Husky Haul Power Rankings – Week 9


I am exhausted. What an amazing weekend of college football. Stanford and USC go into Triple Overtime after a back and forth game. Washington has yet another game that went into the final minutes. Pac-12 football may not always been the highest quality in terms of its technical execution, but you just know lots of points will be scored and games will seesaw back and forth the whole time. Simply put, you never know what is going to happen. But, we do know one thing…The Top 5 teams all won (and USC playing Stanford to 3OTs counts as a win to me) and the difference between the halves and halve-nots continues to widen.

1a. #7 Oregon- 43-28 win over Washington State (7-1 overall, 5-0 in Pac-12 North)- Washington State showed some heart in this game, hanging with the Ducks, but Oregon also showed some serious weaknesses. Whether someone will exploit that remains to be seen. These Ducks are just so difficult to manage in the 2nd half. One thing Chip Kelly and his staff are masters at are the halftime adjustments. Now comes the game we have all been waiting for when the Zeros come to Seattle for a Saturday night matchup with the Huskies. Something tells me Oregon will try and match Stanford’s 65 points against the Huskies, just to make a statement about whose still King of the Pacific Northwest. 

1b.#4 Stanford- 56-48 win at USC in 3OT (8-0 overall, 6-0 in Pac-12 North)- Wow, what a game. I was flipping back and forth between the UW-AZ game and this one. Stanford is an incredible team, which makes what USC did just as amazing. Stanford got past what has to be their most difficult road game of the entire season, barring a major upset. I doubt that upset will occur in Corvallis when they play Oregon State this week. But, you know everyone is just waiting for the big matchup on Nov 12th against Oregon.

3. #21 Arizona State- 48-14 win over Colorado (6-2 overall, 4-1 in Pac-12 South)- Arizona State did exactly what most people expected them to do in Tempe when they slaughtered the poor hapless Buffaloes. I am not sure we learned anything new in this game. But, the Sun Devils continue to inch closer to clinching a spot in the inagural Pac-12 Championship Game. The key is whether they can keep winning enough to get a chance to host it. Now comes the key game for them in this mission, when they travel to the Rose Bowl to play UCLA (the only team that could possibly overtake them for the division title).

4. #20 USC- 56-48 loss to Stanford in 3OT (6-2 overall, 3-2 in Pac-12 South)- Wow, USC is coming on strong. After UW was blasted by Stanford last week, USC really held their own and more against the #4 team in the country. USC is a scary team who is going to cause problems for teams the rest of the way. Obviously the one I am most worried about it is Washington who have to go to Los Angeles on November 12th. With USC wanting big-time revenge for two straight upset losses to Steve Sarkisian. But, up first is a Friday night match up in Boulder against Colorado in what should be a cake walk.

5. Washington- 42-21 win over Arizona (6-2 overall, 4-1 in Pac-12 North)- Wow, the most exciting game of the season. Can you believe UW is 10-2 since the Oregon loss last year? The Huskies took 12 games to win their 6th game last year and already have achieved it in just 8 games this year. Now comes the big boys, with the Oregon Ducks rolling into town. Will this be the year that Washington ends the 7-game losing streak? Will this be the year that the Northwest Championship finally returns to Seattle, it’s rightful place? And, for those obnoxious Duck fans who want to spout about how dominant they have been, they would still need to win 17-straight to tie the series (UW leads it 57-40-5). Anyways, while I expect Oregon to come to town and score 50+ points just to make a statement, you better believe there will be massive hype for this game and if Nick Holt can get his defense to just hold them under 40, we have a chance.

6. Utah- 27-8 win over Oregon State (4-4 overall, 1-4 Pac-12 South)- Nice win for the Utes to get back to .500 on the season and getting their first every Pac-12 victory. They’ve been up and down this season, but they actually have a pretty nice schedule lining up the rest of the way. They have four winnable games, with a trip to Tucson on the horizon next week. I doubt they will win them all, but a bowl appearance remains a strong possibility.

7. UCLA- 31-14 win over California (4-4 overall, 3-2 in Pac-12)- I just don’t know what to make of UCLA. They get blown out by a 1-5 Arizona team and then beat a .500 Cal team easily. What is absolutely amazing is that in hosting Arizona State this week, they would actually have a chance to tie for first place in the Pac-12 South division with a win. I really expect the Sun Devils to lay a whoopin’ on the Bruins to make a statement about who is dominant in the division, but heck what do I know? UCLA might just pull off the shocker. The two teams I have missed most often in my weekly picks are UCLA and Cal.

8. Arizona- 48-12 win over UCLA (2-5 overall, 1-4 Pac-12 South)- I will say this…Arizona impressed me against Washington in Seattle. They showed themselves to be the team I expected them to be before the season began (I predicted 7-5 for them). They showed heart. But, Washington just wore them down. Chris Polk was rediculous and their defense could not stop the UW offense, outside of three interceptions that were all the wide reciever’s fault. But, Nick Foles did his team in with his poor throws that turned TDs to FGs early and interceptions late in the game. While it always felt like UW controlled the game, Arizona was clearly in position to win this game had a few things gone the other direction. Now comes an interesting matchup as Utah rolls into town with something to play for. Will this loss break the Wildcats down or motivate them?

9. California- 31-14 loss at UCLA (4-4 overall, 1-4 in Pac-12 North)- I just don’t understand this Cal team. Every week it is up and down. They are impossible to predict and I bet the Vegas betting houses hate them! Just when they had a chance to win some games with the easy part of their schedule they go down and get beaten by UCLA? The same UCLA team without 6 players who were suspended and lost bigtime to Arizona? Whatever…I’ll never list them above 7 in this poll again, even if they win every game the rest of the year.

10. Washington State- 43-28 loss at Oregon (3-5 overall, 1-4 in Pac-12 North)- I’ll give the Cougs some credit for showing some heart on the road against the Ducks. Oregon made a lot of mistakes, but Washington State also took advantage of some of those opportunities. Washington State is definitely a better team than they have been the last three years. They have more talent and more athletes than previous years. But, they still do not have the horses to seriously challenge a team like Oregon. Whether or not these tiny tidbits of improvement are enough to save Paul Wulff’s job remains to be seen. The Apple Cup may ultimately be the deciding game for him. But, there are still three tough games for Wazzu before that game including a very tricky trip to San Francisco to play Cal this week.

11. Oregon State-  27-8 loss at Utah (2-6 overall, 2-3 in Pac-12 North)- So much for the roaring comeback to the season. After two nice wins in a row, they hit the road to a reeling Utah team and get smashed apart. It won’t get any easier as the Beavs host Stanford this week. Look for a big time loss this week.

12. Colorado- 48-14 loss at Arizona State (1-8 overall, 0-5 in Pac-12 South)- It’s over for the Buffaloes. They might have had a chance to do something this season had a few more things gone their way early on (especially against Cal and WSU). But, loss-after-loss has taken its toll on this injury riddled team. The remaining games are not easy ones and I would not be surprised to see them finish the season winless in the conference. Coach Embree knew he had his work cut out for him to rebuild this program, but its been even tougher than expected. Their next game will probably be another blowout loss when they host USC in Boulder.