Week 9 Pac-12 Football Power Rankings

Jarred Bierbrauer, OMN Sports Chief

 A Conference full of upsets

1. Washington State (7-1)

It is official, Washington State in the best team in the Pac-12. Last week, they steamrolled over Oregon and this week they knocked off Stanford 41-38. In the game, WSU quarterback Gardner Minshew threw for over 400 yards and three touchdowns again, which is his current season average. One thing to watch out for is their defense, which has allowed 31.7 points in the last three games. For WSU to stay on top, they’ll need to keep the opponent out of the end zone.

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2. Washington (6-3)

Nothing hurts your team pride like a two point loss to a 4-3 team. Losing two of their last three games, the Huskies are having a midseason crisis that could cost them the Pac-12 championship. After throwing an interception, prospect UW quarterback Jake Browning was benched and replaced by redshirt freshman Jake Haener. Haener ended throwing a costly pick-six at the end of the third quarter giving California the win. Whatever problem UW is having, they need to figure it out.

3. Utah (6-2)

Besides Washington State, Utah is one of the hottest teams in the Pac-12 right now. In their last four games, the Utes have averaged 41 points per game. On defense, they’ve allowed an average of just 16.75 points per game this season. Now ranked No. 23 in the nation, it will be exciting to see how they handle their next four games against Arizona State, Oregon, Colorado and BYU. If they win out, a Pac-12 championship could be in their future.

4. California (5-3)

Forget about their first three conference games, the Golden Bears are back and better than ever. It wasn’t pretty, but they got the upset win and that’s all that matters. They held the Washington offense to just 10 points and took the lead in amazing fashion when inside linebacker Evan Weaver scored on a pick-six late in the third. Don’t get lost in the hype though, California will be taking on Washington State next week. If the Golden Bears want the spotlight, this is the game to win.

5. Stanford (5-3)

Remember in week one when we all thought it was going to be Stanford and Washington on top? It’s crazy how things have turned out. Stanford has lost three of their last four games and are currently fourth in the Pac-12. With no answer for WSU quarterback Gardner Minshew, it’ll be interesting to see how Stanford responds as they take on Washington next week. Mark your calendars for this game, because the loser will likely be stripped of Pac-12 championship eligibility.

6. Oregon (5-3)

Oregon’s game against Arizona in one word: ‘ouch.’ The Ducks’ defense was once again picked apart as they allowed 465 yards of total offense to the Wildcats and weren’t able to climb back from their 23-8 halftime deficit. Looking at the final score of 15-44, this game wasn’t an upset, but more of a beatdown. Now on a two game losing streak, the Ducks will be taking on the 2-6 UCLA Bruins in what should be a win, but you can never be too sure after a performance like this.

7. Arizona (4-5)

Out of all the upsets this year, Arizona dominating the No. 19 Oregon Ducks by 29 points might be the most surprising. In the game, Wildcats quarterback Khalil Tate threw for 189 yards and three touchdowns while running back J.J. Taylor rushed for 212 yards and two scores. The more surprising part of the game, however, was the Arizona defense holding the Ducks to 15 points. Whatever the Wildcats did, they should keep it going.

8. Colorado (5-3)

What has happened to the Buffaloes? They were on top of the Pac-12 three weeks ago, but now they’re on a three game losing streak. Let’s ask the big question, how do you lose to Oregon State? CU had 31-3 lead in the third quarter, but they had no answer once OSU quarterback Jake Luton entered the game. Next week, Colorado takes on an excited Arizona team who are fresh off of an upset. If the Buffaloes want to keep up, they need to win this game.

9. Arizona State (4-4)

In their 38-35 win against USC, the Sun Devils’ explosive offense was extremely fun to watch. ASU’s running back rushed for 185 yards and two touchdowns while quarterback Manny Wilkins went for 89 yards and a score on the ground as well. Not only did they get their record back to even, but they also snapped USC’s 19-home-game winning streak. Despite their record, ASU is a very good football team, they just need to build off of this win.

10. USC (4-4)

Last week, we talked about how inconsistent USC is, and this loss to Arizona State really drives that point home. On the bright side, the Trojans could have hope in quarterback Jack Sears, who threw for 235 yards and two touchdowns on 20-of-28 passes in his first career start. With an even record this late into the season, it’s smart that Head Coach Clay Helton is getting his young players in the game. Next week, they take on the red-hot Utah Utes.

11. Oregon State (2-6)

A 13 conference game losing streak, 22 consecutive road game losing streak and a 28 points deficit were all erased in Oregon State’s stellar overtime comeback win against Colorado this past weekend. With quarterback Jake Luton returning from injury, the Beavers scored 24 points in the fourth quarter to tie the Buffaloes, force the overtime and get the win. If anything is for sure, it’s that OSU needs Luton on the field. We’ll see how the Beavers handle USC at home next weekend.

12. UCLA (2-6)

Things seemed promising for UCLA in the first quarter of their game against Utah. However, Zack Moss came into the game and that changed quickly. It’s hard to tell if the Bruins are really in the top-team conversation. They had won their last two games prior to Utah, but then they get blown out by 31 points. Whatever is causing this inconsistency, UCLA needs to figure out as soon as possible. Next week, they take on Oregon who are desperate for a win.