2015 Pac-12 Team-By-Team Schedule Breakdown

    2015 Pac-12 Team-By-Team Schedule Breakdown

    June 6, 2015

    E-mail Rich Cirminiello
    Follow me … @RichCirminiello

    Pac-12 North

    Sept. 5 Grambling State
    Sept. 12 San Diego State
    Sept. 19 at Texas
    Sept. 26 at Washington
    Oct. 3 Washington State
    Oct. 10 at Utah
    Oct. 17 OPEN DATE
    Oct. 22 at UCLA
    Oct. 31 USC
    Nov. 7 at Oregon
    Nov. 14 Oregon State
    Nov. 21 at Stanford
    Nov. 28 Arizona State

    Non-Conference Games Grambling State, San Diego State, at Texas
    Games vs. the South Arizona State, at UCLA, USC, at Utah
    5 Keys to the Schedule
    – The Bears open the new season by hosting FCS Grambling State in the first-ever meeting between the schools.
    – Beyond Week 1, Cal might face the nastiest schedule in the FBS. The Bears get few breaks, including playing at Texas in Week 3 and drawing USC, UCLA and Arizona State from the South Division.
    – The team’s bye week comes at an opportune time, Oct. 17, allowing for an extra week to prepare for the trip south to Pasadena to tackle the Bruins.
    – Sonny Dykes will learn a ton about his young team in late October, when it plays UCLA, USC and Oregon in the span 16 days.
    – After hosting Washington State on Oct. 3, Cal play a game in Strawberry Canyon for four weeks, hosting the Trojans on Halloween.
    – WATCH OUT FOR … San Diego State. It might be tempting to look ahead to the trip to Austin. But it would also be a mistake. The Aztecs are always well-coached, and RB Donnel Pumphrey might run circles around an ineffective Cal D.

    Sept. 5 Eastern Washington
    Sept. 12 at Michigan State
    Sept. 19 Georgia State
    Sept. 26 Utah
    Oct. 3 at Colorado
    Oct. 10 Washington State
    Oct. 17 at Washington
    Oct. 24 OPEN DATE
    Oct. 29 at Arizona State
    Nov. 7 California
    Nov. 14 at Stanford
    Nov. 21 USC
    Nov. 27 Oregon State

    Non-Conference Games Eastern Washington, Georgia State, at Michigan State
    Games vs. the South at Arizona State, at Colorado, USC
    5 Keys to the Schedule
    – Part 2 of the home-and-home series with Michigan State takes place in Week 2 … this time in East Lansing, where the Spartans will be seeking revenge for last year’s second-half collapse.
    – The Ducks will encounter three difficult games with South Division opponents, travelling to Tempe to play Arizona State and hosting Utah and USC.
    – Maintaining health is always important, but especially this season. The Ducks’ final three games, when it could be surging for another Pac-12 title, will be against arch-nemesis Stanford, USC and rival Oregon State.
    – Wrapped around the all-important Michigan State game are a pair of heavy underdogs. The Ducks open the season with FCS Eastern Washington, new QB Vernon Adams’ former team, and a visit from Georgia State follows the Spartans.
    – The annual showdown with North Division rival Stanford takes place this year on the Farm. The Ducks and the Cardinal are the only two teams to play in the title game since the Pac-12 went to a divisional format.
    – WATCH OUT FOR … Utah. The Utes operate with a level of physicality that could present problems to the Ducks. And on Sept. 26, Oregon might still be adjusting to life after Marcus Mariota.

    Oregon State
    Sept. 4 Weber State
    Sept. 12 at Michigan
    Sept. 19 San Jose State
    Sept. 25 Stanford
    Oct. 3 OPEN DATE
    Oct. 10 at Arizona
    Oct. 17 at Washington State
    Oct. 24 Colorado
    Oct. 31 at Utah
    Nov. 7 UCLA
    Nov. 14 at California
    Nov. 21 Washington
    Nov. 27 at Oregon

    Non-Conference Games at Michigan, San Jose State, Weber State
    Games vs. the South at Arizona, Colorado, UCLA at Utah
    5 Keys to the Schedule
    – New Beaver coach Gary Andersen won’t have to wait long to face a Big Ten team again. The former Wisconsin Badger leads his team into in Week 2 to play Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan Wolverines.
    – Once Oregon State returns home from its Michigan trip, it won’t hit the road again for almost a month, playing Arizona in Tucson on Oct. 10.
    – The Beavers get a short week—six days—to prepare for the Civil War, the annual battle with Oregon that takes place in Eugene this season.
    – The 2015 schedule is built for a fast start, if the Beavers are capable of taking advantage. None of the first three teams on the slate appeared in a bowl game a year ago.
    – The toughest games of the year are generally spread out, affording OSU a chance to catch its breath this fall. The Beavers play 2014 ranked opponents on consecutive weekends just one time, Oct. 31 (Utah) and Nov. 7 (UCLA).
    – WATCH OUT FOR … San Jose State. Classic sandwich game between a trip to the Big House and a marquee Friday night visit from Stanford. OSU better watch its back in Week 3.

    Sept. 5 at Northwestern
    Sept. 12 UCF
    Sept. 19 at USC
    Sept. 25 at Oregon State
    Oct. 3 Arizona
    Oct. 10 OPEN DATE
    Oct. 15 UCLA
    Oct. 24 Washington
    Oct. 31 at Washington State
    Nov. 7 at Colorado
    Nov. 14 Oregon
    Nov. 21 California
    Nov. 28 Notre Dame

    Non-Conference Games at Northwestern, Notre Dame, UCF
    Games vs. the South Arizona, at Colorado, UCLA, at USC
    5 Keys to the Schedule
    – The Cardinal lack a traditional bye week that provides two full weeks of inactivity. Stanford is off Oct. 10, but plays the following Thursday night against UCLA.
    – In a battle of elite academic institutions, Stanford and Northwestern kick off a home-and-home series with a matchup in Evanston on the season’s opening Saturday.
    – The 2015 schedule shakes out very nicely from a home and away perspective. Of the Cardinal’s six most important games, five will be staged at Stanford Stadium.
    – That lone pivotal road game this season will be at USC in Week 3. If the Cardinal can get out of the Coliseum with an upset, all of the expectations for 2015 will have to be rewritten.
    – However, Stanford got no breaks with its South Division draw. The Cardinal plays defending divisional champ Arizona and both Los Angeles programs, USC and UCLA.
    – WATCH OUT FOR … UCF. With George O’Leary on board, the Knights are always fundamentally sound and fast on defense. And they’ll be gunning for a statement in this first-ever matchup with a team from the state of California.

    Sept. 4 at Boise State
    Sept. 12 Sacramento State
    Sept. 19 Utah State
    Sept. 26 California
    Oct. 3 OPEN DATE
    Oct. 8 at USC
    Oct. 17 Oregon
    Oct. 24 at Stanford
    Oct. 31 Arizona
    Nov. 7 Utah
    Nov. 14 at Arizona State
    Nov. 21 at Oregon State
    Nov. 28 Washington State

    Non-Conference Games at Boise State, Sacramento State, Utah State
    Games vs. the South Arizona, at Arizona State, at USC, Utah
    5 Keys to the Schedule
    – The Huskies will kick off the 2015 season with a much-anticipated trip to Boise State, as head coach Chris Petersen reunites with his former employer and a community that adored him.
    – After the emotional opener in Idaho, Washington will play three straight home games. The home swing ends with an Oct. 8 trek to USC, where Trojan coach Steve Sarkisian will face many of the Husky players he recruited in Seattle.
    – U-Dub’s South Division opponents will be USC, Arizona, Arizona State and Utah. And they must be played during an unrelenting six-game stretch that also includes a visit from Oregon and a trip to Stanford.
    – Besides the Week 2 visit from Sacramento State, Washington’s closest thing to a break in the schedule occurs with a season-ending trip to Corvallis and post-Thanksgiving visit from Washington State.
    – Petersen will need to maximize the Oct. 3 bye week, because the gauntlet that follows will test his Huskies depth, maturity and ability to persevere through inevitable adversity.
    – WATCH OUT FOR … Oregon State. The Huskies could be physically whipped by the time they travel to Corvallis in the penultimate weekend of the regular season. Plus, the Apple Cup will be looming in just six days.

    Washington State
    Sept. 5 Portland State
    Sept. 12 at Rutgers
    Sept. 19 Wyoming
    Sept. 26 OPEN DATE
    Oct. 3 at California
    Oct. 10 at Oregon
    Oct. 17 Oregon State
    Oct. 24 at Arizona
    Oct. 31 Stanford
    Nov. 7 Arizona State
    Nov. 14 at UCLA
    Nov. 21 Colorado
    Nov. 28 at Washington

    Non-Conference Games Portland State, at Rutgers, Wyoming
    Games vs. the South at Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, at UCLA
    5 Keys to the Schedule
    – There’s cautious optimism around Pullman that the Cougars can get off to a fast start, hosting Portland State and Wyoming, while making the long trip to the East Coast to play Rutgers.
    – October, though, will determine the bar for this team. Wazzu plays five tough games in the month, a visit from Stanford and road games at Cal, Oregon and Arizona.
    – USC is not on this year’s slate, but UCLA, Arizona and Arizona State are. And the Cougars will face them—as well as Stanford—as part of a nasty four-game stretch that begins Oct. 24 and ends on Nov. 14.
    – This year’s bye week is unusually early, appearing on Sept. 26 after just three games. This program, which will so often play as the underdog, would have benefitted from a break in October.
    – Wazzu plays six road games, but leaves the state just five times. And its only back-to-back trips, Cal and Oregon on Oct. 3 and Oct. 10, is preceded by that Week 4 Saturday of inactivity.
    – WATCH OUT FOR … Wyoming. The Cougars are in no position to take anyone lightly, especially a Cowboy program capable of playing keep-away with the backfield tandem of Brian Hill and Shaun Wick.

    Pac-12 South

    Sept. 3 UTSA
    Sept. 12 at Nevada
    Sept. 19 Northern Arizona
    Sept. 26 UCLA
    Oct. 3 at Stanford
    Oct. 10 Oregon State
    Oct. 17 at Colorado
    Oct. 24 Washington State
    Oct. 31 at Washington
    Nov. 7 at USC
    Nov. 14 Utah
    Nov. 21 at Arizona State
    Nov. 28 OPEN DATE

    Non-Conference Games at Nevada, Northern Arizona, UTSA
    Games vs. the North Oregon State, at Stanford, at Washington, Washington State
    5 Keys to the Schedule
    – The Wildcats’ non-conference schedule isn’t overly taxing, opening with UTSA before travelling to Reno to play Nevada and hosting Northern Arizona.
    – The schedule does not feature a traditional bye, meaning Arizona will play on 12 consecutive weekends without a break. It will, however, get an extra week to prepare for the Pac-12 Championship Game in the event it qualifies.
    – The toughest road stretch of the season occurs in Week 9 and Week 10, with trips to Washington and USC in the span of seven days.
    – There’ll be no rematch of last December’s Pac-12 title game with Oregon. The Wildcats toughest opponent from the North Division will be Stanford on the Farm on Oct. 3.
    – The Territorial Cup between rivals Arizona and Arizona State grows in importance each year. This November’s matchup takes place in Tempe, with the Sun Devils looking to avenge last year’s 42-35 defeat.
    – WATCH OUT FOR … Colorado. A trip to Boulder on Oct. 17 is nestled into the softest part of the 2015 slate. The ‘Cats better have their secondary retooled, because Sefo Liufau to Nelson Spruce is a relentless pitch-and-catch combo.

    Arizona State
    Sept. 5 Texas A&M (in Houston)
    Sept. 12 Cal Poly
    Sept. 19 New Mexico
    Sept. 26 USC
    Oct. 3 at UCLA
    Oct. 10 Colorado
    Oct. 17 at Utah
    Oct. 24 OPEN DATE
    Oct. 29 Oregon
    Nov. 7 at Washington State
    Nov. 14 Washington
    Nov. 21 Arizona
    Nov. 28 at Cal

    Non-Conference Games Cal Poly, New Mexico, Texas A&M
    Games vs. the North at Cal, Oregon, Washington, at Washington State
    5 Keys to the Schedule
    – One of the marquee matchups of the opening weekend will pit Arizona State against Texas A&M in Houston, the Sun Devils’ first game with an SEC opponent in three years.
    – Defending Pac-12 champion Oregon is back on the schedule, visiting Sun Devil Stadium for a highly-anticipated Thursday night affair on Oct. 29.
    – A pivotal pair of games with South Division rivals USC and UCLA will be preceded unchallenging tune-ups at home with Cal Poly and New Mexico. The Devils get eight days to prep for their visit from the Trojans.
    – Arizona State does not play a true road game until its Oct. 3 trip to Pasadena in a meeting with the Bruins with serious South Division implications.
    – The schedule plays out very nicely for the Sun Devils. Their bye precedes the crucial visit from Oregon, Arizona must travel to Temple and they’ll be the visitor in just four games all season.
    – WATCH OUT FOR … Washington State. The weekend after the Oregon game, and before bouts with Washington and Arizona, ASU must travel to the Palouse, where it figures to be seasonably brisk in early November.

    Sept. 3 at Hawaii
    Sept. 12 Massachusetts
    Sept. 19 Colorado State (in Denver)
    Sept. 26 Nicholls State
    Oct. 3 Oregon
    Oct. 10 at Arizona State
    Oct. 17 Arizona
    Oct. 24 at Oregon State
    Oct. 31 at UCLA
    Nov. 7 Stanford
    Nov. 13 USC
    Nov. 21 at Washington State
    Nov. 28 at Utah

    Non-Conference Games Colorado State, at Hawaii, UMass, Nicholls State
    Games vs. the North Oregon, at Oregon State, Stanford, at Washington State
    5 Keys to the Schedule
    – The Buffs’ non-conference schedule is tailored for a fast start to 2015. Colorado faces Hawaii, Massachusetts, Colorado State and Nicholls State, none of who are outside of the Buffs’ weight class.
    – Colorado better take advantage of the September slate of games, because the Pac-12 schedule kicks off in October with three straight games versus Oregon, Arizona State and Arizona.
    – Early October is the first of two wicked stretches that Mike MacIntyre’s team must endure. Halloween kicks off a grueling three-game swing with UCLA, Stanford and USC.
    – If the Buffs are going to clinch that long-awaited first bowl berth since 2007, it’ll likely have to happen outside Folsom Field. Colorado won’t host after Nov. 13, closing the regular season in Pullman and Salt Lake City.
    – Not only does Colorado play 13 games this season, but it’ll do so uninterrupted on 13 consecutive weekends. In other words, the opening day trip to Honolulu could be viewed as a de facto bowl game without the bowl swag.
    – WATCH OUT FOR … Massachusetts. Don’t forget that the Buffaloes narrowly escaped the Minutemen last September, 41-38. And UMass coach Mark Whipple has his team playing with more confidence and offensive pop.

    Sept. 5 Virginia
    Sept. 12 at UNLV
    Sept. 19 BYU
    Sept. 26 at Arizona
    Oct. 3 Arizona State
    Oct. 10 OPEN DATE
    Oct. 15 at Stanford
    Oct. 22 California
    Oct. 31 Colorado
    Nov. 7 at Oregon State
    Nov. 14 Washington State
    Nov. 21 at Utah
    Nov. 28 at USC

    Non-Conference Games BYU, at UNLV, Virginia
    Games vs. the North California, at Oregon State, at Stanford, Washington State
    5 Keys to the Schedule
    – Not appearing on the 2015 schedule is Oregon, the defending Pac-12 champs and easily the toughest crossover assignment for South Division programs.
    – However, the Bruins got no help in scheduling with their mix of home and away games. Of the five toughest games on the schedule, four will be held away from the Rose Bowl.
    – If UCLA is going to snatch the South this year, it’ll likely have to do so in someone else’s building. The Bruins will be on the road three times in November, closing the regular season at Utah and at crosstown rival USC.
    – The Bruins will not get a traditional two-week bye at any point during the season. UCLA is off Oct. 10, but then plays Stanford on Thursday, providing just a 12-day break.
    – It won’t be long before UCLA’s South Division prospects are sized up this season. The Bruins kick off the Pac-12 slate with a Sept. 26 trip to Tucson followed by a visit from Arizona State a week later.
    – WATCH OUT FOR … Virginia. The Bruins barely escaped the ‘Hoos last August, getting a valiant effort from the D. But while this year’s opener is in Pasadena, UCLA will have a first-time starting quarterback facing one of the ACC’s premier defensive backfields.

    Sept. 5 Arkansas State
    Sept. 12 Idaho
    Sept. 19 Stanford
    Sept. 26 at Arizona State
    Oct. 3 OPEN DATE
    Oct. 8 Washington
    Oct. 17 at Notre Dame
    Oct. 24 Utah
    Oct. 31 at California
    Nov. 7 Arizona
    Nov. 13 at Colorado
    Nov. 21 at Oregon
    Nov. 28 UCLA

    Non-Conference Games Arkansas State, Idaho, at Notre Dame
    Games vs. the North at California, at Oregon, Stanford, Washington
    5 Keys to the Schedule
    – The annual Notre Dame tilt aside, which will be played on Oct. 17 in South Bend, Troy has a soft non-conference schedule comprised of visits from Arkansas State and Idaho.
    – However, the Pac-12 slate is going to be brutal. The Trojans drew arguably the three most talented teams from the North, Oregon in Eugene, Stanford and Washington.
    – Worse yet, the key showdown with UCLA to close the regular season is preceded by the aforementioned trip to Autzen Stadium, so USC’s South Division aspirations likely won’t be determined until late November.
    – The Trojans play only five road games this season, including just once, at Arizona State on Sept. 26, before the middle of October.
    – The Oct. 3 off week nicely intersects a tough stretch in the first half of the season. On the front end is Stanford and Arizona State, while U-Dub and Notre Dame follow the only break in the season.
    – WATCH OUT FOR … Colorado. Arizona will be in the rear view mirror. A trip to Oregon is up ahead. How can USC possibly maintain its focus on the Buffs for a chilly Friday night affair at Folsom Field?

    Sept. 3 Michigan
    Sept. 12 Utah State
    Sept. 19 at Fresno State
    Sept. 26 at Oregon
    Oct. 3 OPEN DATE
    Oct. 10 California
    Oct. 17 Arizona State
    Oct. 24 at USC
    Oct. 31 Oregon State
    Nov. 7 at Washington
    Nov. 14 at Arizona
    Nov. 21 UCLA
    Nov. 28 Colorado

    Non-Conference Games at Fresno State, Michigan, Utah State
    Games vs. the North California, at Oregon, Oregon State, at Washington
    5 Keys to the Schedule
    – The Utes will be Jim Harbaugh’s first opponent as the Michigan head coach. The Wolverines will travel to Salt Lake City on the first Thursday of September, looking to avenge last year’s loss in Ann Arbor.
    – There isn’t an FCS opponent—or a pushover of any kind—on this year’s schedule. Besides Michigan, Utah plays two of the Mountain West’s tougher teams of late, Utah State and Fresno State in the Valley.
    – The Utes play just five road games this season. And after returning from Oregon on Sept. 26, they won’t leave Salt Lake City again for almost a month.
    – While the schedule is predictably demanding for a Pac-12 school, the roughest matchups are pretty evenly spaced out. One glaring exception is facing Arizona State and USC on back-to-back weekends, Oct. 17 and Oct. 24.
    – If the Utes are pushing for bowl-eligibility in November, they’ll have the luxury of doing so at Rice-Eccles Stadium. UCLA and Colorado will travel to Salt Lake City to conclude the 2015 regular season.
    – WATCH OUT FOR … Utah State. This has become a rivalry game with increased intensity in recent years. The Aggies, eager to make waves against the Pac-12, are getting back their two best players from injury, QB Chuckie Keeton and LB Kyler Fackrell.


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