Pac-12 Power Rankings – Week 4


Week four of the conference season is in the books. That means we are nearly halfway through and the real talk of “bubble teams”, possible seeds, and lost seasons can begin. That being said, the parity and mediocrity of the conference that was displayed in the non-conference season is continuing into the conference season. With Stanford’s double road losses, Cal’s loss at Washington State, and Arizona’s loss to Colorado, no one at the top of the conference is showing they deserve to have a high seed. With the Pac-12 ranked #9 among college conferences, this could conceivably be just a 2-bid season.

1) California (16-5 overall, 6-2 in Pac-12, RPI 27)- Cal earned a split up in Washington this weekend. Ironically, the split was a win in Seattle and a loss in Pullman. Who would have thought that? Had the Huskies played better on Thursday, this would have been two losses for Cal. They continue to show their weaknesses, despite being “on top” of the conference.

2) Oregon (15-5 overall, 6-2 Pac-12, RPI 52)- While I do not believe Oregon is the 2nd best team in the conference talent-wise, you can not deny their 4-game winning streak is the best in the conference. They also have a relatively easy next three games that could put them on top of the conference standings in a couple of weeks. It’ll be interesting to see if they can hold their ground here.

3) Colorado (13-6 overall, 5-2 in Pac-12, RPI 68)- The Buffaloes were swept in the Bay Area last week, but this week turned around and swept the Arizona schools. They could make a run for the NCAA tournament, but are looking like an NIT team right now. They have talent, but are very inconsistent. But, that’s the case for the entire Pac-12 conference, so anything can happen. 

4) Washington (12-7 overall, 5-2 Pac-12, RPI 97)- The thing about the Huskies is that talent-wise they can compete with anyone in the conference. They took Cal to the final shot and dominated Stanford this weekend. If they could resolve some of their chemistry issues, get Terrance Ross more involved from the beginning, and get CJ Wilcox healthy, this team could really take off and win the conference. But, their inconsistency is maddening. But, once the conference tournament comes along, whoever gets hot could win it. At this stage, I think that’s the only likely path to the NCAA tournament given the weakness of the Pac-12 conference RPI overall and the Huskies poor performance in the non-conference. But, could this team win 3 straight games in Los Angeles? Sure, why not? They’ve done it twice before.

5) Arizona (13-7 overall, 4-3 Pac-12, RPI 65)- Speaking of inconsistent, this Wildcat team has got to be driving fans in Tucson crazy. They have so much talent, but like the Huskies, some serious chemistry issues. Arizona could most definitely get on a run or they could muddle along in the middle of the conference like everyone else.

6) Stanford (15-5 overall, 5-3 in Pac-12, RPI 74)- I’ve been saying all season that Stanford was over-rated and their gawdy record was an artifact of their weak non-conference schedule. Their two losses in Washington this weekend showed that. Not only did they lose to the Cougs, but they were dominated by the inconsistent Huskies. Now comes the big game against Cal. This could be a make or break game for the Cardinal if they hope to make the NCAA tournament.

7) Washington State (11-8 overall, 3-4 Pac-12, RPI 145)- Is Ken Bone finally getting his team chemistry together? They held serve and managed to beat the top two teams in the conference when Stanford and Cal came to town. Now comes a big road trip to the Arizona schools. If they could win both of those, they could become serious players in the Pac-12 race and a return to the NIT might just be available.

8) Oregon State (13-7 overall, 3-5 Pac-12, RPI 135)- The Beavers managed to stop the bleeding by sweeping the L.A. schools in Corvallis this weekend. After such a fast start, it’s been a struggle. But, they have the talent in this weak conference to make some noise and really hurt other team’s chances to make the tournament. Now comes a huge game in Eugene against the Ducks. I can guaruntee you that there are 5 or 6 teams hoping the Beavs can pull out this win.

9) UCLA (10-9 overall, 3-4 Pac-12, RPI 134)- Can there be a more disappointing team for the conference this year than the Bruins? So much talent, the media predicted them to win, and they can’t even stay over .500 in the conference? It’s too bad, but I did wonder if a team dominated by forwards and without any guards could compete in a guard oriented conference. Guess not…

10) Utah (5-14 overall, 2-5 Pac-12, RPI 258)- Coach K seems to be getting some order in his club following the dismissal of Josh Watkins.  They blew out Arizona State and are finally playing more competitively. Now they have two games this week in Los Angeles that are both winnable. It’ll be interesting to see if the Utes continue to improve.

11) Arizona State (6-13 overall, 2-5 Pac-12, RPI 188)- How bad is the lower end of the conference when the Sun Devils go to Salt Lake City and get blown out. They’ve already lost their leading scorer and Herb Sendek has lost this team. I have trouble imagining him being back next year. This week will come two likely home losses when the Huskies and Cougars come to town. I for one and looking forward to a Husky beat-down in Tempe, since I’ll be in attendance.

12) USC (5-15 overall, 0-7 Pac-12, RPI 168)- We all thought a few weeks ago that Utah would be the team that would finish 0-18 in the conference. Instead, the Utes have already won two Pac-12 games and it is the Trojans who are winless in the conference. Given how many weak teams there are, it seems likely they will get a win at some point, but how bad do you have to be to be 0-7 in this conference right now?