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CGB's Pac-12 power rankings: Week 7

Remember how I said last week had some huge shake-ups? Well, this week is huge-r.

Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

If you were up, then you went down. If you were down, then you went up. Let's get straight into this week's Pac-12 power rankings so you can experience the first week without Oregon on top.

  • Arizona 31, Oregon 24
  • California 60, Washington State 59
  • Utah 30, UCLA 28
  • Arizona State 38, USC 34
  • Oregon State 36, Colorado 31
  • Stanfurd 14, Notre Dame 17

If you're new to this series, then you're a horrible person who should know that the number of first-place votes for each team are listed parenthetically and that tied teams are listed alphabetically.

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

Nick Kranz: Are they the best team in the conference? Hell if I know, but they just beat the only team that was universally respected, on the road, convincingly. And they are the only undefeated team in the conference. After the chaos of the weekend, that's enough.

Berkelium97: The lone undefeated team.

Leland Wong: In the preseason, I expected the Wildcats to take a step forward under RichRod, but I didn't expect this. I'm not sure how long they'll stay on top, but at this point, they deserve it.

atomsareenough: Incredibly, the only Pac-12 team without a conference loss.

boomtho: Dethroned Oregon and currently in sole possession of first place in the South. Rich Rod's team really impressed me in their ability to limit Oregon's offense after we put up lots of points against them.

Sam Fielder: Take down the current leaders and don't have a loss? #1 for me.

2. California Arrow_up__9-8-14_medium

Nick Kranz: Screw it. They have the best offense in the conference, and in a year of chaos that's enough to give them a chance.

Berkelium97: Without a hail mary, botched 10-second runoff, AND head-scratching onside kick, Cal would be the only undefeated team in conference play. Sure, Cal could easily be 3-2 or even 2-3, but they're not. So they're in the top-3.

Leland Wong: It was a great week for the Bears in an exciting game that nearly earned them second place on my personal ballot. However, the defense must prove it can reliably stop the opposition, especially with teams like Oregon, Stanfurd, and Washington coming up who have defenses that are strong enough to disrupt the Bear Raid offense.

atomsareenough: The Bears somehow are sitting alone in first place in the Pac-12 North. What is this, I don't even....I mean, sure, part of this is the weak early schedule and part of it is conference parity. Things will change, but Cal is in control of its destiny still, and good times are rolling in Berkeley. We can worry about the Cal secondary some other week.

boomtho: You can only play what the schedule dictates, and at this point we are in sole possession of first place in the North and have looked unstoppable offensively.

Sam Fielder: This team is playing out of their minds on offense and undermanned on D. But 4-1 so far is better than any of us could have hoped heading into the meat of the sked.

3. Utah Arrow_up__9-8-14_medium

Nick Kranz: A win that counts but strikes me as fluky. Still, surprising success on the ground against UCLA portends well for future games.

Berkelium97: Apparently Utah has a pretty good backup QB.

Leland Wong: Utah's running game helped them overcome poor play from their quarterbacks (either Travis Wilson who manned all of two whole drives or Kendal Thompson who didn't even pass for 100 yards).

atomsareenough: I had a feeling the Utes would bounce back from their disappointing home loss to Wazzu, and bounce back they did against an overrated UCLA team that had struggled with some mediocre opponents. Utah's defense manhandled UCLA's lousy o-line and sacked Brett Hundley an astounding 10 times. Brett Hundley is a mobile quarterback.

boomtho: Really impressive performance by Utah to go into UCLA and pull out the win. They harassed Hundley all day and took away the big plays that doomed ASU against UCLA. They must be kicking themselves for letting the WSU game slip away.

Sam Fielder: A good win against what would have been the top team in the Pac-12.

4. Oregon Arrow_down__9-8-14_medium

Nick Kranz: I'm trying not to overreact to a game in which all of their weaknesses were exploited at once by a brilliant Rich Rodriguez. I think they are still my pick to win the conference, although I would take the field over them.

Berkelium97: No matter what the Ducks did on defense, RichRod had an effective counterpunch. The offense was looking shaky again thanks to a depleted O-line.

Leland Wong: I don't think the Ducks are actually this bad, but their O-line has to improve if they want to return to the top of the conference. As Cal fans we can all feel their pain about having to unexpectedly play younger guys (which is probably why their O-line is so porous), but that empathy won't help them in these rankings.

atomsareenough: Losing to Arizona hurts, but the Ducks can still theoretically turn things around and win the conference. There's plenty of time and talent, but clearly they have some problems to work out. Making the national playoff is looking pretty dicey though.

boomtho: I may be overrating them due to the name brand (and not production to date)... not sure who to slot at #4, though.

Sam Fielder: Arizona is their achilles heel.

5. Arizona State Arrow_up__9-8-14_medium

Nick Kranz: Dark horse title contenders if Taylor Kelly can come back.

Berkelium97: I've been tough on the Sun Devils since Kelly went down, but Bercovici is pretty good. The defense was decent on first and second down this week, but the third down defense struggled.

Leland Wong: It's officially not a fluke that the Sun Devil offense can put up yards, even with backup QB Mike Bercovici. Over 500 yards passing, 5 TDs, and 0 INTs for the backup? That's scary.

atomsareenough: Suddenly the terrible loss to UCLA doesn't feel so bad, as the Bruins have a loss of their own now. Plus, as their in-state rivals can attest, winning on a Hail Mary surely must feel pretty awesome. Taylor Kelly will be back against Stanford. Maybe this was just a blip?

boomtho: Equally flukey win to ours, but they're below us because of the blowout loss to UCLA

Sam Fielder: Should have lost to USC but pulled out a win.

6. UCLA Arrow_down__9-8-14_medium

Nick Kranz: HUNDLEY WAS SACKED 10 TIMES. Oregon and UCLA are both good teams that are functional offensive lines away from being great.

Berkelium97: TEN SACKS ALLOWED. Absolutely the worst offensive line in the conference. Brett Hundley can't declare for the draft soon enough. I'm not even sure he'll survive the season.

Leland Wong: After UCLA finally put together the dominant performance we had all been expecting, did anyone expect they'd fall flat against Utah like this? One of the questions marks for the Bruins heading into the season was the performance of their O-line. QB Brett Hundley had a pretty good game statistically, but he needs some protection if the Bruins want to win.

atomsareenough: The Bruins weren't really national playoff contenders anyway, and the Utes exposed what the rest of their schedule had been pointing at: the Bruins are a good and talented team, but a flawed team nonetheless.

boomtho: Despite the loss, they're 4-1 with some decent FBS wins...

Sam Fielder: Same problem as Oregon, that O line. Not good.

7. Stanfurd Arrow_down__9-8-14_medium

Nick Kranz: If they had an average offensive coordinator to take over from Shaw they would win this conference in a walk.

Berkelium97: The defense will keep them competitive in every game. They'll lose several due to a limp noodle of an offense, but they'll be competitive.

Leland Wong: Even as a faithful Cal Bear, I know this is too low for the Furdies, but this feels right for this week. Their two losses have been to Top-25 teams, but a lot of other Pac-12 teams had big weeks. Their inability to score points will forever be the shiny, sparkly point on a Zelda boss--the critical weakness that will cause their collapse in the Pac-12. A fast-scoring team can make up a deficit in no time. And that vaunted Cardinal defense looks a lot weaker after allowing that Hail Mary.

atomsareenough: The good news for the Cardinal is that Oregon lost, and that their loss this week wasn't in conference. So they still have a chance to win the conference, in theory. The bad news is that their offense is godawful, and they are about to start playing teams that will severely test their best-in-the-nation defense.

boomtho: They're more talented than #9, but I think this is fair given their body of work.

Sam Fielder: Another tough loss for them but you won't see me boohooing for them

8. USC Arrow_down__9-8-14_medium

Nick Kranz: I wonder if we'll look back at their win over Stanford as one of the weirdest results of the season.

Berkelium97: They played a great first quarter when I was watching. I don't know what happened after that, but it must have been bad. How do you give up 500 yards and 5 TDs to a QB starting his second career game?

Leland Wong: Remember the Trojans squad that allowed over 450 rushing yards to BC? They limited the Sun Devils and DJ Foster to fewer than 50 total rushing yards. lolwut? 0.500 Sark has them playing inconsistently, but the potential is there for them to be a threat.

atomsareenough: Cal fans know just what you are feeling, Trojans, and we are so happy that you are feeling it too for a change.

boomtho: I'm not sure what happened to their defense after they shut down OSU, but they just couldn't stop ASU (500 yards of offense). It feels like coaching is really holding them back

Sam Fielder: Sark is a mediocre coach. Manages to squander all that talent.

9. Oregon State Arrow_up__9-8-14_medium

Nick Kranz: I just suspect that they aren't very good. Strength of schedule is sooo weak.

Berkelium97: Now that the Beavs have a competent run game Mannion has regressed back to the stats of his freshman year.

Leland Wong: A nice return to form for the Beavers and Sean Mannion, who managed to stave off a feisty Colorado squad. "Second to last" sounds a bit too insulting for OSU, but they don't yet have the big win needed to go anywhere higher.

atomsareenough: The Beavers manage to put the Buffs away, but not without some late game drama. My lingering sense that this year's Oregon State team isn't very good continues to hold.

boomtho: Took care of business on the road against a feisty Colorado team.

Sam Fielder: Colorado isn't quite the same easy out as before and they survived.

10. Washington Arrow_down__9-8-14_medium

Nick Kranz: Alongside Utah, maybe the only team in the conference getting below average quarterback play, and I suspect that will cause them many issues the rest of the way.

Leland Wong: The bye week is just what they needed to help get them prepared for a game against Cal that they could win. It'll be fun (and stressful) to see what their disruptive defense can cook up for the Bear Raid.

atomsareenough: I wonder if the Huskies feel left out of the party thanks to their bye week....

boomtho: Let's see what they've worked on during the bye as they come into Memorial. (My guess: defense.)

Sam Fielder: BYE

11. Washington State Arrow_down__9-8-14_medium

Nick Kranz: I don't really think they are the 2nd worst team in the conference, but 2-4 means something when almost everybody else has 4+ wins.

Berkelium97: The Cougs may be the best 2-win team in the country.

Leland Wong: I think the Cougs are just a few unlucky breaks from being much higher on this list. Connor Halliday just set an FBS single-game record, but the Cougars are still struggling to finish. When it all clicks for them, then they'll be scary-good.

atomsareenough: Oh dear. Coug'd it. Sorry dudes. Better you than us. Blow up Stanford next week, will ya?

boomtho: They could, and maybe should be higher on this list... but they've squandered great opportunities against Oregon and us.

Sam Fielder: Definitely on the upswing and poised to make more noise this year.

12. Colorado Arrow_neutral__9-8-14_medium

Nick Kranz: The unluckiest team in the conference, which is particularly dangerous when there's a talent deficit as well.

Berkelium97: Once again, victory evades them by narrow margins. They'll get a Pac-12 win, however.

Leland Wong: Colorado has enough fight to keep things close in the Pac-12, which is a step up for them.

atomsareenough: MacIntyre Rage Face is gonna be a meme pretty soon. Not a good look.

Sam Fielder: Tough sledding for them but Mike M's meltdowns are enjoyable.

boomtho: They are going to be a tough out all year, but the cellar is all theirs for now.

The data

If you like chaos, then you're gonna love this:

Pac-12 rankings- Week 07a

Last week we had five teams make a move of three or more spots. This week? Nine. Everyone but Washington (who were on a bye), Oregon State, and Colorado. Of all these big moves, I think I'm most surprised by the WSU plummet considering they lost a close one to Cal. But prepare for things to get a little crazier with the more precise graph.

Pac-12 rankings- Week 07b

Geez, look at how close some of those teams are. We've got Cal and Utah paired off, as are Oregon and ASU. The party's a bit down lower, where there's the four-team bunch of USC, OSU, Washington, and WSU. And look at those gaps that set apart the first- and last-place teams from the rest of the pack. As Arizona was left as the only undefeated team left after this week, I understand that one, but I'm not so sure Colorado truly is that far beneath the rest.

Pac-12 rankings- Week 07c

When you look at how the votes actually broke down, you see a huge standard variation or discrepancy in Utah's position. The Utes were ranked as low as 8th, which opened the door for Cal to pass them.

A recurring point of debate in this series is what exactly a Power Ranking is here to measure. I've been reluctant to have my personal ballot simply reflect the most recent games, but there were so many crazy results in the Pac-12 this weekend that I can't look past what happened. This isn't just a case of a low Pac-12 team upsetting some Top-25 non-conference foe. All the top Pac-12 teams lost against their lower opponents and that made my ballot crazy this week, but I couldn't justify any other way.

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