For most people who follow college football, the SEC is king. Casually read through the links on Google or thumb through the major and independent sports websites and eight out of 10 stories will be about the SEC, from game previews, to suspensions, to coaching rumors to the next big matchup coming somewhere in the South on the upcoming Saturday. As a side effect, the Pac 12 Conference gets left on the back-burner, hardly the focus of most water cooler conversations and Twitter back-and-forth from day to day.
This is no one’s fault. It just is.
Five Pac-12 teams are ranked in the Top 25, and if you’re willing to drink one more beer and keep yourself up a little later than normal on Saturday night, you’ll be privy to some darn good football going on up and down the West Coast.
The Oregon Ducks have another shot at a National Championship appearance can they manage to wade through and extremely challenging schedule from mid-October through early-November. The Stanford Cardinal may be the country’s best team that no one knows about, led by solid quarterbacking play from Kevin Hogan and a first-tier defense led by long-time senior linebacking leader Shane Skov. It’s proof enough that the Cardinal are earning a greater degree of national respect, slowly, that head coach David Shaw has been mentioned among candidates for some of the country’s biggest jobs should they become available.
While Oregon and Stanford lead the pack in the conference, the UCLA Bruins and Arizona State Sun Devils are also making their mark. Since Jim Mora‘s arrival in Westwood, UCLA has re-established some of the regional clout they once had. Let by sophomore phenom Brett Hundley, the Bruins’ offense is dynamic and is sure to give opposing defensive coordinators fits for the rest of the 2013 season. Arizona State has always been a sleeping giant with the combination of location, great facilities, better weather, and the Tempe nightlife at their disposal, but with no one there to sell it properly. This has changed with the arrival of head coach Todd Graham, who, while controversial in the past, has brought plenty of needed energy to campus and it has been reflected in the inspired performance of the 3-1 Sun Devils.
The No. 15 Washington Huskies highlight the evening games on Saturday when they travel to Palo Alto to take on No. 5 Stanford in a game that gives the Pac 12 an opportunity to showcase two of its strongest teams on a national stage. The match-ups in this game are intriguing, and the potential for it to be an instant classic is high. If this comes to be, and the conference’s momentum continues it’ll be impossible for media and college football fans to continue to willfully ignore the clout of the Pac 12 as the first BCS polls are released later in the month.
The SEC isn’t the clear top dog in 2013 folks.
Some of the best football is being played in the West.
Join me and Tyler Brett for the Google + Pregame Rant this Saturday at 12 Central Time (10 Pacific) as we break down the Texas/USC coaching situations, the lack of respect the Pac 12 gets across the country, and a detailed analysis of the Washington/Stanford matchup!
Kris Hughes is a Senior Writer and Business Analyst for Rant Sports.