Not to imply that the league is totally inverted. USC was picked by media for the 37th straight year — no, make that the seventh straight — to win the conference, with California second. So maybe it's merely all about finding new ways to try to beat the Trojans. Under Jeff Tedford, Cal has had USC in its crosshairs for years. In 2004, with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, it came within a last-minute, inside-the-10 misfire of setting the Trojans dynasty ablaze, but nobody has one-upped USC since.
If the Bears do it this year, no doubt they'll have Jahvid Best to thank. He rushed for 1,580 yards in 2008, about nine-tenths of it against the Huskies and Cougars, and an 8.1-yard average. He's the most notable offensive returnee in a conference that has eight of its top 10 rushers back. "He's worth the price of admission," said Tedford.