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Pac-12 Notebook: Week 9 Power Rankings

The elite teams have separated themselves from the rest after a fun week 8 of college football...

NCAA Football: Oregon State at California Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

This writer owes you all an apology. I mistakenly wrote in last week’s rankings the CFP polls would start coming out this past week, where the first rankings actually won’t come out till November 5th. I made a mistake, but then again, I’m 24 years old and I don’t even remember what I had for breakfast. So, if anything, it’s a miracle I even write in coherent sentences. Whatever, the Beavs won, let’s get back to celebrating.

Okay, now that we’re past that, let’s get onto these rankings.

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

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

UCLA turned in their best game of the season on Friday night against the Cardinal with a solid 34-16 performance. Dorian Thompson-Robinson returned to the starting QB role and performed well. But it was Joshua Kelley that shined for the Bruins with a fantastic outing that included 176 yards on 18 touches. More impressively than the Bruins 34 points is the fact that they held Stanford to less than 200 total yards. This was a good win for Chip Kelly, one that he desperately needed.

Next Opponent: vs #24 ASU

#11. Stanford Cardinal (3-4 Overall, 2-3 Conference)

So KJ Costello didn’t make it back for Stanford, and neither did Davis Mills. So Stanford turned to their third string quarterback Jack West to try and get a win. It.... did not go so well for this third stringer. West had just 143 passing yards and a QBR of 8.4, that’s really, really, REALLY bad. The team was also unable to hit 50 yards rushing as a team. Needless to say, the offense did not show up. The defense also struggled and gave up 455 total yards against UCLA. Stanford has floundered for most of the season and is in serious danger of not making a bowl and will need to make adjustments fast if they want to keep postseason hopes alive.

Next Opponent: vs Arizona

#10. Colorado Buffaloes (3-4 Overall, 1-3 Conference)

Welp, make that two bad weeks in a row that Colorado did not have fun. After getting rolled by Oregon last week, they let Wazzu drop 41 more points on them this week. What’s strange is that the offense wasn’t horrible. They compiled 320 total yards with running back Alex Fontenot tallying 105 of those on the ground. Where things went badly is the three turnovers that helped the Buffs shoot themselves in the feet. That and letting the Cougs put up almost 500 yards doesn’t help your case much. After a good start to the season, Colorado is on the outside looking in for bowl eligibility as the season gets ready to head down the stretch.

Next Opponent: vs USC

#9. Cal Bears (4-3 Overall, 1-3 Conference)

Oh Cal, how far you have fallen. After breaking into the top 25 rankings, Cal has fallen off the wagon and has hit rock bottom after losing to Oregon State this past week. Losing Chase Garbers has seriously hindered the Bears fighting chance in each game. Devon Modster has proven that he is not ready to start and has held Cal back. The rushing offense was decent, and the defense was solid as usual. But Cal seriously needs to figure out it’s quarterback situation, as they are two wins from being bowl eligible and it would be a shame to let a great start go to waste.

Next Opponent: @ #12 Utah

#8. Oregon State Beavers (3-4 Overall, 2-2 Conference)

Ladies and gentlemen, the Beavs have climbed to the highest ranking ever in the history of this Pac-12 Notebook! And after a hard fought-win against Cal, they deserve this. This was not a pretty game and there were no stats that lit up the box score for the Beavs. But this was an ugly win, and that says something. Wins like these take serious grit, and that’s a trait we haven’t seen from the Beavs in years. Jonathan Smith has the Beavs future looking bright. Plus, the Beavs have an outside chance at bowl eligibility this season. There I said it. Go friggin Beavs.

Next Opponent: Bye

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

Remember that 4-1 start the Wildcats had? Well, they’ve also had a rude awakening since that start and have dropped two straight in two UGLY losses. The misfortunes continued with another beatdown at the hands of the Trojans. Arizona turned the ball over three times and gave up 448 total yards in the 14-41 loss. Things got so bad that Khalil Tate was benched in the third quarter for freshman Grant Gunnell, who then proceeded to put up the only two touchdowns on the day for Arizona. The last thing the Wildcats need is a QB dilemma. With two wins standing between them and bowl eligibility, they have to find a way to scrape past the six-win threshold.

Next Opponent: @ Stanford

#6. Washington State Cougars (4-3 Overall, 1-3 Conference)

The Cougs put together a complete win in their game against the Buffs. Anthony Gordon again lit up the scoreboard, but it was the Wazzu defense that was the biggest surprise of the game. They held a solid Colorado offense to just 10 points and turned the ball over thrice in the winning effort. The Cougs have been searching for a defensive game like this all season. If Wazzu can consistently put up quality outings like this, they have a chance to play spoiler for some teams down the stretch, such as their incoming matchup against the Ducks.

Next Opponent: @ #11 Oregon

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

#5. USC Trojans (4-3 Overall, 3-1 Conference)

Say what you will about USC losing their starting quarterback, but Kedon Slovis has proven that he has what it takes to lead the Trojans. Slovis and running back Kenan Christon led the way for a Trojan offense that hung up 41 points against a quality Wildcats team. In addition, the defense was lights out and forced three turnovers and a QB change for Arizona. USC is a legit threat to any team when they’re playing like this. Expect them to get to bowl eligibility sooner, rather than later.

Next Opponent: @ Colorado

#4. Washington Huskies (5-3 Overall, 2-3 Conference)

It’s just been one of those seasons for U-Dub. The Huskies played a really good game against Oregon this past weekend. Jacob Eason played quite well and Salvon Ahmed was a workhorse for the Huskies. It just so happens that they were playing an elite Ducks team that just narrowly edged out the Huskies. This was a close game that just as easily could’ve swung Washington’s way. This is still one of the top tier teams in the conference, but it’s just unfortunate that luck has not been on their side this season.

Next Opponent: Bye

#3. #24 Arizona State Sun Devils (5-2 Overall, 2-2 Conference)

After a great game against the Cougs, the Sun Devils laid an egg against Utah. The team AS A WHOLE compiled 136 total yards, and Eno Benjamin accounted for 104 of those yards. Jayden Daniels played downright awful, and the offense had nothing going all night. Part of this needs to be a credit to an elite Utes defense, but ASU needs to find a way to get the rock moving. The defense held the Utes to just 21 points and forced four turnovers, but they never got any support from the offense. The Sun Devils now hope that a travel to Pasadena can help remedy this loss.

Next Opponent: @ UCLA

#2. #12 Utah Utes (6-1 Overall, 3-1 Conference)

The Utes turned the ball over four times and still found a way to win convincingly. This a huge nod to the elite team that Kyle Whittingham has built. Zack Moss again served as the workhorse for Utah and broke the Utah career rushing record this past week in his efforts. Tyler Huntley was also extremely effective and gave the Utes a quality threat in the passing game to help take pressure of Moss. And the defense was lights at, as usual. It’s tough wins like these that separate the best from the rest. Taking down a ranked opponent in a gritty win will go a long way to building Utah’s resume.

Next Opponent: vs Cal

NCAA Football: Arizona State at Utah Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

#1. #11 Oregon Ducks (6-1 Overall, 4-0 Conference)

Another week of the Ducks at number one in the rankings. This may not be fun to write out, but gosh dammit they’ve earned this top spot. The win against the Huskies is an impressive one and it solidifies Oregon’s elite status in the conference this season. Justin Herbert played very well and led the way for the Ducks with four touchdowns. What’s also extremely impressive in Herbert’s last game is how he hit nine different receivers in the winning effort on Saturday. A sign that Herbert is understanding the system well and getting better as the season goes along, which is dangerous for the rest of the conference.

Next Opponent: vs WSU

A fun fact for this week to mix up the end of these power rankings! In the game between Cal and Oregon State, the Beavers and the Golden Bears both racked up the exact same amount of yards. 282 each, to be specific.

What are your thoughts on this power ranking? Should one team be higher? Lower? Let us know in the comments section!