The Pac-12 conference is now even more of a mess than ever before. USC is mortal, ASU is collapsing, and the teams that had tough losses early in the season are roaring back to relevance. Is this madness? No, this is the Pac-12 in 2012.
1. Oregon Ducks (8-0, 5-0 Pac-12 conference play, last week: 1)
Oregon made Colorado look like a high school team. They close out the season with three road games and a home game against Stanford. This is where Oregon decides whether they are going to earn a BCS title game bid.
2. Stanford Cardinal (6-2, 4-1 Pac-12 conference play, last week: 4)
Another big win for the Cardinal. If they had managed to defeat Notre Dame, they'd be in the top 12. We must give them credit for recovering so well from Andrew Luck's departure and being a contender in the North once again. They have a glorified bye week against Colorado and then face the Oregon schools in a season-defining stretch.
3. Oregon State Beavers (6-1, 4-1 Pac-12 conference play, last week: 2)
Big loss to Washington. One more loss and the Beavers will be out of the North race - Oregon isn't going to lose twice in conference play.
4. UCLA Bruins (6-2, 3-2 Pac-12 conference play, last week: 5)
UCLA asserted their contender status against ASU in Tempe with a last second win. Brett Hundley is a superstar in the making and as long as the Bruins can successfully field punts and make good decisions at the coin toss, they should be aiming for the South crown.
5. Arizona Wildcats (5-3, 2-3 Pac-12 conference play, last week: 7)
I think Arizona has the most impressive set of wins in the conference. They've beaten Oklahoma State, USC, Washington and an 8-1 Toledo team. The calibre of their victories is evident and they have the right mindset to make a shocking push back into the Pac-12 South picture after an 0-3 start in conference play.
6. Washington Huskies (4-4, 2-3 Pac-12 conference play, last week: 8)
Huge win for the Huskies against an undefeated Oregon State team. These guys are still in the conversation if Keith Price can pull out some big wins down the stretch.
7. USC Trojans (6-2, 4-2 Pac-12 conference play, last week: 3)
The Trojans went to Tucson and despite an offensive clinic, could not stop Matt Scott and Arizona. Their style is very similar to ASU - that game could be entertaining. They can zip right back up the rankings if they can pull it together and win some games.
8. Arizona State Sun Devils (5-3, 3-2 Pac-12 conference play, last week: 6)
Heartbreaking loss on a game-winning field goal as time expired against UCLA. The defense can't get the job done without Will Sutton: the lack of depth here is brutally obvious. ASU could collapse again in 2012.
9. Utah Utes (3-5, 1-4 Pac-12 conference play, last week: 11)
Utah finally wins a game in the Pac-12 in 2012, defeating the Cal Bears handily at home. This was a big win and a confidence builder for the home stretch.
10. California Golden Bears (3-6, 2-4 Pac-12 conference play, last week: 9)
A blowout loss on the road to the Utes should be the final nail in Jeff Tedford's coffin.
11. Washington State Cougars (2-6, 0-5 Pac-12 conference play, last week: 10)
The Cougs continued their spiral into the basement. Only the Colorado Buffaloes can stop them from ever being in last place... and they lost to Colorado. That's sad.
12. Colorado Buffaloes (1-7, 1-4 Pac-12 conference play, last week: 12)
I mean, giving up 70 points is normal, right?