Rob Malara

Pac-12 Power Rankings: Week 8


As we head into tonight’s game between Cal and UCLA we can finally say confidently that there are two really good teams in the Pac-12 (Utah and Stanford), one very dangerous team (Cal), and then a bunch of teams floating around the .500 mark that are still trying to find their identity at least half way through their schedules.

  1. #3 Utah (6-0, 3-0, S&P+ 18th, Previous Power Ranking: 1)

Week 7: Defeated ASU; 34-18.

After making some horrendous miscues to hand the lead to the Devils at points throughout the first three quarters of this game, the Utes dominated the Devils in all three phases of the game in the final quarter of their win at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

Devontae Booker was kept in check for most of the contest until busting off two big runs of 25 and 67 yards to open and close the scoring in the last 15 minutes for the Utes.

Kyle Whittingham’s team still have some land mines on their schedule with trips to USC, Washington, and Arizona on the horizon.  But they’d have to fall completely flat on their face not to represent the South in the Pac-12 Championship game.

  1. #10 Stanford (5-1, 4-0, S&P+ 15th, Previous Ranking: 2)

Week 7: Defeated No.18 UCLA; 56-35.

The Northwestern loss is the only thing keeping Stanford out of the number one slot at this point after completely leveling UCLA last week.  The offense is averaging 11 points per game more than it did in 2014, converting on nearly 50-percent of its third down opportunities.  That streak of scoring 40-plus points in games?  Make that four games in a row.

Oh yeah, that Christian McCaffrey kid we keep talking about is pretty solid.

  1. #20 Cal (5-1, 2-1, S&P+ 29th, Previous Power Ranking: 5)

Week 7: On Bye.

Sonny Dykes has a chance to make a statement tonight in a game against a beleaguered Bruins defense that still has smoke coming off of it after the beatdown handed to them by the Cardinal.

How we love those Thursday night Pac-12 games however.  Both teams have a lot at stake in this game.  For the Bears, it’s a chance to throttle their neighbors down south and jump in the polls after the bye week, and for the Bruins, it’s now or never to get back into the rankings.  

  1. Arizona State (4-3, 2-2, S&P+ 67th, Previous Power Ranking: 3)

Week 7: Lost to No. 4 Utah; 34-18.

Still wondering how it all went south so fast in that fourth quarter on a wet and dreary night in Utah last Saturday.

Those punts, the fumble, the drops, the play calling.  It’s all hard to absorb from a program that showed so much promise last year.  Notice the slide of 30 spots in the S&P+ rating from last week.  That will happen when your team doesn’t score an offensive touchdown all game.

  1. UCLA (4-2, 1-2, S&P+ 25th, Previous Power Ranking: 4)

Week 7: Lost to No. 15 Stanford; 56-35.

Jim Mora has done a lot of positive things during his time with the Bruins.  Beating Stanford just hasn’t been one of them however.  As UCLA falls to 0-5 against David Shaw since Mora took over in 2012.

That being said, the Bruins could take a major step in the right direction with a win over Cal tonight.  It just doesn’t look probably however with Cal lighting it up offensively and the Bruins still reeling from a rash of injuries on the defensive side of the ball.

  1. USC (3-3, 1-1, S&P+ 11th, Previous Power Ranking: 7)

Week 7: Lost to No. 14 Notre Dame; 41-31.

With all the concerns about this Trojans team, all the turmoil over the past few weeks, not to mention that they are coming off a fourth quarter collapse to the Irish last week.  You have to wonder how they are 3.5-point favorites to No. 3 Utah in the Coliseum on Saturday?

  1. Washington (3-3, 1-2, S&P+ 44th, Previous Power Ranking: 6)

Week 7: Lost to Oregon; 26-20.

Twelve losses in a row to Oregon, and now the Huskies head to play a surging Stanford team on The Farm with injury concerns at both quarterback and running back.  

  1. Washington State (4-2, 2-1, S&P+ 61st, Previous Power Ranking: 10)

Week 7: Defeated Oregon State; 52-31.

The Cougars put in perhaps their best quarter of 2015 when they scored 31 points on the Beavers in the second quarter to close out the first half scoring 45 points in all.

  1. Oregon (4-3, 2-2, S&P+ 57th, Previous Power Ranking: 8)

Week 7: Defeated Washington; 26-20.

  1. Arizona (5-2, 2-2, S&P+ 68th, Previous Rank: 9)

Week 7: Defeated Colorado; 38-31.

It took a three touchdown surge in the final quarter to get past the Buffs last week behind the legs of Jared Baker’s 207-yard rushing day filling in for the injured Nick Wilson at running back.

This team is struggling with injuries and inconsistency and the defense can do very little to get in the way of Pac-12 offenses at the moment.

  1. Colorado (3-4, 0-3, S&P+ 99th, Previous Power Ranking: 11)

Week 7: Lost to Arizona; 38-31.

Poor, poor Colorado.  They just can’t put together four good quarters of play as evidenced by their meltdown against the Cats last weekend.

  1. Oregon State (2-4, 0-3, S&P+ 104th, Previous Power Ranking 12)

Week 7: Lost to Washington State; 52-31.

Respect to the Beavers in not completely folding up the tents at halftime with the scoreboard reading  45-17 against the Cougs.


How do you rank the Pac-12 top-to-bottom? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.

** S&P+ rating was created by : 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).  

About Rob Malara

Rob Malara

Rob Malara is a 2002 Sun Devil grad having spent the majority of his time in Tempe as a football, basketball, and baseball season ticket holder and front row inhabitant. A member of the Football Writers Association of America, he hosted the ASU Devils podcast and was its sub-optimal technical producer through its lifespan. Currently the president of the ASU Alumni Association's Northern Colorado Club, he is part of a family of maroon and gold residing in Fort Collins with his Sun Devil wife and nearby Sun Devil sister.

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