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Monday, September 22, 2008
Pac-10 power rankings


Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

At this point, the only certainties here are USC and Washington State. The rest feels like a muddle.

1. USC: The Trojans had an off week and gained huge ground on the rest of the conference because Oregon and Arizona State went splat at home. The Trojans might need to be worried about how bad their conference looks.

2. Oregon: Think about this: the Ducks lose at home to a non-BCS team and have huge issues at QB, yet who else should be rated No. 2? Should California be promoted because it had an off-week following its loss at Maryland? Or should Arizona perk up because it beat UCLA a week after losing to New Mexico? Somebody's got to be No. 2, and the Ducks still seem to have the most fire-power.

3. California: By not playing, the Bears had a good week compared to most of the rest of the conference. We're choosing to believe the real Cal is the one that took care of Michigan State, not the one that looked feckless for three quarters at Maryland.

4. Arizona: The Wildcats certainly didn't look like a well-oiled machine while whipping UCLA, but that might actually mean something positive. Perhaps this squad took a first step toward learning how to win.

5. Arizona State: The Sun Devils, a week after losing to 23-point underdog UNLV, looked overmatched against Georgia, in large part because they couldn't run the ball worth a pooh. They figure to use an off-week to try to figure some things out. Of course, it would help if starting tailback Keegan Herring were healthy.

6. Stanford: Solid defense -- eight sacks -- and 23 unanswered points in the victory over San Jose State move the Cardinal up. RB Toby Gerhart returned to form, but the passing game still is lukewarm, at best.

7. Oregon State: The Beavers, off this weekend, will get first crack at USC on Thursday night. Enjoy.

8. UCLA: Got a feeling that UCLA will settle in down here. The Bruins have the unfortunate task of playing host to a very good Fresno State team this weekend, so the WAC figures to take another whack at the Pac.

9. Washington: This is a HUGE weekend for Washington and coach Tyrone Willingham. The Huskies had a bye week to get healthy, which also should have helped them forget the miserable first three games and get ready for Stanford, a team they beat a year ago and could beat again. But a loss at home to the Cardinal could be the last straw for Willingham.

10. Washington State: Even the great news of a dominant performance in a victory -- albeit over a FCS team, Portland State -- came with bad news, with the Cougars top-two QBs going down to injury. Moreover, backup Gary Rogers situation was scary at first: The fifth-year senior is now out for the season with a "stable cervical spine fracture," according to the Seattle Times, but the injury won't require surgery.