Back in the 1970’s era when Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler were roaming the sidelines the Big Ten which had ten teams back then was widely known as the Big Two/Little Eight because the title always came down to Ohio St vs Michigan.
Last year while watching the Pac 12 it seemed to me that it was the Top Six Teams of Utah, USC, Oregon, Washington, UCLA, and Oregon St that dominated the league. This week I went back and did some research on it and yes indeed it was the Big Six/Little Six last year and may continue that way this year.
How Teams Fared vs Big Six teams
Oregon State 1-3
Naturally when playing each other the Big Six teams were 11-11.
The HOME team was 8-3 in these games.
Washington St 0-5
Arizona St 1-4
The bottom six teams were 2-30 when taking on the Big Six teams.
Part of my analysis of the Pac 12 this year was how many game each of the Big Six teams had vs the other Big Six teams and how many of those games were on the road.
USC is 7-0 at home under Lincoln Riley.
Utah is 19-0 at home the last three non-covid years.
Oregon is 21-1 at home the last 4 years.
Kalen DeBoer is 7-0 at home with Washington.
Oregon St is 12-1 at home the last two years in a Stadium under construction and not full capacity. They are full capacity this year.
UCLA was 6-2 at home last year.
Those are six powerful home field edges from the top teams.
Another factor in Pac 12 play is that each team plays nine conference games. That means that some teams have five home games and just four road games while others have just four home games and five road games. The Six teams that get the benefit of five home games are Utah, USC, Oregon, Washington, Arizona State and Stanford. The two Big Six Pac 12 teams with just four home games are Oregon St and UCLA.
Last year only two teams faced all the Big Six teams, and those two teams were Colorado and Stanford and they finished tied with each other for last place in the league. This year California is the only team to play all six of the Big Six teams and they have just four home games, so they have the toughest schedule of the league. Utah is the only team of the Big Six that must play each of the other top teams, and they must play three of them on the road! Wash St is the only team from the bottom that missed TWO big Six teams. UCLA avoids Oregon, Washington, and itself so they face just three Big Six teams but do play all three on the road.
The Big Question boils down to how many Big Six road games do each of the Big Six Pac 12 teams have to face this year.
USC – 1 (Oregon)
Oregon State – 1 (Oregon)
Oregon -2 (Washington, Utah)
Washington -2 (USC, Oregon St)
UCLA – 3 (Utah, Oregon St, USC)
Utah -3 (Oregon St, USC, Washington)
The schedule is part of the reason I picked USC to win the Pac 12 this year and if you are looking for a sleeper pick than Oregon St could be that team. Washington St appears to be in the best shape of the teams from the bottom half of the league. It will be interesting to see that in the final year of the 12 team Pac 12 if it remains the Big Six Little Six.
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