The Pac-12 Conference is well known for having one of the toughest schedules in the nation every year. This year won't be a lot different though some teams are certainly taking it easy compared to years past. Here's a look at the teams who have the easiest rated schedule to those that have the toughest. First and last make sense and I'll elaborate on those two.
12. Colorado Buffaloes - The Buffs aren't expected to contend this year but when you look at their schedule, if the Buffs are improved at all over last season, they could have a great start to this season. They start with a rivalry game against Colorado State who isn't expected to do much this year, followed by Sacramento State (an FCS school) and then a road game at Fresno State who is in a rebuilding mode. Schedule will be much easier to handle than Ralphie before a home game. Could be three wins there … then who knows?
11. Washington State Cougars - New head coach Mike Leach gets a road game at BYU to start with but then Eastern Washington from the FCS followed by an easy road game at UNLV. Cougs should have at least two wins to begin their year.
10. Oregon Ducks - They open with four home games including Arkansas State, Fresno State and Tennessee Tech. Really, Oregon … Tennessee Tech?
9. Arizona Wildcats - Another new head coach, Rich Rodriguez has three straight home contests versus Toledo, Oklahoma State and South Carolina State. 'RichRod' will have a 2-1 start this season.
8. Arizona State Sun Devils - Northern Arizona (Go Lumberjacks! Sorry, but they were the only school to recruit me) and Illinois start the Devils season and they'll likely be 2-0. They then travel to Columbia, Missouri. Uh, how about a 2-1 start to the year.
7. Utah Utes - They begin with Northern Colorado, Utah State and then play their rivals BYU. Hard to say but the Utes will either be 3-0 or possibly 1-2 - it's hard to figure.
6. Stanford Cardinal - Home contests with San Jose State and Duke look easy on paper but both could be dangerous games while the Cardinal try to get their quarterback situation figured out. A mid-October battle in South Bend against Notre Dame will be tough.
Tie 4. California Golden Bears - The Bears will christen their newly remodeled Memorial Stadium with games against Nevada and Southern Utah. Should be 2-0 but Nevada is tough to figure out. Then they go to Columbus, Ohio, to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes. Maybe 2-1?
Tie 4. Washington Huskies - Two homes games against San Diego State and Portland State with a road game at LSU sandwiched in between. Maybe 2-1?
3. Oregon State Beavers - As the Beavs proved last year, never overlook an opponent but a bad FCS squad in Nicholls State should be a laugher. But then they travel to Wisconsin and later on in the year, they go to Provo, Utah, against the BYU Cougars. A make-or-break year for Oregon State won't get any help with this schedule.
2. UCLA Bruins - Yes, they play Rice but it's a road game - and the first game of the year which are hard to gauge. Then they get Nebraska followed by Houston, who may be down from last year but are still formidable.
1. USC Trojans - The men of Troy have never dodged anyone when it comes to their schedule and 2012 is no different. They host an unknown commodity in the Hawaii Warriors for the season-opener (see related articles) and then fly across country to play Syracuse. USC ends the year with their huge rivalry game against Notre Dame, which will be played the week before the Pac-12 Championship. There are no easy games here although the Hawaii contest is questionable - meaning it could be a blowout.
USC ends up with the toughest non-conference schedule with UCLA certainly a close second. Colorado has the easiest set of games although some might argue Washington State and Oregon have cupcake schedules too.
Sources - Pac-12 Conference
Daryle lived in Los Angeles Ca. most of his life and has been a longtime fan of USC, having closely followed the Trojans since he was just a youngster. Fight On!
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