With two Pac-12 football heavyweights falling off its schedule, UCLA’s slate of conference games in 2023 seems favorable … or does it?
The Bruins won’t have to play Oregon or Washington, who combined for a 21-5 record last season, but they will have to face three presumed contenders on the road as part of their farewell season in the Pac-12.
The outcome of games at defending conference champion Utah on Sept. 23, at Oregon State on Oct. 14 and at USC on Nov. 18 will heavily determine whether UCLA can vie for its first Pac-12 title under coach Chip Kelly. The Bruins have not traveled to Corvallis, Ore., to face the Beavers since 2015, and they may not return anytime soon given their move to the Big Ten Conference beginning in 2024.
UCLA’s only bye week comes on Sept. 30, sandwiched between the game against the Utes and a game on Oct. 7 against Washington State at the Rose Bowl. The Bruins will play six home games, including the season opener against Coastal Carolina on Sept. 2 and another nonconference game against North Carolina Central on Sept. 16. This is the second consecutive season that UCLA will face a Football Championship Subdivision opponent after routing Alabama State 45-7 last September during the Bruins’ first game against a school from college football’s lower level.
UCLA will face San Diego State on Sept. 9 at Snapdragon Stadium, making its first trip to play the Aztecs on the road since 2005.
The Bruins’ other home games are against Colorado on Oct. 28, Arizona State on Nov. 11 and California on Nov. 25. Their other road games are against Stanford on Oct. 21 and Arizona on Nov. 4.
2023 UCLA schedule
Sept. 2: Coastal Carolina
Sept. 9: at San Diego State
Sept. 16: North Carolina Central
Sept. 23: at Utah
Sept. 30: bye
Oct. 7: Washington State
Oct. 14: at Oregon State
Oct. 21: at Stanford
Oct. 28: Colorado
Nov. 4: at Arizona
Nov. 11: Arizona State
Nov. 18: at USC
Nov. 25: California
The Pac-12 title game will be played Dec. 1 in Las Vegas.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.