This is the last week of our weekly Pac-12 Power Rankings (in the regular season at least). The top two spots could flip flop (Stanford could be punished by being dropped even more) given the result of this weekend's Pac-12 Championship game.
ragnarok: Crushed the Wildcats to secure home field for the Pac-12 title game. I expect this week's matchup with the Cardinal will be closer than the last time they met.
atomsareenough: The Sun Devils finish strong, pounding their rivals into the desert sand. They'll have home field for the Pac-12 Championship Game against Stanford. Best of luck to them! In an interesting coincidence, the two teams featured on The Drive essentially bookended the conference as the best and worst of the Pac-12.
Nick Kranz: I'm giving them the nod because of their formidable home field advantage, even though Stanford is probably the better team. Although, in retrospect, Stanford's blowout win was one of the biggest outlier performances of the season.
Berkelium97: The win wasn't as dominant as the score suggests, but the Devils did enough to earn crucial home field advantage in the Pac-12 Championship Game. After a couple subpar performances, Taylor Kelly has returned to midseason form.
Sam Fielder: Looked good in destroying AZ, so there is hope they down the trees.
atomsareenough: Boring teams play boring game in boring place. Stanford beats Notre Dame. Nobody cares. Unfortunately, this team will still be playing two more games, and one of them may be in Pasadena. The Cardinal are #2 on the final ballot.
Nick Kranz: Can Stanford handle losing Gaffney and some good linemen from an already iffy offense?
Berkelium97: Once again the furd offense is just competent enough to let the defense win the game.
Sam Fielder: Squeeked by a not-so-great Irish team. This furd team isn't that good.
ragnarok: Bounces back nicely from the tough loss to ASU -- the football monopoly in LA is truly over.
atomsareenough: I'm somewhat surprised the Bruins won so handily against USC, and put up as many points as they did, especially considering they were missing linemen and USC's defense had been so stout. UCLA is the best team in Southern California again, and #3 on my ballot.
Nick Kranz: Finally, my season long UCLA optimism pays off! Why does it feel so hollow?
Berkelium97: It wasn't 50-0, but that was an impressive win over USC.
Sam Fielder: Finally someone exposes this weak SC team.
ragnarok: Despite the loss, a nice second half of the season for USC, which gets Coach O at least a long look during the interview process.
atomsareenough: USC had an interesting journey this year. They're also a team that has had their aura of invulnerability revoked, and they're learning how to persevere without it, and maybe attempt to rebuild that Trojan Mystique once more. Orgeron has done a really solid job of leadership to keep the team together and playing well. It will be interesting to see how the administration handles things this off-season. Will they keep him on as Head Coach? Will he be content returning to his former position? Will another program want to hire him away? Anyway, I have USC at #5.
Nick Kranz: Defense will probably still be excellent next year. But I'm sure it's just a matter of time until those sanctions really kick in. Aaaaaaaany day now.
Berkelium97: Fancy Clancy's D can't contain a mobile quarterback? I'm shocked!
Sam Fielder: Not great, barely good, but given the state of the rest of the P12, good enough to sit in 4th here.
ragnarok: If the Ducks were looking to prove that the loss at Arizona was just a fluke, nearly losing the Civil War at home to a middling Oregon State team was not the way to go about it.
atomsareenough: The Ducks are clearly not the same team they were a few weeks ago. For a team that had all the trappings of an unstoppable juggernaut, suddenly they look, so, so mortal. It's like that moment in the Wizard of Oz where everyone realizes the Wizard is just a little old dude behind a curtain. Is the spell truly broken? Probably not. Oregon's a good team, they'll heal up, Mariota will be Mariota again, and they'll be blowing people out on the regular again next year. This little blip is a nice reminder that the Ducks are human though. I think we all needed it. Oregon surprisingly ends up at #4 for me.
Nick Kranz: I'm ranking them 5th as a recognition for how good they were early in the year. Because Oregon most certainly isn't playing like the 5th best team in the conference right now. Baffling.
Berkelium97: Without a national championship game at stake, have the Ducks given up? It's going to be a long, long offseason in Nikeland if Helfrich loses this bowl game.
Sam Fielder: Boy, they sure have fallen apart in the last month.
ragnarok: 8 wins? The Huskies finally eke past the 7-6 mediocrity of the past three seasons, though they're still an also-ran in the Pac-12 North.
atomsareenough: Washington finally reaches 8 wins, edging past Wazzu in the Apple Cup. Sarkisian must be so proud. The Huskies finish at #6 on my ballot.
Berkelium97: After three years the Huskies have finally broken through the seven-win ceiling. It's nothing but Rose Bowls now, right? Right?
Sam Fielder: Sark breaks through for 8 wins!
atomsareenough: Everything went right for them in their defeat of Oregon, but they couldn't get that type of game twice in a row. Arizona's a middling team that has its moments. They're the 9th bowl eligible team in the Pac-12, and #9 on my list.
Sam Fielder: Not quite the same performance that they gave against Oregon.
atomsareenough: The Cougs come up short against the hated Huskies, but hey... they still have bowl eligibility! If I had to guess, I'd say Washington State is going to win more games over the next 2-3 years than Washington. As for now, I have Wazzu at #7.
Berkelium97: The future remains bright in Pullman. If Leach can find a competent QB, the Cougs will be in business next season.
Sam Fielder: Cougin it.
atomsareenough: The Beavers juuust come up short in the Civil War against a superior but hung over Ducks team. That's a shame. The Beavers finish #8 for me.
Nick Kranz: I wonder how much our perception of Oregon State might change if you completely reordered their schedule. They had the most backloaded schedule I've ever seen.
Berkelium97: Despite a record-setting year from Mannion, OSU is still 6-6. It's tough to foresee the Beavs finishing in the top half of the division next season.
Sam Fielder: Put up a good fight in the Civil War.
ragnarok: Better than the bottom two, but still just a two-win conference season.
atomsareenough: I think this team will win more than two conference games next year, but as of now, they're still one of only 3 non-bowl eligible teams in the Pac-12. I have the Utes at #10.
Nick Kranz: Little did we know at the time that Utah's overtime loss to Oregon State onSeptember 14th was a bowl play-in game.
Sam Fielder: Beat CO, so that's something.
atomsareenough: The Buffs made a game of it late against their new rivals, the Utes, but no cigar. Still, I think Colorado fans have to be pleased with the strides made under Coach MacIntyre. The future looks brighter than it did a year ago, and at #11, he already has the Buffs out of the cellar!
Nick Kranz: Bad, but at least trending in the right direction
Sam Fielder: I wonder if they're as happy the season is over as we are.
ragnarok: Merciful BYE week is merciful.
atomsareenough: Finally we reach our own beloved Golden Bears. What will happen this offseason? Who's staying, who's going, which recruits will we be able to snag? Grab your popcorn and stay tuned.
Berkelium97: I'm so glad we didn't lose this weekend.
Sam Fielder: Games are over, players are leaving, recruits are decommiting, IT'S CAL FOOTBALL!
Actual Vote Breakdown (a little transparency for the year ending vote):
Arizona State 1 1 1 1 1
Stanford 2 2 2 2 2
UCLA 3 3 3 3 3
USC 4 5 4 4 4
Oregon 4 7 5 5 6
Washington 5 6 6 6 5
Arizona 6 9 8 7 7
Washington State 8 7 7 8 8
Oregon State 9 8 9 9 9
Utah 10 10 10 10 10
Colorado 11 11 11 11 11
Cal 12 12 12 12 12