While USC’s loss to the Stanford Cardinal dominated many Pac-12 headlines this past week, it did not go without notice that nine Pac-12 teams received votes in the Coaches Poll with five of them landing in the top 25. (Oregon, Stanford, USC, UCLA, Arizona, Oregon State, Utah, ASU and Washington).
The Pac-12 has leapt out of the gate in 2012 to show the country that the West Coast plays some fierce football. Buoyed by a strong out of conference schedule featuring FBS opponents such as Ohio State, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Syracuse, and Oklahoma State with the Pac-12 emerging victorious against all but Ohio State (Cal).
The battle between the North and South divisions heats up with Stanford’s win over USC in Week 3 to open both schools’ Pac-12 conference schedule. The South has three teams ranked in the AP top 25 and the North has two. However, the North's two teams are ranked higher Oregon at No. 3 and Stanford at No. 9. In the South, USC is ranked at No. 13, with UCLA at No. 19 and Arizona at No. 22.
This has never been an easy conference to get through, which few outside of the West Coast understand. The teams, for the most part, all play each other competitively, and seemingly inexplicable losses happen. For some reason, the teams have each others’ numbers, so to speak, making the Pac-12 an exciting and dynamic conference to follow.
Needless to say, the Pac-12’s early season shows depth that goes well beyond recent dominant team Oregon and traditional power USC. Let’s take a look at the Pac-12 teams surging so far in 2012: