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College football is finally back

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But not Cougar football. We have a week to prepare for that.

NCAA Football: Washington State at Southern California Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

How’s this for a sign of normalcy: It’s Week Zero, the week before Labor Day Weekend, and it’s time for college football to invade our lives and televisions. After the 2020 season was delayed until late September, and even later for WSU and the Pac-12, this year things look normal. There are five games today, including one involving the Pac-12. The experience for fans in stadiums across the country won’t be as normal, but close enough.

The season gets underway at 10 a.m. west coast time when Nebraska visits Illinois. There’s nothing really tying Coug fans to that game now that Bill Moos is gone after abruptly retiring this summer. But it’s still Power 5 football, and a conference game no less!

Connecticut, which may or may not have a real football team, visits Fresno State, but that’s just the appetizer before UCLA welcomes Hawaii to the Rose Bowl at 3:30 p.m. west coast time. Chip Kelly has to be feeling the heat heading into this season, but there are high hopes for this Bruins squad and they should show us who they really are against Nick Rolovich’s former team.

UTEP visits New Mexico State, which can’t be seen on TV hardly anywhere, and Southern Utah goes to San Jose State to round out your day. Not exactly marquee matchups, but what else are you going to do, talk to your family?!?!

So enjoy Week Zero. The five games should help ease us into the grind that begins next weekend.

George Kliavkoff visits Pullman

Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff was in Pullman this week as part of his tour across the conference. The conference announced Thursday that it wouldn’t be expanding, which was expected. Kliavkoff did mention that this new ‘alliance’ would like each school’s football team to play eight conference games, plus one road and one home game against members of the other conferences:

Kyle Smith talks to Andy Katz

Links

Standing pat: Pac-12 decides it will not explore expansion | The Spokesman-Review
The Pacific-12 Conference said Thursday it will stand pat with its membership and not look to expand the 12-team conference, making it highly unlikely that the Big 12 schools being left behind by Texas and Oklahoma will find new Power Five homes.

Promising freshmen impress during Washington State's fall camp | The Spokesman-Review
With such a healthy roster of returning veterans and experienced transfers in the spotlight, it’d be hard to blame anyone for overlooking Washington State’s freshman class.

Pac-12 expert picks 2021: Most overrated and underrated teams, projected order of finish, bold predictions - CBSSports.com
Taking a close, detailed and opinionated look at the Pac-12