In the early weeks of the new college football season, a peculiar trend has emerged across the nation’s conferences. Traditional powerhouses have shown unanticipated vulnerabilities, while the Pac-12, often seen as an underdog, has displayed a glimmer of promise. USC, Oregon, Washington, UCLA, and Colorado all boast rankings, but the underbelly of the Pac-12 still raises eyebrows. This unexpected dip in conference strength could potentially thwart USC’s aspirations in the College Football Playoff race.
Last week, the Trojans delivered a resounding victory against the Stanford Cardinal, leaving spectators in awe. However, this week, Stanford suffered an inexplicable loss, undermining their previous acclaim. InsideUSC’s Scott Wolf delves into the enigma of the Pac-12’s weaker teams and their impact on the entire conference, regardless of the strengths of its top contenders.
“The Pac-12 is good but today it was also very bad. Stanford lost to Sacramento State, 30-23! Remember that when you pumped up that USC win over the Cardinal last week.”
USC’s upcoming clash with Arizona State poses an intriguing challenge. As the Trojans venture away from the LA Coliseum for the first time this season, they face an undermatched Sun Devils squad. On paper, USC appears poised for victory, but if they secure the win, it may be perceived as another lackluster triumph on their resume due to the conference’s weakened state.
“Arizona State committed eight turnovers in a 29-0 loss to Fresno State. It didn’t have its starting QB and the Nos. 2 an 3 QBs got hurt during the game, leaving the Sun Devils with fourth-string QB Jacob Conover.”
Blame doesn’t rest with the Trojans for the Pac-12’s deficiencies, yet these issues could significantly shape their season’s outcome. Particularly, if USC fails to maintain an undefeated record throughout the season, the Pac-12’s weaknesses may return to haunt them in their quest for a coveted spot in the College Football Playoff.