The Pac-12 released its 2013 football schedules Thursday, giving Arizona State a better idea of how it must navigate what could be one of the toughest schedules in the nation.
In all, eight of ASUs 2013 opponents played in bowl games this past season (including the BCS national championship game and the Rose Bowl), two won 12 games and four won at least nine.
Coming off an 8-5 campaign in 2012, the Sun Devils will open the season at home against Sacramento State on Sept. 7. The first big test comes quickly, though, as ASU hosts defending Big Ten champion Wisconsin the following week.
Things don't get any easier in Week 3, as ASU jumps into Pac-12 play early with a road game against defending conference and Rose Bowl champion Stanford, which finished the season ranked No. 7 in the Associated Press Top 25 and No. 6 in the USA Today Coaches Poll.
ASU returns home the following week to host USC before heading to Arlington, Texas, to play Notre Dame at Cowboys Stadium. After losing to Alabama in the national championship game following a 12-0 regular season, the Fighting Irish came in at No. 4 in the final AP poll and No. 3 in the final coaches poll.
Things appear to get a bit easier after that, as ASU plays back-to-back games at Sun Devil Stadium against Colorado and Washington, with the latter game serving as homecoming. Those games are followed by ASU's bye week and then a Thursday night game Oct. 31 against Washington State in Pullman.
ASU stays on the road the next week against Utah before returning to host Oregon State on Nov. 16. The Sun Devils then head to the Rose Bowl to play two-time defending Pac-12 South champion UCLA before wrapping up the regular season with the Territorial Cup game against Arizona at home.
While the early portion of the schedule appears extremely daunting, there is some good news: ASU misses Oregon (Cal is the other Pac-12 team off the schedule this year) and gets five conference home games rather than just four, as is the case for half the teams in the conference.
ASU's full 2013 schedule:
Sept. 7: vs. Sacramento State (at Sun Devil Stadium)
Sept. 14: vs. Wisconsin (at Sun Devil Stadium)
Sept. 21: at Stanford (at Palo Alto, Calif.)
Sept. 28: vs. USC (at Sun Devil Stadium)
Oct. 5: vs. Notre Dame (at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas)
Oct. 12: vs. Colorado (at Sun Devil Stadium)
Oct. 19: vs. Washington (at Sun Devil Stadium)
Oct. 26: Bye
Oct. 31: vs. Washington State (at Pullman, Wash.)
Nov. 9: at Utah (at Salt Lake City, Utah)
Nov. 16: vs. Oregon State (at Sun Devil Stadium)
Nov. 23: at UCLA (at Pasadena, Calif.)
Nov. 30: vs. Arizona (at Sun Devil Stadium)