Posted on October 25, 2018 by: Kyle Risko
What a week in the Pac-12. Huge head-to-head matchups gave us a clear picture on the two teams controlling their own destiny, Washington State and Utah. The trouble is that they both have very difficult schedules coming down the stretch, so the teams in the two and three spot have plenty of hope. Here are my Power Rankings after Week 8.
1. Washington State (6-1 Overall, 3-1 Conference) (Previous Rank: #2)
The Cougars laid the smack down on Oregon 31-20 in Pullman with the College GameDay crew in the house. Don’t let the score fool you, this was WSU from the jump. Minshew threw 51 times for four TDs and the train keeps on rolling. The Cougs go to Palo Alto to face Stanford next as the #14 team in the nation and #1 in my North division Power Rankings.
2. Washington (6-2 Overall, 4-1 Conference) (Previous Rank: #3)
Washington moves up a spot with a 27-13 win against Colorado. The Huskies rebounded after their loss to Oregon last week. It wasn’t a great game to watch, but they got it done. With their College Football Playoff hopes in shambles, their hope for the Pac-12 Championship rests on the Apple Cup.
3. Oregon (5-2 Overall, 2-2 Conference) (Previous Rank: #1)
Oh man did they get beat bad. Minshew diced Oregon up like an onion and the Ducks fall from the top spot to #3. It wasn’t as much what Oregon didn’t do, but what the Cougars did on offense. The Ducks get Arizona in Tempe this week to hopefully lick their wounds and rebound.
4. Stanford (5-2 Overall, 3-1 Conference) (Previous Rank: #4)
The Cardinal cruised through ASU on a Thursday night. Stanford stays here at #4, as they don’t have the firepower the top three teams do now. With only one conference loss, the Cardinal still have a chance at the North title. They get Washington State and Washington in the next two weeks, so they really do control their own destiny if they can win those games.
5. California (4-3 Overall, 1-3 Conference) (Previous Rank: #6)
Oh man, is Cal good or is Oregon State that bad. The Bears rolled up the Beavers 49-7 in the battle for fifth in the North. Garbers threw three touchdowns and Laird ran for 193 yards on 22 carries. The Bears can play spoiler with all five of their remaining games against teams in the hunt in their division. Cal also needs a couple more wins to secure a bowl berth.
6. Oregon State (1-6 Overall, 0-4 Conference) (Previous Rank: #5)
Ok, I learned my lesson removing Oregon State from #6 in the rankings. They had two QBs each throw an interception and for only 146 total yards. Without Jermar Jefferson, the run game that has fueled them all year vanished. And its not like the played Oregon! It was Cal, in Corvallis, ouch…
1. Utah (5-2 Overall, 3-2 Conference) (Previous Rank: #3)
Utah deserves to snatch this top spot. The Utes took down the Trojans 41-28 and it was never a close game. USC came out early and stole 14 points on a first quarter hail Mary and a scoop-and-score from a sack fumble. After that, it was all Utes. They control their own destiny, but have a tough road including Colorado and Oregon.
2. USC (4-3 Overall, 3-2 Conference) (Previous Rank: #1)
USC falls from grace with an embarrassing loss to Utah. It wasn’t just that they lost, but it’s HOW they lost. The offense could not get anything going and the defense just got tired after repeated three and outs. Clay Helton is on the hot seat, so they need to beat the four mediocre Pac-12 teams they have left if he wants to keep his job. The Trojans have a solid chance at the South if they do that and Utah drops out.
3. Colorado (5-2 Overall, 2-2 Conference) (Previous Rank: #2)
After going 5-0, the Buffs drop two straight to USC and Washington. Colorado fought hard, but looked like they just had less talent in these two losses. not having Shenault against the Huskies hurt as their offense tried to manufacture points without its main threat. The Buffs don’t have the head to head against USC, but they still have Utah in Colorado, so they are not out of it yet.
4. UCLA (2-5 Overall,2-2 Conference) (Previous Rank: #5)
Don’t look now, but UCLA just won two straight after losing five games to open the year. DTR is getting the offense going and the Bruins look like a threat to win a few more. UCLA goes from 6th to 4th in these rankings in two weeks because they are hot. The Bruins get Utah in the Rose Bowl coming off a big win against USC. If they really want to make a name for themselves, this is the game to do it.
5. Arizona State (3-4 Overall, 1-3 Conference) (Previous Rank: #4)
Stanford beat ASU on Thursday night 20-13. They have dropped four of their last five after their upset of Michigan State. The Sun Devils travel to the LA Coliseum and might get a third string QB from the Trojans with Daniels in concussion protocol and Matt Fink injured. I still would not bet on a Sun Devil victory on Saturday.
6. Arizona (3-5 Overall, 2-3 Conference) (Previous Rank: #6)
The most disappointing team in the Pac-12 stays at #6 with a 31-30 loss to UCLA. Granted, UCLA is looking better, but Arizona has too much talent to be playing like this. ASU in Tempe looks like their only remaining possible win down the stretch.