Much has been made of the fact that this is supposed to be a bit of a down year for the Pac-10, what with all the star power that left this conference in the past offseason. And, of course, little was done to combat that perception with some of the high profile losses the conference has suffered on the court during the nonconference slate.
But while the Pac-10 might not have the marquee team along the lines of UCLA over the past couple of years, the Pac-10 might, in fact, be just as deep as it ever was. Check out the standings, according to Ken Pomeroy's rating system:
There are eight teams in the conference ranked between 19 and 54. For comparison's sake, at the end of last year, there were nine teams ranked from 3 to 62 with three teams in the top 12 -- UCLA, WSU and Stanford. That conference last year was an all-timer. But the year before that, there were eight teams ranked between 6 and 68. Back in 2006? Just six teams between 3 and 64.
The point? First of all, while the conference might lack the sexy star power it's had the last two years, this conference is still very good. Second, with no 600-pound gorilla in the group and so many teams so tightly bunched, it ought to make for one heck of a fun conference race, filled with wild games and unpredictable results.