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CGB's Pac-12 Power Rankings: Week 10

Your favorite CGBers compiled our personal Power Rankings for our beloved Pac-12. By forcing a preseason favorite to double overtime, did Colorado finally bullrush its way out of the basement?

One... is the loneliest number that there ever was...
One... is the loneliest number that there ever was...
Justin Edmonds

Some football happened last week. Here's what happened:

  • Oregon 59, California 41
  • Arizona State 24, Washington 10
  • USC 21, Utah 24
  • Arizona 59, Washington State 37
  • Oregon State 14, Stanfurd 38
  • UCLA 40, Colorado 37

The number of first-place votes received is listed parenthetically and the rank from the previous week is also listed for your reference. In the event of a tie, do not panic and note that tied teams are listed alphabetically.

The rankings
1. Oregon (5) Arrow_neutral__9-8-14_medium

Last week: 1

atomsareenough: The Ducks are still elite and Mariota is incredible, but Cal showed that they have vulnerabilities. The defense isn't that great this year. Still, it should be plenty good enough to hold Stanford down, I think.

Nick Kranz: Their only lose came without a key lineman who is back and healthy, making the Ducks an easy choice for first place.

boomtho: Class of the conference and while I have some concerns about their defense, I don't really know who is going to exploit it and beat the Ducks. (Definitely not Stanford.)

Leland Wong: With Jake Fisher back, I think the Ducks deserve to be ranked at the top of the conference. With him, the offense excels through the air and on the ground. Their biggest weakness is the defense, which may be the best way to knock them from their Pac-12 perch.

Berkelium97: This was a tough decision. For teams with equal records, I tend to side with the head-to-head winner. However, I'm willing to make exceptions under unusual circumstances. Arizona played an Oregon team with a depleted line, but Oregon looks to be back at nearly full speed. Oregon gets the edge because this week I'd pick Oregon in a neutral-site matchup against the Wildcats (which I wouldn't mind seeing as a Pac-12 title game).

Sam Fielder: Now that their line is back and healthy, they are rolling along. Like others, I think they'd beat Arizona in a rematch, which hopefully we can all see in the P12 title game.

2. Arizona (1) Arrow_up__9-8-14_medium

Last week: 4T

atomsareenough: The Wildcats looked phenomenal against Wazzu, in all 3 phases of the game. Anu Solomon was fantastic, the receivers were great, the running backs looked healthy, and the defense was punishing. They beat Oregon in Autzen, and they deserve to be at the top of the power rankings this week.

Nick Kranz: Trying not to overreact to beating up on a more and more moribund looking Wazzu, but boy did they look good.

boomtho: I feel like I might be insane for having them below Oregon, but to my unscientific eye test they've been slightly less impressive than ASU.

Leland Wong: What a beatdown. RichRod's offense continues to put up scary numbers.

Berkelium97: Second by the slimmest of margins.

Sam Fielder: Late TDs notwithstanding, they thoroughly dominated the Cougs. They've definitely come into form this season and look great now.

3. Utah Arrow_up__9-8-14_medium

Last week: 4T

atomsareenough: Even though the Utes were down entering the 4th quarter against the Trojans, I was reasonably confident they would pull it out, and they did. I'm not exactly sure what their offense is supposed to look like, but it seems to work well enough to win somehow.

Nick Kranz: Skill position players rarely impress, but I've clearly be underestimating their line talent all year long. Mea Culpa, Utah.

boomtho: To be perfectly honest, 24 on my ballot are a miniscule amount apart. Utah continues to impress with a last second win against USC

Leland Wong: Kudos to the Utes for finding something that resembles a passing game. Their run game was solid thanks to Devontae Booker and their defense did its job by contributing a touchdown, so the return of QB Travis Wilson will help make them a well-rounded team. I think Cal deserves just a bit of credit here as the game-winning touchdown was caught by Kaelin Clay.

Berkelium97: This team hasn't scored more than 30 points since September, yet the Utes are 4-1 over that span. They are the masters of winning ugly games.

Sam Fielder: They've been just good enough all season and have a knack for winning close games. They now enter a pretty tough 4 week stretch where we'll find out just how legit they really are.

4. Arizona State Arrow_down__9-8-14_medium

Last week: 3

atomsareenough: The Sun Devils gutted out a tough, but convincing win under miserable conditions in Seattle against the Huskies. Taylor Kelly didn't look great, but him being back is a good thing, I'm pretty sure. When did the balance of power in the Pac-12 South shift to the state of Arizona?

Nick Kranz: I think we have to face up to the fact that TODD GRAHAM is the current favorite for Pac-12 coach of the year.

boomtho: The Kelly situation may unsettle them, but I think they have the best Pac-12 wins out of the 1-loss teams (USC, Stanford, and Washington)

Leland Wong: I came very close to ranking the Sun Devils higher (i.e., #2) using the same logic I applied to Oregon—their one loss came with a key starter missing; in fact, backup QB Mike Bercovici played pretty darn well when he was forced in the starting role. The thing that kept them from jumping too high is that their last game—a win against Washington—was an ugly win despite the the return of QB Taylor Kelly. The Sun Devils scored the go-ahead touchdown with 3:30 left on the clock and needed a pick-six in the final minute from Washington's redshirt freshman QB making his first ever start. Washington has a great defense, but Kelly's mediocre game makes me wonder if they'll have a QB controversy in the coming days.

Berkelium97: I cannot believe this is the same miserable defense that played UCLA and Colorado. They held UW without an offensive touchdown and have shown incredible improvement in the fundamentals (especially tackling).

Sam Fielder: Put down the Huskies and stay in the midst of the South race. Still not convinced they can beat either south team above them but getting Kelly back helps.

5. Stanfurd Arrow_up__9-8-14_medium

Last week: 7

atomsareenough: Beating up on the dregs of the conference is cold comfort for a team that began the season hoping to compete for a playoff berth. The Cardinal face Oregon next, and it's hard to think they can score enough to keep up. They'll likely need their defense to create turnovers and points to have a chance.

Nick Kranz: Nothing would make me happier than Oregon emphatically ending Stanford's too-long Pac-12 run with a dominant victory in Eugene.

boomtho: Routed OSU and the offense looked... passable? Of course their O will round into form by the time we play them...

Leland Wong: All that talk about their lack of an offense and Kevin Hogan finally decides to put together a solid game. Their running back committee was effective and their defense made the Beavers look silly.

Berkelium97: Stanford, USC, and UCLA are all in the same boat for me: very talented teams held back by bizarre coaching decisions. Stanford, however, seems to be the most predictable of the bunch. I never know which USC or UCLA teams will show up each week, but I generally have a good sense of whether Stanford will win or lose. This consistency gives them a narrow edge over the Trojans and Bruins.

Sam Fielder: Finally got some offense to go with their D.

6. UCLA Arrow_neutral__9-8-14_medium

Last week: 6

atomsareenough: Somehow the Bruins keep winning games they deserve to lose. They're living a charmed life, but I think their luck will turn as they face better opponents, starting next week against a visiting Arizona team.

Nick Kranz: Hanging on by a thread, with four really tough games left.

boomtho: Very uninspiring win against a pesky Colorado team

Leland Wong: A nice little late-game meltdown from the Bruins, allowing 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to push this game into overtime.

Berkelium97: This time I can understand the Mora Meltdown going on at Bruins Nation.

Sam Fielder: Needed OT to take out the bottom of the conference. I can't believe I thought this team would contend for the P12 title at the start of the season.

7. USC Arrow_down__9-8-14_medium

Last week: 2

atomsareenough: Lots of dissatisfaction in Trojanland of late. SC fans seem to be losing patience with both Sark & Haden. Must be frustrating to have all that talent and feel like you're wasting it because there's no depth. Heheheh.

Nick Kranz: The Trojans have lost one game via hail mary and another because Nelson Agholor stepped out of bounds with the game winning first down right in front of him. USC is the most talented team in the South, but the margin is certainly close enough for luck to screw things up.

boomtho: They're a few plays away from having a much, much better record but they just haven't executed well late in games

Leland Wong: This team baffles me, but I guess that's 0.5ark's trademark. I don't think they're really that bad of a team since two of their losses came in the last second, but they're still struggling right now and that results in a drop.

Berkelium97: Seven-win Sark.

Sam Fielder: Sark is really working his mojo to try and ensure that 6-6 regular season. Go Sark go!

8. California Arrow_up__9-8-14_medium

Last week: 9

atomsareenough: Yes, the Bears lost, but hanging with the Ducks for most of the game had to be encouraging. The defense is still making mistakes, but guys are usually in the right place now at least. I think this is what progress looks like.

Nick Kranz: Strong performances against Arizona, UCLA and Oregon, but no wins to show. Can the Bears finally break through for a win against a top half Pac-12 team?

boomtho: Competitive against most teams, we're just struggling to round the corner and win a tough game. Still, don't think anyone wants to play us.

Leland Wong: Same old story for the Bears who performed well offensively (more yards and more points than the Ducks defense allows on average), but struggled defensively (allowed more yards and more points than the Ducks offense gains on average). I think the renewed threat of run game will pay off in dividends by bringing the balance that the Bear Raid has lacked recently.

Berkelium97: Another strong performance, but the Bears will not climb out of the bottom third without a win over one of the Pac-12's top-8.

Sam Fielder: Gave Oregon a test but simply didn't have the D to hang with them in the end. This team is learning and getting better though.

9. Washington Arrow_down__9-8-14_medium

Last week: 8

atomsareenough: I don't even understand what's going on here. Cyler Miles sitting out, 2 running backs out, Shaq Thompson getting 21 carries, the offense only scoring 3 points? What a mess.

Nick Kranz: The worst offense in the conference by such a wide margin. I really hope that Shelton, Shaq, Kikaha and Peters all head to the draft so that the defense ends up just as bad next year.

boomtho: Didn't look very competent (Shaq is quite impressive as an RB though!) but that's understandable against a fierce ASU defense with their backup QB

Leland Wong: I can't believe I'm saying this, but I feel sorry for the Dawgs. Some injuries to the offensive backfield forced Coach Petersen to start a redshirt freshman quarterback and Shaq Thompson at running back, limiting Thompson's ability to play on defense. This makeshift offense mustered a meager three points against a struggling ASU defense, but I'm not convinced their offense at "full strength" could manage much more than that.

Berkelium97: A poor man's Stanford. The offense was in pure desperation mode on Saturday.

Sam Fielder: Why can't anyone ever have their worst offensive performance ever against us?

10. Colorado Arrow_up__9-8-14_medium

Last week: 12

atomsareenough: Another painful loss, but the Buffs are a feisty bunch. As a Cal fan going through something similar, I understand that nobody wants moral victories at this point, but Colorado slowly but surely improving under MacIntyre. The UCLA game had to be encouraging, as frustrating as it was. Really, the Buffs should've won this game.

Nick Kranz: Football is a cruel game.

boomtho: Think their playcalling was a bit iffy down the stretch and that led them to drop a very winnable game

Leland Wong: A tough loss for the Buffs when they could have won this game. Still, I give their defense credit for getting the stops needed at the end of regulation to set up the field goal that forced this game into overtime.

Berkelium97: Cal, OSU, and UCLA escaped, but someone is going to be upset by the Buffs this season.

Sam Fielder: This team is still feisty and cannot be overlooked.

11T. Oregon State Arrow_down__9-8-14_medium

Last week: 10

atomsareenough: This must be one of Mike Riley's random off years. The defense has been inconsistent, there isn't a run game, and Mannion has regressed considerably. I hope Cal is able to capitalize on the relative disarray in Corvallis this week.

Nick Kranz: The inverse of Utah: Weak along both lines, and in this conference that's death.

boomtho: Lost year for Mannion

Leland Wong: Ouch. I don't even know how to describe that kind of performance. Sean Mannion completed less than 50% of his passes for 4 yards/attempt and no TDs. They gained a whopping 12 yards on the ground (thanks to six sacks that lost 55 yards). At least we can assume they had some In N Out this past weekend?

Berkelium97: It's almost sad watching Sean Mannion out there. His receivers can't catch basic passes, his offensive line can't protect him, and he's missing easy throws that he would have made last year. His draft stock is tumbling.

Sam Fielder: They got thrashed by a horrendous offense, which means they'll look like the 85 Chicago Bears next week against us, but boy, that was bad.

11T. Washington State Arrow_neutral__9-8-14_medium

Last week: 11

atomsareenough: I feel bad for the Cougs. Yes, they ran into a buzzsaw in Arizona, but they had so many early season games that they were close to winning and just fell short. I hope the wheels aren't coming off now. They still were competing yesterday even when they were down big, but Connor Halliday seemed really fed up for much of the game. This is a team that desperately needs to see some success right now.

Nick Kranz: I wonder if losing to Cal they way they did was a season-destroying loss in terms of morale.

boomtho: Can't stop anyone.

Leland Wong: Another week, another pair of special teams touchdowns allowed. Whom can Coach Leach fire for this one? At the very least, the offense showed the ability to put up lots of points and very very fast (as Cal fans painfully remember).

Berkelium97: The poor Cougs may not win again this season.

Sam Fielder: When you go down 24-0 in the first Q it is not going to be a good day.

The data

Here's a combination section of behind the scenes and some extra data analysis.

As always, the first step is for each user to submit individual votes/rankings:

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

With these, we average out the ranking for each team. As with any average, one can measure the standard deviation to tell you how varied the individual votes were. The pollsters were very conflicted on Washington, resulting in a large standard deviation, which is the vertical error bar. There was no conflict for WSU with everyone placing them 11th, resulting in no standard deviation and no error bar.

Pac-12 rankings- Week 10c

We can chart this kind of performance over time:

Pac-12 rankings- Week 10b

Interestingly, we see a few key groupings. At the top of the conference are four one-loss teams. Despite preseason expectations (and historical performance) that projected the Pac-12 North would be the stronger division, we see three of the top four are actually South teams. We can also see that ASU and Utah are so close; in fact, before our final voter submitted his ballot, those two teams were actually tied for 3rd. We then have a cluster of three (non-Cal Californian schools) who have all underperformed relative to their preseason expectations. Then, a pair of middling teams in the forms of Cal and Washington. Lastly, we've got a cluster of three closely-ranked bottom feeders. We see that Colorado escaped the basement for the first time since Week 3, even if it was just by the skin of their teeth. Buffaloes should rejoice! But just barely!

From here, I adapted the data ever so slightly to rank the teams by a strict 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. You know, the conventional ranking system.

Pac-12 rankings- Week 10a

While this is the most typical method, I hope you can see some of the differences and drawbacks. Here, Colorado is a clear 10th above the basement dwellers tied at 11th; however, as the previous image showed, they were just barely above those two. The same goes for the nearly-tied ASU and Utah.

The last piece of information I've covered is called the Madness, which quantifies the amount of up-and-down movement.

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 2 18
ASU -1 2 -2 -1 -4 5 -1 3 -1 20
Cal 5 1 -2 -2 3 5 -8 1 1 28
Colorado -1 1 -1 0 0 0 0 0 2 5
Oregon 0 0 0 0 0 -3 3 0 0 6
OSU -1 1 0 2 -4 2 0 -1 -1 12
Stanfurd 1 -2 2 -1 -1 -3 5 -5 2 22
UCLA -2 -2 3 -1 2 -4 -2 2 0 18
USC 2 1 -8 2 5 -5 4 2 -5 34
Utah 3 2 1 2 -6 5 0 -1 1 21
Washington -2 -1 4 -3 0 -1 3 -1 -1 16
WSU -5 0 0 0 5 -5 0 0 0 15
Total Madness 25 15 24 16 30 42 30 17 16

Tallying up the total Madness for the week is a score of 16, which is one of the lowest scores we've seen all year. Most of this week's Madness is attributed to USC's plummet; speaking of which, you can also see they're the team that has had the most Madness all season.

How much do you agree with this week's Power Rankings? Do you think Colorado deserves to be out of the basement this week? Is Cal ranked too high or is 8 appropriate? Let me know what you think in the comments!