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CGB's Pac-12 Power Rankings: Week 12

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Oregon and Arizona State duke it out for the top spot in our rankings and a new team hits rock bottom.

Who is that gray team and why are they so happy?
Who is that gray team and why are they so happy?
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Five of the best CGB writers put together their Power Rankings for the past week of Pac-12 football. They asked me to come along for the ride because six ballots has been mathematically determined to be the optimal number for the most accurate results and so I would have to do all the writing and dataing. In case you forgot, here's what happened during the last week of games:

  • Oregon 51, Utah 27
  • Colorado 20, Arizona 38
  • UCLA 44, Washington 30
  • Washington State 39, Oregon State 32
  • Notre Dame 31, Arizona State 55

Keep on scrolling for our compiled rankings. The number of first-place votes is listed parenthetically and tied teams are listed alphabetically.

The rankings
1. Oregon (4) Arrow_neutral__9-8-14_medium

Last week: 1

Berkelium97: I went back and forth between ASU and Oregon for #1. When Oregon was having trouble putting away Utah, I thought about putting ASU at #1, especially when the Ducks lost Hroniss Grasu (presumably for the year). Their 21-point explosion in the fourth quarter put an end to that.

atomsareenough: I was never worried about the outcome of this game. Once the Oregon train gets rolling, it's almost impossible to stop. It takes a team that is excellent at both offense AND defense to defeat them. The mounting injuries are very worrisome though.

Nick Kranz: Metronomic.

Leland Wong: A huge win over a then–Top 20 team. However, a silly Utah mistake let the Ducks turn a 0–14 deficit to a 7–7 tie. They also suffered injuries to three key players (C Hroniss Grasu, TE Pharaoh Brown, and CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu)—two of which (Grasu and Brown) are looking to be season-ending—which is the kind of week that earns a Power Ranking drop.

Sam Fielder: I briefly debated (with myself) putting ASU here, but the strength of Oregon's second half over ASU's kept them here.

boomtho: Like others, I was very close to putting ASU here. Utah fought hard but ultimately Oregon is too explosive and talented for teams to hang around for a full 60 minutes (except Rich Rodcoached AZ teams, for some reason).

2. Arizona State (2) Arrow_neutral__9-8-14_medium

Last week: 2

Berkelium97: I wanted to reward ASU for destroying Notre Dame, but then they gave up 28 unanswered points. Then they scored 21 unanswered of their own. I know ND is not a top-tier team, but it's pretty clear ASU and Oregon are in a class of their own in the Pac-12

atomsareenough: Who knew Todd Graham was such a good coach?? I mean, besides the ASU AD.

Nick Kranz: When you look at the individual pieces of this team, it doesn't really make sense that they have a realistic shot at the playoffs. And yes, I'm including the coaching staff - what about Todd Graham's previous resume suggests he would take ASU to these heights?

Leland Wong: A huge win over a then–Top 10 team. QB Taylor Kelly had his first great performance after some post-injury struggles and the defense walks away with 5 turnovers. This win propelled them into the college-playoff discussion, which is the kind of week that earns a big Power Ranking boost.

P.S. Their uniforms were turrible and I didn't even recognize them as ASU initially.

Sam Fielder: They played great for 30 min, horrible for 25 min, and then great again for 5 min. The result? A huge win over Notre Dame that keeps them in the playoff conversation and the Pac-12 Championship conversation.

boomtho: Very impressive win against a solid ND team. The game was probably a bit closer than the score indicated. (Then again, maybe not? ASU was up 3417 before ND started to mount a comeback.)

3. UCLA Arrow_neutral__9-8-14_medium

Last week: 3

Berkelium97: I thought this looked like an upset game, but they quickly muzzled the Huskies.

atomsareenough: Well, at least their wins are getting less annoyingly close and fluky-seeming.

Nick Kranz: Playing really good football ever since getting taken to overtime by Colorado, because of course. They will be favored in their final 2 home games, but an 0-2 finish would be tough.

Leland Wong: The Bruins enjoyed a convincing win over a middling Husky squad. Brett Hundley had a great game with four touchdowns; getting sacked only one time probably played a huge role in that.

Sam Fielder: Starting to put things together and really torched a good Washington defense.

boomtho: UW's secondary was depleted but still a comprehensive win from the Bruins. There's a very large gap between Oregon/ASU and the rest of the conference, but I think UCLA is at the head of that second tier for now.

4. USC Arrow_up__9-8-14_medium

Last week: 5

atomsareenough: Bye week for the Trojans. They play Cal next, but might they overlook the Bears with the big rivalry game against UCLA coming a week later?

Nick Kranz: Bye

Leland Wong: Hard to rank these guys because you never know whether they'll show up brilliant or bumbling. I guess this is averaged out since they had a bye?

Sam Fielder: Hoping hoping hoping that the distracted and bad Trojans show up on Thursday night.

boomtho: Bye.

5. Arizona Arrow_up__9-8-14_medium

Last week: 6

Berkelium97: +4 turnover margin only translates to an 18-point win over Colorado? Arizona is picking the wrong time of the year to begin slumping.

atomsareenough: I don't know if the Wildcats are slumping or not, but the Buffs are not a tough out, and the Wildcats steadily pulled away in the second half. The Territorial Cup is looming large, but if the Bruins win out, then an Arizona win would simply hand the division title to UCLA, I believe.

Nick Kranz: Needed a strong 4th quarter just to outpace Colorado. Doesn't feel like they are trending in the right direction.

Leland Wong: For all the razz-a-majazz that the offense gets, the defense came up big with four takeaways. Their offense is so good that we've all come to expect these kinds of numbers.

Sam Fielder: Two late TDs make their score look better than it was. Still a good team, but their upcoming slate of games is not easy.

boomtho: Perhaps a bit weird to have them so far below Utah, but they really haven't been impressive (that said, CU has been a tough out this year).

6. Utah Arrow_down__9-8-14_medium

Last week: 4

Berkelium97: They certainly didn't give up despite injuries and Clay's biggest display of incompetence we'll see in college football this year.

atomsareenough: Valient effort, Utes. Shame about that Kaelin Clay boner, though.

Nick Kranz: Just a brutal schedule, and I think it's starting to catch up with them.

Leland Wong: It was a bad loss for the Utes, but I don't think they're a bad team. I do think their offense is bipolar. Some days they can only pass for 50ish yards and out out a monster run game; against Oregon, they only ran for 120 as a team, but passed for nearly 300 yards and with their backup quarterback Travis Wilson after an early injury to Kendal Thompson.

Sam Fielder: You have to wonder how much that goal line gaffe hurt them. I still think they would have lost but it would have made things more interesting for sure.

boomtho: Tried to keep it close but Kaelin's Desean imitation was so costly. Hope the Utes can sort out their QB injury problems as well.

7. Stanfurd Arrow_neutral__9-8-14_medium

Last week: 7T

atomsareenough: Bye week for the Cardinal as well.

Nick Kranz: Bye.

Leland Wong: Will getting an extra week to prepare for Arizona (who don't have the same luxury) be the key for stopping that insane offense?

Sam Fielder: I wonder if they spent the bye week installing an offense?

boomtho: Beat furd.

8. Washington Arrow_down__9-8-14_medium

Last week: 7T

Berkelium97: Only one sack against the worst offensive line in the conference?

atomsareenough: I guess losing Shaq Thompson and Marcus Peters can have a deleterious effect on a defense, but I'm with Berkelium in being surprised their D-line didn't do more against UCLA. Brett Hundley and the Bruins seemingly had their way with the Huskies.

Nick Kranz: If Kikaha misses significant time, UW will be very, very vulnerable.

Leland Wong: UW had a solid day running the ball, but I think they'll continue to struggle until they have a credible passing threat.

Sam Fielder: I really thought their D would do much better against the UCLA Oline. Poor performance all around from them.

boomtho: Shaq Thompson continues his impressive turn at RB, but UW couldn't close the floodgates against Hundley. UW has 3 winnable games to close out the season, but IMO anything short of 9-4 (winning all 3) will be slightly disappointing for Petersen.

9. California Arrow_neutral__9-8-14_medium

Last week: 9

atomsareenough: Bye week. Important measuring stick game against the Trojans on Thursday.

Nick Kranz: Bye

Leland Wong: Cal needs to pull off a significant upset to get much higher than this spot. Unfortunately, the advantage of extra prep time during the bye week is negated by USC getting the same.

Sam Fielder: I hope we spent the bye week getting healthy

boomtho: I screwed up having us below furd last week, so let me take this bye week as a chance to rectify that.

10. Washington State Arrow_up__9-8-14_medium

Last week: 12

Berkelium97: I'm happy to see the Cougs get a win. They've had a rough season.

atomsareenough: Luke Falk! Falk yeah! Cougs win a game and get some hope for the future.

Nick Kranz: It doesn't really matter who plays quarterback for Mike Leach.

Leland Wong: Looks like the Leach system is fully installed with first-time starter passing for 471 yards & 5 touchdowns and getting a conference win. The offense looked like they were barely any different without Connor Halliday. The run game is still a joke, but I guess that doesn't matter when Leach can plug in any quarterback and have enough receivers to distribute the ball to nine guys with six of them catching four or more balls.

Sam Fielder: Shook off the injury to Halliday to return to form and came out of the cellar by beating OSU.

boomtho: Leach's offensive system: [insert QB here]. Rockstar performance from Luke Falk.

11. Colorado Arrow_neutral__9-8-14_medium

Last week: 11

Berkelium97: Blew their chances again with a bunch of second-half turnovers.

atomsareenough: They'll win a few conference games next year, I'm guessing.

Nick Kranz: Hey, they fired Jon Embree in his 2nd season, and he actually managed a conference win.

Leland Wong: Colorado's offense actually had a pretty solid game—excluding those four big turnovers. At least they found out that WR Nelson Spruce can throw the ball and QB Sefo Liufau can catch. Time for an offensive overhaul?

Sam Fielder: I say this every week, but this team is competitive and shouldn't be overlooked. But they still stink.

boomtho: Close to putting them at 12 but I think their loss is a bit better than OSU's

12. Oregon State Arrow_down__9-8-14_medium

Last week: 10

Berkelium97: Into the basement they go.

atomsareenough: Blech.

Nick Kranz: There isn't really anything interesting about this team. If you brought a college football fan from 2010 to the present and told him that the quarterback on this team is the most prolific passer in conference history they would probably have insulting things to say about the Pac-12.

Leland Wong: A near-identical statistical performance as the team that beat them, which is reflected in the close score. QB Sean Mannion had a great day, but has fewer quality targets, which makes their struggling run game (by my count, fewer than 90 yards excluding sacks) become a much more evident weakness.

Sam Fielder: New cellar dweller! They are just not good and the loss to WSU proved it.

boomtho: Lose to a first-time starter at home (and it's not like WSU was a giant killer before)... Welcome to the bottom, OSU! This is really a tough way for Mannion to go out.

The data

I know how much everyone loves math and data and numbers!

Take a peek at our individual votes:

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

These votes get pumped into a machine and spit out the averaged rankings, which were used to determine the ordering given above in the meat of this post. An alternate way of displaying that data is shown below by incorporating the standard deviation, which shows how varied our votes were in that vertical error bar.

Pac-12 rankings- Week 12c

And here's the season-worth of these ranks to show you performance over time:

Pac-12 rankings- Week 12b

Here, we see that Oregon came pretty close to losing their top spot. There's also a pretty big gap between the tops and the third-ranked team, UCLA. We also see there are a few other closely-ranked teams, like Washington and Cal (despite the head-to-head result).

We can ignore the numerical values earned by these teams and simply look at which team was 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. This was used to create the rankings up above. I graphed that data over time, as well.

Pac-12 rankings: Week 12a

With Oregon State falling to 12th, this is now the fourth team to earn sole possession of this dubious honor. The Beavers were previously tied for 11th in Week 10, but this week, they're at the bottom and all alone.

Stanfurd is not only ranked above Cal, but two whole spots; this will probably enrage a lot of you, so have a good punching bag ready!

Here, we see six teams that treadmilled since last week. Is this a function of three teams having byes (two of them did indeed treadmill)?

So... last week I forgot to update the Madness numbers and NONE OF YOU NOTICED. I might as well just throw around random numbers here and no one would know!

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 -4 1 23
ASU -1 2 -2 -1 -4 5 -1 3 -1 2 0 22
Cal 5 1 -2 -2 3 5 -8 1 1 -1 0 29
Colorado -1 1 -1 0 0 0 0 0 2 -1 0 6
Oregon 0 0 0 0 0 -3 3 0 0 0 0 6
OSU -1 1 0 2 -4 2 0 -1 -1 1 -2 15
Stanfurd 1 -2 2 -1 -1 -3 5 -5 2 -2 0 24
UCLA -2 -2 3 -1 2 -4 -2 2 0 3 0 21
USC 2 1 -8 2 5 -5 4 2 -5 2 1 37
Utah 3 2 1 2 -6 5 0 -1 1 -1 -2 24
Washington -2 -1 4 -3 0 -1 3 -1 -1 2 -1 19
WSU -5 0 0 0 5 -5 0 0 0 -1 2 18
Total madness 25 15 24 16 30 42 30 17 16 20 9

The greatest movement was merely 2 spots; coupled with the aforementioned six teams that treadmilled, we get the least-mad week of the year and by a pretty healthy margin! It's 40% less mad than the next mad week (Week 3).