Welcome to the Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 9. Aside from Oregon and Utah, it is nearly impossible to pick winners consistently from week to week in conference play. Teams who get a big win seem to get blown out the following week. It makes no sense, but that’s life in the Pac-12. The North division is all but wrapped up by Oregon while the South division is up for grabs. Even UCLA is still very alive to win the south. USC still controls its own destiny. Two teams, Oregon and Utah have a 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 8.
Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 9:
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. Colorado Buffaloes (3-4, 1-3)
Last Week: 10-41 (L) vs Washington State
It feels like we are watching a repeat of the 2018 season. Colorado started the season off hot. It looked like Mel Tucker changed whatever caused this team to lose seven straight last season. We all know the Buffs suffer from a lack of depth, particularly on the defensive side. However, it is the offense that is most concerning. They were averaging 30 ppg but have only scored a combined 13 points in the last two weeks.
Their schedule to finish the Pac-12 season is just as hard as the beginning. They will need a serious wakeup call to even compete for a bowl game. Maybe they should feed Lavishka Shenault the ball more.
11. Stanford Cardinal (3-4, 1-3)
Last Week: 16-34 (L) vs UCLA
I thought Stanford had righted the ship when they beat Washington. But, I could not have been more wrong. You know things are going left when your offense is so bad that UCLA’s defense looks good. With the exception of Washington, Stanford’s running game has been largely ineffective. It feels so weird saying that about a David Shaw coached team for the second year in a row. “Intellectual Brutality” may be dead.
It doesn’t help matters that the Cardinal top two quarterbacks KJ Costello, and Davis Mills have been in and out of the lineup.
10. UCLA Bruins (2-5, 2-2)
Last Week: 34-16 (W) at Stanford
For the second year in a row, Chip Kelly’s UCLA is making a push in the back half of the season. Dorian Thompson-Robinson is getting better and more effective leading the offense each week. The good news is that UCLA beat Stanford for the first time in a decade. And their defense is no longer the worst in the Pac-12 in scoring defense, total defense, and passing defense.
However, the Bruins should not get too happy because the Cardinal were really bad. Maybe, this team has an “Angels in the Outfield” type run in them in the home stretch of Pac-12 play.
9. Arizona Wildcats (4-3, 2-2)
Last Week: 14-41 (L) vs USC
There is no more confused team in the Pac-12 conference. “A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways”. Arizona is unsure if they want to be a read-option team with Khalil Tate or a drop back and throw it team with Grant Gunnell. Until Kevin Sumlin makes a definitive decision of his style of play this team will continue to spiral out of control.
8. Cal Golden Bears (4-3, 1-3)
Last Week: 17-21 (L) vs Oregon State
I feel bad for the Cal Bears. They have the smallest margin for error of any team to win games with QB Chase Garbers injured. If Cal’s defense gives up more than 17 points they will struggle to win. It was just a month ago they were 4-0 and people believed this team could challenge for the North title. Now, they look like a team that will struggle to make a bowl game. They lost to Oregon State…
7. Oregon State Beavers (3-4, 2-2)
Last Week: 21-10 (W) at Cal
What an amazing couple weeks for the Beavers. First, they take down UCLA in the Rose Bowl. Next, they played a game that we will ignore to keep things positive. Then they come back and beat Cal. OSU has now doubled the amount of Pac-12 games they have won in the last 2 seasons combined. They also have matched their win total for the last two seasons combined as well.
Jonathan Smith has his team headed in the right direction and will no longer be a doormat for the teams ranked #3-12 in the Pac-12 Power Rankings.
6. Washington State Cougars (4-3, 1-3)
Last Week: 41-10 (W) at Colorado
Mike Leach instituted a social media ban and the team won a game. Those things are not related, but Leach would probably tell you it is. The reality is the Cougars have one of the nation’s best offenses and were playing against one of the worst defenses in the nation over the last couple weeks. The biggest of the season will be answered this week against Oregon. Has Leach fixed whatever prompted him to call his team, “fat, dumb, etc”, or will they get blown out again?
The HBO 24/7 cameras were following them around last week. So it will be interesting to see how Leach runs his program compared to Herm Edwards at Arizona State.
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5. Arizona State Sun Devils (5-2, 2-2)
Last Week: 3-21 (L) at Utah
In hindsight, last week’s loss at Utah was not as bad as it looked. In fact, it should have been expected. ASU’s offensive line is young, inexperienced, and had been extremely shaky all season. Then they went up against the best and oldest defensive line in the Pac-12. It should have been obvious what was going to happen. Every time Jaden Daniels dropped back to pass he was met by a Utah defended almost immediately. The stats say Daniels was awful at 4/18 passing. But, I highly doubt there is a QB in the nation who could have done much better under the circumstances.
The arrow is still way up on the Sun Devils. They are just young. I bet they will be preseason favorites to win the South in 2020.
The fact that Eno Benjamin managed to rush for over 100 yards in this game just speads to how good and NFL ready he is.
4. USC Trojans (4-3, 3-1)
Last Week: 41-14 (W) vs Arizona
USC’s beat down of Arizona is a total good news, bad news situation. The good news is they dominated Arizona on both sides of the ball. And they got Kedon Slovis back under center and he looked sharp. The bad news is that injuries continue to mount for the Trojans. Their running backs were down to their 4th and 5th string by the time the game finished.
USC is 4-3 but still controls its own destiny in the Pac-12 south. Win out and a berth in the Pac-12 Championship and possibly Rose Bowl await. With the exception of the Oregon game, their last five games look very winnable.
3. Washington Huskies (5-3, 2-3)
Last Week: 35-31 (L) vs Oregon
It never feels good when you lose a game after being up 14 points on your biggest rival. Well, That’s what happened to the Washington Huskies. They had the Ducks on the ropes but couldn’t close the deal. Jacob Eason had arguably his best game of the season and the offense was spectacular for three quarters.
We are still not sure who Washington is though. Are they the team that was explosive offensively against Oregon or the team that looked lifeless against Cal and Stanford?
The Huskies get a much needed week off to regroup and finish the season strong and get to a good bowl game.
2. Utah Utes (6-1, 3-1)
Last Week: 21-3 (W) at Arizona State
Their matchup with Arizona State took a physical toll on both teams. We saw a lot of big hits, injuries, and even an ejection for targeting. The Utes imposed their will on the Sun Devils defensively. Leki Fotu, Bradlee Anae, and the rest of the defensive line absolutely dominated the line of scrimmage and lived in the ASU’s backfield. They held ASU and their freshman phenom Jayden Daniels to 25 yards passing.
Utah’s defense is now #1 in the Pac-12 in points per game (11.7) and total defense (252 ypg). The Utes are making a case for debate about who should be the #1 team in Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 9.
1. Oregon Ducks (6-1, 4-0)
Last Week: 35-31 (W) at Washington
It was gut-check time for the Ducks in the second half of the Washinton game. Justin Herbert grew up and extended plays to made a couple of big throws when his team needed him the most. But, this win was more about what Mario Cristobal has tried to build this team on; physicality, and running the football. Oregon’s offensive line, tight ends, and running backs took control of the game in the second half.
The Ducks now sport the Pac-12 second-best scoring offense (35.9 ppg) and defense (11.9 ppg). They will get every Pac-12 team’s best shot from here on out, so any let down will be rewarded with a loss.
Check back every Monday for the next Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 9.