Arizona - at Arizona State 11/29 - It’s hard not to make this list just a bunch of rivalry games. This one is truly a big one for Arizona as there is a good chance bowl eligibility could be on the line as they head to Tempe to take on their bitter rival. They’ve lost the last two in the Territorial Cup and three out of the last four. Kevin Sumlin needs to turn the tide in this rivalry to pull the Wildcats into the better half of the Pac-12 South.
Arizona State - Arizona 11/29 - The Territorial Cup has turned into a play-in bowl game in recent years and I suspect it might again this year. The Sun Devils are in semi-rebuild mold and I don’t see them making a bowl game without winning this game, especially with it being at home.
Cal - at Stanford 11/23 - Let’s keep this rivalry train running. The Bears are looking to turn the corner and compete for the North championship and they will likely have to beat their rival for the first time in 10 years to do that. Of the four heavy hitters in the North (Oregon, Stanford, Washington, Washington State), they only get WSU at home and they’ll likely have to win one of those road games to be serious contender in the division. This is their best shot.
Colorado - Arizona 10/5 - Pac-12 wins are going to be tough to come by for Colorado this season, especially without Oregon State on the schedule. A home game against an Arizona school who they will likely be fighting it out with for a shot at a bowl if all goes well is a must-win if the Buffs hope to get to a bowl game.
Oregon - at Washington 10/19 - The Ducks are getting a lot of off-season hype, but the fact is their hated rival won the North, and the Pac-12 last year, and has outscored Oregon 155-80 post-Mariota. The Ducks will likely have to win in Seattle to grab the throne away from the Huskies and to keep proving that they’re taking the North momentum away from Washington and Chris Petersen.
Oregon State - Arizona State 11/16 - Pac-12 wins will be hard to come by this year for the Beavers in a conference that is deep and strong in the middle, even if they are improved, especially since they miss Colorado. Their best shot might be at home, in November against a semi-rebuilding ASU team.
Stanford - Washington 10/5 - The Cardinal have won the North the last three cycles where they have gotten Oregon and Washington in Palo Alto. Their number one target is the Huskies, who have won the North two out of the past three years and they get them early with a shot to take an early lead in the division, the way they did in 2018.
UCLA - at USC 11/23 - Like Arizona/Arizona State, UCLA/USC could be very important for bowl eligibility for both teams, if not for the Pac-12 South. The Bruins probably aren’t aiming to take down Utah yet, but beating the Trojans and getting to a bowl is a very realistic goal.
USC - Stanford 9/7 - The Trojans start with a very tough Pac-12 schedule, getting Stanford, Utah and at Washington all in September. The Trojans and Clay Helton cannot open the season 0-3 in Pac-12 play and I think getting the Cardinal in LA in week two is their best shot for an early win. Things could get ugly real quick if they can’t win this one.
Utah - at USC 9/20 - The Utes are the heavy favorite to win the South again, but winning at USC is never easy and the Trojans will be geared up for this one, hoping to get South supremacy back. Utah has never won in The Coliseum so this would be a big landmark win for the program and give them a head start in the South race.
Washington - Oregon 10/19 - The Huskies won the Pac-12 in 2018, but losing at Oregon stung and gave the Ducks momentum in the rivalry and recruiting. The Huskies will almost assuredly have to take advantage and beat the Ducks in Seattle if they hope to win their third conference title in four years and it won’t be easy with Justin Herbert and a veteran-led group trying to take them down again.
Washington State - at Washington 11/29 - The Apple Cup has knocked the Cougars out of the Pac-12 Championship Game year after year after year. Things won’t be easy with a new quarterback and playing in Seattle, but this is likely a must-win if they finally want to break through and win in the North and Mike Leach needs to show he can beat the Huskies, something he has only done once, in Pullman, in overtime.