Pac-12 play continued this week with four league games and one nonconference showdown. With Arizona State knocking off Notre Dame by 24 points early on Saturday, I thought there might be a chance that the Sun Devils overtake the top sport in our power rankings. Oregon would erase all of those thoughts later that night, however, going into Salt Lake City and blowing out Utah, 51-27.
Here are how things stack up throughout the rest of the conference:
1. Oregon (9-1, 6-1)
At one point on Saturday night at Rice-Eccles Stadium it appeared as if Utah was going to take a 13-0 lead on visiting Oregon early on in the second quarter. It appeared that wide receiver Kaelin Clay had just caught a 79-yard touchdown pass, and it appeared that this just might be the night Oregon's College Football Playoff hopes went down in flames. But in reality, Clay actually dropped the ball at the one yard line before crossing into the end zone. After a scramble by the goal line, Duck linebacker Joe Walker scooped up the ball and took it 100 yards for the game-tying touchdown. The visitors would end up scoring 24 points in that second quarter and cruised to a 24-point win.
2. Arizona State (8-1, 6-1)
The Sun Devils remain right behind Oregon in our power rankings following their rollercoaster, 55-31 victory over Notre Dame. The game included runs of 34-0 and 21-0 for Arizona State, but a key 28-0 binge in the middle for the Fighting Irish made this one of the most memorable games in program history.
3. USC (6-3, 5-2)
The Trojans remain at No. 3 following a bye this week. They are currently tied for second in the Pac-12 South and will need wins this Thursday against California and the following Saturday at UCLA in order to have a shot at making the conference championship game.
4. UCLA (8-2, 5-2)
The Bruins continued their climb back to national relevancy this week with a big win in Seattle against Washington. They now own a very impressive 8-2 record, if you ignore the margin of victory in their wins. Jim Mora's team now has a bye before closing the regular season with home games against USC and Stanford.
5. Utah (6-3, 3-3)
A recent two game skid has all but eliminated Utah from Pac-12 title contention, but this is still a top five team in this conference without question. Turns out that the back half of its schedule was just a bit too much. The Utes started the month of October with road games against UCLA and Oregon State, then had to face three top 20 opponents in three weeks. Next up is a trip to the Farm to face Stanford as they try to improve their bowl standing.
6. Arizona (7-2, 4-2)
The Wildcats remain down here at No. 6 thanks to an ugly win against 2-8 Colorado at home on Saturday. Arizona only led 24-20 with ten minutes remaining before the Buffalo defense wilted down the stretch.
7. California (5-4, 3-4)
The Golden Bears used week 11 to prepare for their Thursday night showdown with USC coming up in Los Angeles. A win there would make California bowl eligible for the first time since 2011.
8. Stanford (5-4, 3-3)
Also on a bye last week, Stanford got an opportunity to lick its wounds after a falling 45-16 at Oregon. Next up is its final home game of the season against Utah, one the Cardinal would like to win considering they have yet to get to six wins and road games against California and UCLA still remain. David Shaw's team needs to find a way to get the ground game back to normal if they want to make a respectable bowl game.
9. Washington (6-4, 2-4)
Washington's struggles in Pac-12 play continued this week with a 44-30 loss against UCLA. Bruin quarterback Brett Hundley tore the proud Husky defense apart, rushing for a pair of touchdowns and throwing for two more. Things do not get any easier for Washington with a trip to Tucson looming.
10. Washington State (3-7, 2-5)
Rallying behind a backup quarterback, Washington State got one of its biggest wins of the season on Saturday in Corvallis. Freshman Luke Falk threw for five touchdowns in its 39-32 win.
11. Colorado (2-8, 0-7)
The Buffaloes still haven't gotten off the schnide in Pac-12 play, but they did look improved in their loss at Arizona. They led at two different points in Saturday's game and definitely put a scare into the Wildcats. Next week might get ugly however when they travel to Oregon.
The Beavers have moved into the basement following their fourth consecutive loss. You can assume a fifth is coming with Arizona State up next.