SportsPac12: 2018 Pac-12 Football - Week 11 Power Rankings
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2018 Pac-12 Football - Week 11 Power Rankings

November 06, 2018

Pac-12 Football: Week 11 Power Rankings

With Stanford falling to Washington, either the Cougars or Huskies are likely to win the North. The same can't be said of the South, where all six teams remain in the race. And while one could finish 6-3 in Conference, it's mathematically possible for all of them to finish 5-4, or even 4-5.

1. Washington State (8-1, 5-1) — Previous Ranking: 1 
Struggling against Cal may not have been the best look for WSU, but close contests come with the territory: A Top 10 team gets everybody's best shot. Crazy games are bound to follow. But ultimately, a winning outcome is all that matters, even if the Bears had—and blew—a legitimate chance at the end. The Cougars didn't. They'll win the North with two wins in their last three games, so long as that includes one over UW. Winning out could earn Wazzu a shot at the playoffs. 

2. Washington (7-3, 5-2) — Previous Ranking: 4 Myles Gaskin's value to the Husky offense was obvious in his absence, and was even more apparent in his return. With his 148 yards and touchdown, a blowout of Stanford seemed likely in the first half. But when the Cardinal appeared on the verge of repeating their Oregon comeback, Washington's response may have been even more impressive. A welcome bye week comes next, after which, victories over the Beavers and WSU would win the North.

3. Oregon (5-3, 2-3) — Previous Ranking: 4 
The Oregon offense has started slow in three straight games after struggling early against the Bruins. But unlike in the previous two games, UO's special teams kept the Ducks from falling in too deep a hole. Whether it's play-calling or a lack of preparation, Oregon will need to make better use of its future NFL quarterback to get past Utah, even without Tyler Huntley.

4. Arizona State (5-4, 3-3) — Previous Ranking: 7 
The Sun Devils have stood on this mountain before. After upsetting the Spartans at home early, ASU fell off its perch on the road. Having wrested control of its own destiny from Utah, ASU should be able to keep it for a week against the Bruins in Tempe. A much bigger test awaits against the Ducks on the road in Eugene the following week.

5. Utah (6-3, 4-3) — Previous Ranking: 2 
Utah seemed to revert to the mistake-prone team we saw before its transformation at Stanford in losing at ASU. But while the mistakes are correctable, the Utes will have to do so without Tyler Huntley, who will miss the rest of the season with a broken collarbone. How badly that handicaps Utah going forward should become apparent against a Duck team with offensive problems of it own.

6. Arizona (5-5, 4-3) — Previous Ranking: 8 
The Wildcats could be the hottest team in the conference, depending on how highly one values Oregon and Colorado, their last two opponents. In any case, Arizona will have a chance to prove it can play with the Pac-12's leaders in a couple weeks against Washington State in Pullman. The Cats have a bye week to prepare and get healthy as well, before the game that could put them in position to win the South, should USC and ASU stumble.

7. Stanford (5-4, 3-3) — Previous Ranking: 3 
The Cardinal would likely have swapped places with the Huskies in these rankings had their fourth-quarter comeback not fallen short. As it is, Stanford finds itself out of the Conference race for one of the few times in the past seven years. The Tree's up-and-down season continues with what should be a breather at home against the Beavers.

8. USC (5-4, 4-3) — Previous Ranking: 9 
The Trojans seemed to play better last week in the wake of Clay Helton's coaching changes, and his resumption of play-calling duties. But progress is more difficult to gauge against rebuilding OSU. Cal may prove tougher, but USC isn't likely to be tested again until Notre Dame visits the Coliseum on Nov. 24. With wins over the Bears and UCLA, the Trojans can still win the South, should ASU and Utah lose.

9. California (5-4, 2-4) — Previous Ranking: 6 
The Bears seemed on the verge of upsetting WSU before replacing Chase Garbers with interception-prone Brandon McIlwain in the red zone at the end of the game. McIlwain's previous seven picks vs. just one touchdown seemed to portend the errant throw that ended Cal's hopes in the end zone. They still have plenty to play for, including a chance at redemption at USC, to which the Bears have lost 13 straight.

10. Colorado (5-4, 2-4) — Previous Ranking: 10 
The Buffs suffered through another game without the services of Laviska Shenault Jr., and the result was a fourth straight loss. It came at the hands of arguably the most confident team in the Conference right now in Arizona, but a bigger challenge arrives in the name of WSU on Saturday. There's a chance Colorado will get Shenault back—he hinted as much in an Instagram post—for that game, which could give reeling Colorado a tremendous boost. 

11. Oregon State (2-7, 1-5) — Previous Ranking: 11 
Despite their 2-7 record, playing fun-and-fearless Oregon State is no laughing matter. The Beavers gave USC a scare for three quarters, and had a quick whistle not denied them a touchdown on a fumble return, it could have been much closer. OSU has three more big upset chances against Stanford, Washington, and Oregon to end the season. Whatever the outcome of those games, this year wasn't about wins and losses for the Beavs so much as about taking baby steps toward inculcating the winning culture their first-year coach helped foster in the early 2000s.

12. UCLA (2-4, 2-7) —Previous Ranking: 12 
Chip Kelly seemed genuinely happy to be back in Eugene, acknowledging the crowd with a wave during the ovation that followed his introduction. But nothing else seemed to go his way in his first trip back to Autzen, with the Ducks pulling off special teams feats they hadn't performed in years. The sense of loss and nostalgia cut both ways, however; neither team looked remotely like the Kelly teams from Oregon's not-so-distant glory days.