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Pac-12 power rankings: Week 12

11/14/2011

If you don't like where you are in the power rankings, play better.

See last week's power rankings here.

1. Oregon: The Ducks left no doubt against Stanford. Now can they play their way back into the national championship picture? A good start would be not suffering a home letdown against USC.

2. Stanford: Sure the disappointment hurts, Stanford fans, but let's not forget where you came from. Just think: depression over not going undefeated. And there's still a solid shot to earn an at-large berth from another BCS bowl game. But that only happens if you rebound and win out, starting with the Big Game.

3. USC: The Trojans seem to be peaking under coach Lane Kiffin. Beating Oregon in Eugene would give coach Lane Kiffin a marquee victory and the Trojans a shot at a 10-win season.

4. Washington: Nos. 4 through 9 were difficult to stack. The Huskies are coming off consecutive bad defeats, but those games were against Oregon and USC and they own a decisive win at Utah and beat California.

5. Utah: The Utes suffered decisive defeats at Arizona State and California, but they are ahead of those two teams here for two reasons: 1. They just pounded UCLA, which beat both of those teams; 2. They've won three games in a row, which only Oregon can also say.

6. California: Cal, winners of two in a row, seems to have found itself with a simple plan: Run the ball, play defense, don't ask too much out of quarterback Zach Maynard. Now will that work against Stanford?

7. UCLA: Not much good happened at Utah. Rick Neuheisel probably needs to win his next two games -- Colorado and USC -- to have a chance to return in 2012.

8. Arizona State: The Sun Devils once-promising season is suddenly swirling down the toilet. Losses to UCLA and Washington State? Of course, things could get worse, starting with a loss at home to reeling rival Arizona.

9. Washington State: The Cougars ended a five-game losing streak with a win over Arizona State with a brilliant performance from freshman quarterback Connor Halliday. Now can the Cougars pull another home upset against rising Utah and set up the Apple Cup stakes as bowl eligibility?

10. Colorado: The Buffs are on the board in the Pac-12! What was nice about the win over Arizona was that the Buffaloes didn't just stumble into it. They were in control on both sides of the ball.

11. Oregon State: When you can't run the ball or stop the run it isn't easy to become a good football team. And it's clear the Beavers aren't going to do that in 2011.

12. Arizona: It's been a miserable season, Wildcats. But it will be more miserable if you fail to show up at Arizona State and get embarrassed. Based on what we've seen from the Sun Devils of late, that is a winnable game.