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June 7, 2007? More: ACC | Big Ten | Big 12 | Big East | SEC | Non-BCS I | Non-BCS II | Ultimate Road Trip
Pac-10 teams last year were hoping some key nonconference wins, particularly on the road, would earn the league a little respect.
It worked for USC.
The Pac-10's road woes were well documented in 2006. Cal lost at Tennessee to open the season. Washington State, Oregon State and Arizona followed suit by losing convincingly to tough teams Auburn, Boise State and LSU, respectively.
Even Oregon's home win over Oklahoma was tainted by questionable officiating.
USC, though, was immune. The Trojans beat Nebraska and Notre Dame at home, and demolished SEC Western Division champ Arkansas on the road.
The Pac-10, the only conference to play nine league games, will try again this season. USC will lead the way with road games at Nebraska and Notre Dame. Washington State opens at Wisconsin. Oregon goes to Michigan in week two, and Tennessee returns the favor and heads to Cal to open the season.
Even with all of those nonconference tests, Washington takes the toughest schedule award by playing Boise State and Ohio State in the first three weeks of the season. Then the Huskies cap the season at Hawaii.
David Fox is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.