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CGB's Pac-12 Power Rankings: Week 11

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Oregon cements itself as the dominant force in the conference and we give Coach Leach one more reason to be sad.

William Mancebo

Your favorite CGB writer and five of his underlings decided to powerly rank the 12 teams of the Pac-12. Here's what happened in the latest week of games:

  • Utah 16, Arizona State 19
  • Arizona 7, UCLA 17
  • California 45, Oregon State 31
  • Stanfurd 16, Oregon 45
  • USC 44, Washington State 17
  • Washington 38, Colorado 23.

Our compiled rankings are shown below, along with some extra data analysis because nerd and who doesn't like math? The number of first-place votes earned by Oregon is given parenthetically and, in the event of a tie, tied teams are listed alphabetically rather than some advanced math and analyses that tease out which team is marginally more powerly ranked than the other.

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

Last week: 1

Berkelium97: Undisputed king of the conference.

boomtho: Soundly defeated Stanford and got that monkey off their back. Really looks like they have a reasonably clear shot to the P12 title game.

Nick Kranz: They should roll all the way through to the Pac-12 championship, which will likely be hosted in Eugene.

Leland Wong: The Ducks not only have the best record in the conference, but they had a great week thanks to their ability to finally defeat Stanfurd. Their offense was crisp and productive and this game was never close, thanks to their ridiculous third- and fourth-down conversion efficiencies (8/13 and 1/1, respectively). They're clearly #1 in the conference and #2 is not even close.

Sam Fielder: Absolutely rolled furd and it couldn't have been better. Clearly the class of the conference here.

atomsareenough: The King is back. Once their offensive line was repaired, the Ducks have returned to form and reclaimed their spot the top of the heap.

2. Arizona State Arrow_up__9-8-14_medium

Last week: 4

Berkelium97: If the season ended today, I would not fault anyone for voting for Graham as Pac-12 Coach of the Year over Sonny. This team's turnaround from the Colorado-UCLA games is incredible.

boomtho: Narrowly beat a really good Utah team (and needed some surprisingly poor Andy Phillips kicking to do so)

Nick Kranz: Their schedule is also pretty light the rest of the wayonly the Territorial Cup seems like a potential loss.

Leland Wong: A gutsy win over an underrated Utes squad. They had a bit of luck on their side as QB Taylor Kelly continues to work towards getting back into the groove of things, but lucky for him, there's still an excess of weapons on the offense.

Sam Fielder: Looks like they're on a collision course with Oregon for the P12 title game. Which of course means it won't happen but even though it took OT to beat Utah, I still think they're firmly #2.

atomsareenough: The weird, crazy blowout loss to UCLA is looking more and more anomalous. It's really the only blemish on their resume. With the Territorial Cup being the only tough conference game remaining on their schedule and with a tiebreaker over USC in their pocket, the Sun Devils are really in the driver's seat in the Pac-12 South. UCLA and Arizona are both in the hunt with only 2 conference losses, but the Sun Devils will have to lose a game for that to matter.

3. UCLA Arrow_up__9-8-14_medium

Last week: 6

Berkelium97: Now that we're in November, UCLA finally turns in a performance we expected from them all year.

boomtho: Just the impressive win they needed, their defense looked awfully impressive

Nick Kranz: Honestly, choosing between the four best teams in the South is impossible, so you just end up picking the team that's luckiest.

Leland Wong: Despite beating a Arizona, I'm still not terribly impressed by this team. However, QB Brett Hundley was a one-man weapon with 320 yards passing and rushing combined.

Sam Fielder: Are they finally rounding into form as the team we thought they'd be all year? Sure made Arizona look pedestrian this week.

atomsareenough: Sam says USC is up and down, but I think it's UCLA that you really don't know what to expect from on any given week. I was fully expecting Arizona to steamroll UCLA, but the Bruins are talented, and they seem to be able to play just well enough to win. Playing up/down to their opposition is a terrible habit, but so far they keep managing to make it work. I was very surprised that they were able to bottle up the potent Wildcat offense as thoroughly as they did. Not having been able to watch the game, I'm not sure to what extent it was the UCLA defense or Arizona having an off game, though. If it was the latter, that's about the worst timing they could have had for a letdown.

4. Utah Arrow_down__9-8-14_medium

Last week: 3

Berkelium97: If this team had a decent QB, it could pose a serious challenge to Oregon.

boomtho: Their two losses are by such narrow margins

Nick Kranz: I'm not going to crush Utah for losing in overtime at ASU, but it's also true that the Utes just aren't good enough to avoid playing close games. With an offense that is just completely incapable of throwing downfield, I suspect they will be plunging in my rankings soon.

Leland Wong: The Utes don't deserve to fall too far for losing to one of the top South teams. QB Travis Wilson passed for a whopping 57 yards on 12 completed passes (out of 22 attempts). Can you imagine how deadly this team would be if you combined their defense and workhorse running back Devontae Booker with a genuine passing threat?

Sam Fielder: Tough loss to ASU but when you only have 57 yards passing, you're lucky you even took the game to OT.

atomsareenough: It's easy to overlook the Utes. They had a tough loss in OT against ASU this week (poor Andy Phillips), but let's not forget that the Utes own potential tiebreaker wins against both USC and UCLA. On the other hand, they have a really tough stretch ahead of them still, with Oregon, Stanford, and Arizona ahead on the schedule. Utah could easily lose 23 of those games.

5. USC Arrow_up__9-8-14_medium

Last week: 7

boomtho: USC is obviously better than Wazzu, but they still looked pretty dominant.

Nick Kranz: USC is now the owner of three conference blowout wins, something that only Oregon can boast about. Unfortunately, that doesn't erase two losses.

Leland Wong: Kudos to the Trojans for rising above Sark's mediocrity to beat the Cougars. Still, I try not to read too heavily into wins when the opposing quarterback suffers a game-ending (or worse) injury, especially when it happens so early in the game. But, if you insist on knowing how the Trojans did, then they gained more than 8 yards per play, QB Cody Kessler threw for insane yardage and TDs with no interceptions, and Buck Allen had a solid day on the ground. Let's hope that Sark does Sark things by following up this great stat line with his infamous facepalms.

Sam Fielder: Up and down all season long. They hammered a one-dimensional WSU team that lost its one dimension with Halliday's injury. Not much to learn there.

atomsareenough: Blowout win on the road against a reeling Washington State team. They're 5-2 in conference, but their loss to Arizona State means they are no longer in control of their destiny. I'm pretty curious to see how the Trojans finish out their season. Will they ruin UCLA's season? Might they overlook Cal? Will Sark eclipse 7-8 wins? Stay tuned.

6. Arizona Arrow_down__9-8-14_medium

Last week: 2

Berkelium97: This reminded me of the Cal-UW game: an uncharacteristically, inexplicably bad performance by the offense. A visit from Colorado this week should cure what ails them.

boomtho: Anu Solomon finally showed his relative lack of inexperience and didn't look great. Still firmly above (in my mind) everyone below them

Nick Kranz: I put Arizona 6th, which seems unfairly low. But Arizona is now 0-2 against South contenders and that acts as a convenient tie-breaker in these power rankings for me.

Leland Wong: After weeks of being touted as a clutch player/Saiyan who plays better late in the game, QB Anu Solomon did the exact opposite, scoring a touchdown on the opening drive of the game, then failing to score for the rest of the game. The offense limped its way to a meager 3.2 yards/play.

Sam Fielder: Brutal loss for them. Scored 3 mins into the game and then promptly went to sleep for the next 57 mins. UGLY.

atomsareenough: That loss to UCLA really stings. A lot. I'd have dropped them lower, but the fact of the matter remains that they still have a pretty good chance at the Pac-12 South title. UCLA has 2 tough games ahead against USC and Stanford, and Washington won't be a walk in the park for the Bruins either. So, if the Wildcats can win out and UCLA drops a game, both of which are quite plausible, then Arizona can still win the division. I'm expecting the Territorial Cup to be the division championship game.

7T. Stanfurd Arrow_down__9-8-14_medium

Last week: 5

Berkelium97: Firmly a middle-of-the-Pac team.

boomtho: Good enough to beat bad teams, but not really good enough to threaten the conference's elite.

Nick Kranz: The rest of Stanford's season hinges on the arm of Kevin Hogan, who has actually been pretty productive when he's not throwing interceptions. Still better than three runs and a punt.

Leland Wong: According to Yahoo's game recap, Stanfurd's game leader was FB Patrick Skov with 2 rushes for 2 yards and 1 touchdown. Let that sink in to fully understand just how good dat Stanfurd offense is. We've known all season that their offense has trouble scoring touchdowns, but usually their defense keeps them in games. Against prolific attacks like the Ducks, that's just not possible.

Sam Fielder: Just when I think that offense couldn't get any worse...it goes and does this. AND TOTALLY MAKES ME HAPPY!

atomsareenough: Any lingering delusions of grandeur that the Stanford fan may have had were completely demolished by Oregon's dominant victory. The offense is still hot garbage, and if the opposing team has a lead late, the Cardinal won't be able to come back. Stanford has the same overall record as Cal right now.

7T. Washington Arrow_up__9-8-14_medium

Last week: 9

Berkelium97: UW seems content to use a strong defense to linger around until the other team throws up all over itself. The strategy doesn't always work, but it works well enough to keep UW out of the Pac-12 basement.

boomtho: Colorado is pesky, so a 15-point win is nothing to scoff at. Shaq Thompson's talent is otherworldly, man.

Nick Kranz: When you have two of the best pass rushers in the country you can afford to let your all-American linebacker switch to running back to save your offense. Will that be enough against better defenses than Colorado's?

Leland Wong: It looks like moving Shaq Thompson to the offensive side of the ball really is key for the Husky offense. Not only did he have a big game, but it may have helped QB Cyler Miles turn in one of his best performances this year.

Sam Fielder: May have finally found their offensive solution with Thompson running the ball. It'll be interesting to see how they play out the rest of the season.

atomsareenough: Not sure what to make of the Huskies still. They had a decent win against Colorado on the road, but the Buffs were leading at the half, and it took a late pick-6 and an 87-yard punt return TD for Washington to put the game away. Cyler Miles appears to be the starting QB again. I guess that's good for them? It's kind of startling how quickly their offense has become dependent on Shaq Thompson playing RB in order to be functional.

9. California Arrow_down__9-8-14_medium

Last week: 8

Berkelium97: Jared Goff has one of the worst days of his career and Cal still scores 45 points. At least the defense finally held someone under 5 TDs.

boomtho: WOO TOP 9!

Nick Kranz: The Bears have now beaten the three worst teams in the conference. Can they beat a top-half team? If they do, we'll be wobbling in our shoes with joy.

Leland Wong: The Bears must be flying high after getting a key fifth win to get closer to bowl eligibility. Kudos to Cal for putting up nearly 550 yards, showing offensive depth through a running game, and taking care of the football by not turning it over. The defense also showed some life with some big plays.

Sam Fielder: Played a complete game where both sides of the ball hung tough and ground out an excellent road win.

atomsareenough: The Bears didn't play especially well, but Cal fans will take a win in Corvallis no matter how ugly it was. With Goff having a subpar game by his standards, the rushing attack took over and allowed the Bears to get a decent win. California is on the cusp of bowl eligibility with 3 games remaining. What a turnaround.

10. Oregon State Arrow_up__9-8-14_medium

Last week: 11T

Berkelium97: With OSU poised to miss a bowl game (and possibly not win again this year), Mike Riley is going to have a tough offseason.

boomtho: I feel really bad for Sean Mannion given the problems on the OL and at the skill positions. Can't be what he expected when he came back.

Nick Kranz: Collectively, OSU has the worst line play in the conference. I actually think the rest of the team is OK, but it doesn't matter when you get beat at the point of attack on the majority of plays.

Leland Wong: Yay Sean Mannion set a new Pac-12 record! Buuut, they lost the game and may have just let bowl eligibility slip through their fingers. It took some time for their struggling offense to get going, but it wasn't enough to compensate for the slow start.

Sam Fielder: This team is tough, but just overmatched.

atomsareenough: The Beavers are a bad team. They aren't hopeless or incompetent, they just don't have the horses to compete in a loaded Pac-12 this year. Much like Colorado, they are well coached and capable of beating a better team, but they're not good enough to contend.

11. Colorado Arrow_down__9-8-14_medium

Last week: 10

Berkelium97: They're competitive each week, but they just can't get the job done.

boomtho: Don't really have a reason to rank them above OSU, but I think they've been relatively more competitive throughout the year.

Nick Kranz: Hosting UW was Colorado's best chance to get a conference win. Now, a home date against Utah in their season finale is their best hope. I'm not optimistic.

Leland Wong: They nearly pulled off the upset we've all been waiting for, until a pick-six and a fourth-quarter punt-return touchdown by the Huskies helped them escape with the win. That gives them the edge over the other bottom teams in my book.

Sam Fielder: Scored some points on a tough UDub defense, but still a ways to go before they're good.

atomsareenough: Another strong effort in a loss. Moral victories abound for the Buffs, actual victories few and far between.

12. Washington State Arrow_down__9-8-14_medium

Last week: 11T

Berkelium97: Connor Halliday's injury caps a tremendously disappointing season. The Cougs have been blown out in every game since the Cal game.

boomtho: I also feel really awful for Halliday. He's had a really nice Pac12 career despite playing on some awful teams and he deserved a better sendoff. As for the rest of the team, their feistiness seems to have disappeared as the losses pile up.

Nick Kranz: Sometimes, football sucks. I hope Halliday gets a shot in the league.

Leland Wong: Not only did they lose big, but their star quarterback is lost for the season, which is the kind of gut punch that'll bring you extra pain and make you fall lower in the Power Rankings. One of the flaws of a one-dimensional offense like the Air Raid is the catastrophe that ensues following an injury to the quarterback. With Connor Halliday, I think the Cougars had it in them to pull off an upset against someone in conference play, but can they still do that with Luke Falk?

Sam Fielder: They just can't seem to turn the corner and every time they get close, they Coug it.

atomsareenough: Losing Connor Halliday is a deathblow. I guess the silver lining is that this might help the Cougs prepare a new QB for next season. This is a wasted year in Pullman, though.

The data

Ah yes, the extra-credit section. Let's dive deeper into the data.

Up first, I have the individual ballots. Look at how perfectly I voted and look at how everyone else is a big ole dummy compared to me!

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

We've had two unanimous teams before, but I believe that was always the #1 and #12 teams. This week, we all agree that Oregon is the bride and ASU is the maid of honor.

I take the votes and MATLAB it up to computate what the precise averaged scores for each teams are. You can also see how varied the votes for each team were based on those vertical error bars.

Pac-12 rankings- Week 11c

I've taken this data and graphed it over time so we can look at the trends of how each team has performed.

Pac-12 rankings- Week 11b

We see that Corvallis is topsy-turvy land. Cal won, but falls in the Power Rankings; OSU lost, but rises in the Power Rankings. This must be where they assume a standard acceleration due to gravity on Earth of 9.6 (m/s)/s and true love actually exists. So wacky!

This graph is cool and all, but you never see statements like "Cal is the 8.167th team in the conference." Teams are always rounded to 1st, 2nd, ..., 11th, 12th, so I did the same:

Pac-12 rankings- Week 11a

Last, I have a little CGB invention called Madness, which is an attempt to quantify how much teams are moving up and down each week. Within the body of the table, I've included positive or negative to show if a team moves up the rankings (positive!) or down (negative!). I'm also summing the total Madness (independent of movement up or down) for the week (at the bottom of the table) and for a team's total lifetime this season (at the far right of the table).

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 22
ASU -1 2 -2 -1 -4 5 -1 3 -1 2 22
Cal 5 1 -2 -2 3 5 -8 1 1 -1 29
Colorado -1 1 -1 0 0 0 0 0 2 -1 6
Oregon 0 0 0 0 0 -3 3 0 0 0 6
OSU -1 1 0 2 -4 2 0 -1 -1 1 13
Stanfurd 1 -2 2 -1 -1 -3 5 -5 2 -2 24
UCLA -2 -2 3 -1 2 -4 -2 2 0 3 21
USC 2 1 -8 2 5 -5 4 2 -5 2 36
Utah 3 2 1 2 -6 5 0 -1 1 -1 22
Washington -2 -1 4 -3 0 -1 3 -1 -1 2 18
WSU -5 0 0 0 5 -5 0 0 0 -1 16
Total madness 25 15 24 16 30 42 30 17 16 20