By Kelly Whiteside, USA TODAY
California is promoting its Heisman Trophy candidate, DeSean Jackson as "The 1 to watch." The dynamic wide receiver, who wears No. 1, is the one to watch, especially this weekend.
With the kickoff to the college football season full of mismatches, starting with No. 1 Southern California vs. Idaho down to No. 25 Texas A&M vs. Montana State and plenty in between, the one game to watch should be No. 12 California against No. 15 Tennessee in Berkeley (Saturday, 8 p.m., ET, ABC). Cal coach Jeff Tedford says last year's 35-18 loss at Tennessee was the worst game his team has ever played but Saturday's game isn't about revenge. "It's redemption," he says. The stigma of last year's blowout and the stereotypes perpetuated about West Coast football as a result, lingered the entire season, Tedford says. Though a league's strength can't be judged on one game — Cal-Tennessee is the only match between a Southeastern Conference and Pacific-10 school in the regular season — a Bears win would be sweet for the Pac-10, especially after LSU coach Les Miles jokingly took a swipe at the league.
"Some real juggernauts" he said about USC's conference schedule, though the Pac-10 is arguably the No. 2 league behind the SEC. This weekend the SEC and the Pac-10 have the most intriguing non-conference games. In the SEC, No. 13 Georgia hosts Oklahoma State and No. 18 Auburn faces Kansas State. The Pac-10 has three interesting road games starting with Washington State at No. 7 Wisconsin, Arizona at Brigham Young and Washington at Syracuse.
But there is much more to watch on the long road to the Jan.7 BCS national championship game:
•The debut of new coaches at two storied programs — Nick Saban at Alabama and Randy Shannon at Miami.
•New quarterbacks at Florida (Tim Tebow) and Ohio State (Todd Boeckman), the teams that played for the national title last season. Boeckman replaces Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith.