Leland Wong: Today’s power rankings might not be something that Ducks worldwide will want to see. In our effort to rank Pac-12 teams by factors like performance and fanbase sentiment—particularly recent ones—so things might be a bit rough for Oregon after getting upset and watching their CFP dreams wash away in a Eugene rain.
That upset cements what we’ve known all along—the Pac-12 tams will cannibalize each other and resulted in an official Pac-12 Circle of Suck. In fact, there are a few different orders floating around the internet, which really emphasizes how much parity we have on the west coast. But I think ours is pretty swell because it puts Cal at top and Stanfurd at bottom—right where they belong.
In addition to the Oregon upset (and a Big Game result that you may have heard of), here are the other Week 13 games:
- #23 USC def. UC Los Angeles, 52–35
- California def. Stanfurd, 24–20
- Arizona State def. #6 Oregon, 31–28
- Washington State def. Oregon State, 54–53
- Colorado def. Washington, 20–14
- #7 Utah def. Arizona, 35–7
Arizona’s win–loss records have been wrong since Week 8 and no one noticed, so I’m not even convinced people are actually reading these.
Berkelium97: The top three in my ballot are pretty solid, but the margin between 4th and 12th is quite thin (which is why UW plummeted to 10th in my ballot and Cal shot up to 5th). Several teams played huge games (rivalry games or games that clinch bowl eligibility or both) and I’m rewarding teams who showed up and succeeded in those crucial games.
Also, we may have missed it among Big Game revelries, but can we take a moment and marvel at the insanity that took place in Pullman between two teams battling for bowl eligibility? NineTDs, two turnovers, two fourth-down stops, over 600 yards of offense, and two rallies from double digits--and that was just in the second half. If you haven’t already, do yourself a favor and watch the replay of that game. That just might be the Pac-12 game of the year.
Alex G: Per usual, each of my posts will start with the team’s rankings both nationally and in conference for SP+, FPI and their averages. Each will end with next week’s game and FPI’s win chance. As for main talking points: This conference is a complete mess with a circular firing squad of cannibalism that allows for exciting games but kills our national recognition. Some interesting notes about the divisions… both computer sets give the North a nod in average ranking: the North’s average is 48.3 per SP+ and 39.5 per FPI, while the South is 49 per SP+ and 44.8 per FPI. The computers disagree on who has the better offense (SP+ gives the South a nod with an average 36.3 vs. 41.3, while FPI prefers the North at 42 vs. 44.2), while SP+ views the North as better on defense (62 vs. 67) and FPI thinks the South barely wins a coin flip (58.7 vs. 58.8). Both agree, though, that the Pac 12 overall is better on offense and defense, which has made for some interesting contests through Week 13. (I also recommend following Berk97’s advice to watch the OSU-WSU game if you haven’t already… That was one hell of a game).
Christopher_h: I’m going to be honest, the Big Game was one of the first games this weekend and I spent the rest of the evening celebrating a bit too much with other Cal fans, so I didn’t watch many games this past Saturday… or Sunday.
Piotr T Le : The only thing stopping me from ranking Cal #1 is whatever shred of rationality I have left after the game. Everything else was a blur and on Sunday I checked the scores and realized that UW lost to Colorado. In Poland we have a saying “dziwny jest ten świat”—what a weird world it is.
In the event of a tie, those teams are listed alphabetically. The parenthetical number next to each voter’s name is where they ranked that team.
1. Utah Utes (10–1, 7–1 Pac-12) ↔
Last week: 1
Berkelium97 (1): Complete domination in every phase of the game. One win from the Pac-12 title game and two wins from a playoff berth.
Alex G (1): (Nat’l/Pac12): SP+ 8/1, FPI 12/2, Avg 10/1. Utah has the best record in the conference and took care of business against Arizona. Their pure number of blowouts this season is mind-blowing—outside of the seven-point loss at USC and five-point win at Washington, three victories have been by 18 points, two victories were in the 20s, one victory was in the 30s, and 2 victories were in the 40s. The average point margin (+23.8) and average margin in-conference (+24.4) are well-above second-place Oregon (+20.8 overall and +16.5 in-conference) and lightyears beyond the conference’s other teams—just half of the Pac-12 teams have overall positive margins with Washington (+10.5) and WSU (+10.1) in double-digits and U$C (+5.3) and ASU (+1.4) in single-digits, while only five teams have positive margins in-conference (outside of Utah/Oregon, they are U$C at +6.8, Washington at +3.0 and WSU at +1.4). Long story short: the Utes are a clear #1. Next week: v. Colorado, 95.1% per FPI.
thedozen (1): Brant Kuithe ended the game with 81 receiving yards, but his only two rushes of the evening resulted in touchdowns.
Christopher_h (1): This is the part of the season where you need to start putting your foot on the throats of your overmatched opponents, Utah. You’re not just playing for the win now—you’re playing for CFP style points.
Nick Kranz (1): I probably should’ve promoted them to #1 earlier with the way they’ve been atomizing everybody in their path. Shame that they’ll probably go 11–1 and get left out of the playoffs.
2. Oregon Ducks (9–2, 7–1 Pac-12) ↔
Last week: 2
Berkelium97 (2): What’s Oregon’s deal in the state of Arizona? They lost to ASU in 2017, got blown out by Arizona (15–44!) last year, and now blew their chance at the Playoffs with a loss to a flailing ASU team coming off a four-game losing streak.
Alex G (2): (Nat’l/Pac12): SP+ 20/3, FPI 10/1, Avg 15/2. The Ducks had a couple close games recently and their luck ran out in Tempe. Justin Herbert was beyond awful for a good while after the first quarter, then did enough to almost pull the upset before coming up short—and if Herbert struggles like he did on Saturday, Oregon’s win chance drops dramatically. I’m especially frustrated with the Ducks, though, because this one loss seriously hurts the chance that a Pac-12 champion will make the playoff, even if it’s a 12–1 Utah squad. Next week: v. OSU, 94.5% per FPI.
Christopher_h (2): My biggest complaint with Justin Herbert has always been his inconsistency. He’s prone to flashes of inaccuracy, but never a failure of confidence—which leads to some bad passes on throws without a high margin for error. When it works, you think “wow, Herbert’s a future NFL first-rounder,” and when it doesn’t, “why was he even throwing it there in the first place?” Herbert started to get his act together late in the game as Oregon mounted a comeback, but it’s hard not to imagine that he hurt his draft stock with this performance. I still think Oregon has what it takes to beat Utah, but I’m obviously a lot less confident in that pick after this week.
Piotr T Le (3): Denver Broncos, meet your new QB: Justin Herbert a.k.a. the John Elway special (inconsistent, tall, and strong-armed QB). Oregon needed to keep winning convincingly to stay in the CFP race–and they failed now. Despite a very good record for the team with CFP aspiration this year ended with disappointment.
Nick Kranz (2): Oregon fans are rightly questioning the offensive coaching staff because Oregon’s mediocre offense finally cost them a game. On a ypp basis the Ducks have the fourth-best offense in the Pac-12, which is good but also a significant underperformance when you have the best offensive line/QB talent combination in the conference, plus plenty of highly-recruited skill position guys.
3. USC Trojans (8–4, 7–2 Pac-12) ↔
Last week: 3
Berkelium97 (3): For all the joking about Clay Helton’s dead-man-walking status this season, he’s managed to salvage a decent season for this team despite all the injuries.
Alex G (3): (Nat’l/Pac12): SP+ 23/4, FPI 21/4, Avg 22/4. USC’s offense was dominant against UCLA and the defense was good-but-not-great. The Trojans’ plethora of talented receivers and Kedon Slovis’s ability to throw accurately, even under pressure, makes for a complete team that looks worthy of their top-25 ranking. Next week: bye.
thedozen (3): Slovis threw for 515 yards which is a program record. Four different receivers had 104 or more receiving yards!
Christopher_h (3): Both USC and UCLA have bad defenses. UCLA’s is worse, evidently. I’m already getting a bit tired of all the Kedon Slovis hype, which I’m sure we’ll hear endlessly for the next three years on ESPN (when they’re not too busy pumping up SEC teams instead). Oh boy, another John David Booty / Matt Barkley / Cody Kessler–type. I can’t wait to see which NFL team drafts him in the mid-rounds before we never hear from him again.
Nick Kranz (3): I think USC goes something like 10–2 this year if they didn’t spend parts of the season struggling to transition to a new offense while also playing musical chairs thanks to QB injuries. Now that Graham Harrell’s offense has been fully downloaded and they’ve had Slovis in consistently, they’re deadly. Now I’m kinda hoping they fire Helton just so that somebody else poaches Harrell.
4. Arizona State Sun Devils (6–5, 3–5 Pac-12) ↗
Last week: 6
Berkelium97 (4): What’s the best way to break out of a four-game losing streak and salvage the season? Take down the highest-ranked team in the conference. And in convincing fashion too—ASU didn’t score a ton of points despite their yardage, but they moved the ball consistently enough to build a big lead, dominate the time of possession, and keep the ball out of Justin Herbert’s hands.
Alex G (5): (Nat’l/Pac12): SP+ 41/6, FPI 43/6, Avg 42/6. ASU is a relatively balanced team that is coming off a statement home win over a top-10 team. Hell, they even got four votes in the AP poll (with a 6–5 record in Week 13)! It was a tough call at #4–5 between Cal and ASU, but the emotional high of beating a top-10 team just doesn’t match Cal fans’ joy from bringing the Axe home in such a beautiful fashion. Next week: v. Arizona, 79.0% per FPI.
Christopher_h (4): Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk absolutely torched the Oregon secondary. I’ve thought that Oregon’s secondary is a bit overrated and there’s no better evidence of that than how frequently Oregon defensive backs were beaten on deep throws in this game. Credit to QB Jayden Daniels for hitting them in stride, but a lot of this was due to poor coverage in my opinion.
Piotr T Le (2): ASU is going to be troublesome to deal with during the Jayden Daniels era. In 2020, Cal will have to face this offense with Brandon Aiyuk and Daniels with a re-made secondary. Let us hope our Lord and Saviour Chase Garbers is healthy and ready to win.
Nick Kranz (4): It did feel like ASU’s four-game losing streak was a little bit bad luck—the average margin of defeat was only 8 points, despite playing three road games and two ranked teams. But I did not anticipate this particular win, despite Oregon’s history of desert disasters.
5. California Golden Bears (6–5, 3–5 Pac-12) ↗
Last week: 9
Berkelium97 (5): We’ve got the Axe! We’ve got the Axe!
Alex G (4): (Nat’l/Pac12): SP+ 84/11, FPI 56/7, Avg 70/tie-10. Cal has a record worthy of #4–7 or so, but the glory of breaking the decade-long Big Game drought deserves a huge boost. Other factors—making a bowl game, breaking Furd’s bowl game streak, and the optimism on offense that Chase Garbers brought—boosts Cal up to #4. Next week: @ UC L.A., 43.3% per FPI.
thedozen (5): Big Game had become a bit like Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown for Cal fans over the last decade. Scoring the winning touchdown within the final two minutes was one heck of a way to finally kick that ball through the uprights.
Christopher_h (5): I’m moving Cal back up to #5 now that Garbers and others are back from injuries and Cal is starting to play the way we expected them earlier in the season. There’s no perfect ordering of the teams thanks to Pac-12 chaos, but most of my higher-ranked teams beat the teams below them on my rankings. Cal lost to Oregon, Utah, USC, and ASU, but it beat (or would beat) everyone below them other than OSU. If Cal was at full strength for that game, I have no doubt that Cal would have won that one too. Bring on UCLA and whatever team wants to lose to Cal in a bowl game rock fight (looking at you, Big 10).
Piotr T Le (5): The biggest “What if?” is the Cal 2019 season if Chase Garbers didn’t land awkwardly on his shoulder during the ASU game. So many winnables on the schedule with an effective offense. I think 5 is best Cal can be for now—with Ashtyn Davis out of the line-up there is a chance that Cal can get burned by an effective UCLA offense next week (55th SP+). Weird to say this during the Wilcox era, but I have a feeling that the Cal offense can win the day.
Nick Kranz (5): The numbers say that Cal isn’t really the fifth-best team in this conference, but the numbers don’t understand that Chase Garbers is the spinach to Cal’s Popeye offense. Chase is healthy and the offense is functional—screw it, we’re top half.
6. Washington State Cougars (6–5, 3–5 Pac-12) ↗
Last week: 8
Berkelium97 (6): After the defensive collapse and mid-season firing of the DC, the Cougs have bounced back to earn bowl eligibility. And after UW’s listless performance against Colorado, the Cougs should feel reasonably confident heading into the Apple Cup.
Alex G (7): (Nat’l/Pac12): SP+ 26/5, FPI 27/5, Avg 26.5/5. It took some last-minute magic and uncharacteristic not-Coug’n-it for WSU to win at home—by one point on a touchdown with 1:08 left—in an exciting shootout against a decent-but-not-great OSU team. Anthony Gordon threw six touchdowns (with an uncharacteristic three interceptions) and now holds the conference record for most touchdown passes in a season at 45 and most yards at 4920, with one more game to go. Unfortunately, Mike Leach is squandering an offense ranked #4 nationally by SP+ and #6 by FPI (both #1 in-conference) with a defense ranked #95 by SP+ (9th in-conference) and #108 by FPI (12th in-conference). He also managed to seem disappointed and negative in his post-game on-field interview, when he should have been happy for his players to beat adversity and qualify for a bowl game. Regardless, the Apple Cup should be a fun game to watch, even if it’s on a Friday afternoon over the holiday weekend. Next week: @ Wash, 33.0% per FPI.
thedozen (6): Remember the Cougars’ crazy 67–63 loss to UCLA? Anthony Gordon had a whopping 570 passing yards in that one, but managed to top it with 606 versus Oregon State.
Christopher_h (7): I called it last week—I knew this game was going to be a shootout. Everything went as I expected—OSU had their best performances defensively when they can get to an opposing QB, but Washington State is pretty good at protecting QB Anthony Gordon and neither team is particularly good at defending the pass. I took OSU with the points but figured WSU would outlast OSU in a shootout—and they did. 60–59 is still the best Wazzu shootout, though.
Nick Kranz (7): Even though I complain about Leach frequently, I am kinda glad that there’s still somebody left in this conference content to play games where the loser scores 50+, just for the sake of variety. I mean, Wilcox is great and all, but this conference is getting heavy on coaches who think that 24 points should be enough to get a win.
7. Washington Huskies (6–5, 3–5 Pac-12) ↘
Last week: 4
Berkelium97 (10): 238 yards? Against that defense? This is a hugely disappointing season for the Huskies.
Alex G (6): (Nat’l/Pac12): SP+ 17/2, FPI 20/3, Avg 18.5/3. Even though the computers still love the Huskies, they are not looking great on the field and can’t score enough points (or prevent the other team from scoring too many points) to translate the good metrics into a good season-record. Next week: v. WSU, 67.0% per FPI.
Christopher_h (6): This game was won and lost along the offensive and defensive lines. Washington’s offensive line held up well against one of the best defensive lines in the country (Utah) and their defensive line gave the Pac-12’s best offensive line (Oregon) a ton of trouble. So how did they get so thoroughly dominated here by Colorado? Colorado got a lot of pressure on QB Jacob Eason, while Washington couldn’t generate any pressure themselves.
Nick Kranz (6): On one hand, they’ve undeniably been unlucky, losing four games by six or fewer points. On the other hand, this is an established coaching staff with consistent recruiting—there’s no way on earth that they should be going below .500 in this conference without catastrophic injuries. Also, lol that their biggest margin of defeat this season was to Stanford.
8. Oregon State Beavers (5–6, 4–4 Pac-12) ↘
Last week: 5
Berkelium97 (8): This was a tough, tough loss for the Beavs. On the precipice of bowl eligibility, they had a gut-wrenching final two minutes. After recovering an onside kick at midfield they needed a single first down against an offense that had surrendered 595 yards. They picked up five yards on first down and had a 95% chance of winning according to FPI. On the following three plays, they picked up one yard and then the defense gave up a fourth and eight and a third and ten on Wazzu’s game-winning drive.
Alex G (9): (Nat’l/Pac12): SP+ 64/7, FPI 63/10, Avg 63.5/8. OSU sits alone at second-place in the North and—assuming they lose this coming week in Eugene—will be tied with at least one other team (Washington or WSU) and possibly Cal if the Bears take care of business in Pasadena. As far as the division goes, the Beavers are third-best in the North for points scored per game (both overall and in conference play), but near the bottom in points allowed (last-place overall and second-to-last in conference games). I really wish I could put the Beavers higher up, but the losing overall record—combined with the heartbreaking loss in Pullman (can Beavers “Coug It?”)—keeps them lower on the list. Next week: @ Oregon, 5.5% per FPI.
Christopher_h (8): As unfortunate as Cal is, there is no team more cursed in the Pac-12 than OSU. If you’ve watched OSU in the past few years, you’d know that they lose these last-second heartbreak games with alarming regularity. This season, they finally seemed to have turned a corner and actually ended up winning a few of these close games (like they did against us, for example). Unfortunately, the Beavs are still cursed and there would be nothing more quintessential for OSU than to collapse against Oregon after showing some upset potential. I’m rooting for the Beavs to make a bowl game—especially knowing that Oregon torpedoed the Pac-12’s playoff chances—but my support pretty much guarantees that they won’t pull the upset. Sorry Beavs.
Nick Kranz (8): I’m hurting for the Beavs—that’s a fanbase that deserves a Cheez-It Bowl. But hey, the Ducks are reeling, their defense looks vulnerable . . . nah, I can’t imagine how Herbert and the Ducks don’t score 40+ on that defense, right?
9. Colorado Buffaloes (5–6, 3–5 Pac-12) ↗
Last week: 10T
Berkelium97 (9): After a miserable five-game losing streak, the Buffs have now won two in a row and will turn this season from a disaster to a mere disappointment.
Alex G (8): (Nat’l/Pac12): SP+ 67/8, FPI 66/11, Avg 66.5/9. Washington isn’t the contender that many expected them to be preseason (although the computers still love the Huskies, putting them at #2 and #3 in-conference for SP+ and FPI, respectively), but UW still came into the contest as a 14-point favorite—so the six-point home win was pretty darn big for a struggling program. Steven Montez also had a great game, showing off why he may be an NFL prospect. The Buffs, though, still have a losing record overall and in-conference and (barring a miracle next week in Salt Lake City) will miss out on a bowl game after a tumultuous season. Next week: @ Utah, 4.9% per FPI.
Christopher_h (9): If there’s one play you need to watch, it’s Laviska Shenault Jr.’s touchdown catch this game. He was 100% not open—and made a ridiculous diving catch anyway. Laviska Shenault coming back finally gave their offense some teeth. Too bad their next game (to qualify for a bowl) is against a Utah team hoping to sneak into the College Football Playoff.
Nick Kranz (9): So did Mel just all of a sudden turn around Colorado’s defense in a week or two or was this just an example of a UW team with nothing to play for going through the motions and getting punished? Because I really didn’t get this result, even when playing in Boulder.
10. UC Los Angeles Bruins (4–7, 4–4 Pac-12) ↘
Last week: 7
Berkelium97 (7): They did a decent job holding the USC offense in check for the first 25 minutes before surrendering an explosion of touchdowns. That sounds depressingly familiar.
Alex G (10): (Nat’l/Pac12): SP+ 68/9, FPI 57/8, Avg 62.5/7. If the Bruins had scheduled some easier teams out-of-conference, they’d either have secured a bowl game by now or would be playing for eligibility in the finale against Cal; their OOC opponents are now–#7 Oklahoma (10–1), #17 Cincinnati (10–1) and San Diego State (8–3, first in the Mountain West, and receiving a couple top-25 votes in the coaches’ poll). They are also tied with OSU for fourth-place in overall conference records (4–4)—sitting better than seven teams in the Pac-12. Still, a now-bowl-less season, a couple of recent deflating losses (including the rivalry game), a grumpy impatient fan base, and managing Chip’s HUGE buyout are bad enough for a low rank. Next week: v. Cal, 56.7% per FPI.
Christopher_h (10): UCLA vs. USC is like store-brand Cal vs. Stanford. Why do I care what happens to the second- or third-best public university when they’re playing at the same time as the #1 university in the world? I’ll take a Coke, please—none of this Walgreens-brand knockoff.
Piotr T Le (9): UCLA is the team with a bad record that you don’t want to play. High-ceiling offense run by Dorian Thompson-Robinson can score at will when hot and I think Chip Kelly—despite not innovating over the last five years—still can call one heck of a game (see UCLA @ Cal 2018 where UCLA ran all over Cal). Not looking forward to this 10:30pm DC time match-up.
Nick Kranz (10): Chase Garbers and Nikko Remigio are licking their lips at a UCLA passing defense that has been shredded by every competent passing offense they’ve faced.
11. Stanfurd Cardinal (4–7, 3–6 Pac-12) ↗
Last week: 12
Berkelium97 (11): Still no Stanfurdium.
Alex G (11): (Nat’l/Pac12): SP+ 79/10, FPI 61/9, Avg 70/tie-10. By season’s end, the Trees will likely match Arizona with the worst records overall (4–8) and in-conference (2–7), assuming both lose this weekend as they are expected to. Furd and Arizona are a clear #11–12 and picking the loser is a tough challenge. Arizona is on a six-game losing streak and hasn’t looked competitive since early-mid-season with a couple recent blowout losses; meanwhile, Stanfurd is on freefall from its recent streak of successful seasons and just lost their rivalry game for the first time in a decade. From the emotional standpoint, the Cardinal kind of deserve #12, but they just look like the slightly-better team to the level of putting them #11. Next week: v. Notre Dame, 14.4% per FPI.
Christopher_h (11): This game was far closer than it should have been, as Cal was clearly the superior team. Cal couldn’t capitalize on the turnovers and Chase Garbers was definitely making suboptimal decisions, which I hope is just the result of not practicing much last week and being a little rusty. On another note, can anyone explain to me the deal with Stanford fans pretending to root for Cal after Cal wins? In videos following the Axe around after the game, you can see Stanford fans trying to get into the background near the Axe as they follow Rally Com around. At the Cal alumni bar I was at, I had to deal with some obnoxious Stanford fans loudly cheering Stanford scores (this is a standard USC-fan behavior, by the way), such as the fourth-quarter field goal that put Stanford up 20–17. After the game was over and Cal had won, they were joining in on the “Bear Territory” chants. With fans like these, I can’t imagine how their stadium can possibly get even emptier after their program returns to the uninspired mediocrity they deserve.
Piotr T Le (11): The world’s biggest Taco Bell is now Bear Territory. The Furd team had to change their identity from a power running team into a drop-back passing attack. Will this identity change usher a new era for Furd? Or will they revert to their root once injuries clear-up ?
Nick Kranz (11): I’m trying to decide whether or not Stanford might bounce back from this miserable season. On one hand, Stanford has been recruiting at about the same level they’ve been recruiting at for Shaw’s entire tenure, so you would think there would be a bounce back. On the other hand, it’s not like the young guys forced into action flashed much promise and even with injuries, this is a team that has been on the decline for a long time.
12. Arizona Wildcats (4–7, 2–6 Pac-12) ↘
Last week: T10
Berkelium97 (12): Their sixth loss in a row and third blowout loss in a row drop them to last in my ballot.
Alex G (12): (Nat’l/Pac12): SP+ 87/12, FPI 70/12, Avg 78.5/12. The eye-test of Arizona is a bad team on a long losing streak with the conference’s last-place defense in points allowed per game (overall and for in-conference games) and a mediocre-to-bad offense that’s wasting some decent talent (seventh in points-per-game overall and tenth for conference games). The computers also agree that Arizona is the worst team in the Pac 12, so my twelfth-place vote they receive. Next week: @ ASU, 21.0% per FPI.
Christopher_h (12): This game went pretty much exactly as expected, as Arizona had no answer for Utah defensively and Arizona didn’t score until garbage time against Utah’s back-ups (mainly due to a busted coverage by Utah’s back-ups). At least Utah isn’t cursed in the desert.
Nick Kranz (12): A six game losing streak, The Athletic doing features on how you’re incapable of keeping any in-state talent at home, no bowl, no hope . . . probably gonna beat ASU now, huh?
Let’s chart our rankings over time. Washington is on a two-week skid and are at #7—their lowest ranking of 2019—for the second time this year; there’s actually some perfect symmetry for the Huskies’ ranking in the time since then. Meanwhile, California has our highest ranking since Week 7.
Here’s how your full fleet of CGBears voted this week:
Table 1. Our votes for Week 13. Why am I the only one burying Stanfurd at the bottom?
|10||UC L.A.||Wash||UC L.A.||UC L.A.||UC L.A.||UC L.A.||UC L.A.||Colorado||Arizona||Stanfurd||UC L.A.||UC L.A.|
|11||Stanfurd||Stanfurd||Stanfurd||Stanfurd||Arizona||Stanfurd||Stanfurd||Stanfurd||UC L.A.||UC L.A.||Stanfurd||Stanfurd|
From these votes, we take the ranks that each team received and find the mathematical average; sorting those values is how we get the main rankings above (and in Figure 1). But there’s some more information in those precise averages, so we’ve graphed those as columns in Figure 2; the error bars represent the standard deviation and quantify if we were in consensus or not. Our error bars this week are stunningly smaller overall than in past weeks, indicating that we have suddenly reached agreement—late in the season.
Figure 3 captures the precise ranks over the course of the season; the fact that the teams are generally evenly-spaced and near the integer values (i.e., the horizontal lines) corroborates this. The only exception is Wazzu just barely edging out their in-state rival, resulting in a clear divide between the top five and bottom seven teams.
The amount of movement that teams move up and down the ladder are quantified, tracked, and summed up in Figure 4a—known as the conference’s Madness. All the small little movements added up and this was one of five weeks with a Madness score of 20 or higher. The team with the highest cumulative Madness (Fig. 4b) this year is Cal and it isn’t even close; Cal’s Madness is nearly 33% higher than the second-Maddest team in Stanfurd. This is probably a function of our hot start, our injury woes, and maybe a teensy bit of our homerism causing some overreaction each week.
Lastly, I embark on a fool’s errand—capturing the whole season’s worth of insanity in a single image by averaging every rank each team has held this season (Fig. 5a). Our conference is bookended by the state of Oregon—is Oregon State’s recent push too little, too late to overcome early-season woes and climb out of the basement? They’re so close to surpassing UC L.A. that I imagine it would happen if UC L.A. should lose next week—something I’m sure we’re all hoping for. Figure 5b captures these average rankings as they’ve changed week-to-week; in great news, Stanfurd officially dropped below Colorado this week to enter the bottom third of the conference for 2019 as a whole.
Next week we’re continuing rivalry week, with every game being a rivalry of some kind. Ye olde college football cliché is that anything can happen during a rivalry game, so lord only knows how this will affect our power rankings.