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Times reporter Bob Condotta keeps the news coming about the Montlake Dawgs.

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June 10, 2008 3:01 PM

Steele says UW's schedule toughest in the nation

Posted by Bob Condotta

A couple of months ago when I ranked the Pac-10's schedules for the 2008 season in order of their difficulty, some of you chided me for not listing UW No. 1.

Looks like you guys have an ally in Phil Steele, whose rankings of the toughest schedules in the nation this season is now available on his website.

Steele rates UW's schedule this season --- consisting of home non-conference games against BYU, Oklahoma and Notre Dame and five Pac-10 road games --- as the most difficult in the country.

Steele gives a pretty lengthy explanation of his thought process in general (probably a little too lengthy, actually) but doesn't really go into detail about UW's schedule in particular. Mostly, he ranks the schedules based on how he has ranked their opponents this season and doesn't just look at won-loss record of a year ago (and he's definitely right there about putting too much weight on what happened a year ago).

Here's how he sees the Pac-10 in terms of difficulty of schedule:

1, Washington (1st in nation)
2, Oregon State (5th)
3, UCLA (6th)
4, Stanford (14th)
5, USC (21st)
6, Washington State (28th)
7, Oregon (33rd)
8, Cal (38th)
9, Arizona State (40th)
10, Arizona (57th)

To be accurate, I did my rankings solely on the basis of the non-conference schedule. I had USC --- which hosts Notre Dame and Ohio State and goes on the road to play Virginia --- No. 1, with the Huskies No. 2. It's admittedly a tough call --- I basically put USC first since it has to go on the road once while UW is home for all of its non-conference games but I don't argue that BYU is a better team than Virginia (the other two games in the non-conference slates for the two teams are a wash).

But no doubt that including all games gives UW a tougher schedule than the Trojans. USC's conference schedule, in fact, is pretty favorable, despite having five games on the road. USC will host Oregon, Arizona State and Cal --- usually regarded as teams 2-4 in the conference this year --- as well as UW, while going on the road to play the other five teams, most of whom are generally considered to finish near the bottom.

UW's conference schedule may be as difficult as anybody's as the Huskies go to USC, Cal, Oregon --- all generally being picked to be three of the top four teams in the conference this year --- as well as Arizona and Washington State while hosting ASU, UCLA, Stanford and Oregon State.

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