Your Week Zero Pac-12 Primer

EUGENE – Week Zero is upon us as the college football season is finally here.

While the No. 11 Oregon Ducks and Oregon State Beavers do not play this weekend, there are other games worth watching as week as we take a peek at this week in the Pac-12. Saturday’s Hawai’i-UCLA matchup will be the first time a Pac-12 team has hosted a game in Week Zero.

The last time a Pac-12 school played in a Week Zero game was 2019 when Arizona visited Hawai’i.

The Pac-12 had 5 schools in the AP Preseason Top 25, matching the SEC & Big Ten for most by conference and 41.7% (5 of 12 schools) are represented, the highest percentage of any conference.  The Pac-12 last had 5 teams in the preseason AP poll in 2019.

  • No. 11 OREGON made the preseason Top 25 for the 4th straight year and are ranked in the Top 11 in each of the last 3 years.  No. 15 USC is in the preseason poll for the 60th time, 3rd most of any school.  No. 20 WASHINGTON makes the preseason Top 25 for the 5th time in the last 6 yeras.  For the 3rd straight year, No. 24 UTAH is in the preseason poll while No. 25 ARIZONA STATE makes it for the first time since 2015.  UCLA also received votes.

Including the 9-game conference schedule and all non-conference games, the Pac-12 will play 83% of their total games against Power 5 opponents (including Notre Dame) which is the 2nd highest among the Power 5 conferences.

  Total Games vs. Power 5 / Notre Dame %
Big Ten 168 140 83.3
Pac-12 144 119 82.6
Big 12 120 98 81.7
ACC 168 135 80.4
SEC 168 127 75.6

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  • On top of STANFORD & USC’s matchups with Notre Dame, the Pac-12 will play 9 games against Power 5 schools.  4 games against the Big Ten (Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio State, Purdue), 3 against the SEC (LSU, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt) and 2 against the Big 12 (Kansas State, TCU).  5 of the 9 games are on the road with 2 more on neutral fields.

STAR STUDDED OFFENSE: Of the 25 players named 1st or 2nd team All-Pac-12 on offense in 2020, 16 of them return to the conference in 2021.

  • COLORADO Running Back Jarek Broussard is the first Pac-12 Offensive Player of the year to return to school since 2017 winner Bryce Love (STANFORD) returned in 2018.
  • All 3 quarterbacks who were honored in 2020 are returning this season.    1st team QB Kedon Slovis returns to USC.  On the 2nd team, Dorian Thompson-Robinson returns to UCLA while Sam Noyer stayed in the Pac-12 while transferring from COLORADO to OREGON STATE.

DYNAMIC DEFENSES: Of the 22 players named 1st or 2nd team All-Pac-12 on defense in 2002, 15 of them return to the conference in 2021.

  • OREGON Defensive End Kayvon Thibodeaux returns to Eugene after being named MVP of the 2020 Pac-12 Championship Game.  Thibodeaux has been named 1st team AP preseason All-American for the 2nd straight season.
  • All 6 linebackers who were named 1st or 2nd team in 2020 return.  1st team:  Nate Landman (COLORADO), Devin Lloyd (UTAH), Avery Roberts (OREGON STATE).  2nd team:  Cameron Goode (CALIFORNIA), Drake Jackson (USC), Edefuan Ulofoshio (WASHINGTON)

WELCOME BACK WEST: This offseason, 16 student athletes who attended high school in the Pac-12 footprint transferred from another Power 5 conference (including Notre Dame) to a Pac-12 school.

Player HS Town Previous School Current School
RB Drake Anderson Chandler, AZ Northwestern Arizona
DB Gunner Maldonado Chandler, AZ Northwestern Arizona
LB Malik Reed Chandler, AZ Wisconsin Arizona
DB Isaiah Rutherford Sacramento, CA Notre Dame Arizona
DL Matthew Pola Mao Chandler, AZ Kansas State Arizona State
LB Jack Lamb Temecula, CA Notre Dame Colorado
QB J.T. Shrout Santa Clarita, CA Tennessee Colorado
LB Devin Aupiu Oxnard, CA Notre Dame* UCLA
RB Zach Charbonnet Camarillo, CA Michigan UCLA
LB Jordan Genmark Heath San Diego, CA Notre Dame UCLA
LB Ale Kaho Reno, NV Alabama UCLA
WR Jake Smith Scottsdale, AZ Texas USC
WR Theo Howard Westlake Village, CA Oklahoma Utah
WR Giles Jackson Antioch, CA Michigan Washington
LB Jeremiah Martin San Bernardino, CA Texas A&M Washington
LB Ben Wilson Lake Tapps, WA TCU Washington State