So far, this year is everything a football fan can ask for. The crown for division supremacy is totally up for grabs, Oregon is no longer the big kid on the block, and there is no obvious run away favorite to win the PAC-12 conference.
Right now, Stanford remains unbeaten since their disappointing week 1 loss to Northwestern. Since then, they have not only won each game they have played, they have put a sizable stamp on it. USC offered the Cardinal their toughest game thus far, but the 41-31 score now seems actually more lopsided than it did at the time. Combining their last two weeks, in which they played both Oregon State and Arizona, the Cardinal has outscored its opponents by 56 points.
Looking ahead, the schedule is not by any means easy, but its far less challenging than one would have predicted a few weeks ago. Of the remaining six in-conference games, the toughest challenger will likely be UCLA or California.
Fortunately Stanford will play host to the Bruins and to the Golden Bears in the penultimate regular season game. Of course, anything can happen, but having home field advantage will serve as a boost for such a key game. There is also the looming matchup against the Oregon Ducks. They are no longer the team steamrolling opponents in blowout victories, and there is no Marcus Mariota to account for anymore, but they still remain a fast-paced, challenging offense that can explode at any given moment.
When all is said and done, it seems like Stanford should be favored to win the division, if not the conference. Utah is clearly on the upswing and it appears they should win the Pac-12 South, so don't be surprised to see showdown between the Utes and the Cardinal come season's end.
Earning the title of Pac-12 Champions is no longer a pipe dream; It is very much a reality.