One of the hottest debates raging throughout college football last season was whether or not the PAC-10 rivaled the SEC as the nation’s best conference.
While the SEC is almost exclusively regarded in sports circles as the country’s best, the PAC-10 made things interesting with their newfound depth. Cal, Oregon, and Arizona State were all at one point ranked in the top 10 of the AP Top 25 poll, as was conference powerhouse USC, which started off the season at number one.
It was beginning to look like the league was more than just a one-team conference, but that look was more like a glance. Slowly but surely, the three teams started to stumble and the debate started to crumble.
Cal lost six of their last seven regular season games. That one win was important for them though — it kept them bowl-eligible. They ended up pulling out a 42-36 squeaker over Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl.
Oregon superstar quarterback Dennis Dixon injured his knee in the fourth quarter of a game against Arizona State University, before reinjuring it in his next game against Arizona. The second time ended his season. Without their leader, the team went on to lose against Arizona and in its next two PAC-10 games against UCLA and Oregon State.