Pac-12 kicks off with intriguing games, match-ups

The college football season is finally here after what felt like the longest offseason in history.

Three Pac-12 teams, No. 22 Arizona, Colorado and Utah, helped kicked the season off Thursday night, but there are still plenty of good games around the conference, including one of the nation's best match-ups Saturday in Houston.

A rundown of what to look for as the Pac-12 kicks off its first week of the season:

GAME OF THE WEEK: No. 15 Arizona State vs. Texas A&M, Saturday in Houston. Sun Devils coach Todd Graham wanted to boost his team's nonconference schedule and certainly did that with an SEC school right out of the gate. The game will feature a pair of promising quarterbacks, Arizona State's Mike Bercovici and Texas A&M's Kyle Allen, and could be a springboard for the rest of the season to the team that wins.

BEST MATCHUP: Washington at No. 23 Boise State, Friday. The Broncos lined up the game in 2013, expecting it to be one of the most anticipated nonconference games in school history. It certainly is now. Former coach Chris Petersen will be returning to the blue turf Friday night, this time with the Washington, the team he left the Broncos for two seasons ago. This could get real interesting.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS: California's Jared Goff is the Pac-12's leading returning passer with 3,973 yards last season. USC's Cody Kessler was the leader in touchdown passes with 39 a year ago. ... The Pac-12 had six teams ranked in the AP Top 25 preseason poll: Oregon, USC, UCLA, Arizona State, Stanford and Arizona.

IMPACT PLAYER: Oregon QB Vernon Adams. Talk about scheduling quirks. Adams had one of the most talked-about math tests in the history to complete his degree at Eastern Washington, allowing him to transfer to Oregon after three seasons leading the Eagles. He won the job to replace Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota in Eugene and will lead the seventh-ranked Ducks against, you guessed it, Eastern Washington.

---

Complied by AP College Football Writer John Marshall.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.