In the non-conference slate, Vanderbilt, Nebraska, UTEP, and Portland State all return from last season. They went 3-1 against these opponents with the lone loss against the Commodores in Nashville 78-64 to open up the regular season.
The overall non-Pac-12 schedule isn’t as difficult as last year, but the fall tournament takes a huge step up in talent level. Instead of Eugene hosting a bunch of awful opponents, they will play in the Global Sports Classic. The format starts with two easier opponents at home before heading out to Las Vegas to take on UNLV and then Cincinnati or Iowa State in the consolation or championship game.
Conference play has generally the same format as last year. Both Oregon and Oregon State will play at home and travel to play the same opponents each week with the exception of both times they face each other. They will only play USC and UCLA on the road, same goes with Arizona and Arizona State at home. That’s actually a benefit considering the Wildcats and Bruins are two of the favorites in the conference this season.
What’s the hardest part of the schedule? Obviously playing a back-to-back against quality opponents in Las Vegas will be tough. But in-conference, two key areas will be opening up with an in-state rival on the road in early January, then hosting the conference favorite three days later. The toughest stretch will likely be at the end of January. The Ducks will host Washington on January 26th, then they will be on the road against Stanford and California. Those teams are supposed to finish fifth, fourth, and third in the conference, respectively.
Brian Spaen is the lead editor for Autzen Zoo. See his banter with other FanSided writers and love for his favorite west coast professional teams by following him on Twitter.