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Posts Tagged ‘Pac-12’

How the Conferences Rank, 1-12: Week 4

As an accompanying post to today’s re-ranking, here’s the entire F.B.S. conference breakdown in terms of average P.S.R. 1-124 ranking. It’s not entirely fair to include the Independent programs among the true conferences, seeing that there’s only four Independent teams, but it does give a slight slice-of-life taste of where that quartet stands in the big picture. The listings include the average ranking, highest team ranking and number of teams in the top 25 in parentheses. Without further ado:

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    Injuries Level the Field in the Pac-12 Race

    U.S.C. had the quarterback, the wide receivers, the confidence and the hype. But if nothing else, Oregon had one crucial factor in its corner: depth. And not just normal, everyday depth but experienced depth, and even the Trojans’ fiercest backers had to admit that their team – due entirely to sanctions – was lacking in this key category. Knee injuries suffered by free safety John Boyett and offensive guard Carson York go a long way towards evening the score between the Ducks and Trojans, leveling the playing field in a Pac-12 dominated by two teams, U.S.C. and Oregon – and in this competition this close, every player counts.

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      How the Conferences Rank, 1-12: Week 3

      As an accompanying post to today’s re-ranking, here’s the entire F.B.S. conference breakdown in terms of average P.S.R. 1-124 ranking. It’s not entirely fair to include the Independent programs among the true conferences, seeing that there’s only four Independent teams, but it does give a slight slice-of-life taste of where that quartet stands in the big picture. The listings include the average ranking, highest team ranking and number of teams in the top 25 in parentheses. Without further ado:

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        How the Conferences Rank, 1-12: Week 2

        As an accompanying post to today’s re-ranking, here’s the entire F.B.S. conference breakdown in terms of average P.S.R. 1-124 ranking. It’s not entirely fair to include the Independent programs among the true conferences, seeing that there’s only four independent teams, but it does give a slight slice-of-life taste of where that quartet stands in the big picture. The listings include the average ranking, highest team ranking and number of teams in the top 25 in parentheses. Without further ado:

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          No. 2: Oregon

          Whizz. Bang. Boom. I’d tell you to keep your eyes on Oregon, but the Ducks are already gone – long, long gone, past you at breakneck speed into the end zone, good for six, and back to the sidelines. The Ducks do everything fast: Chip Kelly talks fast, rat-a-tat-tat-tat through silly question after foolish query; the team’s station-to-station practice work is a blur; the school changes uniforms like Superman, stepping out in green-yellow-grey one Saturday before opting for green-white-winged-gold a week later; the offense goes up, comes back, hikes and hustles unlike any other unit in the history of college football. The entire program has long been different, especially to those outside the state, and under Kelly’s direction, Oregon has completely and utterly embraced its unique qualities – and what makes Oregon different is what makes it great. They’re moving fast, but let’s stop and catch our breath for just one quick statement: the Ducks are awesome. Whizz. Bang. Boom. And they’re off.

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            No. 5: U.S.C.

            Is that all you got? U.S.C. took your best shot, wiped its lip, shrugged it off and kept on moving, strolling past the overly harsh ruling heaved its way by the N.C.A.A. and coming out clean as a whistle on the other side. Sanctions, penalties, crippling sanctions and penalties? Please. U.S.C. is in a better place today than it was before the N.C.A.A. misguidedly threw down its hammer, if you can believe that. The level of swagger is at 2005-like levels. The quarterback is the best in the nation. The backfield has two 1,000-yard rushers. There are two 1,000-yard receivers. The back seven on defense is ferocious. It’s glory days all over again, even if the Trojans were just put under a two-year cloud, and this program shows no sign of letting up now that all systems are officially go. U.S.C. is back, ladies and gentlemen. That the N.C.A.A. tried and failed to take the Trojans down a peg only makes this renaissance all the more sweet.

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              No. 14: Utah

              Utah needs Kyle Whittingham to step forward with a plan to address the program’s newest test. In the big picture, Utah wants to be as successful in the Pac-12 as it was in the Mountain West, where it won 33 games from 2008-10. While most programs would be happy with an eight-win debut against a tougher class of opponent, Utah is long past the days when eight wins is anything more than simply satisfactory – the program has bigger eyes for a bigger prize. More specifically, Whittingham, Utah and new offensive coordinator Brian Johnson, the former quarterback, need to carve out an identity on offense to go with a rock-steady defense. It’s an important task on multiple fronts: Utah needs an offense to take a step forward in the win column; needs an offense to keep pace with the Pac-12’s recent move towards offensive potency, as seen by several recent hires; and needs an offense to give balance to a team that won’t win more than eight games on the back of its defense alone. U.S.C. is waiting in the wings, and Utah’s hopes at knocking off another giant hinges on the development of this offense.

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                No. 23: Stanford

                Andrew Luck is gone but not forgotten. He’ll continue running this offense, but in name, not action: Pep Hamilton is no longer simply Stanford’s offensive coordinator but the Andrew Luck Director of Offense – which is ironic, because more than one would say that Luck himself directed the Cardinal’s offense a season ago. The program won’t retire his number, not yet, but will “put it on ice for a while,” said David Shaw. It’s a daunting situation: Stanford needs to embrace its past, in which Luck plays a huge role, but can’t afford to get caught looking back. Not when Oregon continues to flourish up north, not when U.S.C. aims to reclaim its role as local heavy, and not when the rest of the Pac-12 has shifted its gaze towards the Cardinal, looking to unseat the program from its newfound national relevance.

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                  The Countdown

                  A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.