Welcome to the Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 8. Teams at the top and bottom of the conference have separated themselves from the pack. The middle of the conference is a totally different story. Deciphering the matrix of teams from #4-10 is an arduous task. The Pac-12 wheel of death is in full swing right now. Every team except Oregon is connected with a conference loss at this point. That’s why it’s so frustrating to hear people say Pac-12 conference football is weak when the conference has by far the most parity. It is hard to make it through unscathed with all the different start times and days of the week games land. Oregon, 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 7.
Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 8:
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 email@example.com.
12. UCLA Bruins (1-5, 1-2)
Last Week: IDLE
Nothing bad can happen if you don’t play, right? UCLA had a much needed week off to regroup after that disaster of a loss to Oregon State. Chip Kelly will need a strong finish to this season like he did last year to quiet the naysayers. This team does look better than last year offensively, but defensively it looks like it regressed.
11. Oregon State Beavers (2-4, 1-2)
Last Week: at 52-7 (L) Utah
OSU got absolutely thumped by Utah. I was truly surprised by the level of beatdown this was. The Beavers defense is extremely leaky so I expected Utah to put up a lot of points. However, I did not expect their offense to struggle so mightily. Quarterback Jake Luton, their two running backs, and Isaiah Hodgins had led the way to score at least 28 points and have good stats in every game.
This game had to be extremely disappointing for head coach Jonathan Smith and Beavers fans. But they must dust themselves off and try to find another victory in 2019.
10. Washington State Cougars (3-3, 0-3)
Last Week: 34-38 (L) at Arizona State
Mike Leach’s team didn’t look “fat, dumb, happy, and entitled” after their bye week. But, Their defense coordinator Tracy Claeys resigned last week, and the defense looked worse for it. Washington State is now giving up 459 ypg and almost 32 points. It will be interesting to see how the Cougs bounce back this week against Colorado. CU will be angry about getting embarrassed by Oregon on both sides of the ball. If Washington State can’t snag this game, their hopes of going to a bowl game will be in real jeopardy.
9. Colorado Buffaloes (3-3, 1-2)
Last Week: vs 3-45 (L) Oregon
There was nothing positive to take from this game on offense or defense. Steven Montez had a horrible game passing. He finished with 131 passing yards and four interceptions. The defense didn’t fare much better. they gave up 45 points, 527 yards of offense, and 7.4 yards per play.
Mel Tucker is making the right move by recruiting a lot of junior college guys to bolster their roster quickly. Until he gets a couple recruiting cycles under his belt, expect the occasional game like this against top teams.
8. Arizona Wildcats (4-2, 2-1)
Last Week: 27-51 (L) vs Washington
Watching Arizona play can be frustrating at times. I have no idea about this team’s identity and who they want to be. Do they want to be a spread team that runs the read option with Khalil Tate or to they want to sit back and throw it 50 times with Grant Gunnell? Either way, Kevin Sumlin needs to make up his mind before the season spirals out of control.
Against Washington, it looked like the team quit in the 4th quarter. Khalil Tate looked disinterested and the defense didn’t give great effort either to close the game. Arizona can rally to be a factor in the Pac-12 South, but they need to figure out their Qb situation fast.
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7. Cal Golden Bears (4-2, 1-2)
Last Week: IDLE
Cal had a week off, which couldn’t have come at a better time. They are one week close to getting their quarterback Chase Garbers back. And Cal will have had two weeks to coach Devon Modster up as the starter. Their offense is now worst in the Pac-12 conference at 20.3 points per game. We know their defense always shows up, but they will need to be even better to get this team to 7-8 wins.
6. Stanford Cardinal (3-3, 1-2)
Last Week: IDLE
Stanford pulled off the upset in Seattle against Washington and got an off week as an added prize. The Cardinal have been beaten up on the offensive line and quarterback positions. This team is not as good as they have been in previous seasons, but this is a prideful bunch and who will be a tough win for everyone on the back half of their schedule.
If KJ Costello is healthy, does Davis Shaw go back to him at QB or hand the reigns to former 5* young gun Davis Mills?
5. USC Trojans (3-3, 2-1)
Last Week: 27-30 (L) at Notre Dame
USC continuously loses games when they are the more talented team on the field. Most Trojans fans I know are completely torn about this season. On one hand, they hate to see their team lose. On the other hand, they want Clay Helton gone because they don’t believe he maximizing the potential for this team. But like every other time a fan base wishes a coach gone, they are heading into the unknown. There is o guarantee the will replace Helton with a guaranteed winner unless it’s Urban Meyer.
USC is not in the top 4 of any Pac-12 major statistical category on offense or defense except passing yards.
However, there is great news. They still control their own destiny in the Pac-12 South.
4. Washington Huskies (5-2, 2-2)
Last Week: 51-27 (W) at Arizona
It’s Duck week and the Huskies want revenge.
This Huskies team bounced back from their Stanford loss in a major way. The game was close until the Dawgs put up 24 points in the fourth quarter. Fans were excited to see an impressive offensive outing after the struggles against Cal, USC, and Stanford. They were also treated to a breakout game by highly touted WR Puka Nacua. This performance could not have come at a better time. Washington got a major confidence boost heading into this week against Oregon.
They have the opportunity to end Oregon’s playoff hopes while reviving their own Pac-12 North title hopes. This matchup on Saturday should be epic.
3. Arizona State Sun Devils (5-1, 2-1)
Last Week: vs Washington State
If Jayden Daniels were playing for any college football blue blood he would be a household name by now. This true freshman has ice water in his veins and is a star in the making. He has been Pac-12 freshman of the week three times already and the Sun Devils have only played six games.
It seems like every ASU game goes down to the last possession. How many times can this team get a good bounce and Jayden Daniels be perfect in the clutch? If ASU can get it done five more times and have Utah be one of those wins, a berth in the Pac-12 championship awaits. This team has gone the hard route earning their spot in the Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 8.
2. Utah Utes (5-1, 2-1)
Last Week: 52-7 (W) at Oregon State
The Utes did very bad and mean things to Oregon State. They scored 52 points and Zack Moss only carried the ball five times and Huntley only threw it 17 times. And the defense is fantastic too. If it weren’t for Oregon, this defense would get more credit. Utah seems to be kicking it into high gear since the USC loss. Maybe they really can win a Pac-12 Championship. Maybe they want to play in the Rose Bowl more than everyone else.
I have said since the beginning of the season that Utah’s entire season rests on Tyler Huntley. Can he be special and not just a game manager when they need it the most? He will need at least three special performances over their next six games to make the Pac-12 championship.
1. Oregon Ducks (5-1, 3-0)
Last Week: 45-3 (W) vs Colorado
It’s Husky week. Things just got real. Washington vs Oregon is probably the most underrated rivalry in all of college football.
The Oregon Ducks are only giving up 8 points per game. An opponent hasn’t scored more than 7 points since week one. On top of that, the offense seems to be hitting their stride. In the past two games, they have rushed for well over 200 yards. Justin Herbert seems to be dialing in and becoming more assertive as a leader.
The back half of the season will test the Ducks’ will. They have not played great on the road over the last few seasons. So, road games at Washington, USC, and Arizona State will be the difference in an Alamo Bowl, Rose Bowl, or CFB Playoff berth.
Also… The Ducks need to stay healthy from here on out. They lost another player for the season, TE Jacob Breeland.
Check back every Monday for the next Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 8.