Leland Wong: Welcome to ye olde Pac-12 Football Power Rankings! Here, your moderately-esteemed CGB writers are ranking the Pac-12 teams based on overall strength, with a mindful eye on recency, in particular. And we do it in a group because it's better to be together than to die alone.
Below, you'll find the averaged rankings as determined by the 14 of us. The number of first-place votes that each team received is listed parenthetically next to the team's name and our personal ranking of each team is listed next to our name.
1. Stanfurd Cardinal (14)
Last week: 1
Berkelium97: (1) Well, at least they didn't clinch the Pac-12 North...
Nick Kranz: (1) At this point we need to focus all of our positive karma on Notre Dame. For all the good that type of strategy has done us over the last few years.
atomsareenough: (1) Everything looks to becoming up Roses for the ‘furd. Even Christian McCaffrey is throwing sweet touchdown passes to wide open receivers now. I hate this. This is what it sounds like when doves cry.
Nik Jam: (1) Oregon and Cal can both beat Stanfurd, but will they? I doubt it.
boomtho: (1) Used to think it was great if David Shaw stayed forever, but now I'm hoping someone from the NFL poaches him. Such is life as a Cal fan
Ruey Yen: (1) Ugh, life is unfair.
Sam Fielder: (1) Buffalo'd Colorado as we all thought they would.
Solomon Kim: (1) As much as I hate to say it, the Furd is the best team in the conference and is proving it every week.
mpeters10: (1) Can we go back to when they were terrible at football?
ragnarok: (1): The conference's best (only?) change for a playoff entrant.
Leland Wong: (1) It's a sad world when it becomes normal to hear the Stanfurd offense gained nearly 500 yards. (They actually exceeded 500 yards when you factor in returns.) And kudos for being dicks who play Wildcat passes when up 35–10 in the fourth quarter over Colorado.
2. Utah Utes (1)
Last week: 2
Nick Kranz: (2) One home game against UCLA away from the Pac-12 title game.
atomsareenough: (2) The Utes keep somehow finding a way to win. I hope they can do that against the Cardinal in the P12 Championship game.
boomtho: (2) Hard-fought win against a really feisty UW team
Ruey Yen: (2) Didn't quite dominate UW as I had expected, but still the best bet to keep Furd from Pasadena.
Sam Fielder: (2) Pulled on their Husky jeans and beat Washington in a sloppy game.
Solomon Kim: (2) The Utes exhibited once again that they are in control of the South.
mpeters10: (2) Decent win in Seattle. I'm not holding my breath over their chances of beating Stanfurd should they meet in the championship game.
Leland Wong: (2) A solid win marked by a defensive touchdown and the offense scoring ten points in the final minutes to secure the win.
Last week: 4
Berkelium97: (4) After last week's lousy performance, the Bruins outgained Oregon State by over 400 yards and pitched a shutout.
Nick Kranz:(5) Probably the toughest closing stretch in the conference: Wazzu, Utah, USC, with two games on the road? A 2–1 finish would be solid, but wouldn't be enough to win the South either. Really regretting laying an egg to mediocre ASU.
atomsareenough: (4) Bruins get well against a terrible Oregon State team.
boomtho: (3) They still control their own destiny (I think???) and may be peaking at the right time.
Ruey Yen: (3) Also capable of stopping Furd.
Sam Fielder: (3) Unclogged the offensive dam to whip the Beavers.
Solomon Kim: (4) Wildly inconsistent, but the Bruins' potential goes through the roof.
mpeters10: (4) Needed to dominate the Beavers after last week's debacle against Colorado.
Leland Wong: (5) Beating the Beavers isn't a big deal, but shutting them out is—especially considering all of the Bruins' injuries. Plus, QB Josh Rosen led the offense to nearly 700 yards—which would have been impressive if another conference team didn't put up nearly 800 yards in conference play. (Sigh.)
Last week: 5
Berkelium97: (3) Without that loss to Portland State, they would be 7–2 and likely ranked. An 8–4 finish looks highly probable.
Nick Kranz: (4) As depressing as Cal has been, that missed field goal against Stanfurd is the single worst thing to happen in the Pac-12 this year. What's that, WSU beat ASU and I'm still taking about their previous game? It's a sickness.
atomsareenough: (3) The Cougs keep rolling with a solid 2-TD win against ASU.
Nik Jam: (5) Congrats on bowl eligibility! They're the first Pac-12 team Cal has beaten in the Sonny Dykes era that won 6+ games. They will win more.
boomtho: (5) Cougs are bowl-eligible! Congrats to Leach and the team!
Ruey Yen: (5) Our win against them looks better and better. It's sad when you have to fondly reminisce about earlier in the season.
Sam Fielder: (4) Devil'd Arizona State and is now having the season that I hoped and thought that Cal would have.
Solomon Kim: (3) Luke Falk is easily the most underrated player in the conference. Combined with that explosive front seven, the Cougs are looking scarier as the season goes on.
mpeters10: (6) Got some help from the officials against ASU.
Leland Wong: (4) A great day by Falk, who threw for three touchdowns in the fourth quarter—and Wazzu was trailing entering into the fourth quarter—and averaging nearly 10 yards per attempt. Guess it doesn't really matater if you can't even muster up 1 yard per rush when you can throw the ball this well.
5. USC Trojans
Last week: 3
Berkelium97: (6) After an impressive win over Utah, USC has been stumbling recently.
Nick Kranz: (3) Would probably be in control of their own destiny if Helton had been in charge from Day 1.
atomsareenough: (6) Trojans manage to pull away from a pesky Wildcat team that got Anu Solomon back.
boomtho: (4) Have a decent chance to end up 9–3, which would be a reasonably successful season after firing their coach.
Ruey Yen: (4) Every team that is considering firing their head coach midseason is going to use USC as a bad example.
Sam Fielder: (5) Wildcat'd their way to win over punchless Arizona.
Solomon Kim: (6) Inconsistent, but with enough talent to take the 50-50 match-ups.
mpeters10: (3) They keep squeaking by with wins.
ragnarok: (6) Still haven't lost in conference since firing Sark.
Leland Wong: (3) They're trending upwards and putting pressure on the teams above them. They didn't win big over Arizona, but this is another indication that interim head coach Clay Helton is correcting problems in the team.
6. Oregon Ducks
Last week: 7
Berkelium97: (5) The offense looked great again. Is the defense improving or is Cal really that bad?
Nick Kranz:(6) Best offense in the conference. May it be enough to beat Stanfurd
atomsareenough: (5) Ducks looked good on both sides of the ball... or is Cal that bad on both sides of the ball?
boomtho: (6) Quack, quack.
Ruey Yen: (6) They do have to break in another new QB next year; maybe that would be our chance... if Goff stays.
Sam Fielder: (6) Looked Beary Golden in their win over us.
Solomon Kim: (5) For a team whose defense is supposed to be bad, the Ducks certainly had their way with us.
mpeters10: (5) Screw the Ducks.
Leland Wong: (6) The offense moved the ball extremely well and you can't complain about the the previously maligned defense, even if the opposition wasn't the best. (Sigh.)
Last week: 6
Berkelium97: (7) I still don't understand last week's 49–3 win over Arizona.
Nick Kranz:(7) Played Utah tougher than expected, but big turnover returns killed 'em good.
atomsareenough: (7) The Huskies are improving, but next year will be the year.
Nik Jam: (7) Winner of Washington/Arizona St will go bowling and the other will not, my prediction. Yes, I said it twice.
boomtho: (9) Fought hard, but ultimately lost to a really good Utah team.
Ruey Yen: (7) Huskies get credit for playing the Utes tough.
Sam Fielder: (9) Made it a game but ended up turning it over too many times.
Solomon Kim: (7) Still the best defensive team in the Pac. Just not enough to slow down the Utes.
mpeters10: (7). At least they were competitive with Utah?
Leland Wong: (7) They lost a close one to one of the best teams in the conference and the young offense didn't look too shabby, averaging nearly 5 yards per play.
Last week: 9
Berkelium97: (8) Bowl eligibility is slipping away...
Nick Kranz:(8) Probably the blah-est team in the conference.
atomsareenough: (8) The Sun Devils are having a similar season to Cal, it feels like.
Nik Jam: (8) Winner of Washington/Arizona St will go bowling and the other will not, my prediction. Yes, I said it twice.
boomtho: (10) WSU is pretty decent, but this was a winnable game—especially given their early lead.
Ruey Yen: (8) I think they would be favored against us on the post-Thanksgiving game at Memorial.
Sam Fielder: (8) They look like world beaters one week and completely lost the next.
Solomon Kim: (8) Early in the season, I expected that the Sun Devils would be a sure win for us. Not so sure anymore.
mpeters10: (8) Meh.
Leland Wong: (9) Things just aren't clicking for the Sun Devils. When the run game finally got going, the passing was pretty ugly and the aggressive defense couldn't rattle Falk.
Last week: 8
Berkelium97: (9) Cal somehow struggles against the nation's third-worst passing defense. With only three TDs in each conference game, this offense is clearly broken.
Nick Kranz: (9) Nothing like reliving the halcyon days of 2007.
atomsareenough: (9) I don't know what terrible thing I must have done to feel so committed to punishing myself for 3–4 hours once a week. At least that's what it feels like over the last month.
Nik Jam: (9) I have no faith Cal covers against Oregon State, but no way they lose, right?
boomtho: (8) Giving up 31 unanswered points after actually taking a lead is not a recipe for success.
Ruey Yen: (9) Have the chance to stop the bleeding this weekend. No guarantee to do so.
Sam Fielder: (10) Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
Solomon Kim: (10) Why are we 10 games into the season expecting to win bowl eligibility against Oregon State?
mpeters10: (9) What the hell happened to this team?
ragnarok: (9) I don't feel at all confident about getting to bowl eligibility this week vs. Oregon State.
Leland Wong: (10) A four-game losing streak and losing your identities on offense and defense are gonna give you an extra drop in my book.
10. Arizona Wildcats
Last week: 11
Berkelium97: (10) After a solid start at USC, the 'Cats blow a golden opportunity to earn bowl eligibility. Now they need to beat Utah at home or win at ASU.
Nick Kranz:(10) Playing USC tough earns you a coveted one-spot bump in my very important CGB Pac-12 power poll.
atomsareenough: (10) Anu is back, but is it too little, too late?
Nik Jam: (10) Not sure where Arizona's sixth win will come from... they might have a collapse bigger than ours.
boomtho: (7) Closer than expected loss to a good USC team... I'm bumping them up—maybe too high—despite their beatdown last week
Ruey Yen: (10) A flawed team that have a tougher path to bowl eligibility than the Bears.
Sam Fielder: (7) This would be a different season for them if not for their injuries.
Solomon Kim: (9) Yet another incredibly inconsistent Pac-12 team.
mpeters10: (10) Blew it against USC.
Leland Wong: (8) A nice little rebound by the offense and QB Anu Solomon against a quality opponent. Still, the run game just isn't where they need—or what you'd expect from RichRod.
Last week: 10
Berkelium97: (11) Losing out seems inevitable. Will Mac survive with only two conference wins in three years?
Nick Kranz: (11) There are some games just not worth playing, and Stanfurd/Colorado at 10:00 am PST is one of them.
atomsareenough: (11) Buff is the new Coug. They're kinda spunky, but ultimately, lovably hapless.
boomtho: (11) Beat up by Stanfurd at home, but that will happen.
Ruey Yen: (11) Didn't offer much resistance against Furd.
Sam Fielder: (11) Hey, they have four wins this year.
Solomon Kim: (11) If it hasn't been made clear yet, I really do like this Buffs team. They still aren't good enough to rank much higher than this.
mpeters10: (11) Never stood a chance against Furd.
Leland Wong: (11) Things are definitely going well in Boulder when their leading rusher is QB Sefo Liufau.
Last week: 12
Berkelium97: (12) There's no way they can win this weekend, right? Right...?
Nick Kranz: (12) I've been comparing 2015 OSU to 2013 Cal, but at least we had Jared Goff to give us hope back then. I don't really see a reason to think that OSU will be much better next year either.
atomsareenough: (12) Please stay terrible for at least one more week, Beavs.
Nik Jam: (12) I will say this. Unfortunately for us, Cal is beatable. So is Washington. And I think they know that and will try whatever they can to pull an upset. Doesn't mean they will, though.
boomtho: (12) Worst team in the Pac-12, which means we'll probably lose to them despite being 17–20 point favorites. Eff this season.
Ruey Yen: (12) I hope we don't overlook them this weekend.
Sam Fielder: (12) Let's hope for more of that this week versus Cal.
Solomon Kim: (12) Not much to say anymore.
mpeters10: (12) I'm not saying anything disparaging about the Beavs since we play them this week.
Leland Wong: (12) Just when it looks like things can't get worse, they go and get shut out.
Hey, here's something interesting about this week's votes! For the first time in my tenure as Power Ranking Master, we have someone who voted two teams at a tie—and at first-place, no less. Sadly, this one tiny deviation was not enough to keep Stanfurd from the top and prove that the earth is indeed a cold, dead place—contrary to Explosions in the Sky's claims.
|1||Stanfurd||Stanfurd||Stanfurd||Stanfurd||Stanfurd||Stanfurd||Stanfurd||Stanfurd||Stanfurd||Stanfurd||Furd & Utah||Stanfurd||Stanfurd||Stanfurd|
Table 1. We get all transparent and let you see the ballots.
And one more interesting thing about this week's votes: Berkelium and atoms submitted identical votes! Bk97 voted first, so I think atoms just got lazy and copied him. It's just a theory, but when have I ever been wrong or unattractive or not the best-dressed person in a room?
We punch these numbers through the almighty calcumalator and get our averaged rankings. Plus, the beauty of math (besides all those hawt sinusoidal curves) is that we can also measure how varied the votes were for each team using standard deviation, which is represented graphically via the error bars in Figure 1 below. Figure 2 has the same averaged rankings, but over the course of the season.
Figure 1. Values are average ± 1 standard deviation.
Figure 2. If a team falls, I won't catch them—I'll be graphing. Time after time.
First and second are locked-in, but we were all pretty torn on the next three between UC L.A., USC, and WSU—this is apparent when you see that those teams are pretty close to one another. Plus, in Cal-relevant news, we actually just barely beat out Arizona. Because Cal, am I right?
And for the purposes of being thorough, check out a similar graph, but with the averaged rankings. And if you don't check it out, then you're a terrible person who will go onto my killfire list.
Figure 3. Most definitely not the same as Figure 2.
We can measure the movements of the teams in Figure 3 and track it over the the course of the season.
|Change on week|
Table 2. Mad About You.
For two straight weeks, we've had stunningly un-Mad results. Have the voters finally seen enough of the teams to formulate strong opinions? Are we just stubborn like crazy? Have the teams just stopped playing inconsistently and settled into rhythms?
As Cal fans, that last one would definitely be great in the middle of a four-game losing streak!