After Week One it’s still hard to say. Stanford couldn’t contain an FCS team for the first half. San Jose State needed the last few minutes to beat their FCS team. San Diego State lost as home favorites. So maybe not those guys. But somebody’s got to win this thing.
Let’s take a look at four national ranking visions.
First up the venerable Sagarin:
14 Southern California A = 82.80 37 UCLA A = 77.72 47 California A = 74.47 52 Stanford A = 73.90 65 Fresno State A = 70.84 80 San Diego State A = 67.98 103 San Jose State A = 63.89
Wilner has a “best of the west” column and three of our California Cup contenders make it:
2 USC 4 Fresno State 5 UCLA
The AP Poll is a thing:
10 USC 31 Fresno State 41 UCLA
Finally let’s take a look at Ed Feng of The Power Rank:
38 UCLA 6.66 47 USC 4.71 54 Fresno State 2.59 65 San Diego State .79 73 Cal -1.16 74 Stanford -1.17 104 San Jose State -8.47
Sagarin’s current rankings suggest Stanford would be favored over Fresno State on a neutral field, which is nuts. Feng thinks UCLA is more than a touchdown favorite over Cal neutral, which seems high. The analytical-focused systems aren’t as excited about Fresno State as the human systems. Only one California team has a plausible case to be in the top 25. No one knows how good USC is yet still. Feng’s math really hates San Jose State. Everyone is oddly aligned on how good UCLA is.
Fresno State at USC next week will be very interesting. If USC rolls then they might be legit. Stanford’s defense is too much of a disaster to tell us anything about USC beating them up. (But if Stanford wins that’s a max-chaos branch of the Bayesian tree.)
Just for fun here are the last times each current program won the MCC:
Fresno State - defending champs Stanford - 2020 USC - 2019 San José State - 2006 California - 2003 UCLA - 1998 San Diego State - 1976
No UCLA this century. No wonder they’re trying to uproot themselves east.