Yesterday we can all agree was a disaster for the Pac-Ten. With the exception of USC and Orgeon State, pretty much every team played well below what people thought that team was capable of. Perhaps worse, even , is that USC's convincing win over Ohio State will simply reinforce the 'USC is the only team in the Pac 10 worth a damn' narrative.
And yet, two weeks ago everything was totally different. USC totally waxed Virginia on the road. Stanford was relevant again after beating perennial bowl bound OSU. Cal beat an upper tier Big 10 team by more than the final score indicated. Oregon, ASU and Arizona were blowing teams out of the water. Washington took a BCS busting contender to the last play and got screwd by the zebras. And lest we forget, UCLA beat a defending SEC title game participant.
So which is it? How can our perception be so radically changed? Are things really that different? The bottom line is that each Pac-ten team plays three games out of conference each year, and those three games are the only games that matter (until bowl season) in deciding B.S. 'Conference Wars' pecking order. We let a very small and oftentime meaningless sample size highjack the college football narrative every single year. DURR the ACC sucks and Kal lost so they must suck even more l0sers!!11
I hate reading headlines that seem to indicate that somehow Maryland or UNLV somehow beat an entire conference yesterday. It just feels like provincialism and low-grade, lazy analysis is taking over in place of meaningful, 'how does team A stack up against team B' analysis.
And of course, come bowl season, a team from a conference that 'loses' the war (everyone outside of the Big 12 and SEC, apparently) will beat a supposedly better team from those two conferences and fans and talking heads will act totally surprised and amazed because conference affiliation has superseded all other more important factors in deciding who wins a football game.
OK, rant over - until I see the next headline about a 'Pac 10 apocalypse'