University of Washington

5 things to watch in college football this week

Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien will go up against his uncle Mark’s former team Saturday when the Broncos host Washington State.
Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien will go up against his uncle Mark’s former team Saturday when the Broncos host Washington State. AP file, 2015

1. It’s cupcake week

Remember the opening weekend of this college football season, when Notre Dame played at Texas, Oklahoma played at Houston and USC met Alabama in Dallas? There are no such marquee matchups in Week 2. In fact, no two teams ranked in the Associated Press top 25 play against each other. But if you’re interested in 60-point blowouts, maybe keep these games in mind: Texas A&M vs. Prairie View A&M; Georgia vs. Nicholls; Houston vs. Lamar; Florida State vs. Charleston Southern; Mississippi vs. Wofford; and, of course, Washington vs. Idaho.

2. Sark surfaces

Like Lane Kiffin and Tosh Lupoi before him, former Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian will attempt to resurrect his football coaching career. He was hired at Alabama last week as a special assistant to the offense. It’s not a bad landing spot for Sarkisian, who was fired from USC last year amid concerns about his alcohol abuse. He gets to work with some old pals, gets to learn from one of the game’s best coaches in Nick Saban and gets to revel in ’Bama’s 52-6 pasting of the Trojans in Week 1.

3. Rypien vs. WSU

When Brett Rypien was in the midst of his record-breaking career at Shadle Park High School in Spokane, many assumed the star quarterback would wind up at Washington State, where his uncle, Mark, played in the 1980s. But Brett instead wound up at Boise State. This week, Rypien will face his uncle’s alma mater in Boise’s home opener. It will be weird, Rypien said, to play against the team he grew up watching. As for Mark? Brett told reporters this week that his uncle wants him to play well but will ultimately root for the Cougars.

4. Speaking of the Cougars

Think WSU’s 45-42 loss to Eastern Washington was bad? That’s nothing compared to what Richmond, another FCS program, did last week to Virginia. The Spiders smacked the Cavaliers, 37-20, and led by 23 points for most of the fourth quarter. Richmond is the heavy favorite to win the Colonial Athletic Association title this season, but no FBS team should ever let an FCS team bury it the way Virginia did. Next up for the Cavaliers and new coach Bronco Mendenhall: Saturday at No. 24 Oregon.

5. Huskies in the top 10

Despite finishing last season with a 7-6 record, Washington has already risen to No. 8 in the AP Top 25 following last week’s demolition of a bad Rutgers team. It’s the highest the Huskies have been ranked since November 2001, when they were also No. 8, and it sets up a potential top-10 showdown against No. 7 Stanford at Husky Stadium on Sept. 30. With Idaho, Portland State and Arizona coming up in the next three weeks, that Stanford game will be UW’s first opportunity to truly justify its ranking.

Christian Caple: 253-597-8437, @ChristianCaple