Who played the toughest schedules?

California played the toughest schedule in the Pac-12 this season, according to Phil Steele, and every Pac-12 team ranked in the top 50.

Cal ranked No. 5 overall. Kansas played the toughest schedule. All Pac-12 teams ranked in the top-50.

Here's how the Pac-12 stacked up (national rank to left):

5. California

6. Stanford

12. Arizona

15. Colorado

20. USC

22. Washington

25. Oregon State

26. Washington State

34. UCLA

40. Utah

48. Oregon

50 Arizona State

Here's what Steele has to say about his SOS rankings:

What makes my Toughest Opponents Faced rankings far superior to the NCAA method is that mine takes into account 9 sets of power ratings, combines them and factors in every team’s schedule this year. I also take out the team’s own record from their opponents stats so the numbers only reflect only how their opponents did against other teams. For example, Notre Dame’s opponents are listed as 83-50 (62.4%), if you add Notre Dame’s record they would be 83-62 (57.2%). I did this for all the NCAA teams & found out which teams played the toughest schedules this year.

Of course, strength of schedule is difficult to measure, and it is one of the more contentious issues as the conference commissioners hash out how teams will be selected for the new four-team playoff starting in 2014.