Miami Here's some news that ought to stir things up among those vocal proponents of Big 12 or Southeastern Conference superiority: Check out who holds the power within the Bowl Championship Series.
It's the Pacific-10 Confer-ence, ridiculed in recent years as a wine-and-cheese league, aestethically pretty but usually left folded, spindled and mutilated whenever challenged by bullies from other neighborhoods.
Five Pac-10 teams are among the 15 atop the season's first BCS rankings, with UCLA (6-0) poised to assume one of the two prime spots after No. 1 Oklahoma and No. 2 Nebraska bloody each other Saturday.
Washington State (7-0) is 10th, followed closely by three one-loss teams Washington, Oregon and Stanford. No other conference can claim more than three schools among the BCS 15.
"I think it's good, and I think it's deserved," said WSU coach Mike Price, whose team is coming off back-to-back 3-8 seasons and is the darling of computerland. Each of the eight computer ratings used by the BCS has the Cougars in their top 10.
All five teams were unbeaten until two weeks ago, when four of them paired off against each other. Stanford knocked Oregon from the unbeaten ranks last week.
The Bruins have been most impressive, allowing no more than 16 points behind linebacker Robert Thomas and safety Marques Anderson. Last year, no UCLA opponent scored fewer than 20.
"So many of the Pac-10 teams were playing with defenses that were undersized," Arizona coach John Mackovic said. "That has changed dramatically. The Pac-10 is now able to match up on both sides of the line of scrimmage."
Now the Pac-10's worry is a lot like those of the Big 12 and SEC that the top teams will beat up on each other and knock everyone out of the national-title race.