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Pac-12 Football Power Rankings: Post-Week Six

With another big win, Washington remains atop the conference.

NCAA Football: Portland State at Washington Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

1. Washington Huskies [6-0]

This Week: 70-21 Win At Oregon

Anything that Washington didn’t prove to the critics in their Week Five dismantling of Stanford was surely justified in Week Six, when the Huskies jumped out to a quick lead over the Ducks and simply never looked back. Head coach Chris Petersen sure has things rocking and rolling up in the Evergreen State. The hands-down favorite to now win the Pac-12, the balance of this Washington team (49.5 PF/G) and (14.2 PA/G) could be too much for any other team in the conference to handle. Beyond a Pac-12 title, this team should now be thinking about a potential birth in the College Football Playoff.

Last Week’s Ranking: #1 (NC) | Next Week: Bye

2. Utah Utes [5-1]

This Week: 36-23 Win Over Arizona

Last week, I wrote that Utah was a few poorly executed goal line plays away from being right behind Washington on this list and with another win by the Utes (and some reshuffling amongst the field), I think head coach Kyle Whittingham’s team rightfully deserves their spot. Although, Utah was extremely sloppy in their thirteen point win over Arizona, managing eleven penalties in the first half alone, the tough win revealed some of the true colors of this team’s ability to deal with adversity and overcome some ugly football. And they’ll have to continue to find ways to do that going forward, with even more chinks now in the armor. It was recently announced that running back Armand Shyne, the Utes leading rusher on the season, has been ruled out for the rest of the campaign due to injury. Another week, another hole to plug for Kyle Whittingham.

Last Week’s Ranking: #5 (+3) | Next Week: 10/15 at Oregon State [2-3]

3. Colorado Buffaloes [4-2]

This Week: 21-17 Loss At USC

The Buffs did a great job of sweeping the Beaver State in back-to-back weeks, scoring over 40 points in both games against Oregon and Oregon State, and propelling themselves into the national Top 25 poll. Then, came a daunting road trip to USC. To penalize Colorado for their first lackluster performance of the season is a bit extreme, considering they’re still tied for the lead atop the South Divison. Next week’s meeting with Arizona State should be a great indicator of this team’s true potential.

Last Week’s Ranking: #2 (-1) | Next Week: 10/15 vs. Arizona State [5-1]

4. USC Trojans [3-3]

This Week: 21-17 Win Over Colorado

USC could deserve a bit more praise, considering they’ve found ways past Arizona State and Colorado in the last two weeks, but I’m holding off until they show a bit more promise away from Los Angeles before believing in the hype. How they manage this week’s trip to Arizona could be huge. The Wildcats will be in desperate need of a win and the Trojans haven’t won away from home yet this season. Head coach Clay Helton has things finally headed in the right direction. Now it’s time to take the next step.

Last Week’s Ranking: #6 (+2) | Next Week: 10/15 at Arizona [2-4]

5. Arizona State Sun Devils [5-1]

This Week: 23-20 Win Over UCLA

Like USC, Arizona State is still a mystery on the road, as they struggled mightily in a tight win over UT-San Antonio early this year before losing to USC just a few weeks back. They’ll now get a chance to prove their worth this week, when they travel to Boulder to meet with Colorado. The Sun Devils kicked off the 2016 campaign as an offensive juggernaut (48.8 PF/G) through the first four weeks but have fallen off significantly in the past two game since then (21.5 PF/G), leaving some questions to still be answered. Which version of this Arizona State team will be on that field next week is the true mystery.

Last Week’s Ranking: #7 (+2) | Next Week: 10/15 at Colorado [4-2]

6. Washington St. Cougars [3-2]

This Week: 42-16 Win At Stanford

After starting the season with two tough losses to Eastern Washington and Boise State, head coach Mike Leach’s group has rebounded well with three straight wins over the likes of Idaho, Oregon and Stanford. It’s safe to say this Washington State team will be one of the enigmas of this conference all season long. The Cougars have looked to figure things out offensively, as they’re averaging just under 50 points per contest through their last three games, so it’s time for the defense now to continue to hold form. Washington State held Stanford playmaker Christian McCaffrey to just 40 yards of total offense in Week Six. The question now is, how will they contain UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen in Week Seven?

Last Week’s Ranking: #9 (+3) | Next Week: 10/15 vs. UCLA [3-3]

7. California Golden Bears [3-3]

This Week: 47-44 Loss At Oregon State

There was belief that California would figure out their road problems against a struggling Oregon State team but the Golden Bears got a taste of their own medicine when the Beavers clipped them in a shootout in Corvallis. For the first time in a long time, quarterback Davis Webb looked pedestrian, but if the Golden Bears can tally 317 rushing yards as a team and 44 points every week, they’ll probably be more than alright going forward. It’s just figuring out this California defense that’s the problem now. Allowing Oregon State to tally 474 yards through their own rushing attack isn’t bad, it’s downright embarrassing. California has to do better.

Last Week’s Ranking: #4 (-3) | Next Week: Bye

8. UCLA Bruins [3-3]

This Week: 23-20 Loss At Arizona State

Another roller coaster week to add to a chaotic season already for the Bruins, the preseason hype surrounding this group has faded into the blissful uncertainty of reality. Who knows what next week will look like for UCLA. Quarterback Josh Rosen was banged up in the Bruins three-point loss to Arizona State and Jim Mora has stated that he is “hopeful” that they’ll have Rosen back for this weekend’s trip to Pullman. And they’ll need him. Rosen has been the spark plug for highs and lows of this UCLA team all season long but his steadying play has been a favorable catalyst for this team lately.

Last Week’s Ranking: #8 (NC) | Next Week: 10/15 at Washington State [3-2]

9. Stanford Cardinal [3-2]

This Week: 42-16 Loss To Washington State

The free-fall continues for head coach David Shaw’s team, who after getting dismantled against Washington in a battle of then top-ten ranked teams, got similar treatment from their in-state counterparts in Washington State this week. It’s a good time to cross the Evergreen State off Shaw’s possible list of vacation spots. It’s easy to pinpoint the offensive struggles of this team, as they were slower to the party than the defense to start the season, but at the moment, it’s a group effort for the Cardinal in attaining this mediocrity. Getting off the West Coast and heading to meet a Notre Dame team with a similar track record could be a healthy change of scenery.

Last Week’s Ranking: #3 (-5) | Next Week: 10/15 at Notre Dame [2-4]

10. Arizona Wildcats [2-4]

This Week: 36-23 Loss At Utah

The meddle of this Arizona team continues to be tested by the week, as the Wildcats seem to keep hanging around but are never quite able to close the door. It’ll be interesting to see how long the “go down with the ship” mentality lasts before it starts upsetting things in the locker room. Arizona has a significant chance to “right the ship” with back-to-back home games against USC and Stanford in the next two weeks so the turnaround time for head coach Rich Rodriguez and company must be quick. It’s about putting four quarters of serious football together at this point for the Wildcats.

Last Week’s Ranking: #10 (NC) | Next Week: 10/15 vs. USC [3-3]

11. Oregon State Beavers [2-3]

This Week: 47-44 Win Over California

The surprise of Week Six in the Pac-12, Oregon State got their act together against California and to the delight of their fans, supporters, alumni, BTD, and others...finally got that long awaited conference win. Talk about getting back into the game in style. The Beavers demonstrated a prolific ground game, that if head coach Gary Andersen can simply get shades of every week, could turn this team into a problematic type of outfit in this conference, especially against some of the Pac-12’s weaker defenses. Oregon State has a marquee win over California now. Can they make it back-to-back stunners with a match-up against Utah upcoming?

Last Week’s Ranking: #12 (+1) | Next Week: 10/15 vs. Utah [5-1]

12. Oregon Ducks [2-4]

This Week: 70-21 Loss To Washington

It’s all been said already about just how downtrodden and confused this Oregon team has looked in the last couple weeks and how the overall scope of this program has gone from fading to all-out panic mode. But probably nobody in the media world has said it better than ESPN’s Kevin Gemmell, who in his version of Pac-12 Power Rankings this week, attributed just one old adage to the Ducks’ forecast. “The king is dead. Long live the king.” Classic.

Last Week’s Ranking: #11 (-1) | Next Week: Bye