The Pac-12 is known for having the most competitive conferences and two of the toughest divisions in college football. Of all the major conferences, the Pac-12 seems to enjoy the closest thing to balance that we can find.
But when push comes to shove, the North has taken the crown. There have been six Pac-12 title games, and the North has generally wrecked the South.
2011: Oregon Ducks 49, UCLA Bruins 31. This was a bit of a joke of a conference title game. UCLA finished in second in a pretty weak Pac-12 South, but got in over bowl-banned USC. USC had beaten Oregon only weeks before, so that would probably have been a better game.
2012: Stanford Cardinal 27, UCLA 24. This was the best of all the Pac-12 title games, with a talented UCLA team just not able to get over the hump against a veteran Stanford team that knew how to close all season.
2013: Stanford 38, Arizona State Sun Devils 14. Stanford had a few hiccups en route to their second straight conference title, but they fired on all cylinders to clinch the Pac-12 in Tempe.
2014: Oregon 51, Arizona Wildcats 14. Marcus Mariota sowed up the Heisman Trophy with an obliteration of an Arizona team that ran out of luck at the worst possible time.
However, every year the Pac-12 North has generally been the favorites to win. The Pac-12 North was the host in the first two games, Stanford was generally considered better than ASU, and Oregon, Stanford and Washington the next three seasons were playoff teams near-playoff teams.
All signs are pointing to USC being the favorites to win the Pac-12 this season in a South that isn’t quite as formidable as in year’s past, but don’t sleep on the North, where Washington and Stanford figure to be good as well.