I was sitting down and getting set to pound out a post on our college football conference power rankings when I heard ESPN college football analyst Trevor Matich doing the same thing. Apparently one of their computer guys had the Pac-10 listed as the second strongest conference in the country and Matich wasn’t buying that. He said:
“I think they’re solid, they’ve got good depth, but I think they lack at the top. You talk about the early returns, I think that’s what’s important. We don’t know. We thought the ACC — at least I did — would perform better than it did, certainly this last week when it just got wiped out. The Pac-10 has the opportunity to either be annihilated this week like the ACC was last week, or to show that they are now stepping up.”
I agree with his assessment for the most part. The conference has really good depth and does not have one standout, national title competing team. Oregon made a statement by smashing Tennessee in the second half of their game on Saturday but I would not call them a number one type of team. Still, I think the Ducks are a better representative for the Pac-10′s top team than what most other conferences have to offer. Like Matich said, this weekend is huge for the conference.
The Pac-10 needs wins from Cal (at Nevada), Stanford (home against Wake Forest), Oregon State (home against Louisville) and USC (at Minnesota) to maintain its respectability. Arizona State beating Wisconsin on the road, Washington beating Nebraska, or Arizona defeating Iowa at home would be nice bonuses for the conference, but I’m not expecting a victory for any of them. As for UCLA and Washington State, they appear to be the two worst teams in the conference so any non-conference win would be welcomed and unexpected. I’d say the Pac-10 at number two in terms of conference strength is a little high, but it’s certainly strong this year.