Pac-12 Power Rankings

Note … These are my subjective Power Rankings, which will be updated every Sunday. (Please feel free to post your own rankings in the comments section) …

12. UCLA (2-7, 2-4) … Ranking last weekend: 10

This weekend … Lost to Utah, 42-21

After picking up two straight wins, taking out Cal and Arizona, the Bruins have come back down to earth with a thumping at home by Utah and a road demolition at the hands of Oregon. The Ducks were ahead, 21-0, early in the second quarter, and the Bruins were not within two scores the rest of the night.

With a road game at Arizona State, then home games against USC and Stanford to close out the season, a 2-10 record in Chip Kelly’s first season in Westwood is not out of the question.

Up next … at Arizona State … 12::00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks

11. Oregon State (2-7, 1-5) … Ranking last weekend: 11

This weekend … Lost to USC, 38-21.

As was the case against Colorado last week, Oregon State fell behind early, trailing USC 21-0 in the second quarter. As was the case against Colorado last week, Oregon State came back, making it a 21-14 game by halftime.

Unlike the game against Colorado, Oregon State’s opposition didn’t blink, with the Trojans pulling away in the fourth quarter, taking a 38-21 win.

It doesn’t get any easier for the Beavers, with a finish of: at Stanford; at Washington; Oregon. Don’t look now, Buff fans, but we’re looking at an off-season of: “Jonathan Smith’s first season at OSU was defined by a record-setting come-from-behind win over Colorado”.

Up next … at Stanford … 7:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks

10. Colorado (5-4, 2-4) … Ranking last weekend: 12

This weekend … Lost to Arizona, 42-34.

The “missed opportunities” tour for the Buffs took a side trip to Tucson, where an impressive start, which could have netted a 21-0 advantage, was only 10-0 … with the momentum on the Wildcat side of the field. The Buffs would go on to take the lead twice more in the game, but couldn’t hold it, falling for the seventh straight game in which a bowl bid was in the offing.

With two new starters in the defensive backfield (sophomores Mekhi Blackmon and Derrion Rakestraw), Kahlil Tate threw for 350 yards and five touchdowns. Think Washington State’s Gardner Minshew is excited about his trip to Boulder?

Up next … No. 8 Washington State … 1:30 p.m., MT, ESPN

… Just a pause here, as the teams between three and nine on my list are fairly interchangeable. It’s a shame that CU couldn’t have picked up win No. 6 sometime in the past four weekends, as they would be in the mix as well … 

9. Stanford (5-4, 3-3) … Ranking last weekend: 6

This weekend … Lost to Washington, 27-23.

After a 4-0 start, the Cardinal rose to No. 7 in the national rankings. Since then, it’s been a downhill spiral, with Stanford losing four of five (sound familiar, Buff fans?). Stanford kept it close the last two weekends against the Washington schools, falling to the Cougars and Huskies by a combined seven points. Close, but no cigar … or wins.

Here’s the thing … Stanford finishes up with Oregon State, Cal, and UCLA. Would anyone be surprised if David Shaw coaxes and 8-4 regular season out of this team, and a bowl win to finish 9-4 … kinda like Stanford finishes every season?

Up next … Oregon State … 7:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks

8. California (5-4, 2-4) … Ranking last weekend: 4

This weekend … Lost to Washington State, 19-13.

Cal is my yo-yo team, rising to No. 4 from No. 8 on my list after upsetting Washington, but back down to No. 8 after falling to Washington State. The Bears have a great defense (holding the Huskies and Cougars to a combined 29 points) but have an inconsistent offense (scoring 25 points total the past two weekends). Cal can beat anyone on their schedule, but can also lose to anyone on their schedule.

With USC and Stanford up next, the Bears could be 5-6 heading into the regular season finale against Colorado … an exact replica of CU’s trip to Salt Lake City last season (and we all know how that turned out).

Up next … at USC … TBA

7. Arizona State (5-4, 3-3) … Ranking last weekend: 8

This weekend … Defeated Utah, 38-20.

After losing four out of five games, the Sun Devils bounced back with a surprising win over USC, then an even more surprising win over Utah.

I didn’t move the Sun Devils up any higher, though, because in both games, Arizona State got the benefit of playing against a backup quarterback. Against USC, it was third-stringer Jack Sears, while against Utah, the Sun Devils got to feast on Jason Shelley after starter Tyler Huntley went down with a broken collarbone.

In case you didn’t see the game, check out the first highlight from the ESPN recap. Utah’s Tyler Huntley threw a bomb which should have been a touchdown. Instead, it bounced off of the receiver into the hands of the defender, who promptly returned the pick over 50 yards. It’s been that kind of charmed life for ASU the past few weeks. With UCLA coming to town next weekend, expect the good vibes to continue.

Up next … UCLA … 12:00 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks

6. USC (5-4, 4-3) … Ranking last weekend: 9

This weekend … Defeated Oregon State, 38-21

Another of my yo-yo teams. two weeks ago, USC was my No. 6 team, bounced down to No. 9 after looking horrible against Arizona State, and is back up to No. 6 this week.

As much as I dislike USC, I am actually kind of cheering for them to win the Pac-12 South. First, it will keep Utah from winning its first title (and I dislike Utah more than I hate USC). Second, it will make it more difficult for USC athletic director Lynn Swann to fire head coach Clay Helton. I see it as being in the long term best interests for CU – and the rest of the Pac-12 South – to keep Helton on as USC’s head coach for as long as possible.

Up next … Cal … TBA.

5. Utah (6-3, 4-3)… Ranking last weekend: 2

This weekend … Lost to Arizona State, 38-20.

Utah drops this week, not so much for who they lost to, but who they lost. Quarterback Tyler Huntley was lost for the season with a broken collarbone, and now the Utes, the best team in the Pac-12 South after a 4-0 October (for the first time as a member of the Pac-12) is suddenly in trouble.

The Utes still have a good defense and running back Zach Moss (who had 128 yards and a touchdown against the Sun Devils, and 1,092 yards for the season), but Utah fans can’t help but wonder if this is yet another No-November for the Utes.

Up next … Oregon … TBA

4. Arizona (5-5, 4-3) … Ranking last weekend: 7

This weekend … Defeated Colorado, 42-34.

Since losing to UCLA and Utah on back-to-back road games, the Wildcats have responded with impressive home wins over Oregon and Colorado. Not that Buff fans will take much solace from the 42-34 defeat, but, the week before, the Wildcats dominated the Ducks, 44-15.

Left for dead at 3-5 two weeks ago, the Wildcats now have a bye week to figure out how to defeat Washington State, with a game in Pullman coming up on November 17th. If Arizona can’t pull off the upset, it will come down to the Territorial Cup game at home against Arizona State, with bowl eligibility on the line.

Up next … Bye week … Up next: at Washington State, November 17th.

3. Oregon (6-3, 3-3) … Ranking last weekend: 5

This weekend … Defeated UCLA, 42-21.

The Chip Kelly return to Autzen was an inauspicious one, with Oregon racing out to a 21-0 lead and never looking back. When Justin Herbert is healthy, Oregon is one of the best teams in the Pac-12. Coming off of back-to-back losses on the road to Washington State and Arizona, Herbert and the Ducks were comfortable at home against the Bruins.

Now Oregon takes back to the road, with Tyler Huntley-less Utah awaits. With a win there, plus a home game against Arizona State and a road game against Oregon State left on the calendar, it could still be a 9-3 inaugural season for new head coach Mario Cristobal.

Up next … at Utah … TBA

2. Washington (7-3, 5-2) … Ranking last weekend: 3

This weekend … Defeated Stanford, 27-23.

In a matchup of disappointing (and disappointed) teams, the Huskies took out the Cardinal, 27-23. This game was supposed to be a showcase of top ten teams, but that was so two months ago.

Now, the path to a Pac-12 North Title is clear. After a bye week, the Huskies need only take care of business against Oregon State … and the Apple Cup against Washington State will be for the Pac-12 North title.

Up next … Bye week … Up next: Oregon State, November 17th.

1. Washington State (8-1, 3-1) … Ranking last weekend: 1

This weekend … Defeated Cal, 19-13.

It wasn’t always pretty, but the Cougars maintained their lead in the Pac-12 North race with a tough win over Cal. Despite being held to only 19 points, Washington State quarterback Gardner Minshew threw for over 300 yards (337), and passed for the winning touchdown with 32 seconds to play.

Washington State’s final road game of the season will be this Saturday at Colorado (1:30 p.m., MT, ESPN). The Cougars will be in the top ten in the national rankings, will be featured on ESPN GameDay … and will be expected to roll the Buffs.

It will be up to CU’s coaches and players to try and see that Minshew doesn’t make all of the Saturday night highlight shows …

Up next … at Colorado … 1:30 p.m., MT, ESPN


One Reply to “Pac-12 Power Rankings”

  1. A nationally televised game. I just hope we don’t get embarrassed. Strong passing game against a weak secondary. This should create a lot of pressure on our D-line and Linebackers to get to the QB. It doesn’t look promising from my perspective.

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