Pac-12: SEC-reign-120111

Pac-12 viewer's guide: Week 13

November, 21, 2014
Nov 21
10:00
AM ET
After two weeks on a diet, a jam-packed Pac-12 slate is back Saturday. Here's the rundown:

10 a.m.

Washington State at Arizona State, Pac-12 Network

One word: early. This game kicks off at 11 a.m. local time, but keep in mind that the Cougars' body clocks will still be set to the Pacific time zone. Mike Leach said that Washington State's hotel pregame routine will start between 5 and 6 a.m. It'll be a chance for fans to watch the Pac-12 while munching on pancakes, French toast, or -- my favorite -- crab Benedict. And it'll be a chance for ASU to wash away the horrible memory of last week's 35-27 loss at Oregon State as quickly as possible.

12:30 p.m.

Arizona at Utah, ESPN

By lunchtime, there should be a craving for a good dose of backfield pressure. #SackLackCity should be a fun place for the Wildcats' Scooby Wright to visit: He's ranked in the top three nationally in sacks and tackles for loss, so why not put him on the same field as the Utes' Nate Orchard, who's currently at the top of the sack heap? Defensive star power is the name of the game here, but keep an eye on Arizona's Anu Solomon: He must step up to the challenge of the Rice-Eccles crowd.

1 p.m.

Stanford at Cal, Fox Sports 1

Stanford's offense has been bad, but the Cardinal have found a way to score against shaky defenses this season (they've been terrible in games against ranked teams, averaging only 11.4 points per regulation in those contests). Well, good news for the Cardinal: The Golden Bears are worse than shaky on defense (39.2 points, 518 yards per game). Bad news for Stanford: Cal is at home, and it is smelling blood. Let's see what gives in the 117th Big Game. Oh, and that matchup between Jared Goff and Lance Anderson's top-ranked Cardinal defense isn't too shabby, either.

1:30 p.m.

Colorado at Oregon, Pac-12 Network

The best team in the conference meets the worst team in the conference. Prediction-wise, that's about all that needs to be said about this one. Some extra, slightly unrelated food for thought: Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre asserted that the Pac-12 South was the best division in college football, better than even the SEC West. Imagine how absurdly strong the South would be if Oregon were in it, too (I bring this up only because the SEC's top team, Alabama, happens to reside in the powerful West).

5 p.m.

USC at UCLA, ABC

Statues have been vandalized, airports have received photogenic lighting decorations, and statues have been arguably vandalized some more by duct tape (intended to protect them, but still, that's going to be a pain to remove, right?). The pregame rituals of rivalry week were fun, but it's time for some actual football with Pac-12 championship hopes on the line. The matchup of Brett Hundley and Cody Kessler is fascinating one, as is the battle between USC's frontline explosiveness and a UCLA machine that appears to be peaking at the right time.

7:30 p.m.

Oregon State at Washington, ESPN

The Beavers need one more win to earn bowl eligibility for Sean Mannion in his senior season. It's amazing what one good week (paired with a bad one) can do: Both of these teams have lost four of their past five games, but the feeling surrounding Oregon State is much more positive than the one in Seattle. The Beavers notched a huge 35-27 upset win over ASU last weekend, while the Huskies dropped a bitter 27-26 decision to Arizona. Both have a chance to finish forgettable seasons on a high note.

Pac-12 end SEC reign? Yes and no

January, 11, 2012
1/11/12
11:00
AM ET
The question from the the home office in Bristol: When will the SEC reign end?

The short answer is next January when the winner of the Pac-12 championship -- USC or Oregon (or is is Oregon or USC?) -- stomps a bootprint on LSU's forehead in South Florida.

The long answer is, well, it's not going to end. And there are specific, proven reasons for this. They are the same reasons the SEC became dominant.

Money and real estate.

The SEC is the richest conference, though the Big Ten certainly gives it a run for the money. Sure, the Pac-12 eclipsed everyone with its latest TV deal, but that was a matter of good timing. Just wait until the SEC gets a new deal. One word: Jack-freaking-pot.

It's also about stadium size and fan passion. The SEC has the first and those over-brimming stadiums proves the second. Still, the Big Ten also boasts big stadiums that are full every Saturday.

Real estate pushes the SEC over the top: The Southeast is loaded with prep talent, and there is a passion for high school football that pushes the best athletes onto the gridiron -- instead of the hardwood. The addition of Texas A&M will only boost that fertile recruiting footprint, by the way.

Want to know where all the good Pac-12 linemen are? Wasting their time playing basketball. What does that mean? If you live on the West Coast, go to a high school hoops game this weekend. That 6-foot-5 guy playing center? He doesn't play football. He tried it in seventh grade. It was too hard. In the Southeast, the social forces would say: "Son, get your butt onto the football field." On the West Coast, the social force say, "Hey, do what you want."

Perhaps the West Coast social forces are better. Live and let live, right? But guess what? That 6-foot-5 guy playing center would have a lot better shot at a free education at a Pac-12 school if he played football.

So the bottom line is the SEC has the money, which pays the best coaches and builds the best facilities. It has the workforce: The high school football talent in the Southeast. And it has the culture: Football is the unchallenged king in the South.

Eventually, perhaps next year, another conference is going to win the BCS national title. But the likelihood, at least in the foreseeable future, is the SEC will continue to win national championships at a higher rate than any other conference.

Of course, next year, Oregon or USC is going to open up a can of whup-butt on the SEC in the title game. So the Pac-12 has that going for it.

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