In reading a wide range of articles and subsequent reactions from around the country Friday night after Oregon won the Pac-12 Conference Championship, it is nice to see a lack of “the Pac-12 is such a weak conference” commentary.
I am one who believes your conference is perceived to be better when the traditional powerhouse team(s) are relevant. In our case, that is USC. Therefore, I want USC to be good! Nobody will argue the Big Ten is better when Michigan is a bad team.
Last night during the game one of the announcers, Tim Brando, said he prefers to view the strength of a conference from the “bottom up” versus the “top down.” Using his thought process, I decided to check one of my favorite websites which specializes in strength of schedule and all related issues.
A few of my observations…
1) All Pac-12 teams are ranked in the Top 45 which is the best of all the Power 5 Conferences! (These rankings change as games are completed.) The SEC of course scores very high rankings but Vanderbilt is ranked about 20 places below our lowest ranked team, Oregon State.
2) However, Oregon State is ranked higher than Wisconsin, who is played in the BIG Conference Championship Game.
3) There are 9 Pac-12 teams ranked higher than Ohio State and a tenth team, Washington, is only one place below the Buckeyes.
This year, within the Pac-12 itself we saw an unexpected “shift” between the North and South Divisions?! The much anticipated battles in the North failed to materialize and Oregon wrapped up first place a few weeks before the end of the season. I prefer to believe this was due to Oregon’s dominance rather than other teams not living up to expectations. The South, however, was not decided until the last weekend in some very exciting games. Yet for four consecutive years now, the title of “Pac-12 Conference Champion” resides with a team from the North!
As our beloved Oregon Ducks march into the Final Four, we do so knowing from the bottom to the top we are the champions of the toughest conference in college football! GO DUCKS!
Top Photo by Gary Breedlove