EUGENE OR - OCTOBER 21: The Oregon Duck mascot does push ups after a touchdown against the UCLA Bruins on October 21 2010 at the Autzen Stadium in Eugene Oregon. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
PAC-12 Power rankings show the depth and power is in the North.
ESPN's PAC-12 Blog released its latest conference power rankings today and the Oregon Ducks are no doubt pleased with their No. 2 ranking. The rest of the PAC-12's four Pacific Northwest institutions, however, might not be so happy with theirs.
Here's what ESPN had to say about the Ducks:
2. Oregon: Marcus Mariota's spring performance made everyone forget Darron Thomas leaving early, even if it's uncertain he will win the QB job over Bryan Bennett. Defense should be among the best in the conference. Ducks and Trojans meet in the Coliseum on Nov. 3. May be the national game of the year.
The Washington Huskies are the next highest PNW school on the list, at No. 5:
5. Washington: Potentially strong on offense with QB Keith Price, but the line needs to get healthy and you don't replace Chris Polk with RB by committee. The defense should be better with coordinator Justin Wilcox. Still, the power rankings are like Missouri: You've got to Show Me. And, gosh, that early-season schedule is BRUTAL.
At No. 8 are the Washington State Cougars, somewhat surprisingly behind Cal and UCLA:
8. Washington State: Of the four new coaches, it's Mike Leach who will probably have the biggest impact early on. Receiver might be the Cougars' deepest position, and they have the quarterback in Jeff Tuel who can spread it around. Both lines are questions.
Right behind the Cougs are the Oregon State Beavers at No. 9:
9. Oregon State: QB Sean Mannion should be better in year two, and he's got some good targets, starting with Markus Wheaton. Solid at running back and in the secondary. But what about those lines? Really, the Beavers getting back to a bowl game will end up being about the hogs stepping up.
The rest of the list is rounded out by three teams from the PAC-12 South. Even though the individual institutions from the PNW might no agree with where they're ranked, one thing seems clear - the balance of power in the conference is in the PAC-12 North.
For more on the PAC-12 head on over to SB Nation's PAC-12 blog Pacific Takes.