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Pac-12 Power Rankings: Week 8

Taking stock of the Pac-12 Conference after 8 weeks.

NCAA Football: Oregon at Stanford Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports
  1. Stanford (5-2, 4-1 conference) - Congratulations to the Cardinal, who have ascended to the top spot thanks to their skillful decision not to play football this week, and thus not embarrass themselves like some of the other top teams from last week. The Cardinal have looked really good since stumbling out of the gate, to the point where I’d consider them the favorite in the North, and if they hadn’t lost to San Diego State, they’d be a possible CFP contender. As it is, they’d need some help to get in, but it’s not impossible at the moment.
  2. Washington State (7-1, 4-1) - Gets the nod over Washington because they actually played this week. The Cougs still looked a bit sluggish in dispatching Colorado, but a win is a win, and they’ll get the ascendant Arizona Wildcats this week, which should help us learn if the ship is actually righted or not.
  3. Washington (6-1, 3-1) - Also made the smart decision not to play football this week, and now they’ll be coming off a bye, angry because their last game was an embarrassing loss, and oh look here comes UCLA to make all of your troubles go away. Thankfully this game is on national television so our sadness can be made public.
  4. Arizona State (4-3, 3-1) - Well, look who’s suddenly in the driver’s seat in the South! ASU has improved tremendously from the beginning of the season, but hosting USC this week will be the biggest test of whether the Sun Devils are legit or just lucky. We’ve been burned before.
  5. Arizona (5-2, 3-1) - Khalil Tate is making an argument for conference MVP, as he’s led the Wildcats to three straight wins while maintaining a passer rating over 190, and is averaging almost 14 YPC on the season. A win over Wazzu could make the Wildcats frontrunners in the division, which would be beyond the wildest imaginations of Arizona fans at the start of the year.
  6. Southern California (5-2, 3-1) - Wow, a USC team with tons of hype and a preseason Heisman winner fails to live up to that billing. This is completely shocking to me, and I can’t believe this is happening. In all seriousness, Clay Helton is going to be fired before Jim Mora, and it’s going to be the most frustrating thing.
  7. UC Berkeley (4-4, 1-4) - Lost a close game to Arizona, so they get the spot over a rapidly-fading Utah. With games against Colorado and Oregon State coming up next, they should get to bowl eligibility, which would be a huge accomplishment for Justin Wilcox’s first season.
  8. Utah (4-3, 1-3) - Well, I for one am shocked that, on his return from injury, Tyler Huntley looked completely lost against the first real defense he’s played against all year. This was always the scenario I envisioned for Utah: their offense will revert to the norm of letting their defense down in spectacular ways. At least Kyle Whittingham gets to keep his streak of never winning the Pac 12 South alive, yet still being considered one of the best coaches in the conference.
  9. UCLA (4-3, 2-2) - At this point, the last 4 spots feel pretty set in stone, barring some crazy run by one of the teams. UCLA has come out on top as kings of the trash pile, and to their credit, they still have the talent to absolutely jump one or more of their remaining opponents. But it’s getting harder and harder to find 2 wins on the remaining schedule. Pulling an upset in Seattle would definitely help the cause.
  10. Oregon (4-4, 1-4) - No starting QB, no chance at victory. The good news is that Willie Taggart will have options at QB next year. The bad news is that one of those options can’t throw the ball, and even teams that are challenged defensively like UCLA are able to clue in on that fact and are able to stop the Ducks offense.
  11. Colorado (4-4, 1-4) - This was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Buffs, but the bottom has absolutely dropped out, and suddenly Mike MacIntyre is going to go into next season trying to prove last year wasn’t an aberration. Not exactly what Colorado fans were expecting this year.
  12. Oregon State (1-6, 0-4) - The good news here is that the Oregon State players are getting to go outside and have plenty of exercise. I guess you could say the younger players are getting experience, but if those players aren’t very talented and are playing under an interim coach, does that experience really matter? These are the questions that keep me up at night.