Husky Haul Power Rankings – Week 10


This was a big week in the Pac-12 in determining who goes to the Pac-12 Championship game and who will go bowling. But, of course next week will be even bigger with Oregon traveling to Stanford. Utah and California are moving into position for bowl eligibility and UCLA is suddenly leading the Pac-12 South despite being just 5-4. Early in the season, it appeared as though only 5 teams may get to bowls this year. But, it is starting to look like the Pac-12 may be able to fill out its seven bowl obligations even without USC.

USC and Stanford continue to roll…And of course there was Washington-Oregon. I will say this; it will be embarrassing for the Pac-12 if a 7-5 team ends up in the Pac-12 Championship game out of the South, but ultimately it won’t matter since the North winner goes to the Rose Bowl anyways (unless Stanford plays for the national title).

1a. #7 Oregon- 34-17 win over Washington  (8-1 overall, 6-0 in Pac-12 North)- Oregon continued its winning streak against the Huskies, making it eight straight now, although the Huskies did break the string of 20+ point losses by holding it to 17. The Ducks now are only 16 straight wins away from tying the series. Joking aside, Oregon is so athletic and so very fast that they overwhelm teams on both sides of the ball. But, they do have weaknesses. They are beatable if the right team has the right kind of game. Washington had its chances, but unless it executed with 100% efficiency, which it didn’t, they were not going to be able to get over the hump. Obviously everyone will be looking at the game this week. It seems to me that Stanford is the better team. But, being the better team doesn’t always mean a victory. Oregon’s gimmicky offense, penchant for fake/trick plays, and pace could overwhelm Stanford if they are not playing their best.

1b.#4 Stanford- 38-13 win at Oregon State (9-0 overall, 7-0 in Pac-12 North)- I thought Stanford may get off to a slow start in Corvallis and save a little ahead of their big game against Oregon next week. Indeed that was the case, as Stanford simply methodically worked its way down the field and controlled the action from the 2nd quarter on for an easy win. Although I have them ranked as the 1b team right now, after seeing both play Washington, I think Stanford is the more complete team. But, we’ll get to see them head to head in the Pac-12 Championship game this week… OK, maybe not officially, but let’s be real here.

3. #20 USC- 42-17 win at Colorado (7-2 overall, 4-2 in Pac-12 South)- I know it isn’t much of a challenge to play Colorado this year, but USC looked good in taking care of business on the road. Matt Barkley threw for six TDs. If they weren’t ineligible they would be playing in that Pac-12 Championship game, perhaps in a rematch with Stanford. USC will have anolther chance to make the case that they aren’t gone yet with a home game against Washington this week.

4a. Washington-  34-17 loss to Oregon (6-3 overall, 4-2 in Pac-12 North)- I see no reason to move the Huskies this week despite the loss. Arizona State also lost and to a worse team and the Huskies have already beaten the teams immediately below them. The Huskies had their chances against Oregon, but made some critical errors both on the field and from the sideline. Washington proved in this game that they are improving to the point that they can play with the better teams in the country, but are not at an elite status yet. But, seriously who expected them to be less than 3 years removed from 0-12? Despite the disappointing loss to Oregon, to me the more defining game of the season will be the road trip to USC this week. A win could put a 9-3 season most definitely on the table. But, even with an expected loss, 8-4 is still quite plausible; and be honest, if you heard they would go 8-4 this year after 6-6 last year, wouldn’t you have been pleased?

4b. Arizona State- 29-28 loss at UCLA (6-3 overall, 4-2 in Pac-12 South)- What the heck? Arizona State has shown themselves to be the better team all season long, and with a chance to clinch the Pac-12 South title, they go down to the Rose Bowl and get beat? They had a chance to win it with a field goal, but it was no good. Something tells me Arizona State will absolutely destroy Washington State next week both to take out their frustrations, as well as, to keep them in the hunt for the Pac-12 South title.

6. Utah- 34-21 win over Arizona (5-4 overall, 2-4 Pac-12 South)- Utah is slowly starting to look like the team many expected them to be this year. They took care of business against Arizona and have placed themselves in a nice position to make a bowl game in their first year in the Pac-12. They have a chance to make that reality at home against UCLA this week, but also can knock UCLA off their pedestal and put Arizona State back into the driver’s seat for the Pac-12 South title. I expect a good game in Salt Lake City.

7. UCLA- 29-28 win over Arizona State (5-4 overall, 4-2 in Pac-12)- Rick Neuheisel appears to have just saved his job. He has also been my personal nemesis, as UCLA accounts for 7 of my missed predictions! In the most important game for the Bruins this season outside of their rivalry game against USC, his team was ready to play. Knowing that despite all the losses and disappointing performances, a win over Arizona State put them in a tie for first place in the Pac-12 South with the tiebreaker and with USC ineligible. They pulled it off with a final minute TD and surviving a missed field goal by ASU as time expired. That being said, I just can’t imagine seeing them win this division when it is all said and done. First of all, they need to take a tricky trip up to a suddenly improved Utah team. Then of course, there is the big game at the L.A. Coleseum against USC.

8. California- 30-7 win over Washington State (5-4 overall, 2-4 in Pac-12 North)- For the first time this season, it seems like Cal played like they were capable of. That it was against Washington State is perhaps not a huge suprise. This is a score you probably could have predicted before the season began. And yet, here were the Cougs trying to get bowl eligible getting blown out…Now Cal has a chance to get bowl eligible with a game against Oregon State next week.

9. Arizona- 34-21 loss at Utah (2-7 overall, 1-6 in Pac-12 South)- The emotion has worn off and reality has set in. Arizona is still not a very good team. The Wildcats do get something of a reprieve with a game in Boulder against Colorado. A win is definitely possible here, but they better watch out for an upset. I predicted Colorado would win one this year.

10. Oregon State-  38-13 loss to Stanford (2-7 overall, 2-4 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.

11. Washington State- 30-7 loss at California (3-6 overall, 1-5 in Pac-12 North)- Paul Wulff has got to be gone right? The team has now lost 5 straight games, including blow out losses to two teams they had a chance to beat. A bowl, which seemed so possible when they were 3-1, now seems impossible. It won’t get any easier this week when they return home to play an Arizona State team that needs a win to win the Pac-12 South.

12. Colorado- 42-17 loss to USC (1-9 overall, 0-6 in Pac-12 South)- Another week, another loss for the Buffaloes. They have a chance this week at home against Arizona. A chance I say, but not a great one.