An insider’s guide to the Pac-12 season: Top players, teams and storylines

  • College football reporter.
  • Joined ESPN.com in 2008.
  • Graduate of Northwestern University.

The college football schedule finally becomes complete when the Pac-12 begins play Saturday, bright and early.

USC and Arizona State will kick off shortly after 9 a.m. PT, an odd start to a very unusual Pac-12 season. The Pac-12 is the 10th and final FBS conference to begin play, as it tries to cram in seven games in seven weeks. But the Pac-12 is playing, which looked extremely unlikely for most of the summer and early fall, and that is reason to celebrate.

“We are grateful to be playing football, and we will never complain,” said Washington first-year coach Jimmy Lake. “We know how quickly this game can be snatched away from us. It was a short time ago, we didn’t think we were playing any football in 2020.

“You just let us know when to play, where to go, and we’ll be there.”

Despite the late start and the condensed schedule, the Pac-12 features some unique and interesting storylines. I spoke with coaches and analysts about some of the key subplots around the conference.

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