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PAC 12 Week 12 Recap and Power Rankings

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Blowouts and one good game is what we had.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 17 UCLA at Stanford Photo by Cody Glenn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Better late than never. Go Dawgs!

The Cool Chart

PAC 12 Power Rankings, Week 12
Chris Landon, UW Dawg Pound

The PAC 12 Power Rankings - after Week 12

12. Arizona (4-6, 2-5) ▼

Arizona 6, #6 Oregon 34

The Wildcats finally made the move that we all were expecting when they pulled starter and former Heisman finalist Khalil Tate out of the starting lineup in favor of freshman Grant Gunnell. That strategy lasted exactly four series until the Wildcats were two scores behind and quickly getting outclassed by a Ducks team that still has national aspirations.

Tate was reinserted to no avail leaving Arizona in a state of complete disarray: no clear QB, a 5-game losing streak and a very dubious path to bowl eligibility.

POG: S Scottie Young, Jr. (7 tackles, 1 INT)

The one bright spot for the Wildcats all game was the stepping up of the defense, particularly in the second half. There were a lot of contested passes and some good play from the secondary. The mercurial Scottie Young, in particular, stood out. That is something to build around as stabilizing that D is Kevin Sumlin’s most important task.

Next Up: vs Utah

11. Colorado (4-6, 2-5) ▲

BYE

Fortunately for Colorado, Arizona was really bad again last weekend. They get the BYE week bump.

Next Up: vs Washington

10. Stanford (4-6, 3-5) ▼

Stanford 22, Washington State 49

6. As in “total yards rushing”.

Compare and contrast that to the 504 yards passing (and 22 points) that QB Davis Mills engineered and you probably can easily see what is wrong with this Stanford team. The Cardinal do have an identity, but their play cannot execute it. The injuries (the latest being star DB Paulson Adebo), the recruiting misses and the coaching gaffes have all come to a head for David Shaw and staff.

At this point, it will take a miracle for Stanford to get bowl eligible. One has to wonder if this loss becomes a turning point in what might become a long-term decline for a program that has been trending in the wrong direction for two years now.

POG: WR Connor Wedington (8 recs, 119 yds)

Connor finally had the kind of workhorse game that fans have been expecting to see all year. While he didn’t score, he did account for over 20% of Stanford’s offensive production and was the key player in keeping sticks moving. He took a lot of hits in the process.

Next Up: vs Cal

9. California (5-4, 2-4) ▼

USC 41, Cal 17

Bring back Devon Modster!

That may be a little unfair to QB Chase Garbers who finally made his return to the the starting QB position for Cal. But the numbers don’t lie. Modster was coming off his best game as a collegiate in one of Cal’s best offensive performances in two seasons. To swap him out for a rusty QB with limited upside when the team has yet to achieve bowl eligibility seems dubious.

Granted, Modster was reinserted and led the team to no kind of rally throwing instead for 50% and two INTs. But would a week of prep as the starter have made a difference? We’ll never know.

Regardless, getting blown out at home by USC presents Justin Wilcox a new and daunting challenge: how does he rebound? Both Stanford and UCLA are also battling for bowl eligibility which makes their next two games as high of stakes as you could imagine for a 2-4 team.

POG: RB DeShawn Collins (15 carries, 103 yds, 2 TDs)

Where has this guy been all this time? The seldom used junior has been getting worked into the mix a little more the second half of the season. Saturday was a breakout day for him. We’ll see if he has earned more snaps as a result.

Next Up: at Stanford

8. UCLA (4-6, 4-3) ▼

UCLA 3, #8 Utah 49

This loss was a devastating blow for Chip Kelly’s young team. Not only does the final score indicate just how far they still have to go, but the loss officially kills any hope of a miracle finish for the South. It also puts bowl eligibility in serious jeopardy. That’s a tough pill to swallow for a team with a better conference record than teams like Washington and ASU.

NCAA Football: UCLA at Utah
Watchin’ as the season passes by.
Melissa Majchrzak-USA TODAY Sports

On the field, the Bruins need to ask themselves if QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson is the answer for a rebuilding team. He continues to show no feel for the game and his turnovers are back-breaking. His play is masking the growth of guys like Kyle Philips and Joshua Kelley. There probably is no other option to close out the year, but expect the QB question to loom as the Bruins go into the offseason.

POG: WR Kyle Philips (7 recs, 89 yds)

Like Connor Wedington, just a workhorse kind of day for a young receiver under difficult conditions.

Next Up: at USC

7. Arizona State (5-4, 2-4) ▼

Oregon State 35, Arizona State 34

It seems like Herm Edwards is at his best when his team’s back is against the wall. In that way, it would be a very Herm-y thing to do to host an undefeated Oregon team and effectively kill off their Playoff dreams.

Of course, to do that he needs to rally his team following a game against OSU that was lost on the most narrow of margins. A failed 2 point conversion at the end of a game is a tough way to lose. Still, it was a hard fought game and the emergence of Jaden Daniels as a bonafide star has been remarkable to watch.

POG: QB Jaden Daniels (67%, 334 yds, 3 TDs, 0 INT)

For most of the year, the ASU staff has handcuffed their young QB with a limited playbook and reads. Not anymore. Daniels dazzled showing off every throw and, importantly, the ability to make the tough play under massive pressure. He’s definitely got that “it” factor.

Next Up: vs Oregon

6. Washington State (5-5, 2-5) ▲

Stanford 22, Washington State 49

It’s hard to believe that the Cougars are in the position that they are in given the rough start they had to conference play. But sound offensive play and continued signs of life on D have put WSU in a position to reach bowl eligibility imminently.

NCAA Football: Stanford at Washington State
Throwing darts.
James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

I continue to be impressed with what Anthony Gordon brings to the table and can’t help but wonder what it was about him that kept Mike Leach wanting to bring in grad transfers like Gardner Minshew and Gabe Gabrud. Of course we don’t see what happens in practice, but Gordon’s decisiveness and his accuracy make him a perfect fit for the Air Raid. He has the Cougs at the point where they are a threat to beat ... or whip (hello, David Shaw) ... any team left on what remains of their schedule including the post season. This weekend’s game against OSU promises to be an entertaining affair.

POG: LB Jahad Woods (5 tckls, 1 INT, 1 sack)

While Gordon certainly shone, this game belonged to a defense that pretty much eliminated the Stanford running game and effectively shut them down in a decisive second half. Woods continues to emerge as a disruptive and versatile playmaker.

Next Up: vs Oregon State

5. Oregon State (5-5, 4-3) ▲

Oregon State 35, Arizona State 34

It took a terrific defensive stand on a daring 2 point conversion attempt on the final play of the game to do it, but the Beavs pulled off the road upset and put themselves in great position to get bowl eligible. With this win, Jonathan Smith has not only put himself clearly into the coach of the year conversation, but he also has his team believing in themselves. That kind of confidence can feed into upset bids (hello Oregon)

I can’t get over how well QB Jake Luton is playing. He is spreading the ball all around the field and making good decisions just about every time he drops back or initiates and RPO. It was good to see that under appreciated Beaver o-line bounce back after their struggles against UW.

POG: QB Jake Luton (74%, 8.4 ypa, 4 TDs, 0 INT)

The only other QB playing as efficiently as Luton this season is playing down in Salt Lake. ASU tried to implement the Washington plan against Jake, but he carved them up after having learned from the previous week. Great game all around.

Next Up: at Washington State

4. Washington (6-4, 3-4) ▲

BYE

The Huskies also benefit from the BYE week bump thanks to UCLA knocking themselves out of South Division contention. The Huskies have a favorable schedule to close out the year and a reasonable chance to move up into the three position if / when USC gets bounced out of their own race against Utah.

Next Up: at Colorado

3. USC (7-4, 6-2)

USC 41, Cal 17

Give the Trojans credit. They bounced back from their Oregon debacle and all the noise that went with it just in time to put together this little winning streak. A blow out over their old rivals keeps USC still in the hunt for the South and a shot at the PAC 12 title.

On the field, USC is still leaning on some young players like Drake London and Kenan Christon to help pick up the slack on offense. But the defense is slowly returning to health. You can see the results play out on the field as they did against Cal.

POG: WR Michael Pittman Jr. (11 recs, 180 yds, 1 TD)

London had his first 100 yard game, but it was Pittman reminding us all that he’s not quite done yet. He was uncontainable against a good Cal secondary.

Next Up: vs UCLA

2. (7) Utah (9-1, 6-1)

UCLA 3, #8 Utah 49

Has there ever been a time where a Husky fan has cast an eye towards Salt Lake only to have Offense envy. I would say not, at least until this season. It is now hard to ignore the fact that the Utes have put together an offense that is the model of efficiency for the rest of the league.

You saw the whole package against UCLA: the power running attack, the pass protection, the QB accuracy, the deep shots. Tyler Huntley averaged an amazing 18 yards per attempt while Zack Moss just kept Moss-ing. It was incredible. Of course, the game is easy for an offense when they only have to score 7 points to win a game.

POG: DB Julian Blackmon (9 tckls, 2 sacks, 1 INT)

Blackmon has completed a terrific transformation from lockdown corner to playmaking safety. He was all over the place against UCLA. Expect more of the same against Arizona.

Next Up: at Arizona

1. (6) Oregon (9-1, 7-0)

Arizona 6, #6 Oregon 34

The Ducks kept up their push for a shot at the CFP with an easy win over an Arizona team that could not do enough to stop the run or prevent big plays. QB Justin Herbert is still less consistent than one might expect for a star QB, but he is still the one delivering those big plays and it is effective.

The concern for Oregon now is the health of young receiver Mycah Pittman who was knocked out of the game. Of course, with the ongoing emergence of WR Juwan Johnson and the continued high level play of that D, it may not matter.

POG: RB Travis Dye (109 apy, 1 TD)

Oregon rotated a ton of guys on both sides of the ball given that the game was under control relatively early. I thought Dye delivered some killer blows when he was in there when the game was still competitive.

Next Up: at Arizona State