Instant Reaction: Pac-12 Releases Reconfigured Football Schedule
Three weeks later than originally planned because of the pandemic, the Washington football team and its new coach Jimmy Lake will open the season against the Stanford Cardinal on Sept. 26 at Husky Stadium.
The UW will play 10 conference games, also facing Arizona, Oregon State, Colorado and UCLA at home. The Huskies will travel Cal, Oregon, Utah, WSU and USC -- missing only the Arizona State Sun Devils.
While having football season is what everyone wants, this will be challenging.
"It's difficult to skate through the conference schedule unscathed already," said Kaila Olin, college football analyst for Husky Maven/Sports Illustrated. "Now with an extra game against a Pac-12 team, the task just got tougher."
Pac-12 teams originally had schedules that consisted of nine league games and three non-conference outings, with the latter canceled.
According to Olin, being "bowl eligible" may take on an new, less restrictive requirements.
"With a conference-only schedule, it's going to be difficult for some of the lower teams to get to six wins," Olin said. "I fully expect the bowl committee to take into consideration the balance of Power 5 conferences, top to bottom, and make some adjustments for the bowl-game eligibility requirements."
There is no margin for error for the championship hopefuls. A single play in four games determined the winners of the North and South divisions last season.
Utah played Oregon for the conference title. During the regular season, the Utes lost to USC by a touchdown. Oregon lost to ASU by a touchdown. Washington lost to Utah and Oregon by a combined 9 points. In all, the Huskies lost 5 games by 26 points last season.
"The conference is tougher top to bottom than at any time in the last 20 years," Olin noted. "Oregon State, Arizona State and Cal are greatly improved from four seasons ago. There are no easy outs on the schedule anymore."
The Apple Cup remains a Thanksgiving weekend feature for the Huskies. However, the regular season doesn't end there. The UW will finish against USC in Los Angeles on Dec. 5.
It's possible that game could set up a rematch two weeks later in the Pac-12 championship game.
As Husky Maven/Sports Illustrated's Dan Raley noted, nothing is for certain in 2020.