- Ted Miller, ESPN Staff Writer
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Some notes to get you through the hours until Saturday. Thanks to ESPN Stats & Information for many of these numbers.
2013 has the potential to be one of the best years for quarterback play in FBS history. Notre Dame and Florida State are the only two teams that finished in the top 11 of last season’s AP poll that are not returning their leading passer. If it were not for the suspension of Everett Golson, each of the top six teams would be returning its leading passer. The last time that happened was entering the 1982 season. That 1982 group became the famed 1983 NFL draft class that boasted six quarterbacks chosen in the first round -- including Hall of Famers John Elway, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino.
The Pac-12's schedule of 37 nonconference games includes 12 who are either ranked or receiving votes in the AP poll.
Arizona leads its series with Northern Arizona 11-1, and that defeat occurred in 1932.
Rich Rodriguez-coached teams have improved by at least two wins in his second season at his previous schools.
Arizona's defense returns 210 career starts and loses only 11 starts from last year.
Arizona is 79-25-5 all time in season openers, winning five straight and 11 of the last 13. Rodriguez is 8-3 all-time in season openers at West Virginia, Michigan and Arizona.
California is 27-8 in nonconference play since 2004.
Jared Goff will be the first true freshman quarterback at Cal to start his first collegiate game.
Cal has the third-toughest schedule according to Phil Steele as well as ranking 125 out of 126 teams in experience.
Last season while coaching Louisiana Tech, new Bears coach Sonny Dykes' offense led the nation in scoring offense (51.50 points per game) and total offense (577.92 yards per game). The Bears offense last year ranked 69th in total offense (391.25 ypg) and 91st in scoring (23.00 ppg).
Dykes inherits a 2013 Cal squad that will be one of the nation’s youngest with a preseason experience rating that is No. 12 in the Pac-12 and No. 125 out of No. 126 teams according to Phil Steele’s combined experience chart.
New Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre is also looking to become just the second coach -- among 15 -- to win his CU debut since 1931. The only one to do so since Bunny Oakes won at Colorado Mines in 1932 was Rick Neuheisel, as his first Buffalo team thrashed Wisconsin 43-7 in Madison in 1995.
Colorado led the nation in games started by true freshmen in 2012 with 57. Maryland was second with just 39. That included 38 on defense.
Colorado is trying to snap an eight-game losing streak, the longest it has carried into a new season in its history (old high was six).
Oregon has been ranked in the preseason six consecutive years.
Oregon RB/WR De'Anthony Thomas needs eight yards to reach 4,000 for his career.
The Ducks’ No. 3 preseason ranking in both the AP and USA Today (coaches) polls matches the program’s highest (2011) to start a season.
Oregon’s string of five consecutive 10-win seasons (2008-present) is tied for eighth-most na tionally in the modern era.
Oregon State coach Mike Riley is 11-1 in home openers.
Oregon State leads the series against Eastern Washington 2-0, last winning 56-17 in 2006. The Eagles are ranked No. 4 among FCS teams.
The Beavers have now appeared in the AP top-25 rankings for a school record 13 consecutive weeks (also the USA Today Coaches Poll), moving as high as No. 7 (also in the BCS) the week of Oct. 22, 2012. The team finished last season No. 19 in the USA Today/Coaches Poll and No. 20 in the AP Poll – the first end of the season ranking since 2008. This is the first season the Beavers have opened the year in the AP top 25 since debuting at No. 22 in 2010.
When Eastern Washington has been on the Beavers schedule, which is now three times, it has been an omen of sorts for future success. The 2000 team went 11-1 and the 2006 club 10-4. Those seasons represent the most victories in one year ever for Beaver teams and both started with wins over the Eagles (21-19 in ‘00 & 56-17 in ‘06).
Oregon State won six more games last season (9- 4) than it did in the 2011 campaign (3-9), which marked the biggest one year improvement in school history. The plus-6 also matched the most in the FBS in ‘12 with Middle Tennessee (2-9 ‘11 /8-4 ‘12) and Ohio State (6-7/12-0).
This is the first meeting between UCLA and Nevada.
This is UCLA’s first season opener at home in the Rose Bowl since 2009 (vs. San Diego State).
UCLA is 61-28-5 in season-opening games in 94 seasons.
UCLA played 26 freshmen in 2012 -- 12 true freshmen and 14 redshirt freshmen.
Washington struggled to protect Keith Price last season. The Huskies allowed 38 sacks, tied for 13thmost in FBS. Their quarterbacks had 122 dropbacks in which they were under pressure last season, third most by any AQ school. Price was forced to throw the ball away nearly four times as often in 2012 as he did in 2011.
Without protection, Price’s numbers plummeted. He threw 14 fewer touchdowns and committed eight more turnovers, including a Pac-12 high six fumbles lost. Price's opponent-adjusted Total QBR went from 73.1 in 2011 (16th best in the nation among qualified quarterbacks) to 48.3 in 2012 (73rd).
Boise State QB Joe Southwick has thrown nine touchdowns in 96 attempts after a play-action fake. To put that into perspective, Kellen Moore threw eight touchdowns in 88 attempts after play action in his final season at Boise State. Southwick completed at least 50% of his passes off of play action in his final 12 games of the season, including 6-of-10 passes against Washington in the Las Vegas Bowl.
Auburn leads the series with Washington State 1-0, beating the Cougars 40-14 in 2006.
Washington State owns a 69-43-5 record in season openers. When opening the season on the road, the Cougars are 20-28-3 all-time after dropping a 30-6 decision at BYU last season. Coach Mike Leach is 9-2 in season openers and has won seven of his last eight.
Washington State is 1-5 all time against the SEC, going 1-4 against Tennessee before losing to Auburn in 2006.
Since the opening of the 2001 season, WSU is 26-9 against unranked, nonconference opponents.