The Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 7 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. Respect is earned, not given.
Take a peek at last week’s rankings here.
12. Oregon State (1-5)
(L) Washington State 37-56
I spent a lot of time deciding on #11-12 in the Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 7. How do you choose between a winless team who has played a solid schedule (UCLA) and a team that has only beaten Southern Utah (OSU)? Jermar Jefferson is the best thing the Beavers have going. The freshman has rushed for nearly 900 yards and 12 touchdowns through six games this season. The future for Oregon State is brighter than the present.
11. UCLA (0-5)
(L) Washington 24-31
If there were moral victories in sports, UCLA would have one for how they played against Washington. The Bruins had multiple opportunities to tie the game in the 4th quarter, but could not capitalize. Dorian Thompson-Robinson made some really good throws and showed flashes of future greatness. Another bright spot was UCLA’s ability to run the football at will against a typically stout Washington defense.
I 100% believe that the Bruins would beat the Beavers if they played this season. They have a chance to get their first win against Cal this weekend.
10. Cal (3-2)
(L) Arizona 17-24
If Brandon McIlwain can stop throwing the ball to the other team Cal will win some Pac-12 games. He looks to be Khalil Tate 2.0; a dynamic athlete at quarterback, but also has solid passing skills. If Justin Wilcox can get his young quarterback to take care of the football a bowl game is in their future. The Golden Bears defense has remained solid even into Pac-12 play. The Bruins head to Cal this week, which should be a very “winnable” game for both teams.
9. Arizona (3-3)
(W) Cal 24-17
Until Khalil Tate is fully healthy and can run the football, Arizona is not a real threat to the upper class of the Pac-12. The Wildcats need his legs to be as much of a threat as his arm. Last year Khalil Tate rushed for over 1,400 yards and 12 touchdowns. This year, Tate only has 110 rushing yards through 6 games. A Pac-12 South title is still in reach for Arizona. Utah comes to Tucson Friday for what is essentially a must-win for the Wildcats.
8. Arizona State (3-3)
(L) Colorado 21-28
Arizona State is sitting at a 3-3 record. It doesn’t feel like they are overachieving or underachieving. They seem to be in a perfect spot when measured against preseason expectations. They are struggling to get off the field defensively. The Sun Devils allow the most first downs per possession in the Pac-12. Also, Herm Edwards has to find a way to get his team to close out games. All three of their losses have come by seven points.
7. Stanford (4-2)
(L) Utah 21-40
How the mighty have fallen. Stanford was king of the Pac-12 Power Rankings for the first five weeks of the season. I’m not sure what is going on, but the “intellectual brutality”we had grown accustomed to has been conspicuously absent since the Oregon game. A BYE in week seven should allow the Cardinal ample opportunity to recalibrate and refocus. They must be perfect down the stretch if they want to win the Pac-12 North title.
6. Utah (3-2)
(W) Stanford 40-21
How on earth did Utah score 40 points on Stanford? Utah had not scored more than 24 points against FBS competition this season. The Utes offense is still underwhelming, but their defense did a great job of forcing four turnovers, which led to a lot of scoring opportunities. We will see if Utah can repeat their dynamic offensive and defensive performance this week against Arizona.
5. Washington State (5-1)
(W) Oregon State 56-37
There is no team that I am happier about their success than the Cougars. It would have been easy for them to mail the season in after Tyler Hilinski’s suicide. But, they have come out and fought hard and won games. Gardner Minshew has been so impressive at quarterback that he has drawn the eye of NFL scouts. He may have to put his coaching dreams on hold for NFL paychecks. They get a much-deserved BYE this week. Mike Leach knows the rest of the schedule will be tough as they have Stanford, Oregon, and Washington still on the schedule.
4. USC (3-2)
This week is the most important game of the season for USC. If they beat Colorado, the team has a shot to rekindle the energy and excitement of their 2016 Rose Bowl season. If they lose to Colorado, the Clay Helton boo-birds will be out in full force.
3. Colorado (5-0)
(W) Arizona State 28-21
We all keep waiting for Cinderella’s glass slipper to fall off, but the Buffaloes refuse to let it go! Steven Montez and crew keep putting up solid offensive performances. They rank third in the conference in percentage of possessions that end in touchdowns (36.4%). And their defense is one of the stingiest in the Pac-12. If you haven’t seen the Buffaloes electric wide receiver Laviska Shenault, don’t worry, you will see a ton of him Saturday versus USC.
2. Oregon (4-1)
The Ducks got a week off and who knows what they will have up their sleeves for Huskies week. Revenge has been on Oregon’s mind since being embarrassed in 2016 by Jake Browning and the Huskies at Autzen Stadium. This game is the most bitter rivalry in the conference besides UCLA vs. USC. The loser will be the subject of ridicule for an entire year.
After watching Washington play UCLA last week, we could have a new #1 team in the Pac-12 Power Rankings after the game. Huck the Fuskies!
1. Washington (5-1)
(W) UCLA 31-24
Washington continues to win football games. I am extremely concerned about how this team faired against UCLA. The Huskies may have looked past UCLA to next week’s date at Oregon. However, their usually very stout defense was porous against the Bruins. Jake Browning’s steady play at quarterback has made Washington tough to beat. He rarely makes mistakes, and give his team a chance to win every game, but won’t be a superhero. Browning is the Alex Smith of college quarterbacks.
It is Washington Huskies vs. Oregon Ducks this weekend. The winner of this game will have the inside track if the Pac-12 gets a spot in the College Football Playoffs.