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CGB's Pac-12 Power Rankings: Week 8

The Ducks soar back to the top and the Bears plummet. And we introduce the measure of madness!

Stephen Dunn

If you like seeing Cal at the top of rankings, then avert your eyes after this last slate of games.

  • Washington State 17, Stanfurd 34
  • USC 28, Arizona 26
  • Washington 31, California 7
  • Oregon 42, UCLA 30

Let's just pull this fast like a band-aid. Tied teams are listed alphabetically; the number of first-place votes is shown parenthetically.

The rankings
1. Oregon (6)  Arrow_up__9-8-14_medium

Berkelium97: Jake Fisher returns, the Ducks allow no sacks, and the ship is righted in Eugene.

Nick Kranz: One-week demotion.

atomsareenough: Getting a starting O-lineman back seems to have put their offense back on track.

boomtho: Normalcy restored in Eugene, at least for one week. If Jake Fisher is around for the rest of the season, I think Oregon is the heavy favorite to win the Pac-12.

Sam Fielder: Rumors of their demise may have been greatly exagerated...or at least getting their O-line back in shape propels them back to the top.

Leland Wong: For all those concerns about the Oregon offensive line, they turned it all around by not allowing a single sack and averaging nearly 7 yards per play against UCLA. If the O-line can protect their god-level Marcus Mariota (which helps the run and the pass games) and if the defense can remember not to taunt after making plays, then the Ducks should be headed to the conference championship.

2. Stanfurd Arrow_up__9-8-14_medium

Berkelium97: Great day for a bad offense.

Nick Kranz: With the standings still relatively jumbled, I'm picking talent to eventually win out. Unfortunately, Stanford still has it in spades.

atomsareenough: I hate how good that defense is. The offense still looks bad, but it might be just not-terrible enough to allow them to win a bunch of games.

boomtho: Impressive defensive showing against Halliday, Leach & co... and they scored 34 points, with Hogan looking pretty good. The conference should be scared if their offense truly comes around.

Sam Fielder: Took care of business against a potent WSU offensive attack. That D is as good as their O is bad.

Leland Wong: Here I was ready to write off the Cardinal offense when it finally decided to show up. I know Washington State isn't exactly the most fear-inducing defense, but simply having a meh offensive output can be potent when coupled with their defense.

3. Utah Arrow_neutral__9-8-14_medium

Nick Kranz: UCLA win devalued a bit, Wazzu loss looks even worse. Enough talent to compete, not enough to win consistently in this conference—still.

atomsareenough: They seem to be a more consistent team to me, week in and week out. Their loss is to a North opponent, which won't hurt them in the division race. I'm interested to see how they match up with USC in two weeks.

boomtho: Still think they have one of the better resumes on the season, with only one bad quarter standing between them and being undefeated.

Sam Fielder: BYE

Leland Wong: The Utes just barely fought off the other teams looking to pass them on this list. Despite being on a bye, Utah's résumé is still strong enough to keep them this high.

4. USC Arrow_up__9-8-14_medium

Berkelium97: How do you allow 5.5 yards per passing attempt and 2.7 yards per rush and nearly lose? The answer is Steve Sarkisian.

Nick Kranz: One loss on a hail mary to go along with two nail biting wins over some of the better teams in the conference. If the hail mary had failed and USC was 4-0, would we be voting them 1st in this poll?

atomsareenough: They are talented enough to beat anyone, but who knows what's going to happen in any particular game.

boomtho: They're a hail mary away from being 5-1 and a missed field goal away from being 3-3. I don't know how to rank them, honestly.

Sam Fielder: Held on to take down the top of the heap from last week. Still no clue what to expect from this team week to week.

Leland Wong: An average performance by QB Cody Kessler (and his first interception of the season) is saved by a killer performance by RB Javorius Allen. Sark should be counting his lucky stars that he has a few different weapons to work with. It wasn't the prettiest win and they almost gave it away with a bunch of penalties, but the win is a win.

5. Arizona Arrow_down__9-8-14_medium

Berkelium97: If not for injuries to RBs Wilson and Jones-Grigsby, Arizona probably would have won this game.

Nick Kranz: I'm trying to ignore that every one of their games could have gone either way, since that applies to nearly every team in the Pac-12 too.

atomsareenough: Can't always rely on Tucson magic, I guess. Wildcats comeback falls short, and now no Pac-12 team is undefeated.

boomtho: The last-second missed FG seems like fair repayment for their lucky hail mary.

Sam Fielder: Had an opportunity to put a stranglehold on the south and didn't take advantage. Still wide open.

Leland Wong: The masters of the last-minute surge weren't able to finish the job. The Trojan's mediocre defense was able to hold them to a mere 4.7 yards per play and QB Anu Solomon only threw for one touchdown; the Wildcats can't afford to continue this kind of production if they want this to be a defining year for RichRod.

6. Arizona State Arrow_down__9-8-14_medium

Nick Kranz: Of all the weirdest, hard to figure out teams in this conference, ASU might be the most perplexing.

atomsareenough: Bye week, but they're helped by a wide open South race.

boomtho: Bye, so nothing new here. But I can't put them above UCLA given the head to head outcome.

Sam Fielder: BYE BYE

Leland Wong: QB Taylor Kelly's status is still questionable. Backup Mike Bercovici showed in his two starts that he's not perfect, but he is serviceable. Having a bye week will help him get coordinated with his receivers, but that probably won't help any against a formidable Furd squad.

7. Washington Arrow_up__9-8-14_medium

Berkelium97: It's amazing how much better a bunch of green DBs look when they're playing behind a ferocious front seven.

Nick Kranz: Probably the 2nd best defense in a conference mostly lacking strong units on that side of the ball.

atomsareenough: Petersen seems to have gotten the Huskies into shape a bit over the bye week. The defense looks good, if not quite elite. Miles is a good game manager. They kinda feel like Stanford-lite.

boomtho: They're not the 5th best team in the conference, but road Pac 12 wins are always impressive, and they outplayed us pretty thoroughly.

Sam Fielder: Came to play. I think the bye week helped them out a lot and all the bounces went their way.

Leland Wong: As I feared, that disruptive defense is enough to help those Huskies win. If they can get their offense going, then they'll move up these rankings quickly.

8. UCLA Arrow_down__9-8-14_medium

Berkelium97: Don't let the final score fool you. This game was a blowout.

Nick Kranz: Lots of things wrong with this team right now. Almost in as much disarray before the Cal game as 2011, so we're pretty much guaranteed to win, right?

atomsareenough: Once again, let me say it. UCLA is a decent team, not an elite one.

boomtho: Tough loss at home against Oregon.

Sam Fielder: Late points made the scoreline better, but they got taken out at home. Not good.

Leland Wong: The stats for this game don't look too terrible (They outgained Oregon! It was only a two-score game!), that all came in the fourth quarter. Still, I'll give credit to the Bruins for fighting hard and not giving up at the end, but that doesn't change that they were just outmatched. Can they rebound against a vulnerable Cal team or will they continue to be too stunned by the beauty of Berkeley to play well?

9. Oregon State Arrow_neutral__9-8-14_medium

Nick Kranz: They have played on decent team (USC) this year and lost rather badly. Might be better, but there's no proof yet so they still near the bottom of my poll.

atomsareenough: Bye week. Let's see what kind of team shows up against Utah this week.

boomtho: Think their losses are not as bad as our loss to Washington, though I think Cal is better than OSU at this point.

Sam Fielder: BYE BYE BYE

Leland Wong: Is the halfway point of the season the time when Mike Riley magically gets his teams to be unstoppable?

10. California Arrow_down__9-8-14_medium

Berkelium97: I'm pretty sure that was the 2013 team out there.

Nick Kranz: Skepticism until they beat a team better than Wazzu.

atomsareenough: Welp, that sucked.

boomtho: Sigh

Sam Fielder: This is a young team that is still learning and growing...and we all got a huge reminder of that this week.

Leland Wong: I think I'll get a lot of crap for voting the Bears so low (I'm dead wrong about all of the things), but this is right for this week. Not saying the Bears are the worst team in the conference, but this may be the loss that kills Cal's bowl hopes. Plus, it must be extremely deflating to see the Bear Raid offense (which was statistically one of the best in the nation) completely fall flat (fumbles on fumbles on fumbles and a hideous 4.4 yards per play). The defense improved, but injuries to every safety on the two-deep let short passes by Washington turn into big gains. It's like 2013 all over again!

11. Washington State Arrow_neutral__9-8-14_medium

Nick Kranz: I wonder if Mike Leach will ever build a well-rounded team.

atomsareenough: Sorry Cougs. Can't really feel too embarrassed by losing to Stanford, but the Cougs were totally beat up and their offense was completely disrupted by a physically dominant and brutal Stanford defense. I fear Connor Halliday might be broken.

boomtho: Tough loss to a great defense. They will rebound well I think.

Sam Fielder: I really thought they'd do better against furd, but they never really were in the game.

Leland Wong: The Cougs can't get their Air Raid off the ground, but maybe they'll be comforted by considering how good the defense on the other side of the field was.

12. Colorado Arrow_neutral__9-8-14_medium

Nick Kranz: The Buffs beating USC on the road this Saturday would cement this season as insane. Hope it happens.1. Oregon

atomsareenough: Bye week and bad Cougar loss lifts the Buffs out of the basement for a week.

boomtho: Bye can't get them out of 12th place.

Sam Fielder: BYE BYE BYE BYE

Leland Wong: The Buffs are out of the basement! for me It may be entirely because of other teams' failures, but Colorado still has every reason to celebrate! Boulder's Party City should EXPECT a huge spike in business the next couple of days.

The data

The first set of data that I shall present to you is the rank of each team over the course of the season.

Pac-12 rankings- Week 08a

Oh Cal. You go from 12 to 2 to 10. In other news, Oregon unanimously returns to its throne. Similarly, two of the most evil teams in the conference (Furd and USC) bounce back after poor performances to place in the top four.

And now, we've got a new feature! Last week, Bk97 and minesweeper conspired to give me more work by calculating how many changes or how much chaos/madness occurs each week. One idea was to calculate the number of intersections between all of the lines; another was to simply add up the magnitude of each change. I've included a graph with the data for the latter below. For the weekly data, a positive number shows how many spots a team moved up the ranks; negative is how many spots a team dropped. In addition, I've calculated the m-m-m-mad-madness! I'm going to define madness as just a measure of how much teams have moved around the rankings, independent of if they moved up or down; a move is a move.

There are two types of madness below. The rightmost column is the total madness of a team, which shows how much a team has moved over the course of the season; a team could go up 3 then down 3 to end in the same spot, but have a total madness of 6. The bottom column is the total madness for that week. This week's madness score of 30 is tied for second maddest of the season, but is nearly 28.6% less mad than last week.

Change on week
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Team's madness
Arizona 2 -2 1 2 0 4 -4 15
ASU -1 2 -2 -1 -4 5 -1 16
Cal 5 1 -2 -2 3 5 -8 26
Colorado -1 1 -1 0 0 0 0 3
Oregon 0 0 0 0 0 -3 3 6
OSU -1 1 0 2 -4 2 0 10
Stanfurd 1 -2 2 -1 -1 -3 5 15
UCLA -2 -2 3 -1 2 -4 -2 16
USC 2 1 -8 2 5 -5 4 27
Utah 3 2 1 2 -6 5 0 19
Washington -2 -1 4 -3 0 -1 3 14
WSU -5 0 0 0 5 -5 0 15
Total madness 25 15 24 16 30 42 30

To date, USC is the team with the most madness thanks to their humiliation against Boston College contrasted with their sharp play against teams like Stanfurd. Cal comes in second thanks to peaking at 2nd (probably because we're all homers) and a few appearances near the basement. Speaking of, Colorado has the least madness thanks to their inability to rise out of said basement.

Up next, we've got a chart that shows the actual rankings that each team earned, not rounded to integer values. This can give us a bit of a better idea of how closely some of the teams ended up.

Pac-12 rankings- Week 08b

Oregon immediately returns to a strong hold on #1 over the second-ranked Furdies (based on the fact that Stanfurd is actually lower than 2). USC is just a hair below the idle Utah, so I can only imagine a win that didn't come down to the wire would have pushed them into 3rd.

Lastly, take a look at these non-integer ranks combined with the standard deviation for each team; that is, the vertical error bars will show you how varied the voters ranked each team. We all voted Oregon to be #1, so they have no variation and no error bar. We were a bit conflicted on Utah (they were voted as high as 2 and as low as 7), so they have a significant error bar. And last-lastlier, I've included how each CGBear voted.

Pac-12 rankings- Week 08c

atoms Berkelium97 boomtho Leland Nick Sam
1 Oregon Oregon Oregon Oregon Oregon Oregon
2 Stanfurd Utah Utah Stanfurd Stanfurd Stanfurd
3 Utah Stanfurd Stanfurd Utah USC USC
4 USC ASU USC USC Arizona Washington
5 Arizona USC Washington Arizona ASU Utah
6 Washington Arizona Arizona ASU Washington ASU
8 UCLA Washington ASU Washington UCLA UCLA
9 OSU Cal OSU OSU Cal Arizona
10 Cal OSU Cal Colorado OSU Cal
12 WSU Colorado Colorado Cal Colorado Colorado