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A look at 2017 Pac-12 Non-conference schedules

NCAA Football: Arizona at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Over the course of this past week, authors and commenters wrote many words about WSU’s future non-conference schedules, what the strategy should be and whether or not WSU should sign up to play in places like Houston, Ogden etc. Today we’ll take a look at a the quality, or lack thereof, among the upcoming season’s non-conference lineups.

Jon Wilner ranked each school’s slate this week, with UCLA checking in with the Pac-12’s toughest inter-conference matchups. The Bruins face Texas A&M, Hawaii and Memphis. I would argue that USC is actually paying a tougher slate, as they face Notre Dame, Texas and Western Michigan. Notre Dame will be better, Texas will probably be better and Western Michigan, while losing its coach, is still coming off a New Year’s Six appearance.

A few other notes:

  • Regarding Oregon’s game at Wyoming:

They’ll be coming off a game against Nebraska and open Pac-12 play the next week. Oh, and Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen is getting major buzz for the 2018 NFL Draft.

  • Cal picked a bad year to face two Power Five opponents, neither of whom are Kansas.
  • Wilner ranked ASU’s schedule slightly tougher than Stanford’s. I wholeheartedly disagree.
  • Colorado is facing one FCS team, and another team that was FCS about five years ago. They should be 11th.
  • We have talked and will talk at length about WSU’s slate, so I won’t expand much more. Wilner ranked WSU 10th, but I think they should be ahead of at least Colorado, and possibly Utah.

Here is what Wilner had to say about WSU:

The Cougars open with five in a row at home. That’s right: Five. In. A. Row. They don’t play a roadie until Oct. 7 (Eugene), which means a fast start is essential. They also get USC and Stanford in Pullman. There’s a short-week road back-to-back (Oregon and Cal) and a too-late bye.

It really is crazy that the Cougars don’t play on the road until October 7.

And now we arrive at the school with, by far, the weakest schedule in the conference. Without looking, I’d guess it’s probably one of the weakest lineups among all Power Five schools.

I try not to take shots at Washington too often, largely because they beat the piss out of WSU every year, and it’s clear that they have established themselves as one of the conference’s heavyweights after a decade-and-a-half of futility. That said, their non-conference schedule is an utter embarrassment, especially for a school that thinks it’s ready to compete for CFP invites.

The Huskies open with Rutgers. You might remember Rutgers as the team that hasn’t won since September 17 of last year. Since then, they lost nine games in a row. Four of those games were 58-0, 78-0, 49-0 and 39-0. Those are some Wulffian results.

And don’t let any Husky fan try and tell you “hurrrrr we scheduled this game years ago durrrrr.” The home/road agreement was signed in March of 2014, when Rutgers was 6-7 and Greg Schiano was long gone. Also, it doesn’t matter when the game was scheduled. What matters is when it’s played. That excuse will always be irrelevant.

Next, they face Montana. You might think of Montana as one of the better FCS opponents. You’d be wrong. The Grizzlies were just 6-5 last season, and finished with a losing Big Sky record.

If you thought it couldn’t get any weaker, you’d be wrong again! The Huskies close out non-conference play with Fresno State. Remember when I told you Rutgers hadn’t won since September 17, 2016? That’s more recently than Fresno State won a game! So if Washington wants to compete for a CFP spot again - I think they’re sufficiently talented and coached to do so - they better not stumble in conference play, especially since USC isn’t on the schedule.

That’s far more time and energy than I’ve ever wanted to spend writing about Washington. I apologize unreservedly and vow to never let it happen again. Go Cougs.


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