Maybe the Pac-10 isn't as historically bad as it seems. We'll have to wait until the end of the year to get the final verdict on that. What we do know is that the Pac-10's current reputation is as poor as it's ever been, at least since 1997-98, when the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll was first breathed into life. Please see the chart on the right, from Mark Malzewski of ESPN.com's research department (who deliver this kind of information to yours truly on a daily basis; those folks deserve at least 100 high-fives, and probably more).
This is not as dire as it might seem. After all, it's only the Coaches' Poll, and you know, as a diligent observer of college athletics, that coaches' polls are mighty fickle. And hey, if the SEC can make such a speedy comeback -- it's grown wildly in respect in the year since its poll drought -- so can the Pac-10.
However, it does to speak to just how little respect most coaches, players, media types and fans currently have for the Pac-10. And who would tell any of them -- us -- that we're wrong?