Is schedule strength in Cougs' favor?

LAST YEAR, Washington State had the 13th toughest schedule in the nation, according to Phil Steele's preseason projections. The year before it was No. 20. For 2011, it's a completely different picture for the Cougars.

A Pac-12 team is never going to fall too far down the list when it comes to toughest schedules because the conference is so tough.

But WSU appears to have one of its friendliest schedules in years.

Phil Steele says the Cougs' schedule is the 46th toughest for 2011.

Ten of the Pac-12 teams, according to Steele, have a more difficult schedule. They are Colorado (1), Oregon State (4), USC (7), UW (8), Arizona (16), UCLA (28), Utah (33), Oregon (39), ASU (40) and Cal (43).

The only Pac-12 team with a lower strength of schedule on Steele's list is Stanford, at No. 49.

Washington State's non-conference schedule features Idaho State and UNLV at home, and San Diego State on the road.

In Pac-12 play, the Cougars have three games at home (Stanford, ASU and Utah) and one at a neutral site, (Oregon State).

The Cougars go on the road for five of their nine conference games (Colorado, UCLA, Oregon, Cal and UW).

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