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Kurt Kragthorpe and Kyle Goon
Kurt Kragthorpe and Kyle Goon cover the Pac-12 for The Salt Lake Tribune.

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Pac-12: Breaking down the 2013 football schedule

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The only mystery regarding Thursday's release of the 2013 Pac-12 football schedule was when the games would be played, because everybody's nonconference games and the rotation of conference opponents were already set.

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Even so, there's some news here, and having the full context in front of us opens the way for some observations:

-- The Pac-12 is not afraid to use Thursday for showcase games. The prime example is Oregon at Stanford, Nov. 7.

-- The way the calendar falls this year, the regular season includes 14 weekends. As a result, nine Pac-12 schools will have two byes each. The exceptions are Arizona State and Stanford, which open the season Sept. 7, and California, which concludes the season Nov. 23.

– The Big Game between Cal and Stanford is Nov. 23; the other five rivalry games are booked Nov. 29 and 30, the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving.

-- Nobody's nonconference schedule jumps out as the toughest. Stanford barely gets the award, hosting San Jose State and Notre Dame and visiting Army. Arizona State deserves mention, even with an FSC opponent. That's because Sacramento State has beaten a Pac-12 school each of the past two seasons. The Sun Devils also host Wisconsin and play Notre Dame at Arlington, Texas.

-- The easiest nonconference schedule is definitely Arizona's. The Wildcats host Northern Arizona and Texas-San Antonio and visit UNLV.

-- The toughest conference schedule is Utah's, mostly because of the order of opponents. The Utes don't get to play Washington State and Colorado until the final two weeks, meaning their first seven league games are very challenging. It helps that the Utes' first three league games (Oregon State, UCLA and Stanford) are at home, but all of those will be difficult.

-- The easiest conference schedule belongs to Oregon State. The Beavers skip UCLA and Arizona in the rotation; Washington State and Cal are among their road opponents.

-- Maybe the biggest scheduling twist is the Pac-12's championship game moving from Friday to Saturday, Dec. 7. </

PAC-12 Links
Links from around the Pac-12
Arizona (Tucson Citizen)
» Rich Rod press conference after UNLV
» UA football: Report card for UNLV game
» Free weekly Wildcat sports magazine
» Watch Arizona Stadium fill up in time lapse

Arizona St. (Arizona Republic)
» Rewind: Looking back at ASU's win
» Flaws lifts Illinois soccer to win over ASU
» No. 19 ASU runs away for win to open year
» Boivin: Renovations point to golden future

California (East Bay Tribune)
» Cal opens at Northwestern with a much different look on defense
» Fact box: Cal at Northwestern
» Cal's Cameron Walker matures at cornerback
» Wilner: New NCAA football playoff a recipe for controversy

Colorado (Denver Post)
» CU-CSU Briefs: Rams' defense tightens up after poor start
» Garrett Grayson overcomes slow start to guide CSU Rams past CU Buffs
» CSU roars back to beat CU 31-17 in Rocky Mountain Showdown
» CU receiver Nelson Spruce shines in loss

Oregon (The Oregonian)
» Oregon Ducks open up Autzen Stadium doors for Fan Fest: Photo gallery
» No. 3 Oregon Ducks vs. South Dakota; Oregon State's version of Royce Freeman: The Oregonian sports top 5
» Oregon Ducks recruiting: How targets/commits fared on Friday night
» Pac-12 football updates: Full schedule, TV listings

Oregon State (Corvallis Gazette-Times)
» BeaversSalute program gives tickets to military personnel and veterans
» Beavers promote McCoy to assistant athletic director for equipment operations
» Oregon State hires longtime trainer hired Fred Tedeschi
» Beavers hire Mark Massari as deputy athletics director

Stanford (San Jose Mercury-News)
» Stanford opens 2014 season without a No. 1 tailback -- again
» Fact box: Stanford vs. UC-Davis
» Stanford prepares for UC Davis as memory of stunning 2005 loss lingers
» Stanford's Jordan Morris gets U.S. soccer call up from Klinsmann

UCLA (Los Angeles Daily News)
» UCLA Football Notebook: Running back Malcolm Jones loses appeal for extra season
» COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Improving UCLA has questions to answer during preseason football camp
» COLLEGE FOOTBALL: UCLA's prized recruit Eddie Vanderdoes cleared to play by NCAA after leaving Notre Dame
» Pac-12 Media Day: Eyes on Anthony Barr for UCLA's 2013 hopes

USC (Los Angeles Daily News)
» USC Football Notebook: Marqise Lee's injury not too serious
» USC Football Notebook: QBs Max Wittek, Cody Kessler present dilemma for Trojans coach Lane Kiffin
» USC FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: Former UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel thinks Trojans might not miss QB Matt Barkley
» USC FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: Dion Bailey says it's 'now or never'

Washington (Seattle Times)
» Washington volleyball opens with win
» Chris Petersen's first UW game: Prepare to be impressed
» UW vs. Hawaii: Chris Petersen era set to begin
» Photo gallery: Huskies visit Pearl Harbor

Washington State (Spokane Spokesman-Review)
» Everyone gets in act for Indians
» Grading the Rutgers game
» There is something about this that seems familiar
» Eastern football links



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