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CGB's Pac-12 Power Rankings: Week 9

The CGB team ranks the Pac-12 teams. Is the world of the west coast finally starting to settle down?

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Another week of college football slips past us like love slips past a bad poet. Here's the official CGB Power Rankings for the Pac-12 this week. If you missed any of the games, here's the simplest of recaps of the Week 8 games.

  • Utah 29, Oregon State 23
  • Stanfurd 10, Arizona State 26
  • Washington 20, Oregon 45
  • Colorado 28, USC 56
  • UCLA 36, Cal 34

Tied teams are listed alphabetically and first-place votes are listed parenthetically. I can only dream of the day that means something other than one team taking all of the votes.

The rankings
1. Oregon (6) Arrow_neutral__9-8-14_medium

atomsareenough: Curbstomped Washington, they look like a top-10 team again, perhaps a playoff contender?

Nick Kranz: A healthy offensive line makes them easily the class of the conference. Curious to see which South team they draw in the conference title game.

boomtho: Absolutely destroyed UW at home, having their way on the ground and in the air.

Berkelium97: A dominant performance against one of the best front sevens in the Pac-12 should erase any lingering doubts about Oregon's offensive line.

Leland Wong: The Ducks put up scary numbers in their big rivalry game (336 yards passing, 218 yards rushing with their lead rushing gaining 169). They have the offense to outscore the Bears, but their defense is around the bottom nationally for allowing yardage--especially in the air. They'll need to fix that problem if they want to win the Pac-12 or get into the playoff.

Sam Fielder: Took out a Washington team that made us look pedestrian.

2. USC Arrow_up__9-8-14_medium

atomsareenough: The Trojans brutalized the Buffs and are looking like a good team again.

Nick Kranz: That Boston College game makes zero sense.

boomtho: Beating my Colorado by 28, even at home, is pretty impressive. If Kessler puts together consistent production, they are going to be very scary

Leland Wong: Colorado isn't exactly the most ferocious opponent, but you still have to respect what USC did. Jumping out to a 28-0 score at the end of the first quarter is insane. As is setting a school record for TD passes. The Trojans were firing on all cylinders (passing, rushing, and defense) and if they can keep performing at that level, then they might be able to trick the world into thinking Sark's a good coach.

Sam Fielder: Scored almost at will against Colorado.

3. Arizona State Arrow_up__9-8-14_medium

atomsareenough: The Sun Devils pound Stanford! ASU is off the schneid and back in the Pac-12 South race. I have a feeling Arizona and UCLA are going to lose another game or two, so the Pac-12 South is really wide open right now.

Nick Kranz: Perhaps the most impressive team performance of the Pac-12 season in so thoroughly beating Stanford.

boomtho: DJ Foster struggled against the Furd D, but ASU's defense made Hogan look terrible. If ASU is having this much success without Kelly, they're going to be terrifying once he's back

Berkelium97: I had written them off after Kelly's injury but I am very impressed with their performances since. Kudos to Todd Graham

Leland Wong: They shamed a tough Stanfurd squad behind the arm of their backup quarterback. They'll be scary-good when Taylor Kelly returns.

Sam Fielder: Their O put up some points on the toughest D in the conference.

4T. Arizona Arrow_up__9-8-14_medium

atomsareenough: Bye week. They're still sitting pretty at 5-1. We'll see how the Wildcats play down the stretch.

Nick Kranz: Bye week, but their win in Oregon and loss to USC look even better this week.

boomtho: Bye

Leland Wong: The Wildcats should be able to rebound well against Washington State. The Wildcats are struggling defensively nationally, so this one may end up being a shootout.

Sam Fielder: BYE

4T. Utah Arrow_down__9-8-14_medium

atomsareenough: It was ugly (oh, so ugly), but they won. Oregon State isn't a good team though so the Utes get bumped down a peg.

Nick Kranz: I'm extremely skeptical of this team with that offense, and I suspect they will be exposed over their next 5 brutal games. But for now they have 2 road wins and that earns them 5th in my poll.

boomtho: Great at winning ugly, but have a really tough matchup next week against USC.

Berkelium97: I am so very glad we do not have to face that defense.

Leland Wong: Utah won thanks to a solid defense and a dangerous run game. Though the Beavers aren't a particularly impressive opponent, I'll still give the Utes a bit more credit for winning on the road. They may start to slip if opponents can stop their run game as their passing game is abysmal; their two quarterbacks combined for a whopping 62 yards. How many Pac-12 teams have thrown for more than that on a single play?

Sam Fielder: Hung on and survived against Oregon State. Keeps them alive in the South.

6. UCLA Arrow_up__9-8-14_medium

atomsareenough: I guess they won, but.... I'm not impressed. Not. Impressed.

Nick Kranz: Less than the sum of their talent, which is surprising considering how quickly Mora turned the program around prior to this year.

boomtho: Held on by the skin of their teeth against us, but I still think their win is more impressive than Utah winning in double OT at OSU.

Berkelium97: The dream isn't over yet.

Leland Wong: UCLA made Cal's defense look silly with screens and short passes to the flat. Their offense managed to tough it out and survive against a team that forced three takeaways while their defense basically shut down a rushing offense that's far from a pushover.

Sam Fielder: Won ugly in a game they should have won going away.

7. Stanfurd Arrow_down__9-8-14_medium

atomsareenough: Muahahahah! I'm sending this before ASU-Furd goes final (it's 2010 and ASU has the ball on the Furd side of the field in the 4th quarter) because I am confident in the knowledge that it's WAY too large a deficit for the Stanford offense to overcome in 1 quarter against an actual opponent. If it all goes wrong, feel free to blame me. Like I've said before, having no offense was going to come back and bite them at least a few times this year.

Nick Kranz: Stanford has not been comprehensively beaten like that since 2011 or 2010, against a top-10 Oregon team. Losing that badly to a good-not-great Arizona State team is rather shocking and perhaps a sign that the Stanford machine is leaking oil.

boomtho: Think they're better than their record (like I've said all year), but Shaw needs to fix that offense, quickly (OR NOT!)

Berkelium97: David Shaw better get out while the gettin' is good. This team is going to be a mess after Hogan graduates this offseason.

Leland Wong: The Furdies will always struggle when they fall behind early (like this 140 halftime deficit) due to their glacial offense. Fumbling the ball four times (and losing it twice) certainly doesn't help things. Still, I think they deserve some credit for their perennially-strong defense, which kept the Sun Devils out of the endzone for the first quarter and the entire second half.

Sam Fielder: Their inability to score has now cost them 3 wins.

8. Washington Arrow_down__9-8-14_medium

atomsareenough: Another year, another delightful humiliation at the hands of Oregon. I love this annual Duck demolition of UW's delusions of grandeur.

Nick Kranz: UW relies too much on their defense to make big plays, and when they can't, the offense won't be doing enough to win games themselves.

boomtho: Think they'll fall a bit more later in the season, but they've got a good record right now.

Berkelium97: A poor man's stanfurd

Leland Wong: Ouch. Their famously mediocre offense put up pedestrian numbers and their normally-disruptive defense couldn't stop the Quack Attack. On the bright side, at least there was that nice two-minute stretch when they led the game in the first quarter?

Sam Fielder: Got dominated by Oregon...again.

9. California Arrow_up__9-8-14_medium

atomsareenough: Bears lost, but hung tough despite being shorthanded against a better UCLA team. It'll get better, Bears.

Nick Kranz: Miles better than last year, but the resume says 2 conference wins over the 2 worst teams in the Pac.

boomtho: Another close loss, but we're showing we won't be an easy out for most teams

Berkelium97: The Bears have reached their ceiling in my poll unless they can manage a win over Oregon, USC, or the Lobsterbacks

Leland Wong: Yeesh. The Golden Bears are involved in another game that came down to a last-minute play. A lot of people are going to say that UCLA almost "gave the game away" as they outgained the Bears by 201 yards, but I credit that to the Bears defense for creating takeaways. I wish I could put Cal higher because of that opportunistic defense.

Sam Fielder: Stayed competitive in a game they should have lost by 35.

10. Oregon State Arrow_down__9-8-14_medium

atomsareenough: Still not convinced that the Beavers are any good.

Nick Kranz: Devastating home loss makes the path to 6 wins look rocky. Cal @ OSU will likely be a bowl elimination game.

boomtho: They'll probably still beat us.

Berkelium97: Mannion's stats are only marginally better than those from his freshman year. Was he really that dependent on Brandin Cooks?

Leland Wong: OSU may up being deceptively weak considering their 4-2 record. QB Sean Mannion can't make the team win on his own and the lack of a standout receiver hurt them against the Utes. Their defense seems to be the team's strength, but it has yet to truly impress against a quality opponent.

Sam Fielder: Hung tough against a good Utah team and came up just short.

11. Washington State Arrow_neutral__9-8-14_medium

atomsareenough: Hope you healed up a bit over the bye week, Connor Halliday! Another shootout likely awaits against Arizona.

Nick Kranz: A badly needed bye.

Leland Wong: The Cougs' schedule is backloaded. If they want to get to a bowl, they need to win 4 of their remaining 5 games, 3 of which are against Top-25 teams. This bye week could have been a great tool to help them steal a win, but their next game is against Arizona, who also had an extra week to prepare.

Sam Fielder: BYE BYE

12. Colorado Arrow_neutral__9-8-14_medium

atomsareenough: That... wasn't pretty.

Nick Kranz: I didn't see any of the game, but final score vs. USC suggests a team that has started giving up on their season.

boomtho: Thought they had been showing more competitiveness before getting trucked by Kessler and co.

Berkelium97: This team will almost assuredly have fewer wins this season than last season.

Leland Wong: The hapless Buffs yielded nearly 9 yards per play to the Trojans... It looks kinda pretty to see them output over 400 yards of offense, but this one was a blowout.

Sam Fielder: Taking their lumps this season for sure.

The data

I'm going to present my data in a different order today. I was told that the math and methodology here was still a little confusing by a proud Cal alumnus who aced Math 1B wayyyyyy back when he was still a student. Typically, I assume that I have done everything perfectly and that the fault lies entirely in all others. Today, I decided to do something a little different and see if my individual greatness is able to overcome the shortcomings of you normal people. Hopefully I don't have to write out the following blurb every week...

So, the first thing we do is collect the individual votes from our pollsters.

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

I crunch all the numbers and find the average ranking of each team. As you may imagine when you do all that division and averaging stuff, you get answers that aren't perfect integers (e.g., 1.0, 19.0, 154.0); instead you get decimal-y nonsense. We can also get an idea of how varied the responses for each team was using standard deviation, which is denoted with those vertical error bars. OSU got four 10th place votes and one 9th place vote, which is a rather consistent range this week, resulting in a very small standard deviation. Utah, on the other hand, were ranked as high as 3 and as low as 6, resulting in a large variation and standard deviation.

Pac-12 rankings- Week 09c

We can graph these precise rankings over time to show the trends of how the teams have moved up and down (or moved very little.)

Pac-12 rankings- Week 09b

This graph shows us what we're looking for when it comes to rankings. We can visually see which teams are on the top and we can even see teams that are close together or far apart. However, convention is to rigidly adhere to strict rankings of 1st, 2nd, 3rd, ..., 11th, and 12th; you don't hear people say things like "Stanfurd is the 7.33rd best team in the power ranking." We'll lose a bit of the precise data that shows closely-ranking teams, but when is conforming ever bad?

Pac-12 rankings- Week 09a

It's a bit interesting to see Utah drop after a win and Cal rise after a loss. Of course, it's always complicated by the movements of the other teams and by how a team actually plays during a gamenot just the result. And maybe we're all just too easy on the Golden Bears?

Lastly, I have a rough estimate of a characteristic called Madness. This just quantifies how much movement we have; does a team bounce up and down every week or do they all stay mostly consistent over time? Negative values denote falling in the ranks and positive mean that team climbed. For summed madness (either a team's total madness in the rightmost column or the total madness of a week in the bottom row), the positive/negative sign was ignored. I just looked at the pure magnitude of the changes, be it falling or rising. Let there be madness:

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 1 16
ASU -1 2 -2 -1 -4 5 -1 3 19
Cal 5 1 -2 -2 3 5 -8 1 27
Colorado -1 1 -1 0 0 0 0 0 3
Oregon 0 0 0 0 0 -3 3 0 6
OSU -1 1 0 2 -4 2 0 -1 11
Stanfurd 1 -2 2 -1 -1 -3 5 -5 20
UCLA -2 -2 3 -1 2 -4 -2 2 18
USC 2 1 -8 2 5 -5 4 2 29
Utah 3 2 1 2 -6 5 0 -1 20
Washington -2 -1 4 -3 0 -1 3 -1 15
WSU -5 0 0 0 5 -5 0 0 15
Total madness 25 15 24 16 30 42 30 17

The Madness is pretty low this week, largely because Oregon dominated, Colorado got dominated, and WSU's bye meant they didn't have a chance to move up. Or, maybe teams are starting to settle in their places. But it's probably not that last one.

Does that make sense? If not, post any questions below.