A New Top Conference in College Football
The SEC had a nice little run but it’s over now. Sure they may have 8 teams ranked in the Associated Press pre-season top 25, but that is based largely on reputation. Everything goes in cycles and the SEC run of domination in college football has run its course. I wish I could say the new “King of the Hill” is the Big 12, but that’s not going happen. No, the best conference in the land has shifted like the San Andreas Fault, to the West Coast. The Pac 12 will become the preeminent conference in the land beginning this season.
The Pac 12 has four teams that are as talented and physical as anyone in the ACC or Big Ten or Big 12 or yes, even the SEC. Led by Oregon, a team that has been on the brink of a National Championship for the past 4 years, the Ducks will prove this year that they’re more than just a team with really cool uniforms. Somehow Oregon has been able to convince top high school players from all over the country, and in particular California and Texas, to play for a school in a state that doesn’t get much national attention. If you can convince some of the top players in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas and Houston to forgo their state powerhouses, you’re doing something right. Oregon returns 9 offensive starters from an 11-2 team a year ago, none more electrifying than quarterback Marcus Mariota, a top 3 Heisman Trophy candidate. The Ducks also have their entire offensive line coming back and 2 top running backs. They should be a lock to put up 50 points a game, all year long.
Once again Stanford will field a great team. It never ceases to amaze me how a school with such high academic standards–yes, even for its athletes–can keep producing such talented aquads. Head Coach David Shaw will do it again this year and beat up a lot of teams in the process. Southern Cal has another new coach, Steve Sarkisian, and the early reports are that he has recruited lights out and has the Trojans back to the Pete Carroll days of glory. Across town, UCLA has its own plans for West Coast domination, led by its own Heisman Trophy candidate in quarterback Brett Hundley. If it matters, both Desmond Howard and Lee Corso picked the Bruins to win the national title this year over Florida State.
Six teams from the Pac 12 are in the Associated Press pre-season top 25, including Washington sneaking in it #25. The Huskies were the only team to convince Head Coach Chris Petersen to leave Boise State, something about a dozen top teams a year tried to do over the past decade. He alone will make Washington a top 10 team within 2 seasons. He got the maximum out of players at Boise State and now he’ll have even more talented players to go along with his unique and highly successful system.
Top it off with a very strong Arizona State and an unpredictable Mike Leach-led Washington State, and the Pac 12 has all the ingredients that any conference could want. Playing without the arrogance of the SEC, which I’m SOOO done with, the Pac 12 will win it all this year and make everyone forget about Georgia, LSU and that team that that Saban guy coaches.