Leland Wong: What's the number one thing that could possibly make our Pac-12 Power Rankings even better? If you could see my gorgeous face as you read my words and the words of my colleagues.
What's the number two thing? Stanfurd losing! And you get one of those two things today!
But if you're not familiar, then Power Rankings are a way of ranking the Pac-12 teams by some combination of overall strength and recent results. As for our CGB-specific formatting, you'll see a parenthetical number next to the names of the teams at the top; that's how many first-place votes they received. There's also a parenthetical number next to the name of each voter down below in the rankings; that's how said voter ranked said team.
Nik Jam: Unfortunately, due to a concert, I missed pretty much everything that happened Saturday night. From Stanfurd losing (though I found out right away after it happened, I missed the whole game), Utah losing (shortly after my concert ended asI was rushing up to Memorial), the first 3 quarters of the Cal game, UCLA losing, Ronda Rousey, Warriors, Sharks. Everything!
I have my alarms set for when Pac-12 Football in 60 airs ALL SIX games from Fri/Sat because all the games sound like they were really good (Cal was a blowout, but it's Cal, so that's a good thing). Unfortunately, those all happen Tuesday and Wednesday. So I'm just gonna go by final scores and W/L records and no context on how teams actually looked.
ragnarok: Well, I think it's safe to say that the Pac-12 is out of the playoff race, barring the sort of chaos that led Nebraska to make the 2002 Rose Bowl after they were pasted 62–36, vs. Colorado in their last game (for those who don't remember, Florida, Texas, and Tennessee all subsequently took turns as BCS #2, and all three lost to lesser opponents in games where a win would have sent them to the BCS title game).
Ruey Yen: I would like to thank all the Pac-12 teams for having a topsy-turvy week (other than Cal beating OSU as expected) to make making this Power Ranking an interesting mental exercise.
atomsareenough: I was also at a concert on Saturday, down in Santa Cruz, so I didn't get to watch much football.
Leland Wong: Hey guys! Let's all talk about how popular and busy we are and how only losers do nothing but stay home all weekend watching college football and eating mochi green tea ice cream balls and then doing laundry because all the powder from said mochi balls fell all over your shirt!
1. Washington State Cougars (6)
Last week: 4
Berkelium97: (1) BOW DOWN TO THE ALMIGHTY COUGS!
Nik Jam: (2) Winning at UCLA at this point of the season is very big. Cougars are for real. I think if they played Cal now, they'd win easily.
Leland Wong: (4) Great job to add to an already-impressive résumé this season by defeating a Top-25 team. Plus, it's gotta feel especially good in Pullman to answer UCLA's attempt at a game-winning touchdown in the final minute with the actual game-winning touchdown in the final seconds.
ragnarok: (3) If only Wazzu had managed to hit that long field goal vs. Stanfurd, the Cougs would be in the driver's seat for the North title—amazing. They've been helped by a relatively easy schedule (missing both USC and Utah this year), but this team has come a long way from their season-opening flop vs. Portland State.
Sam Fielder: (3) Go Cougs Go!
boomtho: (2) Luke Falk is CLUTCH! It's Mike Leach's world—we're all just living in it.
Ruey Yen: (3) The Portland State loss felt like eons ago. Had the Cougs not missed that late field goal against Stanfurd...
atomsareenough (1) I'm actually very happy for the Cougs that they finally seem to have a Mike Leach–looking team.
Rob Hwang: (1) THE PIRATE IS ATOP THE BOARD.
Nick Kranz: (2) This is why college football prognostication is for the stupid.
Solomon Kim: (1) The Cougs have established a momentum that looks to be unstoppable.
2. Oregon Ducks (5)
Last week: 6
Berkelium97: (2) The Ducks are back.
Nik Jam: (1) Back to where they were Week 1! Beating Stanfurd is all I need to know. They are RED HOT while the team they beat in Stanfurd and the three leaders in the Pac-12 South either lost or barely won against a bad team.
Leland Wong: (1) The Ducks defeated the previous #1 team—do we need much more justification than that? They have some bad losses this season, but they're a much different team with Vernon Adams running the offense.
ragnarok: (1) Since my top three in last week's rankings all lost, I moved Oregon up to #1 (for now). The Ducks still (amazingly) have a shot at the North title, but they need Cal to come up big in the Big Game this weekend.
Sam Fielder: (1) How glorious a win it was. Now for Cal to repeat that glory.
boomtho: (1) Running the ball 36 times for 231 yards against Stanfurd... Wow. Impressive, gutty performance.
Ruey Yen: (2) Kudos to the Ducks to beat Furd. That Nike money ensures that they are never that far off the top despite a bit of a rebuilding year.
atomsareenough: (3) Having Adams back helps, but doesn't it seem like the Ducks secondary has gotten better in a hurry?
Rob Hwang: (4) PLEASE WIN THIS WEEK. PLEASE.
Nick Kranz: (3) God I hope Oregon doesn't find a quarterback for next season.
Solomon Kim: (3) It's strange to categorize this game as an upset, but that's definitely what it was. The Ducks clearly aren't the same team they were last year, but they can definitely still be considered good.
3. Stanfurd Cardinal (3)
Last week: 1
Berkelium97: (3) BYE BYE PLAYOFFS!
Nik Jam: (3) Still could easily win out. Hopefully Cal helps to continue a potential big collapse by the Trees.
Leland Wong: (2) I wish I could poo poo on Stanfurd more for their loss, but Oregon is still a quality opponent and the Lobsterbacks' offensive line was absolutely monstrous.
ragnarok: (2) A furious comeback vs. Oregon fell just short on the two-point conversion. Awww, so sad, too bad :p
Sam Fielder: (2) Someone asked me about the Pac-12 likely missing the playoff and I said "I root for Cal, not the Pac-12. And if that means that Stanfurd has lost, even better."
boomtho: (5) Ha ha ha. Unfortunately, I'm assuming this is merely a one-game blip on their way to the Pac-12 title. At least there are no CFP hopes for the Cardinal!
Ruey Yen: (1) I reluctantly put Furd at the top despite their loss to Oregon because they are still in the best position in the Pac to make the Rose Bowl. (Yes, it pains me to write that.)
atomsareenough: (2) The only reason I don't have Oregon above Stanfurd is that the Cardinal still control their own fate.
Rob Hwang: (2) Ugh. at least they aren't number 1 anymore.
Nick Kranz: (1) One loss does not immediately destroy what they have already accomplished, but Oregon showed that Stanfurd is vulnerable and another loss would well and truly bury them.
Solomon Kim: (2) The normally fundamentally sound Hogan made some critical mistakes that the Ducks were able to capitalize on. That being said, it's hard to rank the Furd lower than this.
4. USC Trojans
Last week: 5
Berkelium97: (4) The Trojans stumble to another victory over a low-level Pac-12 foe and somehow find themselves in the driver's seat for the Pac-12 South.
Nik Jam: (4) Credit to Colorado, but the Trojans got it done and are probably the favorites at this point for the South title.
Leland Wong: (6) There was absolutely no reason for this game to be so close with all the talent stockpiled in Troy, making this the first blunder for Coach Helton during his tenure as interim head coach. Well, this tenure. Not including that last time USC fired a head coach midseason and had to along an interim coach (who then resigned and led to Helton as interim head coach).
ragnarok: (6) Still haven't lost in conference since firing Sark, though barely getting by Colorado doesn't mean you get to move up in this poll.
Sam Fielder: (4) It was harder than it needed to be, but they got the W.
boomtho: (3) Despite all the upheaval, USC has two (admittedly tough) games standing between it and a 9–3, division winning season. Pretty amazing.
Ruey Yen: (6) Only beat Colorado by mere 3 points. Trojans also control their own destiny to win the Pac. Yes, it could be a Furd-USC Pac-12 Championship game. Yuck!
atomsareenough: (4) I wish we could putz our way around to wins like the Trojans seem to be able to do.
Rob Hwang: (5) They could still win the South, but they won unconvincingly against a Sefo Liufau–less Colorado team.
Nick Kranz: (4) Clay Helton: Barely good enough to beat Cal, Arizona and Colorado by one possession each. I hope USC hires him.
Solomon Kim: (4) The Trojans struggled mightily against the underdog Buffs, but a win is a win.
5. Utah Utes
Last week: 2
Berkelium97: (5) I feel for the Utes. How many Pac-12 title hopes have died in Tuscon over the last decade?
Nik Jam: (5) No longer in control of their own destiny, unlike the Los Angeles teams.
Leland Wong: (3) Bad show by the defense to allow the Wildcat offense to move the ball so well, but they're still a force to be reckoned with.
ragnarok: (5) I guess you sorta had the feeling that Arizona was going to do this to somebody, though I really thought the Utes could get past this one. The South remains in chaos.
Sam Fielder: (8) Missed their big chance.
boomtho: (4) This is a really dispiriting loss to an Arizona team that had been consistent only in their inconsistently all year. Still alive in the South, but no margin for error now.
Ruey Yen: (5) Utes fans may be looking back on this year with some regret of what it could have been.
atomsareenough: (5) Brutal, but that's what happens when you live on the edge week after week.
Rob Hwang: (3) Still think they make it to the Championship game at the very least.
Nick Kranz: (5) Welcome, Utah, to everybody's least favorite tradition: having a potentially special season flattened in Tucson against a not very good Arizona team.
Solomon Kim: (6) Nothing makes sense in the world of Pac-12 football. The fact that a very recently struggling Wildcats team could overcome the (formerly) number-10 Utes in double overtime is astounding.
Last week: 3
Berkelium97: (6) This loss was inevitable, just like their upcoming wins against Utah and USC.
Nik Jam: (6) Like USC, they can win the South by winning out. However, I would pick USC over UCLA at the moment.
Leland Wong: (5) The Bruins were in this until the end and probably could have won if not for losing two fumbles. (Although they do deserve to get dinged for losing two fumbles.)
ragnarok: (4) This feels about right for a Bruins team that can't quite put it all together to get to "elite" status.
Sam Fielder: (9) In-con-sis-tent.
boomtho: (6) Wazzu is solid, no doubt... but fans will definitely be unhappy about a home loss that makes their road to a South title very, very difficult.
Ruey Yen: (4) Bruins control their destiny to win the Pac-12 South. Losing to Wazzu didn't hurt that much because of what Arizona did to Utah.
Rob Hwang: (7) This team severely underachieved, but have excuses due to key injuries.
Nick Kranz: (6) I . . . I still kinda think that UCLA will win the South. SOMEBODY has to back into the title, right?
Solomon Kim: (9) Josh Rosen and Paul Perkins had great numbers overall, but were lacking in one critical stat: TDs. The Bruins settled for four field goals, exhibiting a worrying inability to score in the red zone.
Last week: 10
Berkelium97: (7) A season-saving win gives them some momentum heading into the Territorial Cup.
Nik Jam: (7) Congrats to the Wildcats on getting to six. I really doubted they would do it.
Leland Wong: (7) The offense is beginning to return to form (averaging 7 yards per play on Saturday), but only converting on 3 of 11 third downs is gonna keep them from climbing too high.
ragnarok: (9) A nice win for Arizona, whose previous conference wins came at the expense of Colorado and Oregon State (combined conference wins: 1, vs. each other).
Sam Fielder: (5) Up and down, up and down. This week they're up.
boomtho: (7) Probably jumped them too high, but if you beat a good team like Utah, you get the benefit of the doubt.
Ruey Yen: (7) Jumping up the rankings with the big win over the Utes.
atomsareenough: (6) Rich Rod is still a good coach.
Rob Hwang: (8) Rich Rod will turn this team around....just not this season.
Nick Kranz: (9) I can't believe Utah's defense allowed Anu Solomon to throw for 10 yards/attempt.
Solomon Kim: (7) A huge and exciting win over the Utes, but not enough to rank them higher than the Utah squad.
Last week: 9
Berkelium97: (9) In the seventh conference game of the season, the offense finally achieves its potential. Playing one of the worst teams in FBS will do that...
Nik Jam: (9) They finally reach six wins, but a month ago after the Washington State win we all knew it was a very strong possibility we might have to wait till the Oregon State game.
Leland Wong: (8) I'm going to be a total party pooper—putting up a school record's worth of yards on Oregon State was nice, but much less impressive when you take the opposition into consideration. Several of Jared Goff's throws were off-target and the defensive line didn't get much push, so the Bears shouldn't be feeling too hot just yet.
ragnarok: (8) Hey, there's the Cal offense we've been missing, the one that papers over all sorts of defensive sins! Even if this team isn't great, if we get more performances out of the offense like this one, they'll be exciting.
Sam Fielder: (7) Blowout win that hopefully gets things back on track.
boomtho: (9) Sure, we beat up on OSU, but they are bad, so I'm not going to overreact to a one-game performance. Let's see how Saturday goes first.
Ruey Yen: (9) Same place as last week. Nothing new from the OSU win.
atomsareenough: (7) The Bears are going bowling!!!
Rob Hwang: (6) At six. because we only have six.
Nick Kranz: (7) If Cal beats Stanfurd, they will finish 4–1 against Pac-12 North teams. That means something, I'm just not sure what.
Solomon Kim: (5) It's been a long time since the Bears offense has put up numbers like this. The defense struggled more than it should have, but certainly performed when it counted.
Last week: 8
Berkelium97: (8) That was an impressive rally. I thought the game (and their season) was over when UW took a 17–0 lead.
Nik Jam: (8) Very good comeback. The only full game I got to follow Saturday. I'll still rank them below Cal cause they still don't have six wins yet, but no reason to think they won't beat either Arizona or Cal. Unless they do beat Cal though, they are below Cal in my rankings.
Leland Wong: (9) That high-pressure, blitz-always defense had its typical game in which they ratted Jake Browning enough with four sacks to snag thee interceptions, but allowed a whole lotta yardage.
ragnarok: (7) A nice comeback win after spotting UW a 17-point lead.
Sam Fielder: (6) I'm so glad we aren't playing them to get bowl-eligible.
boomtho: (8) Down by 17... and rolled off 27 unanswered against a feisty, tough UW team. This is the ASU we expected to see all year.
Ruey Yen: (8) Good, but not great team. Felt like UW choked away the game more than the Sun Devils taking it.
atomsareenough: (9) I still have absolutely no bead on the Sun Devils.
Rob Hwang: (9) If UCLA underachieved, ASU BUSTED BIG TIME.
Nick Kranz: (8) ASU had one exciting year of being interesting and now they're back to being the team I'm most likely to forget about in any given season. They're gonna go 6–6 somehow; I'm just not sure if they'll lose to Arizona or Cal.
Solomon Kim: (8) The Sun Devils prove how potent their offense can be against the best defense in the conference. This would have been a very different game if Jake Browning's game was in better form.
Last week: 7
Berkelium97: (10) Bowl eligibility is slipping away...
Nik Jam: (10) Rough to blow that lead. They should beat Oregon State, but if they can't upset Washington State at home the day after Thanksgiving, they will have to hope they are one of a handful of 5–7 teams that could sneak into a bowl.
Leland Wong: (11) Blowing a 17-point lead is the kind of hurt that make you drop in the Power Rankings.
ragnarok: (10) Got shut out in the second half vs. Arizona State, blowing a first-half 17-point lead. I think they can handle Oregon State this weekend, though.
Sam Fielder: (10) Blew a huge lead, which is very un-Petersen-like.
Ruey Yen: (10) I still like Chris Petersen as a head coach.
atomsareenough: (10) I'm still afraid of them next year... hoping they don't make a bowl this year.
Rob Hwang: (10) This might be the first time in Coach Petersen's career where he has a sub-.500 season.
Nick Kranz: (10) UW's blowout win over Arizona looks particularly bizarre in the context of their schedule—UW's only other win was over Sark during the denouement of that little saga.
Solomon Kim: (10) The Huskies are still a great team in my book, but with an offensive performance like that, it becomes difficult to rank them much higher than this.
Last week: 11
Berkelium97: (11) Mac is the king of close-but-not-quite losses.
Nik Jam: (11) Like Cal fans, I'm sure Colorado fans are tired of these almost upsets. Not good enough.
Leland Wong: (10) Kudos to the Buffaloes for nearly pulling off the upset against the five-star talent of USC—and with QB Sefo Liufau only playing for one quarter. On the other hand, they should probably be feeling a little antsy about losing Liufau and hope that it doesn't affect him next season—since this one's already lost.
ragnarok: (11) Close, but no cigar just yet. The Buffs are certainly feisty, though, and a definite step above the doormat that is Oregon State.
Sam Fielder: (11) Feisty, but short on firepower.
boomtho: (11) Oh so close to dethroning the Trojans.
Ruey Yen: (11) Kudos to the Buffs for fighting the Trojans hard. Losing their starting QB means that they will likely go winless the rest of the way.
atomsareenough: (11) So many moral victories, so few actual victories. I can't see any wins the rest of the year without Sefo Liufau, either.
Rob Hwang: (11) At least they have one conference win.
Nick Kranz: (11) The poor Buffs have lost four games by one possession—but they've also lost three conference games by three possessions, so it's not that they're totally unlucky either.
Solomon Kim: (11) A heartbreaking loss at home, but I will never grow tired of saying how hard this team fights.
Last week: 12
Berkelium97: (12) Only two more weeks until their agonizing season is over.
Nik Jam: (12) They have Washington, whom I have at 11, at home on Senior Day and I'm sure they will be fired up, but still don't see them winning that game. And then they have to go to Eugene...
Leland Wong: (12) We all know that they're bad, but at least they have some fight and went for multiple two-point conversions.
ragnarok: (12) The Beavs have been just decimated by injuries. They host Washington this weekend, in what is their best remaining bid for a conference win this year.
Sam Fielder: (12) The talent gap is too large for them in the Pac.
boomtho: (12) Knew they were bad coming in, but holy moly, they were even worse than I thought.
Ruey Yen: (12) Beavers had moments of brilliance on Saturday night to add to their season highlight reel. Cal defense will allow our opponents to have that. We are good hosts in that regard.
atomsareenough: (12) Gary Andersen and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Season
Rob Hwang: (12) At least they have one win.
Nick Kranz: (12) Falling right into the pantheon with Cal 2013 and UW/WSU in 2008
Solomon Kim: (12) This ranking is validated simply by being 0–7 in conference match-ups.
Here's a closer look at how we all voted this week (Table 1).
Table 1. This week's ballots.
Figure 1 shows how those numbers averaged out to give the main Rankings that were listed up above; the error bars represent 1 standard deviation, meaning it shows you how varied the responses were for that team. And thanks to the topsy-turvy nature (or as the kids today would say, the lolwut-y nature) of this week's games, we see a lot of variation and conflict about how to rank each team.
Additionally, we see two clusters of near ties—each featuring three teams, coincidentally. Three teams made a strong case for first place—WSU, Oregon, and Stanfurd. There's also a near-tie down around 7th place—with Arizona, Cal, and ASU—for three teams who ended some bad days with big wins.
Figure 1. The precise rankings for the Week 11 slate of games.
We can also chart out these Rankings over time, as shown in Figure 2. Sadly, despite nearly upsetting USC, Colorado didn't just stay put at 11th—they actually dropped marginally from last week!
Figure 2. The lines they are a-movin'.
Making that same graph but with the rounded Rankings loses some of the information like that, but also makes the data a little cleaner and easier to follow. Also, it makes random patterns like the perfect flip-flop of Wash, ASU, Cal, and Arizona from last week to this week. Can we glean any meaningful information from such an observation? Absolutely not. But it's pretty and I like pretty things because they remind me of myself.
Figure 3. Rounded Rankings for the season.
And after two weeks of boring Pac-12 football, we have some of the Madness that birthed #Pac12AfterDark.
|Change on week|
Table 2. Using Madness to measure how much the teams are moving up and down in 2015.
All these big upsets have given us our third-Maddest week of the year! How could you want boring, predictable life when you can have this kind of drama instead?