UWDP's - Pac 12 Roundup and Power Poll (Week 13)

Ralph Freso

In a time of year when power rankings ought to be stabilizing, I give you the Pac 12.

Another crazy week in the Pac 12.  Consider:

  • The USC Trojans "out-Stanford'ed" the Cardinal in demonstrating their own form of physicality and beating David Shaw's team at their own game.
  • The Sun Devils did what the Sun Devils do ... they got an early lead and put their feet on the collective throat of the Beavers in a relatively easy victory.
  • The Cal Bears proved that they are indeed the worst team in the conference by getting their butts handed to them by a focused and determined Colorado team.
  • The Cougs did what the UW has not been able to ... they pulled off a road conference win with an impressive end of game performance by their QB in beating a stunned Arizona team.

UWDP's Pac 12 Power Poll - Week 13

Team Record
Oregon_helmet_medium 1. Oregon Ducks
9-1 (6-1)

The Ducks return to the #1 spot after a 1-week vacation.  Their win over a short-handed Utah was far from "dominating" as the Oregon offense wasn't quite as efficient as we are used to seeing, but Marcus Mariota was more than capable of carrying the load in passing for nearly 300 yards and 3 TDs.  If you are looking for a red flag, this was Oregon's second straight week with weak rushing output - just 145 yards as a team and 66 yards for their leader, Byron Marshall.  This team is not a very convincing "#1" right now.

Asu_helmet_medium 2. Arizona State Sun Devils 8-2 (6-1)

The Sun Devils jump two spots in this week's poll thanks to another win, this one over the sinking Beavers of OSU.  It wasn't their most dominating offensive game - they managed less than 400 yards and had issues with turnovers.  Still, the Sun Devils did what top teams do:  they got an early lead and then put the petal to the metal in taking their opponent out of their game.  Marion Grice did his thing with 2 TDs while the defense generated four INTs and a blocked FG to drive ASU's victory.

Usc_helmet_medium 3. USC Trojans
8-3 (5-2)
My preseason pick to win the Pac 12 South is still not in a position to control their own destiny, but they are really making things interesting for the entire conference as they continue their torrid play in conference.  Their physical victory over Stanford last weekend, 20-17, was another example of how the Trojans can adapt their talent to meet the unique challenge of each Pac 12 opponent on their schedule.  The rushing attack was completely stymied, by credit Cody Kessler for winning a game on his own.  He thoroughly outplayed Kevin Hogan and generated 288 of USC's 311 total yards with his arm.  The Trojans are streaking and deserve to be #3 in this week's poll.

Stan_helmet_medium 4. Stanford Cardinal
8-2 (6-2)
Stanford did nothing in their loss to USC to dissuade people from the opinion that this team is uniquely built to stop Oregon, but are otherwise a contestable opponent for just about any other team on their schedule.  The lack of an explosive playmaker on the offense - especially when Ty Montgomery is dropping passes - is a real challenge for the Cardinal.  While they should be expected to win out, the loss to USC was a crushing blow to a team that is seeing its BCS window closing quickly. 

Ucla_helmet_medium 5. UCLA Bruins
8-2 (5-2)

The Bruins beat the Huskies, but did little to inspire confidence in the argument that they are anything more than the fifth best team in the conference.  In fact, the Bruins were outgained by the Huskies for the game despite the fact that UW played half the game without either their top QB, top LT and top WR from a year ago.  Brett Hundley wasn't very convincing in his national spotlight, but the Bruins did demonstrate a Stanford-like ability to pound the ball (4 yards and a cloud of dust) that they haven't shown all year.  It will be interesting to see if they go with that style in their remaining games versus ASU and USC.

Oh, and by the way, Myles Jack was fabulous on offense but, seriously, he was hardly a factor on defense.  It makes me wonder if he needs to be on offense full time.

Uw_helmet_medium 6. Washington Huskies
6-4 (3-4)
Husky fans are beside themselves following yet another disappointing road loss.  However, the worst you can criticize about the Huskies in that game was their sloppiness in penalties and their inability to handle the UCLA rush (although UCLA averaged just 4 yards per carry).  The Huskies gave up a couple of uncharacteristic fumbles before their back up QB threw two INTs, but otherwise outplayed UCLA on a variety of dimensions.  They are the clear "best of the rest".  However, with OSU and WSU the two teams remaining on the schedule, they are going to need slippage from those above them to move up the power poll.

Osu_helmet_medium 7. Oregon State Beavers 6-4 (4-3)
"Bad" Sean Mannion continues to be a problem for the Beavers who saw him surrender another four INTs en route to a bad 30-17 loss to Arizona State.  The Beavers should get credit for slowing the ASU offense down - in particular in the third quarter when they mounted their comeback.  They should also be recognized for surrendering just one sack given that they had surrendered 14 in their previous three games.  However, the Beavers are still struggling in handling good rushing attacks and are still unable to run the ball themselves.  They can only compensate with screens and flies to a certain extent.  If they lose this week to Washington - and keep in mind that OSU has scored more than 17 in any of the last three weeks -  it would be their fourth straight with Oregon lined up as their last game.

Wsu_helmet_medium 8. Washington State Cougars
5-5 (3-4)
The Cougars pass the Wildcats to reach #8 in this weeks power poll thanks to their head to head win over Arizona in Tuscon.  It was a great all around game for the Cougs who saw Connor Halliday throw a game-winning TD pass with 2 minutes to play while passing for a complete 318 yard game.  The Cougs absolutely had to have this game to have a chance at bowl eligibility and now have the ability to get to that elusive sixth win with a victory over the short-haned Utes in Pullman this weekend.  WSU has not been in a bowl game since 2003. 

Ariz_helmet_medium 9. Arizona Wildcats
6-4 (3-4)
Arizona drops a spot after a heartbreaking loss to the Cougs.  The offense was inexplicably ineffective against WSU, with B.J Denker passing for just 5 yards per attempt and the Ka'Deem Carey - led rushing attack going for about 4 yards per carry.  Losing to the Cougs is a huge blow to the psyche of a Wildcat team that still has ASU left on its schedule. 

Utah_helmet_medium 10. Utah Utes
4-6 (1-6)
The big news coming out of Salt Lake is the season-ending (and possibly career-ending) head injury to starting QB Travis Wilson.  A concussion suffered in the week before led to an examination that revealed a pre-existing neurovascular condition that may force the young Utes QB to walk away from the game.  Stories like this are very tragic and really put football into perspective.  While we wish the best to Travis, it is hard to not see how this devastates the Utes team this year.  With both WSU and Colorado left, the Utes may be able to gut out some wins on the backs of their Defense - a D that held its own versus Oregon.  But this could also be a disaster for a team that has to win out in order to make a bowl game.  Given that they may need to break in a new QB next year, those extra bowl practices would be huge for Utah.

Col_helmet_medium 11. Colorado Buffaloes
4-6 (1-6)
Colorado got the matchup they needed to sustain their confidence in their rebuilding process:  the Cal Bears at home.  The Buffs thoroughly dominated the Bears and are rewarded by moving up a slot in the Pac 12 power poll.  The Sefo Liufau to Paul Richardson connection was the story of this game as Liufau through over 360 yards and P-Rich hauled in 11 catches.  I'm not sure the Buffs have any more wins in them this year, but getting this conference win was a big deal for Mike MacIntyre and team.
Cal_helmet_medium 12. California Golden Bears 1-10 (0-8)
I don't know what else to say about Cal.  Last week I called them a "hot mess".  This week, they are a "hot mess", "last place", "with a loss to Colorado" team.  Sonny Dykes's overhaul of this team is going to be a bigger challenge than any of us had projected.  There is young talent there, but there are also serious questions as to the overall direction of the program in light of the disaster that we've seen on the field this year.  They are like the 2008 Huskies in that regard. 

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