2 weeks to go in the regular season, it’s wild to believe the end has almost come for our College Football Season.
But there is no time to slow down with our coverage, so let’s crank up the Power Rankings as the season winds down!
What to Watch For...
The Hot Seat Watch Begins
This past week marked the first Pac-12 coach to be released of his services. Colorado announced that at the end of this season, the school and the head coach, Mike McIntyre, would part ways. Though the hot stove is not nearly as excitable as last year’s you still have to wonder if anyone else is in danger of losing their jobs. Clay Helton is the next closest name to come to mind. If the Trojans miss out on bowl season, the axe may swing for Helton, next
The Collapse of the Year?
Now I don’t want to beat a dead horse here, but remember when Colorado started the year 5-0? That feels like years ago at this point. Colorado is on the verge of an impressive, yet laughable, milestone of missing out on bowl eligibility after the team started 5-0. To lose every single game after a scorching hot start is downright embarrassing considering how many chances there are to win in a conference as wacky as the Pac-12. Still, I almost feel bad for the Buffs, kinda.
Can They Do It?
We are so close to it that I don’t wanna jinx it, but I have to say something. Can Washington State finish this incredible run they have been on? They have 2 colossal match-ups against a hot Arizona team, and they close the season in the Apple Cup against in-state rival Washington. Not to mention, they will have to face the winner of the Pac-12 South, which is looking to be Arizona State or Utah at this point. Wazzu’s run has left them on the verge of the CFP, and even though winning out may not get them in, it still is fun to fantasize about Mike Leach trying to have a conversation with Nick Saban.
Pac-12 Power Rankings
1. #8 Washington State Cougars (9-1 Overall, 6-1 Conference)
This was surprisingly close up till halftime for Wazzu. Once the 4th quarter came around, the Cougs turned it on and pulled away. Gardner Minshew continues to play at a Heisman caliber level, which is turning the Cougs into a legit threat to get to the CFP. They’ve established themselves as the class of the Pac-12, but their biggest challenge will arguably be these next 3 weeks against Arizona, Washington, and the South champion if they can run to the Pac-12 Championship.
Up Next: Versus Arizona
2. #18 Washington Huskies (7-3 Overall, 6-2 Conference)
The Huskies received a bye week in preparation against the toughest team U-Dub will have all season, the Beavers. Ok, maybe I’m kidding (a little). Regardless, Washington needed this bye badly, as the offense has been anemic the past few weeks. Chris Petersen needs to sort out the mess of an offense if they hope to have any chance against the Cougs in a monumental Apple Cup game.
Up Next: Versus OSU
3. #19 Utah Utes (7-3 Overall, 5-3 Conference)
Just one week after most of us wrote of Utah because of their injuries, they found a way to stay alive, and tighten their hold on the South with a win over the Ducks. The defense wasn’t it’s normal self against Oregon, but the Utes got breakout performances from the backup RB, Armand Shyne, and backup QB Jason Shelley. The 2 players combined for over 400 yards of the Utes offense. If the Utes backup players can keep contributing, the Utes will still be a threat for the South, and the conference altogether
Up Next: @ Colorado
4. Arizona State Sun Devils (6-4 Overall, 4-3 Conference)
Eno Benjamin continues to be the next big star in the conference as he backpacked the Sun Devil offense in a narrow victory over UCLA. Arizona State found a way to pull out the victory, and now they are bowl eligible. Herm Edwards is pushing the right buttons right now, as ASU has won 3 consecutive games and very realistically could win out to end the season, too.
Up Next: @ Oregon
5. Stanford Cardinal (6-4 Overall, 4-3 Conference)
David Shaw has Stanford reaching bowl eligibility for what feels like the billionth year in a row after an easy win against Oregon State this past weekend. KJ Costello had himself a nice day at the QB position, but the real star of the day was TE Colby Parkinson, who reeled in 4 TDs and 166 yards. Oregon State simply could not defend the toss up to Stanford’s big playmakers. Stanford managed to do this with no JJ Arcega-Whiteside and a gimpy Bryce Love. There is still time and room for the Cardinal to go streaking and get themselves to a better bowl game.
Up Next: @ Cal
6. Oregon Ducks (6-4 Overall, 3-4 Conference)
The Ducks dropped another critical game against an injured Utes squad. This loss eliminates the Ducks already slim chances at representing the North in Santa Clara, so now they are fighting for a prestigious bowl game. Dillon Mitchell turned in a great game and continues to have a fantastic season for Oregon. Justin Herbert had a decent game, but has to be thinking a lot about the NFL draft with the way this season is going. Still, the Ducks can finish the season strong with games against ASU and the Beavs to wrap up the year.
Up Next: Versus ASU
7. Arizona Wildcats (5-5 Overall, 4-3 Conference)
The Wildcats were given a bye in order to prepare against arguably their toughest matchup of the year against Wazzu. Khalil Tate is looking like his old self, and JJ Taylor has carried the offense to create a seriously dangerous QB-RB tandem for the Wildcats. Regardless of how terribly the season started, the Wildcats will get 2 more cracks to get themselves to bowl eligibility.
Up Next: @ WSU
8. California Golden Bears (6-4 Overall, 3-4 Conference)
Cal snuck out a win against USC to get themselves bowl eligible this past weekend. In what turned out to be a game where there were no offensive standouts, on either side, the Cal defense rose up to the challenge and handed the Golden Bears a win. The Bears defense limited USC to under 300 total yards, forced 2 turnovers, and even forced a safety in the winning effort. Cal has ridden their defense all season long, but the offense will need to step up in order for Cal to have a chance against Stanford.
Up Next: Versus Stanford
9. USC Trojans (5-5 Overall, 4-4 Conference)
USC had a bad game. No way around it. The offense was horrendous, and continued to put their defense in bad spots all night. The defense actually played a stellar game, but the offense continues to be a hinderance. The efforts of this team have taken them to borderline elimination from the South race, and it has brought Clay Helton to the hot seat with the Trojan fanbase. Still, Clay Helton can buy himself more time if he gets to a bowl game, again.
Up Next: @ UCLA
10. UCLA Bruins (2-8 Overall, 2-5 Conference)
UCLA almost pulled off a mini upset against ASU this past weekend. QB Wilton Speight turned in a very good game that kept UCLA alive. Yet, the defense just could not hang with ASU. It’s been a long season for UCLA, but they will still have a chance to play spoiler, as they host USC and could ruin their rivals chances at going to a bowl game with a win this week (and a Notre Dame win the next week against USC, but that comes later).
Up Next: Versus USC
11. Colorado Buffaloes (5-5 Overall, 2-5 Conference)
Once again, Colorado just could not compete, and have found themselves on a 5 game skid, with a strong Utah team coming to town. Colorado’s abysmal collapse has also brought the Mike McIntyre era to a close, as Colorado announced they would be parting ways with Coach McIntyre at the end of this season. It is almost impressive how poorly Colorado had to play in order to be in danger of missing bowl eligibility after starting the season 5-0. Colorado will have to hope for an upset within the next 2 weekends, otherwise they will have thrown away what could’ve been a great season.
Up Next: Versus Utah
12. Oregon State Beavers (2-8 Overall, 1-6 Conference)
The Beavs were flat-out not good enough this weekend. It was evident that they were behind the ball, in terms of talent, and couldn’t keep up with Stanford. The offense may be a great strength of OSU, but the defense will continue to prevent them from being truly competitive. Yet, the season is not done, yet. OSU could pull off an upset within the next 2 weeks to give fans some optimism heading into next season.
Up Next: @ Washington
There it is.
Another Notebook in the books. With the season coming to a close, what do you want to see out of this article series? Agree or disagree with our rankings? Let your voice be heard below!