Monday Musings: The Pac-12


Living in Big Ten Country allows me to easily keep up to date on all that’s going on in that conference.  So, I thought I’d delve into a realm that is less familiar to me, but no less intriguing.  Now that the Pac-10Pac-12 has added Utah and Colorado,  I thought I’d “muse” on some things West Coast.

Let’s look at divisions:

NORTH: Washington, Washington State, Oregon, Oregon State, Standford, California

SOUTH: USC, UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State, Utah, Colorado.

They ended up with a geographical split that makes sense.  You get to keep the most traditional rivalries.  In fact Utah-Colorado is the only pair that aren’t one of the original 5 “big ones”.  I always felt the Pac-10 had the best in-state rivalries in the nation.  Time will tell if the Utes and Buffs can start a rivalry or not.  Personally, I felt they might split up Colorado and Utah, but by placing them together in the South Division, they keep the above mentioned rivalries intact within the divisions.

Upon further analysis, Utah can only get stronger, being able to tell future recruits they are playing with the “big boys” now.  This is not some smaller, weaker, program joining a bigger conference that will force them to catch up; they are established, much like TCU who is going to the Big East in 2012.   I think the Utes are going to make it harder for USC to claim the divisional crown every year.  But, let’s face it folks, USC will be USC again sooner than later and will most likely lay claim to the South crown more often then not.

When I look at the North though, as a pure college football nut, I am keeping my fingers crossed that Oregon does not take over the “USC” mantel of that division.  I’m hoping that a post-Luck Stanford can be strong come 2012.  And I’m interested to see if Sarkisian can take a further step and contend with the UW program.  Cali and Oregon State are hit or miss every other year, though I don’t expect much from either this season.  I imagine many USC/Oregon title games with a sprinkling of Utah/Cali/Stanford/Oregon State occasionally.  I’m intrigued to say the least.

How about this for an introduction into a new conference:  in week 3, Utah’s very first game in the inaugeral Pac-12 season sees them traveling to Southern Cal.  If they win, it is an immediate confidence builder and the sages who made the decision to add the Utes look golden.

Some other games with intrigue:

Sept. 24th, USC at ASU, end of a potential tough 3 game stretch for ASU; Mizzou, @Ill and start conference play with the Trojans.  Will tell us if they are for real or not.

Oct. 29th, Stanford at USC, a good QB battle between Luck and Barkley.

Oct. 1st, Washington State at Colorado, battle of the potential bottom dwellers (intriguing like a train wreck)

Nov. 12th, Oregon at Stanford, could we reach 100 points of combined scoring? Winner probably takes control of the North

Nov. 19th, USC at Oregon, is Oregon the new top dog?  These teams could play again 2 weeks later for the Championship.

All in all, I see a pretty competitive conference race in the South this year.  I feel USC is still vulnerable and could be pushed by Arizona State (who has 19 starters coming back if I’m not mistaken), but will still make the title game.  Oregon should be lights out, but with Luck coming back to Stanford, that could give them a chance to win the North, but I doubt it.  I’m still predicting a USC/Oregon Pac-12 Championship.

Oh, and on a completely non-football note, nice job on the new Pac-12 logo.  As an artist with a design background, I think it has punch.  Perhaps the team that created it can give my Big Ten guys a call and help them out with that horrid thing they came up with.

Are you a Pac-12 fan?  Give me your predictions, talk up your team or tell me what you think about the new additions and how it will all play out.