Week 2 football schedule will be critical for the Pac-12
July 1, 2021
The Week 2 football schedule for Pac-12 football promises to be one of the best in years for the conference and presents a significant test for the conference in perception around the country. All the games are non-conference games, except for the Stanford at USC game. Below is the list of Week 2 games for Saturday September 11, 2021, for the Pac-12:
OREGON at Ohio State 9a PT / 12p ET FOX
Texas A&M at COLORADO (in Denver) 12:30p PT / 1:30p MT FOX
CALIFORNIA at TCU 12:30p PT / 3:30p ET ESPNU
Portland State at WASHINGTON STATE 3p PT / 6p ET P12N
WASHINGTON at Michigan 4:30p PT / 7:30p ET ABC
San Diego State at ARIZONA 7p PT / 8p MT P12N
UTAH at BYU 7:15p PT / 8:15p MT ESPN
UNLV at ARIZONA STATE 7:30p PT / 8:30p MT ESPN2
STANFORD at USC 7:30p PT / 10:30p ET FOX
Hawai'i at OREGON STATE 8p PT / 11p ET FS1
There are ten nationally televised Pac-12 games that Saturday. The only team with the day off is UCLA. UCLA takes on LSU in the Rose Bowl the week of September 4th in a national televised game on Fox. For Pac-12 football fans, the first game will start at 9:00 AM on the west coast with Oregon at Ohio State and the late games will likely run up to midnight on the west coast.
Why are these games important? It starts with the national perception of Pac-12 football, extends into recruiting, and ends with the national television contracts and exposure. The exposure the Pac-12 gets from these games in Week 2 will be as good as it gets during the season.
Clemson, Alabama, Ohio State and Oklahoma are favored to be the four teams selected to the college football playoffs this season. In the seven seasons of the four-team college football playoff, Alabama and Clemson have made the playoffs six times each, and Ohio State and Oklahoma four times each. The Pac-12 has two appearances in the playoffs in seven seasons.
What these four schools also have in common is that they will all start quarterbacks from the west coast. Alabama is starting Bryce Young (Santa Ana Mater Dei) at quarterback. Clemson's starting quarterback is D.J. Uiagalelei from St. John Bosco in Bellflower. Ohio State is starting C.J. Stroud at quarterback. He played his high school football at Rancho Cucamonga high school. Oklahoma is starting Spencer Rattler from Pinnancle high school in Phoenix, Arizona at quarterback.
The top high school talent on the west coast is gravitating to the football schools back east that are on the Big Stage. This is one of the reasons that the Week 2 schedule becomes so important to the Pac-12. The conference needs to make a positive impression on the top high school talent out west and around the country. Both Oregon and USC are in the top ten nationally in football recruiting this year, so there is hope that things are slowly turning around. But they need to turn more quickly.
The Week 2 games also are an important building block on the national television contract negotiations for the Pac-12, which will begin in about 18 months. The conference TV contracts expire after the 2023-2024 season. George Kliavkoff, the new Pac-12 commissioner as of July 1, will need all the help he can get from the football schools as he cleans up the mess left from the previous commissioner.
The Pac-12 has fallen behind every other power conference in revenue and they need to make a good impression in the next 18 months. The recent success in the NCAA basketball tournament has helped the Pac-12, but football basically pays the bills for athletic departments in the conference and being an outsider in the playoffs cannot continue. That is the significance of Week 2 this year in Pac-12 football.