Monday, November 9, 2009
Pac-10 power rankings: Week 11
By ESPN.com staff
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
Just a few tweaks this week. Stanford and California and UCLA and Washington switch places.
1. Oregon: The reason media sorts talk about "let-down" games is because they happen so often. Give Stanford credit. That was an impressive offensive display against a team that knows a thing or two about impressive offensive displays. But it's not that difficult to conclude again this week that Oregon, still alone in first place, should remain atop the conference pecking order.
2. USC: In terms of perception, USC's stock didn't improve with the win at Arizona State. In terms of reality, the Trojans are still a legitimate threat to at least share their eighth consecutive conference crown. By the way, USC lost to Washington and Oregon. Stanford beat Washington and Oregon. It's fair to say that the Trojans won't be able to beat Stanford without their A-game. Where, oh where, has it gone?
3. Arizona: It's all there for Arizona: Win out and the Wildcats will earn their first Rose Bowl berth. Ever. The path is arduous. But few things of value in this world are easy to obtain. First order: Win at California.
4. Oregon State: Don't call it a comeback! The Beavers have been here for years. Four actually. Doing this whole second-half surge thing. The challenge will be not looking ahead past consecutive games with the Washington schools at the Civil War with Oregon, which could have huge stakes.
5. Stanford: If Stanford beats USC on Saturday, how should it land in the power rankings of Nov. 15? No. 2, even though the Cardinal lost to Arizona and Oregon State? Or No. 1 -- seeing that victories over the top-two would then be secure? Hey, look -- head-to-head vs. body of work -- it's back! Feel free to argue below. I still haven't decided.
6. California: Wow. The misery in the mailbag among Cal fans is palpable. How has this happened? Sometimes the pieces don't fit together. Sometimes the pieces look shiny but aren't as fine as they appear. Sometimes bad things happen to good teams. At this point, it's anyone's guess, but the Bears are one of this season's big disappointments. Still, if they hold serve at home vs. Arizona, they can salvage a degree of success this season.
7. Arizona State: The Sun Devils are this year's close-but-no-cigar -- or, more accurately, bowl game -- team. You see hints of potential, particularly on defense. But the defining win that swings the season in a positive direction just hasn't been manufactured.
8. UCLA: The Bruins proved their resiliency with a comeback victory over Washington after losing starting quarterback Kevin Prince to a concussion. If they maintain that resiliency, the reward is likely a bowl invitation at season's end. And you know what? 6-6 is about where this team should finish, based on its personnel and youth at key positions.
9. Washington: The difference in the 2008 Huskies and the 2009 Huskies is huge. Better in all aspects. But the Huskies of 2008 went 0-12 for more reasons than poor leadership at the top. A few injuries here, an immobile Jake Locker there, and the wins stop coming. The most important contests ahead -- other than taking care of woebegone rival Washington State -- will be on the recruiting fields.
10. Washington State: Another week, another tough loss in which the Cougars never really had a chance. Talk of future hope may ring hollow at this point. It's clear that the pressure is building for Paul Wulff and his staff to inspire dramatic improvement in 2010.