In one of the most anticipated seasons in a long time, we can finally say that the 2023 season is here. The last season of the PAC-12 as we know it hasn’t had this much anticipation because of how many high quality teams there are in the conference this year.
Week 1 kicks off with some highly intriguing matchups that will have eyeballs from across the country watching these games.
Florida (0-0) @ #14 Utah (0-0)
Unfortunately this game has lost a little bit of its “spark” before the game has even kicked off due to Utah quarterback Cam Rising and tight end Brant Kuithe ruled out with injuries. On the other side, Florida is coming off a frustrating season and with a new quarterback in Graham Mertz it will be interesting to see this Gators offense in year two under Billy Napier.
My Pick: Utah 24 — Florida 20
Southern Utah (0-0) @ Arizona State (0-0)
Arizona State has had one of the most unique previous 12 months of any college football programs in the country. From firing a head coach within the first month of the season, to hiring a first year head coach who is an ASU alum, to dealing with numerous NCAA violations and sanctions, to announcing their move to the BIG 12, and now starting a true freshman at quarterback in Jaden Rashada in week 1 versus Southern Utah. It will be a breath of fresh air for Sun Devil fans to see their team take the field on Thursday night.
My Pick: Arizona State 38 — Southern Utah 17
Stanford (0-0) @ Hawaii (0-1)
Stanford is in unfamiliar territory that they haven’t seen in about 15 years. First year head coach Troy Taylor who was at FCS Sacramento State last year, the expectation of ending up near the bottom of the conference standings this year, and the uncertainty of their future when it comes to conference realignment. On the field, we’re going to see a very different version of Stanford compared to years past.
My Pick: Stanford 30 — Hawaii 27
Colorado (0-0) @ #17 TCU (0-0)
Two programs that had completely different seasons last year face off in Fort Worth on Saturday morning. Deion Sanders leads the new look Buffaloes into the season with a chip on their shoulder and with something to prove. Even though TCU is coming off a National Championship appearance, they are trying to replace a lot of last year’s starters.
My Pick: TCU 35 — Colorado 27
Portland State (0-0) @ #15 Oregon
Bo Nix is back and on a mission to prove that he is a legitimate Heisman contender and Oregon is a College Football Playoff contender as well. Both sides of the ball have been re-tooled under Dan Lanning in year two with transfers at different key positions on the offensive and defensive lines and new offensive coordinator ready to try to take this offense to the next level.
My Pick: Oregon 52 — Portland State 10
Boise State (0-0) @ #10 Washington (0-0)
The history between these two programs the past 15 years has been incredibly fun to watch and now we are getting another highly anticipated matchup between the Broncos and Huskies. Boise State is the preseason favorite to win the Mountain West. Meanwhile Washington has their eyes set on a return to the College Football Playoff with their Heisman hopeful quarterback Michael Penix leading the way.
My Pick: Washington 42 — Boise State 20
Cal (0-0) @ North Texas (0-0)
Cal is still in this in-between stage where it feels like they haven’t made any serious progress but have seriously regressed over the past few years. It is tough to predict where things go from here and with their place in conference realignment up in the air, it is important now more than ever for Cal to improve as much as they can throughout this year.
My Pick: Cal 27 — North Texas 20
Nevada (0-0) @ #6 USC (1-0)
USC is off to a hot start after an explosive start on offense and 56-28 win over San Jose State in week 0. The questions are most certainly still there surrounding the Trojans defense after 396 yards of offense to San Jose State including 198 rushing yards. It will be interesting to see if USC can correct things on defense versus Nevada before things get much more challenging down the road on their schedule.
My Pick: USC 55 — Nevada 13
Washington State (0-0) @ Colorado State (0-0)
Washington State is looking to place themselves on the national radar this season as much as possible to remind people that they are a respectable football program. Quarterback Cam Ward is back again for another season to try to take this offense to the next level this year. With their place within conference realignment still in question, the Cougs will certainly do everything they can to try and make the best impression possible.
My pick: Washington State 33 — Colorado State 23
Northern Arizona (0-0) @ Arizona (0-0)
Arizona is now in year two with Jedd Fisch with aspirations to do big things and surprise some people in the PAC-12 this year. Jayden de Laura is back at quarterback and with an abundance of additions from the transfer portal the Wildcats will look to make a bowl game this year for the first time since 2017 before they move to the BIG 12 next year.
My Pick: 49 — Northern Arizona 20
Coastal Carolina (0-0) @ UCLA (0-0)
We could potentially see two different versions of the Bruins this year depending on what happens with the quarterback position. As of now, Ethan Garbers is the starter and depending on what happens, we could potentially see superstar true freshman Dante Moore step into the starting role before the year is over which could elevate UCLA to a new level.
My Pick: UCLA 44 — Coastal Carolina 23
#18 Oregon State (0-0) @ San Jose State (0-1)
Oregon State is coming off a 10 win season and added a former 5-star quarterback in DJ Uiagalelei who could very well be the missing key to take this team to even a higher level than they were at last year. The Beavers return a lot of key pieces on both offense and defense and have a sour taste in their mouth after where they currently sit in the talk of conference realignment and have been a popular “sleeper pick” to potentially make the PAC-12 Championship Game.