When it comes to college football, the Big 10 and SEC get most of the publicity for being the country's power conferences — but if you like staying up late, the Pac 12 has been getting it done and is a lot deeper than in past years.
Everyone knows about Oregon. Chip Kelly and the "blur" offense have been in the national spotlight for years and the Ducks probably would have won a BCS championship if not for Cam Newton's greatness at Auburn.
Everyone knows about USC. Lane Kiffin and Matt Barkley are two of the country's biggest names and were the preseason favorite to make a run at the SEC's recent dominance.
Stanford was thought to have taken a step back in the post-Andrew Luck era but have already scored a big win over the Trojans and have been ranked as high as No. 8 in the country.
Then Thursday happened. Just two weeks after knocking off then-No. 2 USC, Stanford was shocked by a scrappy Washington team 17-14 in one of the uglier games of football you will see.
Steve Sarkisian and the Huskies' win over Stanford was a surprise, but not just because of the difference in national ranking. It was surprising because Washington put the country on notice that the Pac 12 is bigger than just Oregon, USC and Lane Kiffin's mouth.
For those who are unaware, the Pac 12 has four teams in this week's top 25 and if not for Oregon's 49-0 drubbing of Arizona, it would have been five. That gives the Pac 12 just one less ranked team than the all-powerful Southeastern Conference.
Call it an east coast bias, blame it on the time difference, but
whatever reason you had for thinking less of the Pac 12 should go straight
out the window with the success they have had this season.
So while the rest of the 2012 college football season unfolds, stay up late on a few on these Saturday nights and check out Arizona or Oregon State. You just might catch some good football.