Monday, November 12, 2012
Pac-12 power rankings: Week 12
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. Oregon: With the Ducks' defense hit by an epidemic of injuries, it looked like California might muster a threat. Nope. And now we have to ask: Is RB Kenjon Barner Oregon's top Heisman candidate? Or is it QB Marcus Mariota? And now here comes Stanford with the Pac-12 North Division hanging in the balance, not to mention national title hopes.
2. Stanford: The Cardinal ground out a tough, gritty win over Oregon State, and now turn their attention to Oregon. The Ducks don't talk about injuries, but here's a guess Ducks injuries will be a hot topic this week among Stanford's offensive coaches.
3. Oregon State: The Beavers surely have plenty of "what ifs?" from their loss at Stanford, but there's still plenty to play for. The key this week? Getting over the disappointment and not overlooking California.
4. UCLA: It looked like the Bruins started thinking about USC's visit in the second half against Washington State, and it nearly cost them. No matter. The L.A. showdown is here. The stakes are high both practically -- the South Division crown, for one -- and emotionally. Managing all of the hype will be critical.
5. USC: The Trojans started slow but finished fast against Arizona State, and that suggested this team still has fight left in it. The immediate question is whether the Trojans, 50-zip winners over UCLA a year ago, can maintain their L.A. dominance. If so, they might get another shot at Oregon. Or at least a shot at the Rose Bowl.
6. Arizona: The Wildcats are bowl eligible, but are they satisfied? Utah comes to town on Saturday needing a win to get itself to a bowl game. Every win helps the Wildcats climb the Pac-12 pecking order, which means a better bowl game. First question: Will QB Matt Scott be back?
7. Washington: The Huskies' season is on an uptick after three consecutive victories. With a visit to Colorado and the Apple Cup against Washington State up next, a five-game winning streak to end the regular season seems perfectly reasonable to expect. Of course, both games are on the road, where the Huskies have struggled.
8. Arizona State: While a four-game losing streak suggests the Sun Devils are about where they were last year -- collapsing -- it's mostly a function of the schedule. And the effort has been consistent, unlike last year. But with Washington State coming to town on Saturday and then a visit to rival Arizona on Nov. 23 ahead, the season's measuring stick is clear: Win out and it's a successful season.
9. Utah: The Utes' season is simple: They need to win their final two games to become bowl eligible for a 10th consecutive year. Seeing that the finale is at woeful Colorado, that means the visit from Arizona will provide the measure of their second Pac-12 season.
10. California: Cal showed some fight for nearly three quarters against Oregon, but it wasn't enough. The Bears head to Oregon State with a 3-8 record. The singular question for the program is the fate of coach Jeff Tedford.
11. Washington State: It was a tough week for the Cougars, and things with former star receiver Marquess Wilson got even messier, but they showed some fight in the second half against UCLA. It would appear this team hasn't quit on new coach Mike Leach. But will that produce a win over the next two weeks at Arizona State and then in the Apple Cup against Washington?
12. Colorado: The Buffaloes are 120th (last) in the nation in scoring defense, yielding 47.20 points per game. They are 115th in scoring offense, getting 17.60 ppg. Sorry to bring that up.