If anyone has any questions regarding Pac-12 teams taking losses to aid the elite and a college football playoff appearance, please ignore them. If we learned anything in Week 7, it’s that in college football, not just the Conference of Champions, any team can beat any team during any given game.
Conference play just makes it more likely as teams are more acclimated to each other, and have extra motivation to beat their rivals. With any chance of a playoff slot now relying on losses from other conference champions, let’s see how the Pac Power Rankings were affected.
1] USC Trojans +2 (6-1, 4-1)
USC was down big early against the Utah Utes, and were able to dig out and hold on to a 28-27 victory at home. A gutsy call by the visitors, going for two and the essential victory, led to a great stop by the defense to seal the deal. With a trip to South Bend and a date against 13th ranked Notre Dame (5-1), USC may be the best hope for a Final Four slot with a victory.
2] Stanford Cardinal +2 (5-2, 4-1)
Facing a injured Oregon side, the Cardinal showed no sympathy with a 49-7 victory. Bryce Love ran for 147 yards on just 17 carries, with two scores helping his chase for the Heisman. With the Washington schools following a bye week and Oregon State, Stanford controls its own destiny for the division.
3] Washington Huskies -2 (6-1, 3-1)
When you play a cupcake non-conference schedule, a loss hurts. Especially when the loss comes against a 2-3 side that wasn’t doing particularly well. After scoring at lest 30 points in every game, the Huskies were held to a single touch down against a side that hadn’t held a team to below 30. The bye week needs to be utilized before Josh Rosen and the Bruins come to town.
4] Utah Utes +1 (4-2, 1-2)
A gamble to go for two could cost the Utes a chance to win the Pac-12 South, especially with the Washington schools to come. Still, don’t count out Utah, who have lost both their contests by a combined 4 points. With Arizona State coming to town, Utah can get right back on track.
5] Washington State Cougars -3 (6-1, 3-1)
Following up Syracuse’s upset over Clemson, Washington State outdid them on Friday evening, behind Luke Falk and his five interceptions against an injured, and struggling, California Golden Bears side. Similar to in-state rivals Washington, the Cougars non-conference schedule leaves a lot to be desired, and they, too, hadn’t scored below 30 all year before putting up just a putrid field goal versus a team. With Colorado coming to town before a trip to the Old Pueblo, Luke Falk needs to get his arm going.
6] Arizona Wildcats +1 (4-2, 2-1)
Khalil Tate. Khalil Tate. Khalil Tate. That’s all that needs to be said, as the Wildcats QB had a spectacular week in the Old Pueblo, as his defense was able to stifle Josh Rosen and get the Wildcats that much closer to bowl eligibility, and Rich Rod to saving his job. A trip to Cal is followed by dates against Washington State and USC, giving us a chance to see if the Wildcats are legit.
7] Arizona State Sun Devils +2 (3-3, 2-1)
Some said Arizona State was the best 2-3 team they had seen in a while. Most scoffed at that statement.They ended up proving the former correct when they held the high-powered Huskies to a meager seven points and bringing attention to Tempe. All three of Arizona’s losses were by 10 or less, and a trip to Utah looms ahead before hosting USC.
8] California Golden Bears +3 (4-3, 1-3)
A solid non-conference outing was derailed by injuries and those non-conference opponents stinking it up. None of that mattered when Cal simply dominated the Cougars by a 37-3 margin, forcing more interceptions (5) than points allowed. The loss of Devante Downs will be apparent when the surging Wildcats come to town.
9] UCLA Bruins -3 (3-3, 1-2)
Memories of the 34-point comeback against the Texas A&M Aggies are a mere memory, as the Bruins have since lost to Memphis, Stanford and Arizona. A Jekyll and Hyde type of season for UCLA, as they sit 3-0, mirroring the 0-3 road tally. Same can be said for Josh Rosen, who has thrown for 10 scores and one pick in the confines of the Rose Bowl and seven scores and seven picks on the road. Well, thankfully for UCLA’s bowl chances, they have three winnable home match-ups left (Oregon this week and Arizona State/Cal), while the road games won’t be easy with trips to Washington, Utah and crosstown USC.
10] Oregon Ducks -2 (4-3, 1-3)
Injuries derailed what could have been a good season for the Ducks, though bowl eligibility is within grasp. A trip to the Rose Bowl will need the Ducks to contain Rosen if they wish to come out victorious.
11] Colorado Buffaloes — (3-4, 1-3)
Getting their first conference win wasn’t easy for the Buffs, as they held off an abysmal Oregon State side 36-33, at home. With the prior two losses coming by a combined seven points, Colorado will need to get at the Cougars early if they wish to put together a winning streak. After the Cal debacle, however, it’s unlikely Washington State takes the Buffs lightly.
12] Oregon State Beavers — (1-6, 0-4)
New coaching nearly led the Beavers to a victory over Colorado, but still, a long ways to go. A bye week should give the staff a chance to get to know the new guys before a mid-week show down against the surging Cardinal.