If you do not live in the western region of the United States, then it is safe to say that you have not paid much attention to the Pac-12 or maybe even USC for the better part of seven years now. They’ve had two appearances in the College Football Playoff since its inception in 2014. With no appearances resulting in a championship. The most recent occurrence came in 2016 when Washington played Alabama and got taken care of handily 24-7. For most, this is what is remembered when they think of Pac-12 as a whole. A conference that has some talented teams, but not teams that deserve to be talked about in the conversation of winning a championship.
With USC and UCLA set to join the Big Ten in 2024, the Pac-12 will continue to be an afterthought in the eyes of the rest of the country. However, in the meantime, while both teams are still around, the Pac-12 is off to a solid start as a conference. They have eight teams that currently have a record of 3-1 or better with three of them being undefeated. This of course includes the sixth-ranked USC Trojans who are and have always been a major contributor to the Pac-12’s success.
In recent years, the Pac-12 has had teams such as Utah and Oregon make some runs inside the top ten. Despite their efforts, there is still a lack of respect and seriousness that is being paid to them when they do. Everyone knows that the Pac-12 is only taken seriously when USC is at the top of its class. This is indeed the case as the Pac-12 is looking to turn some heads early on in the season.
It’s Not Just USC
At the start of the season, the Pac-12 received attention due to all the talent that USC gained from the transfer portal. They were the talk of the Pac-12. Leading up to the first game of the season seemingly nobody paid much attention to the rest of the conference. With Oregon getting embarrassed by Georgia in week one and Utah losing a close one to Florida, the Pac-12 was viewed as a second-tier conference.
However, people are failing to look at the conference as a whole. With teams such as Washington, Washington State, and Oregon State putting together strong wins at the beginning of the season, the Pac-12 is showing that they can contend with the top 25 teams across the country. Additionally, UCLA is off to a 4-0 start, and Utah and Oregon have gone undefeated since their week one defeats.
As conference play is getting into full swing, it is not a stretch to say that the Pac-12 will have the most competitive games week after week. It looks to be a conference that is going to be full of teams beating up on each other and that anyone can be capable of beating anyone on any given week. The opinion associated with conferences like this is often that the conference is weak and that there is no single dominant team. It should be clear early on that this is not the case with the Pac-12. They have shown that they may very well be the most complete conference from top to bottom and that they deserve to have their whole body of work looked at.
Opportunity For USC
With USC being 4-0 and at the top of the Pac-12, they are in a great position going forward. Not only are they a team that is passing the eye test, but have proven that they can win games in more ways than one. They are a team that is believing in who they are and what they can be capable of. If USC wants to prove they can make a run at a College Football Playoff, they have the blueprint for it right in front of them. As of right now, they have 4 games remaining against teams with a record of 3-1 or better including on the road against twelfth-ranked Utah.
Not to mention their final game of the season against rival Notre Dame who looks to finally be figuring it out. USC could prove to have a formidable strength of schedule when it is all said and done, even if they wind up with one or two losses. I understand that it is far too early to be discussing the CFP for the Trojans, but given their schedule and how the Pac-12 is shaping out, they are a team that could be in the conversation comes to the end of the season.
For More Great Football Content
Follow us on Twitter at @GridironHeroics for more great content. We appreciate you taking time to read our articles. To interact more with our community and keep up to date on the latest in Football news, JOIN OUR FREE FACEBOOK GROUP by CLICKING HERE