With Stanford and Oregon preparing to do battle on ABC in primetime this Saturday evening (5pm pacific), ESPN is pumping up the matchup with a variety of features on the game and the teams. Today, ESPN’s Ivan Maisel had a puff piece on how the Pac-10 is seeing a resurgence behind commissioner Larry Scott (hired last year) and the various non-USC teams that are providing competitive battles week in and week out this season.
The big difference, according to Maisel, has been the influx of quality coaching, including Jim Harbaugh at Stanford, Chip Kelly at Oregon, and even Mike Stoops at Arizona, who has been given a bit more room to work in spite of a tough start.
They make four teams with 4-0 records. Since the founding of the league in 1959, it has never had that many unbeaten teams ranked that highly in the top 18 of the AP poll — not as the Pac-8 and not as the Pac-10. Before it becomes the Pac-12, the Pac-10 is making its last season one for the record book.
It almost works out for the Pac-10 that USC is banned from postseason play this year. Even though USC is undefeated it seems that people in the media have generally been ignoring them since they’re not going to be playing for the national title (at least the BCS version). Of course, all that might change if they run the table this year and they aren’t in a bowl game.