As the best conference in the nation — yes, I went there — it’s important to take into account how the PAC-12 teams stack up in the preseason. Yes, Alabama is a dynasty, and yes, the SEC is strong. ‘Bama, Auburn, Missouri, South Carolina, Georgia, LSU, Tennessee, and Texas A&M are among the conferences best, but bias aside, truth be told, only four of those teams are ready to compete at the national level today: Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, and LSU. Tennessee was 5-7 last season, the most impressive thing about them being the history of their team. A&M went 9-4, but only 4-4 in conference — and that was with Johnny Manziel, now he has gone pro. South Carolina loses the first overall pick in the NFL Draft, Jadeveon Clowney, their starting quarterback, and their leading receiver in Connor Shaw and Bruce Ellington, respectively. Missouri lost the SEC’s co-defensive player of the year Michael Sam, not to mention their starting quarterback, leading rusher, and leading receiver all to the NFL. Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, and LSU seem to be the only real threats in the SEC, and even they have questions surrounding them. Alabama lost their amazing leader and solid starting quarterback A.J. Mccarron, but returns a large amount of last years starters.
Now take a look at the PAC-12. Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Arizona State, and Washington rule the top of the conference. Oregon returns their Heisman hopeful quarterback and nationally outstanding player Marcus Mariota — along with a large chunk of their team from last year. UCLA does the same. Stanford lost some key pieces, but retained others. USC quietly won 10 games last season and returns most of their impact players, but lost their star wide-out marquise lee. ASU was a 10 win team, but still lost in their bowl game. Washington lost their leading rusher, but still looks poised to make noise next season — even with the suspension of their starting quarterback Cyler Miles for the first game of the season. With the ACC and FSU ending the reign of the SEC in college football, the tides have turned from the rolling kind to the Pacific Coast kind.
With that said, and the much due credit given to the PAC-12, let’s power rank the conference for the preseason. This will continue weekly through the regular season, so keep your eyes on the lookout for more rankings.