Once again, here are the 2020 Pac-12 standings.
And here are the APR standings with conference rank in offensive touchdowns, touchdowns allowed, and APR in parentheses. This includes conference games only with the championship game excluded. Since teams played a varied number of games (some played as many as seven or as few as four), the rankings are on a per game basis, not raw totals.
Finally, Pac-12 teams are sorted by the difference between their actual number of wins and their expected number of wins according to APR.
I use a game and a half as an arbitrary line of demarcation to determine if a team significantly over or under-performed relative to their APR. By that standard, no team significantly over or underperformed.
The Pac-12 at Ten
It seems like just yesterday the Pac-10 was busy adding Colorado and Utah to their ranks, but the Buffaloes and Utes have been members for a whole decade. There are fifth graders who have only known Utah as a power conference member and would give you a confused expression if you dared to mention the Big Eight in front of them. There is nothing inherently special about a decade, but as humans, we love nice round numbers, so lets take a look back at how things have played out on the west coast over the preceding ten years.
If you had to guess which Pac-12 team has the best conference record since the league expanded, who would you say? Maybe Oregon. The Ducks made the inaugural College Football Playoff in 2014 and despite a rough patch in 2016, are the face of football on the west coast. Or maybe Southern Cal. The Trojans have not dominated the Pac-12 South as many thought they would and they have gone through a number of coaches in the past ten years, but they are always near the top of the division standings. Or maybe Washington. Steve Sarkisian made the Huskies mediocre, but Chris Petersen brought them back to national prominence with a playoff bid in 2016 and another Pac-12 title in 2018. Well, if you guessed either of those three teams, you would be wrong. The Pac-12 team with the best conference record since 2011 is...Stanford.
Despite a mediocre run since the 2018 season (13-11 conference record), Stanford banked enough wins over the first half of the decade to edge Southern Cal by a half game at the top of the cumulative Pac-12 standings. Oregon is a game behind Southern Cal and no other team is within seven games of the Ducks. At the other end, newcomer Colorado has posted the worst Pac-12 record since 2011. The Buffaloes won the Pac-12 South with an 8-1 record in 2016, but even with that performance, they finished a game and a half behind Oregon State for last place. The Pac-12 enjoyed a lot of parity this decade with every team except one finishing with a winning conference record in at least one season and a losing conference record in at least one season. The lone exception was Cal. The Bears never finished better than 4-5 in Pac-12 play and have not posted a winning season in conference play since 2009.
Stanford is the king of the west when it comes to overall record, but which team has won the most conference titles over the past decade?
Thanks to Covid issues at Washington, Oregon was able to sneak into the Pac-12 Championship Game in 2020 and break a tie with Stanford for most conference titles. The Ducks and Cardinal have accounted for seven of the ten league titles this decade.
What about division crowns?
Nine of the twelve teams have won at least one division title this decade, including every team in the Pac-12 South. Cal, Oregon State, and Washington State are the only teams to not punch their ticket to the Pac-12 Championship Game. In the aforementioned title game, the Pac-12 North has dominated, going 9-1 against Pac-12 South teams with Southern Cal's victory over Stanford in 2017 representing the lone defeat.