The Pac-12 is still not decided yet. The south division is wide open, and the north is a two-team race. There are still four teams with a shot to win the south. The Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 11 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 (2-7)
(L) 21-38 USC
Oregon State returned to earth after beating Colorado the week before. The good news is they have a quarterback Jake Luton. The bad news is that Luton is a senior. They have a legit running back for the future in Jemar Jefferson who already has eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark as a freshman. Oregon State didn’t win one Pac-12 game last year, so this season should be seen as an improvement… right?
11. Colorado (5-4)
(L) 34-42 Arizona
The Buffaloes are spiraling out of control. Granted, they have been without their All-American wide receiver Lavishka Shenault. They started the season 5-0, but have dropped their last four against USC, Washington, Oregon State, and Arizona. Mike MacIntyre’s job will be in danger if Colorado drops their last three games against Washington State, Utah, and Cal. They have fallen from the top tier of the Pac-12 in rushing defense, rushing offense, 3rd down conversions, and sacks against.
10. UCLA (2-7)
(L) 21-42 Oregon
Their 2-7 record doesn’t show improvement, but when you see the Bruins play, it is clear their team is on the rise. They have found a running back in transfer Joshua Kelley. Their defense held Oregon’s offense in check for three quarters. The offensive line is blocking better and Chip Kelly is getting his college football playcalling legs back under him. At this point, the Bruins goal for the rest of the season should be getting one more win. A win against USC would make the entire season worth it.
9. USC (5-4)
(W) 38-21 Oregon State
USC had been inconsistent rushing the football all season but had their best rushing output of the season against Oregon State. Clay Helton called the plays, and the Trojans finished with 332 yards on the ground against the worst rushing defense in the Pac-12. Can USC keep up the momentum through the rest of the season? Cal brings the best pass defense in the conference to the Coliseum this week. USC cannot go to sleep in this game. If they do, Cal will beat them to sleep.
The USC faithful are trying to be patient, but everyone knows that losses to Cal, UCLA, and Notre Dame will take things to DEFCON 1.
8. Cal (5-4)
(L) 13-19 Washington State
Cal suffered a brutal loss against Washington State. Justin Wilcox has his team playing phenomenal defense, but his offense continually lets him down. They had an opportunity to go up on Wazzu late in the 4th quarter, but sophomore quarterback Brandon McIlwain threw an interception in the end zone. Cal switched quarterbacks like they were running backs all game. I’m not sure why they won’t just stick with Chase Garbers who is the better passer. If Cal can manage at least their 23 point season average, they will have a chance to get bowl eligible.
7. Stanford (5-4)
(L) 23-27 Washington
David Shaw’s teams are usually a shoo-in for 10 wins. The “intellectual brutality” is missing in 2018. Stanford is still averaging under 100 yards per game rushing, only scoring 26.1 ppg, and 11th in the conference in total offense. The combination of K.J. Costello to JJ Arcega-Whiteside was only good for one catch for 11 yards against Washington. Costello finished the game throwing for 347 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions.
Even with so many things going wrong in 2018 Stanford still has the opportunity to finish 8-4. Their last three games against Oregon State, Cal, and UCLA are all very winnable.
6. Utah (6-3)
(L) 20-38 Arizona State
Utah is in a bad spot right now. They were in control of their own destiny in the Pac-12 south and were just starting to get respect nationally. Then they lost their starting quarterback Tyler Huntley to a broken collarbone. The Utes backup quarterback Jason Shelley struggled to complete passes and move the football. Oregon makes their way to Salt Lake City this weekend. Only a fool would count the Utes out of this game because Oregon has struggled to take their game on the road.
5. Arizona State (5-4)
(W) 38-20 Utah
Herm Edwards has his team in prime position to get to a bowl game in year one. After back to back wins against USC and Utah the Sun Devils are in the driver’s seat in the Pac-12 south. N’Keal Harry torched the Utah secondary. He finished with nine catches for 161 yards and three touchdowns. This was the kind of monster game we had been waiting all season to see. Arizona State has moved up to 4th in the conference with 435 yards of total offense per game. Their last three games are against UCLA, Oregon, and Arizona. If they can keep up the scoring, they have a legit shot to make the Pac-12 title game.
4. Washington (7-3)
(W) 27-23 Stanford
Huge win for the Huskies. Their defense and running game fueled the victory. The defense forced three turnovers and only allowed Stanford 77 rushing yards. Jake Browning and the Washington offense has continued to be underwhelming this season, but they did get their running game going. Myles Gaskin returned to the lineup and rushed for 148 yards. Despite all the negatives, the Huskies are a win against Oregon State and Washington State away from a birth in the Pac-12 Championship game.
3. Oregon (6-3)
(W) 42-21 UCLA
Oregon got a much-needed win at home against UCLA. Their defense and special teams led the way. The score would fool you into believing the Ducks offense is back where it needs to be; it’s not. However, the Ducks did flash some big play ability again with a long run from Tony Brooks-James and a 67-yard touchdown pass from Herbert to Mitchell.
Oregon heads to Utah to face Utes on Saturday. Offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo will need to have his offense firing on all cylinders if they are going to put up points against the Pac-12’s best defense.
2. Arizona (5-5)
(W) 42-34 Colorado
The “eye test” and stats tell me that Arizona is a middle of the road Pac-12 team, but they just continue to win games. The results say Arizona is the second hottest team in the conference right now. I have no clue how they keep winning with one of the worst defenses in the conference. They are ranked 10th against the run, 9th against the pass, and 10th in total defense. Khalil Tate being nearly healthy is a significant difference maker for the Wildcats. His legs help him extend plays, but the magic happens when he passes the ball. Arizona wide receivers make more acrobatic catches and draw more pass interference penalties than any team in the Pac-12. They have a bye this week and will need one win at Washington State or against Arizona State to secure a bowl game.
I predicted Arizona would win the Pac-12 south, but I never fathomed it would look like this.
1. Washington State (8-1)
(W) 19-13 Cal
The Cougars are sitting at #8 in the College Football Playoffs. Something special is brewing in Pullman, Washington. Mike Leach has turned one of the worst college football teams into a playoff contender. No one expected their success after they lost their starting quarterback Tyler Hilinski to suicide during the offseason. However, graduate transfer Gardener Minshew II has shown up and thrown for nearly 400 yards per game.
If one of nations top defenses cannot stop the Cougars, they should be able to finish their Pac-12 schedule unscathed.
Rose Bowl– Ohio State vs. Washington State
Holiday– Iowa vs. Stanford
San Francisco– Northwestern vs. Utah
Sun– Boston College vs. Oregon
Alamo– Texas vs. Washington
Texas– Oklahoma State vs. Colorado
Independence– Duke vs. California
Cheez-It– Nevada vs. USC
Las Vegas– Utah State vs. Arizona State