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Pac-12 has five teams ranked in Preseason Poll

The start of the NCAA football season is just around the corner with the season kicking off in one week. The Pac-12 has seen its stock increase since the end of last season and five teams are currently ranked in the preseason poll by the Associated Press.

Heading into the start of the 2013, the Pac-12 has finally being recognized as having top teams.

The last time a national poll had four teams from the Pac-12 was in 2006 and never have there been five teams from the conference ranked at the same time in a national poll.

Eight of the 12 teams in the conference received votes in the poll. The two highest ranked Pac-12 teams in the poll are the Oregon Ducks ranked No. 3 and the Stanford Cardinal ranked No. 4.

Last season, most football experts picked the SEC as the nation’s best conference, with both the Big 12 and Pac-12 vying for the No. 2 position.

However, this fall a number of people are picking the Pac-12 as the best conference starting the season, though it will be tough dethroning a conference as strong as the SEC.

The SEC has six of its teams ranked in the top 12 of the national preseason poll and the past seven national champions have been from the SEC.

One reason the Pac-12 has been given a high status in many polls is the number of starters returning for the teams in the conference.

Teams in the conference have an average of more than 16.3 starters returning. The average the past 10 years has been 14.9.

The top teams in the conference are the teams with the most starters returning. Oregon, UCLA, Stanford, USC, Oregon State, Washington and Arizona State are averaging 16.5 returning starters.

That is compared to the top six teams in the SEC – Alabama, LSU, Texas A&M, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida – that have an average of just 12.3 starters returning.

Of the top seven teams in the Pac-12, six have their starting quarterback returning, with USC the only team with a new starting quarterback. All seven have at least three of their offensive line starters returning.

Arizona has replaced its quarterback, but received votes from the national poll. However, Arizona Head Coach Rich Rodriguez says the Pac-12 has more than five teams that should be ranked in the top-25.

One reason the programs are becoming stronger and can compete better nationally is the money they are earning is being put back into improved facilities such as stadium and weight training among others.

Nevertheless, all the talk about the number of teams the Pac-12 has that merit being ranked in the top-25 will be a mute point in one week.

At that time, the season kicks off and it will only matter on the field and not on paper how each team will be ranked.

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