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Final Pac-12 Rankings

They’re the final rankings of the season-and the final rankings for this conference as we know it.

Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl - Notre Dame v Oregon State Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images

“The final curtain”, “as the sun sets”, etc. Name your cliche or phrase, they’ve likely all been used to describe the end to the Pac-12. While we would have all liked to see UW come out on top in the National Championship so that the Pac-12 could end on the highest note, the Pac-12 did have a great final season, and UW did at least win the last Pac-12 Championship game.

Final Rankings

The Pac-12 had as many as 8 teams ranked at some point this year. Unfortunately, only 3 are ranked at the end of the season. UW is, of course, number 2 in both major polls. Oregon finished tied for #6 in the AP poll (along with Florida State) and #7 in the Coaches poll (just behind Florida State). And Arizona finished #11 in both polls. Oregon State (#27) and USC (#33) received votes in the Coaches poll.

In the final Massey Composite Rankings, UW slid to #3. Here’s where all of the Pac-12 teams ended up in those rankings:

  • Washington: #3
  • Oregon: #4
  • Arizona: #15
  • Oregon State: #21
  • USC: #22
  • Utah: #28
  • UCLA: #36
  • California: #57
  • WSU: #62
  • Colorado: #78
  • Arizona State: #89
  • Stanford: #97

These rankings have Oregon State and USC higher and Arizona lower.

Here’s the final “New Cool Chart”.

Arizona ended up 57 spots ahead of where they started in the preseason-the largest change among the Pac-12 teams. (Liberty and Northwestern were the two teams that had larger changes among all FBS teams.) Colorado dropped 33 spots from their highest ranking (#45), but still ended up 31 spots above where they started. UW, Cal, and Oregon are the other 3 teams that finished ahead of where they started.

Utah dropped the most from the preseason, 18 spots. Arizona State (-14), WSU (-13), and USC (-11) were all close behind. WSU was up as high as #14 and ended up #62; that’s a drop of 48 spots; and they were as low as #73 after week 11.

Stanford ended up exactly where they started (#97). Both Oregon State and Oregon deviated less than 10 spots all season.

Baylor (-70), Pitt (-64), and Cincinnati (-58) were the FBS teams that ended up the lowest compared to where they started in the preseason. That may help a few of the Pac-12 teams that are moving to new conferences next year.

Looking Forward

Taking a look forward, here’s how the Pac-12 teams rank compares to the teams in their new conferences.

Big Ten

  • Michigan: #1*
  • Washington: #3
  • Oregon: #4*
  • Ohio State: #7
  • Penn State: #10*
  • USC: #22*
  • Iowa: #29*
  • Maryland: #33
  • UCLA: #36*
  • Northwestern: #43*
  • Rutgers: #45*
  • Wisconsin: #49
  • Minnesota: #68
  • Nebraska: #71
  • Illinois: #72
  • Purdue: #77
  • Michigan State: #84
  • Indiana: #96*

*-indicates UW opponent in 2024.

The BigTen will have 5 of the top 10 teams. They also have 6 teams in the bottom half of the FBS. Unfortunately, UW will only face one of those bottom-half teams next year and 8 of the top 11 teams in the conference.

Big12

Taking out the Big12 teams leaving for the SEC, here’s where the Pac-12 teams fit in the Big12:

  • Arizona: #15
  • Kansas State: #16
  • Kansas: #20
  • Oklahoma State: #23
  • Utah: #28
  • West Virginia: #32
  • Iowa State: #35
  • Texas Tech: #38
  • TCU: #53
  • UCF: #60
  • BYU: #73
  • Colorado: #78
  • Houston: #86
  • Arizona State: #89
  • Cincinnati: #102
  • Baylor: #103

The Pac-12 teams entering the Big12 should immediately be competitive in that conference, especially if Colorado and Arizona State improve in year two under their new coaches.

ACC

And here’s where the two teams leaving the Pac-12 for the ACC stand in comparison:

  • Florida State: #8
  • Louisville: #18
  • Clemson: #19
  • NC State: #27
  • SMU: #30
  • Duke: #31
  • North Carolina: #39
  • Miami, FL: #42
  • Georgia Tech: #47
  • Virginia Tech: #50
  • California: #57
  • Boston College: #70
  • Syracuse: #83
  • Wake Forest: #85
  • Virginia: #91
  • Pittsburgh: #93
  • Stanford: #97

Obviously California and Stanford look to have a tougher time in their new conference than the other teams. However, it wouldn’t take much improvement by Stanford to move up into the middle of the ACC-which is possible if Troy Taylor is a decent coach. And Cal should be competitive in most of their games.

SRS

Here are the final SRS rankings for the Pac-12 teams.

  • Oregon: #5
  • Washington: #8
  • Arizona: #15
  • USC: #22
  • Oregon State: #23
  • Utah: #34
  • UCLA: #38
  • WSU: #47
  • California: #61
  • Colorado: #66
  • Arizona State: #94
  • Stanford: #96

There are some obvious differences between these rankings and the Composite Rankings above-starting with UW and Oregon. UW’s rating is only the 8th best in school history, despite having more wins than any team in UW history and finishing with the second-highest AP ranking in UW history. At least part of that has to do with UW’s small margin of victory in those final 10 wins.

Final Thoughts

The final rankings are done after the bowl games. And as we know, especially this year, there were a lot of opt-outs for many teams playing in bowl games. That may have hurt the rankings of some teams and boosted the rankings of others. How much is unknown, but in looking at a few teams like Florida State, USC, and Oregon State, it appears to have only a small impact.

UW’s lower ranking and rating in SRS and in all of the advanced stats has a lot to do with winning so many close games. Those close games indicated that the offense or defense wasn’t as efficient. In UW’s case, sometimes it was one and sometimes the other.

Advanced stats (like SP+ and FPI) are often cited during the season, and were one of the factors in UW being the underdog in some of their games. But, those rankings will largely be forgotten and the final AP and Coaches polls (both at #2) will be what should be remembered. Those advanced stats, however, will come back when the 2024 preseason and early season rankings are compiled. While that will likely mean that UW will not start off in the top 10 in those rankings, UW should still be ranked high (in the top 25) and given some benefit of the doubt as long as DeBoer is the head coach.