The 2012 Pac-12 football championship race seemed predestined to be a rematch between Oregon and USC. The Trojans were preseason number one with Heisman-favorite Matt Barkley under center, and the Ducks were sitting close behind at number five.
As the season unfolded, however, USC began crippling under heavy expectations and many previously discounted teams vaulted into the discussion.
UCLA rallied from two early conference losses to win five in a row, Oregon State strung six wins together to start the year and Stanford quickly proved that it deserved respect even after the departure of Andrew Luck.
With the 2013 season drawing near, it is time to learn from the past and throw out expectations that this fall will be a two-horse race between Stanford and Oregon for the Pac-12 crown. There are a few dark horses in the crowd who are poised to challenge for the Rose Bowl.