Monday, November 21, 2011
Pac-12 power rankings: Week 13
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. USC: The Trojans broke all of those noted Oregon winning streaks -- including 21 in a row in Autzen Stadium -- so the team that can't win the conference now sits atop it.
2. Oregon: Hey, Oregon fans: Remember when losing just two games and going to the Rose Bowl was super awesome? Don't let the disappointment of one Saturday outweigh the ultimate trajectory of this program.
3. Stanford: The Cardinal took care of business against a game California squad. But Stanford -- and QB Andrew Luck -- doesn't look like the dominant crew it was at midseason. A visit from Notre Dame feels worrisome.
4. Utah: Utah is without question the team most deserving of a berth in the Pac-12 championship game among South Division contenders. While others have flopped, the Utes have won four in a row -- with their backup QB. If UCLA and Arizona State lose, then the Utes only need to beat Colorado to win the division.
5. UCLA: The Bruins continue to linger, and the efficient, confident play of late by QB Kevin Prince suggests that an upset of USC isn't implausible. So if the Bruins beat the Trojans, improve to 7-5 and win the South Division, will that be enough for coach Rick Neuheisel to survive into 2012?
6. Washington: The Huskies hit rock-bottom in a once promising season after losing at woeful Oregon State, making the Beavers' terrible offense look formidable. Coach Steve Sarkisian faces some tough questions about his highly paid and underperforming defensive coordinator Nick Holt.
7. California: The Bears fought at Stanford but ultimately will end up -- again -- as an afterthought in the Bay Area. Still, if the Bears win at Arizona State, their bowl prospects -- Sun? Las Vegas? -- appear pretty good.
8. Oregon State: Beavers fans, this has been a lousy year. But there's enough intriguing, youthful talent on this team to suggest a bounce back in 2012.
9. Arizona: It's been a horrible season, but it became just a bit less horrible with a win over rival Arizona State, which might have ended Sun Devils coach Dennis Erickson's tenure. But which program will have more buzz when it hires its next coach?
10. Arizona State: Erickson is a good football coach -- his legacy is intact. But things haven't worked out this season and during his tenure in Tempe. A month ago, this looked like a special year. Now it's only especially painful.
11. Washington State: Here's a vote for coach Paul Wulff being retained if the Cougars beat the Huskies in the Apple Cup and finish 5-7. This team is much improved and there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about another step forward in 2012. Upheaval might not be a great idea, unless athletic director Bill Moos has an A-list coach lined up.
12. Colorado: It's been a lost season for the Buffaloes in their first year of Pac-12 play. The rebuilding in Boulder won't be quick, painless or easy.