Pac 12 Football Power Rankings: Week Eight
Pac 12 Power Rankings: Week Eight
In week seven of the college football season there were not many surprising results from the Pac 12.
Stanford fell on the road at No. 7 Notre Dame after a controversial goal line call but was anyone really surprised at the final result? The Cardinal have been a tough team to figure out, especially on the road.
They struggle to score points on the road and they can lean on their defense all they want but in the end it often isn’t enough. Stanford has to be better on offense or else they won’t be able to stick around in the top 25 much longer.
As for the other teams it was status quo. The teams that were favored won and it set up week eight’s games perfectly.
Oregon State seemed primed to be upset after losing their starting quarterback to a knee injury and facing a tough road game at BYU. Kudos to Cody Vaz for stepping up and leading the Beavers to another win to keep them undefeated. He was put in a difficult situation but he got the job done and did what was needed to win.
Arizona State was not expected to lose to Colorado but some were thinking that they were looking ahead to their matchup this week. They got the job done and it sets up an intriguing battle between two up-tempo offenses. In the end defense will ultimately decide the winner.
At the half way point of the season Oregon is clearly the best team in the conference but the teams behind them still have chances to make their case.
Here’s how the teams look heading into week eight.
12. Colorado Buffaloes
It looked like they could possibly pull off the upset of the Sun Devils trailing 20-17 at halftime but giving up a TD on the second half kickoff return ended all hope for the Buffs. It's really the same theme each week for Colorado, defense keeps them in the game early but the offense does not offer any support and then the defense wears down.
Before it gets any better it may just get worse as Colorado enters the toughest stretch of games on their schedule (at USC, at Oregon, vs. Stanford).
11. Washington State Cougars
Although Washington State still lost in week seven they move up one spot due to their ability to better compete with the rest of the conference's teams.
Their offense continues to struggle and they are having a hard time solidifying their starting quarterback. That's something that they can do during their bye week but they can't spend too much time figuring that out because their upcoming schedule is no cake walk.
After the bye they travel to play Stanford then they have one more game on the road, at Utah, before they return home to take on UCLA. We'll see what type of adjustments Mike Leach makes during their week off because he has to do something in order to right the ship.
10. Utah Utes
The Utes find themselves in a familiar position in their second year in the Pac 12. After their first three conference games they have yet to notch a win. If anything they can say, "Hey, we've been here before and we can turn this thing around."
However, it's the same old issues for Utah as their quarterback play and offensive line have been woeful so far. Those issues won't get much time to be fixed as they head to Corvallis this weekend to play No. 8 Oregon State.
Year two is much of the same for Utah but I don't see them getting it together like they did towards the end of last season.
9. Cal Bears
Hey, hey Cal has won two games in a row and finally seem to be in a bit of a rhythm. Head coach Jeff Tedford's seat was scalding hot due to their awful start but after two W's it's cooled a bit.
QB Zach Maynard continues to be up and down but everyone saw from the UCLA game that if he gets it going he's tough to stop. What they have been able to rely on during their mini two game winning streak is their defense. Cal held UCLA and WSU to only 17 points and neither team was able to get into the endzone when it mattered most.
Defense is something that they hope continues to serve them well as they head into their rivalry game against Stanford this weekend.
8. Arizona Wildcats
Three tough games against ranked, inter-conference foes has put a damper on a great 3-0 start for Arizona. They now find themselves at 3-3 and at a crossroad in their season.
Will they let their three-game slide dictate the rest of their season or will we see them bounce back and finish the season strong? It's tough to tell which team will show up the rest of the season but they have a chance to finish strong with the toughest part of their schedule behind them.
This weekend they face another team at a crossroads in Washington so there will be a strong sense of urgency from both teams as they look to jump above .500.
7. Washington Huskies
Like Arizona, Washington can either go up or down from this point on and it all starts this weekend. What we know about the Huskies is that they are good but not an elite team in this conference.
Against LSU and the top teams in the Pac 12 they struggle and are not yet on their level. Yes they upset Stanford at home but the Cardinal have a tough time scoring any points on the road and they still only won by four.
They don't stand out at all on offense or defense, the Huskies just seem to be mediocre at this point. Of course if they want to change that perception they can start by playing better.
6. UCLA Bruins
After each of their two losses the Bruins have bounced back with solid performances. Granted they were against two of the bottom teams in the Pac 12, Colorado and Utah, but it still prevented losing streaks.
The mark of a good team is that they are able to bounce back from sub-par performances but the mark of a great team is their ability to play consistent. UCLA hasn't been able to be very consistent as they play well one week and then the next they fall on their face.
They have a bye this week so that's something they can stress and work on in practice. However, they will be keeping a close eye on the Oregon-Arizona State game on Thursday because ASU is their next opponent.
5. Arizona State Sun Devils
Arizona State is probably tired of hearing that they haven't played anybody tough yet this season but for the most part that's true. The only true test they've had so far this season is when they played at Missouri and that's their lone loss on the season.
Their Pac 12 conference games have not been much tougher as they've faced three of the bottom teams in the Pac 12 South but they did win those pretty handily. However, the Sun Devils can finally prove their mettle Thursday night as they host No. 3 Oregon.
If they can pull off the upset everything that was said about them will go out the window and they will finally be respected around the country. If they can't find a way to win then most of those same statements will be validated.
What will it be Sun Devils?
4. Stanford Cardinal
The Cardinal were about five inches short of upsetting another top ranked opponent but a controversial call prevented another signature win.
It's tough to pin point exactly how good or mediocre this team is due to their road struggles. They have a tough time scoring away from Palo Alto and it's cost them twice. Granted they almost upset Notre Dame but a lack of offense is still worrisome. It's something they need to fix and they have another chance to do it this weekend.
They travel to play their bitter rival Cal and if they aren't able to put many points on the board they can be prime for another upset and this one would hurt the most.
3. USC Trojans
It's hard to say that USC is quietly doing anything but it seems that way as they are continuing to win but under the radar.
Sure they are usually featured in prime time games on national TV but even when they win it's not flashy or noteworthy. Often it's by a respectable margin but they aren't blowing teams out of the water like many expected them to. Quietly they still find themselves ranked No. 10 in the nation but without all of the fan fare.
Maybe that's a good thing for the Trojans, maybe they can use it as motivation that everyone has pretty much written them off. With that said, if they do continue to win the chatter will return and USC will once again be thrust into the national conversation.
But for the time being I'm sure they don't mind a little quiet as they go about their winning ways.
2. Oregon State Beavers
Oregon State was perfectly set up to lose to BYU last week. Their starting quarterback was out due to a knee injury and people were doubting their ability to win without one of their main weapons.
Well, all of those people now have their foot in their mouths as the Beavers won on the road in a tough environment. QB Cody Vaz stepped in nicely and threw for over 300 yards and 3 TDs. His supporting cast came up big for him when he needed them to and Oregon State kept rolling and find themselves still undefeated and ranked No. 8 in the nation.
They have Utah at home this weekend but then the schedule picks up a little bit but by that time Vaz should be settled in.
1. Oregon Ducks
Oregon had an entire week off to prepare for their biggest challenge, up to this point at least, this season.
On Thursday night they travel to play upstart Arizona State and for the people that think they will be upset, they are dead wrong. No way does head coach Chip Kelly not have the perfect gameplan for ASU with almost two weeks to prepare for them.
The Ducks have the better team, the better players and the better coach. Sure ASU is hot right now and they have been playing well against inferior competition but this weekend Oregon will put them in their place.
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