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Pac-12 football: Ranking the non-conference schedules

by Berry Tramel Modified: March 27, 2013 at 4:10 pm •  Published: June 1, 2012


The Pac-12 traditionally has been the hallmark of quality non-conference scheduling. But the Pac-12 pulled back a little when it went to the nine-game conference schedule. The Pac-12 still plays mostly-decent schedules, but not as good as the ACC’s. Let’s check out the Pac-12.

Games against lower-division teams: Nine. Every Pac-12 school except Southern Cal, UCLA and Stanford plays one. Nine out of 30 is the exact ratio that the Big 12 plays, too. Thirty percent.

Games against traditional national powers: Six. Wisconsin, Notre Dame twice, Ohio State, Nebraska, LSU. So that’s not a terrible ratio, 20 percent. The Big 12 played two such elite games (Notre Dame and Miami).

Games against other major-conference programs: Five. Some really good teams — Oklahoma State, Missouri — plus Illinois, Syracuse and Duke. So that’s 11 games against fellow major conference teams, out of 30 total. The Big 12 played just eight out of 30. But it gets worse. The Pac-12 plays a ton of mid-major schools that are really solid and just as good or better than a bunch of BCS conferences. Brigham Young thrice, Hawaii, Houston, San Diego State, Colorado State and Nevada.

Road games: 12. Everyone except Arizona and Oregon plays away from home. Washington State has two road games, and Colorado plays Colorado State on a neutral field in Denver. The non-home game percentage for the Pac-12 is 40 percent. The Big 12 plays 27 percent road games.

OK, let’s rank the Pac-12 non-conference schedules:

1. Oregon State: Nicholls State, Wisconsin, at Brigham Young. The Badgers and BYU. Excellent work, Beavers.

2. Southern Cal: Hawaii; Syracuse at East Rutherford, N.J.; Notre Dame. You can always count on the Trojans for quality entertainment.

3. UCLA: at Rice, Nebraska, Houston. Not many teams from Texas play both LA teams. Not many teams from LA play both Houston teams.

4. Washington: San Diego State, at LSU, Portland State. Too bad UW isn’t any better. That game in the Bayou would be good.

5. Arizona State: Northern Arizona, Illinois, at Missouri. I suppose I should rank higher anyone that’s playing a Big Ten school and an SEC school, but I just have little use for Illinois.

6. California: Nevada, Southern Utah, at Ohio State. I have to confess. I didn’t know Southern Utah had a football team.

7. Stanford: San Jose State, Duke, at Notre Dame. The quality is starting to thin.

8. Arizona: Toledo, Oklahoma State, South Carolina State. The Cowboys save the UofA schedule.

9. Washington State: at Brigham Young, Eastern Washington, at Nevada-Las Vegas. Sudden thought. Why hasn’t UNLV ever gotten better in football?

10. Utah: Northern Colorado, at Utah State, Brigham Young. Hey, Utes. Why not play Southern Utah or Weber State instead of Northern Colorado? Keep it all in-state.

11. Colorado: Colorado State at Denver, Sacramento State, at Fresno State. I remember when the Buffs played a big-time schedule. I also remember when the Buffs were good.

12. Oregon: Arkansas State, Fresno State, Tennessee Tech. The Ducks have gone splat. Embarrassing schedule.


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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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