Saturday, August 20, 2022

Pac-12 strength of schedule rankings 2022: Stanford faces tough road games, UCLA’s slate not as challenging

The Pac-12 features some significant variance in schedule difficulty for the 2022 football season

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USATSI

The future outlook of the Pac-12 changed dramatically on Thursday, when news broke that UCLA and USC will depart the conference for the Big Ten in 2024 in a move set to dramatically alter the college sports landscape. But for now, the two Los Angeles schools have two more seasons to play with their old league.

Instead of the two Pac-12 division champions automatically facing each other in the conference title game this season, it will now be the two teams with the best winning percentage in conference games facing off, regardless of division. While it could still wind up as a North vs. South battle, there’s at least a chance that the Pac-12 Championship Game could be a showdown between two foes from the same division.

With that change in mind, a deep dive on the league’s schedule could yield some insights into how things will play out during the season ahead. Take USC, for example. Even if the Trojans lose at Utah on Oct. 15 and fall behind the Utes in the Pac-12 South standings, they could still navigate their way into a rematch in the conference title game. Given that USC’s league schedule looks relatively manageable, it’s a realistic possibility to consider.

It’s a year of change in the league as new coaches enter at USC, Oregon and Washington with the cloud of UCLA and USC’s future departure looming overhead. So, as the season approaches, it’s time to get in the weeds a bit.

Which Pac-12 teams have the hardest schedules? Which caught some breaks that could make satisfactory seasons more likely? Here’s our breakdown of each team’s strength of schedule.

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