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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)
» UA sports Throwback Thursday: Lowell-Stevens Football opens
» Wildcats earn academic honors
» Photos: UA's smartest athletes 2013-14
» Wildcats: Who's gonna be the QB?

Arizona St. (Arizona Republic)
» 5-star linebacker Houston checking out ASU
» Top 2016 tight end Naseir Upshur likes ASU
» ASU football overview: Defensive backs
» Why is Sendek watching film of VCU, Louisville?

California (East Bay Tribune)
» Wilner: 49ers, Levi's Stadium pursue college football's potential
» Levi's Stadium: Three college football games this year
» College football: Key dates for Cal, Stanford, San Jose State
» Cal's injury-plagued defense mended, ready to go

Colorado (Denver Post)
» Former CU Buff Chris Copeland enjoys NBA after years of overseas play
» Pac-12 living up to tradition as tops in quarterbacks
» Changes in college football a cause of excitement and concern
» Pac-12 media days: Colorado eager to turn things around

Oregon (The Oregonian)
» Oregon Ducks say signee Ray Kasongo isn't expected to join basketball team
» Ducks' freshman denied admission, Damian Lillard's rivals praise his game: The Oregonian sports top 5 at 5
» Super Bowl title makes former Oregon Duck Max Unger's offseason one to remember
» Brianne Theisen Eaton claims the heptathlon gold medal in the Commonwealth Games

Oregon State (Corvallis Gazette-Times)
» Oregon State hires longtime trainer hired Fred Tedeschi
» Beavers hire Mark Massari as deputy athletics director
» Oregon State hands out Bennys to top athletes, coaches and teams
» OSU fishing: MacDonald, Martinez win conference tournament

Stanford (San Jose Mercury-News)
» Wilner: 49ers, Levi's Stadium pursue college football's potential
» Levi's Stadium: Three college football games this year
» Stanford receiver Ty Montgomery says he's close to being ready
» College football: Key dates for Cal, Stanford, San Jose State

UCLA (Los Angeles Daily News)
» UCLA Football Notebook: Running back Malcolm Jones loses appeal for extra season
» College Football: Position coach Adrian Klemm says UCLA offensive line a work in progress
» 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

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)
» Huskies fall camp position preview: Linebackers
» Morning links: More love for Huskies' Shaq Thompson
» Morning links: Pauley Pavilion flooded
» Huskies to open three fall-camp practices to the public

Washington State (Spokane Spokesman-Review)
» Looking at the WSU pre-camp depth chart
» Washington works on body, mind
» Wednesday WSU chat
» To paraphrase Frank, it was a very good day



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