SportsPac12: 2018 Pac-12 Football - Week 9 Power Rankings
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2018 Pac-12 Football - Week 9 Power Rankings

October 23, 2018

Pac-12 Football: Week Nine Power Rankings

Yet another change at the top of this list. That shift aside, a clear demarcation has begun to emerge between the top half of the Conference—those with two losses or less—and the bottom. The distinction will likely deepen in coming weeks.

1. Washington State (6-1, 3-1) — Previous Ranking: 4 
If the Cougars keep picking apart defenses the way they did Oregon's, they may not lose another game. The Cardinal should have something to say about that on Saturday, of course, as should the Huskies on November 23rd. But for now, WSU controls its own destiny, and can maintain its hold on top by knocking off Stanford. 

2. Washington (6-2, 4-1) — Previous Ranking: 2 
The Huskies didn't seem like themselves against Colorado; understandable enough, given the previous week's emotional loss. But Washington's ability to get it done anyway, without Myles Gaskin, showed why the Dawgs are likely to be in the race to the end. Oregon's upset loss returned U-Dub's fate back to their own hands, giving them a couple breathers and a bye before two big games against Stanford and WSU.

3. Utah (5-2, 3-2) — Previous Ranking: 3 
Utah finally garnered the ranking and recognition it has deserved since upsetting Sanford, leaving no question who's in charge of the South. Having dominated USC, the Utes must now avoid the letdown that often follows. The two big games left on their schedule vs. Oregon and Colorado won't mean anything if Utah stumbles at UCLA this week, or the following at ASU. The way the Utes have been playing, a slip-up seems unlikely.

4. Oregon (5-2, 2-2) — Previous Ranking: 1 
It took the Ducks 30 minutes too long to adjust to Washington State's first-half onslaught, and the second half wasn't long enough to overcome it once they did. While the loss likely puts a North title and Rose Bowl bid out of reach, Oregon has a manageable schedule with a final plum opponent in Utah to set things right. A 10-2 record and a top-tier bowl remain achievable.

5. Stanford (5-2, 3-1) — Previous Ranking: 6 
Rumors of a Stanford demise were greatly exaggerated. Not only did the Cardinal prove they can win without the services of Bryce Love—and on the road, no less—they've put themselves in a position to wreak even more havoc in the Pac-12 North race, starting with Washington State. A victory over the Cougs would send Stanford back to the top of these rankings.

6. Colorado (5-2, 2-2) — Previous Ranking: 7 
The Buffs started off well in Seattle before letting a rare opportunity to upset a flat Washington team slip away. Although a victory would have given Colorado control of the South, their loss wasn't debilitating. Were USC to stumble, the Buffs could control their own destiny once again, provided they win out. That won't be easy with WSU and Utah looming. 

7. USC (4-3, ) — Previous Ranking: 5 
The Trojans haven't played up to their talent potential all year, save for a few stretches here and there, and their trip to Salt Lake City was no different. Despite underachieving, USC can still capture the South with a Utah loss. The Trojans' remaining schedule is favorable, beginning with this week's visit from ASU. It also includes one last chance to impress, against Notre Dame. 

8. UCLA (2-5) —Previous Ranking: 9 
The Bruins seem to be playing better, but we won't know for sure—or how much better—until they've played a tougher opponent than Cal or Arizona. Enter Utah on Friday night. A victory over the Utes would give credence to UCLA's seeming transformation, and would also be one of the biggest upsets of the season. Anything can happen after dark, but simply playing Utah close would be a big step forward.

9. Arizona State (3-4) — Previous Ranking: 8 
All four of ASU's loses have been by a touchdown, and they seem to have followed the same script: falling behind early and struggling to come back in the fourth quarter, only to run out of time. The Sun Devils have the potential to be a much better team than their ranking here suggests, provided they can play 60 minutes, and win on the road. They get another chance to do both in L.A on Saturday.

10. California (4-3) — Previous Ranking: 11 
What a difference a quarterback change can make. Granted, the difference came against a banged up and rebuilding Oregon State team. But Chase Garbers appeared to grab hold of the job last week, both in passing the ball well, and commanding the offense. We'll find out how much the Bears and Garbers have grown when they travel to Washington this weekend. 

11. Arizona (3-5) — Previous Ranking: 10 
The Wildcats had more than their share of bad breaks against the Bruins, from not having Khalil Tate, to fumbling en route to a sure touchdown. Then, on Sunday, as if to mock them, VegasInsider inadvertently listed Arizona as a 20.5-point favorite over Oregon. The Cats aren't likely to beat the Ducks, and they may not cover the actual 9-point spread, but they could make a game of it by simply cleaning up their mistakes. 

12. Oregon State (1-6) — Previous Ranking: 12 
Prior to last week, the Beavers had been playing well enough, despite their losses, to prompt many to pick them over then-slumping Cal. But the guessers—this one included—couldn't have been more wrong. Instead, injuries and turnovers produced the kind of game most expected to see at Ohio State. Things won't get any easier at Colorado.

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