Definitions below, rankings after the jump...
Tier 0 — Elite team. This team doesn’t lose a game, might have a "scare" from a Tier 2 team at worst…national championship material.
Tier 1 — Great teams. These are the teams who finish with 11 wins, go to a BCS game…finish in the top 10.
Tier 2 — Good teams. These are the teams who finish with 8-10 wins, finish ranked in the top 25 or just outside at worst.
Tier 3 — Above average teams. These are the teams that finish with 6-7 wins. Some will make a bowl game & possibly make it to 8 wins, but won’t be ranked.
Tier 4 — Average teams. These are the teams who will win 3-5 games.
Tier 5 — Below average teams. These are the teams who win 1-2 games. (Keep in mind that if they were in the MWC…these teams would likely finish with 4-7 wins)
Tier 6 -- Poor teams. A team that finishes with 0 wins in the Pac-12...(would finish with around 2-3 wins in the MWC)
Tier 7 -- Terrible teams. A team who finishes with 0-1 win in a non-AQ conference.
During "The Grind", a team from a tier up to two below your team's tier could beat you. That would be credited to "The Grind" (CLICK HERE to read more about "The Grind"). So a Tier 1 team might lose to a Tier 3 team…but never to a Tier 4 or 5.
A Tier 3 team might beat anyone or lose to anyone from Tier 1 to Tier 5…creating that "Middle" in the Pac-12 that is so hard to predict. Even a Tier 2, ranked in the top 25, team has the potential to lose to an average team.
…and with rivalry games, all bets are off. That is the nature of a rivalry.
Stanford – Oregon St. made it interesting to start, but eventually the Cardinal took control & dominated the way we’d expect them to. This week is their chance to separate themselves the great teams in college football and prove they are elite. Everyone will be watching & I believe they can steal away that #2 BCS standing with an impressive win…but if they look ugly in a win, the NC shot becomes Oklahoma State’s to lose.
Oregon – Oregon took care of business, setting up the matchup we all wanted. Make the Pac-12 proud…
USC – Barkley dominated a very weak Colorado team, not much else to say. However, it’s too bad that USC doesn’t get to represent the conference in a bowl game. I think they’re a top 15 team.
Washington – Hung tough for a half with Oregon…but Utah fans all know about playing 1 half of football is meaningless. Not sure they beat USC this weekend…but should finish the season 8-4.
ASU – Dennis Erickson is who we thought he was. If they get past Washington St., who will be playing for their last shot at bowl eligibility, the rest of the season is at home…so I suspect they’ll win out & play in the inaugural Pac-12 Championship.
UCLA – So the Bruins managed to pull off the upset. They control their own destiny. The stakes are obviously high for Neuheisel, as losing @ Utah will likely cost him his job at the end of the year. I don’t see them beating USC, so they need another slip-up from ASU in order to win the South Division.
Cal – Nothing like playing Wassu to get you back on track. Even with the win, the stakes are fairly high for the Bears, as they need to win vs. Oregon St. to ensure bowl eligibility. If they don’t get it, with Stanford & ASU coming up, I don’t think they’ll get there. Fortunately, I don't think OSU will play with much heart, since their season is over, and Cal should get the win.
Utah – I’m Graduating Utah to Tier 3 status with the win, but it may be short lived. I’ll be interested to see what Chow cooks up, but I still think the win hinges on our defense & the ability to control ToP, turnovers…all of the same old boring shit. This is the game where we prove that we belong in the Pac-12. I think it'll be a dog fight that goes down to the wire...but Neuheisel is capable of imploding, so who knows.
Arizona – The season is done for the Wildcats…even though they could win out, with 2 easy wins coming up, and the rivalry game sandwiched in-between them…but at 7 losses, it doesn’t really matter. Fortunately for Wildcat fans, they have a great basketball squad, & most of their fans don’t care about football anyway.
Washington St. – It’s not improbable that Washington St. could win out and get to bowl eligibility, but everything hinges on beating ASU this week. It’s a home game, and ASU is terrible on the road under Erickson, so you never know…but I’m not counting on it.
Oregon St. - The Beavers played respectably for about a quarter & a half…but Stanford was just too good. It’s another year of ineligibility for the Beavers, which is a shame after they showed so much promise in ‘08 & ‘09
Colorado – This is not a good Colorado team. Teams are averaging 39 points against them. It may be a long, drawn out rebuilding process for the Buffaloes to get back to respectability.