Sep 13, 2007

Pac-10 standing tall

I've said that the Pac-10 is, right now, the conference to beat. With help from an online Cal fan, Bud Withers says that it's been this way for a while:
Using raw data from the Web site, he crunched numbers from 2000 to 2006, tracking how the six BCS conference teams and Notre Dame did in nonconference games against BCS-league opponents (on the basis of league alignment at the time of the game), including bowl games.

Notre Dame was the winner, going 41-30. But — surprise — the Pac-10 had the best record of the six BCS leagues, at 66-60, followed by the SEC's 68-65. The other four leagues had sub-.500 records.

True, it's only one small measure of competence, and not necessarily the ultimate test. A win against Duke gets you one point, just as a victory against Ohio State does. And it's questionable whether the statistic is any more relevant than performance in bowl games, where, for instance, the Pac-10 went 3-3 last season compared to the Big East's 5-0.

Still, consider it a little more kindling in the crackling debate that Miles stirred over the summer, when he said of USC, "They're going to play real knock-down, drag-outs with UCLA, Washington, Cal-Berkeley, Stanford — some real juggernauts — and end up in the title game."
With UW facing Ohio State and USC heading to Nebraska, this could be the biggest chance for the Pac-10 to prove to East Coasters that it, not the SEC, is the NCAA's premiere conference.

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