What a crazy week in the Pac-12. Betters everywhere probably lost a mint with all the upsets in week 10. Oregon State beat Colorado. Arizona destroyed Oregon. And Cal beat Washington without scoring an offensive touchdown. The Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 10 is based on three things: quality wins, schedule played, and dominance. The “eye test” and preseason rankings are not factored into the Unafraid Show’s rankings. I know some of you are used to the biased rankings, but you won’t find those here.
You can see last weeks rankings here.
Pac-12 Bowl Projections are after the rankings.
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12. Oregon State (2-6)
(W) 41-34 Colorado
I apologize to the Beavers. Last week I said, “The Beavers blew their last shot at a Pac-12 win in 2018.” I was wrong. Jonathan Smith inserted Jake Luton at quarterback after halftime, and he torched Colorado’s defense. I know that game is an outlier, but there is part of me that believes the Beavers can beat USC this week.
11. Colorado (5-3)
(L) 34-41 Oregon State
Oregon State is undoubtedly the worst defense in the Pac-12. Colorado lost a 21 point lead 3rd quarter lead Oregon State and ultimately lost the game. They were still without mid-season All American wide receiver Lavishka Shenault (toe), but there are no excuses for that loss. The Buffaloes have lost three straight games and will need a fantastic effort to get a win against Arizona.
If Mike MacIntyre can’t coach his team to a bowl game his seat will go from warm to scorching hot.
10. UCLA (2-6)
(L) 10-41 Utah
After winning two consecutive games UCLA ran into the Utah buzzsaw. It didn’t help that they were without their electric true freshman quarterback Dorian Thompson Robinson. We don’t know if he will be back this week against Oregon. Chip Kelly will likely pull out all the stops as he returns to Oregon for the first time as an opposing coach. Everyone in the stadium should be prepared for fireworks. UCLA has to believe they can win the game after they saw what Arizona did to Oregon. However, if DTR is not in the lineup, the Bruins don’t stand a chance of walking out of Autzen Stadium with a win.
I will be in attendance at this game and cannot wait.
9. USC (4-4)
(L) 34-38 Arizona State
It almost feels like Clay Helton is coaching on borrowed time. He has taken over playcalling duties for the Trojans. So, now there are no more excuses allowed for USC’s offense to struggle. They head to Corvallis Saturday to play the Beavers. I would say there is no chance USC loses this game, but Oregon State did beat Colorado last week. There is good news though. USC gets starting quarterback JT Daniels back from concussion protocol for this weeks’ game.
Fans are disappointed, and Athletic Director Lynn Swann may be painted into a corner. He may have to make a change at head coach on the tarmac at the airport (Lane Kiffin style) if the Trojans fall this weekend.
8. Arizona State (4-4)
(W) 38-34 USC
Arizona State had their most impressive offensive performance of the season against USC. N’Keal Harry showed up and showed out. He caught for a touchdown, returned a punt for a touchdown, and made one of the most difficult catches of the 2018 season.
Herm Edwards has his team sitting at 4-4, with a chance to win the Pac-12 South. The future is extremely bright for the Sun Devils. This week a red-hot Utah team comes to Tempe. Will they be able to continue the Pac-12 upsets and defeat the Utes?
7. Washington (6-3)
(L) 10-12 Cal
The Huskies are light years away from the team many people expected to compete for a national championship. Their defense has been the only thing keeping them in games. If not for stout defensive play this team would be 3-5 instead of 5-3. Washington’s offense is painful to watch. Jake Browning has been underwhelming. And the offense has been unable to dominate rushing the football whether Miles Gaskins is in the lineup or not.
Washington gets a chance to bounce back against Stanford. Chris Peterson will have his team prepared, and this will be a heavyweight title fight.
6. Cal (5-3)
(W) 12-10 Cal
If I told you Cal would beat Washington without scoring an offensive touchdown you would have called me a crazy fool. But, the Golden Bears did just that. The job Justin Wilcox and his staff have done with this defense is remarkable. They don’t have 4 and 5* athletes at every position, but they are well coached and play hard. Cal has the top-ranked defense against the pass in the Pac-12. However, they have to travel to Pullman to play the top passer in the nation, Gardner Minshew. Something has to give.
If Cal wins, they will be bowl eligible. That would be a huge accomplishment for the team to make a bowl game out of the most competitive division in college football.
5. Oregon (5-3)
(L) 15-44 Arizona
What on earth happened to the Ducks last week in Tucson? Oregon’s loss to Arizona would have been the most shocking result of the week had Colorado not lost a 21 point halftime lead to Oregon State.
Oregon’s offense has been virtually non-existent the first half of the last two weeks. They have punted nearly 15 times in two games. That is a far departure for the offense that was leading the conference in scoring. Coach Mario Cristobal and offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo need to right the ship this week against UCLA. The Ducks must run the football early and often so Justin Herbert can get open passing lanes for play-action passes.
The next 4 games are crucial to cementing Ducks fans trust in this coaching staff.
4. Arizona (4-5)
(W) 44-15 Oregon
The Pac-12 is insane. How else can you explain Arizona losing to UCLA in week 9, then beating Oregon badly the very next week? The Arizona defense had their most outstanding performance of the year against Oregon. They were fast and extremely physical which was a departure from the swiss cheese defense they displayed through their first eight games.
Now the biggest question is will the Wildcats return back to the team that earned a sub .500 record or have they turned a corner. This week they get Colorado on Friday night.
3. Stanford (5-3)
(L) 38-41 Washington State
David Shaw proved again why he is a great coach. Stanford had been unable to run the ball as effectively as they had in the past. Instead of continuing to beat his teams’ head against a wall, Shaw decided to throw the football a lot. Stanford was extremely successful throwing the ball against Washington State, which is one of the top pass defenses in the conference. KJ Costello threw the ball 43 times for 323 yards and four touchdowns.
Stanford is tough and consistent even in defeat.
2. Utah (6-2)
(W) 41-10 UCLA
The Utes are continuing to steamroll through Pac-12 opponents. They disposed of UCLA pretty easily at the Rose Bowl. Utah’s defense is one of the best in the nation. Zack Moss carried the Utah offense on his back. He finished with 211 rushing yards and three touchdowns. If Utah can run the ball this successfully, they will be tough to beat.
The recipe to beat the Utes is stopping their running game. SOmeone can force Tyler Huntley to throw the ball 30+ times he will throw a few interceptions.
1. Washington State (7-1)
(W) 41-38 Stanford
At this point, I am rooting for the Cougars to finish the season 12-1 including the Pac-12 Championship. The conference needs a representative in the College Football Championship and Washington State is the last hope. It is increasingly frustrating for Pac-12 fans to see the conference with the most parity to consistently be dismissed in conversation.
Mike Leach is an offensive genius, and it will be interesting to see his ‘Air Raid’ offense against the likes of Alabama and Clemson. Gardener Minshew is lighting up the stat sheet for nearly 400 passing yards per game. They will get a real test this week from the stingiest pass defense in the Pac-12.
This could be Leach’s last season in Pullman if the USC job or other top jobs become available.
Rose Bowl– Michigan vs. Washington State
Holiday– Iowa vs. Washington
San Francisco– Northwestern vs. Stanford
Sun– Boston College vs. Oregon
Alamo– Texas vs. Utah
Texas– Texas Tech vs. Colorado
Cheez-It– Baylor vs. USC
Las Vegas– Utah State vs. Arizona State