Welcome to the Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 13. These last three weeks, including the Pac-12 championship game are all about winning the beauty pageant for the CFB Playoff Committee. Utah and Oregon are both within striking distance to get a berth in the top four. They will need style points to fade the east coast bias and SEC media cycle pushing Alabama or a 2-loss SEC team. I do believe if Oregon and Utah meet with 1-loss in the Pac-12 Championship, the winner should land a spot in the College Football Playoff Top 4.
The rest of the conference still has a lot to play for as well. There are four bowl-eligible teams already plus four more who are sitting on five wins.
Check back on Unafraid Show this Friday to see all the internal and external threats to the Pac-12 conference and who will speak up to stop it.
For Reference Check out the Pac-12 Power Rankings from Week 12.
Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 13:
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.
Here are the Pac-12 Bowl Projections from Jerry Palm of CBS (many people expect Oregon or Utah to make the CFB Playoff):
12. Arizona Wildcats (4-6, 2-5)
Last Week: 6-34 (L) at Oregon
I cannot figure out why Kevin Sumlin is juggling quarterbacks. He finally started freshman Grant Gunnell but pulled him after a couple of unsuccessful series. Then he turned to senior Khalil Tate for two quarters only to go back to Grant Gunnell. It makes zero sense. This team looks like a disaster. There is no way they should be the worst team in the Pac-12.
If you are looking for a positive, the defense came into the game giving up 37ppg, but only surrendered 34. If would have been 38 if Oregon’s kicker could make a 20-yard field goal and an extra point.
11. Stanford Cardinal (4-6, 3-5)
Last Week: 22-49 (L) at Washington State
Yikes. It is going to take a Herculean effort for the Cardinal to make a bowl game. They have Cal and Notre Dame left on the schedule. Between Jim Harbaugh and David Shaw coaching, Stanford hasn’t missed a bowl since 2008. In fact, they haven’t even won less than eight games during that time. I’m finding it hard to find any other solution for what is going on at Stanford other than a crisis. The last two seasons have looked nothing like the Stanford we are used to watching.
Things are tough for a team when they end up with three different quarterbacks starting games in one season. But the defense and special teams haven’t been much better or more healthy. The sole focus of these next two games should be about figuring out the new direction for the offense because “Intelectual Brutality” is dead.
10. Colorado Buffaloes (4-6, 2-5)
Last Week: IDLE
The good news is Colorado snapped their five-game losing streak before their off week. The bad news is they stand two wins away from a bowl game with Washington and Utah on the schedule. I said it would take a Herculean effort for Stanford to make a bowl game. It would take an act of God for Colorado to make a bowl game.
9. Washington State Cougars (5-5, 2-5)
Last Week: 49-22 (W) vs Stanford
Mike Leach to Arkansas and Florida State rumors are in full force. It feels like this relationship is at the end of its rope. Could he be coaching his last two games in Pullman? If so, he will want to go out like a pirate; with a bang. He will be going for broke against Oregon State and the Apple Cup vs Washington. Be prepared to see onside kicks, going for it on 4th and long, and trying to run up the score.
Wazzu hasn’t been any better on defense since Tracy Claeys left the program. They are giving up over 450 yards and nearly 30 points per game. Either WSU or OSU will get bowl eligible this weekend, while the other will have an uphill battle in their final game.
8. Arizona State Sun Devils (5-5, 2-5)
Last Week: 34-35 (L) at Oregon State
What a terrible loss for the Sun Devils. I realize Oregon State is much improved this season, but losses to them still look bad (OSU lost to Hawaii). Herm Edwards’ team continues to fall apart. The only freshman quarterback to even have a season close to Jayden Daniels was Rudy Carpenter. It’s unfortunate his record-setting performances aren’t being rewarded with more victories.
The Arizona State defense that was the strength of this team early in the season is now a liability. Over the past three games, they are giving up 36ppg. It is extremely difficult to win games like that. Oregon comes to town this with, so their bowl game hopes will lie squarely on the Arizona game.
7. Cal Golden Bears (5-5, 2-5)
Last Week: 17-41 (L) vs USC
What in the world happened to Cal’s pass defense? USC’s receiving corps is really good, but damn, they went crazy. The Takers allowed 405 passing yards and 4 touchdowns. Not only did the defense make USC look like a top 10 team, but the offense also helped too. The Golden Bears only accumulated 263 yards of total offense.
As bad as this season has been for Cal since Chase Garbers got hurt they still can win seven games. After missing five games he returned to face USC but was injured again and his status remains in doubt.
6. UCLA Bruins (4-6, 4-3)
Last Week: 3-49 (L) at Utah
Chip Kelly had UCLA headed in the right direction until they ran into Utah. It seemed like the Bruins were going to keep the game competitive until Dorian Thompson-Robinson gave up a Jameis Winston like fumble-six.
There is no team in the Pac-12 that is purely momentum-based like UCLA. If things are going well, they can beat anyone outside the top three. But when things go badly, they have no ability to overcome adversity. Their 32-point comeback victory against Wazzu is a perfect example. They were awful until momentum shifted, then everything went in their favor.
5. Oregon State Beavers (5-5, 3-4)
Last Week: 35-34 (W) vs Arizona State
I still cannot believe Oregon State has been consistently in the top half of the Pac-12 Power Rankings for the last few weeks. Jonathan Smith deserves a lot of praise for changing the culture in Corvallis. His team shows up to games expecting to win, and not just hoping to him. They are now ranked between 6th and 8th in most meaningful offensive and defensive statistical categories. That consistency is what may have them headed to a bowl game with a win over Washington State.
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4. USC Trojans (7-4, 6-2)
Last Week: 41-17 (W) at Cal
USC got a new athletic director and Clay Helton’s team found some fight. Mike Bohn said good football coaches finish strong and he would re-evaluate Helton after this season. If the Trojans finish 8-4 with all their injuries there is a distinct possibility there may not be a coaching change. USC fans would be fighting mad, but how do you fire a coach that won his five out of his last six games with a couple in impressive fashion?
Kedon Slovis has proven that he is that man and JT Daniels needs to get in the transfer portal as soon as he is healthy because there is no way he gets his job back. Slovis just had another 400-yard, four-touchdown performance. He is still a true freshman, just getting started.
3. Washington Huskies (6-4, 3-4)
Last Week: IDLE
All Huskies fans want to do is finish strong. This is not the season they envisioned with Jacob Eason at quarterback, but 6-4 is where they are. A trip to Boulder to face the second-worst Pac-12 pass defense should spell success for the offense. While a trip to the Rose Bowl is off the table, there is still a lot to play for. At this moment the Huskies have the #1 recruiting class in the conference. So, they must keep up that momentum to ensure players don’t flip to other schools.
Washington is clearly the 3rd best team in the Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 13. However, it feels like a huge gap between UW and the top two teams.
2. Utah Utes (9-1, 6-1)
Last Week: 49-3 (W) vs UCLA
At this point, Utah is trying to embarrass every opponent they play. They have their foot on the gas and won’t let up. Their offense and defense are firing on all cylinders. Tyler Huntley is leading the way and may be having the best season of any Pac-12 quarterback. Kyle Whittingham’s defense doesn’t give anyone a chance to breathe. The defense has only given up 84 points in seven Pac-12 games.
Utah is the equivalent of Florida or Iowa, except they have a better offense.
Is Utah better than Oregon? I cannot wait to see the PAC-12 Championship game.
1. Oregon Ducks (9-1, 7-0)
Last Week: 34-6 (W) vs Arizona
The Ducks did not play their best football against Arizona but still did not allow a touchdown. Mario Cristobal has his team walking around like bullies. they just run through everyone and out physical them. Then Justin Herbert hits them over the head with big plays off play-action passes.
Both Utah and Oregon will need to remain dominant through the last two games is they hope to fend off Alabama for the final CFB playoff spot.
Check back every Monday for the next Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 13.