SportsPac12: 2018 Pac-12 Fooball - Week 10 Power Rankings
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2018 Pac-12 Fooball - Week 10 Power Rankings

October 30, 2018

Pac-12 Football: Week 10 Power Rankings

Five games, five favorites, and not a winner among them. The idea of the Cardinal being favored over Wazzu seemed a little off from the beginning. But all the other giants—former giants—have fallen. Only the Cougars remain with all their hopes and dreams intact.

1. Washington State (7-1, 4-1) — Previous Ranking: 1 
The Cougars left little doubt about who's in control of the North. Their comeback victory over Stanford marked the second time in as many weeks that Washington State has knocked off the Division's top-ranked team. Now only the Huskies appear to have a shot at keeping the Cougars out of the Pac-12 Championship game. WSU's Gardner Minshew is having a legitimate Heisman-caliber season, with or without the acknowledgement he deserves, averaging better than 400 yards and three touchdowns per game. He's also the only quarterback in the nation to have thrown for more than 3,000 yards, and he's as competitive as they come.

2. Utah (6-2, 4-2) — Previous Ranking: 3 
The Utes are one stalled drive in the final seconds of a close game in Pullman from being at the top of this list. And they're likely to get another crack at the Cougars come the end of the season. Utah's defense has been outstanding, giving up just 16.8 points per game. But the offense has made the biggest difference, after disappointing early on, scoring an average 41 points per game over the last four contests. The Utes are 23-4 in Conference games when scoring 30 points or more, giving them a realistic chance of winning out. Their final matchups against ASU, Oregon, Colorado, and BYU could be their most important four-game stretch since joining the Pac-12.

3. Stanford (5-3, 3-2) — Previous Ranking: 5 
There were signs, even in Stanford's first game against San Diego State, that this might not be the kind of season we've come to expect from the Cardinal. Consequently, their second-half collapse against a hard-charging WSU, despite leading by two touchdowns late in the second, wasn't as surprising as it could have been. The Cardinal has lost three of its last four, and there may not be a gimme left on their schedule, considering the unpredictability of Pac-12 play. Still, the Cardinal remain one of the Top Four teams in the Conference, capable of beating any of the teams ranked below them, including Washington, this week's foe.

4. Washington (6-3, 4-2) — Previous Ranking: 2 
Few expected the Huskies to be where they are at this point of the season. Even before Washington lost to Cal last week, dropping its second game in the last three, you had to wonder how many more injuries the Dawgs could endure. U-Dub desperately needs a bye, but won't get one for another week: All of its opponents had theirs. Meanwhile, Chris Petersen seems willing to try just about anything to energize Washington's struggling offense, including yanking his four-year starting quarterback at what seemed like the most crucial moment in Berkeley
. He did so knowing the Huskies have a championship defense, and they remain in the race for the North, thanks to Oregon's loss.

5. Oregon (5-3, 2-3) — Previous Ranking: 4 
The Ducks looked lethargic against Arizona, as if they had napped before the game, and didn't have enough time to wake up. The Wildcats looked hungry, alert, and ready—and they took full advantage. Worst of all, Oregon's two best offensive weapons, Justin Herbert and Dillon Mitchell, suffered concussions on what appeared to be clean plays. Getting them back for UCLA may not be enough to avoid a third straight loss, unless the Ducks ratchet up their intensity. That being said, the Ducks remain ahead of where most projected they would be this season, and a stellar recruiting class has their future looking bright. 

6. California (5-3, 2-3) — Previous Ranking: 10 
Cal's stingy and opportunistic defense gives it a chance in every game. In holding the Huskies to 10 points, the Bears didn't even need an offensive touchdown to slam the door. When Evan Weaver exploited Washington's untimely quarterback substitution with a  pick-six, the resulting 12-7 lead seemed to exasperate the Dawgs. The Bears have a chance to show just how far they've come this week in Pullman, in a game few think they can win. A victory there could launch Cal into one of the Pac-12's better bowls. But as with Oregon, the Bears are probably another year away from enjoying a breakout season.

7. Arizona State (4-4, 2-3) — Previous Ranking: 9 
Just when the Sun Devils seemed ready to go gentle into that good night, they staged a comeback that had Herm Edwards leaping on the field at the end. It was exactly the kind of game ASU lost on three previous road trips, folding in the third, and coming up just short in fourth. This time, Arizona State out-willed the Trojans, a team as desperate for a win as they were, sealing the deal with a late 45-yard rushing score from quarterback Manny Wilkins. The Devils have a tremendous opportunity to score yet another big upset this week, bigger perhaps, than their non-conference win over Michigan State, when Utah comes calling.

8. Arizona (4-5, 3-3) — Previous Ranking: 11 

The Wildcats were given little to no chance against Oregon, but someone forgot to tell them. They played like they couldn't lose, and were the better team in all phases. They also hit like they meant it, leaving the Ducks rattled and shaken. More often than not, Oregon tends to bring out the best in Arizona, and last week was no exception. Khalil Tate played his best game of the season, throwing for 189 yards and three touchdowns, while J. J. Taylor cut loose for 212 yards and two more scores. But one game is just that. The Cats need to show that they can stave off their season-long bad habits once again against Colorado.

9. USC (4-4, 3-3) — Previous Ranking: 7 
You can't fault a team for losing with their third-string quarterback, can you? Sure you can, if it turns out he was good enough to win after all. The Trojans lost to ASU for the same reasons they lost with JT Daniels in previous weeks—a lack of consistency and discipline—and coach Clay Helton appears to have seen enough. On Monday, he fired offensive line coach Neil Callaway, assigning the assistant's role to running back coach Tim Drevno, while also announcing that he was relieving Tee Martin of the play-calling duties, and taking them on himself. Will it be enough to salvage USC's surprisingly disappointing season? We'll see soon enough. The Beavers are laying in wait.

10. Colorado (5-3, 2-3) — Previous Ranking: 6 
The Buffs have the dubious distinction of being the last team the Beavers beat before beginning their 22-game road losing streak in 2014, and the unsuspecting team Oregon State beat to end it. But all that matters now is Colorado's own three-game losing streak, and finding a way to keep the promising first half of their 2018 season from devolving into something like 2017, or worse. Not having Laviska Shenault back for OSU was tough, but even without him, the Buffs seemed overconfident for much of the game. That shouldn't be a problem once they watch film of what Arizona did to Oregon. 

11. Oregon State (2-6, 1-4) — Previous Ranking: 12 
The Beavers seemed destined to score at least one upset Conference win this season, but few expected it to come on the road at Colorado. Oregon State had to overcome the third-biggest deficit in Pac-12 history while snapping a 17-game Conference losing streak dating back to 2016 to do it. The Beavs won with hobbled quarterback Jack Luton coming off the bench in what seemed like a hopeless situation. One can't help wondering how much better OSU might have been this season had Luton—the team's best quarterback coming out of  Fall camp—not missed all but a few quarters. With USC coming to town, the Giant Killers just might be back.

12. UCLA (2-5) —Previous Ranking: 8 
So much for handicapping the Bruins. A few weeks ago, they seemed beyond hope. That was before their victories over Cal and Arizona had some of the best minds in college football thinking they could upset Utah. Now UCLA is back in the cellar, searching for a stairway out. But after last week, you probably won't find many unwilling to give the Bruins a chance against the Ducks, especially if Justin Herbert can't play. Chip Kelly would never admit it, but you have to think the idea of directing an outmatched UCLA team to a win at Autzen was part of the script he wrote for himself when he took the job.