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Pac-12 Football Notebook: Week 8 Power Rankings & What To Watch For

We breakdown what’s next after the craziest weekend of upsets shook up the Pac-12 standings...

NCAA Football: Washington at Oregon Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

The crazy weekend of upsets finally arrived. With it came the fall of several top teams in the Pac-12.

So with the CFB season back to its scheduled craziness, what can you expect to see this week?

What to Watch For...

Who wants to go bowling?

We have hit the point in the season where teams can start qualifying for bowl contention. Now is as good of time as any to start discussing which teams will make bowl games in addition to where they will be going. With the magic bowl qualifying number of 6 wins, teams like the Ducks, Huskies, Cougs, and Buffs are all practically locks since they’re all currently sitting with 5 wins. Some other teams will be bigger question marks like Cal, ASU, and Arizona who each have 3.

NCAA Football: UCLA at California John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

No More Undefeated Teams...

This past weekend marked the fall of the last unbeaten team, Colorado. The Buffs were handled by the Trojans, which crushed the hope of an unbeaten team out of the Pac-12. Sure, Colorado was never a major threat for a CFP run, but it was certainly fun watching the Buffs’ time as the sole undefeated team. There is still hope at playoffs for the conference with Oregon’s surge, but you can probably rule out Colorado’s chances as more losses are probably coming with a brutal finish to the season.

... But No More Winless Teams!

As the last unbeaten fell, the last winless team arose from the depths of crappiness to join the winners in the light. That’s right, UCLA got it done and got a W this past weekend against a struggling Cal Bears team. We aren’t thrilled about seeing Chip Kelly win in anything, but a winless team does not look good on the conference.

NCAA Football: UCLA at California John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

Pac-12 Power Rankings

1. #12 Oregon Ducks (5-1 Overall, 2-1 Conference)

So this absolutely sucks to rank the Ducks here... but I am left with no choice. Oregon’s win over the Huskies has given them an edge in the Pac-12 North, and the entire conference. The Ducks offense didn’t light up the scoreboard, but it performed well enough to get the win. After wondering how Oregon would respond following the Stanford loss, they have bounced back with a resounding win to stay alive in the Pac-12 Championship, and the CFP.

Up Next: @ WSU

NCAA Football: Washington at Oregon Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

2. #15 Washington Huskies (5-2 Overall, 4-1 Conference)

UW dropped another contest, practically eliminating themselves from the CFP. The Huskies had been inconsistent throughout the year, and it finally snuck up on them against Oregon. Jake Browning turned in a decent game, but one can’t help but wonder if he doesn’t have the “it” factor in big games this season. Meanwhile, the normally outstanding Myles Gaskin turned in a pedestrian performance. Though the Huskies playoff hopes are essentially dead in the water, they still can make a run at the Pac-12 Championship with some help.

Up Next: Versus Colorado

3. #25 Washington State Cougars (5-1 Overall, 2-1 Conference)

Wazzu got a bye week in preparation for a showdown against the high-flying Ducks. The Cougs could take over the race for the North with a statement win this week. The Cougs have been flying under most radars in the large scale of College Football, but a win could put them and Gardner Minshew in the limelight of College Football.

Up Next: Versus Oregon

4. Utah Utes (4-2 Overall, 2-2 Conference)

Utah picked up their second straight win with a beatdown of Arizona. After stumbling at points in the season, the Utes have turned it on and are propelling themselves back into the Pac-12 South conversation. Tyler Huntley had a monster game last week, as he recorded 201 yards passing, 64 yards rushing, and 58 yards rushing with 4 total TDs. This historic performance by Huntley helped the Utes tally almost 500 yards offense. The Utes may have started slow, but they are quickly becoming a team to be reckoned with in the Pac-12.

Up Next: Versus USC

NCAA Football: Arizona at Utah Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

5. Stanford Cardinal (4-2 Overall, 2-1 Conference)

Stanford received a much-needed bye week after back-to-back embarrassments. The Cardinal will have to hope Bryce Love is ready to go, as Stanford has shown again and again that their offense is mediocre without him. As poorly as they’ve played, the Cardinal are still very much alive for the North, and I’d hate to be playing against David Shaw after a bye week.

Up Next: @ ASU

6. USC Trojans (4-2 Overall, 3-1 Conference)

The Trojans took down the undefeated Buffs in an upset that will look to shake up the south. JT Daniels was the most outstanding player on offense for USC, but the Trojan defense was undoubtedly the star of the game. They shut down a potent Colorado offense and gave the offense the chance they needed to win. A performance like this could give a young team like USC confidence, and that could be dangerous in a tight division in the south.

Up Next: @ Utah

NCAA Football: Colorado at Southern California Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

7. Colorado Buffaloes (5-1 Overall, 2-1 Conference)

Down went the last undefeated in the Pac-12 with Colorado’s loss. The Buffs could not get anything going from the start of the game, and stumbled to just over 250 total yards. The defense held up well against a young and athletic USC squad, but the offense just couldn’t respond at any point. The road doesn’t get any easier for Colorado, as they travel to U-Dub to take on the Huskies. If Colorado can’t pick up an upset win within the next few weeks, their once promising season could take a dark turn.

Up Next: @ Washington

8. Arizona State Sun Devils (3-3 Overall, 1-2 Conference)

Arizona State will be taking on Stanford in a Thursday night showdown. the Sun Devils have been a strange team, as they look dominant in some games, but struggle against weaker teams in other games. Perhaps this week’s match can help decide what sort of ASU team we’re dealing with. A win this Thursday could put ASU right back into the thick of things in the south. But a loss could send the Sun Devils plummeting.

Up Next: Versus Stanford

9. Arizona Wildcats (3-4 Overall, 2-2 Conference)

Just as quickly as Arizona recorded a quality win, they went and laid a dud of a game this past weekend against Utah. Sure, it didn’t help that Khalil Tate went down with an injury early in the game, but this was going to be a blowout from the get-go. Arizona is still a bad team and will fight the rest of the season for bowl eligibility.

Up Next: @ UCLA

10. California Golden Bears (3-3 Overall, 0-3 Conference)

Cal... Yikes. For the second week in a row, Cal suffered an embarrassing loss. This time, to lowly UCLA who didn’t have a win on the season until this game. Brandon McIlwain was downright awful in this game, and it could spark another QB controversy for Cal. For a team that was ranked a few short weeks ago, the season has taken a nasty turn for the Golden Bears. They will have to pull things together if they want to fight for bowl contention.

Up Next: @ Oregon State

11. UCLA Bruins (1-5 Overall, 1-2 Conference)

It finally happened. UCLA won a freakin’ game. RB Joshua Kelley was tremendous, and the defense forced 5 turnovers in the winning effort. The Kelly formula started to work this week. While UCLA still is not a good team, they gave fans a glimmer of hope into what the future could be.

Up Next: Versus Arizona

NCAA Football: UCLA at California John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

12. Oregon State Beavers (1-5 Overall, 0-3 Conference)

Well, the good news is that Oregon State didn’t lose this past weekend, but that’s because they were on a bye. The Beavs have put forward a mixed bag of a season at this point so far. The offense looks to be special with Jermar Jefferson leading the way. But the defense is downright horrible, probably the worst in the conference. Perhaps the bye week helped J-Smitty and Co. fix some issues. If Oregon State’s defense can play even slightly better, this team will have the opportunity to notch another couple of wins.

Up Next: Versus Cal

The season is humming along now, and there’s no stopping this series of articles. What will you be looking for this weekend? Agree or disagree with the new Power Rankings?

Sound off with your thoughts in the comments below!