Pac-12 Power Rankings – Third Edition


With the first games of the Pac-12 conference season completed, it is time to revisit the Pac-12 Power Rankings to see where everyone stacks up. edited 4:47pm

1) California (12-3 overall, 2-0 in Pac-12, RPI 57, SOS 108)- Do I believe California is built for the long haul? No, I still don’t, as I essentially see them as a team with six good players and no bench. But, in this weakened and unpredictable Pac-12, that may be enough to take the title. Had this been another season, this Cal team would finish 5th (and they may still), but they appear to have things opening up nicely for a title run.

2) Stanford (12-2 overall, 2-0 in Pac-12, RPI 85, SOS 212)- Stanford continues to surprise everyone right now. Their non-conference schedule was incredibly weak, but they are winning games and at this stage, that’s all that matters. But, like Oregon State saw, just because you are 10-2, playing a schedule ranked in the 200’s is not adequate preparation for the conference season or a representation of how good you are. Let’s see if this team can stand up for itself once we get into the heart of the conference schedule.

3) Arizona (10-4 overall, 1-0 Pac-12, RPI 53, SOS 39)- Now we will finally get to see if this Arizona team is for real. They seem to have gotten over their early chemistry issues and now sit poised to go for the Pac-12 title, like many thought they would. They have played the toughest schedule of the top tier in the conference and have the best RPI. There is a case to be made that maybe they should be #1 right now. I’ll really be interested to see how they do when they play Cal and Stanford in February. They only get one shot, on the road, against those two, but those games could decide the title.

4) Washington (8-5 overall, 2-0 Pac-12, RPI 96, SOS 46)- For all of those saying how good and surprising Oregon and Oregon State are this year, the Huskies seemed to put them in their place. It was a nice start to the conference season and puts them back on track toward a solid finish in the conference and getting onto the NCAA tournament bubble. This upcoming road trip to Colorado and Utah will be huge. Road games are not their cut of tea, but these are two that are winnable. Win both and not only can you get the monkey off your back and regain some confidence, but you’ll be 4-0 in the conference.

5) Colorado (9-4 overall, 1-0 Pac-12, RPI 90, SOS 43)- The Buffaloes demolished Utah this weekend, but who doesn’t? It’s a solid team, but they lack much bench depth. This is a team I think is destined for the NIT, but if they get on a run could get onto the NCAA tournament bubble. It’s a huge game for both programs on Thursday when they play the Huskies.

6) Oregon (10-4 overall, 1-1 Pac-12, RPI 75, SOS 153)- It’s a sad indictment about the quality of the Pac-12 when this Oregon team is 6th in the conference. People were getting all googly eyed over them when they were 9-3, but that was as much a product of a weak non-conference schedule than anything else. Washington exposed some serious flaws in the Ducks. I think this is a team that will be streaky this year, surprising some teams and losing some they shouldn’t. But, the NIT is still within grasp.

7) Washington State (9-5 overall, 1-1 in Pac-12, RPI 130, SOS 145)- The Cougs have been a pleasant surprise so far, since I expected them to do much worse without Klay and Casto. While struggling against Oregon they then took out the Beavers. This is a team to keep an eye out for, as they could pull off some upsets and maybe be in the conversation for another NIT berth. Nice to see Ken Bone keep the team respectable despite being in rebuilding mode.

8) Oregon State (10-4 overall, 0-2 Pac-12, RPI 127, SOS 271)- The Beavers have been exposed as the biggest frauds in the Pac-12. Percy Allen and others got all excited about them when they were 10-2. But, a strength of schedule of 271 can do wonders for your non-conference record. Once they hit the road to play the Washington teams, they were exposed as a team with no defense. Another trip to the CBI may be in the offering, if they can finish above .500 this year.

9) UCLA (7-7 overall, 0-2 Pac-12, RPI 156, SOS 76)- I just can’t believe UCLA is this bad. They have way too much talent and I fully expect them to go on a run at some point in the Pac-12 season. They will stir up the conference title race, despite it being a bad thing overall for the conference respectability. That was a tough way to start conference play against Cal and Stanford, especially since they seemed to be pulling it together. But, no one should take this team lightly, most importantly Arizona this week.

10) USC (5-10 overall, 0-2 Pac-12, RPI 124, SOS 15)- What do you get when you have a team who has the best defense in the conference, but one of the worst offenses? Low scoring, grind them out affairs. Their RPI is surprisingly high because they have played one of the toughest schedules in the country. Kevin O’Neil should have realized the rebuilding situation he had this year and scaled it back some. Nonetheless, no one should overlook USC this year. An upset loss is in the offing for any team who has an off night.

11) Arizona State (4-9 overall, 0-1 Pac-12, RPI 188, SOS 59)- The Sun Devils would easily be the worst team in the conference in any given year, were it not for the invitation to Utah in expansion. They have no depth, no real stellar players, and a low scoring grind it out mentality that makes the games boring too. The good news for ASU is that they do get to play Utah twice this year.

12) Utah (3-10, RPI 306, SOS 174)- Is this the worst Pac-10/12 team in history? The 2008 Oregon State team that went 0-18 in conference play and 6-24 overall will be a stiff challenge. But, I think this Utah team can make it. an RPI in the 300 range is worthy of a spot in the SWAC or American East conference. Their very presence in the Pac-12 will hurt everyone’s RPI and SOS this year. But, barring a catastrophic upset, it will at least pad everyone’s win totals.