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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Power Rankings

Upsets are simply protocol in the Pacific 10 Conference, and last weekend was no different. Another week and another set of unexpected losses once again shook up this week’s Pac-10 power rankings.

1 OREGON

(10-0, 7-0 Pac-10):

The Ducks proved they aren’t invincible as they squeaked by California, 15-13, on Saturday. Cal held LaMichael James to 3.1 yards per carry and limited a Ducks team that averages 291.1 yards on the ground to only 162 rushing yards. Oregon hadn’t won by less than 11 points prior to the victory over the Golden Bears. But the Ducks were due for an off game, which Saturday was — nothing more, nothing less. Luckily for them, their B game is better than most team’s A game. The Ducks have a week off then should return to form at home against Arizona.  

2 STANFORD

(9-1, 6-1 Pac-10):

Oregon wasn’t the only Pac-10 powerhouse to struggle against a lesser opponent on Saturday. The Cardinal nearly fell to ASU before scoring midway through the fourth quarter to take a 17-13 lead that it wouldn’t surrender. Andrew Luck didn’t find the end zone, while throwing an interception, and Stepfan Taylor gained only 39 yards on 19 carries. The underwhelming victory isn’t exactly cause for concern, however, as the Sun Devils have brought several top-notch opponents to the brink of defeat, and, a win is a win, especially on the road.

3 USC

(7-3, 4-3 Pac-10):

The Trojans looked like the USC of old against Arizona, running the ball down the Wildcats’ throats and blowing up a once-heralded run defense. Marc Tyler beasted for 160 yards on the ground and the Trojans carried the aura of the better team, while Arizona looked confused and overwhelmed. The Trojans still have nothing to play for, but they reminded the Pac-10 that, despite their postseason ban, it still is USC.

4 ARIZONA

(7-3, 4-3 Pac-10):

A few weeks ago Arizona was playing for its first ever spot in the Rose Bowl and status as the Pac-10’s second-best squad. But where are the Wildcats now? Scrambling for answers and searching for its lost identity. The Wildcats’ formerly stout defense has allowed 422 yards on the ground in its last two games, and Arizona looks like it belongs in the Pac-10’s mediocrity, rather than the upper echelon status it was flirting with weeks ago. Arizona can end its season on a high note and sprint toward a semi-major bowl game with an upset over No. 1 Oregon and a win over ASU to close out the season. But if the Wildcats play like they have the last two weeks, a 7-5 record and a season full of what-ifs seems like the more likely outcome.

5 CALIFORNIA

(5-5, 3-4 Pac-10):

The Golden Bears’ home/road schizophrenia continued Saturday as Cal was a missed field goal away from taking a 16-15 lead over Oregon with a 14:50 remaining. Outside of Shane Vereen’s 112-yard performance, Cal’s offense was non-existent. But its defense slowed down Oregon unlike anyone has all season. The Ducks’ lowest point total prior to Saturday was 42, and the Golden Bears held them to a mere 15. Cal’s still as inconsistent as it gets, but the Bears deserve some love after nearly pulling off the unthinkable.

6 UCLA

(4-5, 2-4 Pac-10):

The Bruins had the week off after a 17-14 win over Oregon State on Nov 6. UCLA’s done a nice job rebounding from the loss of quarterback Kevin Prince can gain bowl eligibility with two wins in its final three games against Washington, ASU and USC.

 

7   ASU

(4-6, 2-5 Pac-10):

The Sun Devils may very well be the best 4-6 team in all of college football. There’s nothing flashy about ASU, but the Sun Devils continue to hang with teams well above them in talent and respect. After almost knocking off Stanford but eventually losing to the Cardinal 17-13, ASU has now lost to No. 7 Wisconsin, No. 1 Oregon, No. 20 USC and No. 6 Stanford by a combined 17 points — that’s 4.25 points per game for those without calculators.

8 OREGON STATE

(4-5, 3-3 Pac-10):

After getting dominated by Pac-10 doormat Washington State 31-14 on Saturday, the Beavers deserve to drop considerably this week. Oregon State will now be the butt of all jokes, handing the Cougars their first conference win since 2008. OSU has looked great at times this season — see its win at Arizona — but has now dropped back-to-back games to UCLA and Wazzou. It doesn’t get any easier for the Beavers with USC, Stanford and Oregon to close out the season.

9 WASINGTON STATE

(2-9, 1-7 Pac-10):

The Cougars have rotted at the bottom of every publication’s weekly power rankings for years on end. They are still probably the worst team in the Pac-10, but after picking up their first win in the conference since Nov. 22, 2008, Wazzou deserves the No. 9 spot. It took the Cougars almost two years to do it, but good for them. After years of embarrassment, Washington State is finally moving in the right direction.

10 WASHINGTON

(3-6, 2-4 Pac-10):

If Washington State wasn’t going to be last, somebody had to be, so why not the Huskies? Washington had the week off after falling to Oregon 53-16. After a preseason full of expectations, the Cougars are among the conference’s worst. They could salvage their season and become bowl eligible, however, by winning their final three games against UCLA, Cal and Washington State.

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