- Ted Miller, ESPN Staff Writer
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Taking a cue from David Ubben on the Big 12 blog, it seemed reasonable to look back three years in the Pac-12 after we projected what might happen over the next three years.
We started with the North Division on Tuesday. Today we do the South Division.
The South Division is far more muddled -- and close to .500 -- with the recent past perhaps looking different than most future projections, including the Pac-12 blog's. It also complicates things that Colorado and Utah have only two years of Pac-12 play under their belts.
South Division (future power ranking in Pac-12)
USC (6): 25-13 (7-6, 10-2, 8-5)
Arizona State (7): 20-18 (8-5, 6-7, 6-6)
Arizona (8): 19-19 (8-5, 4-8, 7-6)
*Utah (11): 13-12 (5-7, 8-5)
UCLA (3): 19-21 (9-5, 6-8, 4-8)
*Colorado (12): 4-21 (1-11, 3-10)
USC: 17-10 (5-4, 7-2, 5-4)
Arizona State: 13-14 (5-4, 4-5, 4-5)
UCLA: 13-14 (6-3, 5-4, 2-7)
Arizona: 10-17 (4-5, 2-7, 4-5)
*Utah: 7-11 (3-6, 4-5)
*Colorado: 3-15 (1-8, 2-7)
*-Utah went 10-3 overall and 7-1 playing in the Mountain West Conference in 2010. Colorado went 5-7 and 2-6 playing in the Big 12.
Compared to our future power rankings -- and in contrast to the North Division -- we're projecting a power shift in the South, with UCLA moving up from sub-.500 to the top, and USC sliding back to the pack. Feel free to comment on that, Trojans fans, for I am sure that will be popular among you.
The North featured four of the top-five teams in our future power rankings, while the South features the two bottom teams -- Utah and Colorado -- which also are the new guys.
Interesting that Arizona State and UCLA, which have comparable overall records with Arizona, own a notable advantage over the Wildcats when it comes to conference record.
Utah is an interesting case. It doesn't feel right having the Utes at No. 11, ahead of only Colorado. Yet whom do they eclipse? Their two-year conference mark is comparable to No. 9 California (.389 for Utah; .333 for Cal), but the Bears were playing Oregon and Stanford each year and went 1-1 versus the Utes.
You could question whether Washington State, at 10th, should be ahead of Utah, but the Cougars got a boost from Mike Leach's track record. We will see if that faith proves justified or not.
Of course, there also could be some overcompensation here. After more than a few so-called pundits -- including Kevin and myself -- in the preseason projected Utah highly in year two in the South, yet the Utes often looked overmatched. The diagnosis for that premature promotion was that Utah, indeed, may need four or five years of Pac-12 recruiting to truly narrow the talent gap.
I suspect that Cal, Utah and Washington State will experience an uptick over the next three seasons compared to their disappointing 2012 seasons. How much of an uptick may be more about separating themselves from the bottom than challenging for the top.
But we shall see.
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