Ranking the College Football Conferences: Pac-12 Lagging Behind Again

Justin Herbert, who quarterbacked Oregon to the Pac-12 title last season, was a first-round NFL draft choicePhoto by Brian Spurlock - USA TODAY Sports

Jake Curtis

Athlon recently presented its rankings of the 10 FBS football conferences for 2020, and as usual the Pac-12 did not fare well.

The Pac-12 came in last among the Power 5 conferences, but the question was not whether the Pac-12 might be ranked ahead of the Big 12 or the Atlantic Coast Conference, but whether it would be ranked ahead of the American Athletic Conference and the Mountain West Conference, two members of the Group of Five Conferences.

The Pac-12 comes in at No. 5, which is as good as the conference can expect. When a team (Oregon) is the consensus favorite even though it lost a quarterback (Justin Herbert) who was a first-round draft choice leaving uncertainty at that vital position, then there must be questions about the strength of that conference.

Here is what Athlon said about the Pac-12:

Times are not great in the Pac-12, which has only two teams in our projected Top 25 for 2020 — USC and Oregon. Washington and California will be Oregon’s biggest threats in the North. Utah, which lost a ton of talent off of last year’s breakthrough team, and Arizona State are next in line in the South. The pressure is on Chip Kelly to get things turned around at UCLA.

The bright side for Cal fans is that is may not take a juggernaut to capture a Pac-12 title in 2020 -- assuming there is a Pac-12 football season in 2020.

The Pac-12 has not had a team in the four-team College Football Playoff in any of the past three seasons, and the last Pac-12 team to make it (Washington in 2016) lost its opening playoff game decisively to Alabama.

Here is how Athlon ranked the conferences:

1. Southeastern Conference

2. Big Ten

3. Atlantic Coast Conference

4. Big 12

5. Pac-12

6. American Athletic Conference

7. Mountain West

8. Conferene USA

9. Sun Belt

10. Mid-American Conference

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