The Final Husky Haul Power Rankings…At-least Until After The Bowls


The Pac-12 Season is complete. All that remains is the inevitable blowout in Eugene this Friday when the Ducks demolish Rick Neuheisel’s UCLA Bruins. In doing so, not only will they earn the berth in the Rose Bowl, but they will throw the Bruins out of a bowl at 6-7. When was the last time a “division” winner didn’t make a bowl game? Maybe a MAC team? I don’t know… Anyways, this will be the last Husky Haul Power Rankings until after the bowl season is complete.

Rose Bowl: Oregon Ducks (10-2 overall, 8-1 Pac-12 North)- I actually don’t believe the Ducks are the best team in the conference. I predicted they would go 9-3 this season. And while they did beat Stanford on the road, I still believe over the course of the entire season that Stanford is the better football team. There is also an argument to be made that USC is the best team in the conference having beaten Oregon on the road and having taken Stanford to triple overtime. But, the Ducks are Rose Bowl bound after they destroy UCLA. Can they end the 94-yearRose Bowl drought? No one alive has ever seen them win a Rose Bowl before!

Fiesta Bowl: Stanford Cardinal (11-1 overall, 8-1 Pac-12 North)- This may be the best team in the Pac-12. But, they lost the one game they couldn’t afford to. There are many reports they will be on their way to the Fiesta Bowl. But, given their poor history of fans traveling, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them squeezed out of the BCS. But, TV is also important and Andrew Luck’s last game will likely draw viewers, so perhaps the Fiesta Bowl is the best place for this team.

Alamo Bowl: Washington Huskies (7-5 overall, 5-4 Pac-12 North)- The number three slot seems a bit high for the Washington Huskies this year. On the other hand, who would you choose? California at 7-5? Utah at 7-5? Arizona State or UCLA without their head coaches? The Huskies are the most attractive option here given they are a team on rise, with an exciting young coach, charismatic QB, and solid following of alumni and boosters. Since the Huskies have never played in this bowl before, there will be some intrigue among the fan base that should draw them to San Antonio. I’ve been to San Antonio twice before and it is a fun town to spend a few days. The River Walk is great. If the Huskies do end up here, I’ll do a travel guide post about it.

Holiday Bowl: California Golden Bears (7-5 overall, 4-5 Pac-12 North)- San Diego would seem an ideal location for Cal this year. It’s not a bad trip down to San Diego from the Bay Area, yet its far enough away to have some intrigue. There is a strong alumni base in Southern California as well. They finished the season strong and would make a decent match up for this bowl. Notice that all four of the top bowl slots go to Pac-12 North teams?

Sun Bowl: Utah Utes (7-5 overall, 4-5 in Pac-12 South)- Utah seemed to get it all together late in the season before the inexplicible home loss to Colorado in the season finale. They lost the chance to play in the Pac-12 championship game and end up as the 5th bowl slot in the conference. While El Paso may not be the most sexy location, this isn’t a bad way for them to start their Pac-12 membership.

Las Vegas Bowl: Arizona State Sun Devils (6-6 overall, 4-5 in Pac-12 South)- With or without Dennis Erickson, this is the most logical bowl for the Sun Devils. Las Vegas is a day’s drive away from Tempe and there are plenty of flights from Sky Harbor airport to the Vegas Strip. Who wouldn’t take this bowl opportunity? In fact, I definitely think the Pac-12 ought to have this bowl ranked ahead of the Sun Bowl in El Paso! What’s up with that? ASU fans will at least enjoy the gambling, shows, and alcohol if not the game.

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl- UCLA???? (6-7 overall, 5-5 in Pac-12 South)- Will UCLA ask for a waiver to play in this bowl after they get destroyed by Oregon? Seems unlikely given Rick Neuheisel will be out as coach. On the other hand, it isn’t a bad trip up to San Francisco and maybe getting a new coach in place quickly could give him an opportunity to get a sneak peak at his new team. Well, I think I am fantasizing, because it won’t happen. If I were to rank them with “The Rest of the Conference” they would end up at #9.

New Mexico BowlNo One. Poor Albuquerque…They were in line to host a Pac-12 team until Stanford rose up into the BCS and UCLA backed into the Pac-12 Championship game. They can blame USC and Utah for that.

 The Rest of the Conference

8) USC Trojans (10-2 overall, 7-2 in Pac-12 South)- The Trojans appear to have gotten the last laugh on the conference following the sanctions their fans felt were unfair. They knocked the Oregon Ducks outs of any chance to make the National Championship game. They won the Pac-12 South, but forced a 6-6 UCLA team to play for the title. USC may or not be hurt by their 10 scholarship reductions. But, the NCAA needs to learn to apply all the penalties simultaneously or risk having this happen again!

9) Oregon State Beavers (3-9 overall, 3-6 in Pac-12 North)- After a disasterous start including losing to FCS Sacramento State, Mike Reilly managed to pull his team together enough to win three Pac-12 games including over both Washington teams. They managed to finish above the Cougs in the standings!

10) Washington State Cougars (4-8 overall, 2-7 in Pac-12 North)- Paul Wulff is gone. But, they are on their way back up right? I mean 4 wins is like double last year…

11) Colorado Buffaloes (3-10 overall, 2-7 in Pac-12 South)- It was a long year for the Buffaloes, but they did almost beat WSU, did beat Utah on the road, and beat Arizona. This is a team who may be good in a couple of years, as they do have some talent. But, it will be difficult to rise above the middle of the league in the foreseeable future.

12) Arizona Wildcats (4-8 overall, 2-7 in Pac-12 South)- I’ll give Arizona credit, they did destroy the Pac-12 South champions.