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Holding Court: The Case of the Pac-12’s Growing Confidence

It's time for us to step into the CBR Courtroom, don't worry it's not scary and full of paintings of Lady Justice, nor should you be afraid of it unless your name is Craig James and then you best not step foot in it – that's just playing with fire mister!

Last week we had three cases before the court and this week it's back to just one on the docket for our decision makers, a.k.a.. yours truly to decide the fate of the litigants in this case.

After a wild weekend one of the biggest splashes by a conference may have been made by the Pac-12 as we try and sort out exactly where things stand following two weeks of play. 

However, they're making an appearance in our courtroom to figure out if this was all a mirage or does the Pac-12 really deserve to be that third conference in the pantheon of college football in 2012.

Put in even easier terms, is the Pac-12 for real?

The Case For: This Conference is For Real

Making the case for the Pac-12: Oregon State, UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State

Let's see, 3-0 over the Big Ten including two wins against Top 20 teams in Wisconsin and Nebraska. 

Oh, you need more? Those wins came from mid-level teams UCLA and Oregon State. Add in a stomping of Illinois by Arizona State and a win over 18th ranked Oklahoma State by Arizona and you have all the evidence you need to know that this conference is deep and worthy of consideration as one of the best conferences in the country.

We're certainly better than the Big Ten after last weekend and while the jury is out on how good or bad Oklahoma State is they did lose to a rebuilding Arizona team. 

We haven't even mentioned the fact that we have the likes of Oregon, Stanford and USC at the very top of our conference. That gives us at least a league that has about 7 teams capable of playing with anyone from any conference and we say that's a hell of a lot better than the ACC and Big East have to offer.

The Case Against: This Conference isn't For Real

Making the Case: Utah State, Sacramento State, LSU

Funny how you only mentioned the wins by your conference last weekend, because the flip side is at least as ugly as the wins were pretty – maybe even worse. Where do we begin?

How about Colorado losing to us, Sacramento State? Yes, we're that same school that got Oregon State last season. Sure it was a narrow 30-28 victory, but if you're conference is so great from top to bottom why are losing to an FCS program? 

We here at Utah State would like to remind everyone that we did beat Utah, who some people had pegged as one of the three best teams in the South Division. They may be the 3rd best team in the state of Utah after this weekend, let alone in the Pac-12 North. 

Thirdly, what about the supposed 2nd best team in the North, Washington? Yes, we're LSU and were here to say guess what? We beat you guys down in Baton Rouge. 41-3 is all the evidence we need. Tigers? Tigers? You can't handle these Tigers, baby!

Oh, and let's bring in our last witness – The Big Ten's record on the road in the Pac-12. Since 1990 the conference is just 6-29-1 in games played at Pac-12 schools. So, shouldn't those wins this past weekend have been seen coming? You have to ask if any of them are really all that impressive after knowing the struggles by the conference period amen.

Verdict: Scheduled for a Later Date

Why am I not rendering a firm decision on this one? I have a saying "One Loss Doesn't a Season Break and One Win Doesn't a Season Make." That same thing goes for a conference. We'll have more to go on in a few weeks worth of games. What happens if Oregon State goes out and losses the next three weeks and is 1-3? All the win over Wisconsin tells us is they got lucky at home.

Yes, there were some very good things done by the Pac-12 in Week 2, but the media has seemingly glossed over all the bad things that happened as well. No one is talking about the crappy loss by Colorado, Jordan Wynn's retirement after a hit by the Aggies overshadowed the fact they lost that game as well. Oh, and guess what? Washington State nearly lost to another FCS program in Eastern Washington. 

All of this leads me the the reason for the verdict. We really have no clue where teams other than USC and Oregon actually stand. Give it some time and we'll revisit this after week five or so.

Andrew Coppens

About Andrew Coppens

Andy is a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). He is the Managing Editor of MadTownBadger and associate editor of Bloguin's World Cup site, 32flags.com as well as Publisher of Big Ten site talking10.com

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