Welcome to the Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 7. 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 6.
Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 7:
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. UCLA Bruins (1-5)
Last Week: 31-48 (L) vs Oregon State
We have a new worst team in the Pac-12. UCLA’s defense can’t stop a nose bleed. This team is bad at tackling, and doesn’t look very strong. This is strange because most of their 2-deep depth chart on defense is Juniors or Seniors. That means either defensive coordinator Jerry Azzinaro is doing an awful job with the scheme or his players are awful. I believe it’s probably a combination of both, but more so the coordination. Cal, WSU, Arizona, Colorado, and Utah all do a better job on defense with less high school recruiting stars. UCLA is last in Passing defense, total defense, scoring defense, and opponent first downs.
On the offensive side, the Bruins have 14 Freshman and Sophomores in their 2-deep but have looked pretty good the last three weeks.
The bottom line is, this was a full rebuild for Chip Kelly. We just didn’t think rock bottom would be this low.
11. Oregon State Beavers (2-3, 1-2)
Last Week: at 48-31 (W) UCLA
Today is a day of celebration for OSU and their fans. For the first time in three seasons, the Beavers are not the worst team in the conference. Jonathan Smith has his program headed in the right direction. Last year, they lost the majority of their games by 21 or more points. This year, they have an early conference win and may sneak out a couple more.
The Beavers’ biggest improvement has been offensively. They are now the top three in the Pac-12 in total offense and top five in scoring offense. Now, if they can get their Swiss cheese defense to catch up with offense.
10. Washington State Cougars (3-2, 1-1)
Last Week: IDLE
A week off couldn’t have come at a better time for the Cougars. They have been spiraling downhill since the second half of the UCLA game. Maybe Mike Leach can get his team’s “fat, dumb, happy, and entitled” problem solved.
Defensive Coordinator Tracy Claeys resigned during their off week. So let’s see what happens with the Wazzu defense going forward.
Subscribe to the Pac-12 Apostles Podcast:
9. Colorado Buffaloes (3-2, 1-1)
Last Week: vs 30-35 (L) Arizona
There is a theme at the bottom of the Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 7. NONE of the bottom three teams are good on defense. However, all three can score a good amount of points. Colorado’s QB Steven Montez is having a very good senior season. He is at 10 touchdowns and 2 interceptions through their first five games.
After 5 games the bottom fell out of this Colorado team last season. Mel Tucker will have his hands full changing the culture of this team. But if he can, dare I say… bowl game?
8. Stanford Cardinal (3-3, 1-2)
Last Week: vs Washington
Stanford is a well-coached and prideful program. I knew they would bounce back from a terrible start to the season to be extremely competitive against Washington. David Shaw’s team had their best rushing output of the season with 189 yards. The Cardinal came into the game with the 12th ranked offense in the Pac-12 and put up nearly 500 yards on Washington.
This team has been decimated by injuries to their quarterbacks and offensive line. They are on their 3rd string QB and only had six offensive linemen by the end of the game. I have no clue what the rest of the season looks like for Stanford but they will fight.
7. Cal Golden Bears (4-2, 1-2)
Last Week: 7-17 (L) at Oregon
Cal is in such a bad position I feel bad for this team. I talked to two Pac-12 coaches who said Cal has a championship-caliber defense, but their offense has no chance without Chase Garbers at QB. Even with Garbers, it was an uphill battle, but it was one that could be won.
The Golden Bears defense has put every single offense they have faced this season in a chokehold. The future is bright for Cal, but it seems criminal that they may be in danger of missing a bowl game.
6. USC Trojans (3-2, 2-1)
Last Week: IDLE
USC got a much needed off week. They need Kedon Slovis healthy because Matt Fink is not the answer at quarterback. I predicted that USC had to choose between winning the Washington and Notre Dame game. They lost to UW, which in some strange way gives them a better chance to pull off the upset this weekend. I don’t make the rules, this is just how inconsistent teams operate.
5. Washington Huskies (4-2, 1-2)
Last Week: 13-23 (L) at Stanford
After reading the message boards, Facebook groups, and Twitter it feels like there is a 4-alarm fire going on in Husky Nation. The fan base took the Cal loss well and refocused on the Rose Bowl. But, this Stanford loss means UW no longer controls its own destiny. The good news for Pac-12 football fans is that the Oregon game is on ABC and the magnitude of the game is amplified for the Huskies. They can spoil any hopes the Ducks have of making the CFB playoff. And simultaneously put themselves back in the Rose Bowl conversation.
While Jacob Eason has been an upgrade from the Jake Browning years, he doesn’t look like a guy leaving for the NFL after this season.
4. Arizona Wildcats (4-1, 2-0)
Last Week: 35-30 (W) at Colorado
This is weird seeing Arizona at #4. It doesn’t feel that long ago that Arizona lost to Hawaii and there were questions surrounding the future of defensive coordinator Marcel Yates. We were even wondering on the Pac-12 Apostles podcast if Kevin Sumlin could be on the hot seat and what the future of Khalil Tate looks like.
The truth is while Arizona sits on top of the Pac-12 South they haven’t even run into the meat of their schedule yet. They still have games against Washington, Utah, at USC, at Stanford, at Oregon, and at Arizona State left. Am I the only one that has trouble spotting many wins there?
3. Arizona State Sun Devils (4-1, 1-1)
Last Week: IDLE
Sometimes the best thing that can happen for your standings in the Pac-12 Power Rankings is to have an off week. The Sun Devils have just found ways to win even though it hasn’t been pretty. The variance of the possible records ASU could finish with is ridiculous. They could finish the season anywhere between 4-8 or 11-1 depending on how many one-possession games they can squeak out. Arizona State at #3 doesn’t feel great, but it is what it is.
2. Utah Utes (4-1, 1-1)
Last Week: IDLE
Utah is in prime Pac-12 South position. They control their own destiny. Win out and they will be fighting for the Pac-12 title and CFB Playoff. I am done doubting Tyler Huntley’s quarterback abilities and limitations of the Utes offense until they get back to conservative play. Huntley put on such a performance against Washington State that I had to shut my mouth.
1. Oregon Ducks (4-1, 2-0)
Last Week: 17-7 (W) vs Cal
The Ducks are the clear cut #1 team in the Pac-12. They finally got their running game together against Cal. But the Ducks suffered a key injury on their defensive line. Gus Cumberlander who was a Pac-12 defensive lineman of the week may miss extended time.
The key for the Ducks who rank in the tops of the conference in most statistical categories is consistency and focus. They have the inside track to the Rose Bowl and a chance to make the playoff top 4. Don’t blow it.
Check back every Monday for the Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 7.