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Monday, October 6, 2008
Pac-10 power rankings


Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

Sorting out the Pac-10 pecking order after six weeks:

1. USC: The Trojans reasserted their dominance with a blowout win over Oregon. The question remaining is can they play to their potential every week? And, if so, will that get them back to the national title game? Up next: Arizona State

2. California: The quarterback switch worked in that Nate Longshore led the Bears to a key conference victory over Arizona State. But the Bears' offense is still looking to find its rhythm. Fortunately for them, the defense is catching on. Up next: A bye week.

3. Oregon: For a quarter and a half, the Ducks looked like every bit the Trojans' match. Then the deluge. The defensive scheme puts a lot of pressure on the secondary, and the Ducks' defensive backs couldn't match up with the USC receivers. Up next: UCLA.

4. Oregon State: The Beavers beat Utah. And then they didn't. For all the good things they've shown this season, including the red-letter win over USC, they presently sit at 2-3. Up next: Washington State.

5. Arizona: Every game is important for a team scrambling to earn its bona fides, but the Wildcats' biggest game of the year may be Saturday at Stanford. A fifth win with six games remaining would virtually guarantee bowl eligibility -- Washington State is still on the slate -- but a loss means the Wildcats head into the toughest part of their schedule with a lot of work left.

6. Arizona State: The Sun Devils, at 2-3, are starting to look like a team that belongs in the bottom half of the conference pecking order, and they will be if Rudy Carpenter's sprained ankle sidelines him.

7. Stanford: Stanford, now 3-3, enters a critical run for its bowl hopes with three winnable games ahead: Arizona, at UCLA and Washington State. Those three games will either separate the Cardinal from the bottom third of the conference or again relegate them to it.

8. UCLA: Can the Bruins win on the road? If they want to move up they must, because four of the next six are on the road, starting at Oregon on Saturday.

9. Washington: Washington finally gets some good news: It's not playing this weekend. Any hopes that new quarterback Ronnie Fouch would create a Cinderella story for the Huskies and embattled coach Tyrone Willingham evaporated quickly in the desert last weekend.

10. Washington State: If there was something positive to take from the 28-3 loss to UCLA, it's that the Cougars looked competitive through the first quarter. They figure to run into a fairly grumpy bunch of Beavers at Oregon State on Saturday.