After a 2-5 bowl season, it's no surprised the Pac-12 went backwards in the conference rankings. But the Big Ten went more backwards, therefore ensuring the Pac-12 ended up third in the final ESPN.com conference rankings.
The SEC was No. 1 overall and the Big 12 No. 2. The Pac-12 could have eclipsed the Big 12 with a successful run in three head-to-head games during the bowls, but the Pac-12 lost all three: Fiesta (Stanford-Oklahoma State), Alamo (Washington-Baylor) and Holiday (California-Texas).
The Pac-12 finished 14.4 points behind the Big 12 after a 1.8-point regression. The Pac-12 was 7.2 points ahead of the No. 4 Big Ten, which fell by 2.2 points.
The ACC fell to seventh after a miserable 2-6 bowl record, including losses in both BCS bowl games. The ACC finished behind the Mountain West and Big East.