Washington State Cougars: Crucial year for Mike Leach to start turning things around in Pullman, but he's got his work cut out for him. He'll have to go to Rutgers, a surprisingly spunky team that beat Washington State in home ground in Seattle. Although Portland State and Wyoming should be automatic wins, up next comes three out of four road games to Oregon, Cal, and Arizona, with home dates to Stanford and Arizona State up next and a road trip to UCLA. Things end on an easier note, but that's a six game minefield that can detonate their season.
Arizona State Sun Devils: Avoiding Stanford helps, but this is not an easy schedule. It's Texas A&M in Texas to start the season, then two patsies, then USC and UCLA BACK-TO-BACK. The schedule loosens up where they have three heavily winnable games in five, Oregon and a toss-up game in Salt Lake City, then Arizona at home and Cal. If they can survive the brutal first half of the season, they can make some noise, but man. Tough games oscillating with easy ones.
Colorado Buffaloes: 13 game schedule for Colorado! Thankfully none of their non-conference games are difficult, so the path to 4-0 is there with a road trip to Hawaii, UMass, Colorado State and Nicholls State.
After that? Brutality. Oregon to start things out. Arizona and ASU back-to-back. Their easy game is a road trip to Corvallis, then UCLA, Stanford and USC in a row. Oh geez. The pathway to 4-7 is right there. At Utah wraps things up, but Colorado's road to bowl eligibility rests on running through their non-conference schedule.
Stanford Cardinal: No Arizona State and no Utah, but Stanford has a legit non-conference schedule to make up for it. They have to play Northwestern, UCF (home) and Notre Dame (home), and their home conference slate is tough: Oregon, Washington, UCLA, Arizona, Cal. Brutal. Stanford should get some road wins in Pullman, Corvallis and Boulder, but their season could really depend on how well they can defend their home field.