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Monday, October 26, 2009
Pac-10 power rankings: Week 9

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

We have a new No. 1 (again!). Bigger question: Will the top spot be the same next week? Only other change is Stanford and Arizona State switching spots for obvious reasons.

1. Oregon: The Ducks went to Washington and pounded a team that beat USC. But that's not the only reason Oregon moved up. It looked like a better team on Saturday. Now, will that be the case Halloween night in Autzen Stadium?

2. USC: The Trojans struggled mightily to put away Oregon State, and the defense has looked plenty vulnerable the past two weekends. You may hear this a few times this week: USC has lost its last three games in the state of Oregon. That said, USC is still USC until the Trojans are officially kicked to the conference curb.

3. Arizona: The Wildcats are now good enough to win even when they play sloppy, though here's a guess coach Mike Stoops would prefer to not test that theory on a regular basis. He is probably happy that his defense stepped up against UCLA after getting shredded by Stanford.

4. Oregon State: The Beavers lost at USC but the impressive effort proved their legitimacy. Oregon State figures to be a few wins away from clawing its way into the national rankings -- perhaps if it can win at California on Nov. 7. Also, is it just me or did Sean Canfield throw his helmet into the suddenly deep "All-Conference Quarterback" ring?

5. California: Bears did what they were supposed to do: Beat Washington State easily. On the other hand, the pass defense look soft. Cal might be climbing again, but to get to the third spot, it's going to have to shore things up on D.

6. Stanford: Stanford is now one win from obtaining bowl-eligibility. That's the good news. The bad news is the remaining schedule: Oregon, at USC, Cal, Notre Dame. Still, with three of those games at home -- the Cardinal has lost only once inside  Stanford Stadium the past two seasons -- it's probably not wise to bet against them finding at least one more win.

7. Arizona State: The Sun Devils offense is mediocre to bad, but Stanford also made the previously stout defense look pedestrian on Saturday. Are there two wins over the final five games for the Sun Devils, which would earn them bowl eligibility?

8. Washington: The Huskies need to win three of their final four to get to six wins and become bowl eligibility. It won't be easy, but they've upset the apple cart of conventional thinking already a couple of times this season. See below for the linchpin game.

9. UCLA: There's not much comfort in four consecutive conference losses, quarterback issues and a suddenly inconsistent defense. But the schedule ahead is much easier than the schedule behind. If the Bruins can beat Washington at home on Nov. 7, they likely will play host to Arizona State on Nov. 21 with bowl eligibility on the line, perhaps for both teams.

10. Washington State: Cougars, we're not writing in a loss to UCLA on Nov. 14. In fact, that looks like the best opportunity for a Pac-10 win this season.