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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Pac-10 Power Rankings

This is the point in the season where things start to get interesting. Key matchups, bowl game scenarios — and even national title implications — are woven through the Pacific 10 Conference. There were blowouts, and games that were surprisingly close that opened up some questions around the conference. Will Oregon be able to survive the season and keep its spot at the top of the nation? Who will fall into second place? The situation will get stickier as the weeks go by, but for now, here’s our opinion of where the teams stand.

No. 1 Oregon

(8-0, 5-0 Pac-10)

Unanimous No. 1: That’s what Chip Kelly and the Oregon Ducks have become this season. The Ducks have become an offensive dynamo, averaging nearly 55 points per game (a touchdown more per game than fellow scoreboard breakers Boise State). There are still two games on Oregon’s schedule that have the potential to dethrone it (against Arizona and at Oregon State) but for now, the Ducks are flying high.

No. 13 Stanford

(7-1, 4-1)

Stanford has done nearly everything to assert its dominance at the top of the conference, but Oregon is holding its ground. A 41-0 thumping of Washington in Seattle kept the Cardinal on the right path to stay in the conference and national spotlight. Andrew Luck and Stanford have answered the preseason questions about winning without Toby Gerhart, and it’s clear that Jim Harbaugh has the Cardinal focused on winning. This weekend’s game with Arizona quickly garnered national attention, and for good reason — second place in the Pac-10 is on the line.  

No. 15 Arizona

(7-1, 4-1)

Arizona survived while starting quarterback Nick Foles nursed a dislocated kneecap and kept itself in contention for the conference title. But the Wildcats face four tough opponents in a row, including playing at Stanford this weekend and at Oregon later in the month. The Wildcats are one of three teams that control their own destiny in the race for the Rose Bowl. Win out, and they’ll go. If Arizona wants to show that it isn’t just the same old Wildcats — coming close, but never reaching the team’s full potential — they can start by making a statement in Palo Alto this weekend.

Oregon State

(4-3, 3-1)

Another one of the Pac-10’s blowout wins belonged to Oregon State, who added insult to injury after California’s quarterback, Kevin Riley, was knocked out of the game in the first quarter with a knee injury. Running back Jacquizz Rodgers scored four touchdowns himself, three rushing and one throwing, accounting for 28 of the Beavers’ 35 points.  Oregon State is the third team, along with Arizona and Oregon, to hold its own destiny in terms of reaching the Rose Bowl, and the Civil War will surely have conference implications this year again.

Southern California

(5-3, 2-3)

It looked for a moment that the Trojans may have figured out how to stop that explosive Oregon offense — USC held a lead over the Ducks in the third quarter, marking only the second time this season that Oregon has trailed —  to no avail. But don’t let being on the cusp of the conference’s lower half fool you. The Trojans still have some big chances to play spoiler this season at Arizona and at OSU.

ASU

(4-4, 2-3)

The return of quarterback Steven Threet brought the Sun Devils back to .500 on the season and kept ASU’s bowl chances alive. Like its rival, though, the Sun Devils have a tough stretch of games to survive if they want to make it to a bowl game this year. The schedule of at USC, against Stanford and at Arizona could prevent the Sun Devils from having a post season, but who knows with the way the conference is going this year.  

California

(4-4, 2-3)

Cal couldn’t escape Oregon State over the weekend, and now its quarterback’s health is in question. All hope isn’t lost, though. Cal plays Washington State next weekend and then hosts Oregon, Stanford and Washington to close out the season. Sounds daunting, but the Golden Bears are notoriously tough to defeat in Berkeley, Calif., and have shown flashes of brilliance this season.

Washington

(3-5, 2-3)

It keeps getting worse for the Huskies and Jake Locker. He’s already been ruled out against the Ducks with a fractured rib, making any chance of Washington pulling an upset slim to none. The Huskies will try to avoid a third straight loss and get back on track against Oregon and UCLA. And they’ll have to do it in front of an audience — both games are on national TV.

UCLA

(3-5, 1-4)

The Bruins showed they had some fight left in their tanks against Arizona. UCLA hung in the game and gave the Wildcats a challenge sans Nick Foles. While Bruins fans may have to wait another year to restore the football focus of the conference to southern California, UCLA’s defense showed it’s a force to be reckoned with.

Washington State

(1-8, 0-6)

Poor Cougars. Just when things were starting to look up, there’s nothing like a 42-0 loss to put things back in perspective.

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