It's not always who you are but who you play. Scheduling plays a big role in how college football teams end up, in conference play and the national rankings.
So which Pac-12 teams get boosts from their conference misses this fall? And who gets the hard bargain?
Well, no team has been gifted what Utah had the previous two seasons, when the Utes didn't play Oregon or Stanford. But there's definitely teams with harder conference schedules, as well as easier ones.
The general feeling in this ranking is missing Oregon or Stanford is a good thing. Both are certain top-10 teams. It also posits that missing teams that had losing records in 2012 -- Colorado, Washington State, California and Utah -- isn't good. The Pac-12 blog also believes that Arizona State, Oregon State, UCLA, USC and Washington are top-25 teams in terms of talent.
This ranks best misses (likely ranked teams) to worst misses (teams with lower expectations).
Misses: Oregon State, Stanford
Skinny: Arizona misses a top-5 and top-25 team. That should boost the Wildcats' bowl hopes.
Misses: Washington, Oregon
Skinny: It's ideal to miss either Oregon or Stanford, and Washington, which has given the Trojans trouble under Steve Sarkisian, is a potential top-25 team.
Misses: Arizona State, USC
Skinny: The Ducks miss two of the top three teams from the South Division. The Sun Devils and Trojans are potential top-25 teams. About as good as the Ducks could hope for, particularly compared to North rival Stanford.
4. ARIZONA STATE
Misses: California, Oregon
Skinny: Cal has enough talent to give some teams trouble -- see Ohio State last year. Missing the Ducks is a big boost for the Sun Devils, particularly when co-South Division front-runner UCLA plays both Oregon and Stanford.
Misses: Stanford, Washington State
Skinny: While it's great to miss Stanford, the downer here is the Buffs are missing the one team they beat last year: Washington State.
6. OREGON STATE
Misses: Arizona, UCLA
Skinny: The Beavers can't miss Oregon and Stanford because they are North Division foes, so this isn't a bad pair to miss. The Wildcats might be tough, but the Beavers will be favored.
Misses: Arizona State, Utah
Skinny: See Oregon State. If UCLA and Arizona State feel like a toss-up as far as a miss, Utah falls just below Arizona in those same terms.
Misses: California, Washington
Skinny: The bad news is no more missing Oregon and Stanford. The Utes haven't had any luck with the Huskies, but they did beat Cal last year.
Misses: Oregon State, Washington State
Skinny: One of the Bruins' problems is advantageous misses for their top South rivals: Arizona State and USC. On the good side, these are two foul-weather destinations the Bruins are glad to avoid.
Misses: Utah, USC
Skinny: The reason the Huskies are below the Bruins is they've dominated the Utes for two consecutive years and beaten the Trojans twice in their last four meetings.
11. WASHINGTON STATE
Misses: UCLA, Colorado
Skinny: It's good to miss the Bruins, but missing Colorado takes away perhaps the only conference game in which the Cougars, at least from where we sit today, would be favored.
Misses: Arizona, Colorado
Skinny: If Stanford wins the Pac-12, there will be no naysayers.