Monday, October 28, 2013
Pac-12 Power Rankings: Week 9
By Ted Miller
If you don't like where you are in the Power Rankings, play better.
See last week's Power Rankings.
1. Oregon: The Ducks have met all challenges with a dominant effort. No team has been able to end up within three touchdowns of them after four quarters. Can Stanford solve the Oregon riddle at home on Nov. 7?
2. Stanford: Stanford isn't as fancy-pants as Oregon. It doesn't win pretty. But, despite a slip at Utah, the Cardinal are clearly the No. 2 team in the Pac-12. Last year we typed the same just before they dispatched the No. 1 team, Oregon.
3. Arizona State: The Sun Devils had a week off to rest and figure out how to package the strong performances at home and bring them on the road. They'll test the efficacy of what they developed at Washington State, a team that is hungry to get bowl eligible. It's a Halloween showdown that might end up haunting one or the other.
4. UCLA: Just like Washington, the Bruins couldn't handle the Stanford-Oregon, back-to-back gauntlet. The good news for the Bruins is they get Colorado at home now, not Arizona State on the road. Still, the Bruins can't just show up and think things will be easy. That could lead to an embarrassing pratfall.
5. Oregon State: The Beavers' first loss since the opening disaster against Eastern Washington certainly was less painful. Or was it? The Beavers are going to watch Stanford game tape and they are going to have regrets over many, many missed opportunities. That goes for players and coaches, as Mike Riley noted after the game. No time to rest, though, as USC comes to town for a Friday showdown.
6. Washington: The Huskies healed in many areas against California, which is sort of the role the Bears have played this year. The offense -- QB Keith Price and RB Bishop Sankey -- put up huge numbers. Now they get a week off before playing host to Colorado. Then back-to-back road trips to UCLA and Oregon State, which will make or break the season.
7. USC: The Trojans, injury-ravaged though they are, played great defense against Utah, though the Utes had their own injury woes. They need two more wins on a 13-game schedule to become bowl eligible. Up next is a dreaded visit to Corvallis, where USC's fortunes have not been great in recent years.
8. Arizona: The Wildcats are operating under the radar, in large part due to their schedule. They will try to become bowl eligible at Cal this weekend. Then, however, the road tilts a bit uphill: UCLA, Washington State, Oregon and at Arizona State. We'll shortly find out if this is a six/seven-win team or an eight/nine-win team.
9. Washington State: The Cougars were off this week, just like their opponent on Halloween, Arizona State. They need to win two of their final four games to become bowl eligible. Wonder if Mike Leach has any special tricks or treats for the Sun Devils?
10. Utah: The win over Stanford was satisfying, but the bottom line is the Utes, after starting 0-4 in Pac-12 play the previous two years, are now 1-4 in conference play. The obvious key to turning things around? Getting QB Travis Wilson healthy and back to form, so it's a good time for a bye week. The visit from Arizona State on Nov. 9 has the potential to be a telling game for both teams.
11. Colorado: The Buffs put up a good fight against Arizona, but they were unable to get key stops on defense. Things don't get any easier, with back-to-back road trips to UCLA and Washington coming up.
12. California: The story wasn't much different against Washington. Will it be any different with a visit from Arizona? It feels like the Bears' best, perhaps only, shot at a conference win will be at Colorado on Nov. 16.