Go all the way back to the start of the 2016 College Football Season. The departure of the Golden Bears Star Quarterback Jared Goff and USC star LB Sua Cravens to the NFL led many to believe that the PAC-12 would be destined for a lack luster 2016. Many believed the only team having the potential to make any real noise would be the Christian McCaffrey led Stanford Cardinal.
At the start of last year’s season, it seemed like many of those Pac-12 critics were right. USC started off the season with an abysmal 6-52 loss to Alabama that was being led by a true freshman QB Jalen Hurts, who was playing in his first collegiate game. USC followed that up with two conference losses in their next three games.
— UCLA Football (@UCLAFootball) September 10, 2017
UCLA, a team that seemed poised for major success in 2016 under QB Prodigy Josh Rosen, performed very poorly throughout the season, ending with a 4-8 record with Rosen going down with a season ending injury after just 6 games.
At the time, Washington and Utah looked like the only real teams who would have a chance at competing with any other teams in the top 25 not in the PAC-12. Still, many did not take Washington seriously early on in the season despite their dominance in the PAC-12 due to the failures of the other PAC-12 teams they had beaten.
However, late in the 2016 season everything changed for the PAC-12, thanks to the USC Trojans, who caught fire in the second half of the season and would go on to win their last 8 regular season games after naming Sam Darnold their starting Quarterback.
Darnold helped earn USC a trip to the Rose Bowl vs. Penn State where Darnold would go on to put forth a legendary performance resulting in a 52-49-win vs Penn State. That win earned USC the rank of 5th in the final Coaches Poll of 2016.
The rise of Colorado and Stanford also contributed to the late season resurgence of the PAC-12 in 2016 as they finished the year ranked 15th and 12th in the Final Coaches Poll of the 2016 College football season.
And now, the so called hot streak of these PAC-12 teams has carried over into the 2017 season. Even teams like Oregon and UCLA that struggled last year have shown that this year they are ready to compete. UCLA’s 34-point comeback vs Texas A&M, thanks to Josh Rosen’s insane 2nd half performance, will probably be the best win of the 2017 season by any FBS team.
On top of that, 9 PAC-12 Teams are currently 2-0 and 5 PAC-12 teams are currently listed in the Coaches Poll top 25.
While USC may have struggled at first against Western Michigan, they were still able to put up 49 points and come away with a 17-point win. They were also able to show their amazing depth on the offensive side of the ball.
Against a more complete Stanford team, USC was again able to show off their offensive talent. USC would win the game 42-24. Even though the Stanford Cardinal lost by over two touchdowns they still had a pretty solid offensive game against a well-rounded USC defense. Unfortunately for Stanford, they were unable to slow down Sam Darnold and the high-powered USC offense.
— Rose Bowl Game (@rosebowlgame) September 13, 2017
While it is evident that many of the Pac-12 teams have got off to a promising start, many games remain left in the 2017 college football season. Including key games for PAC-12 teams such as USC vs. Texas and Stanford vs. Notre Dame, not to mention all of the key in conference games as well.
If a little over half of those PAC -12 teams who are currently 2-0 can win their key games and knock off the other lesser PAC-12 teams, the PAC-12 should be able to make up a large chunk of the top 25 at the end of the season and possibly even send teams to the College Football Playoff and Prestigious Bowl Games.
Not to mention the fact that the PAC-12 is also full of star power, including highly praised QB’s Josh Rosen and Sam Darnold and also RB’s Bryce Love III, Royce Freeman, and Ronald Jones II. Washington’s Dante Pettis also set the PAC-12 record for the most career punt return touchdowns on a 67 Yard Punt Return in Washington’s 63-7 win vs. Montana.
There is no better time for the West Coast to take over College Football than right now.