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CGB's Pac-12 Power Rankings: Week 14

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Heading into the final week of the regular season, three classes of teams begin to emerge.

Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

Here's CGB's super official Pac-12 Power Rankings for the week! As per usual, the number of first-place votes is listed parenthetically. (That has becoming incredibly uninteresting with Oregon a full head and shoulders above the rest of the conference.) Tied teams are listed parenthetically.

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

Pac-12 logos- Oregon

Last week: 1

Berkelium97: Nothing unexpected.

boomtho: 33-point favorites and covered! The death star rolls on.

Leland Wong: Business as usual for the Ducks. Nearly 600 yards of offense (well-distributed through the air and on the ground) and kept a decent Buffaloes offense in check (~35% of their typical passing yardage and both QBs could only complete 50% of their passes). After seeing the Oregon offense fall flat with the injury to OL Jake Fisher earlier in the year, the team has to feel good that they could still move the ball without C Hroniss Grasu and TE Pharaoh Brown, even if it was just Colorado.

atomsareenough: Treated Colorado like an FCS game.

Sam Fielder: Avoided any semblance of a stumble here. Just the Civil War remains before the Pac-12 Championship game.

Nick Kranz: I think this new and improved version of UCLA could challenge the Ducks, particularly since we really don't know how a good team might push them with their recent injury woes. For the first time ever the Pac-12 Championship might not be a snoozer.

2. UCLA Arrow_neutral__9-8-14_medium

Pac-12 logos- UCLA

Last week: 2

Berkelium97: A decisive win over a rival. I've almost forgotten what that feels like.

boomtho: Very impressive victory over USC. Offense looks really explosive again.

Leland Wong: QB Brett Hundley rebounded well after throwing an early pick-six to have a solid game; getting a win over a rival helps them get the edge over Arizona.

atomsareenough: Humiliated the Trojans, still in the driver's seat in the Pac-12 South, Hundley played well, defense looked good. All systems go in Bruin-land.

Sam Fielder: Huge win over a decent but inconsistent rival showcased what we've all thought all season long, namely that this team is good. They just have struggled putting it all together.

Nick Kranz: Went from afterthought to favorites very, very quickly. Lots of credit all around for figuring things out and fixing problems, because they look great right now.

3. Arizona Arrow_up__9-8-14_medium

Pac-12 SBN logos- Arizona

Last week: 5

Berkelium97: After several weeks of Mr. Hyde, the Dr. Jekyl version of Arizona finally made an appearance. This ranking won't last long if Solomon's injury is serious, however.

boomtho: Blew through a very impressive Utah defense, though losing Solomon is definitely a concern.

Leland Wong: A dominant win over a very good Utes team. The offense started to slow in the third quarter after an injury to QB Anu Solomon, but RB Nick Wilson was able to compensate for the big win.

It was a good win for the team, but that injury to Solomon (the extent of which is currently unknown) is the extra little ding that drops them below UCLA.

atomsareenough: They won big against a ranked Utes team, but losing Anu Solomon is a potentially big blow.

Sam Fielder: Absolutely obliterated a Utah team with a solid defense. And that was despite losing their starting QB.

Nick Kranz: The final margin was a little fluky, but you get all kinds of credit for beating that Utah team by such a wide margin.

4. Arizona State Arrow_up__9-8-14_medium

Pac-12 logos- ASU

Last week: 6T

Berkelium97: Bad ASU showed up again in the first half but good ASU took over in the second half.

boomtho: Got a good game from Kelly and forced Falk into 4 INTs.

Leland Wong: On paper, this should have been a cakewalk for the Sun Devils and the final score shows that. However, this was a close one--ASU only had a four-point lead entering the fourth quarter. QB Taylor Kelly answered critics with four TDs and 0 INTs.

atomsareenough: Taylor Kelly overcame a bad start and the offense and defense both came alive in the second half against Wazzu. Still alive for the Pac-12 South.

Sam Fielder: Bounced back against Washington State but needed some late TD's to finally put them away.

Nick Kranz: If UCLA loses to Stanford, this has to be the single most important Territorial Cup ever by a pretty wide margin, right? 'Momentum' is a dangerous force to believe in, but it sure feels like Arizona should be the favorite considering recent results and home field advantage.

5. Utah Arrow_down__9-8-14_medium

Pac-12 logos- Utah

Last week: 4

Berkelium97: I was surprised how poorly the defense played, especially when Arizona stopped passing after Solomon's injury.

boomtho: Really struggled against USC, but hurt by all the turnovers.

Leland Wong: Imagine how hard it would be to win a game when giving the ball away four times. Now imagine if two of those turnovers were returned all the way for touchdowns for the other team. The strength of this team is their pass defense, but that didn't help them against Arizona's elite run offense.

atomsareenough: That clunker against the Wildcats was rather unexpected. What happened to the defense?!

Sam Fielder: Tough couple of weeks for them as they got hammered.

Nick Kranz: If they played in the North, Utah would probably be 9-3 right now. Alas, the Utes are the big loser in the Pac-12 South round-robin meat grinder.

6. USC Arrow_down__9-8-14_medium

Pac-12 logos- USC

Last week: 3

Berkelium97: Wilcox's defense looked lost out there. They missed tackles, took poor angles, blew coverage, and lost containment all game.

boomtho: Sark gonna Sark.

Leland Wong: The offense struggled here, most notably the run game against a middle-of-the-conference Bruins run defense. Buck Allen scored a late touchdown to make the score a little more pretty, but this was a bad week for the Trojans.

atomsareenough: The Football Monopoly in Los Angeles is Officially OverTM. I must say, Trojan fans seem pretty disgruntled with Sark & Co., already. A real shame, that.

Sam Fielder: Seven win Sark strikes again.

Nick Kranz: UCLA is the first team to really comprehensively beat USC on both sides of the ball. I don't know what happened to USC except to note that they usually have a game like that once or twice a year. Never against Cal, mind you.

7. Stanfurd Arrow_up__9-8-14_medium
Pac-12 logos- Stanfurd

Last week: 10

Berkelium97: Once again the offense played an excellent game against a basement-tier Pac-12 defense.

boomtho: Sigh.

Leland Wong: Their non-existent offense took advantage of a porous Cal defense to show sudden signs of life. QB Kevin Hogan actually looked adequate (most of the time) and they nearly got their first 100-yard rusher of the year. The Cardinal defense did a good job of neutralizing Jared Goff, living up to their tough billing.

atomsareenough: I'm sure the Cardinal are not going to look a gift Axe in the mouth. They may not have many of their own supporters, but they played well in front of tens of thousands of Cal faithful in the Big Game. They got to spend a Saturday in Memorial Stadium. Not a bad afternoon for them, I'm sure.

Sam Fielder: Absolutely embarrassed us on our home turf.

Nick Kranz: Dreams of potential defensive attrition will dance through my slumbering head all winter.

8. Washington Arrow_up__9-8-14_medium
Pac-12 logos- Washington

Last week: 9

Berkelium97: Easy win against an overmatched OSU team.

boomtho: A week after OSU was a world beater, they fell meekly to UW. Getting Shaq back on defense seems to have really helped

Leland Wong: The Beavers are one of the conference's better defenses in terms of yardage (both overall and against the pass), so how the heck did QB Cyler Miles's first good performance come against them? Couple that play with a great Husky defense facing a one-dimensional attack and it was an easy victory in the worst state in the nation.

atomsareenough: Are the Huskies rounding into form, or is Oregon State just that bad? Washington is finally bowl eligible, and they've already hit the 7-win (Sark) plateau with a game to go.

Sam Fielder: Avoided the OSU upset bug and got a decisive victory.

Nick Kranz: The biggest regret of Cal's season should perhaps be a failure to at least give Washington a tough game.

9. California Arrow_down__9-8-14_medium

Pac-12 logos- Cal

Last week: 6T

Berkelium97: The Bears end the Pac-12 slate having demonstrated that they are no longer a basement team but not quite a middle-tier team.

boomtho: Best of the bottom tier of the Pac-12.

Leland Wong: A crushing loss in a rivalry game is gonna hurt extra hard in these Power Rankings. It looked as if Cal couldn't win a single match-up in the trenches and that's how this game was lost. Turnovers (which were partially attributed to our good ole friend pass protection) killed the Golden Bears.

atomsareenough: Outplayed by Stanford, screwed by the refs, victim of multiple self-inflicted gunshot wounds to the feet. Ugh. At least bowl eligibility is still possible? Maybe?

Sam Fielder: Just a horrific loss on all fronts. I think this is the worst loss of the Dykes era because this was such a winable game and we completely blew it.

Nick Kranz: I don't know how to reconcile the obvious improvement from this team with the pain of losing to UCLA, USC and Stanford again.

10T. Oregon State Arrow_down__9-8-14_medium

Pac-12 logos- OSU

Last week: 8

Berkelium97: The Beavs looked woefully uncompetitive against UW.

boomtho: Disappointing performance after beating ASU last week.

Leland Wong: Poor Sean Mannion. The complete lack of a credible run threat negates whatever great performance he can muster up with his arm. OSU is not bad defensively, so I don't know how they allowed over 8 yards per play.

atomsareenough: They'll always have last week's epic upset of Arizona State. Can't take that away from the Beavs.

Sam Fielder: Hung around just enough to make it interesting til the 4th but never were really in it.

Nick Kranz: Man, how bad are the Beavers going to be next year without Sean Mannion?

10T. Washington State Arrow_up__9-8-14_medium

Pac-12 logos- WSU

Last week: 11

Berkelium97: They looked upset-minded during the first half but could not keep up.

boomtho: Luke Falk falls back to earth.

Leland Wong: Remember what I said about Utah giving the ball away four times (for a -3 turnover margin)? The Cougs shot themselves in the foot by giving it away 5 times (with no takeaways to compensate). QB Luke Falk contributed to the mess by throwing 4 interceptions, but these experiences should accelerate his maturation. He took his lumps, but the offense wasn't completely hindered with him playing quarterback.

atomsareenough: At least the Cougs were competitive for a half. #WhatTheFalk was up with all those interceptions, though?

Sam Fielder: Had a lead at halftime and really kept it close until the end. Just don't have the talent though.

Nick Kranz: If Sonny Dykes wants to see his future if he fails to recruit enough talent on defense, all he needs to do is look North.

12. Colorado Arrow_neutral__9-8-14_medium

Pac-12 logos- Colorado

Last week: 12

Berkelium97: Has Colorado improved at all during year two of MacIntyre?

boomtho: Still in the cellar.

Leland Wong: The Oregon defense isn't as great as it once was, but it managed to make Colorado's passing offense look just silly. The Rumble in the Rockies--against a Top-25 Utah--is their last chance to pull off a Pac-12 upset this year, but that won't be an easy task.

atomsareenough: Well, that's what it looks like when a very bad team plays probably the best team in the country.

Sam Fielder: Oregon makes everyone (except AZ) look bad.

Nick Kranz: One more game until the sweet sweet mercy of basketball season fully arrives.

The data

Let's take a look at how each individual CGBer voted.

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

I average out these votes to get the finalized rankings, which were listed above. I'm also showing that data down below with error bars to show how varied our responses were. You know what they say about big error bars--they represent big standard deviations, meaning a big variety in how we voted.

Pac-12 Power Rankings- Week 14c

I've taken this precise data and graphed it over time:

Pac-12 Power Rankings- Week 14b

I think the most telling trend we can observe here is the separation into three tiers. The top of the conference features Oregon, UCLA, Arizona, and ASU; interestingly, each team seems pretty well-aligned with their respective rounded ranking. Contrast that to the next class of teams in the middle of the conference: Utah, USC, Stanfurd, and Washington. Utah is technically 5th, but their averaged ranking is actually around 6.1; the same for Washington, who is ranked 8th, but has an averaged value of about 7.0. These teams are clustered together so closely; there's less than one full point between Utah and Washington. The bottom of the conference features Cal, OSU, WSU, and Colorado, but Colorado is a clear bottom among the group and the conference.

I alluded to this a bit in the previous paragraph--so hopefully we don't have any first-time readers getting confused (or returning readers who are confused)--but the rounded rankings (i.e., rounded to 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.) are shown below over the course of the season.

Pac-12 Power Rankings- Week 14a

The last little morsel of data is the Madness--a measure of how much the teams are moving up or down during the week.

Change on week
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Team's Madness
Arizona 2 -2 1 2 0 4 -4 1 2 -4 1 0 2 25
ASU -1 2 -2 -1 -4 5 -1 3 -1 2 0 -4 2 28
Cal 5 1 -2 -2 3 5 -8 1 1 -1 0 3 -3 35
Colorado -1 1 -1 0 0 0 0 0 2 -1 0 -1 0 7
Oregon 0 0 0 0 0 -3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 6
OSU -1 1 0 2 -4 2 0 -1 -1 1 -2 4 -2 21
Stanfurd 1 -2 2 -1 -1 -3 5 -5 2 -2 0 -3 3 30
UCLA -2 -2 3 -1 2 -4 -2 2 0 3 0 1 0 22
USC 2 1 -8 2 5 -5 4 2 -5 2 1 1 -3 41
Utah 3 2 1 2 -6 5 0 -1 1 -1 -2 2 -1 27
Washington -2 -1 4 -3 0 -1 3 -1 -1 2 -1 -1 1 21
WSU -5 0 0 0 5 -5 0 0 0 -1 2 -1 1 20
Total Madness 25 15 24 16 30 42 30 17 16 20 9 21 18

I don't think a Cal win over BYU and a USC meltdown against Notre Dame would be enough to make up the 6 Madness points that separate these two teams, so USC will likely end the regular season as the Maddest team. Oregon has basically had a stranglehold on 1st in these Power Rankings, so the only thing that might be in jeopardy for them would be losing the title of Least Mad team. A poor showing against OSU coupled with a very likely loss by Colorado could very well result in Oregon being just a hair Madder than Colorado.