Washington kicks off the 2018 college football with one of the biggest games of the entire season, a Week 1 neutral-site game in Atlanta vs. Auburn. But that's about it for the big fireworks Pac-12's non-conference schedule.
The conference's 12 teams will play some other intriguing non-conference games (e.g. Michigan State at Arizona State, Colorado at Nebraska) but one-third of the teams don't have a Power Five foe on their non-conference slate. Those four teams are among nine in power conferences that don't play a fellow power conference team outside of the conference schedule.
Here's a look at the four Pac-12 teams and the others.
Sept. 1: vs. BYU
Sept. 8: at Houston
Sept. 15: vs. Southern Utah
In Kevin Sumlin's first three seasons at Texas A&M, the Aggies didn't play a non-conference Power Five game. They did so in each of his final six seasons.
He'll begin his Arizona tenure without a Power Five foe on the non-conference schedule.
Sept. 1: vs. Eastern Illinois
Sept. 8: at Colorado State
Sept. 15: vs. North Texas
Oct. 20: vs. Tulsa
Arkansas is the only SEC team without a non-conference Power Five game.
Arkansas does play a non-conference road game but they have an FCS team at home and, partly thanks to their Oct. 20 game vs. Tulsa, don't leave Fayetteville the entire month of October.
Sept. 1: vs. Kent State
Sept. 8: vs. Western Illinois
Sept. 15: vs. South Florida
Illinois doesn't leave their home state until an Oct. 6 trip to Rutgers. The Illini open with two at home, followed by a Week 3 "neutral-site" game at Soldier Field vs. South Florida. (They host Penn State in Week 4).
Aug 30: vs. New Mexico State
Sept. 8: vs. Fresno State
Sept. 15: vs. Miami (OH)
Minnesota had a Power Five non-conference game each of the last four years but won't in 2018, nor will they until a trip to Colorado in 2021.
Sept. 1: vs. Missouri State
Sept. 8: vs. South Alabama
Sept. 15: vs Boise State
Oklahoma State is the only Big 12 team without a Power Five team on the non-conference schedule. However, when a team like Kansas is hosting Rutgers, Oklahoma State is hosting Boise State.
Sept. 1: vs. Bowling Green
Sept. 8: vs. Portland State
Sept. 15: vs. San Jose State
Oregon, do better.
Bowling Green, Portland State and San Jose State in Eugene? Give me a friggin' break.
Sept. 1: vs. Weber State
Sept. 8: at Northern Illinois
Nov. 24: vs. BYU
Utah doesn't have a Power Five game but hat tip to the Utes for having the cojones to schedule a Group of Five road game. Not many teams are willing to do that.
Sept. 1: at Wyoming
Sept. 8: vs. San Jose State
Sept. 15: vs. Eastern Washington
Like Utah, Washington State's schedule is trickier than it looks. Playing a tough Wyoming defense in Laramie won't be fun, nor will a home date with an improved Eastern Washington team.
Aug. 31: vs. Western Kentucky
Sept. 8: vs. New Mexico
Sept. 15: vs. BYU
Wisconsin has played some big-time non-conference games recently. They are no longer deserving of the "they won't play anyone" heat. Now it's back to a non-threatening slate, which means they'll probably struggle against one of these teams for no reason at all.