Week 10 Pac 12 Power Rankings
Week 10 Pac 12 Power Rankings
The Pac 12 season is hitting the home stretch and contenders are starting to separate themselves from the pretenders. This week, teams took care of business with no upsets taking place and the premier teams in the conference flexing their muscle while teams in the cellar continue to struggle to build something positive out of the 2013 season.
The Oregon Ducks and Stanford Cardinal put together strong performances against ranked opponents and kept their marquee showdown on November 9 in Palo Alto on track. Both teams remain positioned to be a factor in the BCS National Championship race and their matchup on The Farm will have far-reaching implications not only for the Pac 12 title but also for the national title in Pasadena. With Oregon’s offense running on all cylinders and the Stanford defense flexing its muscle in the last two weeks, expect an epic showdown.
On the other side of the conference, the UCLA Bruins suffered their second-straight loss and find themselves chasing in the Pac 12 South. The Arizona State Sun Devils moved into the top spot in the division while on a bye thanks the Bruins’ rough two-week road trip against both Stanford and Oregon. The Arizona Wildcats and USC Trojans also got into the thick of the division race with wins this weekend and sit in a three-way tie in second place with UCLA behind ASU.
Elsewhere, the Washington Huskies got back on the winning track against the Cal Bears after a rough three-game losing streak and are now one win away from bowl eligibility. The Oregon State Beavers suffered their first set-back in Pac 12 play, but must rebound quickly to avoid slipping further down the Pac 12 standings. Meanwhile, the Colorado Buffaloes continue looking for their first conference win of the season and the Washington State Cougars used their bye to heal up a bit.
All in all, it was a week in the Pac 12 that felt pretty “normal” with things working out the way you’d expect. With that said, let’s count down the top teams in the Pac 12 heading into Week 10.
12. Cal Bears (1-7, 0-5 Pac 12)
Another week, another man-handling for the Cal defense. The Bears didn't have much of a shot in this one, surrendering 642 yards of offense to UW, as they were trailing big pretty much the entire day. Their performance against the run, allowing 262 yards, is particularly troubling with Arizona coming to town next week with the No. 2 rushing attack in the Pac 12. A rough season only looks to get rougher down the stretch.
11. Colorado Buffaloes (3-4, 0-4 Pac 12)
Another "good job, good effort" out of Colorado who hung tough for most of the first half before Arizona pulled away. The Buffs have been more successful and competitive than last season but haven't been able to translate that into wins against conference opponents. Their matchup with Cal on November 16 will be a pride game for each school to try and salvage something positive out of this conference season.
10. Utah Utes (4-4, 1-4 Pac 12)
The win over Stanford was a nice moment for the Utes but they have not been able to sustain that momentum against the rest of the conference. Travis Wilson is struggling with his health and it's showing in the production on offense. They need to get healthy on their bye to make a competitive run in the final month of the season.
9. Washington State Cougars (4-4, 2-3 Pac 12)
With a week off, Mike Leach is likely trying to scheme something up for their Halloween night contest against ASU in Pullman. The Cougs are still stuck just two wins away from bowl eligibility but have lost three of their last four with nothing but tough games left on the schedule. They'll need to pull off a couple of upsets in November if they hope to get bowl eligible.
8. USC Trojans (5-3, 2-2 Pac 12)
It wasn't pretty, but USC leaned on their defense to get a comfortable win over Utah. The Trojans' offense continues to look lost at times and managed just one touchdown on the day but the defense has shown up multiple times this season to get his team to the cusp of bowl eligibility and right in the mix of the Pac 12 South race. They're a long-shot to make the conference title game but if their offense wakes up, who knows what will happen?
7. Arizona Wildcats (5-2, 2-2 Pac 12)
Thanks to a little bit of balance, the Arizona offense is looking very strong right now. While the level of competition hasn't been great, the Wildcats are rounding into form heading into the final month of the season with Ka'Deem Carey breaking off huge runs every game and B.J. Denker starting to find his rhythm in the passing game. They are a game back of ASU for the Pac 12 South division crown and will have every opportunity to get it done down the stretch with games against both UCLA and ASU on the schedule.
6. Washington Huskies (5-3, 2-3 Pac 12)
Nothing gets you right quite like a game against the Cal defense. UW took advantage of the matchup and bounced back from their three-game losing streak in a major way. Bishop Sankey rebounded from his rough night against ASU with a career-high 241 yards rushing with a pair of touchdowns. They'll need the boost of confidence from this game with a pair of tough road trips coming up at the end of the season as the Huskies try and finally break past that seven-win ceiling.
5. Oregon State Beavers (6-2, 4-1 Pac 12)
Oregon State took on the best defense they've faced all season long and watched their offense miss on some major opportunities to make a statement. Sean Mannion couldn't break the game open over the top and was forced to dink and dunk all night long as he was held to a season-low 271 yards with just one touchdown but the Beavers were in a position to tie it up in the final minute. While they came up just short against the Cardinal this time, they'll need to bounce back in a hurry with a tough month to close out the season.
4. UCLA Bruins (5-2, 2-2 Pac 12)
Back-to-back games on the road in Palo Alto and Eugene would be a tough stretch for anyone. After getting knocked around by Stanford last week, UCLA came out firing against Oregon and held the Ducks to just 14 points to go into the break all tied up. But the Bruins ran out of gas in the second half as the Ducks opened up the game on them and Jim Mora now has to try and find some answers in the even he sees Stanford or Oregon again in the Pac 12 title game. First things first, however, they need to reclaim the top spot in the south.
3. Arizona State Sun Devils (5-2, 3-1 Pac 12)
The Sun Devils had the week off and ended up moving up in the standings this week. After UCLA took a tumble in Eugene, ASU moved into first place in the Pac 12 South all by themselves. They still have to beat UCLA down the line to punch their ticket to the conference title game for sure, probably, but the Devils have the inside track for now.
2. Stanford Cardinal (7-1, 5-1 Pac 12)
This is the Stanford team we all remember. The Cardinal have answered the call in the last two weeks and played some of the best defense of the season in shutting down some of the hottest offenses in the conference. This time, they stifled the Beavers' passing attack by applying relentless pressure, resulting in eight sacks, while the running game controlled the pace. Kevin Hogan needs to bring a bit more to the passing game after completing just 8 of 18 passes on Saturday, but the identity of the Cardinal has been restored in time for their showdown with Oregon.
1. Oregon Ducks (8-0, 5-0 Pac 12)
Oregon faced another test this weekend and came up with all of the answers. After getting bottled up for the first half by UCLA, Mark Helfrich found the winning combination in the second half as the Ducks pulled away with 28-unanswered second half points to win in a blowout. The running game was unstoppable once they got rolling, racking up 325 yards rushing, including 133 from Byron Marshall. But the real stars of the game might be on defense after completely shutting down the Bruins' offense in the second half. With a defense to match their offense, Oregon just might be unstoppable.