Just looking at the schedule above, you know it isn't tough. A trip to Death Valley in your second game of the season with a largely untested offensive line has the potential for disaster. But its the conference games after that. The stretch of Stanford, Oregon and USC is three straight weeks of the best teams in the Pac-12. And that gauntlet is followed with a road trip at Arizona -- a place where UW hasn't exactly played well in the past.
The schedule is so tough that CBS' Bruce Feldman rates it the second toughest in all of college football, behind only Notre Dame.
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2. Washington: The Huskies, who are completely overhauling a dreadful 2011 defense, don't have too much time to ease into things. They start with San Diego State (who's won 17 games the past two seasons), then venture off to Baton Rouge to face a loaded LSU squad. After the encounter with the Tigers, they get FCS Portland State before the Huskies get into the teeth of their schedule: a three-game stretch against Stanford, the most physical team in the Pac-12, at Oregon and then home against USC to wrap things up against the league's three most talented teams. That means Steve Sarkisian's team faces three teams that figure to be ranked in the preseason Top 5 (USC, LSU and Oregon) and two of those games are on the road. It'll also be interesting to see how healthy and focused the Huskies are after enduring so many heavyweights early because the latter half of the season is packed with road trips.
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Feldman has Oregon State right behind Washington at No. 3, and Cal at No. 9. It's indicative how tough the Pac-12 North is perceived to be this season.