Northern Arizona at Arizona State
Kickoff: Thursday, 10:30 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)
Spread: No spread
Watchability: Unless you live in the state of Arizona or are related to Todd Graham, this just isn't a must-watch game. However, the fact that this game's on television means the Pac-12 Network is already serving its purpose.
Shining stars: Arizona State: Running back Cameron Marshall should be the star for the Sun Devils Thursday. Graham is going to want run a vanilla offense against the FCS Lumberjacks, which should mean a lot of carries for Marshall. Northern Arizona: NAU would love for returning quarterback Cary Grossart to shine. Grossart threw for 2,745 yards and 16 touchdowns last season. A big game from Grossart might be the only way Northern Arizona can stay in the game and that's assuming Grossart's big yards don't come in junk time.
Who could steal the show: Arizona State: Graham would love if new starting quarterback Taylor Kelly stole the show. Kelly won the job during a three-way battle in fall camp with Michael Eubank and Mike Bercovici. A solid performance by Kelly would validate Graham's quarterback selection and give the first-year starter some confidence going into Arizona State's Week 2 game with Illinois. That being said, Graham has made it clear that both Kelly and Eubank will play Thursday. Northern Arizona: It's unlikely that anyone in an NAU uniform will steal the show, but if someone does do it, that candidate is running back Zach Bauman. Bauman rushed for 1,435 yards and 15 touchdowns last season; he ranks 10th among active FCS players in career rushing yards with 2,494.
You going? Ranking the road trip: Arizona State is a must visit for any college football fan. On a recent "beauty" list -- which combined campus beauty with co-ed beauty -- the school ranked sixth. Although ASU makes a good road trip, it's not a good one to take during the hot Tempe August. Our advice: hold off until October or November.
Magic number for Arizona State: 10. The Sun Devils haven't dropped a season opener since falling to Nebraska 48-10 in 2002. ASU's 9-0 record since then includes three season-opening wins over the Lumberjacks (2003, 2006 and 2008).
Magic number for Northern Arizona: 74. The last time the Lumberjacks beat Arizona State came 74 years ago. In 1938, Northern Arizona knocked off ASU 19-13. NAU is 0-12-1 in its last 13 games against ASU.
The game comes down to: Talent. Arizona State will by far be the more talented team on the field Thursday. As long as the Sun Devils don't make too many big mistakes, they should walk out of the season opener with at least a two-touchdown win.
Prediction: Arizona State 44, Northern Arizona 17