Pac-12: North vs. South
In 2011, the Pac-12 added two teams, Utah and Colorado, which forced officials to split the conference into two divisions, North and South. All indications say the North is out to continue its overall dominance over the South in 2013, but let’s break it down briefly anyway.
North: California, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, Washington, Washington State
If history is any indication, the North is another shoe-in. Having gone 60-48 in the conference the last two years combined, colder weather has been good to teams.
Both conference champions, Oregon and Stanford, represented the North.
The North has racked up 4,919 overall points in two years.
Now, that is in large part due to Oregon’s scoreboard onslaught. The Ducks are the only Pac-12 team to crack 600 in both years. At the same time, Stanford, Oregon State and Washington are no strangers to West Coast, high-scoring ball.
South: Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, UCLA, USC, Utah
In contrast to what the North has done in the win-loss columns, the South sits at a mirror 48-60 (Pac-12) in two years.
Teams have tallied 4,562 overall points, and no conference champions.
Shockingly, USC might be the first team to lead its division in points while finishing 5-4. Defense, anybody?
Two years isn’t much of a sample size, but the South hasn’t been close yet. Maybe USC can pick it up in 2013, but I don’t see anybody challenging what some of the teams in the North do.
At the end of it all last year, three Pac-12 teams sat in the AP top-25: Oregon (2), Stanford (7) and Oregon State (20). Only one from the South division (UCLA) received votes, and there is no reason to believe the conference hierarchywill switch. Expect Oregon and Stanford to battle for the top spot again, pushed by Oregon State and a now-veteran Washington roster. After all, we're still not even sure if USC will be able to recover from an already rough 2012 without Matt Barkley in 2013.