College football is crazy. Four teams were on a bye and the other eight teams played in four conference games that were won/lost by one score, including some crazy Pac-12 After Dark action.
- California 30, USC 38
- Arizona State 27, Oregon State 35
- Utah 20, Stanfurd 17
- Washington 26, Arizona 27
Here are CGB's Power Rankings for the week. The number of first-place votes is shown parenthetically and tied teams are listed parenthetically.
Last week: 1
Nick Kranz: Went from first place to REALLY in first place. FOR EMPHASIS.
atomsareenough: The Ducks are banged up, so perhaps the bye week and Colorado are coming at a good time for them. They must be a little disappointed that the Pac-12 Championship Game won't be against a 1-loss opponent, but as long as they win out, they'll be in the playoff.
Sam Fielder: Not much to say that hasn't already been said. Win out and they're in the playoff.
boomtho: Won the day... er, the bye.
Leland Wong: The Ducks are sooo lucky to have had an extra week to prepare for the Buffaloes!
... You know what? They actually might need it because the Pac-12 doesn't make sense.
Last week: 3
Berkelium97: I feel strange bumping them to 2nd on a bye week, but they've looked pretty good in their past two games.
Nick Kranz: By default really. I will say that if UCLA can win out, they would deserve the South title, and I'd be interested to see how much better they have gotten since losing at home to Oregon early in the conference season.
atomsareenough: All of a sudden, the Bruins are back in the driver's seat for the Pac-12 South, and if they beat Oregon, who knows, maybe a playoff berth? They have to beat USC first though, and that's far from certain. If the Bruins keep playing like they have the past few games though, they should be able to pull away in the second half.
Sam Fielder: Putting them at 2 over USC mostly because I think that Mora is a better coach than Sark so that gives them the edge.
boomtho: Nice to have a bye while one of your biggest South competitors (ASU) loses while another (USC) struggled to put away Cal.
Leland Wong: The bye week was kind to the Bruins. They can prove they deserve this spot by beating USC this weekend.
Last week: 4
Berkelium97: Excellent 1st-half performance before Sark did his best to give the game away.
Nick Kranz: I've said it in this spot all season long: they are the best team in the South, and they will kick themselves all off-season long for allowing the ASU hail mary and blowing the Utah game . . . unless they beat UCLA and Arizona wins the Territorial Cup.
atomsareenough: A Thursday night game with Cal this week gives a short-handed team a couple extra days to prepare for their big rivalry matchup with the Bruins, but the Bruins got an entire bye week to prep. At 6-2, USC still has a good chance to play for the conference championship if they beat the Bruins, but they will need another loss by Arizona State, as the Devils own the tiebreaker thanks to the Jael Mary play.
Sam Fielder: They tried their best to blow that game after opening it up in the first half. Too inconsistent, but still supremely talented.
boomtho: Dominated the first half against Cal before Sark inexplicably went run heavy. This team could make some serious noise in the South, if Sark and co. get everything lined up right and stay out of the way.
Leland Wong: Hard to judge the Trojans, who started out so strong, but struggled to close and almost gave the game away. Whether this is due to poor game management (lol Sark) or sanction-caused lack of depth, the elite talent of their starters certainly helps to make up for it.
Last week: 6
Berkelium97: Who would have guessed Utah would win the game with its passing offense?
Nick Kranz: FIVE-WAY TIE! FIVE-WAY TIE! Utah is quickly become my favorite non-Cal Pac-12 team because of their absurd ability to always play close games, and because they torture Stanford.
atomsareenough: Theoretically, the Utes could also end up winning the conference championship, but that involves Utah defeating Arizona, and then Arizona defeating ASU, while UCLA beats USC and then loses to Stanford. Nice win against the Cardinal in double overtime this week, though! Utah is ranked and deservedly so. Wittingham is doing a great job.
Sam Fielder: A good win for them as they took out furd in OT. And we all rejoiced.
boomtho: Never understood why they were 7 (!!) point dogs at Furd, but a nice quality win on the road vaults them to #4.
Leland Wong: QB Travis Wilson answered back in his first full game after an injury to competing QB Kendal Thompson with a solid—but unspectacular—day. He competed a lot of his passes for a short number of yards, but didn't turn it over and threw the game-winning touchdown. But I guess unspectacular yet reliable is all you need with a defense like theirs.
Last week: 5
Berkelium97: Aside from the end of the 2nd quarter when they scored a TD off a fake field goal and immediately followed it up with another off a Washington turnover, this was a thoroughly mediocre performance by Arizona.
Nick Kranz: They haven't come anywhere near the level of play they showed in Eugene, and that's disappointing, but they have managed to win the games they should win. Still, two straight wins to finish at a relatively disappointing 8-4 wouldn't surprise.
atomsareenough: The Wildcats won another absolutely wacky thriller in the desert, this time against Washington. I'll give it to Arizona and RichRod, they're about as exciting to watch as Cal this year. If they manage to win out (a tall order against Utah and ASU), and if UCLA beats USC and loses to Stanford, the Wildcats could also end up in the conference championship game, still. That's a lot of dependent variables though.
Sam Fielder: They have the luck of Auburn this year.
boomtho: Bumping them down a little bit because they needed a last-second FG to beat a mid-tier team at home.
Leland Wong: The winners of the game no one wanted to win, relying on a last-second field goal to win. This was quite possibly QB Anu Solomon's worst game: sub-50% passing, 0 TDs, and 2 INTs.
Last week: 2
Berkelium97: When you lose to the basement, you go into the basement. (Warning, rant incoming) This was an utterly pathetic performance by the Sun Devils. The team was lifeless and Todd Graham looked like the only one who cared about this game. The gameplan on defense reminded me of one of Clancy Pendergast's old faceplant games. The Devils kept blitzing and blitzing and blitzing and blitzing. Sure, it worked in the first half as Mannion threw for about 50 yards and an interception. OSU adjusted in the second half and torched the ASU defense for 200 passing yards and 2 TDs. What did ASU do? Kept throwing blitz after blitz after blitz at the Beavers. The run defense was even more bizarre. ASU would typically line up its usual 3-4 players across from the OSU O-line at the line of scrimmage. For unknown reasons they would add two more defenders on either side to threaten run blitz from the edge. So when the Beaver RB broke through the line (and he usually did because OSU rarely runs outside and the blitz would never get there in time), he had plenty of open space to run. See: two 60+ yard runs in which the RB was untouched. Why ASU kept attacking the OSU run like this was a complete mystery. If you're going to stack the box against OSU, why not stack it with 4 players behind the D-line? OSU loves inside running inside, so why not stack bodies inside and force them to go outside? The OSU running game had its most productive game in years and ASU had no answer whatsoever.
Even as a neutral party I was incredibly frustrated with that game. I can't imagine how ASU fans felt.
Nick Kranz: The real crime was averaging 3.3 yards/carry against OSU's run defense. Also: Losing the game.
atomsareenough: Ouch. One day you're dreaming up national playoff scenarios, and the next you're relying on UCLA to lose a game just to win the division. That loss really hurt. I'd have dropped the Devils further, but if they win out, they've still got a good shot at the conference championship game at least, and at the end of the day, Sun Devils fans would have to be pleased about that possibility. They didn't enter the season with the same expectations that say, Oregon did.
Sam Fielder: Brutal loss for them after their huge win last week.
boomtho: Tough loss to OSU on the road makes their CFP dreams all but dead.
Leland Wong: QB Taylor Kelly may have been cleared medically, but maybe he's still not 100% back to speed and it's time to get Mike Bercovici back as the starter. The offense couldn't get anything going as even the run game struggled to gain yards.
Last week: 9
Berkelium97: Great defense against a formidable USC run game.
Nick Kranz: I still haven't really decided how I feel about the USC performance.
atomsareenough: The Bears didn't get their long-awaited, much-desired victory against USC, instead losing their 11th in a row to the Trojans. However, the game was still probably the best showing against they have had against USC in several years. Once again, the Trojans seemed to be in the Bears' heads, and a cavalcade of mistakes created a huge 31–2 hole that the Bears could never fully dig their way out of. Cal never quit though, and brought the deficit down to a 1-score game, but they didn't have enough breaks or time left to complete the comeback. Cal still has 2 more cracks at bowl eligibility, with Stanford and BYU coming to Berkeley the next two weeks. We got this.
Sam Fielder: Maddeningly inconsistent within games. Hopefully everyone is learning and growing from this.
boomtho: Fought hard, but ultimately fell a little short against a top-tier team from the South. (Note: This could totally have been recycle from the Arizona and UCLA game recaps, too.)
Leland Wong: Kudos for some effective mid-game adjustments, but WTF happened here? Like Bk97 said, one bright spot was answering the question if opposing offenses struggle to run against the Bears because they elect to pass or if the Bears just shut down the run. The Cal run defense performed beautifully against a formidable Buck Allen.
Last week: 12
Berkelium97: Clearly they were motivated by their drop into the basement in our last poll.
Nick Kranz: Nice win, but by itself it doesn't change the general trajectory or achievement so far this season by the Beavers.
atomsareenough: Oregon State brings this week's dose of #Pac12AfterDark chaos, defeating a top-10 team in Arizona State. The Sun Devils were coming off a huge win against Notre Dame, and seem to have spent the week reading their own press clippings rather than prepping for the Beavers. A trip to Corvallis always holds the potential to serve as a reality check to a high-flying team, and that's what happened here. Very nice win for the Beavers in the midst of a disappointing season. Still, a win against Washington could make them bowl-eligible, and that seems way more conceivable this week than it did last week.
Sam Fielder: What a difference a week makes. Riley pulls another signature upset and turns down the heat for one week at least.
boomtho: Very impressive win against a good ASU team.
Leland Wong: We knew that ASU's defense was struggling, but I'll still give kudos to OSU's offense for putting up nearly 500 yards with a varied air/ground attack.
Last week: 8
Berkelium97: Outgained Arizona 504–375, converted 13/22 third downs compared to Arizona's 3/15, dominated the time-of-possession, and still lost.
Nick Kranz: There's such a big gap between 6th and 7th, because none of the 2nd place North contenders have been able to handle a South team. Washington gets the nod this week for playing Arizona tough on the road. If Sonny had lost a game on a fumble when all he needed to do was kneel . . . I don't know how I'd react.
atomsareenough: The perils of the ice-the-kicker strategy. Sometimes it works, sometimes it just gives the guy a free practice kick. Washington is still not bowl-eligible. Looks like the Huskies Coug'd it this week :)
Sam Fielder: Sometimes you ice the kicker, sometimes the kicker ices you.
boomtho: Lost on a last-second field goal, but the competitiveness and offensive balance (259 yards passing, 245 rushing) are what you would have expected much earlier from a Chris Petersen–coached team.
Leland Wong: The losers of the game no one wanted to win. They were certainly playing some ugly football, literally giving the ball away to the Wildcats in some twisted attempt to let them score and win. At least they found a run threat (allowing LB Shaq Thompson to return to the defense) in Dwayne "I have a terrible last name, so I decided to go to a school with an equally-terrible name" Washington.
Last week: 7
Berkelium97: 3.7 yards per passing attempt.
Nick Kranz: Could you imagine the shame we would feel if we honored a senior class with two conference championships with a crowd that small?
atomsareenough: The perils of having no offense. What's going to happen in the Big Game, I wonder? It's strength on strength vs. weakness on weakness. Should be fascinating. Oh yeah and the Cardinal have the same record as Cal, 5-5, and are fighting for bowl eligibility. Muahahahah.
Sam Fielder: I guess when you have no offense you can just wait to go to OT and then pad the score so it looks repectable.
boomtho: Lost season for the Furd... woohoo!
Leland Wong: Another case of a great defense bailing out a mediocre quarterback, except this defense is even better and this signal-caller is somehow even less impressive. Look out for that 3.9 yards per pass attempt! Their defense and their run game looked.
Last week: 10
Nick Kranz: Cruel to move down during a bye coming off a win . . . but that's what happens when you have 3 wins on the season.
atomsareenough: The Cougs can still play spoiler by beating ASU, but I'm quite certain that Todd Graham is going to make sure the Sun Devils don't overlook them after what happened in Corvallis. The real prize for the Cougs would be to beat the hated Huskies in Pullman to close out the season. Two more games to see what Luke Falk can do!
Sam Fielder: It'll be interesting to see how the rest of their season plays out. Rally around backup QB or pack it in?
boomtho: Bye gives Falk more time to absorb the offense as the QB1.
Leland Wong: Another week to practice and break in unexpected starting QB Luke Falk will make their offense increasingly potent as they prepare for the unenviable task of facing Arizona State.
Last week: 11
Nick Kranz: Mercy bye.
atomsareenough: Arizona, Oregon, Utah is a pretty brutal way for the Buffs to have to close out the season. I'm pretty sure they're not getting a conference win this year. Better luck next year, Buffs!
Sam Fielder: Cellar dwellers once again. For the year.
boomtho: Back to the cellar for the Buffs.
Leland Wong: The Buffaloes return to the basement by virtue of reputation, rather than their play because of their bye.
First things first, I'm the realest.
Second things second, the first step is to poll our voters after the conclusion of the games to give our individual rankings.
This information gets math'd up o give the averaged rankings. We can also take a look at how decided—or undecided—we were for each team with the standard deviation being shown as vertical error bars. For example, we had a pretty good consensus on USC—boomtho ranked them 4th, but everyone else had them 3rd; this means there was little deviation and a small error bar shown below. Oregon State, on the other hand, has a huge standard deviation as they were ranked 6th by three voters and 9th or 10th by the other three.
We can graph this kind of data over time because trends are cool. Kind of by definition. I've shown that below.
If you translate this data into rigid rankings of 1st, 2nd, etc., you get the following ranking:
The thing that jumps out at me the fastest is seeing Cal jump up three spots following the USC loss; this is an increase of less than 1.0 on the precisely-listed graph. If we look at that precise graph, we see Cal's questionable increase is a function of three factors that are unrelated to Cal's loss:
- ASU's faceplant against OSU causing them to plummet to Cal's level,
- Washington, which was oh so slightly above Cal last week, took a slight dip after their close loss, and
- Stanfurd taking a relatively big fall after a double-overtime loss to one of the top South teams.
Do you think Cal's jump can be explained logically as the coinciding of a number of events or are we just being fans? Let me know in the polls and the comments. That's a damn order.
In other news, Colorado returns to the basement during their bye thanks to OSU's big win. Can they escape the basement with a close game against Oregon or would they have to pull off their own upset?
I've also kept track of the Madness as a means to measure how much the teams move up and down. After last week was so quiet, we're back to some Pac-12 Madness. I'm sure it has nothing to do with the ASU-OSU upset.
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