A Final Pac-12 Football Power Rankings


So, how did it all work out? Let’s look at our final Pac-12 Conference Power Rankings based on the bowl results, plus a little forward thinking with the coaching changes and other information we’ve gathered in the last few weeks.

1) Oregon (12-2 overall, 9-1 Pac-12)- They finally got that first Rose Bowl win since 1917. Their in your face demeanor, those uniforms, those obnoxious fans. It is all part of Nike’s grand plan, yet it works. They have become the Dallas Cowboys of college football (maybe on par also with those Miami Hurricane teams of the early 90’s). They are the team everyone hates unless you live in Oregon. Will this continue or will they slip? Only time will tell. USC is gunning for them next year.

2) Stanford (11-2 overall, 8-1 Pac-12)- Stanford has just completed a remarkable two year run, but they came up just short against high scoring Oklahoma State (who some will claim deserved a short at the national title). Andrew Luck now heads off to the NFL and one has to wonder if David Shaw has enough horses in the stable or recruits coming in to sustain this success. Stanford has a history of oscillating wildly between good seasons and bad, so I am curious if there will be a drop off next year of if they will remain a Top 3 team in the conference.

3) USC (10-2 overall, 7-2 Pac-12)- I am not sure if USC’s performance this year was an embarrassment or a benefit for the conference. While they temporarily embarrassed the conference by “winning” the divison, but not being champions and allowing an undeserving UCLA team to play in the conference title game, they also gave the media a reason to seriously hype them (and by extension the conference) next year with the return of Matt Barkley. The scholarship hits won’t take effect before this team has a serious chance to play for the Rose Bowl or even the national title.

4) Utah (8-5 overall, 4-5 Pac-12)- The only reason I put Utah ahead of UW was because they won their bowl game. The Huskies would have, could they have tackled someone and the Huskies won the head-to-head match up in Salt Lake City. So, let’s count them as 4a and 4b. Utah has the chance to be a pretty good team next year, but I think they’ll still finish around 4th or 5th in the conference.

5) Washington (7-6 overall, 5-4 Pac-12)- Much has been written about the firing of Nick Holt, the emergence of Keith Price, and what Sark will do with this team next year. I see reason to believe that the Huskies will rise up to #3 or #4 in the conference behind USC, Oregon, and maybe Stanford. I see no reason to think they’ll drop below any of the other mediocre teams of the conference near them.

6) California (7-6 overall, 4-5 Pac-12)- Jeff Tedford managed yet another mediocre season, going 7-6. He has some nice recruits coming in and lots of talent to be a successful program. But, unless they do better than .500 next year, I think his seat will get mighty hot in the Bay Area.

7) Arizona State (6-7 overall, 4-5 Pac-12)- After having had the Pac-12 South all but locked up, the Sun Devils proceeded to lose their last four games, fired Dennis Erickson, and then proceeded to be beaten by Boise State in Las Vegas to finish with a losing record. It’ll be interesting to see if the Sun Devils finally start to capitalize on their promise or will begin to drop in the standings with UCLA, Washington State, and Arizona rising up.

8) UCLA (6-8 overall, 5-5 Pac-12)- The first ever losing team to play in a bowl game could not get back to .500 in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. It’ll be interesting to see what Jim Mora does down in Brentwood as the only apparently defensive minded coach in the Pac-12. While everyone else upgraded their offensive coaching, UCLA went the other direction. Will it be enough to get back on the winning side of the ledger?

9) Washington State (4-8 overall, 2-7 Pac-12)- The Cougars did see some improvement, but if raising the bar to just 4 games is considered improvement, you know just how low they were. Mike Leach coming in will certainly change the dynamic in Pullam. I see them scoring a lot more points and really opening things up. It was clear Sark needed a new defensive coordinator simply by the coaching changes in the conference.

10) Oregon State (3-9 overall, 3-6 Pac-12)- I debated who should be higher between WSU and OSU, especially since Oregon State won the head-to-head matchup in Seattle and had one more Pac-12 win. But, in the end that loss to FCS Sacramento State was too much to overall, so gotta put them at #10.

11) Arizona (4-8 overall, 2-7 Pac-12)- Although Colorado won the head-to-head matchup, Arizona did have the distinction of blowing out the Pac-12 South champions in UCLA. I see an improving team next year that could challenge for a lower-tier bowl game. Las Vegas anyone?

12) Colorado (3-10 overall, 2-7 Pac-12)- I hedged on whether to put Colorado down below Arizona, given the Buffaloes won the head-to-head matchup. But, Arizona won one more game with one fewer overall and played closer in most games than Colorado did. I think Colorado will be improved next year, but the others around them will probably improve more, leaving the Buffaloes near the bottom of the heap once more.