Published on February 7, 2022
OWe’ve looked at the best non-conference games on the Pac-12 list in 2022 and there are some good ones.
Now it’s time to see how these games stack up in terms of difficulty when connected to each team’s overall three-game non-conference schedule.
The days of non-conference cupcake schedules at Conference are pretty much over, outside of a school (more on that later). Here’s how the difficulty of the Pac-12 2022 non-conference slates stacks up.
1. Oregon — vs. Georgia (Atlanta), East Washington, BYU
The Ducks will be firmly in contention for the college football playoffs if they can get through their first three games unscathed.
Beat the defending national champions in Atlanta (essentially at Georgia) is a big, almost impossible task.
But the Bulldogs will be a lot like Ohio State at the start of 2021 when Oregon knocked them out in Columbus – ultra-talented and well-drilled, but replacing a ton of talent and experience, especially in their first seven.
The sneaky challenge here, no matter what happens in Atlanta, is to play against a tough BYU team just two weeks after the road trip to Georgia.
These colossal non-conference games can take a lot out of a team and the Ducks will need to be sharpened or they could risk losing their stock after a big Georgia win with a loss or getting into a 1-2 conference game.
2. Stanford — Colgate, at Notre Dame, BYU
Notre Dame should be a Top 10 team this year and a trip to South Bend in October shouldn’t be fun.
Closing with BYU gives the Cardinal a tough 1-2 punch as the Cougars will likely have a lot to play for and will be strong enough under Kilani Sitake again.
3. USC — Rice, Fresno State, our Lady
Closing in with a tough Notre Dame is obviously the number one challenge here for Lincoln Riley and company. Fresno State is a sneaky and tough number two, however.
The Bulldogs are coached by Jeff Tedford and fire key players such as QB Jake Haener, who led them to a loss at UCLA and nearly felled Oregon on the road last year.
4. Utah — in Florida, Southern Utah, San Diego Street
The opener in The Swamp is a challenge of epic proportions, though the Gators won’t be highly seeded like they would most years in their first game under Billy Napier.
Hosting San Diego State two weeks later adds a tough challenge as the Utes try to avenge their 2021 loss to one of the most pesky non-conference Pac-12 opponents in recent history.
5. Colorado — TOS, to the Air Force, in minnesota
Colorado has a super tough schedule to assess.
While they don’t have a juggernaut like Georgia, Michigan State, Notre Dame, or Wisconsin on the schedule, they have two very good B+ games, including one on the road, as well as a game on the halfway road.
They get points for not having a real cupcake game and possibly the best number two game on the schedule with whoever you consider that — TCU or Minnesota.
6. cal — UC Davis, UNLV, at Notre Dame
This is Cal going to South Bend. It’s a big challenge and hardly anyone will predict that they will win.
seven. washington state — Idaho, in Wisconsin, Colorado Street
The headline here is Wisconsin in Week 2 against the always tough Badgers. Colorado State is a good number two game for the Cougars.
8. Washington — Kent Street, Portland State, michigan street
This one is about what a Michigan State Top 10 team should be like coming to Seattle.
It’s a massive game in Seattle and the biggest non-conference game in over a decade.
9. Arizona — at San Diego Street, mississippi street, North Dakota St
Arizona’s slate is comparable to Colorado, where there is no Top 25 team the Wildcats play, but they get a very tough number two and have a solid number one against an opponent from the Power 5 conference.
Bonus points for having to face NDSU.
ten. Arizona State — Northern Arizona, at Oklahoma St, E. Michigan
Another one-hit wonder. The Sun Devils get a tough game at Oklahoma State that will make or break their non-conference schedule.
11. Oregon State — Boise Street, at Fresno St, Montana St
The Beavers avoid power conference teams but get two tough matchups against Mountain West.
The ever-struggling Boise State is coming to town, and they’re scheduled to play Fresno State with the aforementioned Tedford and Haener.
12. UCLA — bowling green, alabama street, Southern Alabama
I don’t know if anyone canceled on the Bruins, but they have an all-time non-conference schedule.
It better be three wins for them, giving them an easy way to a bowl in 2022.
—Recent Stories by Jack Follman—