Eras set to collide in Eugene

LOS ANGELES -- USC fans are well aware, and very proud, that the Trojans dominated the Pac-10 during the last decade, with seven straight conference titles making them the Pac-10's serial representative on the national stage. They played in BCS title games. They crushed Big Ten teams in Rose Bowls. They set a new standard with recruits. And they had a coach that changed college football with his "always compete" philosophy.

Don't look now, but Oregon is the two-time defending Pac-10 champ and is on its way to its third straight conference title, as the Ducks will almost certainly claim the inaugural Pac-12 championship. They were in the BCS title game last year and will probably play in the Rose Bowl in January (if they don't sneak into the BCS title game again) against a Big Ten team that they will likely crush. They are out-recruiting teams across the country. And they have a coach whose fast-break offense is changing college football.

USC was the Pac-10's dominant team of the immediate past. Oregon is the Pac-12's dominant team in the here-and-now.