The Pac-12 was the home of just three teams in the initial release of the College Football Playoff rankings last night. The meat grinder continues this weekend with Utah taking on a salty Washington team that slayed USC ranked No. 17 at the time early last month.
- #9 Stanford (7-1, 6-0, S&P+ Overall 17th, Previous Ranking: 1)
Week 9: Defeated Washington State; 30-28.
Stanford escapes doom by the hair of their chinny chin chin after Washington State kicker Erick Powell failed to connect on a six straight field goal as time expired. Backed by a yeoman’s effort from quarterback Kevin Hogan who had to do the heavy lifting in a game marred by the rain and wind.
- #13 Utah (7-1, 4-1, S&P+ Overall 24th, Previous Power Ranking: 2)
Week 9: Defeated Oregon State; 27-12.
Utah heads to Husky Stadium this week an underdog for the second time in three weeks.
- USC (5-3, 3-2, S&P+ Overall 11th, Previous Power Ranking: 5)
Week 9: Defeated Cal; 27-21.
Clay Helton certainly seems to have circled the wagons since taking over the hot mess than was Steve Sarkisian in 2015. Something at the moment seems vaguely familiar with the 2013 Trojans season.
- #22 UCLA (6-2, 3-2, S&P+ Overall 19th, Previous Power Ranking: 3)
Week 9: Defeated Colorado; 35-31.
The Bruins control their own destiny and can take home their third Pac-12 South crown in five years by maneuvering through the gauntlet of three road contests with the easiest coming on Saturday against the Beavers. If they win out could they become the first two-loss team to make the CFB Playoff?
- Washington State (5-3, 3-2, S&P+ Overall 70th, Previous Power Ranking: 7)
Week 9: Lost to No. 8 Stanford; 30-28.
The Cougars ran into a brick wall both in the red zone (two touchdowns on six chances) and on third down (2/14) against the Stanford defense. More surprising however was a weather-aided Cougars defense holding the high powered Cardinal offense at bay throughout the first half allowing just a field goal.
- Cal (5-3, 2-3, S&P+ Overall 41st, Previous Power Ranking: 4)
Week 9: Lost to USC; 27-21.
It’s been a streaky season so far for the Bears, winners of their first five followed by losers of their last three games.
With Oregon State their only winnable opponent left on the schedule, it will be a battle to get to seven wins, starting this weekend against an Oregon team that just gave up 742 yards of offense against the Devils.
- Oregon (5-3, 3-2, S&P+ Overall 60th, Previous Power Ranking: 8)
Week 9: Defeated Arizona State; 61-55.
Be it due to poor officiating, bad offensive play selection by the Sun Devils, white screens, or a Tecmo Bowl performance by Vernon Adams, Oregon came out of Tempe alive last Thursday.
If they can continue to get Jared Goff to turn the football over (seven interceptions in his last 3 three games after four in his first five) they’ll have a shot in this one and somehow still have a shot at the Pac-12 North.
- Arizona State (4-4, 2-3, S&P+ Overall 69th, Previous Power Ranking: 6)
Week 9: Lost to Oregon; 61-55.
Special teams miscues were costly, but a leaky defense really let this team down last week, thanks in part to the loss of Salamo Fiso late in the game. All reports have both Fiso and quarterback Mike Bercovici (left foot injury) fully participating in practice that week in preparation for the Cougars.
Now if we could just get Mike Leach to remember who D.J. Foster is.
- Washington (4-4, 2-3, S&P+ Overall 18th, Previous Power Ranking: 9)
Week 9: Defeated Arizona; 49-3.
Looks like the Huskies got the message about bowl season.
Kudos to Chris Peterson’s young defense throwing up a stack of bricks against the highest scoring offense in the conference. While the Wildcats defense has been terrible, you have to tip your cap to freshman quarterback Jake Browning who totalled five touchdowns in the game.
- Arizona (5-4, 2-4, S&P+ Overall 86th, Previous Ranking: 10)
Week 9: Lost to Washington; 49-3.
Not exactly the kind of loss you want on your resume if you’re Rich Rodriguez. Things don’t get any easier this week as they head to the Coliseum to take on a reinvigorated USC team.
- Colorado (4-5, 1-4, S&P+ Overall 97th, Previous Power Ranking: 11)
Week 9: Lost to No. 24 UCLA; 35-31.
You have to give the Buffs credit. They attempted to go tempo against a worn out Bruins defense and nearly pulled it off as Mike MacIntyre’s offense missed the FBS record of 115 offensive plays by just one snap in the failed comeback attempt in Pasadena.
As we mentioned previously, things don’t get any easier for a team that needs 3 wins to become bowl eligible against the likes of the Cardinal, Trojans, Cougars, and Utes.
- Oregon State (2-6, 0-5, S&P+ Overall 104th, Previous Power Ranking 12)
Week 9: Lost to No. 13 Utah; 27-12.
Freshman quarterback Seth Collins was the only shot the Beavers had at beating Utah. He didn’t travel with the team to Salt Lake after injuring his knee while stretch during the last practice before the team would depart. That’s just brutal, much like most of the 2015 season for Oregon State.
His replacement? Another freshman, Nick Mitchell, who at least had a year of practice squad duty under his belt and did his best to keep up with the Utes until late in the game last week. He’ll look to build off his first college start with his second coming at home against the 19th ranked passing defense according to Football Outsiders S&P+ Defense.
** S&P+ rating was created by FootballOutsiders.com : The S&P+ Ratings are a college football ratings system derived from the play-by-play and drive data of all 800+ of a season’s FBS college football games (and 140,000+ plays).