Husky Haul Power Rankings – Week 7


The cream is certainly rising to the top of the Pac-12. At this stage I think we can group the Pac-12 into three distinct groups. There are the contenders (five teams have five wins or better), there are the pretenders (four teams are all 3-3 overall), and there are the bottom dwellers (three teams are 1-5 or worse). But, the big boys have not yet had to play each other, except for the Oregon-Arizona State game this week. That begins to change soon when the Pac-12 North teams start playing each other.

1. #9 Oregon- 41-27 win over Arizona State (5-1 overall, 3-0 in Pac-12 North)- OK, I now have to admit that Oregon is the best team in the Pac-12. They have played a more difficult schedule than Stanford has and they take care of their business with ease. It is scary how good of a second half team they are. They seem to toy with opponents in the first half, just to see what they will throw at the Ducks and then their halftime adjustments just destroy the opposition. Their D clamps down and their offense takes off. I am not sure Oregon will lose another game this year, but clearly that game against Stanford will be big. In the meantime, they can get some rest with an easy game in Boulder next week.

2.#5 Stanford- 44-14 win at Washington State (6-0 overall, 4-0 in Pac-12 North)- Another easy day for the Cardinal. They may not have put up as many points as quickly as they normally do, but they never were seriously challenged by the Cougs. While the score was just 10-7 at halftime in Pullman, there was just a feeling the blowout would ensue in the 2nd half, and that it did. Stanford completely shut down Jeff Tuel’s passing attack and held the Cougs’ rushing attack to just 48 yards. But, as impressive as Stanford has been thus far, in reality their schedule has been pretty easy to this stage. In fact, they have not yet played a team who currently has a winning record. So, now comes their first marquee matchup of the season when they host the 5-1 Washington Huskies. Let’s see what this team is really made of.

3. #24 Washington- 53-24 win over Colorado (5-1 overall, 3-0 in Pac-12 North)- Wow…Do I need to say more? The offense continues to roll behind Keith Price’s incredible efficiency, the experienced and talented wide reciever corps, and the great running by Chris Polk and company. But, what makes this even more satisfying is the continued improvement of the defense. Now comes the big boys. The real progress of the Huskies will be measured with a huge game at #7 Stanford. This will be exciting!

4. #25 Arizona State- 35-14 loss at Oregon (5-2 overall, 3-1 in Pac-12 South)- I give credit to Arizona State going into Auzten Stadium, not being intimidated, and giving Oregon a game. They outplayed the Ducks in the first half and certainly had their chances in the second half as well. But, they were unable to deal with the offensive adjustments Oregon made (even when Darron Thomas got hurt) and Oregon took control mid-way through the 3rd quarter. The Sun Devils are a good team who will still likely end up in the Pac-12 Championship game. They may even get a chance at a rematch against the Ducks. Now they get a week off to rest and plan before heading over to Boulder for an easy game against Colorado.

5. USC- 30-9 win at California (5-1 overall, 3-1 in Pac-12 South)- USC is such a schizophrenic team. Some of their wins are so unimpressive and then they just turn it on against Cal on the road. Their offense wasn’t overly impressive, but their defense that had been taken advantage of all season completely stuffed the Bears. Obviously Cal gifted them some of that as well. But, impressive or not this team keeps winning games. What this means to me is that USC is going to be back when probation is over. Now comes their annual big game with Notre Dame, this year in South Bend. Unfortunately, they’ll be without RB Marc Tyler who dislocated his shoulder in this game.

6. UCLA- Bye (3-3 overall, 2-1 in Pac-12)- Can you believe UCLA is in the hunt for the Pac-12 South title at the same time Rick Neuheisel is on the “hot seat”? So goes the Pac-12 South I guess. Can you believe they are ranked #6 this week? So goes the top-heavy Pac-12 overall. UCLA had this week off to practice and plan for their very important game at Arizona this week. Win and they might just be bowl bound. Lose and Rick might not have a job on the following Monday.

7a. California- Lost 30-9 to USC (3-3 overall, 0-3 in Pac-12 North)- Cal, Cal, Cal…I never know what to do with this team. Sometimes they look pretty good and then when they have a chance to make a statement they collapse. They had a big home game against USC and all they seemed to do was throw away their opportunities. If this team hopes to play in a bowl game, then they really need to win this upcoming game against Utah.

7b. Utah- 26-14 win at Pittsburgh (3-3 overall, 0-3 Pac-12 South)- In what was a good situation for the Pac-12’s overall reputation, the Utes were able to go on the road and beat Pittsburgh of the Big East. In what is a good situation for Utah, they were able to stop the bleeding and get their season back on track. At 3-3, this is a team that is definitely still in a position to go to a bowl. This is especially true in that their last 6 Pac-12 games are all very winnable. They lucked out and do not play either Oregon or Stanford this year. They have a chance to begin a late season roll with a big game against Cal this week.

9. Washington State- 44-14 loss to Stanford (3-3 overall, 1-2 in Pac-12)- Yeah, this was pretty predictable, but still. This was a home game and if this team was going to be anything but transitioning from very bad to just bad, you would have hoped they could have kept it a little closer. Looking at their remaining schedule, they have three almost certain losses and three winnable games left. Thus, if they have any hopes of making it to 6-6 to make a bowl game they absolutely have to beat Oregon State at home this week.

10. Oregon State-  38-28 Loss to BYU (1-5 overall, 1-2 in Pac-12 North)- Back to old times for the Beavers. With a chance to begin their season turnaround, they were unable to contain BYU’s offense at their home stadium. Sean Mannion continues to show his tremendous potential by throwing for 308 yards, but continues to make freshmen mistakes with his 8th and 9th interceptions of the year. Now they head off to Pullman to play what will be a very motivated Washington State team hoping to get back into the bowl picture. But, both teams will find this to be a winnable game.

11. Colorado- Lost 52-24 at Washington (1-6 overall, 0-3 in Pac-12 South)- Ouch, Colorado’s defense had absolutely no answers to Keith Price, Chris Polk, and the wide recievers. It’s been a rough welcome to the Pac-12 this season. I hope this team is ready for another blowout loss when they host Oregon this week. I wonder if the Ducks will see the 52 points put up by the Huskies and try to beat that, just out of principal.

12. Arizona- Bye (1-5 overall, 0-4 Pac-12 South)- At last a breather for the Wildcats. After losing 10 straight games to FBS opponents and canning their coach Mike Stoops, the Wildcats had a week off to gather together and see what they can do to salvage their season. They’ll have their chance with a home game against UCLA. Could Arizona cause the firing of the next coach of the Pac-12 in Rick Neuheisel?