Monday, October 10, 2011
Pac-12 power rankings: Week 7
By Ted Miller
If you don't like where you are in the power rankings, play better.
See last week's power rankings here.
1. Stanford: Stanford dominated; Andrew Luck was brilliant (skip). Stanford dominated; Andrew Luck was brilliant (skip). Stanford dominated; Andrew Luck was brilliant (skip).
2. Oregon: Is it just me or did few notice that Oregon pitched a second-half shutout against California? Sure, the defense gave up some yards -- 465 -- but holding the Bears to one touchdown and no second-half points is pretty tough. And that D will need to step up with running back LaMichael James out.
3. Arizona State: The Sun Devils were impressive at Utah -- who knew this roguish bunch could be the crafty, opportunistic team? -- but they can make a national statement at Oregon on Saturday. There's no hard-and-fast rule, by the way, that says the Pac-12 championship game must be played in the home stadium of the North team.
4. Washington: The Huskies are not good enough to overlook Colorado on Saturday while anticipating their Oct. 22 visit to Stanford. But that visit to The Farm could become a big moment in the Huskies return to national relevance. But Buffs first, Huskies, Buffs first.
5. USC: USC heads to California after an off-week for a Thursday night game on ESPN. It crushed the Bears 48-14 last year. It's had extra time to rest and prepare. And it had extra time to figure out what's wrong with the defense. Will the Trojans look sharp? Or are they due for an indifferent performance?
6. UCLA: Rumor has it Congress is trying to pass a law that says you can't say anything nice about Rick Neuheisel and his Bruins, but before it passes; Guess who's tied with USC for second in the South Division? And if you review the schedule, it's not hard to hang a "maybe" on this team, which is off until visiting Arizona on Oct. 20. Of course, with starting quarterback Richard Brehaut likely done for the season, Kevin Prince needs to bring his A-game consistently, not the F-game he showed against Texas.
7. California: After starting 3-0, the Bears have dropped two in a row. They have another ESPN showcase Thursday night against USC. They haven't beaten the Trojans since 2003. Anyone else think Cal is due for an impressive win that makes the Old Blues less blue?
8. Washington State: The loss to UCLA hurt. It was one of those games that Cougars fans counted on in their heads when they calculated a route to bowl eligibility. The home game with Stanford on Saturday was not.
9. Utah: It's hard to win without your starting quarterback. It's hard to win when you lose the turnover battle 10-1 over the past two weekends. And it's hard to win when you get outscored 46-14 in the second half of consecutive conference games. I do, however, wonder what might happen if the Utes do start protecting the football better.
10. Oregon State: The Beavers jumped all over Arizona, then yielded a big comeback, then struck decisive blows on both sides of the ball to capture victory No. 1. You can't ignore what Oregon State looked like to start the season, but if the Beavers manage to beat BYU at home on Saturday, well, it's not ridiculous to imagine them being 4-4 when they play host to Stanford on Nov. 5.
11. Colorado: The Buffaloes got a good look at what an elite Pac-12 team looks -- and feels -- like on Saturday. Something approximating Oklahoma, I'd imagine. The schedule ahead is brutal. Top WR Paul Richardson is out for a few weeks with a sprained knee. The secondary is a mess. About all the Buffs can do is keep sawing wood and hope things click into place.
12. Arizona: Our position for a long time has been that coach Mike Stoops has built up enough equity that it would take a complete disaster for him to lose his job. Well, the present trajectory of this season is a complete disaster. The losing streak to FBS foes was at least quasi-excusable when the opponents were elite; 0-4 Oregon State was not. There figures to be some soul-searching in Tucson this week.