SportsPac12: 2018 Pac-12 Football - Week 7 Power Rankings
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2018 Pac-12 Football - Week 7 Power Rankings

October 09, 2018

Pac-12 Football: Week Seven Power Rankings

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  One cross-divisional upset shook the entire Conference last week, with varying repercussions: Utah's win over Stanford gave the Utes new hope in the unpredictable South, while also opening the door for Oregon to create even more chaos in the North this week against rival Washington.

1. Washington (5-1) — Previous Ranking:
The Huskies got more than they bargained for from the surprisingly stubborn Bruins in L.A. Critics may nit-pick the way Washington won, or take to harping about the margin of victory, but Top 10 teams get everyone's best shot. Surviving is all that counts in a potential trap game with nothing to gain and everything to lose. Still, the Dawgs will likely have to play much better to get past the revenge-minded Ducks, who haven't forgotten the beat-down and taunting of 2016.

2. Colorado (5-0) — Previous Ranking:
Moving the Buffs ahead of the Ducks may not sit right with some, but Colorado remains undefeated with a quality win, giving them the better resume for now. Moreover, Oregon's close loss to Stanford has lost some of its luster after two straight Cardinal losses. CU's toughest opponents remain ahead of them, with USC and Washington up next. So far, the Buffs have handled every team on its schedule without flinching. Last week was no exception, with the defense losing its top tackler Nate Landman to an ejection early against Arizona State. 

3. Oregon (4-1) — Previous Ranking: 3 
The Ducks spent their bye week preparing for a game they will have had circled for two years and five days since the Huskies embarrassed them at Autzen on October 8, 2016. Then-true freshman Justin Herbert's first game as a starter began with an interception by Washington's future NFL safety Budda Baker, and ended in a devastating 70-21 blowout. There will be plenty of hype about the rivalry in Eugene and Seattle this week, and rightly so: The winner will have the upper hand in the North, and Twitter taunting rights for a year.  

4. Utah (3-2) — Previous Ranking: 9 
For four weeks, Utah was a formidable defensive team in search of a dependable offense. After dominating Stanford, the Utes suddenly appear capable of scoring on anyone, making them potentially one of the most complete teams in the Conference. Granted, the Cardinal defense hasn't been as strong as it had been in past years. And one game doesn't guarantee a complete and permanent transformation. But the surprising win is enough to rocket Utah up the rankings this week.

5. Washington State (5-1) — Previous Ranking: 6 
To the surprise of many, the Cougars struggled early against the Beavers before pulling away. OSU deserves some credit for that. As for the ranking, Washington State lost to USC but beat Utah, creating a transitive conundrum. It's settled here, fairly or otherwise, by putting WSU between the two. Don't be surprised if the dangerous Cougars play a spoiler role in a tight and competitive North. The winners of the UO-UW game and Stanford-UW game dare not celebrate until they've played WSU.

6. Stanford (4-2) — Previous Ranking: 2 
Last year, it seemed inconceivable that the Cardinal could struggle to gain 42 yards rushing, with or without Bryce Love. Clearly, Stanford isn't as good as they seemed to be two weeks ago, nor are they as bad as they appear to be now. The Cardinal will have opportunities for redemption down the road—most notably, at Washington on November 3rd—but a 19-point loss at home to Utah justifies their drop here and in the AP poll.  

7. USC (3-2) — Previous Ranking: 5 
A bye week gave the Trojans a chance to work on a slew of mistakes and inconsistencies. In studying Colorado game film, they couldn't help noticing the potential problems they face in Steven Montez and Laviska Shenault, one of the most dynamic QB-WR duos in the nation. USC drops on this list primarily due to Utah's rise; a win over the Buffs could push the Trojans back into the Top 5. More importantly, it would put them in a strong position to compete for the South.

8. Arizona (3-3) — Previous Ranking: 10 
The Wildcats seemed headed for another close loss before Colin Schooler's pick, fumble, and fortuitous bounce sent Azizi Hearn racing to the end zone. The touchdown triggered a bizarre series of breaks, twists, and challenges typical of recent games between the two teams. Arizona overcame each in turn, capitalizing on Brandon McIlwain's untimely miscues. A much bigger test awaits on Friday at Utah, before the hostile crowd of the Pac-12's current hottest team. 

9. Arizona State (3-3) — Previous Ranking: 8 
ASU has lost three games by a touchdown each, and could easily be 6-0 with a break or two. Even so, the Devils have exceeded expectations, laying the foundation for a mindset of playing fearless and loose. The decision to eschew a field goal late in favor of a touchdown try vs. Colorado was a good example of that. Luck has been lacking, but confidence and execution haven't been a problem under Herm Edwards. More wins should follow.

10. California (3-2) — Previous Ranking: 7 
The Bears had plenty of chances to regain the initiative and retake the lead in the closing minutes against the Wildcats, but couldn't stop turning the ball over. Chalk it up to growing pains, but the fact is Cal has had as much to do with its two defeats as its opponents. The Bears need to put the stinging loss to Arizona behind them quickly, because UCLA may not prove as easy to dispatch as it once seemed.

11. UCLA (0-5) —Previous Ranking: 12 
The Bruins looked like a different—and much better—team against Washington. You can attribute some of that to being fired up about playing a Top 10 team. But UCLA also gave notice that it has enough talent and ability on its current roster to upset an unsuspecting foe, if it minimizes its mistakes, and executes Chip Kelly's plays. The problem has been, and will likely continue to be, an abundance of youth and inexperience. 

12. Oregon State (1-5) — Previous Ranking: 11 
Watching the Beavers play this season has been like rewatching a good movie with a disappointing ending. You find yourself wondering if maybe the ending is better than you remember it, but it turns out the same. OSU's defense put on an inspiring first-half show, but the last two quarters felt painfully familiar. With a better defense, the Beavs could be dangerous. Until then, they'll have to settle for being wildly entertaining when they have the ball.  

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