Welcome to the Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 6. It was separation Saturday in the Pac-12 Conference. The list of contenders and pretenders for a Pac-12 Conference Championship is pretty clear at this point. Some teams had their hopes fade away with an injured quarterback. Others, just realized they aren’t as good as they thought they were. All teams are mathematically alive to win their division. Oregon, Washington, ASU, and Utah appear to have the inside track. And only Oregon and Washington have an outside shot at landing a berth in the College Football Playoff Top 4 if things shake out in their favor.
For Reference Check out the Pac-12 Power Rankings from Week 5.
Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 6:
Teams are ranked by the correct criteria: quality wins, schedule played, and dominance. Only games played matter. No consideration is given for future games. The Pac-12 Power Rankings will available on Unafraid Show every Monday morning. Make sure you send your comments and grievances to firstname.lastname@example.org.
12. Oregon State Beavers (1-3)
Last Week: 28-31 (L) vs Stanford
The Beavers let an opportunity to get a Pac-12 win slip through their fingertips. Last year they lost to Stanford by 31. This year it was a winnable game. The positive is Oregon State is clearly improving as a team. The bad news is that they have no clue how to win yet. OSU’s defense is no longer seller dwellers in total defense. Even though they are last in rushing defense, the overall play has improved. The Beavers are still terrible, but MUCH improved.
11. Stanford Cardinal (2-3)
Last Week: 31-28 (W) at Oregon State
A win usually moves you up the Pac-12 Power Rankings. But Stanford’s effort against Oregon State, particularly in the 4th quarter was less than impressive. The Cardinal are still without starting QB KJ Costello, but Davis Mills filled in admirably. “Stanford football” has been nowhere to be found for the last two seasons. They are 11th in the Pac-12 in rushing (112 ypg), and last in scoring offense (20 ppg). Things are clearly broken. Can David Shaw fix them?
10. Washington State Cougars (3-2)
Last Week: 13-38 (L) @ Utah
When UCLA beats you twice (the game and in focus for Utah) and your coach calls the team out, things are spiraling downhill. Mike Leach called his team “fat, dumb, happy, and entitled” in his monotone meltdown postgame press conference. (We talk about this in detail on the Pac-12 Apostles Podcast below). They need to take this entire week off to regroup before they head down to Arizona State.
So much for the Cougars’ “most efficient offense in the country” talk WSU fans had been on my timeline yelling at me about.
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9. UCLA Bruins (1-4)
Last Week: 17-20 (L) @ Arizona
Chip Kelly clearly has his team headed in the right direction even though their record says 1-4. The Pac-12’s worst scoring defense and total defense only gave up 20 points to a team averaging over 30 ppg. The Bruins are the worst tackling football team in the Pac-12, and it’s not close. The good news is that Dorian Thompson-Robinson looks like he has turned a corner into a competent quarterback. If the O-line can keep him upright, the Bruins still have a shot at shocking the Pac-12 south.
8. Arizona Wildcats (3-1)
Last Week: 20-17 (W) vs UCLA
Is the Khalil Tate era over in Tucson? We kicked the tires on the question of Khalil Tate redshirting to transfer and Arizona going forward with the future of the program on the podcast. Grant Gunnell threw the ball more times in the first half against UCLA than Khalil Tate has in any full game this season. The seat is probably getting a little warmer under Kevin Sumlin, so switching QBs might just be the shot of life the program needs.
Their next stretch of games against Colorado, Washington, USC, Stanford.
7. Cal Golden Bears (4-1)
Last Week: 17-24 (L) vs Arizona State
I’m basing this ranking on where Cal is without Chase Garbers. He had finally turned a corner in his maturation as a passer. After he got hurt, the passing offense was a disaster with Devon Modster at QB. Stats and the film show Cal’s defense is stout, but have been hurt by a lot of big passing plays on QB scrambles. Can they get Modster to play turnover-free football? If they can, Cal can still rally to win 7 games. If not, they may be staring 5-7 in the face.
6. USC Trojans (3-2)
Last Week: 14-28 (L) vs Washington
The score in the game against Washington was a lot closer than the game was. Many people expected the Trojans defense to struggle against the pass with their two top DBs out. However, USC was able to hold Jacob Eason to a very pedestrian 180 yards passing with no touchdowns. The problem was the offense. Matt Fink looked like a 3rd string QB. They were consistently unable to move the ball and flip field position. So Washington played with short fields the majority of the day.
If healthy, it’s time to go back to Kedon Slovis at quarterback.
5. Arizona State Sun Devils (4-1)
Last Week: 24-17 (W) vs CAL
I got a lot of “I told you so” from ASU fans about my Cal prediction. The Sun Devils deserve credit for winning the game. Herm Edwards’ team is as resilient as they come. Their wins haven’t been pretty, but they are sitting at 4-1 with a legit shot at the Pac-12 South crown. They will need to fix their offensive line issues. Eno Benjamin had 29 carries against Cal and was probably hit by a defender in the backfield on 22 of those carries.
I must give some props to QB Jayden Daniels. His stat lines are not impressive. But, if you watch the game, he is playing hard and making plays when the team needs it most. ASU has a potential star on their hands.
4. Colorado Buffaloes (3-1)
Last Week: IDLE
Mel Tucker’s squad had a week off and moved up the Pac-12 Power Rankings. It’s weird to see them at #4, but they won’t be here long unless they get their 11th ranked scoring defense fixed (30.8 ppg).
3. Utah Utes (4-1)
Last Week: 38-13 (W) vs Washington State
When I was watching the game it felt like Tyler Huntley was giving me a giant F-U. All the things I have said he and this offense couldn’t do after the USC game, they went out and did. Huntley finished with over 334 yards passing with a pair of TD through the air and ground. If he had Heisman buzz around his name, the national media would be singing his praises.
Now the Utes have a week off to get healthy and regroup for the stretch run in the Pac-12 south.
2. Washington Huskies (4-1)
Last Week: 28-14 (W) vs USC
The Huskies defense looked amazing against the extremely talented USC receiving corps. I knew Ahmed was bound to have some big rushing days this season. He is always a broken tackle away from hitting his head on the goalpost. Washington will need much better play out of Jacob Eason if they hope to beat Oregon, win the Apple Cup, and get to the Rose Bowl or CFB Playoff.
Right now, the Dawgs are positioned right where they want to be. They control their own destiny. Cal will probably lose to Oregon. So, beat the Ducks and Cougars and they are home free right?
1. Oregon Ducks (3-1)
Last Week: 21-6 (W) Stanford
Hopefully, the theme of the week off was “stop the conservative play offensively”. It seems that Oregon’s lack of aggression and killer instinct offensively against solid competition is the only thing that can derail their this season. The Ducks also have to get their running game together if they have visions of the CFB Playoff. They have not had many explosive running plays (20 yards+) through their first four games.
Putting up big points against a good Cal defense will be a good time to make a statement to the nation.
Check back every Monday for the Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 6.