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Pac-12 Rankings and Final Projections

Updated ‘cool chart’ and projections for the final week of the regular season.

UCLA Bruins host USC Trojans at the Rose Bowl for the annual crosstown rivalry football game between the two Los Angeles PAC-12 schools. Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

After some top matchups last weekend there was, not surprisingly, some movement among the teams at the top of the Pac-12 rankings.

Pac-12 Rankings

The Pac-12 continues to have 6 teams in the CFP rankings, along with the top-25 of the AP poll and the Coaches Poll. A 7th team (WSU) is getting votes in the Coaches poll.

A summary of those and many other different rankings for all FBS teams can be found here:

Here is the updated ‘Cool Chart’ which shows the Pac-12 teams in those rankings.

UW, WSU, Cal, and Oregon State all made jumps after their wins. The separation between the top 7 teams and the next 4 teams is even larger now (42 places).

Because there is so much going on among the top teams, here is a chart of the top 7 teams which shows the changes in the last couple of weeks.

USC leads the Pac-12 followed by Oregon and then Utah; only 4 spots separates the top 3 teams. Similarly, only 5 spots separate the next 3 teams, with UW leading that group. WSU is working its way into the conversation for being in the top group within the Pac-12; a win in the Apple Cup would probably get them in that group. (Let’s hope that doesn’t happen!)

Here’s a comparison between the major polls and some of the computer rankings which looks just at the Pac-12 teams in the CFP.

Ranking Comparison for Pac-12 Teams in the CFP

School CFP Rank AP Rank Coaches Rank Composite Rank SRS Rank
School CFP Rank AP Rank Coaches Rank Composite Rank SRS Rank
USC 6 5 5 11 15
Oregon 9 10 9 13 14
Washington 13 12 12 21 26
Utah 14 14 14 10 12
UCLA 18 16 18 18 19
Oregon State 21 22 22 23 23

The pollsters seem to value USC, Oregon, and Washington more than the computers. Utah is slightly higher in the computer rankings than in the polls.

UW Ranking

Viewing just the UW line on that chart is helpful to understand how UW’s ranking has changed over the season (if you can see it among all of the lines!). Here’s another way to look at UW’s rankings which gives a look at the variety of rankings for UW in the Composite Ranking over the course of the season.

UW’s ranking is divided into 3 groups: top-25, 26-40, and below 40 (colored purple, gold, and white respectively). The division at 25 should seem obvious. The division at 40 may seem a bit arbitrary (and is a bit), but the AP and Coaches polls typically have about 10-15 (sometimes more) teams getting votes that aren’t in the top-25. If you aren’t getting votes, you probably aren’t in the top-40.

The horizontal axis represents each week of the season. Each week the chart shows the percentage of rankings for UW in each of those groups.

  • Prior to the season starting (week 0), UW was ranked in the top-25 in only one Ranking (Sagarin); over 90% had UW ranked below 40.
  • By the time UW had beat Michigan State and then Stanford, over 60% of the rankings had UW ranked in their top-25. There were even a few that had UW as a top-10 team, but there were also still over 10% that had UW below 40.
  • UW wasn’t in any top-25 ranking by the time it had lost to UCLA and Arizona State; and over 70% had UW below 40.
  • After the bye week, UW was in the top 40 in over 70% of the rankings, and was back in the top-25 in a few.
  • Now, after beating Oregon State and Oregon (and Colorado), 84% have UW as a top-25 team and none of the rankings have UW below 40.

Pac-12 Scoring Ranks

The Pac-12 continues to have some of the top offenses in the country. By any of the metrics below it is 4 of the top 8 scoring offenses and 5 of the top 20.

Offensive Scoring Ranks for Pac-12 Teams

School Pts/Game Pts/Game Rank Pts/Drive Pts/Drive Rank OFEI
School Pts/Game Pts/Game Rank Pts/Drive Pts/Drive Rank OFEI
USC 42.9 3 3.83 2 3
Oregon 40.2 4 3.78 3 4
UCLA 40 5 3.76 5 6
UW 39.8 7 3.77 4 8
Utah 37.3 16 3.07 15 19
Oregon State 31.9 41 2.53 44 39
Arizona 30.2 53 2.57 40 35
WSU 27.3 76 2.32 58 60
Arizona State 25.3 83 2.17 68 48
California 23.5 98 1.77 93 82
Stanford 20.9 109 1.53 111 95
Colorado 14.9 127 1.1 127 127

The ranks for the top 6 teams are relatively consistent between the categories; and Colorado’s rank is very consistent. There isn’t as much consistency with the rankings for the rest of the teams, although the order is-with the exception of Arizona State’s OFEI rank being better than would be expected given their rank in the other two categories.

Here’s another source for points per possession that shows 3 Pac-12 teams among the top 5.

The top of the rankings look much different on the defensive side.

Defensive Scoring Ranks for Pac-12 Teams

School Pts/Game Pts/Game Rank Pts/Drive Pts/Drive Rank OFEI
School Pts/Game Pts/Game Rank Pts/Drive Pts/Drive Rank OFEI
WSU 19.8 23 1.7 25 25
Utah 20 24 2.01 44 20
Oregon State 20.3 27 1.67 22 27
UW 25.7 62 2.61 104 84
USC 26.3 66 2.52 99 91
Oregon 26.5 69 2.37 84 58
California 27.2 76 2.39 89 63
UCLA 28.4 90 2.7 107 77
Arizona State 30.8 107 3.17 124 115
Stanford 31.9 113 2.91 117 79
Arizona 36.6 125 3.4 128 119
Colorado 42.8 131* 3.68 130 124

Of the top 5 offensive teams in the conference, only Utah has a defense ranked in the top 50 in any of those corresponding defensive categories. Oregon State is the only other Pac-12 CFP-ranked team that is in the top-50 in both offense and defense.

(The data can be found and and )


Here are all of the winning percentages from ESPN for this week’s final Pac-12 games of the regular season.

ESPN FPI Win Projections for Week 13 Pac-12 Games

Visitor Win % Home Win %
Visitor Win % Home Win %
Arizona State 40.80% Arizona 59.20%
Oregon 57.40% Oregon State 42.60%
UCLA 69.80% California 30.20%
BYU 53.10% Stanford 46.90%
Utah 98.00% Colorado 2.00%
Washington 52.60% WSU 47.40%
Notre Dame 34.50% USC 65.50%

ESPN’s FPI has UW as a slight favorite in the Apple Cup (win percentage of 52.6%); this is up from 50.3% last week. Most of the other games are expected to be close; the obvious exception is the Utah-Colorado game. With that many close games, upsets are definitely possible-as we’ve seen the last few weeks.

With ESPN’s FPI, the team that was favored each week has won 84% of the Pac-12 games. Even their preseason projections have been correct for about 80% of the games.

Talent Comparison

So far this season the team with more talent ( in games with Pac-12 teams has won 76% of the games. This is now below the ESPN FPI win projections. Last week the team with the less talent won 3 of the six games (WSU, Oregon State, and Cal). This week there are 2 more teams with less talent that are favored: BYU over Stanford and Arizona over Arizona State (although that talent difference is very close).

Bowl Games

About a month ago, it seemed clear which teams would be going to which bowl games. But the games of the last couple of weekends (not just in the Pac-12, but in other conferences, too) have shaken things up.

The Pac-12 has 7 bowl-eligible teams and 6 affiliated bowls. However, there are enough bowls that all of the Pac-12 teams will go to a bowl game. The Pac-12 now even has a decent chance at sending 2 teams to NY6 bowl games, including to the CFP. Because a lot can still happen with the CFP and with the games this weekend, we may not know which teams go to which bowls until after the final CFP rankings (a week from Sunday).