Posted on November 09, 2018 by: Kyle Risko
We thought we knew something, and then Arizona State beats Utah. Now, every team in the South division has a chance at the title. In the North, the Apple Cup looks like it may decide the division champion once again. Washington State is still the Pac-12’s only hope to get a team to the CFP, but remaining ranked #8 nationally means they will need some help. Here are my Power Rankings after Week 10.
1. Washington State (8-1 Overall, 5-1 Conference) (Previous Rank: #1)
The Cougars remain at #1, but they barely squeak by the tough defense of Cal. The Cougs travel to Boulder this week to face the Buffs who should be getting Shenault back. This has upset alert written all over it. Hopefully, Minshew and Co. can weather the storm to keep their playoff hopes alive. Everyone knows about the Cougs offense, but what makes WSU so scary is their defense. Currently, Wazzu’s defense is giving up under 200 yards passing a game and 131 yards on the ground. That’s pretty impressive considering how much time they spend on the field due to their offense scoring quickly and often.
2. Washington (7-3 Overall, 5-2 Conference) (Previous Rank: #3)
Washington won a close one against Stanford 27-23. The Huskies have the head-to-head now against Stanford, so they move up a spot to #2. In addition, since they control their own destiny in the North, the Huskies get some credit for that. Washington’s defense continues to shine as they currently give up the fewest points in the conference and the 9th fewest in the nation, only giving up 16 points per game. Washington has a bye this week to rest up before the final push.
3. Stanford (5-4 Overall, 3-3 Conference) (Previous Rank: #2)
Stanford lost a tight one against Washington, so they drop a spot to #3. The Cardinal has the head-to-head against Oregon, so they remain above the Ducks in this week’s rankings. Stanford’s run game continues to sputter and their defense is average at best. After two tough losses in a row, Stanford will face Oregon State in Palo Alto, which should be a much-needed win.
4. Oregon (6-3 Overall, 3-3 Conference) (Previous Rank: #4)
Oregon beat up on UCLA, but remains at #4. Oregon’s offense is the team’s bright spot as they are averaging 37.2 points per game. In a weird scenario, the Ducks actually control much of the South division destiny with Utah and ASU still on their schedule. How those games turn out determines who plays for the Pac-12 championship from the South. It starts with Utah this weekend and the Utes are without Tyler Huntley AND Zack Moss.
5. California (5-4 Overall, 2-4 Conference) (Previous Rank: #5)
The Golden Bears defense looks great, but they lost a close one to Washington State 19-13. Cal cannot seem to put up enough points to win while their defense holds teams under 20 on a consistent basis. Cal’s defense is only giving up 21.9 points per game, which is third best in the conference behind the elite defenses of UW and Utah. Even more impressive is how dominant Cal’s pass defense is. The Bears only give up 184.2 passing yards per game, which is best in the conference and 21st in the nation. The Bears head to LA to face the Trojans in a late night Pac-12 After Dark matchup. Can Cal’s stout defensive keep the Trojans offense (which has been clicking as of late) in check?
6. Oregon State (2-7 Overall, 1-5 Conference) (Previous Rank: #6)
The Beavers are who we thought they were… Oregon State got beat by USC 38-21 at home in Corvallis. The Beavs have only one win in conference (which, I’ll admit was a pretty epic comeback) and are 2-7 on the year. They remain #6 for that reason.
1. Arizona (5-5 Overall, 4-3 Conference) (Previous Rank: #4)
Big jump for the Wildcats from #4 to #1 with back-to-back wins over Oregon and Colorado. Khalil Tate looks like the Heisman candidate we thought he was going to be and he has Arizona rolling. Arizona currently rushes for 206 yards per game, which is a key reason why Tate has been able to be effective through the air. The Wildcats get a bye this week and they’ll root for Cal and Oregon so their chances at winning the South get that much better.
2. Arizona State (5-4 Overall, 3-3 Conference) (Previous Rank: #6)
Another huge leap as ASU goes from #6 to #2 in this week’s rankings. The Sun Devils took down USC and Utah in back-to-back weeks. One big win is an upset, two big wins is a trend. The Sun Devils are trending and their win against Utah this week might be the biggest win of the year in the Pac-12 due to the implications in the South. Manny Wilkins and N’Keal Harry continue to impress week after week. The Sun Devils face UCLA this week at home in the desert, which should be no issue.
3. Utah (6-3 Overall, 4-3 Conference) (Previous Rank: #1)
The Utes drop a big one, losing 38-20 to Arizona State. Not only did Utah give up the driver’s seat to the Pac-12 South, but they also lost QB Tyler Huntley and RB Zack Moss to injury. The Utes host Oregon this weekend, which is going to be a tough task with a new QB, RB, and a fired up Ducks team looking to stay in the hunt for the North title.
4. USC (5-4 Overall, 4-3 Conference) (Previous Rank: #2)
The Trojans got a good 38-21 bounce-back win against Oregon State. JT Daniels is back at QB and the running game finally got going. Aca’Cedric Ware had 205 yards and three TDs as the offense finally opened up. SC jumped out to a 21-0 lead and never looked back. The Trojans have a great track to the South title, needing victories over UCLA and Cal coupled with an ASU and Utah loss. We shall see how these next few weeks play out.
5. Colorado (5-4 Overall, 2-4 Conference) (Previous Rank: #3)
Oh poor Buffs. Starting the season 5-0 followed by four straight conference losses drops them to #5. Shenault has been out, and it seems he makes that offense go. The Buffs get him back this week (we think…) as Washington State comes to Boulder. Colorado, at full strength, gets a chance to get back on track and upset the Cougars CFP chances. This is going to be a great football game to watch.
6. UCLA (2-7 Overall, 2-4 Conference) (Previous Rank: #5)
In Chip Kelly’s return to Eugene, the Bruins were rolled by Oregon. Despite the loss, the Bruins seem to be improving and still have a decent amount of talent, especially in RB Joshua Kelly and TE Caleb Wilson. UCLA travels to ASU this week to face a hungry Sun Devil’s team that has the Pac 12 South title within reach…for now.