The Pac-12 is the picture of parity in 2012. Teams pull of a huge win one week, and are promptly handed a loss by the next en vogue team. One thing has always been true: this conference is a battle of attrition, and winning conference games is a constant struggle. Those who win, particularly on the road, should be highly commended.
The middle of the pack is a glut. You could rearrange 4-7 in many different ways. I decided that this was the best way to go.
1. Oregon Ducks (Last Week: 1)
The Ducks were given 30 minutes of trouble from Wazzu, but then they blew out the Cougars in the second half. Absolutely dominating. Oregon is the de facto class of the conference.
2. Oregon St. Beavers (Last Week: 4)
The Beavers had to go to the wire against Arizona, but a road win in Tucson is never an easy task. Now 3-0 with victories over Wisconsin, UCLA and Arizona, Oregon State has to be considered a contender for the North crown. They do have a tough schedule ahead, with games against UW, Stanford, ASU, BYU and Oregon, but they appear to be capable of winning tough matchups.
3. USC Trojans (Last Week: 3)
USC was idle and thus does not get to move up in the rankings.
4. Stanford Cardinal (Last Week: 2)
Yes, Stanford is now behind USC. Good thing this is a Power Ranking instead of "Season Power SuperSkillSet 2012!" This was a really tough loss in Seattle to UW. Games against Arizona and Notre Dame signify that the going doesn't get any easier as the season progresses.
5. Arizona St. Sun Devils (Last Week: 5)
Good road win in Berkeley. Lots of missed field goals and the offense was not as explosive as it tends to be during home games, but the defense is stout and the team is disciplined. If this continues, ASU will be in the South discussion all fall long.
6. UCLA Bruins (Last Week: 6)
UCLA took care of business against Colorado. Dominating in a road win is nice, but we know how good the Buffs are and the win isn't all that impressive in the greater scheme of things.
7. Washington Huskies (Last Week: 8)
With a big win against Stanford, Washington is back on track to be a factor in the Pac-12 North. Their only misstep was a terrible road loss to LSU, but that road trip was a fool's errand. UW gets Oregon next Saturday, and that will decide their fate for 2012.
8. Arizona Wildcats (Last Week: 7)
Almost beat Oregon State. Almost moved up 3 slots in the Power Rankings. Almost.
9. California Golden Bears (Last Week: 9)
Cal suffered a tough loss against an athletic, defensively dominant ASU team. Zach Maynard had trouble finding time to set up the offense for any stretch of time. The Cal defense did a good job containing Arizona State, allowing only 27 points despite several drives into Golden Bears territory. We'd drop Cal down further, but we won't allow a team that lost by 30 to ASU to pass a team that lost by 10. It's simple math, America.
10. Utah Utes (Last Week: 11)
A bye week means the Utes slide up to tenth. USC comes to town on Thursday night, so it could be a long time before Utah gets back into the single digits.
11. Colorado Buffaloes (Last Week: 10)
Colorado's undefeated Pac-12 season came to a crashing halt against UCLA, who posted up 42 points on the Buffaloes defense in Boulder. With 12 days to prepare for Arizona State, I fully anticipate Colorado to come out fighting in their only home game in the month of October.
12. Washington St. Cougars (Last Week: 12)
They kept it interesting for a half against Oregon, but the pain train unloaded on Wazzu in the second half. Mike Leach has so much work left to do, I almost feel bad for him. Almost...