(7) Can a good Pac-12 team compete against a good SEC team?
The nations eyes will be on this game. Why? It’s the first game of the season and it’s timed for national prime time exposure. Last season, Pac-12 teams competed in nine bowl games. Of those nine, the Pac-12 struggled to a 1-8 record. In short, it was one of the worst showings by a Power 5 NCAA conference in the history of the sport. As a result, many sports commentators have lowered their expectations of the Pac-12 conference as a whole.
Right now, the entire Pac-12 needs wins against good non-conference opponents. The season opener where the Washington Huskies travel to Atlanta, Georgia to face the Auburn Tigers will set the stage for this season for the entire nation. This runs completely counter to the “cupcake” impression set by national sports network ESPN during a televised Washington game last season.
Should Washington emerge the victor, any success by Auburn going forward will help the reputation of the entire Pac-12. Should Washington suffer defeat in this game? Any Auburn loss through the rest of the season will reflect upon the entire Pac-12.
For the sake of the entire Pac-12, and for the nation as a whole, their interests align more closely with a Washington win. Should Auburn win this one, you can almost mark the National Championship game as a face off between two SEC teams once more.