Our first game week roundtable is here, and it's about to get a little weird! Let's talk about who we're excited to see, other Pac-12 things, and deadly wild birds.
1. Who are you most curious to see in game action and why?
Gabe Encinas: I'm most curious to see Paul Magloire in the secondary. I've talked to him quite a bit recently and he says he's been learning different spots in the defense, ready to make a play whenever his number is called. I have pretty high hopes for him this season going into next, so hopefully he can get big time reps in week one to carry forward into the rest of the non-conference.
David Potts: I'm excited to see DaVonte' Neal and Sammy Morrison. Neal was playing wide receiver at this time last year while Morrison was still in high school, so I am very interested to see if their in-game performances back up their performances in practice.
Bryant Conger: Cornerback Sammy Morrison: Last year, the Arizona defense had a duck tape and chicken wire feel to it. A paltry pass rush permitted too many situations that saw our inexperienced cornerbacks attempt to hang with opposing wide receivers for long stretches of time.
Ryan Kelapire: Sammy Morrison. When the first two-deep depth chart of the season was announced, it was a little surprising to see that Morrison will be starting over Cam Denson at cornerback. While I've heard nothing but good things from coaches and teammates about Morrison, it's always a bit of a shock when a true freshman gets the starting nod at a position like cornerback, especially over a talented player like Denson
Jason Bartel: Same as everyone else. Morrison without a doubt.
2. What is your favorite thing about a roadrunner?
GE: Not gonna lie, roadrunners have some pretty sweet hair. The slicked back mohawk has some serious flow.
DP: Its ability to repeatedly humiliate Wile E. Coyote by merely saying "beep-beep and running very fast. Though really, Wile E. Coyote was only humiliating himself, and the roadrunner was just the vessel for that humiliation. What was the question again?
BC: Beep. Beep.
RK: After they catch their prey, they repeatedly fling it against the ground until it dies (don't ask me how I know this).
JB: Well Ryan stole mine. I only asked this question because I saw a real live one at Pima East last week. Playing UTSA was just a good excuse to use it.
3. How drunk was Herbstreit when he picked ASU to make the CFB Playoff?
GE: He's out there. Looking at the rest of his list, I'm concerned for his health. Having LSU and Oklahoma in there as well is something else.
DP: I don't think he was Sark After Dark-level drunk, but I think he made that prediction as he polished off a bottle of red wine. Arizona State will be good this year, but putting them in the playoff is pretty aggressive. He also picked Georgia Tech to win the ACC and Oklahoma to win the Big 12, so his picks seem purposely contrarian.
BC: It was surprising to see that Herbie wasn't the only one picking ASU for the college football playoff. ASU is a good team but is not elite enough to avoid two losses this year -- particularly playing in a loaded Pac-12 South and with a trip to the Lone Star State to play Texas A&M.
Unfortunately, it doesn't look like any Pac-12 team is going to escape the regular season with less than two losses. This will likely eliminate the conference from a playoff spot even though the Pac-12 South is likely the strongest division in the country.
RK: Even more drunk than Steve Sarkisian is at USC booster events.
JB: Look, there's no way that ASU goes through the year with less than two losses.
4. What other Pac-12 game intrigues you the most this weekend?
GE: Because it's week one, a lot of them draw my interest. Definitely Michigan at Utah. We'll see what Harbaugh can do and hopefully Utah can make the Pac-12 South look good. Virginia at UCLA, just to see how Josh Rosen performs in his first collegiate game, with three weeks to prepare for Arizona. And then I think the obvious choice is ASU vs. Texas A&M. It's kind of a win-win for a lot of people, depending on how you look at it. If ASU loses, ASU loses on the national stage. If ASU wins, they make the Pac-12 South look that much better over the SEC West. But of course, I'd love nothing more than an Arizona State loss just to keep them quiet. Also, Washington at Boise State is pretty intriguing on a Friday night.
DP: Eastern Washington against Oregon. It's not the best match-up — Arizona State and Texas A&M will be a better game — but I'm really interested to see Vernon Adams go against the team he just left. It'll also be the first opportunity to see someone other than Marcus Mariota take control of the Oregon offense, so we will see if Mark Helfrich can keep Oregon's string of success going post-Mariota.
BC: ASU vs. Texas A&M: This is the perfect game to show the rest of the country what the Pac-12 is about. Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin has received waves of good press down in College Station. The Aggies are stacked with 5 star talent, lots of hype, and a blue chip quarterback from Arizona who shunned both the Wildcats and Sun Devils to play in the SEC.
The Aggies face a fast and talented ASU team that has a chance to make a national statement. ASU should be able to keep up with the A&M offense put pressure on the new Aggie defensive guru John Chavis. The key to this game will be whether the Sun Devil defense can hold the line. An ASU win will boost the profile of the Pac-12. The conference will need all the help it can get to claim one of four playoff spots.
RK: There are so many to choose from that it's hard to pick one. You have Stanford at Northwestern, Washington at Boise State, UCLA at Virginia, Utah vs. Michigan, and of course, Arizona State vs. Texas A&M. Since I am forced to pick one, I'll say ASU-TAMU. I think ASU is ranked a little too high, and A&M should give them all they can handle, and hopefully even beat them. A UA win and an ASU loss would be an ideal way to start the season.
JB: It would be Utah-Michigan for me if it wasn't on Thursday, so I have to go with ASU/TAMU