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Stanford, three other Pac-12 teams face toughest schedules in the nation

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Apparently the Pac-12 North is a place you don't want to be

George Frey

In the race to the first college football playoff, a tough schedule should help you stand out at the end of the season - if you can survive.

There's two conferences that stand head and shoulders above the others at the moment, at least according to ESPN: the Pac-12 and the SEC.

The Pac-12 has four teams, including Stanford, with the toughest schedules in the nation, and Utah draws the country's toughest lineup this fall.

Meanwhile, five SEC teams also make the cut, with three from the SEC west and two from the east.

It shouldn't be a surprise to see many of these teams on there - Stanford and Cal both draw heavy hitters from both the Pac-12 North and South, while Stanford adds Notre Dame and Cal plays both Northwestern and BYU. Meanwhile, poor Arkansas draws Auburn, Alabama, Georgia, Texas A&M, LSU, Ole Miss and Texas Tech.

There's been a tiff between the SEC and Pac-12 about whether the SEC should play 9 conference games instead of 8, and I'm not entirely whose point this proves at the moment. But it's at least something to consider.