Pac-10 Shows Why It's the Best Conference in the Country

Zack DContributor INovember 15, 2009

PALO ALTO, CA - SEPTEMBER 25:  Head coach Pete Carroll of the USC Trojans watches the action on the field during the game against the Stanford Cardinals on September 25, 2004 at Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto, California.  USC defeated Stanford 31-28. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The PAC-10 is the best conference in the country. It's as simple as that. 

I know all those die-hard Florida Gator fans who can't even point out Gainesville on a map disagree, but top-to-bottom, no Conference can compete with the PAC.

Another week down and another top-10 nationally ranked team falls in Conference play for the PAC.  For the second week in a row, Stanford gets to play the role of the spoiler.

Stanford has emerged as a serious Rose Bowl contender as they marched into the Land of Troy to put up the most points against the Trojans in their illustrious history.

This has been a pattern for the PAC this year.  Anyone grabbing the Conference lead cannot seem to hold, but its not because of a lack of a national power in this conference, rather strength across the board.  

Breaking down the Conference and seeing who they are willing to play and how they have fared only proves the conference's standing. 

The PAC is unlike many so-called BCS conferences, They actually go out and play other BCS schools, while Alabama and Florida play Southwest Texas State or someone who nearly fits that description.

USC goes into Columbus with a freshman QB and beats the Big 10 Rose Bowl representative.

Oregon State fell by 10 to the No. 5 team in the country.

Arizona beat an 8-2 Central Michigan squad and fell to Iowa, all before making the switch to a new QB.

UCLA, one of the worst teams in the PAC-10, goes on the road to beat Tennessee who has played close games to most of their SEC rivals.

Oregon lost to BCS buster Boise State, and Washington lost to Notre Dame in overtime. 

This all happened non-Conference, and then all these schools decided to beat the crap out of each other the rest of the way, proving that no game in this Conference is a cakewalk unless you are playing Wash State.

The SEC boasts some of the nation's top teams in LSU, Alabama, and Florida.  Those teams are all deserving of their credit, but outside of that are we really supposed to respect Ole Miss, Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee? 

According to ESPN and some major media outlets we should, but credit needs to go to this Conference on the other Coast.

The PAC suffers mightily from bad Bowl tie-ins and an even worse schedule that displays this Conference's top teams well after most of the East Coast fans have already drifted into their REM sleep.

But while the rest of the nation and ESPN takes note on what Tim Tebow had for breakfast, the PAC 10 has found itself its much needed parity.

USC has been the dominant force over the last decade not only in the Conference but the nation, but this year they have shown they're human and it's great for the Conference. 

USC has been prone to the slip-up against schools like Stanford and Oregon State, but this year finally fell to an in-Conference team that is believed to be one of the nation's best in Oregon, which is something that the Conference has lacked.

Oregon and Cal simply have not made that transition to being a top 10 team, which has hurt this Conference.  Oregon showed that this may be the first time they belong in that conversation, until the parody of the Conference caught up with them.

This year, though, the balance is evident.  Stanford (led by what looks to be a future lock of a first-round pick in Andrew Luck), Arizona and Oregon State, have all considerably closed the gap on USC, while Washington and UCLA seem to be poised to make a push to join Stanford, AZ and Oregon State. 

This Conference is now, at worst, six deep with Washington, ASU and UCLA having the ability to beat any other team in the Conference and are making significant strides in their programs.

With three games to go in the Conference, the possibility of a three-loss Conference champion winning the Conference's automatic bid to a BCS game, becomes more and more of a reality every week. 

Let's just hope people around the country can respect the depth of the Conference and not just the fact that USC is not as good this year as it normally is.