year.

Shedeur this season has attempted 136 passes, completing 78.7% of them for 1,251 yards and 10 touchdowns, averaging 417 yards per game. He is second in the nation in yards, seventh in TDs and fourth in completion percentage. He also only has one interception.

His counterpart is UO quarterback Bo Nix, who has gotten plenty of time off in the backend of the team’s blowout wins. Still, Nix has 893 yards and eight touchdowns, no interceptions and has completed 77.6% of his throws. With a chance to air it out on Saturday, Nix’s numbers are sure to skyrocket.

This matchup may not end up being as close as people hope, but the hype will still be there regardless.

No. 22 UCLA at No. 11 Utah

It may not have the same hype as the previous game, but the matchup is just as interesting. UCLA, led by true freshman quarterback Dante Moore, heads to Salt Lake City to take on the Utes, and Cam Rising?

The star Utah quarterback has missed the first three weeks of the season, and a decision for week four will be made on Thursday according to Ian Fitzsimmons of ESPN. The star QB threw for over 3,000 yards and 26 TDs in 2022, adding on 465 rushing yards and six TDs.

It would be another classic Pac-12 QB battle if he can play, as Moore has begun to shine for the Bruins. After a shaky start, Moore threw for 290 yards and three TDs in week two, and 182 yards and two TDs last week before being pulled in the blowout.

Now young Moore will get his first true test, facing a Utah defense allowing just 10.33 points per game, good for 12th in the country. UCLA’s defense also allows just 10.

The outlier? UCLA averages 270.3 rushing yards per game, coming in fifth in the country. Utah’s advantage is their track record, having defeated then-unranked Florida 24-11 in week one who is now ranked No. 25.

The quarterbacks in this game once again will end up being the stars, but the two defenses and rushing attacks could very well be the deciding factor.

All the rest

While those are the only ranked matchups, there is still more fun to be had. 

The nation’s leading passer Micheal Penix Jr. and the No. 8 Washington Huskies welcome in the California Golden Bears. UW is 3-0 off a blowout of Michigan State, but Cal’s only loss is to the Auburn Tigers, an undefeated SEC school.

Draft prodigy quarterback Caleb Williams and the No. 5 USC Trojans travel to take on true freshman quarterback Jaden Rashada and the Arizona State Sun Devils. The Trojans are rolling at 3-0 but the 1-2 Sun Devils have been known in years past to play spoiler.

Lastly, former Coug QB Jayden de Laura and the Arizona Wildcats travel to take on the Stanford Cardinal. AU comes in 2-1, only having lost to Mississippi State of the SEC. Stanford comes off a loss to FCS Sacramento State, looking to get right in the worst way.

The ranked games will get the most hype, and for good reason, but anything can happen in conference play. Make sure to tune in this week to see Heisman contenders, elite QB duels and much more as the Pac-12 season kicks off in week four.

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About the Contributors
LUKE WESTFALL, Evergreen sports co-editor
Luke Westfall is a junior in Broadcast News from Custer, WA. He is an avid fanatic of the many sports at many levels who spends all his available time indulging in them. Luke began working at the Evergreen in Spring 2022.
COLE QUINN
COLE QUINN, Evergreen Sports Photographer
Cole Quinn is a photographer and columnist for the Daily Evergreen. Cole primarily shoots sports for the Daily Evergreen and writes album reviews in his spare time. Cole is a junior broadcast production major and sports communication minor from Snoqualmie, Washington. Cole started working for the Evergreen in the fall of 2020 as a photographer. Cole was the Photo Editor during his sophomore year and Deputy Photo Editor for the fall 2022 semester.