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College Football Rankings: Stanford, Oregon, USC Should Finish In Top 10

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For two years without Troy in a bowl, the Pac-12 has likely generated four BCS bowl appearances.

The Stanford Cardinal will finish fourth in the rankings, the Oregon Ducks should finish anywhere from fifth to eighth, and the USC Trojans should be a top ten team. The teams together lost a combined five games, and three of them were to each other, with two of those games going down to the final snap. It was a bit of a top-heavy conference, but all of these teams proved they could play with each other at about the same level.

Sadly, sanctions kind of hamper the success of the Trojans. If USC had played Oregon in the Pac-12 championship game, there was a decent shot that this conference could be right up there with the SEC; instead they'll be considered a little bit middling in the overall pecking order. The SEC probably had the best two teams, then a good team or two before the bottom fell out. The Big 12 probably had the best conference top to bottom, although they ended up beating each other up to possibly take them out of the BCS title race.

It should still work out for the conference, as Oregon and Stanford are looking like they'll return to the BCS race. The Pac-12 seemed to have three levels of really good, average, and bad, and it paid off for the second straight year. And now that USC is about to shed probation, the conference is in good position to earn at-large bids.

For two years with no USC in a bowl game, the Pac-12 has done pretty well for itself. The national profile was slightly diminished without the Trojans, but now that they're ready to return and programs are beginning to upgrade, we could be on our way to some glory days for the conference.