- Ted Miller, ESPN Staff Writer
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College football is hard to keep up with in terms of who plays in what conference this year and whether they change affiliation the next. This week, we said goodbye to the Big East and welcomed something called the "American Athletic Conference."
Hmm... AAC? A little distracting, eh?
Pittsburgh and Syracuse now give the ACC 14 teams, just like the SEC. The Big Ten still has 12 teams, but it will have 14 in 2014 when Rutgers (playing in the American Athletic this season) and Maryland (one more go-around in the ACC) join the fray. Oh, and then the "Legends" and "Leaders" Division names give way to the more mundane "East" and "West."
The ACC will add Louisville in 2014 to remain a 14-team league in football (15 for basketball with Notre Dame).
The Big 12 still has 10 teams, so counting is obviously optional in college football, though the Big 12 gets credit for stability, which few saw coming three or so years ago.
There has been plenty of other jumping about, which you can review here.
What does it all mean for the bastion of stability and tradition, the Pac-8, er 10, er 12?
Kevin Gemmell has been providing you guys a "Nonconference Primer" for each Pac-12 team's out of conference schedule, which you can review here. But I wanted to break down which conferences the Pac-12 will see in 2013 and which it won't.
It won't, for example, play a regular-season game against the new American Athletic Conference, which wants to be shortened as "The American," perhaps in tribute to one of my favorite Henry James novels.
Nor will the Pac-12 play any games against the Big 12, which is a drag, or the Mid-American or Sun Belt, which doesn't bother me particularly much.
There are nine games against FCS foes, which feels yucky.
The Pac-12 plays 11 games against the Mountain West Conference. That's the most for any other FBS conference, and in terms of perception, the Pac-12 can't afford to lose more than three of those.
The Pac-12 plays Notre Dame three times, as well as four other Independents.
The most popular FBS conference pairing is with the Big Ten, which is not surprising. The Rose Bowl partners meet five times this fall.
There are two games with the ACC and two with the SEC, though none with the SEC elite.
So that's 12 total games with AQ conference teams and Notre Dame. Those games will provide the most obvious measure of the conference in terms of national perception, though faring poorly versus the Mountain West wouldn't look good, either.
Here's the breakdown.
ACC: Boston College (USC), at Virginia (Oregon)
Big Ten: Wisconsin (Arizona State), at Nebraska (UCLA), Northwestern (California), Ohio State (Cal), at Illinois (Washington)
SEC: Tennessee (Oregon), Auburn (Washington State)
Conference USA: UT San Antonio (Arizona)
FBS Independents: Notre Dame (Arizona State, USC, Stanford), New Mexico State (UCLA), BYU (Utah), Army (Stanford), Idaho (Washington State)
Mountain West: UNLV (Arizona), Colorado State (Colorado), Fresno State (Colorado), Nevada (UCLA), Hawaii (USC, Oregon State), Utah State (Utah, USC), San Diego State (Oregon State), San Jose State (Stanford), Boise State (Washington)
FCS: Northern Arizona (Arizona), Sacramento State (Arizona State), Central Arkansas (Colorado), Weber State (Utah), Portland State (Cal), Nicholls State (Oregon), Eastern Washington (Oregon State), Idaho State (Washington), Southern Utah (Washington State)