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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Pac-12 Power Rankings: Week 8

Garrett Schwartz |
October 25, 2015 | 9:15 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

(Charlie Magovern/Neon Tommy)
(Charlie Magovern/Neon Tommy)

Utah falls to the Trojans, and the Pac-12 Power Rankings sport its 4th different leader of the season. Despite moving into the second half of the college football season, the conference championship picture is far from clear. Without further ado:

1. Stanford (6-1; 5-0)

It was a long journey, but Stanford finally grabbed the ranking's top spot this week. The Cardinal is the only remaining unbeaten team in conference play, racking up an impressive sixth consecutive win on Saturday against the Washington Huskies. Stanford’s top-ranked offense is clicking on all cylinders, led this past weekend by a dazzling 300 all-purpose-yard performance from running back Christian McCaffrey. Stanford will look to solidify its spot atop the Pac-12 North against Washington St. next week.

2. Utah (6-1; 3-1)

Vegas was on point this past weekend after Utah's season took a "U-turn" against the unranked Trojans. Quarterback Travis Wilson threw more interceptions on Saturday (four) than he had all season (three), and a poor overall performance may have squandered the Ute’s playoff hopes.  Still, with only one conference loss, No. 13 Utah holds the ranking's second spot. The Utes will look to regain some lost confidence against a weak Oregon St. opponent next week. 

3. UCLA (5-2; 2-2)

The Bruins snapped a two-game skid with an impressive win over Cal on Thursday night, thanks to Josh Rosen’s record-breaking performance of 34 completions. UCLA’s injury-plagued season continued, however, as the Bruins lost running back Paul Perkins and linebacker Isaako Savaiinaea, their leading rusher and tackler respectively.  UCLA expects to make it two in a row against Colorado this upcoming Saturday.

4. USC (4-3; 2-2)

The true "Jekyll and Hyde" of the Pac-12, the Trojans have certainly had a roller coaster of a season. In their first game back at the Coliseum since a pitiful performance against Washington, USC took down the previously top-ranked Utes, and coach Clay Helton earned his first win at the Trojans' helm. USC will need to muster together consistent play in order to continue climbing the rankings. Making it two in a row against the struggling Golden Bears on Saturday would certainly be a start.  

5. Washington St. (5-2; 3-1)

The Cougars continue to quietly climb their way up from the basement of the rankings, posting impressive conference wins against Oregon and, on Saturday, Arizona. The Cougs’ offense continues to compensate for one of the conference’s worst defenses.  A win against the conference-leading Stanford next week could catapult the Cougars to the ranking’s top spot and give put them first in the Pac-12 North.

6. Cal (5-2; 2-2)

Two straight losses for the Golden Bears send them tumbling even further down the rankings. Unable to control the UCLA pass rush on Saturday, Cal’s offense was the cause of concern for the first time this season. The Golden Bears will host the Trojans next week in an important season-defining game for both squads.

7. Oregon (4-3; 2-2)

With quarterback Vernon Adams’ broken finger expected to be fully healed coming off a bye week, the Ducks look to put an end to the quackery that plagued the first half of their season. Oregon faces the Sun Devils next week, who are also coming off a bye with hopes of a stronger second half to the season.

8. ASU (4-3; 2-2)

Coming off a bye week, the Sun Devils will look to continue the success they’ve experienced in the latter part of the season. Other than a tough loss to Utah two weeks ago, ASU’s offense has really picked it up after their abysmal performance against USC. The Sun Devils should not have trouble continuing their offensive success this week at home against an Oregon team struggling to get stops. 

9. Washington (3-4; 1-3)

The Huskies have lost two straight since taking down their former coach at the Coliseum. Redshirt freshman quarterback K.J. Carta-Samuels started in place of the injured Jake Browning, and struggled in his debut. Browning’s status is in doubt for next week as well, and the Huskies will need their starting quarterback in order to get back on track and beat Arizona. 

10. Arizona (5-3; 2-3)

Just when it looked like the Wildcats finally figured things out, Washington St. torched Arizona on Saturday, exposing the team’s season-long defensive woes. Hope surrounding Arizona appears to be dwindling fast, especially after quarterback Anu Solomon left the game early with an injury for the second time this season. Unfortunately these ‘Cats don’t have too many lives left, so a win against Washington next week is a must.

11. Colorado (4-4; 1-3)

The Buffs snapped a 14-game conference-losing streak on Saturday, picking up a win on the road against the Beavers. Receiver Nelson Spruce is only four catches away from becoming the Pac-12’s all-time reception leader. A win against either UCLA or Stanford in the next two weeks would advance Colorado out of from the bottom of the rankings.

12. Oregon St. (2-4;0-4)

Coach Gary Anderson’s “new system” isn’t working for anyone in the Beaver’s quarterback-by-committee scheme. A loss at home to Colorado makes the Beavers the only remaining team without a conference win and deep in the trenches of the ranking’s bottom spot. Oregon St. shouldn’t expect to buck the trend anytime soon, with consecutive matchups against Utah and UCLA on the way. 

Contact Garrett Schwartz here and follow him on twitter @gschwartz95.



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