This is the second article in a series that ranks the non conference schedules of the Pac-12. This one focuses on the the Pac-12 South Division.The South Division definitely has a stronger non conference schedule than the North Division. Heck, three of the teams don't even play against FCS teams this year.
1. USC - Average Ranking: 37/37
The Trojans play Fresno State (28), Boston College (63) and Notre Dame (20). Two of these teams were ranked in the top, well, 28 last year, and all three of the teams had a winning record. Fresno State looks to drop off a little bit, but they will still be solid, and Boston College won't be a pushover. This is more of an B-B-A schedule that has a little more of a high risk/reward for the Trojans.
2. Utah - Average Ranking: 70/43
The Utes also play Fresno State this year, along with Idaho State (FCS) and Michigan (57). The Idaho State game will be over very quickly, and who knows what to expect from the Wolverines this year, as they completely revamped their offensive coaching staff and probably their schemes as well. It will definitely be an interesting game.
3. Arizona State - Average Ranking: 83/62
The Sun Devils start the year off with FCS Weber State, and then they play New Mexico (104) and, yes, Notre Dame (20). Chalk up two fairly easy wins and then a stiff test against the Golden Domers on November 8th. Though the schedule is weak overall, they did add schedule a perennial top-25 team in Notre Dame.
4. UCLA - Average Ranking: 83/83
The Bruins won't be playing any FCS teams this year. They open the season against an awful Virginia team (106), and then play Memphis (107) and follow that up with Texas (36). They did the same thing that Arizona State did except the Bruins didn't schedule a game with a top-25 team. At least the Texas game will be interesting.
5. Arizona - Average Ranking: 95/80
The Wildcats will play an improving UNLV (69), University of Texas San Antonio (FCS) and Nevada (91). The UNLV game could be close, but in all reality, Arizona is looking at a very easy road to 3-0 before conference play begins this year.
6. Colorado - Average Ranking: 99/99
Colorado boasts the easiest schedule in the South, playing two teams coming off 1-win campaigns from the previous year. They will play Colorado State (64), Massachusetts (120) and Hawaii (114). Their game against Colorado State should be a nail-biter, but if they lose either of the other two games, the McIntire could be roasting ...
The Pac-12 only plays against 3 or 4 teams that will ranked in the top 25 this coming year. That means a lot of wins, and better chances for bowl eligibility. Like I said before, this is just the new normal for college football, as more teams in the power conferences decide to play weaker teams on a regular basis in the non conference schedule slots.