TUCSON, AZ - NOVEMBER 05: Head coach Kyle Whittingham of the Utah Utes reacts during the college football game against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium on November 5, 2011 in Tucson, Arizona. The Utes defeated the Wildcats 34-21. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
We're getting pretty close to the season. Let's take a look at what's coming up this season in a nine-part series about the upcoming games to watch, not watch, take with you to your fall wedding on your mobile device, or flip a coin over.
The nice thing about the Pac-12 season is that there are only a few duds, whereas in the SEC you can always count on at least two weeks every year being perfect toilet paper fodder. The Big Ten, ACC and Big 12 all have about three weeks where everyone goes foam partying.
By contrast, for the most part, the conference possesses a solid OOC schedule, lots of great matchups on a week-by-week basis, and even casual college football fans would probably be interested in games going deep into the top 50. Thanks to an influx of new coaches and a solid cache of current coaches, there's plenty of fun games to look at going into next season, and the Pac-12 slate should be one of the most exciting going into next season.
Well, except for these games.
90. Utah vs. Northern Colorado, Aug. 30: This is the Pac-12 Network's debut matchup, and it is a dud. Northern Colorado went 0-11 last season in the FCS, and they'll be facing one of the Pac-12 South favorites in Salt Lake City. Thankfully there are other games (MUCH BETTER games) opening night for you to enjoy.
89. Oregon State vs. Nicholls State, Sept. 1: Nicholls State narrowly escapes the nadir of Pac-12 scheduling by going 1-10. The Colonels got their victory last season against Evangel, a school they had to dig out of the NAIA. And you thought the FBS was the only place that scheduled cupcakes.
88. Oregon vs. Tennessee Tech, Sept. 15: Yeah, this game looked pretty bad when it was scheduled. Tennessee Tech did go 7-4 last season though, although the only real FBS team (Iowa) smashed them by 27, which is about 270 by Iowa standards. Terrifying to think about what the Ducks could do to them.
87. Arizona State vs. Northern Arizona, Aug. 30: The Lumberjacks will alternate Arizona or Arizona State on their schedule each year. Then they lose by three touchdowns. Then we all move on with our lives. Not a strong start to the Pac-12 Network televised slate the opening Thursday night, but at least it's all on TV!
86. California vs. Southern Utah, Sept. 8: Cal hasn't lost a non-conference OOC home game since 2003. And Cal usually pounds the cupcake on their schedule every season regardless of how good or bad they are--three wins in three games the last three seasons, with average margin of victory just over 50 points.
85. Arizona vs. South Carolina State, Sept. 15: This game is slightly compelling because Rich Rod struggled with the worst on his schedule in his adjustment year in Michigan (ten point win over Miami of Ohio, last second loss to Toledo). Good thing for Arizona is it's a dry heat that S.C. State will have to cope with on that Saturday night.
84. Washington vs. Portland State, Sept. 15: Portland State has played four Pac-12 opponents since 2008, and have been outscored 205-25. And they haven't all been great teams--sure they lost to 2010 Oregon 69-0, but they also lost to 2008 Washington State 48-9, and they were the worst Pac-12 team probably any of us ever had the pleasure of watching. Nothing in the cards here suggests an upset will happen.
83. Colorado vs. Sacramento State, Sept. 8: This is compelling in a sad sort of way; Sacramento State upset Oregon State last season, and Colorado is probably one of the worst teams in the Pac-12. I'm sure the Buffs will remind their team about the upset once or twice every minute the week of the game though, and Sacramento State really isn't good enough to pull off the same magic two years running, so no worries.
82. Stanford vs. San Jose State, Sept. 1: The Cardinal and the Spartans play each other what seems like four times every five seasons, and I don't know why it keeps on happening. Maybe Stanford thinks the fifth straight win in the series will be enough vengeance for 2006.
81. Oregon vs. Fresno State, Sept. 8: Rebuilding Fresno State has their first road game of the season in Autzen? Slaughter time.
The worst Pac-12 game of the season is...
Utah vs. Northern Colorado (103 votes)
Oregon State vs. Nicholls State (107 votes)
Oregon vs. Tennessee Tech (143 votes)
Arizona State vs. Northern Arizona (9 votes)
Cal vs. Southern Utah (39 votes)
Another game (28 votes)
429 total votes