Pac 12 Football Power Rankings: Week Seven

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Pac 12 Power Rankings: Week Seven

Stanford
Cary Edmundson- US PRESSWIRE

Are any of the Pac 12 teams currently where they thought they would be at the beginning of the season?

Out of all the teams in the conference I would say that probably only one team figured they would be where they are now at the start of the season and that's Oregon. They had to figure they would be undefeated at this point in the season, especially with the easy early schedule.

I doubt that even Oregon State knew they would be 4-0 heading into week seven. First of all, if they did think they would be undefeated they would at least think they were 5-0. Second of all, the start of their schedule was brutal with games against ranked opponents Wisconsin and UCLA. Finally, they had to figure that if they were undefeated they would have avoided any serious injuries. Well, that's no longer the case after QB Sean Mannion's injury.

As far as the other teams in the conference go, most of them have had their inconsistencies and would like to be better than they are now. But that's a moot point now because they can't change anything now. All they can do is try and get better moving forward.

Here is the Pac 12 football power rankings headed into week seven.

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12. Washington State Cougars

WSU
Jaime Valdez- US PRESSWIRE

All Washington State has to do to get out of the conference basement is win a game. So far they haven't been able to do that so here they stay.

For the second straight week they played a much better opponent closer than many thought but it's still not enough to move them up at all. There are no moral victories at this point in the season. It's either a win or a loss and all the Cougars have been able to do lately is the latter.

What I want to know is where is the high-flying offense that everyone expected? Is it just a matter of the Cougars not having talented enough players to run it correctly? I would say so.

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11. Colorado Buffaloes

Colorado
James Snook- US PRESSWIRE

Colorado had their first bye week since 2010 as they prepare for Arizona State. Even though it was a bye week the players might not have realized it.

They practiced in full pads most of last week but they were able to get away from the game as they were granted Friday and Saturday off. It was much needed for the Buffs as they were dealing with some nagging injuries and coming off a disappointing showing at home against UCLA. Each week seems like the same storyline for Colorado. Defense plays well for awhile, keeping the game close, but the offense doesn't put up any points and the defense can't hold and it turns into a rout.

Regardless, the Buffs play well in Thursday prime time games. They've won two straight, beating Stanford back in 1990 and most recently defeating No. 21 West Virginia in 2008. They are hoping to continue that trend against a Sun Devils team that may be looking past Colorado to their meeting next week with Oregon.

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10. Utah Utes

Utah
Russ Isabella- US PRESSWIRE

The Utes have reached a crossroads in their 2012 season.

They sit at 2-3 with games against UCLA and Oregon State coming in the next two weekends. If they drop both of those, even a bowl game may be out of the question. It's a far cry from where Utah was expected to be at the start of the season.

At this point Utah was supposed to be one of the contenders in the Pac 12 South but they currently find themselves in the basement at 0-2. Their defense hasn't played up to their standard and their offense isn't nearly good enough to carry them.

We'll see the true character of this team in the coming two weeks because their season is quickly slipping away unless they quickly turn it around.

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9. UCLA Bruins

UCLA
Bob Stanton- US PRESSWIRE

UCLA suffered a head-scratching loss to a struggling Cal team. Was it just an off week for the Bruins or is this a sign of something more?

Anytime a freshmen quarterback is under center a team can expect some bumps along the road and Brett Hundley experienced his first major one against the Bears. Four interceptions and bad reads threw him from his usual rhythm while the rest of the offense sputtered around him, fumbling twice. Going into the game UCLA had only turned the ball over once in their previous two contests.

They have a chance to bounce back against a Utah team that is licking their own wounds at an unexpected 2-3.

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8. Cal Bears

Cal
Bob Stanton- US PRESSWIRE

The surprise team of the week goes to Cal.

They went into their game against UCLA with only one win and head coach Jeff Tedford's seat was hotter than ever. Luckily, he was able to cool down his seat, at least for the moment. Cal dominated UCLA, forcing six turnovers and racking up almost 500 yards of total offense.

QB Zach Maynard had one of his best performances of his career in the win as he threw for 295 yards, 4 TDs and ran for one score. He had plenty of help from his defense as they continuously gave him the ball back and shut down UCLA's up-tempo attack.

Maybe this is the game that can turn their season around. Or it could just be a aberration.

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7. Arizona Wildcats

Arizona
Cary Edmundson- US PRESSWIRE

Arizona dropped their third straight contest but it was their second straight close loss against a ranked team. There is a silver lining there but like I said earlier when analyzing Washington State, there are no moral victories in a conference loss.

Bottom line is that the Wildcats are now 3-3 but their schedule softens a bit from here on out. Washington is next with USC right after but then they play some of the bottom teams in the conference. If they can maybe split those two games it can set them up nicely for the rest of the season.

Nobody said it was going to be easy for head coach Rich Rodriguez as he tries to rebuild the program. Now, If they can start winning these close games then his job can become a lot less stressful.

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6. Washington Huskies

Washington
Scott Olmos- US PRESSWIRE

As long as Washington isn't playing two of the better teams in the country then they look pretty good. Their two losses, LSU and Oregon, were pretty rough. They were able to upset Stanford at home but the Cardinal are not on the same level as the Tigers or the Ducks.

Against Oregon they were able to move the ball somewhat effectively but five turnovers was their ultimate downfall. Playing against a team of that caliber you have to play a perfect game to pull off the upset and the Huskies played far from it.

If Washington was looking for some relief they won't be getting it anytime soon. Their next three games are against No. 11 USC, at Arizona and against No. 10 Oregon State.

Talk about not getting thrown a bone. Sorry, had to have one bad joke in this slideshow.

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5. Arizona State Sun Devils

ASU
Matt Kartozian- US PRESSWIRE

I don't think that Arizona State is getting the respect they deserve. They are still missing that marque win that will snatch everyone's attention but they will continue to fly under the radar for at least another week.

A win over Colorado on national TV won't help their cause much. Beating one of the powerhouse programs, or even a ranked team is what they need to do and they will get their shot next week against Oregon. However, Colorado won't exactly be a pushover at home in prime time but logically they should not have a problem taking care of the Buffs.

Still there's a part of me that thinks the Sun Devils won't be totally there and they will struggle to put Colorado away. Regardless of what any coach or player says it's hard not to peek ahead to their showdown with the Ducks.

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4. Oregon State Beavers

OSU
Jaime Valdez- US PRESSWIRE

Despite winning last week I dropped the Beavers down a spot just because of their unclear future at QB. Having Sean Mannion go down with a knee injury throws a huge wrench into their season and it's tough to see them being the same team moving forward.

They throw the ball at will and are the eighth best team in the country averaging over 330 yards per game through the air. Mannion going down will force head coach Mike Riley to change things up a bit and it will just have to be something they overcome.

With that said, all is not lost as the injury isn't as serious as originally thought and their immediate schedule doesn't pose much of a threat. Games against BYU and Utah seem to be easy wins since both teams are having trouble scoring and the Oregon State defense is playing well.

Still, with how unpredictable the Pac 12 has already been this season it wouldn't surprise me if they do stumble in one of those games.

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3. USC Trojans

USC
Kirby Lee- US PRESSWIRE

There are still plenty of doubters out there when it comes to analyzing USC.

Sure they have depth issues and they struggle to protect Matt Barkley but I don't think they are suddenly as bad as everyone thinks they are now. They might not be able to beat a team like Oregon at this point but I don't really see them losing to anyone else. Besides, where was all of this doubting when they were the perennial national championship favorites?

A good test for my theory of not losing again to a team besides Oregon this season will come this weekend as they travel to take on Washington. It will be a tough road game and it will show everyone their true colors.

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2. Stanford Cardinal

Stanford
Cary Edmundson- US PRESSWIRE

Last week I had the Cardinal losing to Arizona as my upset pick and they almost made a truthful man out of me. They showed some backbone in their overtime win and proved to me that they weren't as fragile as I thought.

Stanford played a rough offensive game against Washington but were able to bounce back and put up big numbers against the Wildcats. Josh Nunes answered any questions about whether he should be the starting quarterback with his 360 yard 2 TD performance.

It gets a whole lot tougher this week as they travel to South Bend to battle No. 7 Notre Dame. Nunes will have to have just as good of a game to win and their running game will need to be effective like it was against Arizona.

Another signature win for the Cardinal will do wonders for their program and for the perception of the Pac 12 around the country. No pressure Stanford.

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1. Oregon Ducks

Oregon
Scott Olmos- US PRESSWIRE

Can't really say much else about Oregon that hasn't already been said before.

They win and they win big. The rest of their schedule poses some threats but I really don't see any team actually pulling off the upset. USC will be tough, Stanford will be another close battle and their Civil War game against the Beavers doesn't look as easy as it did at the beginning of the season.

With that said, the sneakiest threat they face in their near future may be a trip to take on Arizona State next week. The Sun Devils don't quite get the respect they deserve and that chip on their shoulder could prompt an upset.

Actually, who am I kidding? Just go ahead and add two more W's to their record as they head into their showdown with USC on November 3.

David LaRose is one of the featured College Football writers for Rant Sports covering the Pac 12 and the University of Colorado. You can follow him on Twitter or check out his Facebook page.

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