Pac-12 rises to challenge

LOS ANGELES -- It was generally assumed before the start of the 2012 season that the USC Trojans' schedule was tailor-made for a legitimate Pac-12 and national championship run. After all, the Trojans were a preseason No. 1 choice, and since last summer, football fans and experts have been salivating at the thought of that Nov. 3 game against the defending Pac-12 champion Oregon Ducks in the Coliseum.

It was also assumed before the season that the Trojans, without breaking too much of a sweat, would overwhelm rebuilding Stanford and weak sisters Arizona, Arizona State and UCLA, the last three universities residing in the same Pac-12 South Division as the cardinal and gold.

Well, somebody forgot to tell the Wildcats and Bruins, who found themselves nationally ranked this week, and the Cardinal actually moved up in the rankings from the previous week. As for the Sun Devils, they too could soon join the national rankings party with a victory at Missouri on Saturday.