Does Stanford's Loss Prove Pac-12 Is Nation's Deepest Conference?

Randy ChambersAnalyst ISeptember 28, 2012

The SEC receives all of the hype, all of the accolades and all of the credit for being the deepest conference in all of college football. But the Pac-12, a conference that was absolutely horrible last season, seems to be on the rise and improving by leaps and bounds.

USC began the season as a national championship favorite but then lost to Stanford in Week 3. The Cardinal instantly jumped into the Top 10 of the polls but then lost to Washington in Week 5, 17-13.

All three of those teams have shown that they have talent and the ability to really play solid football, but does that make the Pac-12 the deepest conference?

We also can't forget about a team such as Arizona, a squad that everybody wants to watch because head coach Rich Rodriguez took over. The Wildcats have the 12th-best passing game in the country and already upset a ranked Oklahoma State football team.

UCLA is another team that has surprised us early on with a first-year head coach. The Bruins have jumped out to a 3-1 start, beating Nebraska and competing with a solid Oregon State football team. Speaking of the Beavers, a team that hasn't reached a bowl since 2009, they already have two victories over ranked teams under their belt.

When you throw in an undefeated Oregon Ducks squad, a team that continues to get mentioned in the national championship conversation, you have yourself a solid conference. But this certainly doesn't make it the deepest.

The deepest conference to me is the conference that has the most teams competing for national championships and BCS bowls. Sure, the Pac-12 is a surprising story this season, but with inconsistency, there are only one or two teams that could seriously make a run for a Pac-12 title. Even with many teams showing improved play, would you really pick anyone besides Oregon or USC to win this conference?

I think that tells us all you need to know right there.

Sure, the SEC has had a couple of disappointing teams this season, but the conference still has five teams in the Top 11 of the AP Poll, with six teams in the Top 25. There are a total of five teams from that conference that have a shot at a national championship if they take care of business.

The Pac-12, on the other hand, has teams that are playing better, but many of them are mediocre and will end up settling for a lousy bowl game. Oregon State is averaging less than 19 points per game, Arizona plays little to no defense, Stanford can't score and even Washington struggles to move the ball with all that offensive talent.

This is a conference that had six teams finish with a losing record last season, so when we see a little sign of improvement, many are going to go overboard with it. But the deepest conference in college football remains the SEC, simply because there are more quality teams than a bunch of average ones.