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Oregon & Stanford football still lead the Pac-12, but gap closing

The Ducks and the Cardinal have ruled the Pac-12 the past three seasons, but are UCLA, Washington, and a host of other schools on the rise?

Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

Oregon and Stanford and everyone else. Is the gap closing in the Pac-12 or do you figure these two teams will stay on top with their unique identities?

Noah Smith, Addicted to Quack: They are clearly still the top of the Pac-12 but UCLA isn't far behind, and both Arizona schools are in good hands. I expect WSU to continue improving and if USC makes a smart hire in the offseason, they're positioned to be very strong, very quickly as the effects of their penalties begin to wane. That said, the gap between being very good and great really is the hardest to bridge and until another school shows they can make and win BCS bowls on a regular basis, it's Oregon, Stanford, and everyone else.

Jack Follman, Pacific Takes: I don't really see the gap changing, at least not this year. Logic would suggest that eventually it will have to, but it just doesn't seem to happen year-after-year. If anything, the one between Oregon and the rest of the conference seems to be getting bigger.

Jason Bartel, Arizona Desert Swarm: I think the gap is closing a little bit. I think Utah beating Stanford showed that. There are a lot more quality teams in the conference this year compared to years past that will give them issues.

Chris Landon, UW Dawg Pound: Clearly, the gap has closed between Stanford and the muddled middle. Ty Montgomery is great, but Hogan is otherwise struggling with his passing and, let's face it, that Stanford O-Line isn't imposing its will against even mediocre D's like Oregon State. When it can't do that, the Stanford identity isn't as imposing. The Ducks, on the other hand, are in a class by themselves.