Dane Miller’s 2022 Week 2 SuperWest Football Previews

This weekend's games provides a fresh set of opportunities for the top teams in the West

Posted on September 8, 2022

  By Dane Miller, SuperWest Sports

Seasons aren’t won or lost in Week One. 

This weekend provides a fresh set of opportunities for teams in the West, particularly those that stumbled in the opener.

Arizona State has a substantial game in Stillwater against No. 11 Oklahoma State, while down in Fresno the Beavers can turn heads with a win over Fresno State.

And over in Tucson, Arizona has a chance to prove the win over San Diego State wasn’t a fluke.

But the Games of the Day are No. 10 USC at Stanford and No. 9 Baylor at No. 21 BYU. The results of both will be closely watched and could indicate the ceiling of both the Trojans and Cougars.

Not to be forgotten, Colorado and Washington State are both featured on national television in midday kickoffs against challenging opponents.

I preview all 14 SuperWest games here, and the picks of our Senior Writers and Broadcasters appear at the bottom. 

Boise State at New Mexico

Friday, September 9
6:00 p.m. PT, CBS Sports Network

With a bounce-back opportunity after getting humbled by Oregon State, the Broncos travel to Albuquerque to take on New Mexico.

Boise State hasn’t lost to the Lobos since 2015 and is 11-1 all-time against UNM. The matchup provides a de facto live-fire practice to compare quarterbacks.

Hank Bachmeier was pulled after committing three turnovers against the Beavers, and Taylen Green stepped in to rush for over 100 yards and two touchdowns. 

Boise State QB Hank Bachmeier vs Oregon State | Boise State Athletics

Bachmeier probably gets the starting nod based on seniority, but Green will undoubtedly see action as well. 

It’s a Litmus Test for both quarterbacks that could prove vital to the remainder of BSU’s season.

Whichever direction Andy Avalos and his staff decide to go, the decision must be made soon before the Broncos enter the toughest part of the season starting at the end of September.  

Southern Utah at No. 13 Utah

Saturday, September 10
10:30 a.m. PT, Pac-12 Network

The Utes kick off the Saturday action with an early morning game against in-state opponent Southern Utah.

Wary of a hangover from the Florida loss, Kyle Whittingham is sure to have his team prepared to play. 

The entire Utah roster promises to be motivated to secure the victory, but Cam Rising might play with an extra level of effort after throwing the late interception in The Swamp.

Utah QB Cam Rising vs Florida | Scott G Winterton/Deseret News

As always against an FCS school, the key to the game is leaving the field healthy without any major injuries. 

Look for the UU defense to shut down Southern Utah’s run game and generate interceptions on passing plays, while Tavion Thomas posts 150 yards rushing or more. 

Colorado at Air Force

Saturday, September 10
12:30 p.m. PT, CBS

A quarterback controversy has dominated the discussions surrounding Colorado Football after the blowout loss to TCU. 

J.T. Shrout appeared to operate CU’s offense more effectively, providing the Buffs a stronger opportunity to score points.

But Brendon Lewis is a terrific athlete whose mobility keeps plays alive, causing Karl Dorrell some hesitancy to give the reins to Shrout.

Colorado QB Brendon Lewis vs TCU | Andy Cross/The Denver Post

Regardless of who starts under center, Colorado faces a tough task against Air Force’s option-run scheme.

Defending the attack will require the CU defense to remain disciplined in their assignments and its offense to take advantage of the limited possessions it could have. 

At the end of the day, if the Buffaloes keep the time of possession relatively even they could remain in contention to pull off the surprise upset.  

Washington State at No. 19 Wisconsin

Saturday, September 10
12:30 p.m. PT, FOX

It’s not going to be easy for the Cougs in Madison.

Wisconsin is known for having a physical offensive and defensive line, winning games in an old-fashioned smash-mouth style. It’s a worrying mismatch for a Pac-12 team implementing a new offensive scheme.

The result against Idaho doesn’t inspire much confidence, either, and WSU could be in for a long day.

WSU QB Cam Ward vs Idaho | Young Kwak/Associated Press

But if Eric Morris was hiding half his playbook as some suspect, the true identity of the Coug Raid could be in full force against Wisconsin. 

Keep an eye on the performance of Cam Ward against the Big 10 defense, and the play of Wisconsin transfer running back Nakia Watson.

If the two have strong days, Washington State might keep the game interesting into the second half. 

Washington football pac-12Portland State at Washington

Saturday, September 10
1:00 p.m. PT, Pac-12 Network

Kalen DeBoer and the Washington offense face off against FCS Portland State in a cupcake matchup. 

The game should provide additional opportunities for the Dawgs to fine-tune the spread attack in live-game situations.

But it’s one of those contests that hardly anyone will watch on the Pac-12 Network during a timeslot with plenty of competition.

Washington QB Michael Penix Jr. vs Kent State | Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times

Still, the storyline to monitor is Michael Penix Jr.’s command of the offense, particularly his touchdown-to-interception ratio.

The transfer from Indiana has struggled in that department during his career but didn’t throw a pick in his first game as a Husky.

Look for DeBoer to challenge his team to make the scoring margin as wide as possible, with Penix Jr. potentially pitching five touchdown passes or more through the air. 

UNLV at California

Saturday, September 10
1:00 p.m. PT, Pac-12 Network

Facing a tougher opponent this week, California takes on a slowly improving UNLV program. 

The Rebels have been in the dumps of College Football for years, but head coach Marcus Arroyo is starting to turn the program around.

The former offensive coordinator at Oregon from 2017-2019 runs an entertaining shotgun-based offense that features a capable quarterback in Doug Brumfield.

UNLV QB Doug Brumfield vs Idaho state| USA TODAY

UNLV is full of confidence, too, after drumming Idaho State in the opener. 

But the Bears should handle their business starting on defense.

Safety Craig Woodson posted a Pick Six in the opener and it’s not out of the question to expect the Cal defense to generate multiple interceptions against the Mountain West opponent. 

On offense, look for true freshman running back Jaydn Ott to have a strong game on the ground.

Alabama State at UCLA

Saturday, September 10
2:o0 p.m. PT, Pac-12 Network

Favored over Alabama State by a landslide, the headline from this game might once again be the attendance at the Rose Bowl.

Projected to be in the low 80s with a chance of rain, the weather is more conducive to a stronger turnout than last week’s oppressive heat.

Yet, another day with hardly any fans in the stands could once again make the rounds on Twitter, although that might not matter as UCLA has shifted its recruiting focus to transfers instead of high school players. 

UCLA RB ach Carbonnet vs Bowling Green | The Eagle-Tribune

On the field, Dorian Thompson-Robinson and Zach Charbonnet figure to dominate the Hornets from the jump. The duo could realistically combine for more than 500 yards of offense and five touchdowns.

But the main on-field storyline will once again be centered around Bill McGovern’s defense. Look for UCLA to hold Alabama State in the single digits.  

Arizona State at No. 11 Oklahoma State

Saturday, September 10
4:30 p.m. PT, ESPN2

In one of the more consequential games of the weekend, Arizona State travels to Stillwater to take on No. 11 Oklahoma State.

The nonconference tilt has the potential to dramatically shift the perception of ASU’s season if the Sun Devils emerge with the win. 

One of the battles to watch is Arizona State’s secondary against quarterback Spencer Sanders.

Mike Gundy’s offense has always featured a pass-heavy shotgun attack, spreading the ball around to numerous wide receivers that tend to be superior athletes.

ASU head coach Herm Edwards | CBS Sports

The system put up 58 points in the opener and could have a similar field day against ASU’s questionable secondary. 

But if Herm Edwards’ defense can generate turnovers and get off the field on third down, his offense could have enough firepower on the ground to put up just enough points to win the game. 

usc logoNo. 10 USC at Stanford

Saturday, September 10
4:30 p.m. PT, ABC

Arguably the Game of the Day in the Pac-12, No. 10 USC faces its first test of the year in Stanford.

Broadcast on national television during primetime on the East Coast, plenty of eyes will be tuning in to check out the Trojans’ revitalized roster.

With enough offensive strength to overrun Stanford’s defense, the storyline to watch might be the play of Alex Grinch’s defense.

USC defensive coordinator Alex Grinch | USCFootball.com

The primary concerns surrounding USC’s team during the offseason were its offensive and defensive lines, but Grinch’s scheme produced three Pick Sixes in Week One.

Yet, Stanford has one of the top QB/WR/TE combinations in the country and promises to be a much tougher opponent than Rice. 

A convincing win would go far in swaying the minds of the remaining doubters and would make the Trojans a legitimate Playoff contender in the eyes of many. 

Idaho State at San Diego State

Saturday, September 10
5:o0 p.m. PT, Mountain West Network

The Aztecs have a “get right” game against lowly FCS opponent Idaho State at Snapdragon Stadium.

Cooler temperatures and rain are predicted for the evening kickoff, which should produce a substantially improved fan experience compared to the opener against Arizona.

The City of San Diego should have a smarter traffic flow solution in place, as well, and SDSU should win easily.

San Diego State QB Braxton Burmeister vs Arizona | Tom Hauck/Getty Images

The combination of the factors figures to soften the sting of the loss in the opener.

Braxton Burmeister will reportedly start after suffering a shoulder injury last Saturday, doubling the positivity of Week Two.

Staying healthy is arguably Objective No. 1, but a more effective run game and stouter defensive effort are the primary stories to watch.

Oregon Ducks Logo Pac-12Eastern Washington at Oregon

Saturday, September 10
5:30 p.m. PT, Pac-12 Network

The Ducks have some image repairing to do. 

The loss to Georgia will not be forgotten for several years, but the matchup with Eastern Washington provides an opportunity to begin to right the ship.

The two storylines to watch are the performance of Bo Nix and the execution of Oregon’s defense, particularly its linebackers.

Oregon QB Bo Nix vs Georgia | Jason Vorhees/The Telegraph

Nix didn’t play well against Georgia and Noah Sewell was nowhere to be found in Atlanta. Both players should come out with something to prove and embody the chip-on-the-shoulder mentality within the entire UO roster.

At the same time, a worse-than-expected showing against EWU would create a blinking red light for the remainder of the year.

It may only be a matchup against an FCS school, but the game has the potential to sour the fanbase if it’s not a blowout. 

No. 9 Baylor at No. 21 BYU

Saturday, September 10
7:15 p.m. PT, ESPN

In the Game of the Day among SuperWest programs, No. 21 BYU hosts No. 9 Baylor in Provo.

A Cougar win would catapult the program into the Playoff discussion and set the stage for a Heisman campaign for Jaren Hall. A victory would simultaneously set up a colossal showdown with Oregon in Week Three.

But BYU can’t put the cart before the horse.

BYU quarterback Jaren Hall vs USF | Jason Behnken/Freelancer

Baylor is a dangerous team with a capable running quarterback. Blake Shapen led the Bears to a win in the Big 12 Championship Game last year and has yet to throw an interception in his career.

Shapen averages 11.7 yards per carry on 25 career attempts and was the No. 21 dual-threat quarterback in the Class of 2020.

BYU’s ability to frustrate Shapen with pressure and contain him in the pocket could be the determining factor in the outcome. 

Oregon State at Fresno State

Saturday, September 10
7:30 p.m. PT, CBS Sports Netework

This game deserves more national attention.

Oregon State dominated Boise State in the opener but arguably faces the top team in the Mountain West in Fresno State.

The Bulldogs lost Kalen DeBoer during the offseason, yet Jake Haener decided to stay and Jeff Tedford was re-hired after stepping away from the program for medical reasons at the end of the 2019 season.

Pivotally, the offensive system remains the same after DeBoer left, creating continuity for Haener and the skill players. 

Fresno State QB Jake Haener vs Cal Poly | Craig Kohlruss/Fresno Bee

Fortunately for Oregon State, it has one of the top defensive secondaries in the country.

The group generated three interceptions against BSU and will have numerous opportunities against a scheme that passes for 40-plus times a game. 

Time of possession could be key, with Oregon State’s superior offensive line potentially allowing the Beavs to run the ball at will.

If OSU connects on deep throws off play-action the way it did in the opener, Jonathan Smith’s team could emerge with an impressive victory. 

Arizona football Pac-12Mississippi State at Arizona

Saturday, September 10
8:00 p.m. PT, FS1

There hasn’t been this much buzz around an Arizona Football game in years.

Jayden de Laura and Jacob Cowing embarrassed San Diego State in the inaugural contest at Snapdragon Stadium, drastically improving the perception of Jedd Fisch’s team.

Yet, Mississippi State comes to Tucson with over-inflated confidence and a mindset that they’re going to easily handle business.

Arizona WR Jacob Cowing vs San Diego State | Orlando Ramirez/USA TODAY Sports

A matchup like this can be impacted by a raucous home crowd, and Arizona’s ZonaZoo figures to be hostile.

The UA players should feed off the emotion in the stadium, playing with heart and effort that the home crowd hasn’t seen in several seasons. 

The key matchup is Johnny Nansen’s defense against Mike Leach’s Air Raid. Nansen’s scheme and play calling was effective against SDSU’s run-based attack but will face a polar opposite challenge against the Bulldogs. 

If Arizona’s defensive line can get pressure on Will Rogers, the Wildcat secondary and linebackers may generate enough turnovers to produce an upset. 

Game Picks from our Senior Writers and Broadcasters

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