Monday, November 11, 2013
Pac-12 Power Rankings: Week 11
By Ted Miller
If you don't like where you are in the Power Rankings, play better.
Click here for last week's Power Rankings.
1. Stanford: Whoops ... the Cardinal did it again, knocking Oregon out of the national championship picture and taking over the top spot in the North Division. Now the challenge is refocusing, because the visit to USC on Saturday with ESPN's "College GameDay" on hand is hardly a gimme, particularly with the way the Trojans are playing under Ed Orgeron.
2. Oregon: Ouch. Plenty of what-ifs, starting with: What if QB Marcus Mariota was 100 percent? But what-ifs only fuel Twitter. They don't change the standings. The question is how the Ducks respond against Utah, a solid team that has been suffering through its own what-if misery.
3. Arizona State: The Sun Devils showed grit with a fourth-quarter comeback win at Utah, which is obviously a tough out in Rice-Eccles (ask Stanford, UCLA and Oregon State). They still have a one-game lead in the South Division. They play host to Oregon State on Saturday, with the Beavers coming off a bye. Then comes the matchup at UCLA, which looms as the critical game in the division.
4. UCLA: If the Bruins are going to win the South, they will earn it. After outlasting Arizona on the road, they come home to host Washington in a rare Friday night game. Then Arizona State comes to town, and the season concludes at USC. It's a rugged four-game stretch that could return them to the nation's top 10. Or leave them at home for the Pac-12 title game on Dec. 7.
5. USC: USC is 4-1 under Ed Orgeron -- despite epidemic injuries -- and is bowl eligible. The Trojans now could (1) ruin Stanford's season, (2) ruin UCLA's season and (3) win the South and earn a shot at the Rose Bowl. That sounds like something to play for.
6. Washington: The good news is the Huskies earned bowl eligibility by waxing Colorado. The real news is the next three games, which will make or break the season. Win two of three versus UCLA, Oregon State and Washington State, and that gets the program over the seven-win hump. The alternatives aren't very good.
7. Arizona: The Wildcats had plenty of chances but couldn't make a decisive move against the Bruins. Their next two games, at home against Washington State and Oregon, won't impact the South race, other than potentially knock them out of it. Of course, the visit to their good friends in Tempe on Nov. 30 could prove very meaningful, even if it's just a matter of ruining things for the Sun Devils.
8. Oregon State: The swooning Beavers, coming off a bye after consecutive defeats, could right their season with a win at Arizona State. But the offense, once high-flying, needs to get back on track.
9. Utah: The Utes might be the best 4-5 team in the nation. Does that help, Utes? The Stanford win looks even better today, but it remains the only highlight of a 1-5 conference mark. The good news is the schedule eases up with a visit to Oregon on Saturday. Wait. Oh. Never mind. That doesn't sound like good news in the least.
10. Washington State: The Cougars, at 4-5, need to win two out of three to earn bowl eligibility. It's not beyond the realm of possibility, as none of the final three games look overwhelming: at Arizona, home for Utah and at Washington. But the Cougs need to look a lot better after the bye week than they did before it.
11. Colorado: The Buffs seemed to run out of gas at Washington. They need to re-engergize, and for now, they get a chance for a conference win with California coming to town. Getting that fourth victory and first Pac-12 notch would be something positive for Year 1 under Mike MacIntyre.
12. California: The Bears go to Colorado on Saturday with their best chance for a win over an FBS team this season. Lose in Boulder, and Sonny Dykes' debut season will go down as one of the worst in program history.