The Pac-12 made a concerted effort to try and clean up the poor officiating that has plagued the conference for nearly a decade now. They fired old staffs, brought in new ones, hired NFL officials to oversee the training of the new staffs, and all the usual stuff you see to try and do more than window dress a current problem with staff.
Indeed, there might be a few less complaints compared to past seasons. Regardless of all those improvements though, the Pac-12 is still throwing way too many yellow flags onto the field. FIVE Pac-12 teams are currently ranked in the bottom ten of the country.
USC is next-to-last in penalties (10 per game)
Oregon State is third-to-last in penalties (9.5 per game)
UCLA is sixth-worst in penalties (8.8 per game)
Cal is seventh-worst in penalties (8.7 per game)
Utah is ninth-worst in penalties (8.4 per game)
Washington State and Oregon are tied for 13th worst (8.2 per game)
That's SEVEN Pac-12 schools ranked somewhere in the bottom 20 of most penalized squads. The top performers in the conference? Washington (T-86th), Colorado (T-82nd), Arizona (T-48th), Stanford (T-46th). Still living in bizarro world is Arizona State, who remain tied for 15th.
Now, some of these non-conference games should be isolated because crews from other conferences will work these games. However, the numbers among the top performers depress further when you isolate performances to Pac-12 play only.
35th: ASU 5 penalties a game, 35.5 yards
54th: Washington 6 penalties a game, 63.5 yards
54th: Colorado 6 penalties a game, 59.5 yards
66th: Arizona 6.3 penalties a game, 54 yards
72nd: Washington State, 7 penalties a game, 56.3 yards
72nd: Oregon, 7 penalties a game, 65.7 yards
85th: Stanford 7.3 penalties a game, 64.3 yards
102nd: UCLA 8.7 penalties a game, 74.7 yards
109th: Utah 9.5 penalties a game, 87.5 yards
110th: Cal 9.7 penalties a game, 91 yards
111th: USC 10 penalties a game, 81.3 yards
111th: Oregon State 10 penalties a game, 98 yards
Again, five schools in the bottom 20, nine schools below average in penalties, with two more straddling the line.
A basis for comparsion: Arizona State (the least penalized team in the conference) would be ranked in a tie for 6th with Missouri in the SEC, a tie for 6th with TCU in the BIg 12, and 8th place behind seven Big Ten teams ranked in the top 20 this year (I guess they're trading penalties for marquee wins).
This ticky-tack play hasn't cost us too much this season; the conference is generally well-regarded this year.