UCLA might have pulled off its biggest win of the year today, as the 2011 schedule was released today with one extremely surprising – and beneficial – tidbit: The Bruins won’t play Oregon or Washington in the regular season until 2013.
With the conference realignment creating two divisions – the North (Washington, Washington State, Oregon, Oregon State, Cal, Stanford) and the South (UCLA, USC, Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Utah) – the big stipulation for Pac-12 commissioners was the decision to maintain the California ties, and have the football teams maintain yearly matchups.
That meant that UCLA and USC would only face two of the remaining four Pac-12 North teams per season, and most thought that the two sets of two teams would play in a rotational basis, such as the following for UCLA:
at Oregon State
home Washington State
at Washington State
home Oregon State
Instead, the UCLA release states that the team will play the same Pac-12 opponents in 2012, while reversing the sites. That means the Bruins will avoid matchups with probably the best conference opponent for the next two seasons, as well as a formidable opponent that is gaining steam in recruiting.
Now, Oregon State is no patsy, and I expect them to field strong competition in the 2011 and 2012 seasons. But Washington State is Washington State, and, well, Oregon is Oregon.
Huge win for UCLA.