Pac-12 football programs won’t play it safe

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It’s true that if the Pac-12 is going to make the college football playoffs, non-conference schedules can’t be too demanding. However, the idea that Pac-12 schools will take on non-conference cupcake games isn’t quite in line with the needs of the conference.

Here’s the truth about non-conference scheduling in Pac-12 football: Every team will plan and should schedule a cupcake game for an easy win and a chance to give players the equivalent of a test drive…but not two or three cupcakes.

Jon Wilner of the Wilner Hotline explained why:

Before offering our take, it’s key to note that UCLA was scheduled to face Michigan this season in the big house — until the Wolverines called off the home-and-away series a few years ago.

By then, the Bruins had to scramble to find a game and, lacking a viable Power Five opponent, opted for dates with historically black colleges and universities. (They will play North Carolina Central in 2023.)

More broadly, we don’t expect Pac-12 teams to follow Creampuff City’s path due to economic considerations: fans are more likely to buy tickets to high-level competitions.

(SEC schools can schedule FCS opponents and still sell 80,000 tickets; Pac-12 schools cannot.)

Plus, most Pac-12 programs have filled their non-conference schedules for years to come — and the lineups include plenty of Power Five opponents.

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