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Pac 12 Power Rankings and Conference Roundup - Week 12

We are racing into the homestretch and the conference is shaping up exactly as almost nobody had in mind when it all started.

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Pac 12 is starting to work itself out as the standings begin to firm up. We know that a banged up Oregon team is going to win the North and we also know that the South is still a multi team race but that ASU is firmly in control.

Here are some roundup dots to whet your weekly conference whistle.

Pac 12 Roundup - Week 12

  • The Oregon win over Utah was critical as the Utes were Oregon's toughest remaining opponent outside of the P12 Championship.  Oregon's odds at making the inaugural playoffs got a huge boost last weekend.
  • How do you think it feels to be Kaelin Clay right now?  His drop at the one yard line was a classic "all about me and my celebration dance" moment and resulted not only in a 14 point swing but also a huge momentum shift.  The Utes had the Ducks on their heels until that 75 yard sure TD turned debacle occurred.  Credit Kaelin for manning up:

    and here is the clip if you missed it:

  • That win was not without its costs for Oregon.  Pharaoh Brown suffered a gruesome leg injury while both Hroniss Grasu and Ifo Ekpre-Olomu also went down.  As of this writing, there was no word on how long either player will be out (Brown is obviously not returning this season).  We'll have to watch that situation closely for the Ducks.
  • I know Husky fans are in a state of ravaging depression right now, but we do have to take a moment to acknowledge what is happening in Westwood.  If UCLA's DLine can keep producing like it has over the last several weeks AND they can keep Paul Perkins going, then UCLA still is in a strong position to win the South if ASU stumbles along the way.
  • As to the Huskies, I think that there are a lot of fair criticisms that can be levied about how this staff has managed the transition.  We'll get into those as the week goes on.  The one thing that I will note is that the Huskies are in the midst of one of the most ravenous injury-plagued seasons in quite some time.  UW's top two CBs, top three RBs, top receiver, top TE, three key OLs, top sack man, and starting QB have all missed critical time this season.  We don't talk about it because the staff doesn't talk about it.  But it is part of the story for better or worse.
  • Arizona, despite their win vs Colorado, is starting to cool off. The primary culprits are an offensive line struggling with pass protection and a QB struggling with accuracy.  Anu Solomon has hit only 39 of his last 86 attempts - just 45%.
  • Forget beating a ranked team in 2014 ... Arizona marks UW's last chance to get a W for the regular season against a team with a winning record. Period.
  • The Cougs may have a keeper in new starting QB Luke Falk.  Once relegated to nothing more than afterthought status, his start at Oregon State last weekend has to open up the possibility that the former walk-on IS the QB of the future in Pullman.
  • Poor Buffs. They can't buy a break.  Once again, they took a good team - this time Arizona - into the fourth quarter down by just a single possession only to watch the lead explode on them.  It must be heart breaking to be so competitive and literally not have a single W to show for it.
  • Power Rankings - Week 12

    Rank Prev Team Record Next Game
    1 1
    Oregon Helmet
    #4 Oregon 9-1 (6-1) BYE
    Last Week WIN Oregon 51 @ Utah 27
    It isn't often that you can look at a team that just put up 51 points on the road and say "yeah, they were beatable on this night", but that is the way it was with Oregon. The return for a TD on the Kaelin Clay drop on the two yard line was a clear momentum changer that swung 14 points and stunned the Utes. The Ducks did what all good teams do - they scored while they had their opponent on the ropes. Otherwise, the Ducks struggled against that Utes D more than you think. In the end, it doesn't matter. The Ducks have smooth sailing the rest of the way and are almost certainly going to be in the CFB Playoffs assuming that they get past the P12 Championship.
    Week 11 POG QB Marcus Mariota (17/29, 239 yds, 3 TD pass, 114 rush yds, 1 TD run) I try not to go too crazy in giving Mariota these POGs. In fact, if it was just on passing, I would not. He really didn't make a single throw on the night that I would rate as "challenging". However, when the rest of his teammates couldn't do anything on the ground, he really stepped up as a runner. Picking up your team is what the best players are supposed to do and delivers every week.
    2 2
    ASU Helmet
    #9 ASU 8-1 (6-1) @ Oregon St
    Last Week WIN Notre Dame 31 @ ASU 55
    Many P12 fans were able to watch this one as it was the first start of all the conference games. If you were one of those, you were treated to a display of ASU turnover-generating defensive prowess that you don't often see when our conference hosts top 25 non-conference opponents. The Sun Devils literally blitzed on every snap in the first half - this is not an exaggeration - and forced ND into four turnovers that turned into 24 ASU points. It was impressive. While the defense softened a bit as the game went on, Taylor Kelly and co were able to simply keep scoring points. It was the most impressive showing of any P12 team all weekend.
    Week 11 POG CB Lloyd Carrington (8 tckls, 1 INT, 1 FF, 1 sack, 1 TD) This is Carrington's second week in a row as POG. As the boundary CB for the Sun Devils, he is quickly establishing himself as the best CB nobody is talking about. His long pick six was a great example of the type of playmaker he is.
    3 3
    utah helmet
    #17 Utah 6-3 (3-3) @ Stanford
    Last Week LOSS Oregon 51 @ Utah 27
    It is hard to know what may have become of Utah's upset bid had Kaelin Clay not derpped up his long TD reception in the first quarter. As it was, the Utes ended up losing a 14 point swing and then getting blown out. However, if you look at this game more closely, you see a lot in there that hints that Utah may have been better with the score. The defense was active in breaking down the Oregon OLine and actually won the third down battle much of the night. The offensive passing game was effective - actually generating more pass yards per attempt than Oregon. If you just compare RBs, Utah's rushing attack was the equal of Oregon's. Even the total yardage difference between the two teams was similar on a similar number of total snaps. Ugly as the score was, I stil think the Utes belong in the top 3 of the Power Ranks.
    Week 11 POG RB Deontae Booker (65 yds rush, 110 yds rec, 1 TD) It was clear that the Ducks were going to load the box and take the run away from Utah all night. Credit QB Travis Wilson and Booker for not letting it stop them. They adjusted brilliantly and Booker was able to contribute in a meaningful way both on the ground and in the air.
    4 4
    USC Helmet
    #20 USC 5-3 (4-2) vs Cal
    Last Week BYE
    How bad does the ASU Hail Mary look for USC in hindsight? If the Trojans had simply knocked that 46 yard bomb down, we'd be all talking about them as the class of the South with a collision course against the Ducks in the P12 Championship simply a home win versus UCLA away. As it stands, the Trojans could do nothing on their BYE week except watch. And wait.
    Week 11 POG n/a
    5 7
    ucla helmet
    #18 UCLA 8-2 (5-2) BYE
    Last Week WIN UCLA 44 @ Washington 30
    It is hard to know how much of what happened last week was Washington being bad versus UCLA being good. However, when you put the tape up next to those from the previous few weeks, you are starting to see some patterns from UCLA. First, the pass rush is starting to come on. UCLA consistently collapsed UW's offensive line. Second, Brett Hundley is on fire. No matter who you play, passing for 81% completion percentage is the epitome of "dialed in". Finally, the rushing attack under Paul Perkins has finally arrived after three years of waiting. Despite the trials and tribulations, UCLA can still win the South if they win out and hope that Arizona beats ASU.
    Week 11 POG QB Brett Hundley (29/37, 300 yds, 4 total TDs) Hundley finally had his "Heisman game" though it is coming far too late in the season to matter. He was helped out by the Huskies missing three all conference caliber players on D, but he did what good QBs do. He dominated. 8 yards per attempt and a plus 60% 3rd down conversion rate will win you a lot of football games.
    6 5
    Arizona Helmet
    #19 Arizona 7-2 (4-2) vs Washington
    Last Week WIN Colorado 20 @ Arizona 38
    I'll probably take heat for dropping 'Zona a notch after a win. However, I watched some chunks of this one and came away feeling that if there is a team that is really starting to reel in the South, it is these Wildcats. Despite being at home, 'Zona really struggled to separate from the Buffs all night. And it isn't like they weren't getting help in the forms of turnovers and Buff penalties. This game was a four point affair going into the fourth quarter. It took a really special effort from QB Anu Solomon to preserve the win. You would hope that a top 5 team in the P12 would dispatch a winless Colorado team a little more easily.
    Week 11 POG QB Anu Solomon (21/38, 211, 4TDs, 105 yds rush) Solomon is really starting to cool off with his passing as accuracy has become an issue the last few weeks. However, he still finds ways to make big plays and, last weekend, he was able to do so with his legs. He was the best player on an otherwise sloppy field.
    7 6
    Stanford 5-4 (2-3) vs Utah
    Last Week BYE
    I'm dropping Stanford a spot this week simply to make room for UCLA.
    Week 11 POG n/a
    8 8
    UW Helmet
    Washington 6-4 (2-4) @ Arizona
    Last Week LOSS UCLA 44 @ Washington 30
    Much will be debated by Husky fans who have now endured three straight home losses in a season that none expected to turn this sour. However, if you take the emotion out of the equation, there really wasn't much you saw to think that UW is worse than 8th in the Power Rankings. The defense was awful without a dismissed Marcus Peters, an offensive oriented Shaq Thompson (did you see Keishawn Bierria get bulldozed on Hundley's second TD run?) and an injured Hau'oli Kikaha. The rushing attack behind Shaq, Deontae Cooper and Dwayne Washington was pretty efficient. The QB play, once you adjust for the pass protection that seemed to revert back to September form, was pretty decent. The Huskies are simply a dam that are springing leaks all over the place. They lack physical WRs who can create separation, they lack competent pass blockers, they are a hot mess in the defensive back seven and they have an offensive playcaller who likes to take red zone trips where he'll run two straight old-school options or not give Shaq any touches. That's what we are.
    Week 11 POG RB/LB Shaq Thompson (16 rushes, 100 yds, 4 tckls) I almost went with Andrew Hudson here because, damn, that guy just kept trying all night. There is a lot of heart in that man's chest. Still, if we are measuring heart, we have to go back to Shaq. He was not only the best player on the Husky offense, but he played meaningful snaps on defense while maintaining his standard role on special teams. I haven't seen a snap tally on plays that he was in for, but no matter where that eneded up, he showed that he's willing to do anything for a team. He's a special player whose last year will go down as one of the most squandered of any Husky player in history.
    9 9
    Cal Helmet
    Cal 5-4 (3-4) @ USC
    Last Week BYE
    The only difference between this week and last is that UW now joins Cal and the rest amongst the "last tier" of the Pac 12 football standings.
    Week 11 POG n/a
    10 12
    WSU Helmet
    WSU 3-7 (2-5) BYE
    Last Week WIN WSU 39 @ OSU 32
    The Cougs really needed this one. After watching their leader go down with a gruesome broken leg just one week ago, the Cougars rallied behind a new QB and played an incredibly efficient road game in beating the Beavers. The secondary is still a mess, attrition is starting to hit the WR corps and the DLine has a way of a fatiguing as the game wears on. Still, a W is a W and the WSU faithful will take this one. We are bumping them this week.
    Week 11 POG QB Luke Falk (471 yds, 7.7 YPA, 5 TDs) Let those numbers soak in for a moment. The 471 yds are easy to dismiss given the Mike Leach system. But, the 7.7 YPA is pretty darn good for any QB, much less a walk-on making his first start ever ... and on the road to boot. I do have to say that the Beavers looked completley unprepared for the Air Raid - curious given that they played Cal the weekend before. But, still, that is a good game for a QB.
    11 10
    Colorado Helmet
    Colorado 2-8 (0-7) BYE
    Last Week Colorado 20 @ Arizona 38
    The misery continues for the Colorado Buffaloes. Another week brings with it another scrappy effort. The Buffs went down to Tuscon and, in what has become a familiar refrain, they took their opponent into the fourth quarter. However, they just couldn't hang. Two turnovers, 10 penalties and a fourth quarter let down ultimately did in the Buffaloes. Another hard lesson learned.
    Week 11 POG RB Phillip Lindsay (17 rush, 116 yds) The freshman RB gave Colorado a spark and had his first career 100 yard rushing game. It looks like the future is now for this young Buff.
    12 11
    OSU Helmet
    Oregon State 4-5 (1-5) vs Arizona St
    Last Week LOSS WSU 39 @ OSU 32
    Like the Huskies, the Beavers have now lost a few straight games at home. Unfortunately, those have come at the hands of Cal and Washington State. The coals are getting loaded under Mike Riley's seat as the natives have grown restless and bowl hopes have extinguished. While one could call this a lost season for Oregon State, the emergence of WRs Victor Bolden and Jordan Villamin at least remain a single bright spot and an element that may help OSU pull out a game or two more on the season.
    Week 11 POG WR Victor Bolden and WR Jordan Villamin (15 recs, 210 yds) Welcome to the Beaver offense of the future. This WR duo, now both fully healthy, is really starting to come into its own. Beware the rest of the PAC.

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