Premier Pac-10 Games Of The Week
Cal LB Zach Follett
Cal LB Zach Follett
Staff Writer
Posted Aug 27, 2008

The first week of the college football season is finally here and the Pac Ten Conference is involved in some of the best match-ups in the first week of the season. CalSportsDigest looks at and analyzes the best games in the Pac-10 throughout the remainder of the regular season and bowl games.

California vs. Michigan State

The Big Ten and Pac-10 meet in a game that will allow either team to get off to a good start and give fans a sense of which conference might be superior to the other. There will be the stereotypical comments about a three yards and a cloud of dust team from the Big Ten vs. and air it out offense from the Pac-10 that make these types of games interesting to watch.

In this game, both teams will feature some of the best-kept secrets in college football at the running back position. The Spartans feature Javon Ringer and the Bears have Jahvid Best. Ringer and Best have the ability to run the ball and catch the ball very well. On the defensive side of the ball, the linebackers in this game are very talented as well. The Bears feature the trio of Zach Follett, Anthony Felder and Worrell Williams. Michigan State has two outstanding second year linebackers in Eric Gordon and Greg Jones. In 2007, Felder and Williams each had over 100 tackles for the Bears. Jones and Gordon led the Spartans in sacks last season.

Coach Tedford is considered a very good offensive mind and he will be matching wits with Mark Dantonio who is one of the best defensive minded coaches in the country. The game should be a good one and it will be interesting to see what team is able to impose their style of play on the other. says…we like Cal at home in this one.

USC vs. Virginia

The Trojans feature one of the best defenses in the country, but all eyes will be on the USC quarterback situation. There have been a lot of comments made lately about Mark Sanchez’s ability to perform at a high level. It appears that Sanchez is over his injury and will start against the Cavaliers. It must not be forgotten that Sanchez did see some action last season.

In 2007, Sanchez attempted 114 passes with seven touchdowns and five interceptions. Virginia will attempt to run the ball right at the USC defense with running backs Mikell Simpson and Cedric Peerman who combined for 1,225 yards and 13 touchdowns last season. First year starter Peter Lalich who only attempted 61 passes last season will be forced to pass Virginia to a victory. This game features two defensive minded coaches in Al Groh and Pete Carroll. says…we like the Trojans to manhandle the Wahoos.

Oregon vs. Washington

Neither team wants to lose this game and start the season 0-1 in the Pac-10. The Ducks’ quarterback Nathan Costa is injured for an extended period of time and Oregon must turn to quarterback Justin Ropper.

The Huskies feature the savior Jake Locker at the quarterback position. If Locker can improve on his 47.3% completion percentage and if UW can find someone to catch the ball, the Huskies could surprise a lot of teams.

With Costa out, this game becomes a lot closer. The game might come down to the ability of the Huskies defense to contain Ducks running back Jeremiah Johnson and wide receiver Jaison Williams. This is an important game for Tyrone Willingham to win, because they have games against BYU and Oklahoma in the next two weeks. Oregon coach Mike Bellotti will want to get new quarterback Justin Ropper up to speed quickly before they travel to Purdue and play Boise State at home. says…in Autzen, we like the Ducks to have little trouble with UW.

UCLA vs. Tennessee

If coaches could win games, the Bruins would run away with this one. Coach Rick Neuheisel will eventually bring in great players. In the off-season, he was able to retain a great defensive coordinator in DeWayne Walker and bring in offensive guru Norm Chow.

The Volunteers come to town with Jonathan Crompton at quarterback who only attempted 12 passes last season. Look for the Volunteers to lean on running back Arian Foster who ran for 1,193 yards last season. The Vols also feature one of the best defensive backs in the country from last season in Eric Berry who had 86 tackles and 5 interceptions. The Bruins will expect freshmen running back Aundre Dean and Sr. Khalil Bell to make big plays for them if they expect to win this game. says…as we said, only if coaches could win games. We like the Vols in this one.

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