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Pac-12 Notebook: Week 15 Power Rankings

And then there were two...

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

After another fantastic season of football, we have reached the summit. This is it. For all the marbles. Utah - Yucks errr... Ducks.

One last game. A trip to Pasadena on the line, with possibly a trip to the CFP.

#12. Arizona Wildcats (4-8 Overall, 2-7 Conference)

Arizona gave the Sun Devils all that they could handle with a tight affair this past weekend. The Wildcats went in overmatched against ASU and still managed to out-gain the Sun Devils by over 50 yards. This weekend, Arizona finally settled on a single QB and rolled with Khalil Tate, and got back mixed results. Tate led the team in rushing and threw for two touchdowns, but also threw three interceptions and put ASU in position to take over the game. After a hot start on the season, UofA came crashing back to Earth and finished in the cellar of the Pac-12.

Next Opponent: N/A

#11. Stanford Cardinal (4-8 Overall, 3-6 Conference)

Stanford started out their game against Notre Dame scorching hot, at one point hitting a 17-7 lead against the ranked Irish squad. Davis Mills played as well as can be expected against the Irish, throwing for 276 and two touchdowns. However, the rushing offense barely topped 100 yards and provided little relief for Mills. Not to mention, the defense allowed 45 points to the Irish which thwarted the great Stanford start. Stanford was an insanely talented team to start the year, but was absolutely throttled by injuries that included their starting QB. For the first time in over 10 years, Stanford will not be bowling after what will go down as a lost season.

Next Opponent: N/A

#10. UCLA Bruins (4-8 Overall, 4-5 Conference)

The Bruins found themselves in a tough matchup against Cal this weekend, and ended up on the losing end of this scuffle in a 28-18 affair. Dorian Thompson-Robinson was unable to get much going the entire night, as he completed a mediocre 58% of his 39 passing attempts, and never received much help from his rushing attack. The defense, meanwhile, allowed a fairly weak Cal offense to post 412 total yards and nearly 200 rushing yards. Despite this loss and a four-win season, UCLA took substantial improvements in year two under Chip Kelly after a TERRIBLE start. DTR will be an essential building block for Chip Kelly and UCLA to hopefully push his team to bowl eligibility next season.

Next Opponent: N/A

#9. Colorado Buffaloes (5-7 Overall, 3-6 Conference)

There wasn’t a whole lot that went right for Colorado that went right in their match against Utah. The offense was overall stagnant and failed to eclipse 220 total yards on the day. Granted, Utah boasts one of the best defenses in the nation, but you should expect more fight from the team fighting for bowl eligibility. After a stunning upset against the Huskies last weekend, the Buffs find themselves barely missing out on bowl eligibility for the second consecutive season. Looking ahead to next year, departures of QB Steven Montez and star WR Leviska Shenault Jr. heading to the draft could spell that the Buffs will be seriously devoid of talent next season. They could be facing an uphill battle on the season from the get-go.

Next Opponent: N/A

#8. Cal Bears (7-5 Overall, 4-5 Conference)

Chase Garbers led the way for the Bears and helped pioneer Cal to a 28-18 victory over UCLA. Cal again demonstrated their solid defense and stifled the Bruin attack for much of the night. This allowed the offense to work without pressure and steadily put up points. The rushing attack for the Golden Bears really drove this team to a win this past weekend. Cal improved on last year’s win total and now have a chance to head to a bowl game such as the Sun Bowl or the Redbox Bowl.

Next Opponent: N/A

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 30 Cal at UCLA Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

#7. Oregon State Beavers (5-7 Overall, 4-5 Conference)

Gahhhh damnit, do I really have to talk about this game? (Editor’s note: Yes, he does.) Welp, the good news is that the Beavs hung tough with the Ducks. Despite Jake Luton missing the game, Tristan Gebbia played fairly well in his first career start against a tough opponent (he played as well as could be expected is what I’m saying). Despite the late game fumble, Jermar Jefferson also performed well and should not be put down for what happened at the end of the game. And finally, the defense played out of their minds and kept the game close for the offense until the very end. Holding Oregon to 365 total yards and 24 points, seven of which didn’t come until garbage time at the end, is an impressive feat. Overall, Oregon State exceeded all expectations this year. Jonathan Smith is building an impressive program and Beaver fans should be excited for the future of Oregon State football despite narrowly missing a bowl game this year.

Next Opponent: N/A

#6. Washington State Cougars (6-6 Overall, 3-6 Conference)

After hanging up over 50 points two weeks ago, Wazzu had a ton of momentum heading into the Apple Cup. With the Huskies reeling from an awful loss to Colorado, Wazzu had every opportunity to steal this win. What ended up happening was the Cougs came out and laid a dud of a game to finish their regular season. Anthony Gordon and the offense mustered just barely over 300 total yards of offense and 13 points. It’s also worth noting that turning the ball over three times does not help your case in trying to win. Still, the usually paltry defense of the Cougs only allowed 342 yards to the Huskies, and tried to keep their air-raid offense in the game. Although they finished their season in rough shape, the Cougs should expect a decent bowl turnout. We joke often on this site about the Cheez-It Bowl, but that realistically looks like the landing spot for the Cougs this postseason.

Next Opponent: N/A

#5. Arizona State Sun Devils (7-5 Overall, 4-5 Conference)

ASU found themselves in a slugfest against the Wildcats in the Territorial Cup this past weekend. The offense as a whole was out-gained by UofA by over 50 yards, but three turnovers helped the Sun Devils put away Arizona. RB Eno Benjamin was undoubtedly the biggest star of the game, as he rushed for 168 yards and two touchdowns. Eno came into this season as one of the top backs in the nation, and battled through injuries to get back to his form from last season. Still, ASU is starting to look healthy and is primed for an exciting postseason matchup. The future of ASU is looking bright with young, dynamic talent.

Next Opponent: N/A

#4. Washington Huskies (7-5 Overall, 4-5 Conference)

And now we arrive to our first coaching vacancy of the Pac-12, the Huskies. After a convincing Apple Cup win, Chris Petersen announced that he was stepping down as head coach of the Huskies. In his penultimate game as a Husky, Chrissy P helped the Huskies pound rival Wazzu to secure the Apple Cup, again. Jacob Eason was fantastic and showed the traits that NFL scouts crave in his dynamic arm talent. The Huskies will immediately embark to a bowl game and all NFL eyes will be on Eason. But the future following this bowl game for the Huskies is a bit muddy for the first time in a while. Petersen recruited incredibly well, so you have to wonder if his departure could disrupt some of his recruiting progress.

Next Opponent: N/A

#3. #22 USC Trojans (8-4 Overall, 7-2 Conference)

The Trojans wrapped up their season last week, but easily the biggest storyline coming out of LA this past weekend is Clay Helton’s departure... or maybe lack of departure... or maybe he was dismissed? I don’t know, this story has been insanely confusing to follow. However, our friends at Conquest Chronicles did a great job summarizing this Helton drama in a stellar article included here. Regardless of the coach (or lack thereof), USC will still be playing in a solid game. Their choices are looking most likely between the Alamo Bowl or the Holiday Bowl, which are both respectable bowls for the Trojans.

Next Opponent: N/A

NCAA Football: Arizona at Southern California Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

#2. #13 Oregon Ducks (10-2 Overall, 8-1 Conference)

Okay, hear me out; NO ONE EVEN LIKES DUCKS. Whatever, I’m not bitter over this weekend, just only a lot. Seriously though, the Ducks found themselves in a much tougher game than they bargained for with Oregon State. Justin Herbert had a pedestrian game this weekend but was bailed out by a stellar rushing attack from Oregon that accrued nearly 200 total rushing yards. Travis Dye led the way on this rushing attack with 91 yards on the ground. Ultimately, Oregon forced a late turnover and clinched the game against OSU. Now after a tough Civil War game, the Ducks road to the Rose Bowl does not get any easier as they face the class of the Pac-12 in Utah. Oregon has been one of the elites of this conference, but Utah and their elite defense will give the Ducks a challenge they have not seen all season long.

Next Opponent: @ #5 Utah (Santa Clara)

#1. #5 Utah Utes (11-1 Overall, 8-1 Conference)

Utah handled Colorado fairly easily this past weekend. The game started out closely, but the Utes defense quickly snuffed out any hope the Buffs had. This game proceeded to quickly turn into a hammering as the final score ended up as 45-15 in favor of the Utes. No one on Utah’s roster had a particularly stellar game, but everyone on offense was extremely efficient. Which honestly could summarize this team’s story this season; no flash, all smash. Utah now will try and wrap up an incredible season with a matchup against the Ducks in Santa Clara this weekend. With a win, the Utes worst case scenario is a trip to the Rose Bowl, while the best case could include a trip to the CFP. Needless to say, a lot is on the line for the Utes this weekend.

Next Opponent: vs #13 Oregon (Santa Clara)

NCAA Football: Colorado at Utah Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

With the final week coming up, please share your thoughts on the rankings as well as your thoughts on who will win between the Ducks and Utes this weekend.