Husky Haul Power Rankings – Week 11


Well, like it or not, the Oregon Ducks have clearly shown themselves to be the class of the Pac-12. While it would have been better for the reputation of the Pac-12 had Stanford won and went to the national championship game undefeated, Oregon now sits in a great position to head off to the Rose Bowl for their first chance to win it since 1917. But, if things fall right, Oregon might just be able to sneak into that national championship game themselves with a rematch against LSU. I mean, if their only loss of the season was essentially a road loss to the unanimous #1 team in the country, that’s pretty hard to fault them.

1. #4 Oregon- 53-30 win at Stanford  (9-1 overall, 7-0 in Pac-12 North)-I really thought Stanford’s defense could hold Oregon down in the 30’s and maybe the 20’s. But, Oregon showed that their unusual offensive schemes and high powered athletes could overcome an organized defense. I certainly didn’t expect to see 53 put up on the board on the road. For Oregon, the road to the Rose Bowl seems pretty straight forward, but the road to the national title game is not. First they need to take care of business at home against a tough USC team. While a loss would knock them out of the national title picture, it would’t affect them in the least in terms of the Rose Bowl. A win against Oregon State puts them in the Pac-12 championship game, where they will play a team who will be no better than 8-4.

2. #8 Stanford- 53-30 loss to Oregon (9-1 overall, 7-1 in Pac-12 North)- I did not expect Oregon to dominate Stanford they way they did. Stanford has always seemed to play a better, more fundamental form of football. But, the results on the field don’t lie, and Oregon is clearly the best team in the conference. For Stanford, the loss not only destroys their national title hopes, but also the Rose Bowl. It’s looking like the Alamo Bowl is their best bet at this point. Next comes the “Big Game”  against a Cal team who seems to have gotten some of their swagger back after easily winning their last two games.

3. #18 USC- 40-17 win over Washington (8-2 overall, 5-2 in Pac-12 South)- USC just did to Washington what they did to Colorado the week before…complete domination from start to finish. USC is the true Pac-12 South champions. It’ll be embarrassing to see a 7-5 or 8-4 team playing in the game instead of them. In some ways it is unfortunately they will not get a chance to prove it in the title game, but they’ll get their chance to make a statement when they play Oregon this week. If they can win this game on the road against the champions of the Pac-12 North, then they could actually make the statement that they are the true champions of the Pac-12 in its inaguaral year.

4. Utah- 31-6 win over UCLA (6-4 overall, 3-4 Pac-12 South)- I told you Utah might just finish the season with 5 straight wins way back when they were just 3-4. Now bowl eligible, they also have a chance to win the Pac-12 South title (which I also predicted they would do before the season began). They hold the tie-breaker over UCLA. Two more wins and they might just be in that game, if ASU loses one more. Either way, it might just be Utah in the Holiday Bowl instead of Washington if the Huskies do not win its last two.

5. Washington- 40-17 loss at USC (6-4 overall, 4-3 in Pac-12 North)- We all knew this monster-stretch of Stanford/Arizona/Oregon/USC was going to be the toughest part of the season for the Dawgs. I full expected and predicted they would go L-W-L-L with those games and that is how it turned out. At this stage, I have correctly predicted every game expect the road win against Utah. That being said, the Huskies are just where I thought they’d be (actually I said 5-5 at this point). If they can beat Oregon State and Washington State in their last two games, they will finish 8-4 and be off to the Sun Bowl in El Paso. That has to be considered a successful season, even if we’d been disappointed with their results against the top three teams of the conference.

6. California- 23-6 win over Oregon State (6-4 overall, 3-4 in Pac-12 North)- I thought briefly about putting Cal above the Huskies, but Cal has been so inconsistent and the Huskies beat them head-to-head. The Huskies have won every game they were expected to and lost every game they were expected to. But, Jeff Tedford is on his way to a bowl game, perhaps the Las Vegas Bowl or a home game in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. It’s a good thing they did now because they end the season at an angry Stanford team this week and then at a desperate Arizona State the week following.

7. Arizona State- 29-28 loss at UCLA (6-4 overall, 4-3 in Pac-12 South)- Things are imploding at Erickson U. The Sun Devils were cruising to the Pac-12 South title and have now lost 2 straight. Apparently when they are forced to play games outside of the 100 degree temperatures of Tempe in September, they can no longer win football games. The good news is that UCLA also lost. The bad news is that Utah suddenly is sneaking up for a chance at the title. They will have their chances with a home game against Arizona and then finishing up at home against Cal. Two wins and they are in. A loss in either of them and anything can happen.

8. UCLA- 31-6 loss at Utah (5-5 overall, 4-3 in Pac-12)- Rick Neuheisel is firmly back on the hot seat. Not only were they completely dominated by the Utes, but they suddenly have allowed Utah back into the discussion of who will represent the Pac-12 South in the title game in Eugene. Amazingly, with Arizona State’s inexplicable loss at Washington State, UCLA could STILL win the Pac-12 South? But, I have trouble seeing that happen with that USC game looming after their home game against Colorado.

9. Washington State- 37-27 win over Arizona State (4-6 overall, 2-5 in Pac-12 North)- The Paul Wulff death-watch has calmed down for a week after their suprising win over Arizona State this week. The Cougs are still in the race for a bowl berth. But, it won’t be easy with suddenly surging Utah coming to town this week with a chance at the Pac-12 South title on the line, followed by a game in Seattle against Washington. A loss in either and they will be sitting home for yet another season.

10. Oregon State-  23-6 loss at California (2-8 overall, 2-5 in Pac-12 North)- Is Mike Reilly on the hot seat? Probably not, but this season is becoming an embarrassment to the Beavers, who were expected to at least be a .500 team this season. Will they be able to get up for their last home game against the Huskies this week? Time will tell…

11. Colorado- 48-29 loss to USC (2-9 overall, 1-6 in Pac-12 South)- Did I not predict before the season began that Colorado would win one Pac-12 game this year and that it would be against Arizona? Did I not predict in my weekly picks that this was the week Colorado would win? Colorado gets its first Pac-12 win and leaves the schnide of last in the Pac-12 South! Now they head to Los Angeles to play the desperate UCLA team that knows they must win to get to a bowl. It won’t be pretty.

12. Arizona- 48-29 loss at Colorado (2-8 overall, 1-7 in Pac-12 South)- The Wildcats proved they deserved to be in the last place spot with a loss at the last place team. Arizona now will finish last in the Pac-12 South unless they win their rivalry game against a suddenly desperate Arizona State team. Luckily for them, they do get to finish the season against the Ragin’ Cajuns of Louisiana-Lafayette. That’s an odd one…