Matt Hayes over at the Sporting News has been ranking the non-conference schedules of each conference, and just ranked the Pac-10.
Lets be clear about this: The Pac-10 has the best scheduling in the nation. Not only do we get treated to a true round robin, but the entire Pac-10 ADs have done an astounding job of scheduling tough games (not including Arizona and Stanford, though at least they have ND). Below is how Matt ranked the toughness of Pac-10 schedules, and I pretty much agree with the rankings:
1. USC: at Virginia, Ohio State, Notre Dame
2. Washington: BYU, Oklahoma, Notre Dame
3. UCLA: Tennessee, at BYU, Fresno State
4. Oregon State: at Penn State, Hawaii, at Utah
5. California: Michigan State, at Maryland, Colorado State
6. Arizona State: Georgia, Northern Arizona, UNLV
7. Oregon: Utah State, at Purdue, Boise State
8. Washington State: Oklahoma State, at Baylor, Portland State
9. Stanford: at TCU, San Jose State, at Notre Dame
10. Arizona: Idaho, Toledo, at New Mexico
By comparison, here are some of the toughest schedules in all other conference. For the toughest schedules, every team listed below was in the top 2 of their conference.
Michigan State: at California, Eastern Michigan, Florida Atlantic, Notre Dame
Michigan: Utah, Miami (OH), at Notre Dame, Toledo
Florida: Hawaii, Miami, Citadel, at Florida State
Miami: Charleston Southern, at Florida, at Texas A&M, UCF
Virginia: USC, Richmond, at Connecticut, East Carolina
Pittsburgh: Bowling Green, Buffalo, Iowa, at Navy, at Notre Dame
Syracuse: at Northwestern, Akron, Penn State, Northeastern, at Notre Dame
Colorado: Colorado State (in Denver), Eastern Washington, West Virginia, at Florida State
Oklahoma: Tennessee-Chattanooga, Cincinnati, at Washington, TCU
And I'm gonna throw out a few of the contenders this season, just because:
Georgia: Georgia Southern, Central Michigan, at Arizona State, Georgia Tech
LSU: Appalachian State, Troy, North Texas, Tulane
Ohio State: Youngstown State, Ohio, at USC, Troy
Clemson: Alabama, Citadel, South Carolina State, South Carolina
As you can see, there is no comparisson whatsoever. I don't think any of the teams listed could even crack the top 4 of the Pac-10 in terms of schedule, and many of the teams have tougher schedules because they are playing Pac-10 teams. While the Pac-10 plays an extra conference game, every other conference just added a gimme game. Few teams have more than one game that should be considered a lock, and most Pac-10 teams have no easy non-conference games as at all.
I am very glad that we have this scheduling, and that as Pac-10 fans, we get treated to some excellent football. Now if only we can get that broadcast to the rest of the nation....
P.S. 70 days!