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

November 13, 2018

Pac-12 Football: Week 12 Power Rankings


The once-chaotic South race is down to three, and the North is all about the Apple Cup—provided Washington doesn't slip against Oregon State. Seven teams are bowl-eligible, with another three needing just one more win to play in post-season. But nothing is settled yet, so get ready for a wild Pac-12 finish.

1. Washington State (9-1, 6-1) — Previous Ranking: 1 
No team had shut out Washington State in the first quarter before Colorado, but Wazzu forgot to care, responding with an avalanche of points in the second half. WSU could be just two wins away from a playoff berth. However, the Cougs can lose to Arizona on Saturday and still win the North, if they beat the Dawgs. Should the Committee select a first-ever 12-win Wazzu, it would likely be the team none of the other three wants to play.


2. Washington (7-3, 5-2) — Previous Ranking: 2 
Despite a couple disappointments in a season that seemed destined for national prominence, the Huskies remain well-positioned to win the North. But any thoughts this week about returning to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 2001 could transform Oregon State into a trap game opponent, despite the 32-point spread. Chris Petersen is too wily to let that happen, right?


3. Utah (7-3, 5-3) — Previous Ranking: 5 
Few other teams could have lost their starting quarterback and running back in such as short span of time and beat the Ducks the way the Utes did without Tyler Huntley and Zack Moss last week. Regardless of what happens in the South race, Utah stands to land in a quality bowl if it wins out. But winning their first division title with all the adversity they've faced and overcome this season would be particularly gratifying for the Utes.

4. Arizona State (6-4, 4-3) — Previous Ranking: 4 
The Sun Devils are two games away from what seemed unthinkable in preseason: a South Division championship. But those two remaining games on the road against Oregon and Arizona could rank among the most difficult on their schedule. Winning even one of them would exceed expectations; winning both would likely crown Herm Edwards as the Conference's most unlikely and misunderstood genius.

5. Arizona (5-5, 4-3) — Previous Ranking: 6 
It took the Wildcats several weeks to discover their new identity under Kevin Sumlin, but now that they seem to have done that, they've been a menace to everyone they've played. At least, at home. The trip to Pullman gives Arizona a chance to show just how far it has come, or to find out how far they have to go to compete with the Pac-12's best. The Cats are still clinging to an unlikely shot at the South title and a possible first-ever Rose Bowl berth.


6. Stanford (6-4, 4-3) — Previous Ranking: 7 
Stanford's few down years since 2010 have been middling at worst. So while the Cardinal's season has been less-than-stellar, the Tree remains the Pac-12 standard-bearer, with more wins over the past five-plus years (56) than any other team in the Conference. A win over Cal would give Stanford a boost as it heads into bowl season and begins focusing on early signing-day recruiting in December.


7. Oregon (6-4, 3-4) — Previous Ranking: 3 
The Ducks seem talented enough to have won every game they've lost. Precisely why they haven't done so isn't easy to pinpoint. The play-calling has been unimaginative at times, but at other times—such as during Utah's game-winning drive last week—defensive lapses have cost Oregon. Nonetheless, winning out and adding a victory to last year's total would likely qualify this season as a successful one for most Duck fans.

8. California (6-4, 3-4) — Previous Ranking: 9 
Had the Bears finished as strong at Washington State as they did at USC, they would be in the thick of the North race, pulling for the Huskies to upset the Cougars and create a three-way tie that favored Cal. As it stands, the Bears can still set themselves up for a better bowl and a promising next season with a win over Stanford. Depending on how things plays out, Justin Wilcox could challenge Mike Leach for Coach of the Year.

9. USC (5-5, 4-4) — Previous Ranking: 8 
The Trojans may be the most talented 5-5 team in all of college football, as well as the most underachieving and disappointing. USC doesn't tolerate mediocrity well, and it would be naive to think Clay Helton's seat isn't getting hot. Winning their last two games against UCLA and Notre Dame probably saves his job for another season. Dropping both could make it difficult for Trojan athletic director Lynn Swann to justify keeping Helton on board. His fate following a 6-6 finish is anybody's guess.


10. UCLA (2-8, 2-5) —Previous Ranking: 12 
For any other coach besides Chip Kelly, this season might go down as one of the worst in UCLA history. But his stamp on the program has already become apparent, especially in the midst of one of the most difficult schedules in the FBS. It's easy to imagine the Bruins winning more games with the addition of a few key recruits, and another year of Kelly's system in place. Beating USC this year would go a long way toward giving that narrative teeth.

11. Colorado (5-5, 2-5) — Previous Ranking: 10 
Twitter exploded Tuesday morning with a now-debunked report that the Buffs had fired Mike MacIntyre, effective the end of the season. That doesn't mean he won't be gone come December. Colorado's 5-0 start against one of the easiest early schedules in the nation gave way to five straight losses once reality set in. A victory over Utah in snowy Boulder could change the calculus, but as of now, MacIntyre's job status seems tenuous. He has to be hoping the memory of his 2016 breakout season remains fresh enough to provide some hope.

12. Oregon State (2-8, 1-6) — Previous Ranking: 11 
As with Chip Kelly's first year, Jonathan Smith's debut season at Oregon State has been much more promising than his record indicates. The Beavers have laid a solid foundation in establishing an explosive offense, and a pattern of playing loose and fearless. The defense remains suspect, but it wouldn't be shocking were OSU to upset their in-state rival in the Civil War, if the Ducks can't find a remedy for what ails them on the road.