Nov. 23, 2016
Pac-12 Week 12 Rankings: SC On The Rise
The final week of the regular season is upon us, and it seems like yesterday the Stanford Cardinal were thought to be playoff contenders, Josh Rosen and Christian McCaffrey were assumed to be front runners in the Heisman race and Arizona had hopes of being a dark horse in the division. My, how time passed and expectations fluctuated.
1] Colorado Buffaloes: 9-2 (7-1), Previous: 1
Colorado had the Air Raid offense come to town, and held it to just 24-points as they ran away from the Washington State Cougars. With Oregon beating Utah, Colorado now needs a win over the Utes in order to ensure it's first divisional title, as USC has completed it's conference slate. Colorado leads the rivalry 31-28-3 all time, though the Utes have won four-in-a-row and six of the last 7.
2] USC Trojans: 8-3 (7-2), Previous: 3
Hard to believe the Trojans started out 1-3, but have since went on a tear, thanks to Sam Darnold taking over as the starting Quarter-Back. They beat Colorado to give themselves a shot, and were able to go into Washington and put a big hole in the Huskies playoff hopes. A rivalry game against Notre Dame is on slate to end the year, which just won't help the Trojans as much as the Irish are a meager 4-7, including losses to North Carolina State & Duke. No doubt the Trojans will be glued on the Buffalo game.
3] Washington Huskies: 8-3 (7-1), Previous: 5
Washington took out the upset loss to the Trojans out on the Sun Devils with a 44-18 victory, 15 of the Arizona State points coming in the fourth quarter with the Huskies leading 30-3 at the end of three. Washington's lack of a decent out of conference will hurt them when it comes to the playoff committee, but a win over Washington State in the Apple Cup, and a blow-out win in the P-12 Title game should give them a nudge into the final four.
4] Stanford Cardinal: 8-3 (6-3), Previous: 6
Stanford started out with high hopes and a 3-0 record, but then lost to both Washington schools and Colorado, thus ending any hopes of a playoff finish. Since then, the Cardinal have been on quite a tear, winning four in a row by an average of 18.5 points and have a date with the 3-8 Conference USA Rice Owls left to end the year, which should be an easy victory. A good bowl game is the lone goal for David Shaw, and expect a thumping victory over the Owls.
5] Washington State Cougars: 8-3 (7-1), Previous: 2
Washington State had the air taken out of its balloon, unable to capitalize on a good late season win against the Buffs, losing by two scores before the Apple Cup game against the Huskies, which, in all reality, is a playoff game as the winner will take the division while the loser waits and hopes for a decent bowl decision. They should really avoid FCS schools as well.
6] Utah Utes: 8-3 (5-3), Previous: 4
Well, Utah's loss to an abysmal Oregon side ended any chance of their first appearance in the Pac-12 title game and held the door wide open for the Trojans to get in, if they can upset the Buffaloes in a Rocky Mountain Show Down.
7] Oregon State Beavers: 3-8 (2-6), Previous: 9
Oregon State went into the Old Pueblo and won by three-plus scores, securing three wins for the first time in a couple of seasons, and has the Civil War coming up. Oregon State trails the all-time series 46-63 and hasn't won since 2007, hoping to end that route with neither side being, or able to be, bowl eligible.
8] Oregon Ducks: 4-7 (2-6), Previous: 11
The Ducks went into Utah, and came out with a two point victory on an impressive last second catch, somewhat salvaging an otherwise horrendous campaign. With the season all but done, the Ducks will probably go all out and look to thump the Beavers back into obscurity.
9] UCLA Bruins: 4-7 (2-6), Last Week: 6
Jim Mora has done a solid job getting recruits into Westwood, but he just can't seem to put together a season that isn't full of what-ifs. They weren't able to stay with the Trojans and have a date against Cal to end a bowl-less year, the first since 2010 when they went 4-8 under Rich Neuheisel.
10] Arizona State Sun Devils: 5-6 (2-6), Last Week: 8
Todd Graham and the Devils have had five straight opportunities to be eligible to go bowling. And they have failed each and every time. With the Territorial Cup on the horizon, ASU needs to get a victory against the Wildcats, and they did win it last year and three of the previous four.
11] California Golden Bears: 4-7 (2-6), Last Week: 10
Cal, like UCLA, needed a win over its rivals to have a shot at a bowl appearance, but lost to the Cardinal by two scores. At least they can say they will end the year playing in the Rose Bowl.
12] Arizona Wildcats: 2-9 (0-8), Last Week: 12
I'd rather not say anything here.