Rating the 2009 Non-Conference Slate, Part 5: Pac-10

Oh yeah, I was doing this schedule preview thing. Let’s get this over with, starting with the Pacific 10, land of the 10-team round-robin schedule.

  1. Southern California (2 legit, 0 DI-AA): San Jose State, @Ohio State, @Notre Dame. This schedule doesn’t pull any punches, with two major road trips to the Midwest. USC-OSU will be essential to each team’s fate, with the loser probably lacking a good enough conference slate behind them to prop them up later in the year. (It would also serve USC well to stop getting upset in-conference, but that’s outside the scope of this article.)
  2. Oregon (2, 0): @Boise State, Purdue, Utah. Oregon ventures onto the blue turf in a crucial early matchup for both. (In fact, it’s one of the earliest games of the season, and frankly probably more appealing than the other big first Thursday matchup, South Carolina-NC State.) Oregon’s scheduling march doesn’t end there, with games against Purdue and Utah. These three matchups, combined, almost rivaled USC-OSU, but I still had to give the nod to USC. Maybe I’ve just been watching too much ESPN. (Oh snap!)
  3. Washington (2, 0): Louisiana State, Idaho, @Notre Dame. LSU-UDub would ordinarily be an interesting intersectional matchup, but let’s face it, Washington could well go 0-3 against this slate if they play like they did last year. (As Dr. Saturday pointed out, Washington had one of the toughest schedules in the country last year, mainly because they could not play themselves.) This is also the 2nd of 4 Pac-10 matchups with Notre Dame.
  4. Stanford (1.75, 0): @Wake Forest, San Jose State, Notre Dame. The Caltrain series returns this year, but will the Gridiron Gauruntee? Not that it seemed to help, based on their attendance numbers.
  5. California-Los Angeles (1.5, 0): San Diego State, @Tennessee, Kansas State. UCLA’s probably in for a bit of culture shock when they head to Knoxville, but their attempt to end the monopoly on LA Football isn’t really bolstered by a home slate of inept SD State and K-State.
  6. Washginton State (1, 0): Hawaii, Southern Methodist, N-Notre Dame. It’s Washington State! It’s Notre Dame! It’s in…. San Antonio? Apparently this is just the first in a series of Notre Dame’s take on a barnstorming tour, with upcoming games in the Meadowlands and Dublin, apparently. Anyway, as for Wazzou, well, unlike their cross-state partners in crime, it’s possible for them to go somewhere other than up, since they had a win and all.
  7. California (1, 1): Maryland, Eastern Washington, @Minnesota. This schedule is good in name only. I’m having a hard time getting excited about UMD and UMN, but at least they’re trying!
  8. Arizona State (1, 1): Idaho State, Louisiana-Monroe, @Georgia. Arizona makes the return trip to Athens, which in UGA’s conference would probably give them a high ranking schedule. Not so in the Pac-10! That said, in a perfect world this would be a pretty weak schedule, with Arizona’s other slots being taken up by a Sun Belt team and Idaho State (because apparently just regular Idaho wasn’t bad enough). Anyway, the drop-off after this is really noticable.
  9. Oregon State (0.75, 1): Portland State, @Nevada-Las Vegas, Cincinnati. Outside of the random roadtrip to Vegas, not much here. Well, at least Cincy is better than Iowa. Which leads us to…
  10. Arizona (0.25, 1): Central Michigan, Northern Arizona, @Iowa. Probably not as bad as last year’s debacle, but still, this schedule is weak by any standard, and especially so in the Pac-10.

Well, that concludes everyone’s favorite major conference west of the Rockies. Next, we wrap up with the SEC and perhaps a conclusion article. ETA: Sometime before the beginning of the season. Until then!