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College Hotline - Pac-12 football: The 2016 non-conference schedules

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    RSSBot News Junkie

    Jul 8, 2005
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    (Credit: Associated Press)

    Our early preview of the 2016 season continues with a look at the non-conference schedules. (Previous items: order-of-finish projections and all-conference picks). And from that ultra-narrow slice of Pac-12 football life, we can conclusively state: Thank goodness for the California schools.

    Each of the four has at least one game that flashes on the intersectional radar.

    The schedules for the eight non-CA schools? Mostly weak sauce:

    * Oregon-Nebraska might be the best of the group, thanks to a certain former Beaver coach. (It’s not the Ducks’ fault that Nebraska isn’t Nebraska, although Nebraska hasn’t been Nebraska in 15 years.)

    * Colorado-Michigan is one for the ages … in 1994.

    * Washington, which figures to be one of the league’s top teams and has played marquee games in the past, is all milquetoast in the fall.

    A few non-CA-school games have significant regional appeal — those against Brigham Young and Boise State — but they hardly clear the national bar.

    All in all, the Pac-12 has 12 dates with Power 5 opponents (including Notre Dame), six with the Big Sky, three with Brigham Young, two with Boise State and one with a team from Tuscaloosa.

    Let’s take a look:


    Lineup: vs. Brigham Young (in Glendale), vs. Grambling, vs. Hawaii
    Verdict: With BYU on the schedule, the soft-scheduling Wildcats have one non-cupcake.

    Arizona State

    The lineup: vs. Northern Arizona, vs. Texas Tech, at UTSA
    The verdict: Trip to Lubbock not sexy but will be challenging and could be telling when it comes time to assess the Pac-12 against other P5s.


    The lineup: vs. Hawaii (in Australia), at San Diego State, vs Texas
    The verdict: The game Down Under, which is one week earlier than all other season openers, adds a layer of intrigue to a lineup that was already difficult. Two wins would be an accomplishment.


    The lineup: vs. Colorado State (in Denver), vs. Idaho State, at Michigan.
    The verdict: Death by mauling, at least in the case of the trip to the Big House.


    The lineup: vs. UC Davis, vs. Virginia, at Nebraska
    The verdict: Tussle in Lincoln would be only moderately interesting if not for Mike Riley’s presence on the Cornhusker sideline.

    Oregon State

    The lineup: at Minnesota, vs. Idaho State, vs. Boise State
    The verdict: Too tough for the Beavers. Way, way too tough.


    The lineup: vs Kansas State, at Notre Dame, vs Rice
    The verdict: Not quite as daunting as it might seem: This won’t be an elite Kansas State team, and Rice poses no threat. The other game could be a tad difficult, however.


    The lineup: at Texas A&M, vs UNLV, at Brigham Young
    The verdict: Kudos to the Bruins for playing two difficult roadies in the same season. A&M isn’t top-10 material. But still …


    The lineup: vs Alabama (Arlington), vs Utah State, vs Notre Dame
    The verdict: Undoubtedly the toughest in the league and probably the toughest in the land — and that was before a bunch of Bama’s top talents passed on the NFL draft.


    The lineup: vs. Southern Utah, vs. Brigham Young, at San Jose State
    The verdict: Only game that matters is against the in-state rival. Oh, and the tangle with BYU should be interesting.


    The lineup: vs. Rutgers, vs. Idaho, vs. Portland State
    The verdict: Wake me when their league season starts (Sept. 24, in Tucson).

    Washington State

    The lineup: vs. Eastern Washington, vs Boise State, vs Idaho
    The verdict: Cougars have a good chance to sweep the noncon, which means they’l be 3-0 when Oregon comes to town in late September.


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    by Jon Wilner

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