Pac-12 still third in conference rankings

The Pac-12 enters the bowl season ranked third in the ESPN Stats & Info's conference power rankings, but the conference could move up -- or down -- during the bowl season.

The Pac-12 gained ground on the No. 2 Big 12 but the No. 4 Big Ten also gained ground on the Pac-12 this week. The SEC remains No. 1.

The Pac-12 is up 2.8 points, the Big 12 down 1.0 and the Big Ten up 3.3. The Pac-12 leads the Big Ten by 6.8 points and trails the Big 12 by 11.4.

But the Pac-12 has matchups this bowl season with both conference, including three matchups with the Big 12 where it is an underdog: Tostitos Fiesta Bowl (Stanford vs. Oklahoma State), Valero Alamo (Washington vs. Baylor) and Bridgepoint Education Holiday (California vs. Texas). Here's a guess that the winner of at least two of three, including the Fiesta Bowl, will finish ahead of the other.

And the Big Ten also has a chance to overtake the Pac-12. It has key matchups with the SEC as well as two games with the Pac-12: Rose Bowl (Oregon vs. Wisconsin) and Kraft Fight Hunger (UCLA vs. Illinois).