Husky Haul Power Rankings – Week 6

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This conference is really starting to look more top-heavy than even I expected. I seriously doubt the conference will be able to fill its bowl affiliations, especially with USC ineligible. I figured six teams would make bowls at the beginning of the year, but now I am thinking it might only be five. Clearly this is a conference of three top-ranked teams, a couple moderately good teams, and everyone else.

1.#5 Stanford- 48-7 win over Colorado (5-0 overall, 3-0 in Pac-12 North)- Every time I see Oregon dominate an opponent and I think about moving them up to #1, Stanford turns around and does the same to its opponent. I don’t know how a school with such strict academic standards (even for athletes) and absolutely no fan base can compete at such a high level, but to me I respect what the Cardinal are doing so much more than the shady Nike-style way its being done in Eugene. Next week the Cardinal get a chance to put the whoopin’ on a Pac-12 North opponent when they head to Pullman to play the Cougs.

2. #9 Oregon- 43-15 win over California (4-1 overall, 2-0 in Pac-12 North)- I had to laugh when all these tweets went out about a possible upset in Eugene when Cal was up 15-14 at halftime. There was no way the Golden Bears were going to pull the upset and as I tweeted back, the blowout was about to begin in the second half. Oregon just looks unstoppable and that game November 12th at Stanford is looking like it’ll be an epic. But, first Oregon needs to take care of business at home against #22 Arizona State.  The way things have gone this year, that may be their stiffest test outside of the Stanford game in conference play.

3. #22 Arizona State- 35-14 win at Utah (5-1 overall, 3-0 in Pac-12 South)- They really took care of business in Salt Lake City and are looking like the definitive Pac-12 South representative in the inaugrual Pac-12 Championship Game. Granted, they still have to play the big boys from the Pac-12 North, but so does everyone else. In addition, that close loss at Illinois is looking better and better as the Illini have moved to 6-0 on the season. The only question at this point is whether playing in the weak Pac-12 South will give ASU enough wins to end up hosting the championship game as the Pac-12 North beats up on each other in the next few weeks. We’ll soon find out what this team is really made of when they travel up to Eugene to play the Ducks next week.

4. Washington- Bye (4-1 overall, 2-0 in Pac-12 North)- Great week to be a Husky, if only because everyone got a week off to rest and prepare for Colorado coming to Husky Stadium this week. It’s also nice to revel in a 4-1 record and know Colorado is coming to town. The most important thing of course is getting Keith Price’s knees healthy and giving Nick Montana some valuable reps in practice. The coaches were able to hit the recruiting trail as well, which never hurts.

5. USC- Bye (4-1 overall, 2-1 in Pac-12 South)- Like the Huskies they had a bye this week. As you look at how the season is shaking out, USC’s record is looking a lot less impressive over time. They barely beat Utah at home and now Utah has lost two straight at home badly. They barely beat Minnesota at home in the opener and UM is now just 1-5 on the year. They barely beat Arizona at home and then the 1-4 Wildcats go up to Corvallis and lose to the Beavers? I’d move someone else ahead of them too, I just don’t know who…The Trojans have a chance to show if they are for real or if this 4-1 record is really a mirage when they travel to San Francisco on Thursday to play Cal, a team who has something to play for.

6. California- Lost 43-15 at Oregon (3-2 overall, 0-2 in Pac-12 North)- They made it interesting for one half at least in Eugene. But, apparently their defense forgot to remember how to tackle when the 2nd half rolled around. It’s been a tough few weeks for the Bears and it won’t be a heck of a lot easier when USC rolls into San Francisco for a big game on Thursday night on ESPN. A win in this one will keep their bowl hopes alive. Looking at how the season has evolved for USC, this is definitely a winnable one for the Bears.

7. UCLA- 28-25 win over Washington State (3-3 overall, 2-1 in Pac-12)- UCLA at #7? Sad I know, but that is how this season is shaking out. Despite losing Brehaut to a broken leg, Kevin Prince returned to QB duties and lead UCLA back from 8 down in the 4th quarter for the victory at home. I knew this was going to be a close one and it was. UCLA is amazingly in 2nd place in the Pac-12 South, just one game behind Arizona State and they will host the Sun Devils on November 5th. Man, it seems unlikely but, anything can happen. But, first they need to take care of business with a very winnable game at Arizona following a bye week to prepare.

8. Washington State- 31-27 win at Colorado (3-1 overall, 1-0 in Pac-12)- This was a game that gave the Cougs a chance to show if they were for real. They had their chances, up 8 in the 4th quarter on the road and with UCLA’s backup QB in the game. But, they were unable to put the Bruins away. Washington State is definitely much improved over the teams that were blown out every week the past few seasons. But, they are not quite all the way back yet. Next up Stanford rolls into Pullman. Hope the faithful on the Palouse are ready for the beat down at the hands of Andrew Luck.

9. Utah- 31-14 loss to Arizona State (2-3 overall, 0-3 Pac-12 South)- Maybe Utah is not nearly as good as I thought. A week after looking pretty mediocre at home against Washington, they got another chance at home against ASU and got dominated. When they lost that close one in Los Angeles against USC, I figured it was because they were good. Now I am thinking that maybe this means USC isn’t that good. Also, what does it say about BYU, sheesh… Now Utah hits the road for a strange mid-season non-conference road game against a 3-3 Big East team at Pittsburgh.

10. Oregon State- 37-27 win over Arizona (1-4 overall, 1-2 in Pac-12)- Oregon State looked decent last week in their road loss to a very good Sun Devil team and then they pulled it together for a nice home win over the reeling Arizona Wildcats. Sean Mannion showed why he is now the starter in Corvallis and I think he will have a nice future in the Pac-12. I knew Mike Reilly was too good of a coach to have the Beavers stay that bad all season. I told you this team could upset some people and I think they may have a chance for a few more. They have BYU coming to town this week for what is definitely a winnable game and if they get a roll the Wazzu Cougs better watch out the following week.

11. Colorado- Lost 48-7 to Stanford (1-4 overall, 0-1 in Pac-12)- Really? I know Stanford is really good and all, but Colorado was a team that had been showing signs of life this season until this debacle. Things are about to get a lot worse for the Buffaloes as well when they travel to Seattle to play a well-rested Husky team, followed by a home game against #9 Oregon, a road game against #22 Arizona State, and then a home game against USC. They may not win again for a month.

12. Arizona- 48-41 loss at USC (1-5 overall, 0-4 Pac-12)- I have to laugh at the Arizona fan who emailed me saying I was being unfair to the Wildcats and that they were going to challenge for the Pac-12 South title this year. Really? How about beating the winless Oregon State Beavers first? With this loss, I think we can officially put Arizona as the worst team in the Pac-12…at least this week. They are not necessarily the worst talent-wise, but clearly Coach Stoops is having trouble winning games. He should go back and get some training from his brother.