For Cal supporters who wonder what happened to the Bears this season, I’d suggest an answer: the Pac-10 Conference. For a number of reasons — geographical alignment, concentration of population and media east of the Mississippi, biased perceptions — the Pac-10 conference is underrated nationally, but top to almost bottom, it’s very strong.
The one exception is Washington State, which has fallen so far behind it may suffer the same fate as Idaho, which was once part of the conference but was expelled because it wasn’t competitive. With the resurgence of Washington under Steve Sarkisian, not to mention non-conference Boise State nearby, the Cougars will have even more trouble recruiting in the northwest. And geographically, Washington State is the least attractive location of the conference schools. Otherwise, though, the conference is solid and will be even more so as UCLA improves. Every week is an adventure. The Pac-10 is the only major conference which plays a round-robin schedule, which makes it difficult to produce a national champion.