01 Jun 2022 | 08:29
Pac-12 last week announced two additional components to its 2022 soccer schedule, revealing the start times for early-season games and the final lineup of weeknight games.
For the purposes of this exercise, the following two revelations make more sense: No assessment of schedule strength is complete without taking into account the logistics of Thursday’s and Friday’s games.
Overall, the Pac-12 has 11 dates with Power Five competitors, including Notre Dame (three games), Georgia, Florida and Michigan State.
The three teams will not play any conference air games.
The two teams met no Power Five opponents.
One team doesn’t leave home until October.
Next up, with schedules ranked from hardest to hardest…
Home games (six): TCU (Friday), UCLA, Cal, Arizona State, Oregon, Utah
Road games (six): Air Force, Minnesota, Arizona, Oregon State, USC (Friday), Washington
Pac-12 misses: Stanford and Washington State
Notable Nuggets: Buff faces Oregon, USC, Washington and Utah in a row in November. Oops.
Comment: Every aspect of CU’s schedule feels like a Category 5 storm, from the absence of non-conference cupcakes to crossover division misses to the brutal closing stages. All of this for a team that will seem to struggle with an average schedule.
Home games (six): Colgate, BYU, USC, Oregon State, Arizona State, Washington State
Road games (six): Notre Dame Cathedral, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Cal, UCLA
Pac-12 misses: Arizona and Colorado
Notable Nuggets: Stanford was the only team to have a goodbye period in September (Week Three), which forced Cardinal to compete for 10 consecutive weeks. Good luck with that.
Comment: We considered placing this lineup at #1, but at least Cardinal has a cupcake (Colgate). The route schedule is very difficult (usually occurs in even years).
Home games (six): BYU, East Washington, Stanford, UCLA, Washington, Utah
Long/neutral road games (six): Georgia (neutral), Washington State, Arizona, Cal, Colorado, Oregon State
Pac-12 misses: USC and ASUS
Notable Nuggets: The Washington game (November 12) will be played into the season later than in any year since 2002 (November 16).
Comment: Our assessment of the schedule starts with the opening game against the defending champions, but all of Oregon’s losses to Stanford and derailment in the desert increase the difficulty level.
Family games (seven): Mississippi State, North Dakota State, Colorado, USC, Oregon, WSU, ASU (Friday)
Road Games (five): San Diego State, Cal, Washington, Utah, UCLA
Pac-12 misses: Stanford and the State of Oregon
Notable Nuggets: The NDSU has won nine of the past 11 FCS national titles. Think of it as a toss game.
Comment: This is Arizona’s toughest schedule in years with missed cross-sections wrong and no cupcakes outside of the conference. (Then again, after last season, can anyone be considered a cupcake for the Cats?)
Home games (six): Southern Utah, San Diego State, Oregon State, USC, Arizona, Stanford
Road games (six): Florida, Arizona, UCLA, Washington State (Thursday), Oregon, Colorado
Pac-12 misses: Washington and Cal
Notable Nuggets: The WSU game (October 27) will be the Pac-12’s first conference game on Thursday since Stanford-UCLA during the 2019 season.
Comment: The schedule is perfect for a playoff contender, with just enough challenges to please the selection panel but no nasty slurs and a game of revenge (SDSU) in what could be one situation. trap. By the way, the Utes are the 1.5-point favorite in Florida.
6. State of Arizona
Home games (six): NAU (Thursday), Eastern Michigan, Utah, Washington, UCLA, Oregon
Road games (six): Oklahoma State, Colorado, Stanford, Washington State, USC, Arizona (Friday)
Pac-12 misses: Cal and Oregon
Notable Nuggets: ASU are the only team to play four of the last six games on the road.
Comment: Circumstances made the schedule more difficult than initially imagined: The Sun Devils and their rebuilt roster have three days of early play against the top teams (Oklahoma State, Utah and USC) 15 of the AP pre-season poll.
7. Washington State
Family games (seven): Idaho, Colorado, Oregon, Cal, Utah (Thursday), Arizona, Washington
Road Games (five): Wisconsin, USC, Oregon State, Stanford, Arizona
Pac-12 misses: UCLA and Colorado
Notable Nuggets: The Cougars are the only team to open with two consecutive home games.
Comment: Nice to see a Power Five rival on the schedule (first since 2015), but it’s a manageable lineup overall, especially with OSU, Stanford and Arizona taking up 75% of the schedule. conference.
8. Oregon State
Family games (seven): Boise State, Montana State, USC, Washington State, Colorado, Cal, Oregon
Road Games (five): Fresno State, Utah, Stanford, Washington (Friday), Arizona State
Pac-12 misses: UCLA and Arizona
Notable Nuggets: The Beavers haven’t won their season opener since beating Weber State in 2015.
Comment: Boise State isn’t as tough as it used to be, but Fresno State will be a significant challenge in the Central Valley’s September heat. Add USC and Utah to the early-season schedule, and there’s no room for a slow start to a show that’s been slow to start.
Family games (seven): UC Davis, UNLV, Arizona, Washington, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA (Friday)
Road Games (five): Notre Dame Cathedral, Washington State, Colorado, USC, Oregon State
Pac-12 misses: Utah and ASUS
Notable Nuggets: The bears face Notre Dame for the first time since 1967 and have not scored more than eight points against Ireland in any of the previous four meetings.
Comment: Combine two non-conference cupcakes with a favorable lineup of conference house games and a major departmental miss and this schedule will help propel the period forward. after the season.
Family games (seven): Rice, Fresno State, Notre Dame, Arizona State, Washington State, Cal, Colorado (Friday)
Road Games (five): Stanford, Oregon State, Utah, Arizona, UCLA
Pac-12 misses: Oregon and Washington
Remarkable: USC, UCLA and Washington are the only teams to play all three games not at home.
Comment: An almost perfect schedule to start the Lincoln Riley era. We wouldn’t call the lineup easy, but the order and placement (e.g. no head-to-head lane games) create a potential launchpad for USC to return to relevance.
Family games (seven): Kent State, Portland State, Michigan State, Stanford, Arizona, Oregon State (Friday), Colorado
Road Games (five): UCLA (Friday), Arizona State, Cal, Oregon, Washington State
Pac-12 misses: USC and Utah
Notable Nuggets: Washington doesn’t play his first road game until October 1 (at UCLA)
Comment: Sure, Michigan State poses a first-class challenge, and the conference’s track line-up is tough and features two games on Friday. But the key point for us to evaluate the UW schedule is the absence of USC and Utah. Kalen DeBoer couldn’t ask for more.
Home games (eight): Bowling Green, Alabama, South Alabama, Washington (Friday), Utah, Stanford, Arizona, USC
Road games (four): Colorado, Oregon, Arizona State, Cal (Friday)
Pac-12 misses: Oregon State and Washington State
Notable Nuggets: UCLA was scheduled to visit Michigan in the fall, but the Wolverines canceled the home and family series — and reportedly paid the Bruins $1.5 million to void the contract.
Comment: With three non-conference cupcakes and eight home games, including USC and Utah, the schedule will allow Chip Kelly to build on his 2021 momentum.
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