With the 2011 Pac-12 football schedules released for public consumption, it’s time for fans and bloggers to start picking them apart, penciling in wins and analyzing every opponent. Our SB Nation bloggers are no exception, breaking down the schedules and figuring out what it means for their favorite team.
My initial thoughts, get ready for more games and less time off with the new schedule. Now that the Pac-12 has a championship game, all teams will have one less bye week during the season. It will make it that much more difficult for a team to finish unbeaten, and I now understand why SEC teams schedule a cupcake game in November.
In terms of the overall schedule, Oregon has to go to Arizona, but hosts USC, and also gets a road trip to Boulder, and get the typical Pac-12 North games. The schedule will definitely not be easy, but the Ducks seem to have a pretty good balance for home and road games. However, the Ducks will have no cupcakes. Oregon will get thrown into the fire early, and get few breaks throughout the season.
CougCenter, SB Nation’s Washington State Cougars’ blog, Jeff Nusser thinks the Cougars should be excited about the relative ease of the schedule, but that selling tickets to home games could be a problem.
The bye week comes in the middle of three consecutive road games — four if you consider that the Qwest game is effectively a road game for the team in every way but the crowd. The Cougs open in Pullman on Sept. 3 and don’t come back until Oct. 15. That’s a long time away from your fanbase.
The dreaded “home game before Thanksgiving that’s not the Apple Cup” is back. Maybe the fact that Utah will be a novelty and ought to be a Top 25 team will help. But I doubt it.
Add it all up, and Bill Moos selling season tickets to this slate might be his biggest challenge yet. His best pitch might be, “Hey! We might win some of these!”