Husky Haul Power Rankings – Week 8


Here’s what we know after 8 weeks of the college football season. Oregon and Stanford are really really good. Oregon’s only loss was essentially on the road to the #2 team in the country. Stanford has won 14 in a row and 10 in a row by 25 points or more (longest streak in college football history). Both of these teams deserve to go to a BCS bowl, regardless of what the prognosticators, media members from the east coast, and computer rankings say. Beyond the top two, there are four other teams that are pretty decent and one (Utah) that doesn’t seem that great, but has a favorable schedule the rest of the way. Then, there is the rest of the league. At this stage, it seems like the Pac-12 will only have 5 (maybe 6) bowl eligible team. Let’s look at our rankings now…

1a. #7 Oregon- 45-2 win at Colorado (6-1 overall, 4-0 in Pac-12 North)- OK, Maybe Oregon didn’t score more against Colorado than Washington did, but they didn’t need to. They virtually shut out the Buffaloes in their home stadium. Oregon is just unstoppable. That game against Stanford is going to be absolutely huge. We should just throw out the Pac-12 Championship game and declare that game in Palo Alto to be it right there. But, until November 12th, the Ducks will continue to roll starting with the destruction of the Washington State Cougars at Autzen this week.

1b.#4 Stanford- 65-21 win over Washington (7-0 overall, 5-0 in Pac-12 North)- Can’t blame the easy schedule anymore. Stanford is every bit as good as their record and ranking indicates. They are big, physical, and relentless. Their running game is well designed and took the supposedly “strong part” of UW’s defense and ripped it to shreds. What would the score have been without Chris Polk? At this stage, I have to rank Oregon and Stanford as tied for 1st until they meet in Palo Alto in a few weeks. That will be the “true” Pac-12 Championship game. But, in the meantime they have a not-to-be overlooked game in Los Angeles against USC this week to deal with.

3. #23 Arizona State- Bye (5-2 overall, 3-1 in Pac-12 South)- It’s almost not fair. Arizona State gets a bye week to prepare for Colorado? It’ll be a long day in Tempe for the Buffaloes. With UCLA’s horrid loss to Arizona, Arizona State can basically go on cruise control the rest of the way in preparation for the Pac-12 Championship game.

4. #20 USC- 31-17 win at Notre Dame (6-1 overall, 3-1 in Pac-12 South)- I keep underestimating the Trojans. While Notre Dame isn’t exactly the same as it was in decades past, USC went up to South Bend and represented the Pac-12 well. They are 6-1 afterall, and if not for being ineligible for the Pac-12 Championship game would be definitely be a challenger for the Rose Bowl this year. Instead, they will continue to win games and show the rest of the league that this probation may not entirely knock them off their perch. Now they get a chance to make a real statement when #4 Stanford comes to town this week.

5. Washington- 65-21 loss at Stanford (5-2 overall, 3-1 in Pac-12 North)- Steve Sarkisian has built a really solid offense. Keith Price is going to be amazing his junior year. Chris Polk is a true NFL running back. Austin Sefarian-Jenkins is as good as advertised. But, I am thinking it is time for Steve Sarkisian to take a tough look in the mirror and decide what to do with his friend Nick Holt. Too many losses giving up 40+ points to good teams for this defense. They need to get a lot better and soon if UW is to ever make the leap from “improved” to “elite”. Washington still has a chance to continue the improved season with a home game against Arizona this week. They should watch out though, this could be a trap game, with Oregon coming to town the following week.

6. California- 34-10 win over Utah (4-3 overall, 1-3 in Pac-12 North)- Cal is back in business. That was an important win for this team as they go through the easy part of their schedule. They have a chance to establish a 4-game winning streak with the next three games with UCLA, Washington State, and Oregon State coming up. Before you know it, Cal might just be 7-3 going into that Stanford game, where anything can happen.

7. Utah- 34-10 loss at California (3-4 overall, 0-4 Pac-12 South)- This ain’t the Mountain West Conference. You don’t get weeks off against the Wyomings of the football world. The tough teams just keep coming, as they are learning with their 0-4 record in the conference. But, Utah does get a chance to get back to .500 on the year with Oregon State coming to town next week. If they win this one, they still might make a bowl game. If they lose it and they will really need to pull it together with the soft part of their schedule at the end coming up.

8. Arizona- 48-12 win over UCLA (2-5 overall, 1-4 Pac-12 South)- I never really thought Arizona was the worst in the Pac-12. I’ve always believed they had the talent to be #7 or #8. But, these are power rankings and you have to rank them on performance to date. But, Arizona woke up against UCLA and put a hurtin’ on the Bruins. But, was that a one-game aberation? They head up to Seattle to play a Husky team that was dominated by Stanford. Both teams have a lot to prove this week, so it’ll be interesting to see what Arizona’s got.

9. Oregon State-  44-21 win over Washington State in Seattle (2-5 overall, 2-2 in Pac-12 North)- Look who’s back? The Beavers, as I predicted, are turning their season around and teams better not take them lightly from this point forward. It may be a long shot for them to make a bowl game, but it is still a possibility. The way they dismantled the Cougs in what was essentially a road game was impressive. Now they head to Utah for a big game for both programs who are trying to salvage their season and possibly aim for a bowl game.

10. UCLA- 48-12 loss at Arizona (3-4 overall, 2-2 in Pac-12)- Apparently UCLA has decided to hold onto Rick Neuheisel until the end of the season. Why I am not sure given the horrible effort it put out against a 1-5 team at Arizona. They showed no heart and did not even show any improvement in the 2nd half when they were down 42-7 at halftime. I don’t think the season will turn around when a rejuventated Cal comes to town this week.

11. Washington State- 44-21 loss againt Oregon State (3-4 overall, 1-3 in Pac-12)- Is the Paul Wulff era over? I mean, there are those who say that the decision to keep him has to be more than wins and losses. But, after a promising 3-1 start to the season, they have lost 3 straight including to two of the worst teams in the Pac-12.  Paul Wulff is now just 8-36 in his tenure at WSU and only 3-28 in the Pac-12. At some point you have to say the rebuilding is taking too long and it is time to look elsewhere. Washington State hasn’t even gotten into the meat of its schedule as now they head down to Eugene to be blown out by Oregon this week. It is conceivable, looking at their remaining schedule, that they might not win another game this season.

12. Colorado- Lost 45-2 to Oregon (1-7 overall, 0-4 in Pac-12 South)- The heart Colorado showed early in the season appears to be gone. They just don’t have anything left and many of their players just seem to have given up on the season. We all knew it would be a tough transition year in the Pac-12 for new coach Jon Embree. Colorado is learning you don’t get many breathers in a conference like the Pac-12. They will learn that lesson again when they get blown out on the road against Arizona State this week.