FPI reveals which Pac-12 teams have the easiest schedules in 2022
In 2019, UCLA faced Cincinnati and Oklahoma in the nonconference portion of the season. In 2021, the Bruins played LSU and Fresno State. In their respective seasons, three of those four would go on to win double-digit games. The only team that didn’t—LSU—still played in a bowl game. In recent years, the Bruins have gone the opposite direction of some of their peers with regard to the nonconference. That’ll change this upcoming year.
The Bruins’ out-of-league opponents for the 2022 season include Bowling Green, FCS Alabama State, and South Alabama. Add in home games against division foes Utah and USC and UCLA will be looking at the easiest schedule in the Pac-12. That’s according to ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI), which released updated 2022 projections this week.
In fact, FPI says UCLA has the lowest-ranked strength of schedule (read: easiest) of any Power Five team.
Here’s how everyone else in the league ranks, from toughest to easiest (national SOS rank in parenthesis):
- Stanford (39th)
- Oregon (41st)
- California (55th)
- Colorado (56th)
- Arizona (60th)
- Utah (61st)
- Washington State (65th)
- USC (66th)
- Oregon State (68th)
- Arizona State (69th)
- Washington (70th)
- UCLA (75th)
FPI gives the Bruins only a 1.3% chance of posting fewer than six wins during the upcoming season, based on 20,000 simulations of the year using the predictive index. It gives Utah only a 0.7% chance of posting fewer than six wins. In total, six Pac-12 schools (Washington, ASU, USC, Oregon, UCLA, and Utah) have a percentage chance greater than 85% of reaching six wins.
It’s worth pointing out that FPI seems to be relatively down on the Pac-12 as a whole, and that likely influences strength of schedule rankings across the board. SEC teams have eight of the 10 toughest schedules, according to the index. Among P5 teams, it gives Pac-12 teams eight of the 10 easiest schedules. (Virginia and Purdue are the other two.)