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Pac-10 power rankings

10/27/2008

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

Sorting out the Pac-10 pecking order after nine weeks.

1. USC: The defense was completely dominant against Arizona, but the offense was lacking in a 17-10 win. If the Trojans have title game aspirations, they probably need to do more than just win -- they need to win big. With Washington coming to town, that's sure to happen.

2. Oregon: The Ducks leap over their bucktoothed neighbors due to a resounding domination of Arizona State that may have resolved the quarterback quandary with Jeremiah Masoli earning top billing over Justin Roper. Huge showdown at California on Saturday figures to eliminate at least one team from the Holiday Bowl hunt.

3. Oregon State: Now the Beavers, coming out of a bye week, get to play host to the wounded Sun Devils, who looked, er, marooned against the Ducks. OSU fans are eager to remind you that they alone now control their Pac-10 destiny -- win out, and the Beavers go to the Rose Bowl.

4. Arizona: Though this reasoning might not work in the Wildcats' locker room, there were a lot of positives to take from the 17-10 loss to USC. Hey, they scored as many points against USC as the potent Ducks and their defense put the clamps on the Trojans better than anyone has. The big question is the next step, and the Wildcats get some time to think about it. They have a bye, and then they'll pick up their sixth victory at Washington State on Nov. 8 and earn bowl eligibility.

5. California: California's solid win over UCLA signaled that the Bears will be in the fight for the long haul. And it helps that they've probably resolved their quarterback issues with Kevin Riley earning the starting job. With Oregon coming to town, a national ranking is likely at stake.

6. Stanford: Coming out of a bye week, Stanford will pick up its fifth win with Washington State coming to Palo Alto. Guess here is that the Cardinal might run for 300-plus yards with their power attack against the woeful Cougars. That will leave the Cardinal needing one more win to earn bowl eligibility with a rugged remaining schedule: at Oregon, USC and at Cal.

7. UCLA: One step forward, one step back. The Bruins need more consistency out of quarterback Kevin Craft and it's not certain that he will be able to give it to them this season. But what would really help is if the team could get healthy. This week's bye should help both issues, as coaches figure to give backup Chris Forcier another look.

8. Arizona State: Fair to say the Sun Devils are in full crisis mode. An ugly monochromatic uniform gimmick didn't work against Oregon, and it's unlikely a running game will suddenly appear in time to help the cause at Oregon State. Even reliable things like Rudy Carpenter and the defense faltered in the 54-20 drubbing at home. At least the Sun Devils have the state of Washington to look forward to on the schedule.

9. Washington: The Huskies seemed to wave a white flag on the season against Notre Dame. There was nothing encouraging in a performance that surely was galling for Tyrone Willingham. What's left to say? This is a terrible team showing little resolve that likely won't even raise its fists for a fight until the Apple Cup on Nov. 22.

10. Washington State: Washington State moved up this week -- from 11 to 10. Bye weeks are powerful things. The bad news is the Cougars have to play again on Saturday, this time losing at Stanford.